Repairs to Make BEFORE You List Your Home

As a smart seller, you’ll want your home in tip-top shape — but you don’t want to eat into your profits by overspending on home improvements. You won’t be around to enjoy them anyway. The key is to focus on the most important repairs to make before selling a house to ensure every dollar you spend supports a higher asking price.

Smaller and less expensive updates in combination with good staging will have a great return. But how do you know what things to do before putting your house on the market? Prioritize these updates — and consider letting the rest go.

#1 The Most Important Repair to Make Before Selling: Fix Damaged Flooring

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Scratched-up wood flooring; ratty, outdated carpeting; and tired linoleum make your home feel sad. Buyers might take one step inside and scratch the property from their list. Want to know how to increase the value of your home? Install new flooring.

Replace what’s worn out.  Buyers don’t want to deal with replacing carpet, and giving an allowance is generally not attractive enough. Spring for new, neutral carpeting or flooring.

If your home already has hardwood floors, refinishing does the job. Expect to spend about $3,000 on the project — and recoup 100% of the cost, according to the “National Association of REALTORS® Remodeling Impact Report.”

Consider swapping any old flooring for new hardwood. This project costs more at around $5,500, but you could recoup more than 90% of that at resale. If that’s not in the budget, any flooring update makes an enormous difference.

#2 Fix Water Stains

You’ve learned to live with the results of a long-fixed plumbing snafu, but for buyers, a water stain suggests there could be a dozen pesky problems hidden beneath the surface. That’s why this is one of the things to do before putting your house on the market.

First, make sure the problem is fixed: Bring in a plumber to look for leaky piping or poor yard drainage if your basement is damp. Diverting rainwater from your foundation may cost as little as $800, and repairing a leaking pipe costs approximately $300.

As for the repair work, replacing a water-stained ceiling runs about $670, and drywall costs around $1.50 per square foot.

All are cheaper than a lost sale.

#3 Repair Torn Window Screens

So super inexpensive — and even DIY-able. You can purchase a window screen frame repair kit from a home improvement store for $10 to $15.

Considering the simplicity of this repair, making the fix is always worth it — and so are other small but highly visible issues. When you’re debating how to increase the value of your home, nix any small problems, snags, or ugly spots that might make buyers scrunch up their brows.

#4 Update Grout

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Is your grout yellowing or cracked? Buyers will notice. New grout, on the other hand, can make old floors look like they came straight from the showroom.

The best return-on-investment projects before selling a home involve making a home look like new.  This is another small fix with a big impact: Simple bathroom re-grouting may cost just $1 to $2 per square foot, increasing to $10 per square foot for more complicated jobs. And if you’re handy, you can save even more DIY-ing it.

#5 Resuscitate a Dying Lawn

Fixing the problem doesn’t cost a ton of money — and you’ll get it all back (and then some!) once you sell. Hiring a lawn care service to apply fertilizer and weed control will cost about $375. Once you sell the home, that comparatively cheap fix could recoup $1,000. That’s an unbeatable 267% return on investment.

#6 Erase Pet Damage & Pet Smells

Did your (sort of) darling kitten scratch your bedroom door? Fix the damage before listing your home. Otherwise, buyers may consider the scuffs a canary in the coal mine. The minute I walk into homes, I can almost always know if they have a pet.

Refinishing a door costs between $100 and $215 (or less, if you’re willing to DIY). Replacing pet-damaged carpeting or hardwood may be a bigger job than buffing out some scuffs — but it’s worth the cash.

#7 Revive an Outdated Kitchen

A full kitchen renovation is rarely worth it when it comes time to sell — even though buyers love a fresh look. Kitchens are still one of the most important features for buyers.

The problem is, this $65,000 upgrade isn’t something that buyers will pay you back for. Sellers recoup about 62% of a full-on kitchen renovation. If you’re updating the space just for your sale, focus on low-cost, high-impact projects instead.

Updating the kitchen doesn’t need to be expensive.  Painting wood cabinets, updating hardware, or installing new countertops or appliances could be enough.

Setting up your home for selling success doesn’t have to be expensive. Focus on the most important repairs to make before selling a house by picking projects that do more than look pretty. Choose updates that get your home in selling shape and justify a higher asking price.

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Article by Jamie Wiebe

September Tips for Home Owners

Landscaping Tips That Can Help Your Home Sell

For some properties, landscaping can make or break a deal. Unless you’re selling a real fixer-upper, your home’s yard is an important part of the real estate equation. If you’re looking to put your home on the market, or you’ve already listed and you haven’t had a lot of interest, use these quick and easy landscaping tips to help your property stand out from all the others.

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COORDINATE WITH COLOR

If your home has a yard, don’t be afraid of adding accents with pops of color. Many buyers prefer a nice green lawn; if you don’t have a sprinkler system, your local home improvement store will have easy-to-use and affordable sprinkler units you can hook up to a garden hose to help revive any dying grass (unless you live in an area where summer water usage is limited). You can also add color with flower pots: plastic or terra cotta pots filled with annuals are an easy, cheap and quick way to spruce up a drab entryway, driveway or front porch. You don’t have to go overboard, one or two pots can do wonders.

PRESSURE WASH

Sometimes a landscape or outdoor area doesn’t need a complete overhaul to look brand new. When it comes to decks, fences, driveways, and any other outdoor surface that can accumulate dirt and grime, an easy way to freshen things up is with a good pressure wash. Pressure washing is cleaning a surface with a powerful stream of high-pressure water, much stronger than a typical garden hose. The water is strong enough to get rid of months and even years’ worth of dirt and debris on wood, masonry, brick and concrete.

You don’t have to go out and buy a pressure washer – many home improvement stores rent them out, and for the cost of the rental and a couple hours of your time, your home could look like new! It’s important to note that you will want to test the pressure on the washer prior to spraying your home since very high pressure can remove worn paint. Sometimes all a home or a patio needs is a good wash and it looks just like new!

 

 

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LEAD THE WAY WITH LIGHT

While it’s highly unlikely you’ll have many people come and view your home at night, a great and easy way to add to your current landscape is with lights! Whether it’s adding a new outdoor lamp, or putting in walkway or path lights (solar ones are readily available and environmentally friendly!), buyers love to see little details put into homes. Pathway lights are often overlooked by homeowners, but a home with outdoor lighting will always speak volumes to potential buyers. Spotlights are also a great and easy addition – LEDs can highlight specific areas, and complete units can be found for under $30.

DITCH THE DEAD PLANTS

A nice manicured yard always rates highly among buyers. But if half of your yard is dead, despite being landscaped, it’s a good idea to ditch the dead plants. Take a couple of minutes each day to check out your yard – grass, flower beds, pots, etc. – and pull out anything that’s dying or dead. While it’s definitely a plus to have flowers and shrubs, if they’re dead, you’re better off getting rid of them than keeping them around because dead plants do not add to a landscape.

MAKEOVER YOUR MULCH

Flower beds are a great focal point for any yard, especially when they’re a real show stopper. But if your beds look weathered or rough, they can be a definite turn off to potential buyers. An easy, affordable and sure fire way to spruce up a tired flower bed is by adding new mulch or other ground covers like bark chips or gravel to help make the beds look fresh and new. A yard that has fresh mulch will always draw in a buyer’s eye because the yard looks put together and cared for.

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Summer is a popular time for real estate and an even more popular time for your yard. If your home can benefit from a little yard TLC, don’t hesitate. The tips above are easy, quick, and they’ll certainly help your home stand out from the competition. In the past I have put new mulch out in the spring but forgot this year.  The local home improvement store, such as Lowe’s or Menard’s, usually has great sales on mulch in the fall.  Don’t forget to grab some colorful mums to brighten up your front porch.

Not a DIY type, ask your friends and family if they know any local landscapers.  You might be surprised how affordable they are!