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How should I prioritize improvements/upgrades in my house prior to sale.

I'm considering selling my house in the next 6 months or so and there are some glaring deficiencies that need to be addressed.  It's around 1800 sq ft...most of the carpet needs to be replaced, particularly in the living/dining room, where some of my cats have peed over the years.  It's a somewhat long, rectangular room with 3 large windows overlooking the foothills of the Rockies...killer view, imho.  I'm thinking laminate with a few strategically placed rugs.  Also need floor covering in the kitchen....what would you recommend?  Entire interior needs to be painted as well...keep in mind that I'm disabled and can't do any of the work myself, so the cost of labor will also need to be factored in.  One car attached garage....hope that's not a show-stopper.  Probably could use new fridge and dishwasher....and counter tops in the kitchen (relatively small area).  Anyway, how would suggest these items be prioritized when it comes to bang for the buck?  Would much appreciate any input on this...thanks...KC 
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August 06 2010 - US
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Answers (7)

Contact a professional home stager for a consultation. A good stager can help you prioritize your repairs and make suggestions that will appeal to the widest pool of buyers and they will have relationships with reliable painters and flooring pros to help get the work done.

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August 17 2010
I disagree with these answers!  Professionals always say that to sell a home, you have to spend money to upgrade/replace/repair items in your home.  What they never say is that the home sale only recoups 75-85% of the cost!  Home improvement projects are money out of pocket for homeowners.

Even professional articles that advocate for home improvement projects site statistics that don't pencil for the seller. http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real-estate/home-improvements-that-boost-your-chances-1.aspx

Instead, opt for a VERY thorough cleaning, put your personal things in storage, and price the home correctly.  Save yourself the headache, money and work associated with home improvement projects that end up costing you money.
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August 10 2010
Hi Cuzz
You are on the right track, a fresh coat of paint & new flooring will give you the greatest return.There are many national flooring & home inprovement companies that advertise no payments or interest for a year. I would shop around & choose one of the companies to change the flooring all at the same time. Reality is if you still have your cats they are going to continue to urinate on your floors  no matter what type of flooring you have so choose a laminate or  no wax vinyl instead of carpet & use the same flooring in all of the rooms: living/dining/ kitchen. It will make your  home look more spacious and be easier to clean.. As for the appliance if you can afford to replace them do so, if not you can offer the buyers a credit at closing for new ones. 
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August 08 2010
Can you live in the home for another 6 moths if you had a lot of personal effects removed?  When you prepare to have the place floor and paints store all your personal stuff hanging aorund the house as well.

If it was me I would be on the phone with local contractors, painting and flooring, etc. for estimates. There are national flooring companies that will do your entire space in day, be it a wood grain laminate or other product; but get local estimates as well. Ask how the sub-floor will be addressed prior to a new surface application; make sure the floor is installed correctly -- get various contractor quotes in as much detail as possible.  Go to HGTV web site and look up different projects and what to look for when contemplating various cosmetic projects- educate yourself.

Don't replace your appliances till the end if that is what you decide to do; newer the better and keep an eye out for "close out floor sales" - you could offer a buyer allowance for the new owner to pick out their own appliances; but it shows better with stainless steel "fronts" new appliances already in place.  If your kitchen cabinets are in good shape and can be painted or refaced do that if you can afford it; replace the hardware.  The counter tops can be replaced with an inexpensive Formica -- there are a lot of products that mirror higher end solid surface products.  You need consider your sink when it comes to counter tops.  If you have a drop in sink now and looks good cleaned and polished, then stick with Formica.  Rep[lace the faucets if they are older it will help with the overall new kitchen look. 

Again all this cosmetic.

Make sure your heating/cooling system has been recently serviced and the service tag is updated and visible.  Have a few electricians estimate any needed work to the that system. Have them make sure there are GFI in the kitchens and baths if not already in place.  Always a good idea replace the outlets, light switches and the covers with new ones if the ones in place are dirty or old looking; this should be low money but when the house is painted and has new floors will make it look finished.

This all interior so far. If you live in a condo then this is all you need to address.  If you own a Single Family, then look at your exterior.  Keep it neat and clean.  If the roof and and siding are in overall good shape don't worry. If these two items look tired, then expect an offer to reflect their condition. 

Lastly Clean your windows and make any need repairs prior to placing the house on the market.

Good Luck,

I almost forgot use a service like Angie's list to find some of your contractors -- they have reviews by other subscribers.  
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August 06 2010

I concur withPeggy and Bob. Contact a local REALTOR in your community. If you don't know any local agents, contact the local chapter of the National Association of REALTORS. Search the web using the name of your community as criteria.

It's hard to give you specific advice without seeing the home. Based on your description of your home, it may need all of the above: painting, new carpet, kitchen counters and appliances plus much more found during property / pest inspections.

If you want highest payback, spend your money in the kitchen first.

To get the work done, your local agent should be able to put in contact with reliable contractors to do the work.

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August 06 2010
It might be productive to contact an experienced Realtor. Have them come to the house and give their opinion, They knows what sells houses.
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August 06 2010
Profile picture for wetdawgs

I'd have carpet with pet pee be the top priority.   Any scent of cat pee needs to be thoroughly removed before putting the house on the market, so it is quite possible the entire carpet area will have to be treated, sealed etc before putting new carpet in.

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August 06 2010
 
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