This month I’d like to take a minute to discuss your plan to stay in your home for awhile. Maybe you’re waiting out the market, waiting to retire, waiting for your tour to be over, or waiting until the perfect property comes on the market. In any case you aren’t thinking of selling your home – yet. So now is the most absolutely perfect time to plan that sale.
As a home stager, there is a scene I see over and over. The husband and wife are having a conversation about all that needs to be done to prepare their home for sale. Here’s the common line - “Why are we improving our house now, for someone else to enjoy? Why didn’t we do this sooner?” Why indeed! Maybe it’s time to make a plan to improve the house while you can enjoy it too. Whether you are selling next year or five years from now, there are improvements that you can do that will last long enough for you to enjoy them and still be a major asset in selling your home when it is time. It will also lighten your work load when you are ready to move.
Start with a walk through your property and make a list. This is a perfect time to have a realtor walk through with you and discuss how your home measures up to the competition. If you are the last home in your neighborhood to replace the kitchen, you know you’ll have to do it to make the most you can from your sale. Realtors have lists that show return on investment of home improvements and they know what impresses buyers. They’re the experts and they are more than willing to share their knowledge. So take them on a tour of your home.
Start at the street. Do you need to fix the driveway, walks, siding or shutters? These items could be done as more than 5 years in advance.
Step into the foyer. What’s the first impression? Is the lighting dated? Carpet or flooring in need of replacement? These things could be done 3 to 5 years in advance.
Would the kitchen catch a buyer’s eye? Easily a deal maker or breaker, kitchens will hold their newness for a very long time. So if it’s going to be on the “to do” list- do it and enjoy it yourself!
How’s the view? Windows are also on the list of things that can be done years in advance and still be listed as “upgraded”. You can also enjoy a tax break by replacing your drafty windows with new energy efficient replacements.
Is the deck ready to party? Before a home inspector has you calling a contractor to build a deck for the new owners, replace it for yourself and reap the benefits.
What about the bathrooms? Bathrooms are second only to the kitchen in the decision making process. They need to be attractive, in good repair and updated. It may mean replacing the flooring and lighting, or a whole makeover, but your return on investment for bath upgrades is wonderful. And it may mean the difference between a sale and no sale.
So what can wait? If you’ve taken advantage of upgrading your home while you’re living in it, you’ll probably only have minor repairs when it’s time to sell. Painting done within the last year or two is ideal. Light fixtures, especially exterior ones, replaced within a year or two of going on the market, keep the look of the home fresh and current. De-cluttering over a period of time will make your life and move much easier than tackling everything at once. Minor repairs won’t take long when you’ve taken care of the big jobs over time. Staging the property can be done just before going on the market.
I encourage you to do an assessment of your home, talk to a realtor, and make a plan. Enjoy your improved and upgraded home and be ready to sell it for the best price possible when you are ready to move. Save your energy and sanity by stretching the work over a period of time and you won’t even feel it. Wait until it’s time to sell and you’ll be reaching for the Motrin. Ask me how I know!