What Not to Fix When Selling A House

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When selling your home, you’re faced with the crucial question: should you fix up your house or sell it as is? It depends. Selling a house isn’t the same as selling some items online where better condition automatically has better value. In the real estate world, it might not be wise to spend so much money improving your home’s condition, thinking you’ll get more bucks for it because you might just end up paying more than you’ll gain.

How, then, do you decide what to improve and what to leave alone? We’re here to help. Here is a short list of things that you can fix to increase your chances of getting an offer:

  • Roof damage
  • Foundation problems
  • Poor drainage and clogged gutters
  • Damaged wires
  • Faulty plumbing
  • HVAC concerns

In contrast, here are things you should add to your do-not-fix-list if you want to get more value than what you’re spending on by fixing your house:

Decor Upgrades

Here’s a crucial rule of thumb: Always prioritize defects or damages that affect the operation of major systems within the house. This includes malfunctioning appliances, leaks, pest infestations, and safety hazards. What this doesn’t include are room upgrades because you think the decor makes it look outdated. Significant improvements like changing out old countertops are simply not worth it if you’re spending more than what you have to. If you feel the decor needs to be changed, you’re better off just lowering your selling price.

While it can sometimes drive up the house’s value, the trendy decor is not exactly the priority in selling real estate. While you can definitely repaint the walls and improve the decor to achieve a more modern interior, this is not a requirement, especially if you can’t put in the time, effort, and additional expenses. Any buyer can easily repaint their bathrooms and kitchens in whatever color they want once they’ve moved in. It won’t cost them too much either, so that should tell you where to place that upgrade in the priority list. It’s wiser to check for any plumbing problems, such as leaky or corroding pipes or taps that don’t work. 

Minor Cosmetic Damages

The urge to fix minor cosmetic flaws rests on the belief that buyers are more likely to buy a house that immediately creates a good impression. However, this isn’t always true. Thoughtful and meticulous buyers will know that cosmetic damages are acceptable as long as the amenities and appliances are in good working order.

It’s the same thing with decor upgrades: it won’t cost the buyers too much to fix once they move in. For example, a hairline crack in the driveway won’t exactly be a deal-breaker when considering the house’s curb appeal. Scuffed floors and a few scratches on the wall might make your home look a little run-down, but these are all minor issues that won’t alarm buyers too much.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should leave any obvious bothersome issues as is. You don’t have to have new porcelain tiles in your bathroom, but you can replace broken tiles. You can also add some fixtures and replace faulty bulbs. Before you can even start tackling minor cosmetic issues, you may want to take a look at these fixable factors that, when left unaddressed, most realtors say that render a home unsellable:

  • Bad odors
  • Mold
  • Modifiable bad architecture
  • Cluttered and unstaged

Partial Renovations

Sometimes your real estate agent will advise you to do a room renovation if they believe that it will help immensely with the offers and that you can get your money back on the sale. After all, some buyers can be picky about decor, especially for the kitchen, dining area, and bathroom. If this is the case, the best thing to do is to have a full-on fixer-upper rather than making partial or minor fixes. A fully renovated room will leave a better impression than a shoddy-looking one with a confusing sprinkling of minor renovations.

If you’re going as far as installing modern granite countertops in your kitchen, then go all the way and replace the chipped or weathered kitchen cabinets so they match. You can even do a complete paint job and add some light fixtures if you think that’s necessary. This is your chance to pull the room’s whole look together by ensuring that each essential part matches everything else.

New Appliances

Check if your appliances are still fully functioning. Think back to when you first bought the device and decide whether to leave it as is or to throw it out. From a functional perspective, appliances that are more than 10-12 years old and add too much to the electricity bill should go. If the repair costs also exceed half the appliance’s value, then it’s time to throw it out instead.

If you need to replace some essential appliances in the kitchen, such as the oven or dishwasher, then save yourself from splurging on new machines that you’re not even going to use and look for online listings that sell used and functioning appliances.

The most important thing is to have clean, well-maintained, and functioning appliances. As far as appliances go, buyers will expect them to work, but they’re not really going to expect them to be brand-new.

In conclusion, it’s essential to focus on what will make it a safe and functional place to live in when selling a house. That’s why more technical issues like faulty wiring and plumbing should be considered first before you can even start to think about fixing the tacky paint job. Once you’re ready to take on cosmetic issues, it’s also important to focus on the things that won’t cost too much, like replacing some tiles or changing out cabinet doors.

While some problems can stop a sale from happening, there are also some problems that any smart buyer will overlook in favor of future fixes. It goes without saying that leaving significant repairs for a buyer to take care of is bad business. Still, even most realtors will agree that letting the buyer customize their own home through minor fixes like paint jobs or room upgrades might be the smartest thing to do.