Preparing Your Home For Sale

Steps to Spruce Up Your Property

When preparing to sell your home, the first impression is often the most important. Spend some time improving the interior and exterior appearance before placing it on the market to increase the chances of a swifter sale at a better price.

The Basics

  • A thorough cleaning, a fresh coat of paint and yard grooming are the ABC's of preparing for a sale.
  • Plan a yard-sale, or make a tax-deductible donation to remove old furniture and toys, appliances and other clutter material.
  • A newly painted wall (in a light or neutral shade) is a canvas to the eye of prospective buyers; and clean windows brighten and enlarge each room.
  • A well clipped yard - free of scattered toys - allows viewers to focus on the neatness of the home.
  • Fix dripping faucets and repair any caulking cracks. Bathrooms are a key selling point.

Cost-Effective Improvements

If you are prepared to invest some money to improve your home's presentation, start with the most cost-effective projects and keep a journal of jobs and receipts. Many home improvement costs are deductible when costs are incurred 90 days before the sale and paid within 30 days after the sale). Some hints:

  • Replace broken gutters and shutters.
  • New paint indoors or out is usually approved by the IRS for deduction if completed and paid for near the time of sale.
  • New floor coverings (in neutral shades) on kitchen and bathroom floors may be another affordable investment which can speed a sale by appealing to buyers' desire for a property that is 'ready to move in,' particularly if the current style of colors are dated.
  • Repair broken woodwork, loose planks, and creaky stairs. No buyer wants a home that needs structural repairs.
  • Hardwood floors are a plus. If you have hardwood floors, consider removing the floor covering, especially if the carpet is worn.

You may want to reconsider more ambitious jobs. While bathroom and kitchen up-grades generally help appreciation, not all home additions will add value to the property. Talk to your REALTOR® about the improvements most appropriate in current market conditions.

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Copyright Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with Permission.