What Do You Need to Fix Before You Put Your First Home on the Market? And What Can Wait?
When you start thinking about selling your first home, you may look around the rooms you love so much and see them in a different light. You already know the rules about keeping your closets half empty when you show the house, making sure the kitchen and bathroom counters are free of clutter, hiding pet bowls and beds, and keeping the house spotless, ready at any moment for potential buyers. But there are some things that need to be fixed or updated before you sell.
First home, first sale? Here's our list.
You know how you have to jiggle the coat closet door handle and pull up on it at the exact right angle to get it to open? You may not even notice anymore because you do it every day. But potential buyers want every door to open easily, and without being left holding a doorknob.
Loose bricks or broken pavement.
And any loose boards or railings on the deck or porch. There really is never a second chance to make a first impression, and buyers remember what they saw first.
Speaking of what buyers see first, make sure your yard looks neat, even if it isn’t beautifully landscaped. (And if it is? Good for you!) If your lawn is almost bare, it may be worth it to lay some sod and plant a few flowers, or add some planters on either side of your front door. With flowers in them!
Now is not the time to pick your favorite color. Neutral paint is best because it allows potential buyers to see their own things in your home. If your walls need a fresh coat, now is the time to do it. If you do have unusual colors on your walls, no matter how much you personally love them, you may want to consider a more neutral look.
How much you do in the kitchen kind of depends. If you haven’t remodeled since the eighties, new countertops, cabinets, and appliances might be in order. But if the kitchen is relatively modern looking, with nothing glaringly awful, you may want to leave it as is. Installing expensive granite countertops may not make sense if the buyers might remodel anyway. As you make changes in the kitchen, consider what’s normal for your neighborhood, too. As lovely as high-end appliances are, they won’t bring more money in a sale if they’re an anomaly for your location.
Similar to the kitchen, an updated or additional bathroom can raise the value of your home. Think of other homes in your neighborhood. If you have three bedrooms and one bath, whereas most places around you have at least two baths, think about adding a half bath. If you have plenty of bathrooms, make sure there are no leaky faucets and that any tile on the floor is in good repair. Replace any mats or shower curtains that look worn and consider new towels in a neutral color. (You can hide the ones you really use in the laundry hamper when potential buyers come to look at the house.)
Now is the time to clean the blinds, wash the curtains, and touch up the paint on your shutters. If curtains or blinds have gotten really ragged, replace them. You may even want to just remove them entirely since potential buyers look for light in a new home.
Loose or chipped molding, holes in the wall.
Do you have kids? In spite of your best efforts, do they still play ball in the house? And throw things? Holes in the wall may not be the norm in most households, but parents know that they aren’t that uncommon. Make sure all holes are patched and painted and loose molding secured.
Now that your home is looking so good, you may even find that you don’t want to move after all. It happens! But if you’re still ready to go, making sure your home looks its best is the first step to making a sale!