Are you ready?
Ask yourself: If you were buying this home, what would you want to see? The goal is to show a home which looks good, maximizes space and attracts as many buyers—and as much demand—as possible.
While part of the "getting ready" phase relates to repairs, painting and other home improvements, this is also a good time to ask why you really want to sell.
Selling a home is an important matter, and there should be a good reason to sell—perhaps a job change to a new community or the need for more space. Your reason for selling can impact the negotiating process, so it's important to discuss your needs and wants in private with the agent who lists your home.
Time your sale
The marketplace tends to be more active in the summer because parents want to enroll children in classes at the beginning of the school year (usually August). Typically, summer also is when most homes are likely to be available.
Generally speaking, markets tend to have some balance between buyers and sellers year-round. In a given community, for example, there may be fewer buyers in late December, but there are also likely to be fewer homes available for purchase. So home prices tend to rise or fall because of general demand patterns rather than the time of the year.
Owners are encouraged to sell when the property is ready for sale, there is a need or desire to sell, and the services of a local agent have been retained.
Improve your home’s value
The general rule in real estate is that buyers seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. In terms of improvements, this means a home that fits in the neighborhood but is not over-improved. For example, if most homes in your neighborhood have three bedrooms, two baths and 2,500 sq. ft. of finished space, a property with five bedrooms, more baths and far more space would likely be priced much higher and likely be more difficult to sell.
Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, is consistent with the neighborhood and does not involve capital investments, the cost of which cannot be recovered from the sale. Furthermore, improvements should reflect community preferences.
Cosmetic improvements—paint, wallpaper and landscaping—help a home "show" better and often are good investments. Mechanical repairs—to ensure that all systems and appliances are in good working condition—are required to get a top price.
Ideally, you want to be sure that your property is competitive with other homes available in the community. Agents, who see numerous homes, can provide suggestions that are consistent with your marketplace.1
Consider these common improvements
The following improvements and additions may increase the resale value of your home. Of course, the value home buyers place on various improvements will vary regionally, and even from neighborhood to neighborhood. But the list might serve to give you some ideas.
- Family room
- Dining room
- Linen closet
- Garbage disposal
- Wall-to-wall carpeting
- Smoke alarm
- Two-sink vanity (bathroom)
- Double-glass windows
- Range hood and fan
- Bathroom dressing area
- New, stronger locks
- Central air
- Guest room
- Bathroom exhaust fan
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