What to Repair When Selling Your House
To repair or not to repair. That is the question. Most of us have an ongoing “honey-do” list for our houses. We’ll do it when the weather warms up. We’ll do it when the weather cools off. We’ll do it when the Predators win the Stanley Cup or the Titans win the Super Bowl. What happens when it’s time to sell? The “honey-do” list turns into the “crap-we-have-to-do-this-now” list. But what items should you do? Are their items you can leave undone and still get top dollar? And, what are the risks of not doing certain things?
- Roof, gutters, HVAC units, water heaters: REPAIR. Most reputable companies will do a roof tune-up to fix any issues. You certainly don’t want to have any leaks when you are trying to sell your house. If your gutters are full, clean them out. Buyers will think you are a lazy homeowner and may even wonder what else you haven’t done that they can’t see if there are root systems in your gutters or they are overflowing with leaves. If the HVAC is working fine, have the unit cleaned and serviced. If a water heater is older, have it checked by a licensed plumber and any necessary repairs done.
- Flooring: This one is tricky. If the majority of the flooring is in good shape, you may not need to repair or replace it. If wood floors are warped or deeply scratched in a large portion of the room(s) you may need to bite the bullet. Depending on the type of wood, you may be able to get boards replaced or have it sanded and re-stained instead of replacing all of it. If carpet is stained and can’t be cleaned, it is best to have it replaced. If carpet is bunching up but is in overall good shape, get it stretched. Warning: If you are replacing carpet, while it’s understandable you wouldn’t want to get the top of the line carpet, I do recommend a good pad underneath. If you replace the carpet with something you can see through, you have just wasted your money. A stray cracked tile is not worth redoing the entire bathroom but make sure the grout is in good shape.
- Walls: If your walls have been worn from little hands, suitcases, toys, and vacuums, it’s best to paint them. If you can see what color the wall used to be, it’s best to paint it. If every room is a different color or if a room or wall is very dark, it’s best to paint it. In most cases, it is best to neutralize the colors in your home so it will appeal to the masses. If your walls have taken an unusual beating you may need to do some drywall repair before painting.
- Landscaping: Remove any dead trees, bushes, shrubs, or flowers. It is not absolutely necessary to replace these things (unless your HOA requires it – be sure to check) but it is necessary to make the landscaping look nice and neat. Just like the overflowing gutters, if Jack could climb up the stalk of weeds, it will not make a good impression on buyers.
- Fencing: Your house may be immaculate inside but if your fence is falling down it is a negative reflection on the whole house. It doesn’t take much to replace a few boards, if needed. A lot of people that buy houses with fenced yards, have a fence as a requirement for pets or children. They aren’t going to want to have to immediately repair a fence so their dog doesn’t escape from and start roaming the neighborhood.
A good way to think of repairs is try to look at your house through the eyes of a buyer. Even if you’ve been OK with the discolored carpet or Pepto Bismol pink walls, remember that you are trying to appeal to the largest majority of buyers. Neutral colors are always safe. When you have repairs professionally done, keep the receipts to show a Buyer. Lastly, you may spend a little time or money doing repairs but as long as you don’t go overboard, you will almost always sell your house faster and for more.
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur baby, Tyler, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.