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Fixing to Sell

Putting your home on the market is not just a matter of, advertise and they will come... It's one thing to plant a for-sale sign in the front yard. But making your home truly marketable presents a whole set of tasks, starting with that "to-do" list of repairs or renovations you've been putting off so long. Of course, you're busy. But most homebuyers are looking for homes that show well, on the inside and out. So it's time to ditch the excuses and get working.

The challenge is getting the work done without making your life unbearable. Although it's tempting to do it yourself, the money saved might not equal the stress or aggravation of a time-consuming repair project. If you're busy and under pressure to move, saddling yourself with another responsibility is just what you don't need. Most of us have enough deadlines to worry about already with work and family obligations.

Unfortunately, the other alternative-- hiring a home repair company-- is not going to be easy, either. In our boom economy, demand for home remodeling has skyrocketed. More homeowners have money to pay for new additions, kitchens and other improvements. As a result, the industry is so busy that homeowners are practically on their knees trying to get skilled tradespeople. There just aren't enough of them to go around. Keep in mind, too, that buyers today are hearing the nightmarish stories about fruitless searches for home contractors. Accordingly, they'd rather move into a "turnkey" home than a fixer-upper to avoid the hassle of updating it themselves.

So where does that leave the embattled seller, except between a rock and a hard place? It leaves you having to get creative. Here are some possible solutions. First, consider handing your problems over to a full-service home marketing/improvement company. In recent years, a new industry has sprung up specializing in preparing homes for sale. They offer design help to spruce up every aspect of your home, so you get maximum curb appeal and charm. These hybrid companies match up interior design expertise with home marketing savvy, plus they can refer skilled remodeling and repair contractors to handle the nuts and bolts.

Another alternative is to pay a little more. Bonuses and incentives can go a long way toward enticing a company to show up on time and complete the work within your schedule. This can be a major headache. You've finally found a skilled, reputable company to handle your project. But they're busy working on several projects simultaneously and show up at yours only intermittently. The idea is to use a "carrot and stick" approach. Present deadlines along with bonuses for meeting them. The extra expense may sound unnecessary but unfortunately, contractors can pick and choose among customers these days, so you might as well make your project the priority.

Sources used to create this article include writer Ellen James Martin and the Milwaukee Times Sentinel.

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