By Joe Quirk
You’ve decided to take the plunge to sell your home. Now your thinking, “What do I do to prepare my home to sell?” Many people find themselves in a quandary over whether to paint, decorate, replace appliances or remodel. It becomes an overwhelming and frustrating experience for many sellers. With a little research, thought and planning, you will be able to tackle it without breaking too much of a sweat.
Sellers have great intentions when preparing their home to sell. Most spend more money than necessary on items that do not make the slightest difference in making thier home saleable. Focusing on the tasks that give you the most value for your home will save you time and will be money well spent.
Foremost, you must remember that you are competing with other sellers in the community. It makes sense to seek out the competition. The competition being those sellers with homes similar to yours in the neighborhood. (Your Realtor can provide you with a list of homes for sale in the area.) Take a look at what they have to offer. How much curb appeal does the home have? Visit as many open houses as you can to see what the inside. You may find that there was a lot of remodeling done that justifies the higher price. Or you may find that they haven’t made any improvements and it is a complete mess. Then you can be reassured that your home is priced appropriately. This exercise will help you to feel confident about the decisions you make when preparing your home.
Now you can take a hard look at your home and decide what repairs must be done. These are the repairs that are required of you to take care of in order for you to sell your home. If you know you have a roof that is leaking or a faulty electrical system then you are better off taking care of it now. There are certain repairs that must be completed before a lender will allow the sale to move forward. Of course you won’t be aware of everything and any hidden repairs needing to be done will show up in the home inspection.
You don’t want invest a lot of time and money in rehabbing the place. Sometimes a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting is all it takes. However, if your home is outdated, cabinets are barely hanging on and your house is the last house to be renovated, you will want to bring it up to date to get it sold. The following list is from the National Association of Realtors showing the AVERAGE rate of return for remodeling specific areas in a home.
Selected 2006 Cost vs. Value Report Statistics
Average nationwide return on investment:
Deck addition — 76.8%
Major kitchen remodel — 80.4%
Bathroom remodel — 84.9%
New roof — 73.9%
Family room addition — 71.5%
Master suite addition — 72.6%
As you can see, you cannot expect to get a full return when remodeling. However, you will need to project what the selling price of your home would be with and without the renovations to make your decision. Your Realtor should be able to consult with you and provide names and numbers for licenced contractors who can help you through the process.