Home Improvements That Will Get You The Biggest Return

So what do you look for when you're getting ready to sell a home? Sometimes there's so much to do and it's such a big deal selling your home, so a lot of people are going to ask us, "What do we do to sell it? Where do we need to focus our attention specifically so that we get the biggest return for the dollar?" 

In my mind, the place you always start is with any kind of deferred maintenance. You have to understand that any home improvements that you make to the home are really to give the strongest and best opportunity to the property to have the least amount of objections and the best showing experience for the visitors that are going to come and view your property.

You want to start with anything that could appear to be out of order or out of function, broken, ripped, or anything like that. You could have a home that's in awesome shape, but if, for example, your door knob is completely worn out and it's just corroded, and that's the one problem area, think about psychologically what's happening. Your buyer is literally making physical contact with that door knob, and immediately has an idea that you know what, if this is not in great shape there must be something else in the property and there very well could not be.

So anything like that, any kind of ripped window screen or any kind of light fixture that's off center or just not hanging on its axis correctly and especially soiled carpet. With soiled carpet, the good news is you can most often get it cleaned through a professional cleaner, and we can give you great recommendations for that. It comes out looking awesome. But sometimes it does need to be changed. One of the biggest mistakes that we see sellers make is saying to themselves, "Okay, I'm going to give a credit for the carpet." They're prepared to essentially pay for carpet because they know it's so darn soiled, it's in such bad shape that this isn't even an objection in that seller's mind. They know they're going to get new carpet because it's just way past its life.

Having said that, they're planning on addressing it through a credit. Well, this is flawed thinking because when you address it through a credit, you're literally paying for it anyway, but you're getting zero marketing value. When your buyer is standing on that carpet, distracted by it because it's just in very clear and obvious bad shape, they're extrapolating that into other parts of the home and feeling like more needs to be done than is really there.

So number one, go ahead and take care of deferred maintenance. Number two is always staging. Staging is the number one home improvement you can make after deferred maintenance. It is a way of lifting the entire property for the cost of just a fraction of doing say the countertop in a bathroom or something like that, which a lot of times sellers are ready to do. You have to think of staging as a home improvement. It is not permanent to the property, so it's a little bit different in thinking about it.

The point of any home improvement, the point of staging, the point of anything that we're going to do going into a sale is how do I get the biggest return for my dollar? How do I get rid of the most objections? And most importantly, and this is really the key, how do I get my buyer into their emotional state where they're just feeling open to the property, and we get them out of that analytical side of their mind, where they're trying to figure out the dollars and cents of having to fix things that they're clearly seeing?


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