“How do I prepare my home for sale?” Is always asked when I’m engaged to sell someone’s home. In that same conversation, we discuss what to renovate and not to renovate to get the best return for selling your home.
I just read this article discussing whether you should renovate or not before putting your home on the market. The answer was “no”, because of budget and a question of the potential buyer’s taste.
In my experience, it’s not a cut and dry answer. In fact, there are a lot of factors that influence what you should do to prepare your home for sale. This isn’t a short answer, so bare with me.
The factors that influence your decision on how far you go with preparing your home for sale involve money, time, energy, resources, economy, and your local market. All of these factors intertwine and sometimes create a bit of a complicated decision making process.
Take for instance an estate home. Your parents passed away and the home has never been renovated. It has the orange shag carpet and original cabinets in the kitchen and bath. This house has been very well maintained and pride of ownership is evident.
If this home is in a sought after community and in a good location, it will sell fast just because of that. Although, if it’s in a community with tons of inventory it will be more challenging and you’ll need to set the asking price below market value.
The amount of renovations needed to update this home is far too expensive and you won’t get your money back. The best action to take is clean, repair and declutter the home. Leave it up to the next owners to spend the money and renovate the way they want. For an estate home you may just want to get closure and move on.
Now if you have a home that has been rented for years and the tenants have been a bit rough on it, there are advantages to updating it.
If your property appeals to the first time home buyer, they may not have the capital to renovate. The advantage of that first time home buyer, is not having to sell their home and having more flexibility for moving within the month.
With that, you’ll have a bit of time after the last tenants move out to renovate and then put it on the market before the end of the next month. If you spend some money to get the property looking good then you’ll sell faster. This reduces your overhead costs from over three months to less than two.
Renovations to consider are replacing/refinishing flooring, painting, refacing cupboard doors, counter tops and trim. All of these take a beating when the property is rented, and will be worth the expense to improve.
When looking at your own home that you’re currently living in, this can be a bit more challenging. I dread refinishing my hardwood floors because I’d have to move all my belongings out and find another place to live for a few days to a week. This can get quite expensive and upset in my schedule. Although, if you have carpets that are in rough shape this really needs to be tackled.
Now the floors aside, there are other ways of updating that will benefit your selling process. One is painting. It’s amazing how much of a difference this makes when presenting your home. It’s not expensive and can be done while you live there.
The other ways of updating are cleaning and repairing all areas of your home. Going room by room you’ll find how much really needs to be done if this has been neglected over the years. Have everything running well, from the closet doors to the bathroom taps. When buyers look at your home this is what they do. They test everything!
In addition to painting, cleaning and repairing, you may want to add more impact. Try replacing the lighting that suits the size of the room. What a disappointment it is when I turn on the light and the bulbs are too dim or the lighting fixture is too small. Be bold and make a statement! You can do this on a small budget.
Often I hear of suggestions to change out the facets in your home to a nicely updated one. That is sage advice, although only if your counter tops are in good shape. It is a huge waste of money to buy good quality facets and install them on a cracked laminate counter top. Change out the counter too or leave it as is and reflect that in the price.
Going back to that article I read, that mentioned buyer’s taste. No, we don’t know what a buyer will like but we can get an idea. Builders use interior designers who put together a plan that will appeal to the general public and create that in their show homes. Go visit a few of these show homes and take note of the colours, lighting and surface materials used. This will be a safe choice for your home.
This should give you a good idea of whether to renovate or not renovate when getting your home ready for sale. If you still have questions feel free to contact me and I can help you out. You can join me on my Facebook Inner City YYC Page where there is information on buying, selling and owning your home.