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How Much Should I Improve My Home?

Now that the decision to sell our home has been made, I need to put on my realtor hat.  A realtor will be able to optimize where to spend the money and how much to spend for a home to be ready to list. I get involved with my listing clients from the point where the decision is made to make sure they spend whatever their budget is, wisely. This is where me, acting as my own realtor is an advantage.  I have access to the data needed to get an idea of potential list price and to determine the approximate value of our home in its current condition.  With this data and some knowledge of comparable homes in the area I know what our maximum budget should be.  I want to bring my home up to the standard of the comparable homes without over-improving. Over-improving is often a waste of money.

Once I have my budget, I need to make some decisions about where to put the money.  I know all repairs must be done.  There is no point is waiting to “see if a buyer finds the problem” before paying for it.  As a seller, I am required to complete Seller’s Disclosure documents to disclose any problems that I know of with the house.  This is a signed, legal document.  In addition, buyers are going to have an inspection of the home done prior to closing, uncovering repairs that were not previously completed.  Bottom line is, I’m going to have to pay to repair it eventually, so I may as well take care of it before I list it.  From a buyer’s perspective, it shows that the home has been well cared for.  When buyers see needed repairs, they wonder what else is not visible that may turn up later. There are some minor repairs that my husband and I can take care of.  The two big items are a hot water heater and a new roof. Some insurance companies will not offer homeowners insurance on an older roof.  With all of our covered porches and the steep pitch of the roof, it is going to be very expensive, but if a buyer can’t get insurance approval, our home will never sell.

What elements of a home do you think buyers care most about? 




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