When you’re showing a home, you want buyers to focus on what’s great, not what needs fixing or is in poor condition. Sellers can do a lot to make sure their home shows well, and it will get better offers than those that are in obvious need of TLC. The idea here is to take the attention off areas of superficial concern that buyers might otherwise focus on. Every negative adds up in the buyer’s mind, so it’s wise to do some basic updates and repairs before the home goes on the market.
While a complete kitchen or bath remodel may not be possible or practical – and probably won’t give a full return on the investment – some updating of these rooms will go a long way in appealing to potential buyers. In many neighborhoods upgraded and updated kitchens and baths are 'the norm' and anything less will be looked upon negatively. If the stove and refrigerator are clearly old and in less than perfect condition, they should be replaced. An updated kitchen faucet is another nice touch that doesn’t have to cost a lot. In the bathrooms, the tile flooring should be professionally cleaned and the grout sealed. If the tile is in bad shape, replacing it with new, basic tile will make it a non-issue. Here, too, an updated faucet is often a good choice. If there is a shower curtain, replace it with a new, neutral style, or better yet, remove it altogether for a tidier appearance. This will make the bathroom look larger, too.
It should go without saying that carpets should be shampooed and in good condition. If the carpet looks worn and stained, the best choice is to simply replace it. The same goes for kitchen flooring – if it’s in bad shape, new flooring is the way to go. Depending on the situation, a new floor can often be installed right over the old one, which can mean less work and cost. Any replacement flooring should be neutral in color and does not have to be top-of-the-line quality; the most important thing is that it looks good and does not draw negative attention.
Outdoors, replace any missing or damaged fence boards. It may be obvious that they’ve been replaced, but that’s preferable to leaving the fence in bad shape. Shrubs should be trimmed and kept neat, and weeds pulled. A thick application of bark mulch will help planting areas look clean and neat instead of a mess the new owner will have to deal with. Check around the exterior for any peeling paint or cracks that can present themselves as problems if not corrected.
As you well know, a buyer will have a more positive reaction to a home that looks its best. After all, one of the first impressions you want a buyer to have is, “It looks like this home has been well taken care of.” Better-looking homes can mean better offers for your clients and happier buyers, which will reflect well on you, too.