Every Seller Asks Which Home Flaws to Fix When Listing, and RE/MAX Brokers Offer Advice

Opinions vary on which types of problems are the most important to address, but three categories that rank near the top of most brokers’ lists are flaws related to mechanical systems, safety and curb appeal.

With few exceptions, homeowners preparing to sell must confront the reality that their home has a few flaws, and some homes have many more than others. The perennial question, notes Jack Kreider, executive vice president of RE/MAX Northern Illinois, is which flaws to fix and which, if any, to let go?

“Flaws come in every form imaginable. Some result from normal wear and tear, such as worn or soiled carpeting. Others develop as a home ages,” Kreider explained. “Doors don’t close properly because of settling, mechanical systems show signs of fatigue or porch railings have deteriorated from weather exposure. And of course, there are those things that just happen, like the bedroom your teenager painted black and purple and then put stars on the ceiling that glow in the dark.”

Assessing the flaws of a home and then deciding which to fix is a vital step in a successful sale, according to Keith Hancock of RE/MAX Villager in Glenview, Ill.

“On my first visit, I go through the home with a fine-toothed comb and talk to the owners in detail about what is not working, what problems exist and what they have done to improve the property,” said Hancock. “I write it all down, and then let them know what I think needs to be addressed before we list the property.”

When it comes to recommending what to fix and what to let go, brokers take a range of factors into account, but in the end, it all comes down to numbers, according to Jaime Ashley Campos of RE/MAX Loyalty in Chicago.

“My approach is to look at the potential sale price of the home in its current condition and its price if its flaws are fixed. Then I also consider what sellers hope to get for the home, how quickly they want to sell and the budget they have for fixing things up. Once I have a handle on those factors, I list the things I feel must get done. If there is money left in the budget after that, I’ll turn to the smaller concerns, fixes that will help sell the home but won’t make a big difference.”

Opinions vary on which types of problems are the most important to…

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