Neglecting Repairs Can Be Hazardous to Your Sale

Most homes need some type of repairs or improvements before going on the market. But frequently, when asked to make repairs, owners say, “We just can't afford it! Whoever buys our house will change things anyway. They can buy it as is.” This kind of thinking can cost you money.

It’s true, most buyers will make changes. But the more effort you put into making your home desirable, the more likely people will be to offer what your home is worth, and to offer it quickly, before someone else does.

Your Home is Your Most Valuable Asset

Begin viewing your home as a product, a valuable investment. It's going to go to work for you to help you acquire the next one. The more money you can get for this home, the more money you’ll have to spend on the next.

Before a bank approves a mortgage, they require an inspection to make sure the property's worth what the seller wants to pay for it. After all, the bank owns the house until the buyer pays off the mortgage. And banks are very protective of their money.

At the Very Least, Make Sure Your Home is in Good Repair

  1. Everything works and nothing is damaged. Buyers and banks assume a home has been well taken care of when everything is in good condition. That will make your home worth more.
  2. All doors and windows shut and latch like they’re supposed to. You don’t have to fiddle and jimmy with the key to unlock front, back, side, or garage doors. WD-40 works wonders on little annoyances.
  3. All electrical outlets, light fixtures and plugs work
  4. All plumbing is in good working order with no drippy faucets
  5. Furnace is safe and in good condition and air conditioning works
  6. All appliances that are being sold with the house work
  7. Roof and gutters are in good condition
  8. If you have natural wood banisters, or trim and they're scuffed or scratched, thoroughly clean them. Then, go over them with a tinted varnish (like Minwax) in a color that matches the wood finish.
  9. Paint inside and out is fresh and clean. Need tips on how to do a professional paint job yourself? Check out House Painting Info.
  10. If you're going to tackle the repairs yourself, Top 100 DIY Sites is a helpful resource

Molly Had an Old Bathroom and a Limited Budget

But she was determined to get all she could for her bungalow. She consulted with a good realtor familiar with her area to determine what it was worth. And because she couldn't do the staging herself, she was open to hiring a home stager to find out how to make it sparkle.

Bathroom Before

Bathroom After

What Happened in this Room?

  • Paint Color - A soft neutral tan was chosen to complement rather than fight with the speckle in the tile ($25)
  • Wood cabinet in the wall was painted white ($25)
  • Peel and stick "slate" vinyl tile (Home Depot) was put over the existing ceramic tile which was in poor condition ($73)
  • Pedestal sink replaced the old vanity ($100)
  • Plastic light covers in the medicine cabinet were thoroughly cleaned (too expensive to replace)
  • Glass shower doors were cleaned
  • New towels ($10)
  • Total cost: $233

The Outcome?

Molly's staging commitment cost her $5,000 in repairs and improvements. But when the realtor saw the results, she raised the listing price $15,000 over what she'd originally quoted. The house went on the market, had three offers within the first three weeks, a contract and a back-up (at a higher price than the first contract). The house closed one month after it went on the market.

Molly made almost $10,000 on her repair and staging investment!

How Much Should You Spend on Improvements?

Find a good realtor and get a Market Analysis to determine the value of your home (recommended listing price). Then you will have an idea of what to spend on improvements and how much money those improvements might bring at closing.

There are lots of creative ways to make homes look better. Check out more ideas and reader suggestions on the cheap free and budget idea forum. Repairs and improvements don't have to be expensive. DIY Home Staging Tips lists the most profitable improvements.

Ever Thought of Flipping Homes for Profit?

Many people have bought homes in need of repair, fixed them up, staged them, and then sold them at a profit. It can be a lot of work, but well worth it if you don't spend more than the home is worth. More information at invest in realestate.

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