If you find yourself faced with having to sell your home in a down market, you may be dealing with owing more on your home than it is worth right now. Instead of walking away when your home is upside down, you might consider fixing it up. It may sound crazy to put money into a home that is already underwater, but in many cases, a minimal investment of time and money can make the difference in selling your home for the best price possible.
Before you decide, you should determine how underwater you are. Some areas of the country have been harder hit than others. Some cities, like Las Vegas, have seen price decreases of 60%. Chances are that you are not going to get your money out of it no matter what you do. However, cities like Denver have seen price drops of only 10% or so. Depending on the house, it might not take much to ensure that you get top dollar for your home.
If you have an older home with an outdated kitchen or bathroom, it could be worth your while to spruce things up. New or refinished cabinets and countertops, especially if yours are showing age, can make a huge difference the price you will get. It could also be what ensures that your house sells quickly. If a homebuyer is on the fence, they are more likely to keep walking when faced with having to add the expense of a remodel to the cost of buying the home. A small investment in updating these rooms can make all the difference when you market the home.
The flooring and walls can become worn and dingy from being lived in. With a little money and some sweat equity, adding a coat of paint to the walls and cleaning or replacing flooring can make an old house feel like new.
The fix-it up project does not need to be full blown remodeling. No one is suggesting that ripping apart your kitchen and spending tens of thousands on a new state of the art kitchen is a good investment if you want to sell the home. However, there is one project that could make a tremendous difference in some areas. In some cases, adding a bathroom is a great way to make your home more marketable. Most buyers are looking for a least two bathrooms in a home. If your home has three or more bedrooms with only one bathroom, many buyers will not even look. Adding even a half bathroom could increase the traffic of potential buyers and with that, the chances of selling the home.
For those homeowners who have no choice but to sell a home in this market, just a few simple and inexpensive fix ups are a much better option that walking away from an upside down mortgage.
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About Tom Davidson — Tom Davidson is Vice President of Express Schools, LLC. which operates online education providers Real Estate Express, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.