The No. 1 pre-listing improvement is to have the home immaculately “white glove” clean inside and out. (Photo: Shutterstock).

Phil Barru

Colorado Realtor Phil Barru, of RE/MAX Professionals, dispels common myths about getting one’s home ready to sell and examines essential pre-listing improvements.

When Barru, broker associate at RE/MAX Professionals, speaks to prospective sellers, he is often asked, “What should I do to my house to get it ready to sell? Should I remodel the kitchen or bath? Finish the basement? Replace windows? Do a landscaping makeover?”

These costly and time-consuming major improvements will surely add value to one’s home. However, they very rarely add as much immediate resale value as they actually cost. “It is best to tackle major remodeling tasks several years before you plan to sell so you regain much of the value by your own enjoyment,” said Barru. “Plus, most of these improvements will increase the appreciation of your home and over time will fully offset their costs.”

According to Barru, the most important pre-listing improvements are frequently overlooked by both sellers and agents. They are relatively low cost, yet will have a huge impact on both the market appeal and sale price of one’s home. “Additionally, since they are often overlooked your home will stand out from your competition in the market,” noted Barru.

The number one pre-listing improvement is to have the home immaculately “white glove” clean inside and out. This is the least expensive upgrade that adds the most value. “Thousands more than homes that are not so clean,” stressed Barru. “You want everything to shine, including all surfaces, windows, inside of cabinets and appliances, garage and unfinished areas. Nobody wants to live with someone else’s grime. Extreme cleanliness appeals to 100 percent of buyers!” Furthermore, the impression buyers will have when they tour a gleaming clean home is that the owner takes excellent care of it.

The second pre-listing improvement is to take care of all of the visibly obvious repairs and maintenance items. This too is usually inexpensive and has a very large return. “Fix all those dripping faucets, lights and switches that don’t work, loose or missing trim and hardware, doors that don’t close properly and cracked windows,” advised Barru. “Most buyers don’t want to make repairs to their new home – even minor ones. They want to move in and enjoy it from day one. Again, a turnkey home appeals to 100 percent of buyers. Very few listings fit this category so set yourself apart.”

Thirdly, if one is selling an immaculate and repair-free home, they should consider basic decorator items like paint, carpet and refinishing existing hardwood floors. This will add more value than their cost, in most cases, and the value of decorator items will be greatly amplified when the home is extremely clean and all repairs are completed. The synergy of properly executing these three home preparation categories can add many times more than
they cost.

“You can often add tens of thousands of dollars to a mid-priced home in our market. Notice that I make no mention of major projects. There are definitely times when big improvements are worthwhile so please consult an experienced real estate professional about your specific situation,” concluded Barru. “However, the lower-cost items mentioned above apply to virtually every home in every market condition and will give you the biggest ‘bang for your buck.’”

Phil Barru of RE/MAX Professionals works with both buyers and sellers and is a Residential Real Estate Specialist, Listing Specialist and Investment Property Specialist. He serves the Metro Denver area specializing in Golden, Arvada, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and Littleton areas. Call 303.233.8285 or visit philbarru.com.