questionshow much should i invest in my house if i plan on…

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Only invest an amount that will increase the value of the home by that same amount or more.

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@lichme: i wouldn't consider light lavender a neutral color. most colors i've seen that were considered neutral have been light earth tones.

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When my wife and I talked to our friend who runs a realty, she said simply that if it doesn't need repair, don't put any money into it, as you will not get it back.
Clean it up, de-clutter, leave the rest to the sales person.

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Talk to a realtor and ask advice, biggest thing is paint neutral colors declutter & don't go too expensive on your remodels, always make sure your remodel will give more return then your cost.

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Before you can even think of selling you should see if comparable houses in your area are selling and for what price. Living in the SF bay area I have a distorted view of the rest of the country but probably anyone who bought a house in this area 4 years ago would be upside down on their house. Remember, 6% of your selling price goes to the realtors.

If you can truly realize a profit or break even: Offer a carpet allowance as an incentive to the buyer and no color of any kind on the walls (except white). Leave it as blank as possible, remove any personal items, minimize furniture, etc.

It doesn't cost you to talk to a realtor, just don't sign anything :)

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Even from a selling standpoint, if you're house has better charm, gardening, etc... than a similar house, your house may be more desirable and sell faster. And, you may simply enjoy it better while you're there. But, if you're planning on leaving soonish, I wouldn't make any major investments. Possibly come up with a reasonable budget to spend. Then choose those things that you'd both enjoy, and may help you sell (curb appeal, replacing old carpet, etc..).

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Indeed. I am starting to work on the stuff that most people dont like doing first, however I am also getting pressure from the wife to fix up the other rooms (that we never go in). At this point, for things like the guest room, I am thinking that for now just filling in the holes that were there when we moved in, and priming the walls will be a good starting point.

Dumb question, is a light lavender a neutral color?

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If there is something that jumps out at you when you look at the house: let's say that the shingles on the garages are starting to fall off and are in very bad shape, you should repair it before you consider placing the house on the market. You might as well get started on these things now, it takes some of the stress off later.

If the landscaping is very bad, and the lawn is in bad shape that is also something that you need to get started on now: the latter especially is very difficult to fix on short notice. For all the rest of the stuff, go ahead and wait for the realtor's opinion. For the most part big interior remodels (as opposed to repairs) do not pay for themselves.

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I have replaced a few of the doors in the house, and am really starting to work on the lawn. Filling in dead patches and stuff that were dug up by the city (they do it every year and never fix the grass). I have removed a bunch of small trees that were leaning against the back of my house and such and replaced it with a nice flower bed.

What about carpeting? When we closed, they still had some furniture in the house. After we actually moved in, we found some almost couch sized stains underneath where the furniture was. Our couch is currently covering it now. I know a lot of people will recarpet the entire house when they move in if they might not like the color and such, so I'm not sure if I should bother with it.

I guess I dont have the expertise to say how much of a difference the repairs will make on the purchase price.

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Think of it as a formula. Anything that's "bad" or would take away value from the house, consider repairing. Look at the cost of repair vs the added value.

For instance, let's say you have cracked concrete on the floor of your basement. Current value of the house is 100k (to make it an easy example). If you were to fix that issue, it would cost you 5k, but the value of the home would only improve the value a total of 3k. That repair is a net loss of $2000. And therefore wouldn't be worth it.

It would be good to run this formula through any repairs or upgrades you would want to make. Anything that's an actual problem though, you should either fix or make sure the buyer fully understands and is aware of/ accepts the issue. Otherwise you risk some legal hot water.

EDIT: a realtor (since you mentioned one) should be able to help you determine post-repair values. Hopefully you get someone nice who will be willing to work with you to figure it all out.

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Well it depends what the housing market is doing in you area.... I think the things you have listed would fall under "Improvents that will help to sell my house" category. So if your market is soft and houses are listed for 200/300 days then I would do anything to help sell the house. The only one I see that you will see a definite return on your investment is landscaping/curb appeal.

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Curb appeal is huge to potential buyers. If you don't have a "nice" frontage now, it would be worth it invest in some flowers, bushes etc.

Neutrals are the way to go as far as paint. Depending on the condition of your floors, new carpet may be worth the investment (again go neutral).

If your cabinets are maybe a little out of date changing the hardware/knobs is inexpensive and can spruce up the look of the house a bit.

I think if you could make the house as move-in ready as possible for new homeowners that would be a major sell. Some people can be put off by needing to spend the time on painting/floors etc.

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For repairs that might turn off some prospective buyers (e.g. new roof for the garage): as much as it takes to do it right. I personally would put painting (light, neutral tones) in this category.

For other improvements, they almost certainly will not be a good financial investment (i.e. if you spend $1500 you will not get $1500+ more for your house than you would have if you hadn't made the improvements).

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i wouldn't spend the money tailoring it to your desires. mainly because you never know if what the taste of the potential buyer(s) will be.

i say spend a few bucks and make it look nice, but relatively neutral.

oh, and you're still my nemesis (even though i've dropped to #3)

edit: it appears @cowboydann and passed us both.