What Home Buyers Look for in Fall

Lauren WhiteSeptember 10, 2018

Look at your home through the eyes of a buyer. They’ve probably seen several houses before yours, and they may see many after. After all, it’s one of the strongest seasons for real estate. No matter how well your house has served you for the past several years or decades, you have to consider whether or not it will meet the needs of this modern consumer. What, exactly, are they looking for?

Here are a few things that are on buyers’ checklists which are sure to raise your home value and appeal, and get you to the sale faster.

1. They want it to feel new—but with character

Examine the quality of your exterior and interior paint with a naked eye. Don’t neglect doors and trim. After years of living in your home, the walls can truly become backdrops, blurred and unimportant as life buzzes by. If anything, you may have convinced yourself that it has a “vintage” look. While distressed wood can be decorative inside, peeling paint on the walls and trim is not the kind of character most potential home buyers are looking for.

A new coat of paint (or new siding, for some exteriors) is one of the most affordable investments you can make in a property, and it can have a 60-140 percent return on investment. Also, fall is a great time for this project because the weather will be just right for a perfect finish. Unless they are looking for a fixer-upper, they won’t fall for that “vintage” appeal.

2. Don’t make them replace the roof

A new roof can really put a potential homeowner at ease. It can be one of the most taxing projects for them to anticipate, after they’ve already invested in buying the house. When they notice your old or missing shingles, they may just skip their appointment.

Consider this: new roofing can raise your property value by over $10,000. It is a high-return project that also has a large visual impact. It could even increase home efficiency, depending on the materials you choose—which leads to the next big thing on the checklist.

3. They want to save on energy bills

Efficiency is important to today’s home buyers. Many of them are looking to make investments in energy efficiency down the road, if they can’t find a house that is already outfitted. Rather than deal with the cost of installation later, they may be willing to pay extra to have these upgrades already installed. According to Consumer Reports, investments like these can raise your property value by 1-3 percent.

There are two home energy improvements proven to have strong returns: attic insulation and insulated windows. The 2017 national average return on investment for attic insulation was nearly 108 percent, while window replacements was around 73 percent. While these won’t contribute as much to your visual aesthetic, imagine the shine in the eyes of potential home buyers when you tell them what they will save on their energy bills.

4. Nobody loves antique appliances

You want to set them up for success with updated appliances and units like air conditioners and furnaces. Old appliances and household mechanics will make them wary of expensive repair and replace demands in the future. You also want to send them into the cold season in comfort. Investing in updated appliances will not only raise your home value 3-5 percent, it will also give the home buyers one less thing to try to negotiate over.

New roof installation and exterior painting are among the top projects for home improvement in the country, according to the HomeAdvisor 2017 True Cost Report. This also found that consumer confidence is high, and home improvements are on the rise. Consider this as you prepare to sell your home in the fall. How will your house compare while other sellers are upgrading and renovating? These projects will give you the opportunity to raise your home value and sell it faster.

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    Lauren White

    The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.