Fixing a Hole...Or Many! Prepping your Home Before you Sell It!

There are times where we've done all we can do in our current abode, and it's time to move on. It can be a sad day for us when we need to think about moving on, maybe our children have grown older and have flown the nest, or we need to think about downsizing to a smaller property. The one thing that needs doing before you even think about selling your home is to make sure that it is up to scratch. Ultimately, when you want to sell your home, you want to get as much bang for your buck as possible. And so when you think about what you need to change to make your home more appealing, there can be a temptation to go overboard and throw the kitchen sink at it. So you renovate your house from top to bottom to make sure that it appeals to the average home buyer and that you can get a decent return on your investment. But when we think about renovating our house in such a manner, we can end up spending too much money for a minimal return. So, what are the priorities you need to fix up before selling your home, and what will increase the value of your home, ensuring you get a little bit more money in your pocket?

The Flooring

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The first thing you need to do if you want to appeal to potential buyers is to remove carpeting from the general entertainment areas, like the dining room, living room, or anywhere that your family congregates. Most home buyers today prefer floors like hardwood or ceramic. If you already have hardwood floors in place, it's worth having the floor refinished to give it that extra shine. A lot of carpeted floors have a subfloor made of plywood, if this is you, replace the carpeting with a light tan color. A lot of people made the mistake in the 70s and 80s to have carpets in really bold colors, so for areas where you can't get rid of the carpet without it having a devastating impact on the look of your house, go for a neutral color that blends in with the walls.

The Walls And Ceilings

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Potential buyers will spend a lot of time looking at ceilings and walls, but they are looking for signs of leakage from the roof or even stains from cigarette smoke, or cracks in the ceiling. The first thing you need to do is to put a lick of paint over every wall and ceiling in the house, as this will add a hue of vibrancy and freshness to your house. Color wise, the best choice would be to go for neutral, much like the carpets. A color such as cream or, the very darkest, coffee, will be the upper limit of adding a layer of freshness to your walls and ceilings. Always remember that if you have people looking at your property, they don't want to see your personality all over the place, they want to imagine themselves living there, which is why it's best to remain as neutral as possible when you are giving every room a quick makeover. If you spot a few cracks, use some fiberglass tape and cover the cracks with joint compound. Much like with the dated carpets of the 70s and 80s, if you have wallpaper in any way resembles a Magic Eye picture, it's best to steam it off and to repaint the walls. Another vital point if you've got remnants of the 70s and 80s all over your house, the so-called “popcorn ceilings” of homes pre-1979 are very likely to contain asbestos. A lot of people will leave your property as soon as they see this, and it will be a big headache for you to sell your home. Don't try to remove these yourself, you need somebody professional to remove these to make sure that it's done safely.

The Bathrooms

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This, combined with the kitchen, will result in a high amount of your recouped cost. If you invest in new fixtures and lights, as well as new floors, it will be very attractive to the average home buyer. Avoid putting carpet in the bathroom, not only is it very unattractive, but if the carpet is thick and attracts moisture, you will have a very smelly bathroom over time. It's also very cheap to replace the glass fixtures and shower doors if you're unable to get them clean due to many layers of limescale. And remember to paint the walls a lighter color, especially if the space is small. Many bathrooms are not particularly maneuverable, but if you paint lighter colors, it will make the bathroom appear bigger than actually is.

The Basement

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Every buyer comes with a certain amount of storage requirements nowadays, and it's very important to have somewhere they can store keepsakes. If your home doesn't have a loft or an attic, then you had better make sure that your home has a basement, but you also need to think about if your basement is the entryway for lots of flooding and problems during the cold winter months. There is nothing more annoying than leaving items in the basement to find out that they have been flooded due to poor waterproofing. It's also important to look at your basement with a keen eye to see if there are any potential foundation problems, such as cracks, sloping of the foundation floors or walls, or moisture collecting in specific areas. Fixing a cracked foundation needs to be a priority if you spot the signs, because it will drastically deplete the value of your house, and people are less inclined to purchase a fixer upper if somewhere as structurally important as the basement needs a lot of work doing to it.

The Kitchen

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Most home buyers flock towards the kitchen, as it is the hub of any house, and the quality of the kitchen will usually swing the balance in terms of whether someone will buy the house or not. The big problem with fixing up a kitchen is the appliances, they can be incredibly expensive to replace. But if you don't need to replace them, it will save you a lot of money. But a lot of people don't like the look of kitchen cabinets that are dated and beat up. If you are looking at a minimal refurbish of the kitchen, the best things to replace cheaply would be the cabinets and the countertops, as well as the sinks and faucets. You can retouch cabinets by attaching a thin veneer to the surface, or if your cabinets are a bit old and are showing their age, especially if they are wooden or oak, try and paint the wood a more vibrant color. If you are looking at replacing countertops, you don't need to go for the trendy granite surfaces, and these are quite an expense anyway. When replacing your faucet and sink it is easy enough to buy new shiny appliances for cheap, especially if you've been using your sinks for over 10 years.

The Exterior

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This is where it can potentially get costly, especially if your home needs a new roof. The fact is, if your home does need a new roof, it's better to get on with it and buy one. Home buyers will stay away from any home if the roof needs replacing, and the downside is that if you do fork out for a new roof, it's unlikely to increase your sales price because of it being a maintenance issue. But on the other hand, you will have a lot more people ready to look at your home. The outside of your home is going to be the first thing anyone will see, so common sense dictates that it needs to be as presentable as possible. If your lawn is looking tattered and unappealing, put down some seeds, and add some color with some potted plants or some simple flowers. If your driveway looks tired and battered, it takes around half a day to lay down some cement. Remember that people want to picture themselves in your home, and this includes them pulling up to the driveway. Add a lick of paint to the front door, replace the door knobs and locks, as well as patch any cement cracks in the sidewalk outside your house to help paint the overall picture of your house being as idyllic as possible.

Of course, there is no way of telling exactly what every home buyer wants, and some people would prefer a fixer-upper rather than a fully formed house, but with these type of buyers, the only tend to gravitate towards homes that need small aesthetic repairs, for example, a new lick of paint. The vast majority of home buyers will be first timers, and as a result, they aren't looking for something that came right out of The Money Pit. At the end of the day when you're trying to sell your home, the trick is to be as neutral as possible, but if you can fix these issues, you will see a return on your investment, and it will be attractive to the typical home buyer.

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