By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST

With spring right around the corner, now’s the time when many who have thought about selling a house get a little more serious.

If the house needs some work to get the attention of today’s buyers, speak to a professional about which repairs may give you the best return on your investment. That professional could be a well-connected realtor or a renovation specialist. You’ll need more than one opinion, and ask that these opinions be backed up by comparable listings or sales in the area. Not all repairs or fix ups will get you to the top of the list when it comes to attracting buyers. The infamous swimming pool addition, for example, has historically not paid for itself when it comes to resale value. On the other hand, minor renovations to kitchens, bathrooms or the landscape seem to have pretty good returns on investment.

Much of your efforts are going to be based on a few matters. First is the general neighborhood. In general, you don’t want to renovate to be the top, most expensive home in a neighborhood. But you do want to stand out with respect to those that may be already on the market. Working with someone that has intimate knowledge of the local listings could be valuable to help make these renovation decisions.

Today’s buyers are picky. Most want to move into something that is in turn-key move in condition. As market conditions tighten, and homes are sitting on the market a bit longer than they did when the market was steaming hot, the little things that you do before you sell may make all the difference.

When you’ve owned or lived in a home for a while, you simply get used to and accept everything that goes along with it. Your judgement, unlike that of a discerning buyer, is colored by your years of good memories there. You don’t see things that someone walking into your home for the first time will.

This also holds true with your furniture and decorating. You may love that old dining table, but a professional home stager may tell you that current buyers need to see something more akin to what they may use in the home. So unless you’ve kept up with current decorating styles, consider paying a staging company to make your home look a little more contemporary.

The last part of readying your home for sale may be to de-clutter. For those with a generation of family memories and rooms, attics and basements full of memorabilia, this is the time to find somewhere else to store it. Most families are surprised to see just how long the clearing out and saving or trashing items may take. This could be a few dumpsters worth of effort, but it is something that must be done. A courteous realtor may not have the heart to tell you to get rid of your stuff, but I will.

 

Making Cents is published weekly in Gatehouse Media publications including the Patriot Ledger

John P. Napolitano CFP®, CPA is CEO of U. S. Wealth Management in Braintree, MA.  Visit JohnPNapolitano on LinkedIn or uswealthnapolitano.com . The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. John Napolitano is a registered principal with and securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through US Financial Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor. US Financial Advisors and US Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL Financial. He can be reached at 781-849-9200.