Investing for the Sale: Preparing your home to get top dollar in a hot market (Interview with Realtor Cass Studor)

Sometimes, we do home improvement projects because we want to be more comfortable or make our home work better for our family and lifestyle. Sometimes, we invest to help make a sale. I wanted to know more about which projects make a difference in home sales, so I went right to the source and interviewed a local realtor.

Cass Studor is a realtor with Haller Realty. She works out of Haller’s Becker and Sauk Rapids locations. She also owns Snap Fitness gyms in Becker and Big Lake.

CL: My main question is what home improvement projects do the most to add equity or speed up the sale of a home?
CS: There are many updates one can do to help assist with the sale of their home. Some projects may be smaller in nature, while others a bit more of an undertaking. It is always good to look at what doing the upgrades/updates will do for the sale of your home.

Let’s start at the beginning. When a prospective buyer drives up to your house, what do they see? What does the entry of your home look like? You want to make sure that your front door is in good condition. I have viewed homes where there were cracks in the solid wood doors that gave buyers and uneasy feeling before even entering the home. Curb appeal is important as prospective buyers may drive by your home prior to requesting a showing, and you don’t want to lose out on someone viewing your home due to the front door/entry being in poor condition. Sometimes a new door and hardware are needed and others a fresh coat of paint will do the trick nicely. Also make sure if there are stairs leading into your home or a front porch that they are in good repair. Rotting steps or decking do not give a good first impression. Buyers will also look up when they first encounter your home. How does the roof of your home look? If a roof is in need of repair, it can be a turnoff for many buyers.

Another area that is always important is the kitchen, for some the most important area of a home. Buyers pay a great deal of attention to the condition of kitchens.

CL: Kitchens can be expensive projects.
CS: If doing an overhaul is not in your budget, there are less expensive ways to update the look of the kitchen if your cabinets are in good shape but outdated. You can refinish the existing cabinets or purchase new doors for them. Updating the hardware on the cabinets and on the kitchen sink is also good to do. New hardware can give the room a completely different feel. Next, after the kitchen, comes the bathroom. Bathrooms are a very essential part of the home. Kitchens and bathrooms can be the areas of a home that can be more expensive to update, but people do notice these areas.

CL: What are the small things a person can do to freshen up a home for listing?
CS: If your budget is smaller, you can always freshen your home up rather than some of the bigger remodel projects. Fresh paint and a good cleaning can go a long way to make a home more inviting. Now if budget allows, there are some fun projects that can make your home stand out against the competition.

CL: Anything else? What if you’re not sure where to begin?
CS: The list could go on and on for the updates that you could make to your home or things you could add, like a deck. You need to choose wisely for your individual home as to which areas need your care the most. If you are unsure which areas of your home could use some updating or TLC, make sure to talk to your realtor. They can help you decide which projects will help the most with increasing the value or curb appeal of your home.

Thank you, Cass, for taking the time to tell us about investing to prepare for real estate listing!