Ask McEnearney: What updates should I consider if I’m thinking about selling my home in a year?


This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Lisa Groover of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Lisa at 703-919-4426 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What updates should I consider if I’m thinking about selling my home in a year?

Answer: This is a frequently asked question and one I am happy to address here. It is also a service I provide to my friends, neighbors and potential clients on a regular basis.

Start at the street, remembering that you only have one chance to make a first impression.

Does your home have curb appeal? Based upon the condition of the outside, would a buyer be motivated to check out the inside? Or do you need to think about painting, enhanced landscaping, new front door hardware or gutters? Is the driveway or sidewalk cracked? Does the fence need to be repaired or power-washed and stained? How old is your roof? (All buyers ask this question!)

Take a look at the photos of recent sales in your neighborhood to identify what the sellers did to get ready for market. Then walk through your house room by room to make a list of what types of repairs and/or upgrades would best showcase the features of your own home.

Because you have time before you are seriously thinking about selling, you can spread the updates and budget over a period of time. So many people wait until they are about to sell their house to make changes, and then wish they had been able to enjoy them earlier.

Consider the condition and age of your floors, walls, light fixtures, countertops, cabinets, bathrooms, and appliances and systems like the A/C, furnace, and hot water heater. Once you have your list, determine the priorities based upon your budget, keeping in mind that there are ways to update without a full remodel.

Unless you are planning to sell your house “as-is,” meaning you are not going to make any repairs or replace any of the mechanicals, buyers may pass on a purchase that will require a new HVAC system or roof or a home that has previous water damage. Fix those things upfront rather than waiting until a home inspection creates an opportunity for your buyers to void the contract.

Keep in mind that fresh paint is the least expensive way to make a big impact. I have a lime green kitchen, hot pink bathroom, and orange accent walls in addition to my collection of colorful contemporary art. I love the look, but I know that the colors will be distracting to buyers when the time comes. Although I have no intention of selling, I just had all of my hardwoods refinished, added new light fixtures and ordered some new furniture. I am also painting the walls white and moving my artwork around for a fresh new look to a home that I have lived in for almost 24 years.

Keep in mind that your goal when selling your home is to provide the potential buyers the opportunity to picture their own furniture and accessories in the space — not to worry about what they need to fix or replace. Take a step back, keep an open mind and consider bringing in a professional to make some suggestions.

Whether you are thinking of buying or selling — or just need suggestions for updating your home — I am happy to provide ideas or recommend contractors for your specific projects. I am a resource for the duration of homeownership, not just the buying or selling process. Feel free to reach out anytime!

Lisa Groover is a licensed real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in Old Town Alexandria, VA. As an active member of the community since 1989, Lisa specializes in Alexandria and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with her friends, neighbors, former clients and their referrals.

In addition to enjoying the Old Town lifestyle and the art-related events and activities, she is a member of a number of volunteer organizations. Having had eight Golden Retrievers, she is dedicated to helping other dog owners through the challenges of renting, buying and selling their home.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria 

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