The Most Noticeable Things to Fix Around the House Before Putting Your Home on the Market

ESTATENVY highlights immediate detractors to potential buyers and their surprisingly inexpensive solutions.

There’s no hard and fast rule for which aspects of a house will get a buyer the highest return on their investment, but there are a number of upgrades potential buyers expect to be done prior to purchasing that can impact the point of sale.

A home may seem like it’s in mint condition to a seller, but personal, stylized factors are preventing its valuation. For example, emerald green might be one homeowner’s favorite color, but when potential buyers walk into a bathroom covered from tub to toilet in green, all they see is the money they’ll need to spend on renovations to bring this alien bathroom back to earth.

This is where a home staging expert can help play an integral role. They aid in identifying a homeowner’s to-do list prior to potential buyers walking through the door. And while this process often involves muting decorations and rearranging furniture, this can also mean pointing out flaws in construction, color scheme and lighting that are causing buyers to walk out the door.

Showhomes franchisee and interior design expert Nancy Jones gave us insight into the top eyesores for buyers, how to make alterations without breaking the bank and explained how this can ultimately lead to a higher net profit.

First, it’s vital to understand that the sale starts from the doorstep.

“When selling a home, if the owner doesn’t have curb appeal, he or she has immediately lost interest from potential buyers,” said Jones. “If the lawn is overgrown, flower beds are a mess, and the sidewalks are dirty because they haven’t been pressure washed, vetting buyers are going to drive past the house without a second glance. You have to win them over from the moment they spot that ‘For Sale’ sign on your lawn.”

According to Jones, once a homeowner entices a buyer to visit the interior, the three main focal points for a sale are the kitchen, master bathroom and master bedroom.

The kitchen over the years has become a highlight for entertaining and for family interaction. Open-concept kitchens that offer plenty of countertop space and seating allow potential buyers to envision this “center stage,” so to speak, as a gathering spot for their family, friends and guests. With old appliances or flooring, dated countertops and dim lighting, this can detract from the visual appeal and make daydreaming more difficult for yearning party planners.

“Because of the fast-paced world we all live in, homeowners these days aren’t looking for fixer uppers. They want the hard work to be done prior to move-in day,” said Jones. “Countertops are often the quickest fix and the greatest face lift a seller can make before putting your home on the market. Buyers want low maintenance surfaces with high-class visual appeal. Solid surfaces like granite and quartz with new lighting above it can make your kitchen sparkle without having to renovate the entire space.”

While the kitchen is the stage, the master bath and bedroom are the oasis.

“This is your retreat at the end of a long day. If someone walks in and the carpet is stained, hardwood is scratched or the color-scheme is out of control, chances are the seller is going to have a hard time finding their Zen,” said Jones. “Focus on cleaning up the flooring and neutralizing the color palette. Buyers need to be able to envision their stuff in your space, not necessarily just in the bedroom but throughout the whole house.”

From here, it’s about focusing on personal touches like updating the faucets and fixtures, putting new knobs on cabinetry and placing decorative towels and blankets instead of those used daily. Even proper lighting can make an impact.

“Make sure when looking at your lighting that all of the bulbs in each room are the same wattage. Luminosity can be so important to how each room is viewed,” said Jones. “Something as small and simple as this can influence visual appeal.”

By implementing changes ahead of time instead of waiting for feedback from buyers, sellers are ultimately saving money and improving their rate of investment three-fold according to Jones.

A lot of people don’t realize that the money invested up front on updates, like on flooring or transitioning to a more neutral color palette, will get you three times the return from a buyer,” she said. “Say you spend $10,000 to make some of these changes, you could easily get $30,000 to $40,000 back, ultimately saving yourself a lot of money and the possible headache of finding this out later on when the seller negotiates the price down just for the inconvenience of having to get it done.”