Is it Location, Condition, immediate neighbors, upgrades, improvements? The short answer is: all of the above!
Ask yourself these questions:
Location: Is the home in a “safe” (a relative term) neighborhood? Are the neighboring homes in good condition? Is there an “active” HOA keeping the home values up by maintaining set standards for all? Close to schools and services, freeway access? On a busy street, or a quiet cul de sac? Are there parks nearby?
Condition: Have you cleaned the roof and gutters lately? When was the last time your home had a fresh coat of paint? Has the landscaping been maintained? Have you looked at the flooring objectively? Maybe new carpet is in order or some updated vinyl. When was the last time you had the carpets professionally cleaned? Interior painting is always a consideration, (paint over accent walls!!!). If you have pets, have they done any damage? Are all your screens in good condition?
Maintenance: Have you put off some regular maintenance? Has the furnace been serviced? Has the septic tank been pumped lately? Are there some outlets in the home not working? Do all windows lock securely? How about the front door, Is the paint chipped? Have you installed new locks lately? Have you had a home inspection done to identify issues that are not obvious?
Upgrades/improvements: have you invested in upgrades? This would include appliances, stove/oven, fridge, dishwasher microwave, and flooring/carpets. How about countertops, Formica, or granite? Lighting fixtures, do you still have the contractor installed lighting fixtures? Have you upgraded the back yard with perhaps a new deck, or expanded the contractor installed patio or how about a shed in the back yard?
If you have answered these questions with more no’s than yes’s then you will leave yourself vulnerable to the competition, as buyers will do direct comparisons and reach their own conclusions.
Of course there are some attributes to homes that cannot be overcome such as location and neighbors. So take that into consideration when preparing your home for sale. But be the BEST for the price and neighborhood, and your time on market will be shorter than your competition
A good real estate Broker will be able to help with these questions and should be able to guide you to the best use of your home improvement budget, in other words where is the best bang for the buck?