FAQ – Which Updates Should I Make Before Listing?

About 30 years ago, the world was introduced to the Internet for the first time. From that day forward, buyers have become increasingly busy. As a result, unless you’re the Property Brothers or Joanna and Chip Gaines, most buyers simply have no interest in taking on someone else’s project. Buyers, instead, are looking to move into a house that is aesthetically pleasing and neutral in tone. This allows them to set down their purple sofa and mauve love seat until they get around to personalizing the residence – usually during the first January after they’ve purchased.

So, here’s the breakdown. The most effective way to increase the value of a property is by making aesthetic upgrades – NOT by making improvements to mechanical systems.

Buyers will pay more if there are…
  • freshly painted rooms, painted in Pottery Barn earth tones
  • removal of wallpaper
  • newly refinished hardwood floors
  • updated kitchens/baths
We encourage people to consider some of these aesthetic improvements pre-closing. However, kitchens and baths are not among the upgrades that we encourage in the weeks or months leading up to listing. Making those changes during that period of time that a buyer is living in the house and enjoying the upgrades is strongly advised and will, ultimately, increase the value of the home upon sale.

On the other hand, buyers will not be inclined to spend more money to purchase a property because a furnace (which they assume is going to keep them warm in the middle of a March blizzard…) is three years old versus nine years old. Likewise, a buyer will not offer more money because a roof is new. A roof that is keeping them dry and is less than 20 years old is satisfactory enough. In short, buyers assume that mechanical systems will function and do their necessary and appropriate job after closing.

Of course, there is an exception to this rule. If the mechanical systems in a home are not functioning, then this is certainly something that should be addressed before listing your property. With the unpredictability of Rochester weather, no new homeowner wants to be in need of a new furnace or roof right out of the gate!
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