Updated 8/20/17, Originally published 9/7/15
- Your home’s cosmetic appeal is important to getting it sold
- Talk to a Realtor about what repairs may be necessary, and which are not
- If you don’t have the will or means to make repairs, there are options, but often involving steep discounts to the price
Your home’s condition is what will sell it. Market exposure, accessibility and a good price will bring buyers through the door and generate foot traffic. But the condition of the home is what will close the deal. Preparing your home’s for sale is also one of your biggest responsibilities as the seller.
Hopefully, your home is in great shape. Maybe you’re lucky, and all that needs to be done is move out and do the professional cleaning and carpet cleaning. Most sellers, however, have to make some choices, sometimes difficult ones, about what additional items that may need to be done.
Full Value or As-Is?
“I want to spend money on my next home, not this one!”
It is hard to make the emotional commitment to spend money on the home you are leaving. You will not be there to reap the temporal rewards.
But you can reap monetary rewards.
This is the point you have to make the decision between selling your home for full value or “as-is”.
These are also referred to as “turn-key” homes where buyers need to do nothing other than close the deal and start moving in. No renovations, no waiting for new carpet to be installed, no hassles. The vast majority of buyers are retail buyers looking for these kinds of homes. This is the market you want to be in if at all possible. Sometimes it takes an initial investment to get there. A quality Realtor® can help you determine which repairs, upgrades or renovations are worth it, and on which you case save your money. The right repairs will earn you more money at the closing table than they cost you.
These are homes sold “as-is” that DIYers and investors are looking for – a home needing some “TLC” (Tender Loving Care). Your target buyer is likely looking for a home at a discount. The key word to you as a seller is “discount”. Do you want to sell your home at a discount? Of course not.
What other homes on the market sell as-is? Foreclosures. Selling your home in need of repairs is the same as trying to sell a foreclosure.
“Instead of paying $6000 for a new roof, I’ll just drop the price $6000, right?”
A price reduction is usually not equal to the repair cost. $1200 in needed carpet does not mean you can negotiate offers $1200 under the full market value. Bad carpet makes a bad impression that drives many buyers away, without even considering an offer to negotiate. Rationally, a buyer would be just as well off with a $1200 price reduction. But buyers are not rational. Selling a home is all about first impressions, smells, lighting, and pleasant feelings. Muddy and torn carpets do not create great impressions and the kind of enthusiasm that brings offers.
Obviously, it is not always an option if you don’t have the money available to make price-maximizing repairs. In that case, you will just have to be realistic about how buyers will see your home. It may take longer to sell. You will likely have to ask for less.
You can also consider other options, like seeking out a cash offer from an investor. Be prepared for very steep discounts to the price, however.
Sell Your Home to an Investor
- Sell Your Home Quick, for Cash
- Make No Repairs
- But, you sell at a significant discount
Common Necessary Repairs
Below are some of the most common items I recommend to sellers, though again, it depends on your circumstances and home.
Landscaping is perhaps the biggest one that folks forget about. The reason is that it is the only one that takes some time. If you replace your roof – voila! – in one day you have a perfectly good roof. But it can take months to rehabilitate an ugly lawn. If you think you’ll be selling soon, start working on the yard now. I recommend hiring professional lawn care or landscaping to get you set up.
Also, do not make repairs yourself. Ever. Never ever never, unless your full-time job is making those kinds of repairs.
- Repair A/C Unit
- Repairing Pool
- Fix Pet Damage
Common Unnecessary Repairs
That’s right, sometimes there are things that are not worth your time and money. It highly depends on the home and situation, but below are some things that may not be worth the time. As always, ask a Realtor before you start spending money. The key when moving is to only make those repairs or improvements that will have a positive return on investment (ROI) for every dollar you’re spending.
- Upgrades (e.g., granite counters or pricey new light fixtures)
- Painting (sometimes)
- Replacing Floor Types
- Code Updates
Talk to a Realtor. Each agent you interview should come to the home and do a walkthrough as part of their analysis. In addition to recommending a price, they should make a recommendation on what needs to be done, and what can be left alone.