Why everyone should treat their house like a flip

fixer upper

{photo credit: Fixer Upper}

You guys, this renovation is stressFUL. It’s also awesome and it also sometimes kind of sucks. But I signed up for this and really, I’m super excited about the project and doing this ‘flip’.

Honestly, it might just be my personal preference, but I’d rather take on a huge fixer upper in a house or building that has boatloads of potential, or has ‘beautiful bones’ that has just been a bit neglected, than a newer property.

But that’s just me, and the truth is that you don’t have to take on a huge project in order to add value to your home. You don’t even have to have everything updated, as there is a huge market of people who want to do some updating on their own. But even if you aren’t so gung-ho about jumping into a full rehab, you should still look at your house like a fixer upper…

Take a minute and put yourself in a buyer’s shoes. It’s definitely a different way to look at a space, you have to step out of that intimate familiarity and be objective. What is old, what might be at the end or past it’s expected life?

Is that furnace 25 years old? A buyer isn’t going to love that. It’s true that people don’t usually replace things like the furnace or air conditioning until it dies, but at a certain point ~ especially if you are getting ready to sell ~ it’s worth replacing. Would you love that if you were buying a new place that probably needs other updating too? If someone has to pick between spending money on fun updates or living with an outdated kitchen for longer because they have to spend money on a furnace and water heater first, they might just keep looking.

Has it been ten years since you last painted? Be honest, if you have crazy bold colors or walls that are scuffed up and dirty, spend the money to repaint. It’s probably one of the cheapest things you can do that makes the biggest difference.

Take care of all small annoying repairs before they set a bad tone at showings or in an inspection and become unnecessarily stressful during your sale. Literally, walk around your house, do all the drains flow easily, all faucets function properly, all the lightbulbs work, are there any outlet covers missing?

Unless you are getting ready to sell a house that is under ten years old and was purchased as new construction, there will definitely be things that you can do to spiff up your space and add value. Sometimes it’s as simple as investing in a new coat of paint, and sometimes it’s just some unsexy improvements like replacing an old furnace or water heater.

One of the biggest challenge I see sellers face is when they have deferred maintenance and then have a hard time when a buyer doesn’t want to pay a premium for the space because they are anticipating having to spend money on repairs. That’s a tough pill to swallow, and often it’s worth a little spending up front to get as much of a premium as possible when an offer comes in.

How long have you lived in your house? Have you been diligent about routine maintenance and are you objective about what condition everything is in? If you are planning on selling anytime in the next few years, it’s 100% worthwhile to take a walk through your space in the buyers shoes and take stock of what needs some attention that could make all the difference when it’s time to go on the market!

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