Over the years I have sold homes that were in very different levels of repair. Some homeowners just wanted an “AS IS” sale and to not be bothered with doing anything. Although this concept is enticing it rarely brings top dollar in the market place. There are the obvious reasons for selling a house this way:
- No cash to make repairs
- No motivation to do the repairs
- Feel the house is “good enough”
- Feel the house will sell regardless of what they do
There are many issues with this perception. The most obvious is that you’re not likely to have many people stop to see your home when other homes are more appealing. Although I don’t suggest running out and doing a full home remodel, I suggest doing things to your home that bring you the highest return on your investment and anxious buyers to your door when you list it for sale. Otherwise, your lack of initiative can leave many thousands of dollars on the table at close of escrow.
There were also the “Do It Yourselfers” that were willing to tackle some very difficult jobs with varying levels of success. Some were extremely competent and really increased the value of their homes. Some were not competent and obviously did not read instructions. I believe that any task you choose to undertake will pay dividends as long as you pick wisely and do not bite off more than you can handle. According to most experts in the Real Estate and remodeling businesses you need to start at the curb and move in from there. The top DIY jobs with the best return:
- Landscaping: does your landscaping call to the new or prospective buyer as they drive by? Would a good trimming allow light into the house? Could a few new plants or fertilizing the lawn make the yard pleasing?
- Power washing the house: dirt, bad paint, cobwebs all scream a house in disrepair or deferred maintenance.
- Exterior Paint: Does your home look dull and uninviting? Could just painting the eves, fascia and trim lift the curb appeal?
- Interior Paint: Many clients love the smell of fresh paint and it gives them the move in ready feeling. Most DIYers can easily tackle that job and is one of the highest returns on investment you can make as long as it is done with care and neutral colors. A sloppy job can be worse than not doing it at all.
- Re-screen: this is often overlooked but makes an impact for very little cost.
- Clean, Clean and Clean again: I cannot tell you the reaction I get from buyers when they walk into a clean house that smells good (no odors). Windows should shine. When discussing houses after a day spent looking at homes I’ll hear “remember that clean house”.
For the next level of work you may want to hire a contractor and work with permits. Often I hear homeowners not wanting to pay for permits from their city or counties. Buyers want to know it was done correctly. If you do any additions that increase your square footage, without a permit it cannot be included in the appraisal and the bank will not likely consider that footage in the loan. You may have to tear down un-permitted add-on for a buyer to get a loan..
- Front door (including door knobs): What does your front door say when you walk up to it? Does it welcome you? New front door brings an estimated 86% return
- Garage door: It can be expensive to replace the garage door but it does have a 75.2% return
- Carpet, hardwood or laminate floors: This is a very important item for buyers. Currently carpet is not in as high of demand as wood or laminate flooring.
- The kitchen: This can be a very expensive job but clients look at the kitchen 1st and baths 2nd once inside the door. Kitchens have a 66% return and baths 62% return.
- Home office: many people work from home and desire a home office. Keep in mind not to have “built ins” so if an office is not to their likings they can repurpose the room. 46% return for that upgrade.
The bottom line is to look from a prospective client’s point of view. Do what you can to bring them to your door (curb appeal) then welcome them into the home (front door). Invite them to enjoy the smells of fresh paint, carpet/floors and clean. A few new faucets and toilet seats and shiny new appliances could enhance the feeling of “move in ready”.
I strongly recommend having a home inspection and a pest inspection before you put your home on the market. Find out what mechanical or structural issues you may face once in escrow. Often buyers will use the “home inspection” to negotiate a lower price. Know ahead and for a few hundred dollars you will be prepared. Many issues that a home inspector will find can easily be resolved. If you have a pest inspection and some fascia needs to be replaced it is better to do so before you paint. If your roof is failing you want to know ahead of time. The frustrations for sellers within the 17 day inspection time can be significantly reduced when you already know what’s wrong or have already taken the time to resolve the issues. These are just a few things to consider to maximize your sales price and increase your return on investment.
The Central Coast is a wonderful place to call home and as you consider buying or selling keep in mind a qualified Real Estate broker or agent can increase your satisfaction and return. At Anderson Home Pros we are here every step of the way and will be a valuable asset to your transaction. Wither you are in Santa Maria, Nipomo, Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach or Avila Beach, we are here for you.
“Knowledge comes by eyes always open and working hands; and there is no knowledge that is not power.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson