Spring is the busiest season in the real estate market and in some areas, it can be quite a competitive time to sell your home with more homes on the market and more buyers looking to purchase. With more buyers, this season can mean a faster sell and a higher selling price provided you take the steps to ensure your home is in move-in-ready condition to attract the right buyers and encourage higher offers!
Get a Professional Opinion
No matter how objective you try to be, the reality is that your view of your home is colored by your own experiences, your personal style and your lifestyle needs which may not match the needs of your prospective buyer. Enlist the help of your realtor and a professional home stager. They can give you insight into the type of buyer that will be interested in your neighborhood, suggest updates and styles that will appeal to that audience and point out flaws that you may have overlooked but that potential buyers will notice.
Focus On Key Areas
There are some areas of the home that will affect the resale of your home more then others. Curb appeal – or the exterior of the home – is a good place to start. If your home looks outdated, dirty or in need of repair, you likely won’t make it past the initial drive-by, let along score a viewing with most buyers. Replace or repair damaged siding, windows, shingles and the like. Clean up the yard and outdoor living spaces. Apply a fresh coat of paint in a modern color to the exterior and any outbuildings, decks, fences or other structures if needed.
With your curb appeal intact, the next step is to ensure the interior of your home is ready to impress as well. It is important to stage each room: a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color, de-cluttering, proper furniture placement and the like can make a huge difference without a huge cost.
The two rooms in the house that should get the most of your attention and budget are the kitchen and bathrooms. If these areas are out of date or need repairs, potential buyers will see that as a major expense and a lot of work. Ensuring these rooms are up to date with modern styles and popular features is an important step to ensure your home stands out and receives top offers. If funding those types of updates out of pocket isn’t an option, a home equity loan can allow you to access the funds to complete the updates and then pay back the balance once the home sells.
Don’t Hide… Repair
It can be tempting to hide defects instead of repairing them. From placing a potted plant over a stain in the carpet to hiding structural issues from potential buyers, it’s always better to do the work in advance. Hiding larger problems like a cracked foundation or a broken central air unit can result in legal action and huge costs for you later on and hiding smaller things like stains or broken items is often ineffective. Potential buyers can be very picked, looking inside drawers, closets, cabinets, under furniture and more. Finding one small hidden problem will tell that that they may find many more that they haven’t seen yet and will actually lower their perceived value of your home. It is always better to repair before you list and if funding is an issue, this is another situation where a home equity loan can be the answer, allowing you to sell your home for a higher value and potentially saving you from legal issues down the road.
Avoid High Maintenance Features
Not all updates are considered equal. While updating your kitchen or bathroom to a more modern style will help increase the value of your home, here are some updates that will actually make it harder to sell. In particular, updates that require a lot of time or cost to maintain and aren’t common to the neighborhood should be avoided. For example, if you live in a neighborhood where every home has a pool, chances are potential buyers will be looking for one. But, if you live in a neighborhood where a pool isn’t common place, potential buyers may be turned off by the cost of maintaining a pool and this can actually hurt the ability to sell your home quickly! If you’re not sure, speak to your real estate agent or home stager before undertaking costly updates to ensure they will offer a good return on investment.