Increasing Your Home's Value the Most for the Least
The following are tips to help increase your home's value and get your home sold in the fastest time possible based on my experience working with Treasure Coast homeowners who have sold their Florida homes and feedback from home buyers that buy houses near Stuart, Florida. The last two tips will be most appropriate if you think you might sell your home within the next 24 months.
Painting and Carpeting
A fresh coat of paint will make a room look new and clean, and new carpets will make it shine that much more. Be sure to pick a neutral paint color to appeal to most people. I have seen many buyers walk into a home with rooms painted the seller's favorite color and walked out because they hated it! Buyers will always look down at the floor when they walk into a room. So be sure that the carpets are clean, and if they show wear, consider getting them replaced. Worn or dirty carpets and badly painted or dirty walls will make a buyer think that there are other issues with your home, even if there are not.
These days, most buyers will ask me, "What is the average monthly utility bill cost?" of homes they are looking at buying. Most utilities offer free energy audits. Take advantage of this as it can help you save money now, and it can help you down the road when you are ready to sell your home! I have seen buyers favor homes with lower monthly utility costs over other houses, all else being equal!
In most homes, buyers will spend the most time in the kitchen. So make sure your kitchen is ready for this. If you have dirty or old appliances, get them cleaned spotless or consider replacing them. You do not need to spend a lot of money replacing your stove or refrigerator with top-end devices. Still, you do not want buyers walking into a kitchen, seeing a dirty stove or refrigerator, and then out because of it. And do not forget the drawers and cabinets as buyers will open these! If you need a referral to a good cleaning service, let me know, and I can send you a couple of names.
Your bathrooms will also get the drill sergeant review from buyers, particularly master bathrooms. Like the kitchen, make sure that you replace any old fixtures and that the floors, bathtub, shower, and walls are CLEAN. You can replace bathroom fixtures easily these days without spending a lot of money. And a fresh coat of paint can go a long way here too. After walking into dirty old bathrooms, I have seen buyers walk out of houses.
First impressions count. Similar to a fresh coat of paint for a room, a yard that has the grass cut nicely goes a long way. Walk outside and look at your front yard and the front of the home. Does the front of the house need paint or residing? Are there any broken windows or shutters that require repair? Does the yard need cleaning? You do not need to hire a landscape architect, but you want to make sure your yard looks clean and friendly. Be sure to pick up any items in the yard, position trash bins so they are not visible from the street, and do any other general cleaning/maintenance you might need. If you need information for someone that does this type of work, let me know, and I can send you a couple of names.
If you think about selling within the next year, start this now. I have seen buyers walk through homes that have too much stuff everywhere and comment to me that it just looks messy. When buyers think a house is dirty, they figure that there are other problems with the home even if there are not! I deal with sometimes as we get so 'used to things' laying around that we do not even see them anymore. They almost become invisible! Do declutter in two stages.
- Stage One: Get everything you have not used in the last few months (or years!) and do not anticipate using boxed up in storage or the basement (neatly!), which would include clothes that you have not worn in a long time, dishes/appliances that you have not used in forever, paperwork piling up, bathroom items and other things. These are items that you do not want to throw away or donate but that you do not need in your home on a day-to-day basis.
- Stage Two: This is when you are getting close to listing your home for sale. Now you want your home to be ready for buyers to walk through and have a good impression so that they think to themselves, "This is a clean and neat home; the owner must take care of it!" Preparation will also help make moving days easier after your home sells! Pack up even more clothes that you are not going to wear anytime soon, pack up toys, appliances that are not in use, other kitchen items, bathroom items, tools, books, art, etc. Put these in storage or boxed neatly into the attic or basement. Be sure to label all boxes with both the room they belong to, like "Kitchen" and what is in the box "Dishes."
Hire a Home Inspector
If you think you might sell your home in the next year, consider this, most buyers will hire a home inspector to inspect your home for all issues—wiring, foundation, installation, etc. In the case of a Home Inspection, you do not want to be surprised! When you accept an offer on your home, you want to close the deal with as little hassle as possible.
More and more homeowners will hire a home inspector and provide a home inspection report to buyers. Pre-inspection can make buyers more ready to offer your home, especially if they consider other homes that do not have a home inspection. The additional benefit for you, though, is that you can use the home inspection as a 'What do I need to do' guide if you find something significant.
Please keep in mind that home inspection reports will be detailed and may startle you initially, similar to reviewing your results from a physician if the doctor is not present! If you make the wise investment for a home inspection, have me come over after you get it to review it with you, and I can give you advice on what is the norm in our market and what is not.
Every market is different, so just because you see something that looks scary on the inspection report does not necessarily mean you need to fix it. But either way, you can be assured that buyers will get an inspection done, and you do not want to be surprised by this when you are trying to get the home sold.
Let me know if you have any questions about this. Again, this mirrors my real-world experience selling homes in greater Stuart, Florida, for homeowners and helping buyers buy houses.
Aside from marketing your home and generating buyer leads for it to the maximum extent in the market, negotiating the highest price possible for your home, we want to get your home sold fast and with the fewest potential issues. I am in the area constantly with clients, so if you need me to come over for a few minutes to give any real-world advice from a buyer's perspective, just let me know. Using my experience and knowledge now, BEFORE you are ready to sell, will go a long way in getting you more money, faster and easier when you ARE READY to sell.
Post by Eric Slifkin, a REALTOR® serving South Florida's Treasure Coast. Please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign, or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.
Eric Slifkin, Team Lead
Your local real estate expert
Are you seeking a home that suits your lifestyle, community, and neighborhood needs? Eric offers home buyers a turn-key approach to finding and purchasing real estate from the Treasure Coast to the Palm Beaches and beyond with his team.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation or call us at 772-678-1600 for immediate service. Whether buying or selling a home on the Treasure Coast, we are always happy to meet with you to discuss your wants and needs, with no obligation.
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