Making a Good Impression
Homes only get one chance to make a good first impression. Sellers should have repairs and renovations done before the home goes on the market
How long will it take to sell my house? How much money will I get for it? Possibly the two most- often asked questions sellers have during initial meetings with their REALTOR®. The answers vary depending on the condition of the property, the location and the asking price.
Obviously the location of a residence can’t be changed, but sometimes renovations, large or small, can make a difference in how quickly a home sells and the price the seller will get for the home.
Location, Location, Location
"I think the first thing sellers need to look at (when planning a renovation) is the location of the property," said Dede Strano, Broker/Owner of a Better Homes and Gardens franchise in Illinois. Before they make any renovations they should take a look at the neighborhood. You don’t want to have the best house on the block, but you can bring the house up to standards of the other houses. You don’t have to have the best but you should certainly use quality materials and workmanship.
"If I were advising a seller, I would recommend taking a good look at their kitchen and their bathrooms and see if they need updating or renovation. You have to be careful, though. As far as bathrooms go, a second bathroom would be important and add value, but it wouldn’t create as much value if you were adding a third or fourth bathroom. I would also recommend that, if they’re going to do a major improvement, they should plan on staying in the home for a while, so they can get some personal satisfaction from the project. With a major renovation, the payback might take a little longer."
Some improvements that don’t seem to increase resale value include swimming pools and security systems. "Sometimes a swimming pool would be more of a hindrance to the sale rather than a plus." said Strano.
Most sellers aren’t opposed to making changes to help their home sell. In fact, most sellers ask for opinions on what improvements need to be done.
The time a home stays on the market can also be reduced with proper improvements. A home in excellent condition with neutral colors will sell more quickly than a house in the same price range that doesn’t have those things.
"You only get one chance to make a first impression. Unless a buyer is looking for a fixer-upper, most people will want to move right into a home. You’ll get more for your money if it’s in ‘show’ condition." aid Strano.
Many Improvements Involve Maintenance Repair
Oftentimes it is the little improvements that can make or break a sale. Most repairs are "maintenance" repairs: fresh paint, new carpeting, and fixing little things here and there around the house.
Strano added, "We’re seeing a lot more sellers getting their homes inspected prior to putting them on the market to see what things need to be fixed. After the eventual buyers look at the inspection, some of them opt to have the home inspected again to see if the repairs were made."
Repairs to a home can definitely affect its sale. If you take a home with noticeable wear and tear, for example, some areas with peeling paint-it may hinder the sale. Of course, what you always hear is that the first impression of a home is what counts. A few gallons of paint and a few hours with a scrub brush can make the difference to a potential buyer.
Small Fix-Ups vs. Major Renovations
Most sellers would agree that smaller fix-ups would make more sense than larger, more expensive renovations before a sale. Painting (white or off-white), cleaning out closets and small fix-ups where the seller may spend some time and energy but not a lot of money, are recommended. Major renovations may help in the sale of the home - buyers like to move into perfect homes - but the seller may not recoup all of the money they put into the renovation.
Sellers are usually receptive to advice on what they can do to help the sale. In fact, most wish they had made the improvements long before because they like it so much. Improvements like landscaping may help with the sale, but again experts caution against spending too much money on an improvement that you might not get back in return.
Reprinted from the Hawkeye REALTOR Review®