What Sells a Home

The Andrea Fonash Group of RE/MAX Action Associates
Published on May 7, 2020

What Sells a Home

In Chester County, it’s still a strong seller’s market. But that doesn’t mean you can count on a buyer paying your desired price without making needed upgrades. Selling a home successfully requires providing what homebuyers want. That means offering in-demand home features and avoiding what homebuyers hate. 😖

This can be tricky to determine without help. It pays to consult closely with your real estate agent and do your homework. Learn what home features are popular and will bring a higher return on investment. I wish Dave and I had done this years ago, before we started making costly upgrades to our home. Because even though we planned on staying in our home for a long time, we knew at some point down the road, we were going to sell it. That didn’t stop us from putting on an $80,000 deck or doing a kitchen remodel, we knew were were never going to get our money back from those projects, we were okay with that. But even though it was those two investments that sold our house, I wish we would have split the money that we spent on them and completed other projects as well. If we had, we might have stayed…OR we might have gotten even more money for our house with other rooms being updated.

Homebuyer expectations have increased over time. Today they want their potential homes to look like those they see on HGTV. I mean, who doesn’t want to walk into a home that looks like Joanna Gaines 👸🏻just got her hands on it?! They want the home they buy to look like the gorgeous ones in photos they see online, have great curb appeal as they drive up, and look staged once they walk inside. Don’t we all?

You want to ensure that your home isn’t too outdated. Prospective buyers want modern-looking homes that offer quality, comfort, and convenience. If your home doesn’t appear to have those traits, it could linger on the market or take a price hit when listing it.

Also, you have to catch a buyer’s attention immediately! The average buyer has their mind made up about a house in 6 seconds on average after they walk in the front door. The best way to do that is to showcase a design-forward space that looks like it jumped off the page of a magazine. We have a great Interior Designer, Suzanne Titus, who is also available to offer staging suggestions as well as remodeling ideas. Together, we can get you top dollar for your home! 💰

Realtors often know best what improvements sellers should make in their homes before listing. They can tell them the most popular items for the local market and which things they must fix up before selling. Andrea and Melissa are pros at this and helped Dave and I to get over-asking price for our home. They told us where to move furniture, what area rugs needed to be replaced, what clutter to get rid of… even to replace my door wreath with a different one! 🤣

You can also look at online photos of homes for sale in your neighborhood. Understanding what the standard is in your community and what buyers are looking for should help influence your decision making. Say prospective buyers care most about a good kitchen. Or say most homes in your neighborhood have a nice patio. If so, consider investing your remodeling dollars in those areas.

I believe that an updated kitchen, newer roof and an HVAC replacement are super attractive to buyers, at least it was to us. No one wants to have to replace the entire heating or cooling system within 6 months of moving in and who doesn’t love the look of a great kitchen, even if you hate to cook, like me?

Other projects that appeal most to buyers, include new wood or luxury vinyl flooring; a bathroom renovation; hardwood flooring refinish; maintenance free decks and patios; finished basement; attic conversion to living area; and closet renovations.

Also, anything that’s a minor repair should be fixed. Chipped paint should be repainted. Remove pet supplies, clean carpets, declutter and do an entire cleaning of the house…right down to the baseboards. 🧹

There are also a number of light construction renovations that won’t break the bank. These will make a major visual impact and appeal to a larger pool of potential buyers. Painting dark kitchen cabinetry white or a lighter color. Replace dark countertops with seamless countertops in light neutral colors that mimic marble. Sand and stain wood flooring. And modernize light fixtures and hardware. All of these upgrades make a huge difference in photos for marketing and when you have buyers walking through.

Then, there are “upgrades” homebuyers, especially younger buyers, don’t want. They include:

  • Wall-to-wall carpeting (buyers prefer hardwood and area rugs)
  • High maintenance landscaping
  • Rigid floor plans and formal dining areas
  • Wallpaper
  • Heavy, dark window treatments

Bright, open concept floor plans are still in high demand.

In the master bathroom, there is nothing more attractive than a beautiful walk-in shower. It could offer spa-like features such as a rainfall shower head, bench seat, and built-in shelves. This can be done in most bathrooms by removing the outdated, oversized tubs of the 1990’s and 2000’s. 🚿

In the kitchen, replace white kitchen appliances with stainless steel appliances. White on cabinets is great, but not so much on appliances. Consider replacing your outdated tile backsplashes, dark speckled countertops, track lighting, and dated wall coverings. Think bright and airy!

Today’s buyers want modern interiors that gravitate toward a neutral color palette. That’s why Andrea and Melissa recommend adding a fresh coat of neutral paint to your walls, which can quickly update your home. They can offer suggestions of what paint colors are trending right now in our area for different rooms. Buyers also look for MOVE-IN-READY homes. Most people either aren’t handy at doing projects or they don’t have the time to do them. The less money and time they have to spend fixing things after settlement, the more attractive it will be to make an offer on a home. So even if you aren’t planning on selling your home anytime soon, some day you will. Make sure you are doing updates that you love, but will also benefit you down the road.

If you would like a free home analysis, please contact either Andrea or Melissa. They would be happy to do a FaceTime tour of your home with you, and give you ideas on what could be done to make it more attractive to buyers and how to get you the most bang for your buck on investment.

Remember, homes in Chester County are still selling and there are LOTS of buyers out there ready to jump. If you are thinking of selling, don’t wait! We can list AND sell your home almost exclusively through virtual means (with the benefit of a listing discount). If someone tells you that now is not the time to buy or sell, they don’t know what they are talking about. 🏡

-Amanda Ashbee