Home Improvements to Make Before Selling

Mariko Baerg Realtor Headshot
Written By: Mariko Baerg, REALTOR of Bridgewell Real Estate Group
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If you’re thinking about selling your home and are wondering what home improvements to make before selling, then you’ve come to the right place. As a seller, you’ll want to make sure that the basic systems are covered and that the words “leaky” never come out of a potential buyer’s mouth. Home maintenance can chew up a lot of cash quickly, and buyers are afraid of that. Therefore, before you start on a major kitchen renovation, read this blog on the flaws of a home that a buyer REALLY cares about, and how you can improve your home to avoid common concerns running through a buyers mind.

Home Improvements to Make Before Selling

Lighting and Electrical

Not having your electrical up to code is one of the top reasons we see buyers walking away from a deal. After going through the inspection, there are a number of times where the seller’s are using an old electrical panel that cannot support the house or isn’t up to code. Paying attention to your lighting and electrical before you sell can be one of the best home improvements to make before selling!

Although you may have been living in the home for quite some time and can ensure that everything is working perfectly fine, the buyers often see any issues with electrical as a major safety risk, and even more so a hassle to replace and a large cost. (We recently had a home inspector quote $1,500 worth of upgrades needed to get a panel up to code!) Having an electrician through to review your home prior to listing can limit the surprise factor during an inspection and also save you a lot of wasted time and stress with a buyer that is threatening to walk away from your home.

On top of things like the electrical panel, you’ll also want to pay attention to things like wiring and whether all of the lights in your home are working. It may be something as simple as just replacing a light bulb, but by doing things like this it ensures that the buyers don’t have electrical issues at the top of their minds.

Ripped Window Screens

There are a number of homes that we see with ripped window screens, and even more that don’t have any screens at all! Window screens are born to wear out over time, and if yours are torn or missing altogether then you should take it seriously.

Buyers will often insist that the window screens be repaired/present and will either ask the sellers to credit them the cost of the screen or repair it prior to the move in/out date.

Go through all of the windows and sliding doors in your home and make sure that they’re all in proper condition. If you’re missing some, or a few are torn, then call a local window screen provider to have your windows measured and new screens put in prior to showing your property.

Repair Leaky Faucets and Clogged Drains

One of the first things that a buyer will do as they go through your kitchen and bathrooms is checking the sinks. They’ll be turning on the faucets to check the water pressure, checking to see how long it takes for the water to turn hot, and seeing if running water drains properly or if the drain is clogged.

Before you list your property, make sure that you do a run through of all the faucets in the sinks and tubs to ensure they’re working to a buyer’s standard. If anything is leaky or clogged, you’ll want to have it fixed prior to showing the home.

Small closets

The majority of people, especially if you are selling a condo, will pay attention to the size of the closets and how many closets you have. If you have a walk in closet in your master bedroom, your home will be more desirable than one without a walk in.

I recently visited a condo in Port Coquitlam in which the owners had reduced the size of the 2nd bedroom closet to make the room bigger. My buyers were so concerned about the size of the closet and that they wouldn’t be able to hang any of their clothes in it that they were debating the cost of putting the closet back to it’s original size. The hassle and cost of making a bigger closet ultimately deterred them from writing an offer at all.

If you’re in the process of listing your home or thinking about it, there are a few things you can do to ease concerns about small closets. You can start by decluttering them as much as possible to help make them look large and roomy. Secondly, consider renting a storage unit or moving things in to a storage locker (if you have one) to free up some space. You might also consider hiring a contractor to build or extend closets where needed—or at least point out to buyers that they can do this themselves and details on how much it will cost.

The walls of your kitchen

Nowadays buyers love an open concept layout, especially in the kitchen. If your kitchen currently has four walls, you can bet with almost sure certainty that a buyer coming through to view your home will start talking about knocking down walls.

If you’ve been thinking about renovating your kitchen for a while, you may want to consider at least opening up a wall to make it more open concept. Having an open concept kitchen will help to make your space feel larger and less cramped. Minor kitchen renovations typically yield one of the highest return on investments for sellers. However, before you start making any changes we advise that you call a realtor first – they’ll be able to give you an idea on how much a kitchen renovation will impact your home’s selling price and whether or not it will be worth it for you.

An old furnace or hot water tank

We get this all the time – buyers rush to the hot water tank and furnace and start asking a million questions on whether or not the tank is large enough for 4 people and when it was last replaced. Regardless of whether or not the tank and furnace are in proper working order, buyers are always concerned about the age of these two things.

If either are getting up there in age (over 15+ years), then you may want to consider investing in a new hot water tank/furnace. When buyers get a quote they’ll be looking at top of the line, high-efficiency, etc. and try to get you to cover it. If you’ve already replaced them yourself, even a mid-line purchase will most likely get them in to a place of relief and little concern.

Roofing

As soon as a buyer steps on to your lawn you can almost guarantee that the first thing they will look at is the state of the roof. A roof is one of the larger cost items to replace when it comes to a house, and even if it’s not leaking an aging roof can instill fear in a buyer that believes it could start leaking at any moment. If it’s truly an eyesore, or is coming up to the 25+ year mark, then you may want to consider investing in replacing it.

However, if the market is strong and demand in your area and for your type of home is high, then it might be the better option to just factor in the cost of a new roof in to your asking price rather than spending the time doing it yourself.

Pro tip: At a minimum, make sure that all leaks are fixed.

Whether or not it will be worthwhile to you to put in money to renovating or upgrading depends on variables such as condition of competing inventory and the state of the current real estate market.

In my experience, regardless of whether your home is fully renovated, most buyers always come in to a home wanting to fix, adjust, or upgrade something cosmetically, stylistically, etc. Before you make repairs that may not be a high return on investment for you, talk to an agent to ensure that the actions you’re taking to improve your home before selling will be beneficial for you.

If you’re interested in a free market evaluation for your home “as is” vs. renovated, then give us a call at 604-765-0376. Prefer text? 604-319-0200 or email mariko@bridgewellgroup.ca to start a conversation. We’re here to help, and we can provide you with a comprehensive pricing strategy and an estimate on the amount that you can get for your home in today’s market.

Need to make sure your home sells quickly and for the most? We have you covered.

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