Monday, August 15, 2011

How To Avoid Spending More Than You Need to Prep Your House for Sale

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When it comes time to put your property on the market you want to get the best value from the sale.  The first instinct that many buyers get is to fix up their home, bring it up to code and make it as enticing as possible to lure the best offers.  Here’s the thing though: it ends up costing way less money to do this when you work with a professional who sees this on a regular basis. 

We’ve outlined some mandatory items that must be kept up prior to the sale of a home, some optional items that would certainly improve the outlook of your home sale and a few things that would only end up being wasted dollars spent.  Remember, the end goal is to get the best price on your home – so you want to accomplish this in the most efficient way possible. 

It’s Not Entirely In Your Hands

One thing to keep in mind is that home values fluctuate with a changing real estate market. What this means is that in today’s market what may be valued at around $350,000 may be a property that was valued at $380,000 just a few years ago.  While some things are in your hands, how the market impacts housing prices is something that no one can alter no matter how many improvements or adjustments are made to the home. 

It may be a good idea to call your Realtor before selling your home so they can give you an official estimate.  The figure would be determined by a number of factors including the general condition of your property, the mean price of other similar homes sold in the area and also current market conditions.  An advance appraisal may give you an edge over other competitors to accurately price your property so you don’t end up wasting dollars on unnecessary upkeep.

Bringing Things Up To Code

What you do have control over, however, is whether you fully comply with housing code and regulations, required to be fully in order prior to listing a property on the market.  Depending on the region you live in, this can mean things like making sure a set number of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers or carbon monoxide detectors are installed.  Sometimes, there are plumbing requirements that must be fulfilled, such as ensuring that low flow toilets have been utilized.  Outdoor electrical wiring must meet certain fire safety regulations and also, major appliances may be required to be strapped down in some regions (like water heaters in California due to earthquake susceptibility). 

Making It All Nice and Neat
The single most important part of a home sale is generating the interest of a buyer, of course.  If your home is set up in a way that allows potential homeowners to visualize themselves living in the space, you have a better chance of success.  Things that are optional but have a huge impact on the success of your sale include presenting a clean home with little or no signs of personalization, tidied up living and storage spaces plus no clutter to distract potential buyers.  The home’s exterior is also a good opportunity to make the home inviting and yield a better offer. 

Stop Short of Overkill

There is no end to how much you can do to improve a home before sellingit, but the key is to understand where to draw the line.  While a fresh coat of paint might be great, redoing the kitchen wallpaper is a waste of time since potential buyers may not like the new look either. 

Jumping the gun and getting things that may have come up on a building inspection may or may not backfire.  For example, if a termite inspection is called for and subsequent treatments are needed, it may serve you better to make sure where the potential buyers stand on the issue before spending any cash. 

The single best way to avoid wasting money on the preparation of a home for sale is to consult with your Realtor.  They deal with this on a daily basis and are in the best position to advise you before you end up spending too much.
At the end of the day you want your home to sell.  By following these simple guidelines and through the expertise and knowledge of your trusted Realtor, you can and will save yourself a lot of wasted time, energy and resources.