By Craig Donofrio
There are a lot of things you can’t control in the home-selling
process. You can’t force people to come see your home or make an offer
on it. But you can make sure to take care of some easy repairs
that would otherwise turn off prospective buyers. Look around and make
sure you haven’t ignored any of these 10 repairs that can make a buyer
think twice about your asking price.
1. Paint colors that just don’t blend in
The color of your home is one of the first things a buyer will
notice. If it’s a very different color from your neighborhood or general
area, you should paint it something more innocuous. (Hear that, Sandra Cisneros?) Most buyers don’t want to live in the only pink house in town.
The same goes for the interior. If your living room is bright orange,
paint over it. Choose a neutral color so buyers can project their own
ideas onto it.
2. A front door that’s not inviting
The front door
is one of the next things a buyer will notice. If the door is flimsy,
cheap, or outdated, it’ll discourage the buyer before it’s even opened.
Spring for a new one—it’s the most reliable update you can perform to recoup your cost.
3. A busted doorbell
While you’re at it, don’t forget the doorbell! Having one that works
with a friendly, crisp chime is a sign that your house has been well
taken care of.
4. Tattered window and door screens
Buyers will notice screens that look more like Swiss cheese than
insect shields. You don’t necessarily have to spring for a whole new
set—just grab some screen repair patches (they’re cheap) and fill in the
5. Depressing landscaping
As potential buyers drive up to your home, they’ll notice everything—the
trees, the grass, the rock pathway, and the plants out front. And it
matters. If your lawn is home to a half-dead tree, yellowing grass,
unkempt shrubs, and a pathway swallowed by weeds, you might get more
lowball offers than you anticipated.
Keep the plants trimmed and the grass freshly cut. Make sure the
walkway is clear and fallen branches are removed from the lawn. A fresh
layer of mulch will brighten up the outside, too.
6. An unpleasant smell of … something
Nothing can turn a buyer off faster than the stench
of faded cigarettes or poorly trained pets. Of course, it’s hard for us
to smell our homes after we’ve lived in them for a while, so ask a
diplomatic friend to sniff your place. If it stinks, start cleaning.
7. Eerie dripping sounds
If potential buyers hear a dripping faucet or running toilet when
touring the house, they might start questioning the building’s integrity
or the seller’s level of care. These are quick DIY fixes that shouldn’t
8. Bad lighting
Replace harsh lights with bulbs that have a softer glow. Clean out
light fixtures to get rid of dirt or dead bugs that can mute the
lighting (not to mention look gross).
9. Squeaky hinges
Doors that groan when they open are for horror movies, not homes for
sale. Grab a lubricant (such as white lithium grease, but in a pinch you
can use cooking oil) and grease the hinges to stop the squeak.
10. An outdated kitchen
Completely renovating a kitchen can get real expensive, real fast.
Keep it simple by adding a fresh coat of paint. Although we did say you
should keep paint colors neutral, here’s where you can try something
more inviting—like pale yellow, a color we associate with light and joy.
Switch out old cabinet knobs and handles for something fresher like nickel cup pulls.