Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Selling Your House - What to Do First

How many times have you longed to do something and told yourself: someday I'll....? I've done that since my first child was born 24 years ago. My most frequent fantasy? Moving to the Country.

Well, I've decided that "someday" has arrived. I'm going to sell my house and buy another one in the surrounding rural area. I'm going to move to the Country!

Some of you may be thinking, "Now? You're going to sell your house in the winter? Oh, you'll make a ton of money selling your house in a buyer's market, in the wintertime! Sure you will."

Actually, wintertime is the best time to start getting your house ready to sell. Since spring and fall are the best times to sell, the pressure is off during the winter. So, you'll have plenty of time to assess the house and begin making repairs and improvements before putting it on the market.

O.K. the decision to sell has been made. Now, what to do first? I have spent quite a bit of time doing research in this area, and it's easy to get confused.

Do I start with the outside first, the inside first, upgrade the infrastructure (plumbing and electrical) first, or should I fix what the inspector will, more than likely, ding me on first?

This decision is enough to make your head spin! But, my Frugal brain has managed to narrow it down. Where do you start? You Start with your Budget. How much money do you have to make repairs/improvements? How much money can you save/come up with before you put the house on the market?

You don't need to know the exact amount, just a ballpark figure. If your budget for home repairs is small/moderate, you may as well forget trying to do major projects and upgrades like replacing a roof. The national average for a new roof in 2002 was $11,399).

As for the infrastructure, if you have an older house like I do (built in 1950) there is sure to be old pipes and wiring in place. But, if normal maintenance has been done, you've more than likely upgraded parts of the electrical and plumbing systems already, (and hopefully been told by these tradesmen if there was a serious issue in these areas).

To attempt an overhaul in either area, just for the sake of an upgrade, would be extremely cost-prohibitive. However, if you have any doubts as to the safety of your electrical or plumbing systems, call and ask for a safety inspection.

Once you have an idea of your budget, take that money and start on the inside. Why? People are searching for a house to buy, not a yard. Sure, the yard is important and it makes a first impression on homebuyers, but it's fairly easy to get it presentable. Come spring, just grab some trash bags, pick up any debris, trim the bushes/shrubs, and mow the lawn. You don't even have to rake the leaves, just mow over them and leave in place for a natural mulch that your grass will love.

Want some ideas of what to Repair First? Read on...

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