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The Front Porch Blog

Education on all things homeownership

Home Repairs You Must Do Before You Sell

August 18, 2021 Blog, Home Selling
woman is kneeling while using a paint roller to paint a white wall with pink paint color

5 issues you need to fix before putting your home on the market.

In a sellers' market, it can be tempting to turn a blind eye to little repairs and let the next owner deal with them—after all, there are plenty of buyers willing to overlook a few flaws, right?

While that may be true, those tiny not-quite-right items in your home can add up to a negative impression, and make buyers wonder what else has been neglected in the home—and prompt lower offers as a result.

If you are getting your home ready to sell, you're better off fixing these issues now. And even if you aren't ready to sell, why not take a tour of your home with a buyer's eye, and fix those irritating repairs now so you can enjoy your home while boosting its value? Here are five must-do fixes that offer big returns on your time and money.

Tidy up the exterior.

Curb appeal is a big deal: a new study found that curb appeal can boost a home's value by seven percent—in most markets that translates to tens of thousands of dollars. A freshly painted front door, neatly trimmed hedges, planters with flowers, a power-washed porch, and a neatly edged sidewalk can work wonders.

If your lawn is in less-than-great shape, consider having some re-seeding done or even sod laid for a quick fix; at the least, get it fertilized, watered, and neatly mowed, and pull weeds from any landscaping or driveway areas.

Wash your windows.

Clean windows allow more light in and make a room look brighter and inviting. And dirty or smudged windows can create a funky glare in photos when your home is being photographed by your realtor, so be sure to tackle windows both inside and out. Professional window cleaners can help with those tricky exteriors, but you can easily give your windows a good scrubbing on the inside. Plain old newspaper and vinegar work great without leaving streaks. Pro tip: Wash on a cloudy day. Sunny days may reveal our windows' smudges and tempt us to clean, but the warmth from the sun can make the window cleaner dry in a streaky pattern.

Refresh your paint.

Paint is the lowest-cost improvement with the highest rate of return, so almost 40 percent of home sellers choose to do it before potential buyers arrive for their first visit. A nice coat of neutral or on-trend colored paint can give the entire house a facelift, and buyers love to see freshly painted walls.

Fix your floors.

Stained carpet and scratched or worn hardwood can make an entire room feel shabby and sad. According to a report by Zillow, floor repairing is an improvement that 26 percent of the homeowners make before they sell because it can add an instant update and feel fresh and clean.

If your carpet is mismatched from room to room or more than 10 years old, it might be worth replacing. If that's out of the budget, a good professional cleaning can work wonders and de-funk the smells hiding deep in the fibers.

For hardwood floors, refinishing can make them look brand new and could add thousands to your selling price. But refinishing is also a bit of a messy and disruptive process, and if that's not in the cards, consider hiring a pro or DIYing some spot repairs. Free tutorials abound online, and you'll need only sandpaper, stain, and polyurethane to tackle individual planks that are peeling, faded, or scratched.

Check the roof.

A roof with loose shingles, bare spots, or sagging gutters can signal a host of problems to potential buyers and create opportunities for rot and mold. Be sure to give your roof a good going over, and check for leaks, rot, pests, or hail damage. Pro tip: some major damage such as hail might be covered under your homeowner's insurance policy, so be sure to check before you hire a roofer.

Even if you don't plan to sell right away, tackling these home repairs will increase your home value and your enjoyment. And if selling is in your future, you'll be in the best position to get the highest possible offer on your home.