When you make the decision to sell your home, it can be tricky to know which changes would make your home sell more quickly or boost the sale price — and which would just be a waste of your time and resources. Each home (and each homeowner) is different; that’s why we’ve come up with 8 key questions to ask yourself before making any changes to prep your home for sale.
These first three questions will help you take the temperature of the real estate market in your area and assess the competition.
1. How hot or cold is the market in your area? Are homes being snapped up after the first open house, or are they languishing on the market for months? Are homes being sold at or near the asking price, or for much lower? Are open houses bustling with people, or is attendance sparse? Get a feel for the market in your area by talking with your Realtor and checking local listings on a real estate site like Zillow. If it’s a seller’s market, you may be able to get away with doing fewer repairs and modifications before selling, and still have good results — in a buyer’s market, expect to do more work to make a positive impression on buyers.
2. How fast are you looking to sell? If you need to sell your home immediately — say, because you have already committed to buying another home or need to move because of work — it is in your best interest to do everything in your power to ensure a quick sale at the highest price possible. If you have more flexibility, and you feel uncomfortable making too many pricey changes to your home before selling, it may make more sense to focus on cleaning, decluttering and making small cosmetic changes (like painting) — particularly if the market is hot and favors the seller. If you aren’t getting the offers you would like, you can always decide to spring for a few bigger changes later and relist your home.
For the answers to the rest of these questions, including:
- What is the condition of comparable homes on the market?
- Does the faulty item give the impression the property has not been well cared for?
- How much will you realistically need to lower the price if you don’t fix it?