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Make home presentable for sale

The following article was written by Larry Abbott and appeared in the March 26, 2017 issue of the Houston Chronicle.

When preparing to sell your home, you will need to make it presentable and attractive to buyers. Think about what projects will appeal to the widest range of buyers. Focus on fixing things that are in obvious need of repair. If your roof is bad or your air conditioning system isn’t working properly, potential buyers may assume the rest of the house needs work also.

Tips to prepare your home for sale:

  • Pay attention to what other houses for sale in your area are offering.
  • Whatever money you put into it match the value of your return on investment.
  • First impressions matter. A simple change to your front entry such as painting the door or even installing a new door with updated hardware.
  • Don’t forget to clean and de-clutter, these are two improvements that cost little money and provide a big return. Don’t forget the garage and attic also.
  • Try to do “BIG” things that get noticed such as; floor refinishing,  painting, new carpet
  • A fresh coat of paint after repairing any sheetrock crack makes the house look well maintained. Get rid of busy wallpaper and paint instead. Always pick neutral paint colors. Sometimes you can get away with painting walls and just touching up the wood work where necessary.
  • If you have worn or dated carpet in certain areas consider replacing it. The smell of new carpet and new paint can have a positive psychological effect on your prospective buyer.
  • Power wash the entire exterior and then see if house needs painting. Remember to wash the walkways and drive also.
  • Repair any weathered or damaged wood, point-up mortar joints if brick and remove all obsolete cables, screws, hooks, etc.
  • If your yard is boring or barren, consider a simple patio deck, add a few inexpensive plants or update existing landscape.
  • Give function to odd spaces with no purpose such as an alcove. Consider adding a writing table. Return function to spaces that you may have changed such as a bedroom becoming a crafts room – turn it back into a bedroom.

Obviously you don’t want to spend money that you won’t get back. You don’t need to break the bank, keep in mind that a potential buyer will appreciate a house that is well maintained and taken care of. Don’t be surprised to spend 5%-10% of the home’s value to get things ready to sell. If home has not been kept up 15%-20% is more the norm. Remember the better it looks the quicker it will sell.  Following this guideline will help you get the biggest bang for your buck.