Sellers whose homes aren’t in tip-top shape may need to spend extra money or put in a little elbow grease to get their properties in market-ready condition. But what are the most important repair or maintenance tasks that support a higher asking price? “Smaller and less expensive updates in combination with good staging will have a great return,” Susanna Haynie, GRI, a sales associate with Colorado Real Estate Group in Colorado Springs, told HouseLogic. The National Association of REALTORS®’ consumer-facing news service highlighted some of the most important items to address before putting a home up for sale.
1. Fix flooring flaws. “Scratched-up wood flooring, ratty, outdated carpeting, and tired linoleum make your home feel sad,” the HouseLogic article notes. “Buyers might take one step inside and scratch the property from their list.” Most buyers don’t want the hassle of replacing carpet and may not accept a credit to cover the cost after the sale, Haynie says. When refinishing hardwood floors, for example, homeowners can expect to spend an average of $3,000 but recoup 100 percent of that cost at resale, according to NAR’s 2017 Remodeling Impact Report.
2. Repair water stains. The home’s plumbing issues may have long been resolved, but leftover water stains will mislead buyers into thinking the problems still exist. First, double-check that the problem truly is fixed, and then make any needed repairs to the walls or floors. Water-stained ceilings can cost about $670, on average, to fix. Drywall costs about $1.50 per square foot to repair.
3. Touch up the grout. Yellow or cracked grout can be a turnoff to buyers. New grout can make old floors look revived. “The best return-on-investment projects before selling a home involve making a home look like new,” Shelton Wilder, a sales associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Los Angeles, told HouseLogic. Bathroom re-grouting costs an average of $1 to $2 per square foot, increasing to $10 for more complex jobs.