Naturally, everyone selling a home wants to realize the highest dollar possible from the sale. What that dollar might be will depend on its size, location, amenities, and the condition of the home when it comes on the market.
All other things being equal, homes that command "Top Dollar" stand out in that they have been well- maintained and updated periodically to keep up with the trends.
Your home is most likely to command top dollar if:
- The heating and cooling systems have been serviced regularly. If the unit is more than 15 years old, it might require replacement.
- The water heater is in good condition. Units more than 10 years old should be replaced.
- The roof and flashings have been inspected and tuned up every 5 years to be sure there are no leaks. A roof that is 20-25 years old might need to be replaced.
- The front door of the property should be in excellent condition with fresh paint and updated hardware.
- Both interior and exterior paint looks bright and is free from chipping, peeling or scuffs. Stucco does not always need new paint, but window and door trim should be repainted regularly.
- The windows and sliding glass doors are in prime condition – No cracks or broken seals in double pane windows. Single pane windows should be replaced. Screens should also be in good condition and free of rips or tears.
- Garage doors are metal – not wood, and are dent-free.
- Kitchens and baths have been updated, including cabinetry, appliances, fixtures, flooring, lighting, and hardware. Replace any fixtures that show corrosion or do not function.
- All kitchen and bathroom cabinets should be clean and free of any wear or damage.
- All bath and shower surrounds should be free of hard-water build up.
- Carpet should be clean and not worn. If carpet is stained or worn, it may require replacement.
- All lights (interior and exterior) and overhead fixtures should function and be in working condition.
- The home has had regular termite inspections and, if necessary, treated every 3-5 years.
- Septic systems have been pumped and re-certified every 5 years.
- The driveway is clean and in good condition; fencing is in good condition/free of dry-rot and stands straight.
- All landscaping should be thriving and well maintained. Mulch should be placed as needed. No dead plants or drought-impacted grass. All exterior landscaping lights should function.
- Any pool or spa is in good, working condition with no defects in any of its systems.
- The house should be spotless prior to showings. The house and windows should be professionally cleaned prior to launch if needed.
- If the home was built 1980 or prior, the main drain-line should be scoped to confirm no tree roots or blockages have impacted the system.
"As-is" represents a home that has been lived in and loved, but has deferred maintenance and/or has not been updated to meet today's Buyer wants and wishes.
As you go through the list above, consider where your home fits. If it has all or most of the items listed, you will likely command top dollar. If not, a prospective buyer will view it as an "As- is" property and will consider the cost of repairs and/or updates when making an offer.
Some sellers do opt to take care of deferred maintenance issues just prior to listing. Some also choose to make upgrades in order to command top dollar.
Think about your own goals and whether the increase in sales price will justify the effort and expense of upgrades. Your listing agent should be happy to discuss this issue with you, and to give you a list of local contractors who can estimate the cost of upgrades.
Your listing agent's goal is to sell your home as quickly as possible. Accurate pricing with regard to the home's size, location, amenities, and condition will make that possible.
As a seller, understanding the market and looking at your home through a buyers eyes will keep you from forming unrealistic expectations and help you make wise decisions in pricing.