Just how much work and money should you put into repairs and freshening up your house before you list? Multiple studies have shown that a “clean” house sells faster. And, the more you do now, the less you may have to negotiate over later. But, while there are some things you definitely should take care of before you list, how much you do is dependent on the hotness of the market and the state of your home itself. Let’s look at some of the main things:

  • The expensive stuff. If your roof and/or plumbing is leaking, your fuses blow when you turn on your hair dryer and you cross your fingers every time you fire up your furnace, you probably have some repairs to make.

With an older home especially, it may make sense to have a pre-listing inspection to point out potential troublesome spots. Then you know what you are facing. You can decide what repairs are worth making and which ones you’ll negotiate over later. But, keep in mind, if your roof is close to the end of its life, a replacement will most likely be a condition of financing for your buyer.

  • The broken stuff. Cracked windows or tiles, light switches that won’t turn on, frayed carpets, ripped screens or a doorbell that doesn’t ring; these are red flags that potentially other, bigger things may be lurking. Take time to repair anything obvious that may spook your buyers.
  • The fluffy stuff. Freshness sells. A new coat of (neutral) paint. Updated cabinet hardware or light fixtures. Colorful plants lining the front walk. A neatly mowed and trimmed yard. These are all little, generally inexpensive things that can make a home more welcoming and show a buyer the home has been well cared for.

Assess your own situation and market conditions to decide how much time, effort and money you put into your home before you list.