Prepping a Home for Sale – Part 2
Now that you’ve done all your own prep work, what other projects should you consider before listing your home? While there are lots of things that could potentially be done, there are a few things that will give you the biggest return on your investment (ROI).
The first item will be paint. Paint is relatively inexpensive, but a good, neutral new paint job will refresh a space like nothing else! Fresh paint gives a blank, clean canvas for stagers and photographers so that your photos are the best that they can be. Keep in mind that if you want to pay a professional to do the job, leave yourself some lead time. The faster the real estate market is moving, the harder it can be to book painters.
Number two on your list should be new carpet (assuming that there is carpet in your home). Nothing in your home retains smells like carpet, so replacing it will go a LONG way towards appealing to buyers. Offering a ‘carpet allowance’ in lieu of replacing it can backfire in two ways. 1) potential buyers still see (and smell) the old carpet when they see your home either in person or in photos and 2) they may imagine that replacing the carpet is more expensive to do and therefore will ask for more allowance. Replacing it yourself removes this item from the negotiating table and it can be done for a lot less than most homeowners realize.
Third on the list for big impact for little cost would be lighting. We mentioned replacing bulbs in post one of this series, but go one better and replace the fixture if it’s not updated. You can change the look of a whole room by changing the lighting and it’s easy to find affordable versions of high-end styles to really transform a space. This is also helpful if your home or furniture is updated but the lighting is not. Nothing will distract buyers from a lovely dining room as easily as a shiny bright brass chandelier, circa 1987! Updated lighting is also important for outside, so take a critical look at your exterior and check out our upcoming post on curb appeal!
Another potential good ROI will be kitchen counters and cabinets. If yours are new, great! If not, consider a surface update. This might mean having the cabinets painted, replacing the hardware and replacing or refinishing countertops. The goal here is purely cosmetic – let’s get your kitchen to the point where the largest number of buyers find it attractive. The idea with a quick update is that 1) photos look great, 2) buyers can picture what a bigger update might look like and 3) buyers who don’t have the immediate funds to upgrade can ‘live with it’ until they do. These are all relatively quick items to get accomplished too, so if you have a short timeline, this shouldn’t set you back by months.
Lastly, there is the option of remodeling. This will typically start with kitchens and bathrooms (in terms of good return on your investment) and can also extend to floor plan updates such as added closets, improved flow and/or impressive and functional entryways. For remodels, you are going to want to hire a professional as most of them will require permitting. You will also need to leave plenty of time in your schedule to get it all finished prior to listing. If you aren’t sure where to start, what to consider or who to hire, consider speaking with your real estate agent or a professional stager.