Selling a Home? Before You Spend Money on Repairs, Do This

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  • You may need to fix up your home before putting it on the market.
  • Before you do, talk to a real estate agent so you can put your funds to good use.

As of the end of March, there was only a 2.6-month supply of homes on the U.S. housing market, according to the National Association of Realtors. But it normally takes a four- to six-month supply of homes for there to be enough real estate inventory to fully meet buyer demand.

Because that's not the case today, sellers have a clear upper hand in the housing market. Although buyer demand has waned a little bit in light of higher mortgage rates, many sellers today are still seeing competing offers on their homes. And if you list yours, you might manage to walk away with a great offer you're happy with.

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Now, there may be certain steps you need to take to get your home ready to sell, such as making repairs. But before you spend your money there, it pays to bring in a real estate agent and ask for their advice.

Make the most of your funds when listing a home

Chances are, you don't have unlimited cash reserves to spend on home repairs. So before you start pumping money into them, talk to a real estate agent and see which repairs are the most likely to have an impact on buyer demand and the price you end up getting for your home.

You might think it's more important to spend money on replacing your living room flooring than on replacing your fence. But remember, your fence is something buyers will see before they even set foot in your home. So a real estate agent might advise you to focus on fixing the fence if you can't swing both, since poor curb appeal might send buyers running the other way.

Similarly, you might assume you need to have your house repainted before putting it on the market because your wall colors aren't particularly exciting. But a real estate agent might tell you that it's better to have muted, neutral colors on your walls, since that might appeal to a wider range of buyers. And so in that case, it wouldn't make sense to pull that money from your savings account only to potentially turn off buyers who don't like brighter wall colors.

A conversation it pays to have

You may decide that you don't want to hire a real estate agent to sell your home because you don't want to lose money on a commission. Even so, it could make sense to pay a real estate agent a preset fee to come in, assess your home, and offer advice on which repairs you ought to prioritize.

Back in 2021, sellers could pretty much get away with selling homes in disarray because mortgage rates were so low and buyer demand was so intense. But we're in a different housing market today, and it is important to make an effort to present a home that looks well-maintained.

If you consult a real estate agent before making repairs, you can put your money to good use. And that way, you'll ideally set yourself up to get a string of offers once your home is officially listed.

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