Monday, August 30, 2010

To Remodel? Or Not to Remodel? That is the Question

I am often asked "What should I do to prepare my home?"

1. Clean & Declutter. While most people have cluttered closets and dishes in the sink, now is the time to show the home at its best. The number one thing that I tell people is to thoroughly clean and declutter your home. Everything should shine. This is the cheapest most effective way to prepare your home.

If you are uncertain at what level to thin out your belongings, you can visit some open houses to get an idea. All counter tops should be cleared and closets should be organized.

If your rooms are crowded, you may want to remove over-sized furniture,opening up the room giving it a more open feel. Some people rent storage containers or storage units that they can move many of the items that you are not ready to part with.

Clean out the closets. When people look in your closets, they will be looking for space. If you are squeezing in your clothes, like most of us, it is time for thinning out the closets and making a run to the Salvation Army.

Don't forget to clean the carpet, windows, and the blinds. Buyers get distracted by personal photos, so best to pack them up.

2. Curb Appeal. While you are decluttering the inside, look at the outside and see if there isn't a bush that needs some pruning. Pull up the weeds and throw down some decorative bark in between bushes to give the yard a fresh look.

Right before the For Sale sign goes up. Add some color near the front door. Plant a hardy colorful plant that will make it through the next couple of months.

3. Got Pets? This can be a challenge. You will want to have all dogs outside, if possible or take them for a walk while the home is being shown. If your house has a pet or a cigarette odor, and you do not have the money to replace the carpet, then you will want to keep windows open and try a plug in deodorizer. I found some spray deodorizers that can help including Smell Be gone ( and Fabreeze. Also if you have litter boxes, they must be cleaned out daily.

4. Paint. If it has been a few years since you have painted, it may be time for a fresh coat of paint or touch up. Definitely, patch up any holes and go with a neutral color. For those of you have been watching HGTV, beware of bold colors. When you prepare a home to sell, you should be thinking gentle colors with your furnishings and decor being the contrast.

5. Remodeling. Many people talk about remodeling their kitchens and bathrooms before listing. If you are not planning to move for a couple of years, this is fine. However, if you are doing in hopes of getting more money for the home, you may be disappointed. While remodeling kitchens and bathrooms definitely helps a home to sell faster, you may not recoup the money you put into it. According to most Cost to Value Reports, the average return on the investment for a minor kitchen remodel(average $25,000) is 83 percent and for an average bathroom remodel (average cost $18,000)is 78.1 percent. A lot of hassle and money to invest, when you may not recoup the full cost.

So when preparing to sell your home, it is best to keep it simple with these tips.

--Virginia Hall
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
DRE #01409760