To Fix or Not to Fix Before Listing?

Now that we’ve had our fill of Thanksgiving turkey, it’s time to turn our attention back to real estate. One of the questions I hear most often from homeowners as they prepare to put their home on the market is, “What can I do to increase my chances of a sale?” This is a great question, and the answer I give surprises a lot of people.

My response, in a nutshell, is that aesthetic repairs are not necessarily as important as those addressing the more stringent lender requirements and inspection hurdles.

Most of us have seen enough shows on HGTV to know that there are many easy, relatively affordable ways to increase a home’s curb appeal before listing: sprucing up your landscaping, power-washing your driveway and patio and decorating your front doorstep with a nice new welcome mat. But more often than not the really important improvements—the ones that can make or break a sale or help justify a higher listing price—are not the first ones a seller thinks of (or wants to consider).

While many homeowners believe that they have improved their resale value because they updated their kitchen and bathrooms and repainted brightly colored walls in a more neutral palette, shortly thereafter they are taken completely by surprise when they learn that in order to get the buyers’ mortgage company to approve the sale, they will need to do substantial repairs to the roof, or in extreme cases, replace the roof all together. Other major roadblocks to a sale that are not always on a sellers’ radar but should be? Outdated electrical systems, faulty septic systems, missing smoke detectors, approved hurricane protection and more. So often now, insurance costs are dictating which home a buyer will purchase.

So what’s the best way to be prepared for all contingencies? Set up a consultation with your expert realtor (that would be me—get in touch), ideally six to nine months before you plan to put your home up for sale, so that I can review your property and provide a personalized assessment. From there, you will be able to form a plan that addresses any red flags and prioritizes where to invest your time and energy. You’ll feel more confident as you enter the market knowing your home is fully prepared and worth its asking price.

Then we can talk about landscaping and repainting the front door.