How To Know If Your House Is Market-Ready

iStock_000005686999SmallWhen it’s time to sell your home, it can be tricky to know which changes would make your home sell more quickly or increase the sale price — and which would just be a waste of your time and money. Each home (and each homeowner) is different, but here are a few things to consider before you make any changes.

Have a good and brutally honest friend walk through the house pretending to be a buyer. We get used to how our home presents, and may not see what a buyer sees.

Are you in a buyers market or sellers market? If houses are snapped up quickly and sold at or near the asking price, you may be able to get away with doing fewer repairs and still have good sales results. If it’s a buyers market, expect to do more work to make a positive impression on buyers.

How quickly do you need to sell? If you need a fast sale, it’s in your best interest to do everything you can to ensure a quick sale at the highest price possible. Focus on cleaning, decluttering and maybe a little painting. If you don’t get the offers you would like, you can always decide to take on those bigger changes and relist your home.

What do comparable homes look like? Look at listing pictures or go to a few open houses. If your competition has updated kitchens, new flooring, etc., you may need to do some updates so you aren’t at a disadvantage.

So which repairs are worth it? Does the faulty item give the impression that the rest of the property hasn’t been well maintained? Red flags will send a buyer running out the door!

Can you do a less expensive fix? Instead of a full kitchen remodel, can you repaint the cabinets or change the cabinet hardware or light fixtures?

How much will you really need to lower the price if you don’t fix it? Buyers looking for a fixer will factor in the cost of the repairs PLUS the hassle. Again, look at the comparable listings in your area and work with your realtor.

What do the buyers see first? When a buyer waits while the realtor opens the front door, will they notice the peeling paint on the door, missing doorbell? It may seem small to you, but it can be HUGE to the buyer. If it’s noticeable when approaching the house, FIX IT!

Is the fix a deal breaker? If it’s a major item – like a new roof – it may scare off most buyers. If you’re in a hot market that may not be a problem, as long as you’re willing to price accordingly, or make a repair allowance part of the deal.

Remember that you only get one chance to make a good first impression!