When it’s time to put your home on the market, it can feel like a pressure cooker, wondering if your house will sell. Fortunately, it’s still a busy market, especially when you consider that more than 40 million Americans choose to move into a new place every year. That means that with the right preparation, you are more likely to get the best return on your investment. Here are a few ways to make some updates before you sell your home.
Does it Make Financial Sense?
One of the first questions you must ask before you sell your home is whether it is a good idea for your bottom line. If you have a home mortgage, you must consider whether you’ll be able to pay it off if you proceed with selling. Depending on the progress of your mortgage, refinancing might be a good option to angle for better loan terms and the ability to pay it off faster.
Whether refinancing is necessary or not, it might be a good idea to do some upgrades if you know you’d like to eventually sell your home. You can also find out what type of lending options are available for renovations as well.
These arent’ decisions you want to make on your own – you can either visit your bank or consult a financial planner to get expert advice as you consider your next steps.
Maintaining a Sharper Image
There’s no doubt that curb appeal has to be at the front of your mind before you sell your home. The great news is that it doesn’t always take a dramatic facelift to improve the exterior of your home. A basic cosmetic change, such as buying garage doors to replace older ones, can make your home stand out and can be cost-effective. If you really like your front door, but it’s weather-worn, you can apply some fresh paint or stencils to make it pop. And if you want to take an extra step to protect your home, you can add an awning for your windows, doors, or for your entire porch. You can also invest in a screen door, which has the added advantage of further insulating your home.
Lighting is also an important consideration. A well-lit home makes residents feel secure. On the other hand, harsh or excessive lighting can be an annoyance. There are so many innovations with lighting these days and many of them don’t have outlets or wires that can cause a tripping hazard. Besides solar lighting, there are battery or remote operated options that are also cost effective.
Paying attention to landscape design can also be beneficial when it’s time to show your home. You can do this in many ways and all of these options can be activated before you sell your home. One of the most popular approaches to sprucing up the outside of your home is using plants, shrubs, and trees. Some of these options can also serve the purpose of protecting your home from the elements. You can buy dwarf trees for this purpose — they are often capped at a certain height so that they don’t become tall enough to become an issue with your drainage system or power lines. For plants and shrubs, try seeking out evergreen types — they’ll present well all year round. For flowers, if you don’t have a favorite choice, opt for flowers that are hardy — such as zinnias, marigolds, and sunflowers. Whatever you use in the process of landscaping, ensure that they don’t spread beyond your ability to maintain your plants.
When thinking about creating an outdoor living space, you should opt for a look that makes new homeowners want to relax and smell the roses. One asset homebuyers value is privacy, and if you can create a fenced-in back yard, this can be a compelling feature. There’s no greater surprise to a buyer than when they encounter an unexpected oasis in their backyard that is totally private. Plus, an enclosed back yard is also a good place to plant a garden because it can keep deer and other animals from eating your yield. In warmer climates, screened-in porches create a way to enjoy the outdoors without the bugs.
Creating a wide-open grassy space can help the potential buyer use their imagination as well. But even with this option, you’ll want to research the types of grass you want for this — there are hundreds of varieties to choose from. Artificial grass might also be a good route. Don’t be misled by its name, because it will also need proper care and maintenance. You have to be careful with stains and make sure to attack them before they set in.
If you have a smaller space in your back yard, you can still design it for intimacy with a small group of friends — think an outdoor bar with a few stools. No matter the size of your patio area, there are many options that will spark the imagination of your next buyer as they view your home.
Another way to set your space apart, regardless of the size of the lot, are water features. If you’re in a warmer climate, opting for a koi pond is visually stunning if the architecture is done well. Of course, it doesn’t have to house koi — any fish can flourish in a pond setup. Even if your region gets a little chilly in the winter months, a pond installer can help you understand your heating options during that time. It’s important to maintain your fish of course, but as it pertains to the value of your house, the layout and ensuring that it matches your exterior well is the most vital piece to making a water feature work in your home. If you have creative ideas about building your own water feature, you can do it yourself. Your local home improvement store can offer tips and kits on constructing a beautiful centerpiece for your backyard.
When in doubt about the best ways to use your space, you might consider consulting landscapers that specialize in patio services. This investment could make a big difference when it’s time to sell.
Fix It Up
Before you sell your home, you should ensure that all major repairs are made. While a potential homeowner expects to pay for repainting a home or other cosmetic changes, bigger repairs can bring about second thoughts. Buyers and sellers can wrangle over these things at the closing table, but that approach often leaves both sides unhappy. If you can handle these fixes before you sell your home, that would be ideal.
You should consider looking over your HVAC system as you prepare your home. The earlier you can determine you might need an air conditioning repair, for example, the better. Being able to offer a new AC unit will be a big boost for your reselling hopes, especially if you live in a warm area where it is essential for most of the year. If you have a heating and cooling system that’s original to the house, you should go with a newer, more energy-efficient system.
But sometimes, you might not need a completely new system, but perhaps regular maintenance is needed. Investing in duct cleaning services can optimize your system and show potential buyers that the home is well cared for. This can improve air quality in the home as well. Maintenance is a great habit to pick up in the months before you sell your home.
Plumbing issues can also be a source of necessary repairs, and it can be obvious when water damage cleanup is necessary. Water can leave stains on floors and ceilings that can eventually seep through new paint, so it’s better to address the source of the problem. Don’t stop with indoor plumbing, either. Backed-up drainage ditches can also cause plumbing, so be vigilant in their upkeep. In addition, be sure that your outdoor pipes are well insulated and investigate any mystery leaks, especially if they materialize in your basement and has no obvious source. The issue could be pipes that lead to the main water source. That’s a problem no new home buyer wants to tackle right away, so be sure to find a reliable plumber in your area who can help.
During the selling process, you might be approached about fixing a window or two, and depending on how negotiations are going, it might be something you choose to take on. But there’s a difference between one faulty window and a house full of them. If you have an older home with original windows, it would certainly increase the value if you replaced them before you sell your home. If you have leaky windows that cause air and heat to escape, that comes back in additional costs in energy bills, because you’re having to pay extra to keep the room comfortable.
The same is true of doors in your home, especially sliding doors that lead to the outside. If the doors are old, there can also be gaps wide enough to allow bugs to enter your home.
If your home has other features, such as a pool, keep it maintained as well, even if you might not use it often. A pool can be an appealing extra, but if the walls aren’t clean and the water murky, the cost of its upkeep can be a deal-breaker for buyers.
To Remodel or Not to Remodel
Buying a home is a personal choice. And as the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” That means that although you might have purchased your house because of those original kitchen cabinets and appliances, you should know before you sell your home that those features are not necessarily desirable by others. Unless you’re living in a historical landmark, you should take a critical look at whether you should consider upgrading some of your features.
Although many older appliances might look as if they’re lifted from another era, modern equipment is more energy efficient and also environmentally friendly. Refrigerators, for example, don’t take up as much energy these days to work effectively. Also worth a second look in your kitchen – your oven and stove. Experts say that convection ovens are the most energy efficient because it continues to circulate heated air, which can cut down on cooking time.
The same is true of washers and dryers, and even your roof when it comes to energy efficiency. Many homeowners are reconsidering the use of solar panels on their roofs and back yards. So if you want to appeal to modern buyers, look around your house and update items that might be considered energy hogs.
It’s a good idea to have a pest control business as one of your close contacts as you approach closing time on your home. Whether you need to tackle an ant or bug infestation or need help with opossum removal, it’s important to ensure that there’s no evidence of pests before you sell your home.
If you were able to purchase your home at a discount as a result of previous damage from a natural disaster, such as hurricanes, it will be important to ensure the home is protected. That might mean investing in a new roof and siding for your home. If there are still repairs needed, it’s best to handle it yourself, rather than give a future buyer an opportunity to wrangle about the price. If you have water damage, find a nearby and reliable flood cleanup contractor who can keep records of the work done and ensure the home is ready for the future.
Should you take the do-it-yourself route for your repairs, you’ll probably find yourself with a lot more trash than usual. Your average weekly pickup does not usually make provision for heavy refuse, so it’s a good idea to hire a firm that offers garbage hauling services. They can dispose of your trash correctly and help you avoid fines.
Selling a home can be a grueling process, but once you find yourself on the other side of it, you should feel that you’ve achieved a significant return on your investment and that you’re poised to make your next move in real estate. Completing this checklist before you sell your home can help ensure that you meet all your selling goals. Good luck!