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What to update before selling...

Having your home ready for the market before it is listed is important, especially since demand is high and inventory low. If you followed my last blog about your home being ready for the season, you are half way there to a successful home sell. While high end finishes look nice and are expected in luxury homes, they are not necessary for most homes. However, there are minimum expectations a buyer will be looking for in a home.

A buyer will be looking for neutral, well kept homes they can live in while making personalized changes over time. It is important for sellers to realize the custom James Madison University purple accent wall or the Peppa Pig pink kids wall will not be for everyone (no offense to Dukes or Peppa pig!). A modern neutral color palette throughout the home is more desirable and adds a sophisticated beauty to your home. Neutral does not mean boring beige everything. Combine neutral shades of beiges, greys, and even certain shades of pastels with textured pillows, throws, and window treatments for visual interest. Pick the neutral color that compliments your home's style and is a good backdrop for your current pieces.

Another asset of your home can be the flooring. Engineered hardwoods or natural hardwoods throughout the home are still what buyers want to see when home shopping. However, it can be expensive to update the flooring throughout your home before listing. If this is the case, make sure your current floors are professionally cleaned and in good condition. Do not plan on offering an allowance for flooring because it just invites additional discounts on other cosmetics dislikes. You can always look for wood-like alternatives that are more cost effective such as laminate or luxury vinyl. Some contractors or big box stores offer financing or deferred payments until after you close, making updates to your flooring achievable.

The last areas of your home that you need to revisit before listing are the areas that a professional home inspector will inspect during the due diligence process of the contract. These areas include the roof, foundation, windows, HVAC, and plumbing. If you are concerned about any of these areas, ask your Realtor for advice. You can also schedule a pre-listing inspection of your home for around $350-$500 that will let you know exactly what you may need to update or replace. Some signs to look for are cracks in the walls, missing shingles on your roof, parts of your home not heating or cooling, water leaks around your fixtures, or water on your basement walls. These signs don't always mean costly repairs or total replacement, it just means they need to be addressed before a potential buyer sees them and thinks the worst.

We have all watched the shows on TV showing us that updating your home before selling not only helps the home sell faster but makes it sell for more. While most shows on TV don't always reflect reality, the philosophy of presenting your house in the best light before you list is true. It is important to discuss updates with your Realtor on what is important to buyers in your area so you can address problems early, sell for more, and get a higher return.

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