Usually, it goes like this: During a listing appointment I take a tour of the house and I make recommendations on what the sellers can do to make their home sell faster and/or for a higher price (the two are inter-related).
My recommendations usually involve things like getting rid of clutter (a good rule of thumb is that closets, cabinets, and shelves should all be no more than half-full, all other flat surfaces – tables, counters, etc. – shouldn’t be full at all), sometimes I’ll have them put a table or chair in storage to open up the floor space and to make the room feel larger, and I’ll always tell them to take down any personal pictures and other personalized items (you don’t want the buyers to feel like they are in your house – you want them to feel they are in their house).
Beyond that, if it is necessary, I’ll make some small suggestions as to how they can stage the home a little better. And if necessary, I’ll tell them what they can do to spruce up the house (if the carpets can get away with only a steam clean – then do that, otherwise replace them – and a fresh coat of paint is always a good idea) and we always take a tour of the yard to discuss landscaping. And if the appliances are more than 15 or 20 years old, those might need to be updated as well.
Almost always, a buyer will ask if they should do something major (remodel the bathroom, remodel the kitchen, build a deck, etc.) – my advice is not to do it.
And the reason for this is “the typical buyer spent $4,350 on home improvement projects within the first three months of buying the home. Repeat buyers spent more than first-time buyers.
“Nearly half of home buyers remodeled or made improvements to their kitchen.
“Close to half remodeled or improved a bathroom in that time frame.”
This is all from data collected in a survey of people who bought a home from late 2005 to early 2007 done by the National Association of Realtors.
It is true that in today’s markets buyers are expecting a house to be in move-in condition. Everything has to work and nothing can be broken – but every homeowner has their own ideas on what they want done in their house: whether it is a certain kind of appliances in their kitchen, or a special kind of whirlpool bath.
The point is, neither you as the seller or me as the agent can anticipate exactly what the buyers expectations are going to be, so we shouldn’t try.
Get your house ready to move-in by fixing it up the things that need to be fixed up, but you don’t need to do anything major.