Make Your Home Ready for Selling

By Dennis Hart of B Ok Services

Homeowners often agonize over their current living arrangements. Deciding to remodel or move is a common challenge. Renovating your home can be stressful. Then again, selling your home can be stressful as well.

When it does come time for you to move on to your next place, it makes sense to maximize your investment and extract the most equity possible. Anyone who has spent any time watching cable TV has likely seen shows about “flipping.” Have you noticed the amount of work that goes into getting a home to sell at the top of the market? Do they market their homes with lots of flaws?

Most professional rehabilitation companies improve homes with quality features. So, if you are planning to sell, then someone really ought to make it as ready as it can be. It’s often best to mimic the type of features as other homes that have recently sold in your area. This way, you know what you are up against. It’s better to be better than not quite good enough. The market wants what it wants.

In many cases, whether you want to believe it or not, you’ll be competing against new construction. Look at new construction properties in the price range you want to be in. If your home is a few years old, refresh the creature comforts and accentuate the benefits your home has to offer. Spending a little time and money on your mature landscaping may be just the feature a buyer is looking for. There’s rarely a call for adding new features such as water features or a patio. However, if you already have a feature, just make sure it’s in tip-top shape. If it’s more cost effective to remove the feature rather than improve it, just remove it.

It’s best if you can accept that your family home is about to become, inventory. At some point, someone if going to do whatever they want with your house. You might as well improve it for them. If you make safe choices, you are more likely to please most people. If you have a choice whether or not you should paint, then paint. Right now, the most popular color is “griege.” What the heck is griege? Griege is a combination of gray of beige. It’s light and warm and enticing, and griege goes with nearly anything.

Depending on your layout, smart staging and de-cluttering can make a big difference. Some Realtors seem to favor an empty garage where others encourage their clients to use it for clean orderly storage. It’s usually best to carefully pack and store most of your belongings since you’ll be moving soon anyway. Anything you can do to make the space clutter free is a step in the right direction.

There are a variety of high value, low cost tips to consider. One relatively easy upgrade would include replacing obviously outdated fixtures. Matte black, brushed nickel, stainless, oil rubbed bronze and some chrome are great options. Handles are often a good choice rather than knobs. They don’t cost much more, and they are an elegant touch. They also happen to be easier to operate for older adults. It’s not uncommon to install handles downstairs and knobs upstairs. Just make sure everything matches. Like many other elements of your house, buyers might not notice that they do match, but they will almost certainly notice if they do NOT match. You may be tempted to repaint your fixtures. That’s not likely to be a workable plan. You can’t match a factory finish with a spray can. It won’t last very long.

We don’t recommend doing things to your property that would not last for a reasonable amount of time. Instead, invest in your property. Buyers can tell if your improvements have been done poorly or done well. Handyman specials can be particularly difficult to market and if you list it as such, you’re likely to get some insultingly low offers. Quality contractors like GHBA members can provide you with high quality results. Some contractors even specialize in seller make-ready services. Be sure to explain your goals to your contractor. Most contractors would be comfortable working under a budget, but you’ll need to be prepared to pay a little more than you would pay a “Chuck in a truck.”

The value of doing quality work is the benefit of being able to market a better product. It’s okay to be frugal but try not to take just the cheapest route. You’re much more likely to be disappointed if you do. Remodeling a home can add value to your property whether you are planning to enjoy your property for years or only a few more months. Either way, do it right and you’ll be glad you did.

This article was provided by Dennis Bock of B Ok Services, a member of the Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association. The Remodelers Council is dedicated to promoting professionalism and public awareness of the remodeling profession through education, certification and service to the Houston community. To find a professional remodeler in your area, please visit the GHBA Remodelers Council directory.