“Fix This, Not That: 6 Tasks to Do (or Not to Do) Before You Sell”

FIX: Paint. There is simply no accounting for the massive upgrade a fresh coat of paint can bring to the look and feel of your home, inside and out – especially given the relatively low cost and high do-it-yourself-ability of painting. A home that is freshly painted inside and out reads as fresh, clean and ready for new life, from a buyer’s perspective. A taupe wall with white trims and moldings has essentially become the new white wall of this generation – the aim is to go neutral, not boring.

Similarly, on the exterior of your home, I cannot overstate the polish potential of painting the trims a bright or deep, color. Changing the color and refreshing the paint on your exterior shutters, doors and eaves gives a powerful update and burst of color to the place.

DON’T FIX: That uber-luxe kitchen remodel you always wanted. Do gorgeous kitchens sell homes? Yes. But they also easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Unless your home’s existing kitchen is truly cringe-worthy, a high-end overhaul just before listing is not likely to even recoup what you spend on it.

Caveat: if you insist on listing it at top dollar, you might actually have to go with a higher-end kitchen upgrade plan before you list it. Think long and hard about whether this make more sense than simply discounting the property or offering a kitchen upgrade credit to the buyer.

FIX: Plumbing problems. Plumbing leaks make noise, cause damage to the wood structure and areas around them and are often believed by buyers to cost more to fix than they actually do. In some parts of the home, plumbing leaks are prone to being called out as conditions conducive to long-term structural problems by pest and structural inspectors. If you can have a handyman or plumber come in and eliminate drips and leaks, you will simultaneously eliminate some buyers’ objections or concerns about your home.

DON’T FIX: Malfunctioning, costly appliances. Consider offering a credit for the buyer to use to replace appliances that don’t work – or don’t work well. Buyers appreciate the ability to select their own new appliances on your dime. That said, it can be difficult for some buyers to get past the collective aura of bad repair that arises when a home has a whole host of really old or beat up appliances.

FIX: Old and outdated hardware, fixtures and finishes. Hardware can refer to the little metalworks that make things work (or not) throughout your home, like hinges that make a door hard to close, cabinet and drawer handles and pulls or your closet door and drawer slides. These are all the sorts of things buyers test out while they’re viewing a home. However, it also includes things that might work fine, but look outdated, like light switches, door knockers and kick plates. Hardware, as a general rule, is inexpensive as home fixes go – if it will make your home function more smoothly and look like it’s been well cared-for, the low investment is well worth an upgrade.

Replace scuffed and scratched wood floors; 80’s era carpet, gold-plate lighting and faucet fixtures and even more recent upgrades that have seen better days. All cracks, chips, scuffs and nicks should go on the list, for that matter.

DON’T FIX: Replacing old windows. This is a project that many crave to do, especially if the windows are single-pane, aluminum framed, or involve rotten wood casings. But it’s also a project that can easily become extremely expensive, and one that often snowballs into costly, time-consuming framing repairs. or broken, these are things you might want to repair or replace. Your agent can help you make a suitable action plan on this score.

By contrast, if you have old, dinged, ugly or broken doors, toilets and sinks anywhere in your house, these are things you may want to rip out and replace before listing your home. You might be amazed at how fast and inexpensively these fixes can be done, and how much of a stylistic upgrade and update you can get out of them.

By Tara-Nicholle Nelson | Broker in San Francisco, CA

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