Should You Update Your Home Before You List?

Most people have wandered through new home developments and wished their own home looked as modern and chic. Newer homes showcase the latest upgrades and decorating trends; for home sellers these homes are their competition, and it can feel daunting to list with an older floor plan and design.

While it might seem like a smart idea to simply offer a buyer credit and list your property, there are downsides to this plan and taking the time to update a bit on your own first could mean your house selling faster, and adding thousands of dollars in your pocket.

Here are a few reasons why offering a buyer credit might not be the best strategy:

• Buyer Impression – A dated home looks old and not all buyers can see the potential.

• Lower Offers – Offering a credit could be viewed as high seller motivation, resulting in
lower offers.

• Value Differences – You and your buyer might disagree on the value of needed upgrades. For example, you might feel $7,500 is a fair cost for a new countertop whereas your buyers might expect considerably more; this can lead to more
negotiations and lower sales price.

• Home Condition – A property that shows its age can prompt the buyer to worry about the overall condition.

• Loan Approval – Lenders are wary of buyer credits; in fact, upgrade credits are no longer possible. You might have a buyer unable to take advantage of the credit at all and you could lose the buyer.

Home design trends change quickly. If you’re ready to sell, it could be tempting just to list your home in its current condition. Before you just add a credit to the listing, consider some simple updating so your buyers can see the value of your home. 

Some of the best value upgrades that I recommend to my clients include: a fresh coat of paint; refinishing outdated kitchen cupboards; replacing old light fixtures; tearing out worn carpets and installing laminate flooring. Whatever upgrades you decide to do, ensure that they're neutral and timeless so you can appeal to as many buyers as possible.

For more tips on how to prep your home for sale, download my free Seller's Checklist here.