Often we get the question from home sellers asking whether they should spend the time and money to make repairs before selling. The simple answer is “no”, but there is a little more that goes into it depending on your situation and what your goals are. Check out this week’s post to see if and when you should fix up your house before selling in Atlanta.
Selling a House That Needs Repairs
Rest assured, everyone thinking about selling their home goes through the thought process of trying to decide what repairs they should make, if any.
Any home that has been lived in for just a few years will almost certainly need some level of fixing up – even if just a paint update or pressure wash.
But even some of these minor updates aren’t cheap.
The quick answer is that you really don’t have to fix anything. With home buyers like us here at Homeowner Help Today, we can buy your house as-is – no repairs needed. You can even leave all the stuff you don’t want!
But if you want to sell your house by-owner or with a realtor, then chances are you will need to fix a few things either before you list it and/or after the buyer’s inspection.
What Home Improvements Should Be Done Before Selling?
When you are fixing up your home to sell through a realtor or by owner, you want to find things that you can do relatively cheaply that will give you the most value – aka, the best “bang for your buck”.
Here are a few tips for things you can get done yourself or with a little money:
Clean & Declutter
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m huge on this. It’s so easy and brings so much value for your potential buyers, yet so many overlook or just choose not to do this.
First, remove or put away all your personal items – family pictures, clothes, shoes, etc. You want your buyer to picture their stuff in the house – not yours.
Next, clean the house from top to bottom. Better yet, pay someone to do it. It’s worth it – trust me.
Second on this list is another one that goes a long way. Make sure you keep the lawn mowed, weeds pulled, snow shoveled, and leaves blown depending on what time of year you are selling. You’ve heard of “curb appeal” for a reason. Make sure your house has it.
Clean the Carpets
If the carpets are dirty from wear & tear, then spend the money to have them steam cleaned. If they are ripped up, torn, or have major stains, then consider replacing or removing the old carpet entirely.
Another one that brings a lot of value a few hundred bucks in Atlanta is pressure washing. You can probably find a deal for this on Groupon. Remember what I said about curb appeal?
Wash (or Paint!) The Interior Walls
Repaint rooms that feature dark, bold colors. What worked in your crimson bathroom may not be the same taste as your potential buyer. Though it can be a huge pain to repaint the whole house, painting small rooms a neutral color like grey or off-white is pretty easy to do.
If you don’t have the money or time to repaint, then at least give the walls a good washing. Cleaning off any dirt and smudges will go a long way.
What Not To Fix When Selling a House
Now that we’ve talked about some of the easier things you can do to update your home before selling, let’s look at some things that just don’t bring that much value for the time or money that it costs.
This list is really easy, actually. Don’t fix anything that costs more than a few hundred dollars or does nothing to improve the appearance of your home.
Mostly I’m talking about major systems or appliances. Your potential buyers don’t care how old the water heater is or how efficient the HVAC runs.
They will care about it at some point, but not until after the inspection or maybe not until after they buy it.
Don’t worry too much about it right now. You can always fix these items after the inspection and provide a home warranty for anything that pops up later.
You may have to reduce your price or pay for these expensive repairs after the inspection, but don’t spend the money upfront. Buyers care way more about gleaming hardwoods than they do about a top-notch water heater or Smart-thermostat.
Don’t replace any kitchen appliances. Your buyers may have different tastes – so don’t worry about it and just leave them (but make sure they’re clean!).
How Do You Pay for Repairs Before Selling?
I think you should be able to get through most of those repairs & updates I listed above for under $1000. Less than that if you do the painting yourself.
But let’s say you want to do some major repairs, one option is to consider a home equity line of credit (HELOC) if you can qualify.
If you have some equity in your home, you can get a cheaper rate using a HELOC than using your personal credit card.
You can use your credit cards to pay for any needed repairs, but honestly, I wouldn’t use any credit (or HELOC) to pay for repairs. I would sell the house “as-is” and just save the money rather than put myself into debt.
It’s easier and faster, and you really don’t know how much value you are going to add by fixing up the house.
What if You Don’t Have the Money for Home Repairs?
Well, in that case, your choice is easy. Sell it to home investors like us here at Homeowner Help Today. We’ll buy your house “as-is”. Even if we can’t buy it, we’ll recommend someone who can. Let us help!