1. Don't Spend Big Money on Improvements
A good rule of thumb for improvements is if it costs you $2,500 to update your bathroom, you should see a market gain of $10000 to justify the improvement. The philosophy to not spend big money on improvements to sell your home is really geared toward those major improvements that are purely cosmetic. "I recently had clients who had a home that needed in excess of $20,000 in updates to get in line with the competition in the area that was attracting the higher prices," said Jared Hoylo, Realtor at Remax. "The homeowners knew if they did the repairs they wouldn't get an $80,000 increase in value, and they elected to simply list below the competition by $10,000. The home sold within 25 days." With the price of improvements, the homeowner must consider the disruption to the household, cost overruns, and the general headache of dealing with the remodeling process. If a seller knows that an item is on its last leg, get bids from contractors before listing your home and be prepared for buyers to ask for a repair as a result of the inspection. The buyer always thinks improvements cost three times as much as they really do.
2. Don't Disregard Curb Appeal
Having a good landscape contractor in your back pocket can help sellers out when preparing the home for sale. Mulching, bush trimming, tree branch removal, and simple plantings can go a long way in setting your home apart from the competition. These projects are generally affordable and can be done by the DIY weekend warrior as well. "I recently had a client reach out to me late last summer when they knew they were going to be moving the following spring," said Hoylo. "We had the professional photographer come out and snap a few exterior photos for our listing that was going to be active during January. These home pictures went a long way for the seller to convey what they had for plantings and curb appeal during the dead of winter." Here are some ideas on how to improve your curb appeal for selling your home.
3. Don't Ask for More Than Your Home is Worth
When residential real estate inventory is low, the market is hot for sellers. However, that does not mean buyers are going to overpay for a home. Too often some sellers treat the real estate process like they are trying to sell something online, and will leave room to negotiate. "A home that is priced correctly regarding market history will receive an offer in the normal amount of time," said Hoylo. "Correct pricing allows the market to dictate how much the home is really worth by creating the possibility of multiple offers. The seller who shoots for the moon and asks for more than their home is worth ultimately loses out on ready, willing, and able buyers. The home can then become stigmatized as over priced and buyers may choose to skip the property outright.
4. Don't Leave Clutter in Your Closet
Buyers will open the fridge, test the cabinetry, open the pantry closet, and view the bedroom closets. Remove and store -- preferably off site -- all valuables, medications, firearms, and other memorabilia that may have a monetary or personal value. Here are some DIY ways to organize and clear the clutter before you put your home on the market.
5. Don't Forget, Odors Linger
Obvious odors are pets and smoking. Refrigerators, rugs, and carpet can also retain many unpleasant odors. "I am in the process of dealing with an estate preparing to sell a home that was smoked in for years. The odor is everywhere," said Hoylo. "We tackled the odors first by performing an ozone treatment. The local restoration company came in and set up an ozone machine before the walls were sealed and painted." If there were heavy smokers or soiled carpets from pets, it may be necessary to replace light fixtures because the insulation in them can harbor the odor and is often an overlooked source. Duct cleaning and carpet cleaning are additional ways to tackle odors. "I've had the ducts cleaned in my own home," said Hoylo. "I about fell over when the contractor showed me the stuff that came out of them. Yikes." Here are two DIY tips for cleaning and eliminating odors before you sell your home.
6. Don't Forget the Details
When buyers are looking at a home, they are looking at the details. Do light fixtures work, appliances, doors. Are the windows clean? Paying attention to fixing these little details shows the buyer the home has been cared for and loved. This attention to detail can increase the home's value. Here is some advice on how to repair a light fixture in your home.
7. Don't Decorate with Your Political affiliations, Degrees, Family Portraits, or Bear Rugs
It is recommended to remove all of the items listed above. While you want the home to be inviting and have personality, it is necessary to pare back personal items. Personal affections can influence the buyer away from a home due to a difference in beliefs and preferences. "I had a client who refused to remove a bear-skin rug from the wall above the fireplace," Hoylo said. "Within the first week, we received two rounds of feedback about the bear on the wall. After the second feedback, the sellers took the bear mount down -- but by the then, they may have missed the highest bidder."
8. Don't Add Urinals
Bathroom updates typically get a return on investment for the home seller. One rule of thumb to avoid is putting a urinal in a bathroom update. The urinal actually decreases home values. For some ideas on bathroom upgrades, visit here.
9. Don't Add a Sunroom
10. Don't Get too Trendy
While painting, staging, and sprucing up the appeal of your home is important for selling, don't get too trendy. Avoid using the season's hottest paint colors or furniture choices. Sticking to traditional colors and furniture styles for staging is the safest bet to improve the resale of your home. Here are some painting tips to check out before you pick up a brush.