Regardless of market conditions, home sellers get top dollar when their home is move-in ready, and sell at a discount as the to-do list grows.
The least-expensive activity that pays off the best is to clean. Everything. Kitchens and baths should be spotless – no mold, missing or discolored caulk, rusty or stained sinks or tubs or toilets – spotless. Pristine, even.
Gutters, basements, garage – clean, clean, clean.
If it won’t clean, then paint it. If you can’t draw a color wheel from memory, stick with neutrals, but paint. Entries, door jambs, places where pictures have hung for a decade. Clean, or paint.
If it’s broken, fix it! Light fixtures, switch plates, appliances (well, we never use the back burner), windows or screens or screen doors or whatever – fix it! If you don’t fix it, then you’ve got a “fix-er!”
If you can’t clean or fix it, replace it! A dirty stove or bathtub costs more than a new one; maybe that vinyl floor in the kitchen’s time is up.
Some things just need to be replaced: old water heaters and gas furnaces will be called by inspectors, and the buyers will get (and trust) bids that are higher than yours. Sometimes, an oven or fridge just won’t clean up.
Your home only has one chance to make a good first impression – make sure the paint is in good condition, the gutters and roof are clean, and the walkways are clear. Trees should be carefully pruned; landscaping should be meticulous.
Prospective buyers are looking for reasons to reject your house. To successfully sell – don’t give ’em any!