What to Fix and What Not to Fix Before Listing Your Maryland Home

December 1, 2023

The housing market in Maryland is competitive. With housing supply down 13.3% in 2023, homes are selling above list price more frequently. In 2023, 41.3% of homes in Maryland sold above the listing price. As prices increase, a well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing home is more attractive to buyers.

Investing in home improvements before selling can maximize the property’s market value and get your home sold faster. On average, home remodeling projects yield a 69% return on investment. The right home improvements can become the competitive edge that drives more favorable offers and a larger pool of potential buyers.

Well-thought-out improvements can significantly increase the marketability and value of your home – ensuring you get the best return on your investment when you sell. This blog walks through how to get your house ready to sell by prioritizing improvements that align with current trends while also addressing any issues with the home’s functionality or appeal.

Home Selling Tips: 4 Things to Do Before Selling Your House

1.   Evaluate your home’s condition from the point of view of a buyer.

Potential buyers form their first impressions quickly. Plus, buyers negotiate on price based on the current condition of the home. Existing issues could pose hurdles during the negotiation process, slowing down the sale of your home. Conduct an assessment of your home to ensure a smooth sale – at the maximum value.

Address these common issues that buyers often notice:

  • Ensure the home’s facade is well-kept: Make a great first impression with an attractive exterior, a well-kept lawn, and a roof in good condition.
  • Update interior fixtures: Upgrading interiors is a cost-effective way to enhance the appeal of your home. These simple improvements can create a cohesive and modern look throughout the space. Consider installing modern lighting fixtures, smart home appliances, contemporary faucets, new hardware, or custom window treatments that match the latest trends and the overall style of your home.
  • Freshen-up odors: Lived-in homes often have smells that can be a turn-off to buyers. Whether unpleasant smells originate from furry friends, smoking, or mold, addressing these issues can increase the appeal of your home.
  • Address outstanding maintenance issues: Deferred maintenance could signal neglect to potential buyers. Ensure the home is clean and well-maintained, free of issues like peeling paint or a broken fence.

By conducting a thorough inspection of your home and addressing these issues, you set the stage for a smooth home sale process. These home improvements make your home more desirable in a competitive market.

2.   Address major home repairs that could jeopardize offers.

Leaks, faulty wiring, outdated plumbing, or cracks in the foundation are red flags to buyers. Issues like these can limit the marketability of the home and ultimately lead to price reductions. When preparing to sell a house, focusing on the right repairs can significantly increase the financial return on your investment.

Prioritize these essential home repairs:

  • Repair roof damage: A well-maintained roof is a major selling point – and it’s a great strategy to prevent potential buyers from negotiating the price down. Although roof repairs and replacement can be costly, homeowners who invest in these projects recover 71% of their funds.
  • Resolve structural concerns: Structural issues can compromise the safety of a home, and failure to disclose known issues can result in legal action and financial repercussions. It can also cause buyers to drop out of a potential sale or significantly reduce the price. Taking proactive steps to address structural concerns streamlines the selling process and maximizes the value of your home.
  • Address water damage: Maryland homeowners are also required to inform buyers of previous water damage. Over time, water damage can weaken the foundation, walls, and other structural components of a home. Plus, stains and peeling paint caused by water damage can detract from the aesthetic appeal. Increase the likelihood of attracting quality buyers by investing in waterproofing and addressing signs of damage.

In other words, address the red flags.Ensure buyers feel confident in the home’s structural integrity. A home with major flaws like these is more challenging to market to buyers.

3.   Invest in home improvements buyers adore.

Focus on strategic home improvements that address both aesthetic appeal and the functional aspects of the home. To maximize the return on your investment, focus on creating a great first impression for buyers with an attractive exterior and living spaces designed for busy families.

Home improvements to consider when getting your home ready to sell:

  • Enhance the curb appeal of your home while improving energy efficiency: Durable and energy-efficient siding enhances both the appearance and insulation of your home, while a new garage door or front door can immediately modernize its curb appeal. Additionally, these projects are some of the most cost-effective improvements homeowners can make, recouping over 95% of their costs at sale time. Enhancements like these attract energy-conscious buyers, and increase the value of your home.
  • Refresh high-traffic areas like the kitchen or bathrooms: Even basic upgrades like refreshing countertops, replacing faucets, or adding a new coat of paint can become key selling points. Reports reveal that kitchen and bath remodels don’t need to be complete overhauls to net a healthy return on investment (ROI). New countertops, floors, and cabinets can deliver up to an 86% ROI

Explore enhancements that add value to your home. A well-maintained and visually appealing exterior ensures your home leaves a great first impression on buyers, while interior upgrades demonstrate the comfort and function of the home – ensuring families can envision their future there.

4.   Avoid costly improvements that add little value.

On a limited budget, it’s essential to focus on investing in home improvements that increase the value and marketability of your home. Perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine the cost-effectiveness of each project. 

What not to fix when selling a house:

  • Reversing personalized upgrades: Highly personalized upgrades don’t appeal to a wide range of buyers. However, reversing these upgrades may not be worth the money it costs. Take the time to evaluate if the cost of undoing personalized upgrades is justified by the potential increase in the home’s market value.
  • Overhauling the flooring: Flooring choices, whether carpet, wood, or laminate, can be highly subjective. Investing heavily in a particular flooring type might not align with the preferences of potential buyers. Instead, homeowners might consider more cost-effective cosmetic improvements like professional cleaning or repairing minor damages.
  • Fixing minor wear and tear: Buyers are on the lookout for major red flags, so they’re not likely to be bothered by small cosmetic flaws around the house. While buyers are likely to be willing to address cosmetic concerns on their own, they’re often hesitant to take on major repairs after purchasing a home. Prioritizing major repairs allows buyers to feel more confident in their purchase decisions.

Weigh the cost of the home improvement project you’re considering against the potential increase in the home’s market value. Consult with Maryland real estate professionals to learn more about local trends, and consider renovating your home based on the buyer demographics common in your neighborhood.

Financing your renovation with SECU Home Improvement Loans

Significant home improvements often translate to increased property value. Home improvement loans provide the financial flexibility homeowners need to fund renovations without straining their immediate budget.

SECU offers flexible, competitive-rate financing options that give homeowners the power to undertake home improvements that can substantially increase their property value.

Assess your project needs and choose a financing option that aligns with your goals. Options include home improvement loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC). Selecting the right one is crucial. Find out how to decide which funding option is best for you in our guide to home improvement loans.

Learn more about SECU Home Improvement Loans.

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