What To Fix Before You List

May 10, 2011

Fixes before you listWith housing prices down across the country, there are a lot of homeowners in San Jose barely breaking even on their respective home sales. Some are even losing money.

You may find yourself in that position, too; wanting to sell, but worried about bringing cash to your own closing.

It creates an interesting dilemma. You want your home to “show nicely” relative to comparable properties, but you don’t want to invest big dollars that may never be recouped into upgrades or renovations. So what do you do?

The answer is simple. Do the bare minimum.

From an advice piece in the Wall Street Journal, we learn of 10 basic home improvement projects that will help your home have better showings. The advice requires almost no technical skills, and the projects be tackled in a weekend.

The theme? Handled your home’s delayed maintenance.

  1. Repair or remove screen doors with holes and tears
  2. Pressure wash windows, sidewalks, and siding
  3. Paint your front door and polish the doorknob
  4. Pull weeds, seed bare spots, and lay down mulch
  5. Touch up holes, dings and cracks in paint
  6. Clean grout and re-caulk sinks, bathtubs and showers
  7. Buy new cabinet hardware
  8. Fix leaky faucets and toilets
  9. Spray lubricant on squeaky doors
  10. Get clutter into storage and out of the way

Now, you’ll notice that none of these projects can be considered “major”. By contrast, each is minor; they’re the items you’d add to your to-do list for work on “another day”. However, they’re extremely important for a home that’s about to be listed.

Here’s why. A prospective buyer doesn’t notice that the above repairs were made. He only notices if they weren’t made. When a buyer sees ripped screens or chipped paint in your home, it makes him wonder what else hasn’t been cared for. This is the why you should also hire an exterminator prior to selling your home. If a buyer spots a trail of ants in your home, it’s unlikely you’ll get an offer.

You don’t need to spend big bucks to get your home ready for sale, but you may to use apply elbow grease. The good news is that time spent up-front can be worth it in the end. Homes that show better tend to sell faster, and at higher prices.

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