It’s hard to know when it’s the best time to sell your home with the market constantly shifting from buyers to sellers, but one thing that won’t change is that you’ll get top price for your home when it’s in good repair. A complete overhaul of your house may be far too expensive and won’t leave you with much to buy a new home when you sell. Luckily, you don’t need to overhaul your entire home. These five tips will help you figure out which small repairs will best fix up your tired home get you the best return on investment in terms of purchase price.
None of these repairs will cost you much more than elbow grease and a few bucks, but the difference they’ll make in the sale price of your house makes them worth their weight in gold.
Although buyers don’t make their decision immediately at the entrance, the look and appeal of the entrance will sway them at the first moments. An old, sagging screen door or a front door with small scratches at the edges from a pet dog “knocking” to get back in are easily noted by the buyers. The screen door is something of a lost cause due to the kind of materials they are quite often made from and should either be inexpensively replaced or removed entirely with traces of its existence hidden. The main door is a simple fix. Just fill in scratches and repaint the door to make it look as good as new. Choose a color that contrasts with your house to add extra eye appeal.
Take It from the Top
It’s hard to believe that your roof and gutters could be the deal breaker for prospective buyers, but rest assured, buyers notice everything. A few missing or uneven shingles stick out like a sore thumb and leave people worrying about the interior integrity of their possible new home. Re-shingling the entire roof can be expensive but is quite often unnecessary. Simply repair the places that need work and make sure that the roof is physically sound. As long as you’re up there, cleaning out the gutters and re-caulking them will do wonders for those rainy days that make you worry about a drip and make the roof line look cleaner and neater.
The Porcelain Throne
Quite often the most embarrassing part of any home is the toilet and why not? The amount of dirt, wear and tear it sees compared to the upkeep it gets is nothing to sneeze at. Again, an all-out replacement is usually unnecessary, but it could do with being reset. Getting a plumber to do it can be expensive. If you have modest do-it-yourself homeowner skills, you can do it yourself for almost no cost at all.
Start out by shutting off the water supply to the toilet at the faucet behind it. Flush the toilet and hold down the handle so that as much of the water as possible drains out of it. Next, use a wrench to remove the bolts that are securing the toilet to the floor. With the help of a friend, lift the toilet and carefully place it in the tub which should be prepared with old cushions or towels for cushioning it and allowing any excess water to drain into the tub.
While you’ve got the toilet off its moorings, tackle the grime that always builds up around the toilet seal and behind the toilet with bleach or ammonia, and replace broken tiles or linoleum if necessary – the job is always easier if you don’t have to fit pieces around the toilet base. With that done, head to the local home improvement store to pick up a pair of gaskets and fresh bolts. Follow the instructions on the packaging – or look up instructions on a home improvement website – to complete the repairs. Finish up with a fresh caulk around the toilet base and check out you fresh new bathroom look.
Getting to the Bottom of Things
The small details like baseboards stand out to prospective buyers. Scratches, smudges and peeling paint just won’t do if you’re trying to sell your home. As luck would have it, baseboards are just about the easiest repair possible. A simple cleaning will wash away years of damage in moments, and may be all the work you need to do. If there are still nicks and scratches, sand the baseboards down to remove the imperfections and give yourself a nice, smooth surface to repaint. It only takes a quart or so of paint to do the baseboards and woodwork in most homes, so go for it.
Freshen up the whole look of the room by choosing a new color for the room trim. Think like an interior designer here: if you want the room to look bigger, paint the baseboards to match the walls. If you want to draw attention to the trim, choose a contrasting color in a semi-gloss finish – or choose a wood stain instead of paint. If you want to pull several rooms with different color schemes together, choose a color for the trim that works with each scheme and use it all of the rooms to tie them together.
With all the harder basic repairs done, there isn’t too much more to do, but you’re not done quite yet. You want people to see themselves in your house, not your family and your taste in art. Before you start showing your house, take down shelves, paintings, photographs and other wall adornments. Wash down the walls and examine them critically in natural light to make sure that you haven’t revealed faded paint when you took down the ornaments. If so, you’ll want to give the walls a fresh coat of paint – it’s an inexpensive freshener. If the paint job looks fine, you’re almost done. You just want to get rid of any evidence that the walls ever held those photos and memories you’ll carry with you.
To be sure, nail holes and small cracks in the wall are all small, barely noticeable afflictions to a home’s salability, but when every other small affliction has been handled, they can be a subtle turn-off to prospective buyers. All you really need to make your walls look fresh and new is a little spackle, a putty knife and touch-up paint in the same color as your wall. Apply the spackle where it’s needed and let it set for the recommended time. When the spackle has set, sand it down to make it flush to the wall, do a little touch-up painting, and voila! Your walls look good as new.
Selling a house can be hard when there are tiny little repairs needed that have been unaddressed for years, but with some simple effort it will go smoothly. Clearing up issues with the entryway, fixing up the roof, reinstalling your toilet, redoing the baseboards and making the walls look as good as new are the most basic and common of these repairs, but they’re often all that’s needed to turn your home from “It’s nice but…” to “We’ll take this one!”