The peak season for selling homes begins in April, which means if you’re going to put your house on the market, you should already be making plans. The earlier you can start preparing your home the better. It’s safest to plan at least 30 days out from listing the home. Plan more time if your home needs major renovations. As a seller, you need to remove any reasons that may cause a buyer NOT to buy your house. It’s smart to consult with a real estate agent before getting out your tools. Some renovations may be more important than others.
Sellers can add value to their home with remodels and upgrades. Home improvement projects cost about 20 to 25 cents on the dollar. The other 75 to 80 cents spent go directly back into the home through increased value. Kitchen and bath remodels top the list of being the most profitable. Next up are home improvements that pertain to basic maintenance like siding, roof and window replacement. Every homeowner’s first priority should be keeping the existing structure sound. Most buyers can live with an outdated bathroom, but few can stomach structural issues like a leaky basement. And don’t forget about “curb appeal”. Judging a book by its cover holds true in the real estate business. If the home doesn’t look good on the outside, then why would anyone want to see what’s inside?
There are other important tips sellers should keep in mind before placing the sign in the front yard. Don’t add on so much to the home that you price it right out of the neighborhood. Weigh the benefits of upgrading versus selling. There may be more value in fixing up the home than moving. Do-it-yourself projects may save money, but know your limits. De-personalize your home. Buyers don’t want to know what kind of person lives there. They want to know if they can live there.
This may seem daunting and expensive for a potential seller. A home equity line of credit is an affordable solution to pay for renovations. Rates are low right now and many financial institutions waive fees and appraisal costs with a minimum advance. The beauty of a home equity line is it gives you flexible access to your funds. Once your renovations are complete, use it to help pay off higher-rate debt. By getting rid of your other debt, this will position you to hopefully have more money to put down on your next house. If getting your home ready to sell is going to take some time, consider refinancing your current mortgage to a lower rate. The more you can lower your principal the better position you will be in when it’s time to sell. It’s still a buyer’s market, so if you want your home to stand out and make a profit, you may have to pay to play!