What to Fix Before a Move

October 30 2014

A move offers excitement but it also introduces this worrisome question: How much do we fix?

If your home is move-in ready, awesome! All you need to do is call the move manager (Pat Bernabei/Sort it Out Now: 617-332-7500).

However, most of us have a few fixes to contend with. But before you run around with the spackle, the very first item on your list should be to make a list. Use a notebook or clipboard with paper and go room by room, outlining all the problems and plans to make your home ready for a potential buyer. After looking at your list, pour another cup of coffee, and decide upon what actually should be done vs. what the next owner needs to take on.

Know that quick fixes and fresh paint always pay off, and ask yourself these questions:

1. Will you be putting your home on the market during early spring, the best time of year for Boston home sales?

2. What’s the market like?

3. Does your home offer a great neighborhood and location?

4. Will you have competing inventory?

Keep these points in mind as you decide what needs to be fixed and/or changed. Here’s a quick list with some budget-friendly ideas to make your move as successful as possible:

* If your living room sub-floor is plywood, then replace the carpeting with light tan. New and neutral carpeting is your best bet for resale.

* Does your den offer dark wood paneling from, um, 1965? Paint it a neutral color after priming it.

* Cabinets looking “not updated”? Resurfacing is your best option, so is cleaning them well and changing the knobs. Are your cabinets already painted? Re-paint.

* Is your kitchen clean and freshly painted but slightly dated? New appliances might do the trick, such as a refrigerator or stove top or oven or dishwasher. Definitely replace the oldest appliance so it doesn’t distract from your fairly-decent kitchen. Check your hardware store for cosmetic appliance paint.

* Worried about not having granite? Speak with your real estate agent for the current advice in your market.

* In the bathroom, if your tiles are dated (read: that ugly pink from 1954), talk to a professional tub and tile refinisher. It’ll save you the cost of having to replace them. Fresh white tiles and tub will get them every time. Also replace the lighting, fixtures and if possible, the floor. One note: if any tiles are cracked, that’s a must-replace.

* Wallpaper? How neutral is it? If it’s your idea of beautiful, a potential buyer might not enjoy it as much. Rent a wallpaper remover steamer and repaint the walls white.

* Every buyer loves wood floors, so if yours are scratched up, paying to have them refinished will be a draw.

* Any roof issue needs to be addressed before the home is put on the market.

* The good news: You’ve got old drafty windows? Clean ‘em up, sand ‘em down, and repaint a crisp shade of white. There’s no sense in updating these since the cost is large and you won’t be there to enjoy the benefits of lowered electricity bills from the energy-efficient replacements.

* Anything cracked or chipped, fix for a seamless look.

* When you’re done, call the realtor, then Sort it Out Now to professionally manage your move. * And with all these fixes, you might be out of there faster than you realize!

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