Home Repairs That Sell Part 3 – Room By Room

Making Your Home Stand Out:
Room by Room Repairs

In Home Repairs That Sell Part 1 – San Antonio Curb Appeal, we discussed the general approach you should take on repairs to get your house ready to sell. Please take a minute to review it or check it out if you missed it.

In  Home Repairs Part 2 – Inside Your San Antonio House, we covered general issues throughout the house that should be checked and repaired if needed. These include lighting, paint & wallpaper, cabinets, and other items that could be located in any or all areas of your home.

In part 3 of the series, we will talk about the unique needs of each type of room in your house. When you have finished reading all three articles, you should be able to put together a thorough checklist, identify a realistic cost and time for completion of each item, and be ready to execute the plan.

Let’s take a quick look at the goal for each room, or type of room. The #1 rule: Each room should demonstrate it’s purpose. For example, if you store your athletic equipment in an unused bathroom, stow the stuff and make the bathroom look like a bathroom.


Goal: Everything clean and shiny; minimize reminders that you get the kitchen dirty with your food; appliances in good working order


Goal: Bedrooms should feel inviting and functional as bedrooms


Goal: Make the bathrooms look like new; minimize reminders that you live in the house and use the bathrooms

Master Suite

Goal: Top priority – make the master area look like a model home

Bonus Room

Goal: Don’t suggest a use – make it generic, uncluttered, and spacious

Making Your Kitchen
a Turn-On

One of the most important areas of focus is the kitchen. The buyer wants to see themselves leisurely preparing a meal and then breaking bread with family and friends. They like to see little touches in the kitchen that would really make their lives richer.

The biggest turn-off is a kitchen that looks like it has been abused or neglected. They can’t see past the problems to imagine themselves using and loving the kitchen.

The first thing that will stand out is the cleanliness of the kitchen – or lack thereof. There may be a stain on the counter from some long-forgotten disaster but, to the buyer, it makes the whole kitchen seem dirty and disgusting.

In the section above, we discussed the need for cabinet hardware to look attractive. Countertops are even more important. You may not need to replace your countertops, but you should not rule it out.
In addition to stains, counters that are broken, chipped, or warped can also give off that same aura of dirty. This might be one of your biggest projects as you get your house ready to sell, and one of the best payoffs.

If you think the counters are in pretty good shape, give them a deep clean and take note of the things that might make them seem dingy. If you have tile counters, re-grout them; if you have natural stone, clean and seal them; if you have formica, add a new, very thin layer of caulking along the seams.
The kitchen sink is said to hold more germs than a toilet, so it needs special attention to keep it from looking dirty. If it is stained, consider replacing it. If it is fine, re-grout or re-caulk around it. While you have the caulk handy, redo the caulk around the stove, if it is built-in, and any other areas that have previously been caulked.

The second thing that grabs the buyer’s attention is the condition of the appliances. If there is a knob that is damaged, worn, or missing altogether, it may cast doubt on the proper functioning of all the systems in the kitchen – or the entire house. If this happens, you have an additional challenge in your quest to be at the top of the buyer’s list.

It is fairly inexpensive to replace knobs, buttons, and switches. However, if your appliances are so old that replacement parts are no longer available, it is probably time to replace the appliances.

If you replace just one appliance, make sure the replacement matches the others. All of your appliances are probably the same age, so it makes more sense to replace them all. Nothing says “wonderful kitchen” like clean, shiny, matching appliances.

Making the Bedrooms
Look Like Bedrooms

You must assume that the buyer has no imagination; show them what each room is supposed to be. If you use each of the bedrooms as bedrooms – with a bed clearly visible – there is not much you need to do to your bedrooms beyond the cleaning, painting, and lighting discussed in last week’s post Home Repairs Part 2 – Inside Your San Antonio House.

If you have a bedroom that is not used as a bedroom and does not look like a bedroom, you will need to put in a little extra work to be sure the buyer can tell that it is a bedroom. Whether the room has been used as a playroom, a home theater, an office, or an art studio, it is best if you can pack all of that away so you can restore the room to its intended purpose.

The amount of work involved in reversing your re-purposing depends on the extent of the modifications you’ve made. If you have removed the closet doors to use the closet as an alcove for TV and electronic equipment, you need to re-hang the closet doors.

Your goal is to make sure the buyer can easily see that you have the number of bedrooms described in the listing for your home. As part of the staging process, you will need a bed or some kind of bed-like furniture in the room.

If you have an airbed or can borrow one, it is the ideal stand-in for a real bed. The next best thing is boxes that are identically sized, laid out in a rectangle approximately the size of a twin bed. If the bedroom is used as a playroom, a youth bed or even a pool-style air mattress on the floor will remind buyers that it is a bedroom.

Whatever you use as a bed, be sure to make it up with beautiful linens and luxurious pillows. Even if the buyer immediately realizes what you’ve done to create the look of a bed, they will already have registered that they are standing in a bedroom!

Making Bathrooms Look
Like New

Do you need to totally remodel your bathrooms? Probably not – unless they are in really bad shape. Cleaning and repairing will often do the trick.

As with the kitchen, your bathrooms should be squeaky clean and shiny – not stained or dirty. Replace countertops and sinks that are stained or worn.

If you have an ugly toilet that is stained or chipped, replace it. Otherwise, just replace all of the toilet seats with new ones that are easy to clean (plastic rather than wood). They aren’t that expensive and gleaming toilet seats can give the house a model home feel.

Take the model-home look a step further by replacing the towel racks, hooks, and toilet paper holders, and cabinet handles with matching or very similar hardware.

For tubs and showers, a lot can be done to make them look good without a major construction project. Deep-clean first and see what you have. Replace worn or discolored faucets and knobs, and re-grout and re-caulk. If the tub is chipped or shower tiles are broken, you might need to replace them.

Making Your Master Feel Like
a Model Home

If you can’t stretch the budget to do all of the repairs and replacements you feel are needed, it is easy to prioritize: The buyer – and decision-maker – will likely spend a lot of their downtime in the kitchen and the master suite. If you have to choose, re-tile the master bath shower and let the second bath remain imperfect but clean.

The same goes for carpeting, paint, and everything else you will do to get your house ready to sell. Make sure the kitchen, master bedroom, and master bath are in excellent condition, and do your best to minimize the impact of the things you cannot repair or replace.

Making Your Bonus Room
Homey & Generic

The bonus room is an odd duck. It can be used in so many ways, and every buyer has their own ideas about how to use the space. People with children will see a bonus room much differently than those who do not, and people who work from home may see it as an office while others see it as a pool room.

The goal in getting your bonus room ready to show is simple: Make it look as neutral and generic as possible, so the buyer can use their imagination about what the room will do for them. If the room has built-ins, pack away most of your personal items. clean and re-paint or re-stain the built-ins, and replace your personal items with a handful non-committal, multi-purpose items such as books, flowers, bowls, and vases.

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.

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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