How to maximize your home’s resale value

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Selling a home can be a difficult process. Logistically, the time and energy it takes to find a buyer and make a deal go through can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. It can also be an emotional experience, as people walk away from homes they’ve built treasured memories in.

There can also be a lot of work involved in making a house resale ready. From making repairs to updating a house to be more desirable to new buyers, homeowners should take some time to invest in a little remodeling work before they put their houses on the market.

“Damages are bigger deal breakers than stylistic problems.”

Repairing damages
The first step in upping a home’s resale value is to make repairs to any damages or significant flaws. While the aesthetics of a good home are an important component for buyers, damages are bigger deal breakers than stylistic problems.

Look for leaks in the roof and ceilings. Patch up any places where water is coming in from, and be sure to repaint over any water stains as well. Fix cracks in the walls and any damaged fixtures. Homeowners should also double check that all the outlets in each room work and that the plates don’t have any cracks or damage. All of these little signs could be big turnoffs for otherwise eager buyers.

Take the time to go from room to room and target areas that are likely to need repair:

1. Kitchen
According to HGTV, kitchen and bathroom remodels are among the top investments to make for a home.

Start by checking cabinets and drawers to make sure they function properly. These are really easy areas for potential buyers to check. If they try to pull open a drawer and find it’s off its track, it could make them skeptical about the overall upkeep of the house. Homeowners should make sure all doors and drawers are properly installed and in the right working order.

Kitchens have the potential to take a lot of wear and tear on their surfaces. Look for significant scratches or cracks in the countertops. For most minor dings, laminate or epoxy fillers can be used to repair splits in counter surfaces, depending on what kind of material it’s made from.

Any appliances that are staying with the home should be in good working order as well. Make sure faucets are fully operation and not leaking. If the spout has signs of calcification that affect the flow of water, clean it. Detach the aerators and gaskets and soak them in vinegar to improve how well the faucet works.

2. Bathroom
Cleaning the plumbing in the bathroom is another significant improvement that will raise a home’s resale value. Ensuring that water is flowing well and that the shower is providing good water pressure will be major selling points for potential buyers.

Another good selling point could be energy-efficient components. Low-flow plumbing fixtures can save money on electric and water bills, which could be appealing for new buyers who will be looking for ways to save.

Check the ceilings, cabinets and closets in the bathroom for any signs of mold or mildew. If the bathroom tends to get stuffy and prone to mold buildup, add a window or ceiling vent to keep anything unappealing from growing.

Use a joint shower and bathtub if there isn't room for both.
Use a joint shower and bathtub if there isn’t room for both.

3. Bedrooms, studies and living rooms
Barring any major accidents that have taken place, these rooms are more likely to need minor repairs. Check the doors and window to make sure they still close properly, and that a draft doesn’t come in from around the windows. Replace any carpeting that is unevenly worn or suffered a significant stain that can’t be removed, or try to fill in scratches on hardwood floors. Restain the floorboards if necessary.

If anything had been hanging on walls that’s no longer there, fill in any nail holes and other marks. Check the walls by doorways to make sure that dings and dents weren’t made in the plaster by doorknobs. Make sure locking doors in any room are working correctly.

4. Exteriors
The outside of the home is the first thing that potential buyers will see, so it’s important to start off with a great first impression. Replace cracked or decaying siding to start. If a complete siding project is not in your budget, you could always do the front of the house for starters to maximize the curb appeal and then you could consider the rest at a later date. If the home has a chimney, be sure that it’s clean and isn’t crumbling anywhere. Repair obvious cracks in foundations and walkways as well. If the home has a deck, be sure it’s freshly cleaned, stained and inspected for any signs of weathering.

“Paint walls neutral colors.”

Aesthetic repairs
While function comes first, style is also an important aspect of home buying. Paint walls neutral colors before showing a house to prospective new owners. It will be easier for people to envision their own style on a clean slate.

It’s also important to be wary of jumping on trends that could change quickly. Homeowners shouldn’t sink a lot of money into a new home fad just to seem more modern if the money could be better spent on improvements that make the home more livable. They should instead focus on making sure the home is clean and organized so that it’s a welcoming environment.

Depending on the timeline that homeowners anticipate for selling and moving out of their home, they should make sure to make changes that they can enjoy as well. After all, plans could change and they could end up in their home longer than they expected to be, so it’ll be important for them to feel comfortable while they wait for the sale.

When to remodel
If the kitchen or bath is too far gone to facelift and you must remodel – simple is the key.  Keep colors neutral and forego any bells and whistles that you may have wanted if you were remodeling for yourself.  Consider the market you are trying to sell to, i.e. if it’s families with small kids, then you definitely need a bathtub. If it’s a one story ranch you may consider a shower stall only which would benefit elderly buyers.

A good point of focus when working on remodeling the bathroom is erring on the side of functionality. Rather than sink a lot of money into replacing and expanding one bathroom, consider adding another bathroom or a half bath on a different level of the home to give potential buyers more to use. If there isn’t room for both a shower and a large tub, get a two-in-one unit or focus on just a shower, which is more likely to be used daily than a bathtub would be.