7 important repairs to make before selling a house

 

According to Greg Hanner, president of the Eastern Connecticut Association of REALTORS®, the most critical things to do to increase your home's value before putting it on the market is to get it in tip-top shape. At the same time, you don't want to eat into your profits by overspending on home improvements. You won't be around to enjoy them anyway.

The key is to focus on the most important repairs to make before selling a house to ensure that every dollar you spend supports a higher asking price. Smaller and less expensive updates with proper staging have a great return, as will prioritizing the following updates:

Fix damaged flooring

Scratched-up wood flooring; ratty, outdated carpeting; and tired linoleum make your home feel sad. Buyers might take one step inside and scratch the property from their list.

Want to know the most important step you can take to increase the value of your home? Install new flooring. Buyers don't want to deal with replacing carpet, and giving an allowance is generally not attractive enough. Spring for new, neutral carpeting or flooring and watch their eyes light up in relief.

Wax and buff your hardwood floors yourself to save money. Use wax suited to your floor and finish.

If your home already has hardwood floors, refinishing does the job. Expect to spend about $3,000 on the project — and recoup 100 percent of the cost, according to the National Association of REALTORS® Remodeling Impact Report.

Consider swapping any old flooring for new hardwood. This project costs more at around $5,500, but you could recoup more than 90 percent of that at resale. If that's not in the budget, any flooring update makes an enormous difference.

Fix water stains

You've learned to live with the results of a long-fixed plumbing snafu, but for buyers, a water stain suggests there could be a dozen pesky problems hidden beneath the surface. That's why this is one of the things to do before putting your house on the market.

First, make sure the problem is fixed. Bring in a plumber to look for leaky piping or poor yard drainage if your basement is damp. Diverting rainwater from your foundation may cost as little as $800, and repairing a leaking pipe costs approximately $300.

As for the repair work, replacing a water-stained ceiling runs about $670, and drywall costs around $1.50 per square foot. All are cheaper than a lost sale.

Repair torn window screens

So super inexpensive — and even DIY-able. You can purchase a window screen frame repair kit from a home improvement store for $10 to $15. 

Considering the simplicity of this repair, making the fix is always worth it — and so are other small but highly visible issues. When you're debating how to increase the value of your home, nix any small problems, snags, or ugly spots that might make buyers scrunch up their brows.

Update grout

Is your grout yellowing or cracked? Buyers will notice. New grout, on the other hand, can make old floors look like they came straight from the showroom.

Making a home look like new is the best and in many cases, such as new grout, the cheapest way to attract a buyer. This is another small fix with a big impact: Simple bathroom re-grouting may cost just $1 to $2 per square foot, increasing to $10 per square foot for more complicated jobs. And if you're handy, you can save even more DIY-ing it.

Resuscitate a dying lawn

Nothing says, "This one's gonna take some work" like a brown, patchy, weedy lawn. Fixing the problem doesn't cost a ton of money — and you'll get it all back (and then some!) once you sell.

Hiring a lawn care service to apply fertilizer and weed control will cost about $375. Once you sell the home, that comparatively cheap fix could recoup $1,000. That's an unbeatable 267 percent return on investment.

Erase pet damage

Did your sweet little kitten scratch your bedroom door? Fix the damage before listing your home. Otherwise, buyers may look for other, possibly far worse, pet damage.

Refinishing a door costs between $100 and $215 (or less, if you're willing to DIY). Replacing pet-damaged carpeting or hardwood may be a bigger job than buffing out some scuffs — but it's worth the cash.

Revive an outdated kitchen

Even though kitchens are super important to a home buyer, a complete kitchen reno is rarely worth it when it comes time to sell — fresh looks can be done without spending a fortune. The problem is, this $65,000 upgrade isn't something that buyers will pay you back for.

Sellers recoup about 62 percent of a full-on kitchen renovation. If you're updating the space just for your sale, focus on low-cost, high-impact projects instead. Painting wood cabinets, updating hardware, or installing new countertops or appliances might do the trick to get you on to your next adventure in home ownership.

Setting up your home for selling success doesn't have to be expensive. Focus on the most important repairs to make before selling a house by picking projects that do more than look pretty. Choose updates that get your home in selling shape and justify a higher asking price.

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