What Should You Fix Before Putting Your Home on the Market?
From water stains to outdated kitchens and beyond, here are six of the most important repairs to make before listing your home.
Worn out flooring. Tired linoleum, scratched wood floors and threadbare carpet can turn off even the most motivated buyers. Buyers generally balk at the idea of replacing carpet even if you include an allowance in the sale, so consider being proactive and replacing anything that looks damaged or outdated. If you have the budget upfront for new flooring or fresh, neutral carpeting, there’s a very good chance you will be able to recoup all the costs once you sell. Even if you don’t think your floors need a refresh, take the time to wax, buff or steam your flooring to make it look more attractive.
Water stains. Waters stains are big red flags that point toward plumbing issues or roof leaks. In addition to turning off buyers, they will attract the attention of inspectors who will look extra hard for any unseen defects. If the water stains are new, hire an expert to come out and search for the source of the leak. If you’ve already made repairs, hire a painter to come and cover the stains with a fresh coat of paint. Remember that water stains will eventually bleed through ordinary paint, so make sure the painter uses a stain-blocking primer undercoating.
Neglected windows. When you’re trying to pique interest from buyers, it’s important to fix any small issues or ugly spots. Since your windows have so much exposure, it’s best to give them a thorough evaluation and look for opportunities to revitalize. Even the most inexperienced do-it-yourselfer can purchase a new screen and install it for only about $10 or $15. You should also replace any missing or cracked window glaze on older single-pane windows to protect against weather. Considering the ease and cost of this particular home repair, it’s always a worthwhile fix.
Outdated kitchen. Although full kitchen renovations are usually money-wasters for sellers, you should make a few targeted improvements. Depending on your budget, you could update hardware, paint your wood cabinets, install new appliances or add new countertops. Since the kitchen is one of the most important focal points for buyers, make sure everything is in good working order and attractive.
Discolored grout. Yellow, dingy, cracked bathroom grout can make an entire home seem much less appealing. Fortunately, you can easily freshen the look by regrouting your tile. If you hire a contractor to do the grout, expect to pay between $1 and $2 per foot for simple jobs. It may cost a bit more for more complicated jobs, but you can offset the cost by doing the work yourself. As you are grouting, also be on the lookout for any tiles that seem a bit loose and set these back in place. Known as “skim coating,” this inexpensive home improvement can make a huge impact for a relatively small financial investment.
Foundation issues. If you’ve got foundation problems, you will almost always need to get these repaired before you can sell your home. Go around your house and look for signs of foundation distress. This would include cracks above door jambs and windows, splitting brick facades, cracked flooring, water in the basement and more. If you notice a problem, contact an expert to come out and inspect your home. Be sure to get paperwork that documents the inspection and any repairs.
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