Getting Your Home Ready for the Market

Does your home need some improvements before you put it on the market? Most homes do and there are some things you can do to make your home look its best to prospective buyers.

But there are some things that you do NOT need to do–improvements that a buyer can do later. Here’s a list of some of those items for you to consider:

1. Don’t overimprove! What’s the “norm” in your neighborhood? If most homes have granite counters and yours is laminate, then that might be something to consider, but if not, don’t add them now. Same with other items like hardwood floors, fancy bathrooms, etc. Don’t add them if they’re not common in your neighborhood.

2. Focus on main areas of the house. Kitchens, living areas, bathrooms, entries are all areas people look at and that make a difference sometimes in a buying decision. Laundry rooms, garages, not so much.

3. Before you replace–clean! Get rid of hard water spots on shower enclosures, have dirty tile grout cleaned, clean dirty/greasy appliances and/or cabinets. Get professional help if you need it, but clean first before you decide whether or not to replace.

4. Consider embellishing what’s already there–baseboards, molding–try adding more to it and painting and see if that improves the look of the room.

5. Paint before you replace. Cabinets and trim look new and updated with some paint. Ditto with dated wood paneling, even a brick fireplace–both can look totally transformed with a good paint job. And did you know tile can also be painted with special tile paint?

6. Don’t replace what can be repaired!

7. Stage an area–maybe you have a kitchen backsplash that’s in good condition, but not special. Consider adding a plant and/or cookbook display to spiff it up.

8. Don’t add what’s best omitted. Best example–window treatments. Take down old draperies and hardware. Leave windows bare or with plain blinds–make that a blank canvas for whatever a buyer might want to do. Be sure to patch where the curtain rods were.

9. No need to replace what a buyer would prefer to buy. As long as things are in working order or not damaged, don’t spend money replacing things that a buyer might prefer to choose, e.g. carpet, flooring, lighting, appliances. But, if any of these items are damaged, stained, not working (and can’t be fixed), then replacement might be something to consider.

Bottom line–any work you do, items you replace now may make your home more sellable, but probably won’t make it more valuable. You want your home to show at its best but if you do extensive renovations, don’t expect to recoup your investment–you’re putting your home in a more competitive position for a buyer’s attention, but you may not be able to justify raising your asking price by the amount you spent to do those renovations.