There once was a time where a seller could throw their home up on the market just to see what would happen. Sadly, those days no longer exist. While today’s Portland Metro Market may be one that favors the seller in skyrocketing prices, buyers are quickly becoming more frugal with their money, being picky about the state of the home they are offering on. They want move in ready or close to it. If you are looking to put your home on the market, here are the 7 areas you don’t want to skip over when prepping your home for sale:
1. Structural and Mechanical
I feel like this one should be common sense, but I get why people may want to overlook this. It is kind of that ostrich head in the sand thing, if we don’t acknowledge it, we don’t have to fix it. Unfortunately, in today’s market that doesn’t really work, and even if it did, you could be negatively impacting the sale down the road. Here’s what I mean by this. First of all, let us acknowledge what constitutes the structural and mechanical. If you are reading this and retorting with, “I’ll tell you what constitutes those. Expensive!” Bravo. You are correct. Age and condition of the roof, air conditioning and heating systems, water heater, foundation, electrical, and pipes all fall underneath these categories. Do you realistically need to replace all of these? Probably not, but you should look at replacing what is on its last leg. Why? Take roofing for example. Appraisers are notorious for requiring a roof to be replaced as a condition of a loan when it comes to certain loan types. Now you could say, well I just won’t accept an offer with those loan types, but why would you do that? You narrow your pool of potential buyers and amount of money that you could net. Failing to replace or update a system that is about to go can lead to a buyer failing to finance on the home or being unable to insure the property. If you really don’t want to deal with the repairs, there are other options, like getting quotes for replacement and offering to contribute to the replacement cost, and or offering a home warranty with the home. Either way, tackling the issue prior to sale will result in less stress and headaches during the process.
Not only is the exterior of the home the first picture that appears on any website promoting the sale of a home, but it is the first thing people see when they drive up. Sometimes, the exterior can actually impact whether a buyer wants to see the inside of the home. I can’t tell you how many buyers I have had that have wanted to skip homes on our tour once we drive up and they see it in person. The outside in this case matters just as much as the inside, and for good reason. If you have anything like wood rot or cracks in your siding, that can impact the buyer’s ability to finance on the home, and will also be called out in any inspection or appraisal.
This ties into the exterior in that it is creating that first impression for the buyer. Landscaping doesn’t have to be this big expensive fix. Just take a minute to assess. How are the plants looking? Are they wilted or overgrown? Are there any tree branches that could potentially obstruct view or fall on the home? How does the mulch or bark dust look? Little things like pruning, adding color, or freshening up can really make an impact.
If it hasn’t become clear in the last few areas, buyers tend to buy with their eyes first. Once again, the cosmetics doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking (well, depending on the condition of the home). Some of the areas to look out for would be the condition of the moldings, any dents or dings in the walls. Look at your ceiling fans and light switches. Would an update help? How is the condition of the front door? In regards to the walls, how is the paint? Is it worn? If so, you may update that in an in style neutral shade that creates the feeling of space as well as will match most furniture. The idea is to look updated without breaking the bank, drawing those buyers in with a vision of how they could use the space.
Often referred to as the “heart of the home,” the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to buyers. It doesn’t matter if their specialty dish is take out, people still envision having a kitchen that rivals those of the Food Network Stars. How are the appliances in the home? They don’t need to be top of the line, but condition is important. No one want to open a stove and try to guess what charred remains are in there. Casserole?? Lasagna?? Ew. How is the hardware on the cabinets? Do they need updating? Are there none present? What are the condition of the fronts of the cabinets? Could they do with a refresh? You don’t need to go overboard and remodel the whole thing (unless you have the harvest gold counters. Then I would most definitely redo the whole thing), but attack the areas that need it the most.
Here are the best words to hear: Simple and clean is best. You mean I don’t have to put in a river rock shower?? Tiles that massage my feet?? No!! Not unless you want to, but I would save that for your next home. No, in most cases you don’t have to do too much to a bathroom. Updating hardware or light fixtures is always something you could do, along with steam cleaning the tiles, and re-grouting or re-caulking where necessary.
New flooring can do a lot for the first impression of a home. When you walk in it can feel more spacious, it looks new, and people get so excited when they don’t have to worry what kind of spills there were or how much it would be to replace or professionally clean the whole thing. People also love wood floors. Obviously hardwood is most desired, but there are some great looking manufactured or hand scraped options out there. As a parent, I can tell you that having a surface that is easy to clean is so wonderful.
Have you been thinking about prepping your home for sale? If so, what is the project you are least looking forward to doing before you are ready to go on the market? If you were on the buying side, which of these fixes do you most relate to in looking for when on the hunt for a home?