Preparing your Home for Sale

I hear time and time again from buyers, sellers, other agents, relatives, friends, well, virtually everybody that discusses real estate with me, that there are certain things you must do to prepare your home for sale.

These improvement projects are as diverse as the people that suggest them and include everything from remodeling the kitchen to removing wallpaper to updating the electrical to repainting all of the bird houses in the yard (yes, I heard that once).

Most agents would agree that some improvement projects will either help the home to sell for more or sell faster.  In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, in a recent survey conducted, the top three projects would-be sellers should focus on before they list their homes are kitchens, bathrooms and the home’s exterior.  Keep in mind that most appraisers will tell you that you should never exceed the norm in the neighborhood when it comes to these projects either.

So, if you look around your neighborhood and everybody has a deck, then build a deck.  Stay consistent with the hyper-local area and the condition of your home will not adversely affect you down the road.  Ok, stay consistent with the neighborhood and, if you are going to spend money, stick to kitchens, bathrooms and the exterior.

However, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report (published annually) you won’t get a 100% or over return on anything you do!  Remodeling Magazine’s results yield a return of no more than 86% on replacing the front door, a 74% return on adding a deck and a 67% return on either a kitchen remodel or siding/window replacement and these are the top three.  Sure, by doing these things you’ll make your home more salable, but not more valuable.  It will most likely help the home sell faster, but forget recouping the money you put in.

Instead of spending your hard earned dollars on big ticket money items where a sufficient return is unattainable, stick to low or no budget fixes that can give you a big boost when it comes to selling your house, will help sell it faster and some reports suggest can net you as much as $2000 more at closing.

What are these fixes?  According to and the National Association of Realtors, cleaning, de-cluttering and painting will deliver the biggest bang for your time and/or money.  If you are intent on doing something other than these three things, focus on obvious structural or safety concerns that, if not corrected, could prevent your home from being financed by potential buyers.  Such items may include, broken windows, missing hand railings, damaged siding or worn out shingles.  Choose wisely your plan of attack, time and budget when you go to sell and you’ll be reaping the rewards at closing and getting a little more money in your pocket to boot!


This post was written by Jesse Godzala of the Godzala/Brenny Edina Realty Team. Jesse is a 5-star realtor on and a Chairman’s Circle Award Winner at Edina Realty. For more information regarding the current housing market, contact Jesse at or by calling (320) 309-7335.

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