Developing a Repair Strategy

For those of you who are familiar with selling homes, you are aware that home buyers will order a home inspection. Many buyer requested repairs will be based upon the inspection; because of this, it is important to sit down and develop a repair strategy and figure out which repairs should be done, which ones are not detrimental, and son on. Following are 12 steps to remember when developing the repair strategy:

  1. Using the results of the home inspection, divide repairs into “core” versus “cosmetic” categories. Core repairs are those made to major structural systems of the house, such as roofs, walls, foundation, plumbing, etc.
  2. Divide core repairs into those needed to prevent liability or the rapid deterioration of a property (such as roof leaks or broken steps that might cause a fall), and those that would improve the salability of the home, such as adding a new furnace or upgrading electrical wiring.
  3. Review the list of suggested cosmetic repairs and evaluate each in terms of its impact on the home’s appearance.
  4. Analyze comparable homes in the area and note any major differences in physical appearance. Add any differences of a cosmetic nature to your list.
  5. Evaluate which repairs will have a good return on investment. The cost of some cosmetic repairs might not be recovered through increases in the sale price.
  6. Assign an estimated cost and time for completion to every repair option. A spreadsheet is often the best tool for this work.
  7. Assess each repair in terms of time versus cost as well as your estimate of potential return based on market comparables.
  8. Give extra weight to the improvements you think are most critical to area buyers. Use market comparables, conversations with local buyers’ agents, and surveys of prospective buyers to determine how to weigh this list.
  9. Review any repair guidelines from the HOA or the city and incorporate these in your lists.
  10. Rank all core and all cosmetic repairs based on your analysis and include your findings in the marketing plan you prepare.
  11. Develop a checklist, budget, and timeline for repairs. Contact contractors to approve timelines and reconfirm budget.
  12. Once a repair strategy has been selected and approved, create a checklist to assist you in evaluating completed work, and develop procedures for addressing incomplete or substandard work.

It is important that both you and your agent create this repair strategy and try your hardest to stick to it. Both of you need to sit down together and work on the strategy  from start to finish. Your agent should have a list of certain contractors, or mention some of your own if you have certain ones you like to work with.