The new year is almost here, and most homeowners planning to sell their homes are looking for ways to expedite the process. If this is you, this step-by-step guide will help you sell your home faster and at much better prices. After all, you’re looking to get the most out of your property and are ideally within reason to want a better price for a home with so much value. However, as is, your home may attract lower-than-expected offers, but with a bit of repair, renovations, and upgrades here and there, it should fetch much better prices. So, before you list your home in the new year, prep it by ensuring the following:
1. Identify Essential Repairs and Upgrades
Before selling your home in the new year, it pays to inspect it for potential repair issues that could force its valuation and pricing down. Ideally, buyers want to buy a home with minor repairs, if any. They don’t want to buy a home that requires extensive repairs, and if they do, expect them to factor this into their offers.
Be proactive and identify all areas that require repairs and upgrades before listing your home for sale. Identifying and fixing these repair areas is better than watching a potential buyer walk away after inspecting your home. To ensure their next move is to hire a moving company with your address in mind, let’s look at some of the most common repairs they are likely looking for.
2. Essential Repairs Home Buyers Watch Out For
Since buying a home is a considerable investment, one that most people take loans to finance, expect potential home buyers to be fussy about almost every repair issue. The last thing they want is to inherit problems you couldn’t fix. Expect them to fuss about tiny dings and dents on your home’s drywall, so fix these before presenting the home to them.
If your ceilings or walls are discolored due to leaks you’ve already repaired, repaint them before listing your home in the new year. Paint is an economical way of refreshing a room and making your home look and smell brand new. However, be careful not to gloss over (literally) imperfections. If a leak discolored the ceiling, repair it first before repainting. And another thing: remove the wallpaper as the new buyer may not share your taste.
3. Fix the Kitchen and Bathrooms
If you plan to sell your home in the new year, ensure the bathrooms and the kitchen are pristine. If any of these areas have a repair issue, you can expect a potential buyer or their inspector to flag it. Fix it before offering your home for sale. The kitchen and bathrooms are crucial because they contain mechanical systems, such as wiring and plumbing, and since there’s a lot of water use in these areas, you want to ensure everything is working perfectly.
The refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and stove should work. If you spot leaks, fix them now rather than have a potential buyer use them to hammer your asking price. Also, fix the kitchen and bathroom cabinets and ensure they open and close smoothly. Replace broken knobs and handles, and repair or replace faulty drawer tracks. Most of these are minor renovations you can do yourself, but plumbing contractors are your best bet when addressing leaks.
Other repairs you want to address before listing your home in the new year include replacing or repairing faulty faucets and sinks, bathtubs, and showerheads. Also, ensure all the drains aren’t clogged. The important thing is to ensure there are no leaks in the kitchen or bathrooms, as these are an instant turn-off for potential buyers.
4. Fix the Home Interiors
Besides ensuring the bathrooms and kitchen are perfect, inspect the floor to ensure it’s not chipped or cracked, and if it is, repair or replace the affected floor tiles. If you have hardwood flooring, refinish dented or scratched wood. Another thing, remember to replace the carpet if it’s torn or thoroughly wash it, especially if you have pets.
Inspect the HVAC system and the water heater to ensure they work. You shouldn’t be overly concerned if you’ve been conducting regular air conditioning maintenance. These appliances are crucial for regulating temperatures and ensuring warm or hot water in a home.
Ensure these systems are leak-free. Consider having them tuned up for energy efficiency. If the HVAC or the water heater has a problem, a potential buyer will use them to downgrade the value and cost of your prized home. Get them fixed, or call an HVAC expert should you need an HVAC replacement.
Other indoor fixtures you should inspect and ensure they are functional are carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Ideally, these shouldn’t be more than ten years old. Test them before listing your home for sale in the new year, and replace the batteries if they’re expired. Also, check the circuit breakers and the electrical panels to ensure they all meet the local codes and regulations. Professional electricians understand these things, so get in touch with one before listing your home.
5. Fix the Exteriors
Some exterior upgrades or renovations could significantly raise your home’s value. Among these is the garage door, which must meet the safety criteria and all local codes and regulations. If the door has noticeable dings and dents or the coil spring is broken, fix it before listing your home in the new year.
Fix other exterior doors as well, and replace or repair faulty handles and knobs. Also, check sliding glass doors to ensure they run smoothly along their tracks. The garage door must be code-compliant and appropriately fire-rated. The garage door opener must also be fully functional.
One of the most critical structures of a home is the roof. If, for any reason, it’s leaking or has some fault, fix it before listing your home in the new year. Ensure no ridge caps or shingles are broken or missing, as they protect your home from water damage. You might also want to fix those bubbles, blisters, and cracks in the sealant. If the underlayment is damaged, fix it. Any signs of water damage in your home are evidence of a roof leak. Call a professional roofer to fix it.
Another exterior structure to inspect and fix is the eaves, which include fascia and soffits. If you spot peeling paint on any of these fixtures, repaint them. Paint has waterproofing and protective attributes.
Ensure the yard drains away from your home’s foundation. You may need paving services to bust out concrete or re-grade the yard if water collects around the foundation whenever it rains. Also, ensure the downspouts don’t direct water at the foundation but away from your house, as this could be a problem.
6. Ensure Your Home’s Foundation Is Solid
Your home’s foundation, which comprises the retaining and stem wall, must be structurally sound. Among signs of a compromised foundation include horizontal cracks and sagging walls. Potential buyers will also be concerned about vertical and horizontal cracks in walls.
A damaged foundation would derail your efforts to sell your home in the new year. Get a qualified contractor to inspect and fix it before putting your home up for sale. If you plan to sell the home as is, perhaps to a fixer-upper, highlight foundation issues, so they can understand what they are getting into, but expect them to devalue your home, citing foundation issues.
7. Add Value To Your Home With Outdoor Fixtures
Among outdoor fixtures that add value to your home are decks, swimming pools, fencing, landscaping, hardscaping, and an outdoor kitchen. Although Houselogic contends that a swimming pool is likely to raise the value of your home by at least 7%, carefully consider other factors before installing one. If the other homes in the neighborhood feature an outdoor swimming pool, ensure yours also has one; if they don’t, think twice about getting one, as it could make your home harder to sell.
If your home has a patio or deck, ensure it’s structurally sound. The guardrails must be code-compliant, and so should the infill spacing, also known as support columns. Inspect the deck to ensure it doesn’t have termite or water damage. Consider applying a polyurethane coat over it to keep potential water damage at bay.
Combine landscaping services and hardscaping elements to give your yard an edge over others in your neighborhood. This will instantly lift the value of your property and make selling your home in the new year much easier. Ensure the plants, shrubs, trees, and other vegetation on your property don’t endanger your home. Hanging branches or sick trees threatening to fall on the roof must be pruned or removed; in this case, you should let a professional tree remover do it.
An outdoor kitchen will also raise the value of your home. According to The Flame Company, you can expect an ROI of 100% to 200% on your home’s resale value if it has an outdoor kitchen. Potential buyers find homes featuring luxurious outdoor living spaces highly attractive.
Lastly, consider improving your home’s fencing system. Ensure it doesn’t feature water-damaged or rotten boards. The gate on the fence should open and close without a hitch, and remember to fix chipped paint or rust. Use a wire brush and a rust converter to scrub the fence before priming and painting the affected sections.
8. Get Rid of Pests
Pest control is critical to ensuring your home’s value. While a few scattered insects or pests may not be a cause for concern, if they morph into an infestation, you have a bigger problem. Among the most critical professionals you’ll need are pest control services.
Most home buyers are wary of buying homes with an obvious pest infestation as it could be a pointer to bigger problems. One of these is a cracked foundation that provides pathways through which pests could enter a home. If there are termites in a home, this could be a pointer to even more severe damage to a home’s structure. The best way to deal with a pest invasion is to prevent one by hiring a company that provides pest control services.
9. Get A Real Estate Agent
Now that you are ready to sell your home in the new year, hiring a real estate agent to help with the process is timely. But why do you need one in the first place? Well, they can help you get the best deal possible. However, hiring the right real estate agent is equally crucial, and there are several ways to identify one that best serves your interests.
The first thing you are looking for is their experience. Ask if they are NAR members, eligibility for which requires at least eight years of practice. Nonetheless, seek to recruit a real estate agent with more experience than this to serve your needs adequately. Having the right experience is also critical. For instance, do they have experience working with new home buyers or sellers? If you are selling a condo or a co-op, do they have demonstrable experience in this?
Next, ask if they have the requisite certifications and permits to practice real estate. NAR offers certifications, which include ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) and SRS (Seller’s Representative Specialist). You’ll need a real estate agent with at least an SRS certification to sell your home in the new year.
The best agent possesses local knowledge of the area in which your home is located. They understand the sales trends and can advise on appropriate pricing. They also have technical and marketing skills. For instance, consider hiring a listing agent to market your home online effectively and cost-efficiently. A listing agent will ensure your listing stands out through clear photos and videos and a description that entices a potential buyer to at least pick up the phone and ask when they can visit the property.
Another attribute of a great real estate agent includes availability, meaning they are there when you need them. You could also work with an agency team instead of just one agent. Since the team works together, someone will always attend to you. Be cautious, however, when working with an agency team, since they could also be working for the buyer; in this case, they could drive the price down to close the sale or push for an inordinately higher selling price to maximize their commission.
If you plan to sell your home in the new year, start preparing it now. This article has addressed several ways to do this, including conducting minor repairs to avoid turning away customers. Among these are bathroom leaks and kitchen and roofing repairs. The latter is serious since selling a home that demands extensive roofing repair is tough. You must also ensure all the appliances and systems, especially the HVAC, work optimally. Also, don’t forget to inspect your home’s foundation before listing it. Finally, hire a real estate agent to help market your property and, hopefully, close your home in the new year.