Are you getting ready to sell your house and wanting to get the most out of it? If you haven’t heard, the market is finally back to normal which means there probably won’t be a line of people out the door as soon as the sign in the yard goes up. That means you’ll need to make sure your house stands out among the crowd to be sure it sells. But what are some key things you can do to your house to help it sell better without breaking the bank? What are some other things that are best avoided because they just cost too much money? I’ll go over both and explain how some things genuinely add value and how some of these items help with the marketability.
Do fixing items really help?
While this is something that won’t technically add value, leaving things broken “for the next people to take care of” definitely lowers the value of your house. This includes: old roof, worn out carpet, old AC unit, damaged doors and windows, holes in the walls, etc. These are generally considered basic maintenance and prospective buyers aren’t as desperate as they used to be. If your neighbors house has new items listed above and yours doesn’t, they’ll pick your neighbors house even with that ugly paint color. Speaking of which, that brings me to point number 2.
Paint goes a long way.
Having a professional painter spend a few hours touching up paint here and there can make a big difference in helping your house have a clean look. Think about all those times you bumped into the wall and scraped the paint or that time you decided to repaint the guest bedroom yourself and never could get those brush marks to go away. Having a professional come in and touch up everything is money well spent and will likely cost a lot less than you think. And when it comes to odd colors you definitely want your house to look good but you don’t want your house to stand out in a negative way. Purple cabinets? Bright green walls? It may have been exactly what your wanted at the time but odd color schemes like that make it harder to sell a house without giving it an immediate discount to fix those things. The average buyer is almost guaranteed to be immediately turned off by abnormal colors.
Update your kitchen, but don’t do a full-blown remodel
This is where the difference between updating and remodeling comes in. A remodel usually involves taking out everything completely and essentially rebuilding it. While updating generally just involves new appliances and maybe some other small items. There’s no need to overdo it here, your ranch style house from the 80s doesn’t need a $30,000 set of Viking appliances. Simply replacing what’s there will go a long way. A full kitchen remodel is almost never worth it though, between the time it takes and the amount of money it costs. You’ll likely be spending much more than you’ll get back in the end. Which brings me to my next item..
Avoid unusually expensive items that don’t fit the neighborhood
When appraising homes, we often get told by homeowners that “Well I spent X amount of dollars on this so shouldn’t that matter?” Well unfortunately that not always the case, there’s a reason no one else in your neighborhood has a solid gold toilet. They don’t want one, and no one else does either. Cost is not the same as value. The solid gold toilet is an extreme example but it works to explain the concept. In appraiser terms, we call this a “super-adequacy” meaning you spent too much on it and no one else appreciates it like you did. You can apply that same concept throughout the entire house. Remember that $30,000 set of Viking appliances in the average house from the 80s? Overly expensive, name brand, doors and windows in an average house like Pella or Anderson is another good example. This doesn’t mean you need to cheap out on things. You can put good quality finishes in your home without overdoing it.
Update and replace lighting
I love lighting. And apparently so does everyone else. When people ask me what they can do to get the most bang for their buck in getting a house ready to sell my first answer is always lighting. If your house is more than 15 years old there’s a good chance the lighting is dated. This is even more true the older the house is. You can go through an entire house and add modern can lights and new light fixtures for a lot less money than you think, and it makes a HUGE difference. Even without replacing light fixtures, going through the house and replacing all the bulbs with bright white LED light bulbs will make a big difference. So if your on a budget or need to get it on the market fast, lighting is always the answer.
At the end of the day, if in doubt, call a local realtor who can assist you on what items will give you the biggest bang for your buck. The last thing you want to do is invest time and money into a project not see the return on it. Simple things can make a huge impact so don’t discount the small ways that you can improve the overall appeal of your home.
About the Contributor: Jed Walker works full-time in a family-owned business of Real Estate Appraisers. After getting a Bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University, Jed left a successful sales career in Dallas to return to the business his knows best—real estate. Combining both the mindset of an appraiser and a real estate agent allows him to bring his unique perspective and approach to the home buying process. He understands that buying a home is not just a financial investment but an emotional one. Add to that, his patience and “quick on the draw” updates are just a small part of what sets him apart from those just looking for a commission check. Jed also knows how best to market your home, land, or commercial property in the most efficient manner, both in price and time.