One of the most common questions I am asked by sellers prior to listing their home is “What needs to be done to my home prior to listing.


While expectations for home improvements vary depending largely on time of year, location of the home, market temperature and competing inventory, there are still some general guidelines that apply to most homes. The National Association of Realtors publishes a Cost vs. Value Report annually with Remodeling Magazine that features various home projects, related costs and their returns, in four regions, including a national average. While this information provides a great benchmark, an experienced real estate agent is the best resource for local market knowledge.


A few of the updates that buyers look for in the Greenville downtown neighborhoods are:


Smooth textured ceilings. “Popcorn” or textured ceilings are a huge turnoff to buyers. While smoothing the ceilings can be a messy job, it’s definitely worth the investment in time and money.


Repaint walls and ceilings. A fresh coat of neutral paint throughout can do wonders in a home – especially older homes where there may be settlement cracks in walls and ceilings. Realtors, interior designers and stagers are great resources for popular paint colors that would work well in your home.


Refinish hardwood flooring. Most of the older homes in the Augusta Road, North Main and Parkins Mill areas have real hardwood floors, some of which are covered by carpet. If you know you have hidden hardwoods it would be worthwhile to have the carpeting removed and the floors refinished. If you have outdated carpet with plywood underneath, replace it with a neutral carpet or spend a little extra to match nearby hardwood floors. Do not install engineered hardwoods or laminate hardwoods in an older home that already has real, hardwood floors.  Also, if there’s carpeting in the bathrooms, replace with ceramic tile!


Remove dated wallpaper. There are many homes in the downtown Greenville area that have beautiful, designer wallpaper that has been installed in this decade. While this is generally acceptable to today’s buyers, wallpaper from the 1990’s and earlier should be removed as it dates the home and buyers see it as a big hassle for them to deal with later.


Discuss kitchen and bathroom updates with your agent. This is where I often see the most mistakes, especially when sellers put a new granite countertop on old cabinets that need to be replaced. In this market, it’s often best to leave kitchen and bathroom renovations up to the next owner and make an adjustment in the price to reflect your understanding of the necessary updates.


Make exterior improvements.  A few must do’s are:

  • paint the front door
  • replace dated or worn hardware, including the house numbers
  • ensure that the locks work
  • caulk windows and doors
  • repair cracks in brick
  • repair and/or paint fences
  • freshen up landscaping


Last but not least, fix any glaring issues to the home’s interior and exterior to make your home more attractive to prospective buyers. The less a potential homeowner sees that they will have to do after the home is purchased, the better return for you!