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    Listing Your Home: Fix It Up or Fixer Upper?

    If you’re thinking of selling your home, and if it’s in less than stellar condition, you’ve probably asked yourself: Should I fix up my house before listing, or list it as a “fixer upper”?

    There’s no hard and fast answer, and the route you go will depend on numerous factors like the condition of your home, the strength of the market in your area, and the potential profit to be made both with and without updates. These tips will help you decide whether to sell now or later.

    Consider your buyer

    The words “fixer upper” might actually be a selling point for some buyers who perceive they’re getting a deal, who are specifically looking for something they can put their stamp on, or who just can’t afford to buy something turnkey. The marketing your agent does is key here so you don’t end up with unacceptable offers.

    If your home needs A LOT of work and you can’t, or don’t want to, put the time, money, and effort into getting it in top condition, targeting investors could get it sold quickly. Since flipping is more popular than ever, a home that needs work – especially certain kinds of work – may be attractive enough to investors that you don’t have to do any work at all.

    Get an honest assessment – and be able to hear it

    If you’ve lived in your home for quite some time and/or haven’t kept up with updates and repairs, your real estate agent’s assessment of its condition and the recommendations he or she makes to get it market-ready may be eye-opening. They may also make you angry. Try to listen and keep an open mind, even if you feel offended. In the end, you share the same goal, which is to get your home sold for the best possible price.

    Be realistic on pricing

    Finding out your home’s value isn’t as simple as subtracting the cost of repairs from your home. If your home needs some sprucing up, you’re likely going to have to incentivize buyers to dig in and get their hands dirty.

    It may be that fixing your home up makes the most sense because of the financial upside. In presenting you with comparables, your agent should be able to show you other properties in your area in varying conditions (depending on the number of active listings or recently sold homes near you). This will help inform the pricing for your home and also give you some idea of how much you’d have to put into it to get top dollar. Now all you have to do is come up with the money!

    Choose your updates wisely

    A $30,000 kitchen renovation may not be in the budget and may not give you the return on investment you’re looking for, but there are smaller updates you can do to your kitchen to make it look fresh (and, you can use the same principles in other important areas, like bathrooms). Better Homes and Gardens has a great list of updates you can make for under $2,000, including hanging a pendant that “illuminates the sink area” and swapping out a tired sink for a “farmhouse sink (that) adds character to the space.” Also think about painting cabinets and installing new hardware, and, if you’re up to the task, adding an eye-catching backsplash.

    Make necessary repairs

    Investors aren’t expecting perfection, and their offers will be based on the condition of your home and the potential profit they can make once it’s fixed up. Non-investor types looking for a deal may not necessarily be scared off by a few cosmetic issues, but major repairs that are needed are another story. If you’re looking for the smartest place to put your pre-sale renovation dollars, this may be it.

    Use Corbett & Co’s resources

    Considering some upgrades but don’t have the upfront cash? That’s where we come in. We recently launched Refresh by Corbett & Co., a full service, pre-listing program designed to present your home in the best possible light while minimizing the additional work and expense for you. Learn more about our program here.

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