Preparing To Sell Your Home



Getting Prepared

Taking the necessary steps to prepare a home for its listing debut by making minor improvements and repairs to a property prior to listing it for sale can make a considerable difference in the amount a property sells for and the time it actually takes to sell that property. With the right repair/improvement strategy, sellers can attract a larger pool of buyers by standing out from the competition, which not only improves their chances of selling the property quicker but also at a market premium.

With a little vision and the right repairs or improvements sellers can preemptively expedite escrow before even entering it by eliminating any buyer objections about the condition of the property before they even arise. Some buyers have conventional financing that mandate certain requirements about the condition of the property be met before that property can be financed for purchase. By preemptively making minor repairs or improvements to a property to make it finance ready before it hits the market, sellers can save weeks in negotiation and repair time that they might have lost during escrow, and potentially close the deal with a buyer that they would have otherwise missed if the property was not properly retrofitted.

In addition, making the correct improvements and repairs to a home prior to listing it for sale can also give interested buyers insight into a property’s true potential. Interest stirring around a property’s potential is good for sellers because a property that can completely convey its full potential to prospective shoppers has the power to inspire and motivate buyers to move quickly on the opportunity in front of them by submitting a qualified offer. A motivated buyer in escrow is also something that is good for the seller because that too translates to an easy and speedy sale in that the buyer is eager to do what is necessary to close the transaction.

When making minor Improvements and repairs seller should keep in mind that most buyers are drawn towards properties with features those buyers are in need of. By making minor improvements or repairs to a property that maximize a home’s existing decor and place emphasis on a home’s distinct features sellers can align their property with the buyer’s priorities, making it a front row candidate for those that are searching. Specific areas sellers should focus their improvements and repairs on would be anything and everything that refreshes or highlights the unique aspects of a home. For example things like re-staining old wood casings and cabinets to offers a room more color, or washing and opening or completely replacing curtains to filter in more light from a window overlooking a great view. Even creating the illusion of more living space by adding a small bookshelf complemented with a cozy reading chair in an area of dead space can incite the imagination.

Of course some properties are past the point of minor improvements or repairs and selling the property as is to an investor might be the only choice. But if that is not the case, with the correct approach, minor improvements and repairs will give a seller a better return on their investment and is usually the most cost effective route to take, compared to making major improvements or just selling the property as is.


Low Budget Improvements That Make a Big Difference


  • Remove any noticeable clutter
  •  Manicure front yard by sprucing up gardens, trimming shrubbery, and replace dead plant
  •  Yard and patio should be neat, outdoor furniture should be clean and in good shape
  • Power wash driveway and entry

House Exterior

  • Check that door numbers, mailbox, and exterior lighting are all in good repair
  • Touch up with fresh paint as needed
  • Repair chimney cracks or fix small signs of earthquake damage
  • Repair loose trim, drainpipes and fencing
  • Clean noticeable stains
  • Clean door and window screens


  • Remove clutter; tidy up shelves
  • Wash floor so it looks clean and spacious

Interior Living Areas

  •  Apply fresh paint as need and brighten your interiors with a neutral tone
  • Shampoo draperies and carpets
  • Replace burned out light bulbs and broken lighting fixtures
  • Clean fireplace, remove smoke stains from wall and mantle


  • Sinks and counter tops should sparkle without any clutter
  • Restaining cabinets
  • Wax the floor or clean tile and grout and replace broken tiles if necessary
  • Clean oven, range and other appliances


  • Clean mirrors, glass, chrome and porcelain surfaces
  • Replace shower curtain if necessary
  • Fix any faucet drips or leaks
  • Clean tile, grout and caulking; replace if necessary


  • Doors and drawers should open and close easily
  • Remove clutter; tidy up shelves and racks
  • Shoes and clothes should be neatly arranged


  • Check the basics around the house. It takes just a minute to check all doors, windows and cabinets to make sure they don’t stick, squeak or are too loose
  • Clean your furnace & water heater, so buyers know they are looking at a house that has been well maintained


Major Improvements Worth It?

If a property requires major improvements such as a room addition, the total replacement of a kitchen or bath, or a full layout remodel then selling that property as is might be the most cost effective measure to take. It is often the case that in general major improvements rarely fully pay off in terms of a dollar for dollar return on the resale value of a property. Usually the money invested in a major improvement is only reflected as a partial return on the actual dollar value gained in the resale value of a home, and that partial return in most cases materializes and grows over time. If a property is sold within two or three years of a recent remodel in many cases the seller takes a loss on their investment or if lucky they break even.

For the typical homeowner it does not make sense to undertake a major remodel even if the homeowner plans on staying in the property for some time. Viewed strictly from an investment standpoint the risk of a homeowner losing money on a major remodel is higher compared to the risk of losing money by not making any major improvements and just saving towards upgrading and buying a new home in the future that’s better suited to the homeowner’s needs.

If it’s absolutely necessary to make major improvements then homeowners would be wise to follow a few of these guidelines to maximize their returns. As a rule of thumb a property should never be upgraded to the point where its projected sales price is more than 20 percent higher than the most expensive comparables in the immediate neighborhood. No matter the amount of money invested in a particular property the value of a majority of homes is tied to their surrounding comparables and if the prices of the surrounding properties are low, those properties will pull the price down of the property being remodeled. Also if at all possible avoid rearrange the interior of a house in a way that reduces the total number of bedrooms to less than three, avoid adding a third bathroom to a two-bath house, and avoid installing a swimming pool, sunroom, or finished basement because all of these improvements tend to give the biggest loses on investment.



Unless it is absolutely necessary, usually the smartest thing to do is move rather than to make major improvements. It’s often only the smaller, relatively inexpensive improvements that turn out to be most worth doing. The cost of replacing a discolored toilet bowl, making sure all the windows work, or getting rid of dead trees and shrubs is trivial compared to adding a bathroom. But even though the improvements are small this is one of the instances where small things can have a very big and positive impact on prospective buyers.


Thank you for taking the time to visit my page. Feel free in reaching out with any questions. My contact information is located on the contact page found in the contact tab at the top. I look forward to helping you in any way that I can.

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