Jun 20, 2010

Before putting your Dallas home up for Sale ...

If you're preparing to put a home on the market, expect to make a few repairs and improvements first. But what improvements or repairs will translate into the biggest return?

Every home is different, but in Dallas the answer largely depends on a variety of factors, including the time of year, how hot (or not) the market is and the competitive inventory.

The goal of most buyers is to move in with minimum costs and headaches. Thus, a home that needs no repairs is a big draw. But here is where local market conditions impact the decision to do minor improvements. What needs to get done to be competitive? In a hot sellers market you may not need to lift a finger, while in a buyers market (like today) that list of repairs may grow long.

Practical projects that require minimal time or money - like applying a fresh coat of paint - can instantly make your home more appealing and help it sell faster. Without question, you should complete small repair projects like patching cement cracks in sidewalks and patios, cleaning and painting windows and doors, replacing old doorknobs and light fixtures, and resurfacing floors.

But what about the larger issues? Before you decide whether to fix or merely disclose needed repairs to buyers, keep in mind that doing repairs will result in a higher sales price in today's market. Leaving repaired items undone will cost you when the buyers deduct what they feel the repairs will cost.

Key items to address:

  • Along with removing old wallpaper, there is no more cost-effective improvement than the application of fresh paint: inexpensive, and relatively quick, painting should be your first chore.
  • Dallas buyers love hardwood floors, so it pays to remove old carpeting and have the floors refinished. Replace chipped or cracked tiles and clean or replace the grout. Don't install expensive new flooring unless it is in a small space, like an entrance way.  
  • In the kitchen, appliances and cabinets are the big-ticket items to replace. If you can keep the existing ones, it will save a lot of money. Stainless steel is still the way to go with appliances. Stone counters (granite, etc.) and the biggest bang for your buck in the kitchen. Keep the colors neutral. Kitchen remodeling is typically a wise return on investment, but high-end kitchen makeovers do not tend to return as much as mid-range or minor kitchen remodeling. 
  • Bathroom repairs and renovations are always a solid recouped cost. It is easier for prospective buyers to imagine themselves stepping out of the shower onto pristine new floors, surrounded by new fixtures and lights. 
  • Get rid of the shiny brass and replace door knobs and fixtures with something silver or black. It's okay to have two different finishes in the house - like nickel doorknobs and black iron chandelier - but not three. If you've got oil rubbed bronze somewhere, nickel somewhere else, iron somewhere else, shiny brass somewhere else, ... the house will feel like a hodge podge of not-quite-finished updates.
  • Typically, Dallas buyers want to move into a house that has new appliances, updated fixtures and high efficiency air conditioning.
 [where: 75230]

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