Champions Real Estate Services
Patricia Mays

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Is the home ready for the next owner? What to Fix. 

Typically an owner wants to buy a home and live in it as soon as possible. So you would be better off making the home move-in ready. This means fix everything broken or too ugly:

Are all the appliances working fine? If not, fix them.

Are any windows broken? If so, replace them.

Is the paint too dirty? Yes? Repaint it.

Is the lawn patchy or overgrown? Do some basic landscaping, such as mow the lawn or plant new grass where it is missing.

Generally, there is no need to do any upgrades. Any upgrade would mean that the seller is taking away the choices from a future buyer. For example, if you install a brand new carpet, the future buyer might actually prefer a hard wood floor or a different color carpet. Similarly, with any update you do, you are taking away choices from a future buyer. Therefore it is better to let a future buyer spend the time, money, and effort on upgrading the home.

There are some exceptions here though. Is it easier for the seller to update the house than to a buyer? As an example, does the seller himself have the skills of a general contractor or a handyman? Does the seller have a lot of free time so that the seller does not count his own time and effort? Does the seller enjoys planning and designing the upgrades? Is the home mostly upgraded, except a few areas? For the last question, it is better to say that the home is fully remodeled than saying it is 90% remodeled. If two out of the three bathrooms are already remodeled, then why not just complete the task of remodeling the last remaining bathroom too.

So the bottom line answer is, think like a buyer and their lenders. Unless the home is a tear-down, definitely consider whether the home is financeable and try to update it just enough. Otherwise consider making the home move-in ready either for a tenant or for a new owner. Take care of ugly stuff, but don't update the house unless you yourself have the skills and enjoy the work.

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