One of the most important things I can do as a listing agent is suggest home improvements before your property goes to market. Depending on "what you got" versus "what people are getting" for the money, you'll need to make renovations and additions that will command a purchase offer. Sometimes, you'll need to make the improvements just to sell the place, no matter the offer.
This is the most difficult part of my career. I'm asking you, Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner to spend some money. It's sensitive. You may have been in the home for a long time and differ in what you consider acceptable for the market. However, there are always basics... like de-cluttering (hate that word), painting (best bang for the buck), cleaning up and renovating the bath to some extent (clean, crisp bath equals offer from buyer), staging furniture, deep cleaning of the house, physical repairs and lighting. It's work.
In most cases, some improvements need to be done. I routinely offer a two part plan: First, coming up with a list and budget for improvements and; Second, hiring the contractor and getting my own hands dirty in the process.
Just last night my contractor finished a bath renovation on a shoestring budget while I tossed furniture around and hid kids toys. We have a photo shoot of the house later this morning and I do what it takes. When the house goes to market, we're in it together.
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