Getting Mom’s house ready to sell

green carpet
Green sculpted carpet

Over the years I have sold three homes for my family.  One of the challenges of selling a home that is or was owned and lived in by an elderly person is making it look as appealing as possible to younger home buyers. Sometimes the homes look as if time stood still.

The first hurdle can be getting the owners to give up some decorating choices they made long ago. My mom doesn’t know that I had the wallpaper boarder removed from the kitchen repainted or she would be upset about it.  Often “grandmas” house is in good repair and is an excellent opportunity for first time home buyers to fix some of the cosmetics and build equity.

As a seller I don’t want to put any more money into the home than I have to. Here are some of the things I did that were fairly inexpensive that helped sell grandma’s house:

1. Clean everything

2. Repainting in light neutral colors.

3. Replacing old drapes with sheers in shades of white.

4.  Replacing any window shade or blind that was anything other than white or just remove them.

5. Buy new shower curtains, towels and coordinating rugs for the bathrooms.

6. Replace light fixtures and shades.

7. Remove wall paper and paint walls.

8. Remove worn carpeting to expose hardwood floors. It is better to have wood floors that need a little work than worn carpeting.

9. Remove worn linoleum and replace.

The list isn’t really prioritized by importance but it is  in order of how much the project is likely to cost. It is important to have budget and to stick with it. If the improvement won’t help sell the home faster or for more money it isn’t worth doing. it is the smallest improvements that give the greatest payback. Cleaning and painting have the highest ROI. Removing a wall paper boarder can have a tremendous impact.

It is also a good idea to have furnace or boiler serviced and have any repairs done that are needed. As a rule anything that leaks should be fixed and there are usually other obvious repairs too.  Sometimes small maintenance issues result in low offers.


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