Home Repairs That Sell Part 1 – San Antonio Curb Appeal

Repairs to Make Before You
List Your House

It can be overwhelming – all the things that need to be cleaned, repaired or replaced before you can list your house for sale. Just keep in mind – no one expects your house to be brand-new; it became a used house the day the first owner unlocked the door and walked in.

Prioritizing is the key. You can’t do everything, so choose the ones that are absolutely necessary, and the ones that are doable, won’t break the bank, and will give your house a “wow” vibe. There are two basic goals you must meet in order to get top dollar on the sale.

Visual Appeal: Make sure the house puts the best foot forward. De-clutter, deep-clean, and polish until you are proud of the overall sparkle and feel. If necessary, make minor replacements such as light fixtures, window screens, and towel racks.

Good Condition: Make sure the house is structurally sound and that all of its pieces and parts function properly. This should have been done regularly throughout the time you have lived in the house; if you have been putting off repairs such as repairing water damage after a leak was fixed or replacing the ballast in the fluorescent light fixture in the garage.

Major Repairs

If there are major repairs needed – like foundation problems or the need to re-plumb the house – you will be required to list these issues on the disclosure form the buyer will receive soon after you have accepted their earnest money. A word of caution: This is not the time to do a half-hearted DIY job. Have the work done by a professional who will guarantee the work.

Your real estate agent can guide you on the best way to go about the repairs so that you maximize the sale price and minimize the buyer’s concerns. If a buyer knows there was a problem and that it was repaired by a reputable contractor – and there are receipts to prove it – they will be more likely to disregard the history and move forward with the purchase.

Keep It Simple

What we are not talking about is doing major, expensive remodeling projects that will not add much to the market value of the house. If you are considering a project that is not absolutely necessary and requires a general contractor, you should probably abandon the idea.

For example, swimming pools are popular in San Antonio and can give you a slight edge over a similar house without a pool. But pool construction will never pay for itself and the amount of value it adds is pennies on the dollar for what you have spent to build the pool.

In most cases, you are advised to build a pool if you really want one and plan to live in the house for several years so you can enjoy the pool – but do not add a pool just before your house goes on the market, in the hopes that it will increase the sale price of your home.

The same applies to most of the major home improvement projects you can imagine. Add-ons and bump-outs, total redesign of the kitchen or a bathroom, attic bedroom conversions, and building an unattached guest house are examples of renovations you don’t need to do in order to sell your house.

First Impressions:
Curb Appeal

Exterior Paint, Siding, & Veneer

First impressions last forever – especially if a potential buyer is so turned off they won’t get out of the car. Start by renting a power-washer and get the outside of your house really clean; then you can tell what else needs to be done to the exterior. Don’t skimp on repainting or replacing any area that shows wear, stains, or damage.

You should definitely plan to repaint the trim around windows and doors. If you’re lucky, the power wash brought out the sparkle and shine without re-painting the body of the house – if it has been freshly painted in the last couple of years.

If you have siding, brick, or veneer, check it over carefully for signs of warping, breaking, or other damage. Replace if needed. Unsightly brick can be covered by a budget-friendly veneer, and you don’t have to buy the top-of-the-line siding.

Landscaping & Outdoor Lighting

Spend a little, get a lot! If the outside of the house looks fresh and clean, buyers will be enthusiastic about looking at the inside.

It is not terribly expensive to clean out flowerbeds and add fresh, stunning mulch. Trim back shrubs and small trees so they are neat, but – for the safety of your family and your home – have a tree service take care of the big trees and bushes.

If you do not currently use a lawnmowing service, hire one to get your lawn into tip-top shape, and then come back every week while the house is for sale. They will edge, fertilize, and remove weeds so that the yard is as luscious and green as possible (depending on the season).

If you expect to go on the market in the fall or winter, your trees will likely be bare and your grass dormant. Offset the dreary feel by adding some colorful, yet tasteful holiday decorations or accent pieces. A green chair, a bright yellow side table, and a red bow on the tree can do a lot!

NOTE: When buyers are motivated or in a time crunch, they will often drive by your house while they are waiting for the appointment to get inside for a showing. They may drive by when it is dark, so you want them to see enough to whet their appetite.

Make sure all of the lighting around your house is clean and in good working order. Replace dim bulbs with the brightest bulbs you and your neighbors can stand.

If you don’t have many built-in lights around the outside of your home, you can buy inexpensive floodlights that sit on a stake in the ground and are powered by an indoor/outdoor extension cord. Aim them at the front door, colorful flowerbeds, freshly stained gates, and the garage door; in other words, try to showcase the great features that are visible in the daylight.

Fencing, Deck, Patio, & Porch

A fresh coat of paint on the front door will do wonders – especially if a candy apply red or robin’s egg blue works with your color scheme. A silk floral arrangement or holiday wreath will send out welcoming vibes and give buyers a sense of comfort and tranquility.

The side and back yards are always important, not only if they are visible from the street. A wonderful front yard and miserable back yard can be a disappointment to your buyers, and a peeling or leaning fence can send them running.

The Bottom line: Make everything about your house shout, “I am loved!” Paint or re-stain the fence if it needs it, and replace broken or wobbly posts. Re-stain wood decking to match the fence, and powerwash cement patios, and consider covering them with inexpensive outdoor carpet or astroturf.

Texas Real Estate Market Metrics:
The Upshot

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get your house ready to sell. You just need to know what is important so you can prioritize your time and resources.

Curb appeal – the first impression you will make with buyers – should be at the top of your priority list. Getting it right may make or break your ability to sell quickly, for a fair price.

Your first step is to reach out to a great realtor® if you have not already done so. They can guide you through the process of making your home attractive and appealing to potential buyers. That’s what I call…

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Andrew Barlowe Realtor Vortex Realty

Andrew Barlowe

2241 NW Military Hwy STE 302 San Antonio, TX 78213 210.420.8420

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