Preparing Your House for Sale
Sometimes life events, such as divorce or a job relocation, force us to make changes whether we like it or not. Luckily, most of the time, the decision to move is well-thought out over the course of a couple of years. As homeowners, you should always have one eye towards the inevitable resale of your property to ensure that you get the most equity out of it. Whether you are thinking about moving in 6 months or 6 years, here are some tips to help you prepare:
Is your roof nearing the end of its life? How about your hot water heater? Now is the time to devise a plan to replace these systems periodically so they don’t come up as being big problems for a potential buyer. Think about those quirky things that you’ve learned to live with but never addressed such as: cracked tiles, low water pressure or a weathered deck. Choosing a few repairs to tackle each year will make your future transaction so much smoother.
If you don’t like surprises, scheduling a home inspection before you put your house the market might be for you. You’ll receive a thorough report from a licensed home inspector which will highlight repairs needed, either immediately or eventually. Just keep in mind that any major issues that may come up would have to be disclosed to a buyer.
It is always a good idea to check with the town to see if there are any open permits that have not been closed out by you or a previous owner. If you bought your home over 10 years ago, chances are you didn’t conduct an oil tank sweep which has become commonplace at inspections these days. If you suspect that you could have an underground storage tank (UST), consider having a sweep done. The cost is a few hundred dollars but you’ll have peace of mind and a certificate that you can share with your future buyer. If it turns out that you do have a UST, you’ll have to remove it or face reluctant buyers down the road.
So, what home improvements give the best return? Finishing the basement and renovating the kitchen and bathrooms add the most value to a home but, at a significant investment. If your kitchen and baths are in good condition but are a little dated and you don’t plan to stick around for at least a couple of years, pass on the total renovation. Instead, opt for simple and less costly updates which can make a big impact too. Replacing bathroom vanities and fixtures, glazing a Pepto-pink bathtub, painting kitchen cabinets white and ripping out old carpet to reveal hardwood floors will make your home more appealing to today’s home buyers who prefer not to spend too much time and money on home renovations. Finally, you’ll never get a second chance to make first impression so think about a new front door, new garage doors and some fresh mulch and/or plantings that will improve your curb appeal.
If you are considering doing a major home renovation and are not sure if your plans will enhance resale value, consult your Realtor. She or he can help you assess if adding a 5th bedroom or a mudroom is better for resale.
It is GO time!
Now that you’re ready to sell, you should interview a couple of local agents if you don’t currently work with one. You’ll want to make sure the agent you hire is a good fit. Obviously, experience is a key requirement but there are other factors to consider. Does the agent know the market on a hyper-local level? What kind of tools does the agent have to price and market the house effectively? The agent should provide a comprehensive market analysis based on many data points that will give you an idea of what your house is worth in the current market.
Interested to know what your house might be worth? Contact me, Kristin Graves, Broker/Owner RE/MAX Properties 201-825-6600 x222 or www.kristingraves.com