Picture: Cole Ankney
When you decide to put your property on the market, it’s important to understand that you might view it from a different perspective than buyers. You likely see a much-loved home that has served your family well for many years, while prospective purchasers see a blank canvas for how they’ll make it their own.
What buyers are looking for might also be much different from what you were looking for when you purchased it for your own family. Everyone is on a unique property-hunting journey, but most buyers searching for a family home would agree that they’re looking for some of the following:
A Problem-Free Home
Many busy families don’t typically want to purchase a home requiring immediate repairs and maintenance. If they see mold growth on roof materials, rotting wood, or any other significant issues that take time, energy, and money to fix, they might be more inclined to purchase a house without such problems.
Any homeowners trying to sell their family home with problems requiring attention might like to consider rectifying them before putting their house on the market. The fewer problems your property has, the easier it might be to sell, and the sooner you might start your new property chapter.
A Desirable Location
You can’t help where your property is located. It can sometimes be frustrating when neighboring properties or structures bring down your neighborhood’s value, affecting your property’s desirability in the process.
While buyers are indeed often looking for a desirable location on their property-buying journey, you’re not doomed to own your home forever just because your home doesn’t fulfill that requirement. Sometimes, you can ensure a quick sale by pricing your property accordingly. You can also describe the many positive things about the area, such as:
- Natural attractions
- Proximity to life’s necessities
Excellent Curb Appeal
The curb appeal of a property can say a lot about a property. Don’t let your home’s exterior disappoint prospective purchasers before they’ve even had a chance to step inside. View your property as if you were a buyer hoping to make it your new home.
Pay attention to potential flaws and undesirable features, like peeling fence paint, dripping spouting, and overgrown gardens. Once you’ve addressed these issues, you can set the scene for the more exciting features buyers can expect when they enter your home.
Heating and Cooling Units
Heating and cooling units are necessary in any home to ensure homeowner comfort at all times of the year. Many buyers are looking at these to see if they’re in working order, will continue functioning as they should for years to come, and have had regular maintenance.
If your HVAC unit is reaching the end of its service life, consider upgrading before you put your house on the market. You can then enjoy knowing that heating and cooling is one less thing for your buyers to worry about.
Minimal Hazardous Materials
Most homeowners want to keep their loved ones safe, and it can all begin with their home environment. Many people on their property-buying journey enlist the services of home inspectors to look for potentially hazardous substances that might impact their family’s health and well-being.
There can be a number of them lurking in the average American home, including asbestos, lead, mold, and radon. If you’re worried about a house sale being held up by the discovery of hazardous substances or materials, consider booking a home inspector before listing your house for sale.
They can identify anything of concern and advise on how to rectify it. Home inspectors can also identify problems with other parts of your home that you might like to address before a sale, such as:
- Roofing issues
- Faulty electrical wiring
- HVAC system problems
- Dry rot
- Structural damage
- Drainage and plumbing problems
Updated Kitchens and Bathrooms
Paint, wallpaper, and flooring are all reasonably affordable upgrades for the average homeowner. People looking at your property might not be worried that your walls are painted a color they don’t like or that the flooring might need to be replaced in a few years.
However, they might be less satisfied with a dated, old, or impractical kitchen or bathroom. These parts of the average home can be costly to renovate and replace, with most Americans spending between $14,000 and $40,000 for a new kitchen and $10,000 to $30,000 for a new bathroom.
While the quality of your kitchen or bathroom can be reflected in the listing price, you might have fewer interested buyers when there’s still work to be done. Weigh up the pros and cons of replacing dated kitchens and bathrooms before you put your house on the market. Alternatively, consider cost-effective renovations like new paint, cabinet handles, and flooring.
The average family can accumulate a lot of stuff. Children’s toys, books, sports equipment, and hobby gear can all take up a considerable amount of space. Home buyers often consider storage based on their asset accumulation. If your home lacks storage, they might decide against proceeding with a purchase.
Fortunately, a lack of storage can be a reasonably straightforward problem to rectify. Shelving and cabinets installed in bedrooms, kitchens, and even garages, might be how you address this issue before it becomes something that puts prospective buyers off.
Few things are as frustrating for a homebuyer as finding a home they like, only to discover that the current or previous owners didn’t obtain the necessary permits for their renovations. Such a discovery can halt a house sale, so keep this in mind when you put your house on the market.
Any major changes like decks, some fences, plumbing and electrical work, and siding projects can often require permits. Some tasks must also be carried out by qualified tradespeople. If you’re undertaking work, or have in the past, ensure you have all documentation available for prospective purchasers to read. If you haven’t got permits, consider obtaining them for buyer peace of mind and a potentially smoother sales process.
Buying and selling can be a stressful process, especially when you’re trying to predict what buyers will think of your property. While everyone has a different goal when searching for a new house to call home, these areas above are undoubtedly some of the most important for most prospective homeowners.
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