Something that’s been on my mind lately is the act of selling one’s home. There are all these shows on TV that tell people how to make alterations to their home, including a lot of repairs, to try to maximize the amount of money they can put their home on the market for.

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In my mind, that was a great idea when the housing market was actually good. These days, you could spend $10 – 20,000 in fixing up minor things in your home then go months or years without it selling. I’ve come to the opinion that it’s almost better just to add the cost of some of the repairs you figure someone buying your home might have to deal with into the cost of the home, reduce the price, and let someone else deal with it later on.

In my vision, it all comes down to economics of scale. That being, if you can make minor changes and potentially get $50 – $100,000 more for your home, the risk might be warranted. But if you live in an area where home prices have fell or stagnated, you don’t have a chance on getting more for your house than what the market will bear. And based on housing figures, 95% of the country has had declining home prices.

Now you feel free in not having to do any improvements right? Well, it’s not quite that simple. Here are 3 things you should try to do so that you have some kind of idea of the kind of reductions you might want to make.

1. Know what your home is worth. That one’s pretty easy to find out based on two things. One, you can look at your property tax bill to see what the area you live in has assessed your property at and go from there. Or two, have an appraiser come in to look at things. You might not get as much of a profit from selling you home as you might have liked, but if you’ve had your home for awhile and don’t live in one of the major housing depressed areas of the country you’ll probably make some kind of profit off your home, even at a reduction.

2. Have some estimates of repairs you believe need to be done. In some states you have to disclose problems with the house and if those are things that needed to be addressed, it wouldn’t hurt to have some estimates to show someone if asked why you’re reducing the price on the house. If they’re things you were thinking about doing, don’t worry about it.

3. If possible, have receipts of things you’ve already taken care of so you can prove that you at least did some maintenance on the house. Receipts of new windows, roofs, and appliances can go a long way in bringing back at least a little bit of value in your home if your potential buyer knows those items won’t have to be replaced.

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