Invest in Making the Obvious FixesYour Buyer(s) will have a home inspection done and even if your agent negotiates an "as-is" sale chances are you will get a laundry list of requested repairs from the Buyer. Chances are that a) you can save money by addressing these issues before the home goes on the market, and b) your home will sell for more.
I'm not suggesting that you remodel the kitchen or bathrooms but certainly doing minor touch up and repairs (at a minimum) makes sense. Here's an example. I recently listed a home that had damage to the otherwise very attractive baseboard (the dogs chewed it). It was inexpensive to have a handyman do some repair and as a result the damage wasn't the first thing you saw when you came in the front door.
Other minor fixes you may make are leaky faucets, toilets that run, backed up drains, etc. Throw in stained carpets.
When you get to things like replacing the roof that's a different question. If there is an active leak either price it in or replace. A roof near the end of life that is serviceable is a different issue.
Pro Tip: have a home inspection done before you place your home on the market. This is common practice in Northern CA but not the LA area.
Trim Your Trees
Mature trees may add to the value of your home. In fact, a recent study found that the right trees may even increase your home's value by 10%. On the other hand, diseased or damaged trees may be considered a hazard according to the Appraisal Institute.
Palm trees are very SoCal but dead unattractive branches hanging done, not very attractive. Likewise for any trees planted too close to the home that brush against the building or can potentially be damaging the roof.
Pro Tip: trees planted too close the house may have extensive root systems that can damage sewer lines or even the foundation. If you remove those trees best to disclose any known root intrusion or that they were previously there.
Convert the Garage Back to a GarageI'm not just referring here to the detached garages that you have put your pool table in. I have seen many attached Townhomes with converted garages. Simply put, garage space is not living space and it just doesn't help to present it as such whether it is detached or not.
So even if your garage doesn't fit your Range Rover and another car, your Buyer may have a Prius and a Miata.
Pro Tip: Converted garage space does NOT count as Sq Ft even if you have your college roomate crashing there.
Neutral Colors Please
Full disclosure, one wall in my home office is painted a soft gray accent color. If I were listing my home I would not repaint it. But another bedroom is painted a dark blue (not my choice). If I were selling I would repaint that room. White. OK, maybe the light gray.
I don't often advise my Seller clients to do massive repainting because usually that money will not be recouped. Example. Around ten years ago there was a soft pastel green that some builders used. Looked trendy in 2006-2007. Today it just looks green. Chances are the new owners will repaint any home with that color. Chances are also that the Buyers will paint it a different color than you.
What I'm referring to is let's say the dark forest green or burgundy that was your college color. Or the yellows and pinks you see in some rooms. Also in this bucket are the custom ceilings and walls.
Just repaint. Neutral colors and shades tend to be more appealing to Buyers according to a recent survey by Zillow Digs.
Pro-Tip: Buyers tend to reward nicely painted homes because it is associated with well cared for properties. Plus there's nothing like that freshly painted smell!
First Open House Your Home Has to Look Its Best Ever
You don't have control over the broad market, inventory, the economy, or interest rates. You do have control over how your home is presented (and priced).
A recent study by the National Association of Realtors has concluded that you can increase your home's value by 1-10% based on staging. Take a look at the above photo - same home before and after staging.
At a minium I recommend:
- Thorough Cleaning
- Haul Away Miscellaneous Trash
- Declutter - Remove Religious and Political Items
- Rearranging Furniture - Remove Oversize Pieces
- Clean Towels in the Bathroom
- Replace burned out Lightbulbs
Pro Tp: the living room, kitchen and dining room are the most important rooms to stage. Is your house vacant or does your furniture look tired? Take advantage of my Free Staging Offer.