Should you fix up your home before selling it? It’s a common question, and there’s not one answer that’s right for everyone. While some homes can attract a higher price with a few finishing touches, others require extensive repairs before they could qualify as move-in ready. Here’s what you should consider when weighing what repairs to make before selling.
No one wants to sink $10,000 into home repairs just to turn around and sell it. But sometimes, not spending that $10,000 could cost you $20,000. That’s often the case when it comes to major damage and defects. Buyers don’t want to deal with the expense and hassle of making repairs before moving into a new house, and those that are willing are likely to make lowball offers.
When weighing the pros and cons of major repairs, sellers should also consider the effect it could have on buyers’ financing. For example, Investopedia points out that buyers using FHA loans won’t qualify if the roof is damaged or due for replacement, which could reduce your overall pool of buyers. This may not be an issue if attracting buyers isn’t a challenge in your market, but in markets with a lot of competition, outstanding repairs could lead buyers to look elsewhere.
Sometimes sellers can get by with stopgap measures instead of full repairs. With a damaged roof, for example, sellers can pay for maintenance repairs and have the roof certified for a few more years instead of replacing it completely. However, you won’t know your options until the damage has been inspected by a qualified contractor. If there’s a chance a major system or structural component may need repairs, have it inspected before planning your course of action.
Fixing a leaky faucet, running toilet, or loose doorknob is an easy call. These small annoyances distract buyers from the more important features of your home and leave them wondering what else might be wrong. That means that something that costs $20 to fix could lead to offer prices thousands of dollars lower than your target price. Thankfully, problems like these are almost always simple and inexpensive to fix. Outside of plumbing and electrical work, which should be contracted out, you can complete many minor repairs yourself. Refer to This Old House for instructions on how to repair common problems around the house.
When they’re inexpensive and appeal to a wide range of tastes, cosmetic updates are almost always worth the effort. That means you can skip the granite countertops and accent walls and instead focus on improving what you already have.
Repainting the walls and repairing or refinishing flooring are two improvements that always pay off, and both can be done DIY by a moderately handy homeowner. Other inexpensive projects that add value include replacing lighting fixtures, replacing cabinet hardware, resurfacing or repainting cabinets, and refinishing the tub. Don’t forget about curb appeal. Repainting the front door and trim, adding landscape plants, and washing the driveway, garage door, and siding are great weekend projects to tackle before you list your home.
One improvement that leaves many homeowners scratching their heads is replacing kitchen appliances. Most buyers prefer stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, but white appliances may not be a deterrent if buyers are bringing their own appliances or if your home’s price doesn’t warrant high-end appliances. Your real estate agent is your best resource for determining if it makes sense to upgrade kitchen appliances for your market.
Ultimately, the decision to fix up your house before selling will depend on your budget, time frame, and local market. If you need to move quickly and getting top dollar isn’t a priority, selling your house as a fixer-upper may be the right choice. However, if you want your home sale to put the most money in your pocket, improvements like these are a must-do.
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