Getting your house ready to sell is undoubtedly exciting. It likely signifies a big life change—whether that’s expanding, downsizing, or moving to a new city. Naturally, homeowners want to get the highest ticket price on their home before turning the page to a new chapter.
While some factors that affect the value of your home will be completely out of your control—such as how the market is doing and if demand is high in your area—there are things that you can do to maintain the value of your house so that it pays off when it’s time to sell. Here are four small things that can have a huge impact on your home’s value.
“Pets are definitely the number one thing,” Alan Paul, a Re/Max broker based in Pueblo, Colo., says. “Over time, just the wear and tear is increased exponentially.”
For homeowners with pets running around, this means that it’s important to clean up after them regularly, and maintain the areas that they spend the most time in. It’s common to become accustomed to the smells that linger in our own living spaces, and over time, that smell can get worse and worse, making it expensive to get rid of once it’s time to list.
Neglecting regular maintenance
“How many of us have lived with that wonky cabinet, weird cracking grout, or have a porch that seriously needs a new coat of paint?” says Grace Herlong Loveless of Joan Herlong & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty in South Carolina. “Many people think of painting as an upgrade, but especially on exterior features, it’s maintenance. Keeping up with maintenance items over time will make eventually listing and selling a less herculean task.”
Paul echoes that sentiment in his advice to sellers. “Clean furnace filters every one to two years,” he suggests. “Replacing those regularly and having a service history on an older furnace can mean the world in terms of value.” According to Paul, not having to replace the furnace when it comes time for inspection could save a seller thousands.
“Real estate markets in every region of the country have ‘that thing’ which worries buyers,” says Mariah Johnson with Peace Sotheby’s International Realty in South Carolina. “In the Southeast, that would be termites, mold, and mildew. So having the home under a termite bond and annual inspections that check moisture readings help to alleviate worry.”
Forgoing energy-efficient fixtures
“Things that are energy-efficient are great smaller investments for homes,” Herlong Loveless says. “A smart thermostat, energy efficient windows, insulation, and things like replacing light fixtures that are dated with newer sleek ones will really add value—and you can get nice-looking fixtures inexpensively if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg.”
Not only will this add value to your home, but energy-efficient fixtures around your house will help save money in the short-term by lowering your utility bills as well.
Failing to properly prepare for an open house
It seems obvious, but getting your home ready for showings can have a big impact on how potential buyers see themselves in the home that you’re trying to sell them.
“I recommend all my sellers have their home pre-inspected and repair any big-ticket items that could derail a contract by scaring off a buyer,” Herlong Loveless suggests. “If you don’t know the full condition of your home and you accept a contract, only to find that there’s $20,000 worth of repairs to be done, that may impact how negotiable you are or are not on the initial contract price.”
And sometimes, the best upgrades aren’t the biggest ones.
“It’s not always necessary to completely redecorate to add value, but if you add a few finishing touches that are very on-trend, it will allow a buyer to visualize the home,” Johnson says.