House - To Fix or Not To Fix When Readying it For Sale?
That is the question
all homeowners should ask themselves when they consider selling their
The first item on the
fix-it list: clear the clutter! If your closets, attic, basement,
garage, and other storage areas appear neat, half-full and organized,
your house will seem to have more storage space. To accomplish the
clutter - clearing task, empty the house, hold a garage sale, and use
the profits to help offset the next set of fix-it priorities.
Check your house for
"curb appeal". The exterior is the first impression a prospective buyer
has of your home. Make it as inviting as you can. Think of it
as outside decorating. Clean (or paint, if necessary) the
exterior, re-sod brown spots and crab grass, mow the lawn,
pull weeds, remove dead trees or plants, and trim the shrubs.
Flowers give warmth
and personality to a home. Plant them tastefully in pots or
beds at the entrance, on decks and around patios. If it isn't
flower season, at least clean the beds, remove the dead
leaves, and cover the ground with fresh wood chips or other
clean looking mulch.
If you have a limited
budget, make the most of it. Put the money where it is most
obviously needed and the return the greatest and most visible.
Take care of the
little obvious things: fix leaking faucets, stop running
toilets, replace broken windows, kill pet or mildew odors,
repair holes in screens, remove mildew from tile, and re-caulk
around bathtubs and sinks. Walk around; look at your house
with a prospective buyer's eyes. Small things tell buyers
whether or not a house has been maintained.
A coat of
light-colored, neutral paint--white or off-white--will make your home's
interior look crisper, cleaner, and also larger. Many buyers
may not be able to imagine their sofa in your
décor. White interiors work for the greatest number
of people without their having to redecorate immediately. If
you just moved, would you want to redo every room?
If the carpet is in
reasonable condition, have it shampooed. If it is worn,
threadbare or a non-neutral color, consider replacing it with
beige or gray. You do not need to purchase the best quality
money can buy. Lifetime wear is not required. You want it to
look great now. Neutral walls and carpet do not offend anyone.
Almost all furnishings look good with them. Rental property
managers know this and have been doing it for years.
Consider having your
house inspected by a qualified inspector. Safety- and
health-related items, such as radon and electrical problems
could kill a sale if not properly attended to. It is much
better to fix these items on your own time schedule and
financial terms than hurriedly during a contract negotiation.
Roof leaks, even if inactive, are also deal breakers.
What else do you fix
amongst the inspector's flagged items? Unless you can
realistically get money back, fix only the problems with major
systems. You want to keep your home's selling price as low as
possible to increase the pool of buyers.
Do not undertake any
major remodeling in preparation for sale. It places more
limitations on the size of your buyer pool. Tastes vary, and
some people will dislike the results of your efforts. You will
have to raise your selling price to reflect your fix-up
investment, thereby pricing your home out of the range of
other potential buyers.
A neutral color
scheme in a house that sparkles brings you the highest return
in the shortest time.
Click on the italicized
words which will link you directly to the web site.
Companies and Others
Contract Samples Used to Sell a Property -
Pennsylvania Association of Realtors
The links and
information on this page are provided for your convenience only. Never
action based on advice at a web site without first checking with a
in that field, especially your attorney and/or tax advisor when
decisions are involved.