You’ve probably gotten the letters and text messages: Interested in selling your house? Rising home values can make it pretty tempting—especially after two years of hearing about people simply listing their homes and immediately inciting bidding wars.
But, before you call your real estate agent, it’s worth considering research from Zillow. When surveying more than 10,000 people, they found the biggest regret people who sold—or were selling their house—had was…not doing enough early on to prepare their home before putting it on the market. Climbing interest rates mean homes are on the market longer (averaging 54 days, up 45 percent from last year), which means you’ll have to put in more effort to attract buyers than you did in 2021 or 2022.
“We’re no longer in a seller's market, but we’re not really in a buyer’s market yet, either,” explains Realtor.com managing editor and House Party podcast co-host Rachel Stults. “Your home ‘as is’ might not cut it—at least not if you want to sell quickly and for more money.”
But what prep work is worth it—and what will cost you way more money (and time) than you’d intended? Check in with your real estate agent to find out what’s in demand in your area specifically, and beyond that, “if you’re going to make improvements, the old rules still apply: Focus on the kitchen, bathrooms and your home’s exterior. These are the spaces that buyers will zero in on most,” Stults suggests. More specifically, that means doing things like: