8 Steps to Improve Your House Prior to Listing with a Realtor

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Dusty Brazil

Dusty Brazil
CA Realtor

Consumer confidence at the end of 2016 is higher than it has been for eight years, and that means 2017 could be a year of strong economic growth. If so, homeowners could see rising home values, which could make it a great year to sell and make a fantastic profit. Before you list your home with a realtor, however, don’t you want to ensure that you get top dollar? Experts say that if you do some key improvements, you will see an increase in your sales prices in many cases.

The most important thing about doing improvements prior to listing, experts remind us, is to not spend money that you will not get back when the house closes. A good way to determine this is to find out what kind of home improvements house flippers are doing in your area. Try comparing the sales price of homes with an older kitchen to one with an updated kitchen. If you see a sales price difference of $50,000, then spending $25,000 on a remodel might make sense.

Here are some good home improvement ideas that can improve the sales price of your home:

#1 Improve the Landscaping

It may seem minor, but the front yard and front of your home are a major part of the sales process. Having a nice looking front yard, including grass, bushes, trees and flowers, will go a long way towards getting a potential buyer in the door and paying more.

Experts recommend that you lay down new sod, replace bushes and add some color with new flower beds or pots of flowers. These improvements don’t cost a lot but can really make a difference.

#2 Improve the Entry Way

A great way to make the entrance to your home nicer is to buy a new front door. If the house number and mailbox are old-looking, buy and install brand new ones.

#3 Replace Old Light and Plumbing Fixtures

If your house is more than 20 years old, you may have gold light fixtures. These are very outdated. And brass finish is less popular today than brushed nickel. Replacing old light fixtures and faucets is another improvement that costs little but can boost your sales price.

#4 Remove Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings were popular in the 80s and 90s and were a cost effective way to finish a ceiling. They are very outdated today, and half of your potential buyers will run for the hills when they see popcorn ceilings.

Expect to spend several thousand dollars to remove popcorn ceilings from your home. If the home is older than 1980, you should check if the ceiling contains asbestos. If so, you must have a licensed asbestos abatement professional remove the popcorn ceilings.

#5 Replace Carpet

Old and dirty carpet is a big turn off for buyers. If you have old hard wood under the carpet, you should consider ripping out the carpet and refinishing the hard wood. Nice hardwood floors are popular today; they also are much easier on people with allergies.

#6 Paint Rooms

You would be amazed at just how much difference a nice fresh coat of paint can make on rooms in your home! Experts advise repainting rooms in neutral colors and don’t use any usual paint colors.

#7 Upgrade the Kitchen

Most potential buyers head for the kitchen when looking at a house. For less than a thousand dollars, you can at least replace your kitchen faucet, install new cabinet door handles and install new light fixtures.

If you have more money in your bank account, you can refinish the cabinet faces for a few thousand dollars. And if you have a budget of more than $10,000, consider installing new granite counter-tops and floor tile. A different color back-splash can make a huge difference too.

home improvements

There are simple steps for improving your home in an effort to maximize your sales price.

#8 Improve the Master Bath

Fixing up the master bath is the next thing after the kitchen that can really add to your sales price. And many of the improvements that make a difference cost little. For example, swap out that old toilet seat and pedestal sink for something more modern.

Also, you can replace the bathroom floor with vinyl tiles or sheet vinyl. You might not even need to tear out the old floor. If the shower and tub are date, you might re-grout the tile and replace tiles that are chipped. For a bigger budget, consider a new tub and shower that installs over the old one. This requires a professional installer, but it still is a cost effective upgrade.

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My Point

We expect that home prices are going to be on the upswing in 2017 and 2018, so the best way to take advantage when selling your home is to make some cost-effective improvements that add to your resale value. The upgrades we highlighted above have been proven over time to add to the value of most people’s homes. It’s hard to know for sure when the best time to purchase a home is, but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. If you need money to make the house improvements, consider or an equity loan or credit line. We continue to see advertisements offering the best HELOC interest rates so cheap money may be available.

We hope that you can complete at least some of these improvements so you can get top dollar for your home. If you do not have a budget of tens of thousands of dollars, it’s ok! Just start small, such as with upgrading the landscaping, faucets and light fixtures. Just doing these minor tweaks to your home can add value and get more people in the door to look at your home.


About Dusty Brazil

CA BRE #01780273- Dusty Brazil is a top ranked Realtor with Pacific Sotheby's International Realty. Mr. Brazil has been selling real estate in San Diego for over 10 years and lived in this coastal community his entire life. Dusty is an accomplished surfer who enjoys writing home buying articles when he is not catching waves.