Springfield Real Estate News


Maximize Your Home’s Sell-Ability

By Kim Gaisford

Whether you are preparing to list your home for sale now, or within the next year, there are several things that you can get started on to maximize your home’s sell-ability. You can improve your home's appeal, which can not only raise interest in your home, but also increase your asking price, and most importantly, the likelihood that you will get what you want, when you want. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get your house on the market, buyers will notice structural and mechanical improvements, and be impressed by a brand new roof, but you won’t always capture their attention with those improvements alone. Take the time before you list to not only make your home appealing, but also a sound investment.

In my experience, many sellers think that a new roof, new furnace or some hidden structural improvement will be the key factor in getting the most money for their home. The problem with that is that a buyer expects certain things in a listing – a solid heating/cooling system, a roof that doesn’t leak, plumbing that is intact and not having problems, solid electrical systems and so on. Most buyers see those things as a given, and if they aren’t, they should be disclosed or they will be found during an inspection. A new roof alone won’t necessarily capture the buyer’s interest, but it can be a selling point.

What a seller wants to do initially is focus on the things that pop, the visual elements that really pique the interest in a listing. As all of us at Team 24-7 Realtors and most others in the real estate industry often stress, the first impression is the key factor in selling your home. Potential buyers have made up their minds within seconds after stepping through your front door – we call it the WOW factor. So what exactly is it that they notice?

Well first off all, there is the oh-so-important curb appeal. Since the exterior of your home is the first thing a prospective buyer sees, a little time and effort can make a big difference in the impression your home creates. And pay big dividends when the sale is made. After all, when a potential buyer loves it from the outside, they will want to love it on the inside too.

            *Make sure the lawn is trimmed and mowed at all times

            *Neat and classy landscaping, always a plus

            *Shrubs are trimmed and dead trees and branches are removed

            *Toys and lawn equipment stored neatly

            *Fences and gates in good shape, and working properly

            *Gutters and downspouts all in good shape, and working properly

            *Driveways and sidewalks cleaned and in good shape

            *Screens, windows and windowsills are cleaned and in good shape

            *Inviting entryway with a nice door matching the decor of your home

            *Proper outdoor lighting for welcoming atmosphere

If you have planned to paint the house within the coming year, paint it before listing it. A new paint job, well done, will normally enhance the sale value more than the cost of the paint. And if you have siding, power wash it, giving it a fresh, clean look. First impressions do matter and you want to intrigue potential buyers from the time they pull into your driveway.

When it comes to the inside, the first thing that a seller needs to do is seriously clean and de-clutter and work to create as much floor space as possible, even in the closets. After that it's usually a good idea to go from room to room and make a list of simple upgrades. Try to think in terms of what you might want if you were buying the home again. Which things stand out? If you are having trouble picking them out then phone a friend and get a second opinion.

There are so many simple things that you can do to the inside of your home, that like the outside, will make a tremendous difference. Lighting for example can upgrade the look by decades, as well as make your home seem cheery and inviting. A quick paint job can also make a tremendous difference; the point here is to stick with neutral colors because your end-all-be-all purple or bold brick red could very well be a color that a potential buyer despises, nixing the sale from the get-go.

Other minor and inexpensive things you should consider:

            *Make sure the walls are clean and free of smudges, dings and dents

            *Remove the wallpaper, it becomes dated so easily and is very taste specific

            *Polish the woodwork and hardware throughout the house

            *Replace all dingy or broken outlet and light switch covers

            *Clean all rugs and carpets and polish all floors, replace if necessary

            *Make sure loose doorknobs, sticking doors, windows and drawers are fixed

            *Make sure leaky faucets are fixed and water discoloration in sink is eliminated

With all of those things in place, chances are, you have the buyer’s attention. Now is where the structural and mechanical improvements can really make the difference. Let’s take for example a home with a basement. Let’s say that the entire neighborhood hosts basements, but most are unfinished. A finish job on your basement can make your home stand out among the competition.

Other updates and improvements that can make a big difference include:

            *A privacy fence

            *Deck, covered deck or screened in porch

            *New kitchen cabinets

            *New roof

            *New wiring

            *Replacement of an aging HVAC system

            *Plumbing upgrades

The buyer is looking to have their attention grabbed with a neat, well kept, attractive home and will see major improvements as further justification for making an offer on the property. It’s most definitely a mix, visual and structural improvements, and when used in tandem not only is the house more likely to sell quickly, the asking price is more likely to be met. There is a limit, however, because over-improving may not pay back. There is a big difference between making touch-ups and structural improvements, and doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen. Most homebuyers may want to make their own major changes. You may be wiser to sell them the potential – a solid, well preserved home - at a price they can afford.


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