Should I remodel my home before I sell it?

20 Dec
Upgrades to review before selling your home.

It doesn’t make financial sense to dump a ton of money into renovating a home you are about to sell because you will almost never recoup all of the money you end up spending.

If you are considering putting your home on the market one thing you may be worried about is its condition. If it’s been a few years (or decades) since you have shown it some love and updated the interior or exterior you may be concerned that your house will show poorly and sit on the market for months without selling.

In some cases, you may be right, but in the majority of cases it doesn’t make financial sense to dump a ton of money into renovating a home you are about to sell because you will almost never recoup all of the money you end up spending.

However, making some smart improvements may help your home sell quicker and even up your selling price but the key is to invest your renovation money wisely in areas that will return the most bang for your buck.

Consider the Payoff

When consider what home improvements to make its important to consider the payoff and balance the cost of the improvement against the benefit it will provide.

In most cases, making major home improvements right before putting your home on the market will not dramatically increase your selling price but there some that can lead to a higher price or at least a quicker sale.

A great way to determine where your home falls on the renovation scale is to tour other homes for sale in your general area and price range. If they are all upgraded you may need to update specific parts of your home or consider lowering your price point. As an example, if the majority have a renovated kitchen you may want to update your kitchen to give it a fresh look.

However, it is important to remember that you are selling the house so don’t go overboard on upgrades. Fresh paint on the walls and cabinets combined with a new backsplash and cabinet hardware can give a kitchen an upgraded look without breaking the budget.

You should also carefully examine your home for items that are broken or simply worn out that need replacing. Broken outlets, leaking faucets and cracks or holes in the walls will all reflect badly on your home to potential buyers.

Following is a quick list of items you should examine and repair before putting a house on the market. This list is not exhaustive:

  • Patch and repair any holes and cracks in walls and ceiling
  • Repair or replace any leaking faucets
  • Clean the carpet or replace it if it is severely stained
  • Consider repainting rooms if the color is faded, spotted or stained
  • Replace any broken windows, doors or locks
  • Consider replacing out of date or damaged light fixtures and ceiling fans
  • Consider replacing old or out of fashion window coverings

The majority of these repairs are fairly inexpensive and can be done pretty quickly but they can give your home a fresher look, which may result in a higher asking price and quicker sale.

Major Repairs

Like smaller repairs, you need to consider the payoff with large repairs. If your appliances and major mechanical systems are outdated or nearing the end of their useful life, you may need to repair/replace them or be prepared to offer a pricing discount.

Most homeowners will require a home inspection as part of the buying process and if the inspection turns up a failing furnace or A/C system it can derail the deal if the buyers are unwilling or unable to cover the cost of replacing these systems as soon as they close on your home.

Here are a few major systems that you should consider repairing or replacing if they are damaged or simply nearing the end of their life.

  • HVAC
  • Roof
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing

As you can imagine, these are all fairly expensive repairs or replacements but failing mechanical systems or a leaking roof can easily scuttle a deal so it is better to address them before putting you home on the market.

If the cost to make a major repair or replacement to one of these systems is beyond your means, consider a price reduction or a seller’s concession to make your home more appealing to sellers.

The Bottom Line

Unless your home is decades out of date it rarely makes sense to do major renovations before you put it on the market. The exceptions to this rule are major systems such as the roof, HVAC, electrical and plumbing as a leaking roof or failing mechanicals can easily sink a deal and also make it harder to sell your home.

A fresh coat of paint can really freshen up a room so consider repainting your interior or exterior if they are faded. If you love bold and bright colors you may want to tone it down by repainting in more neutral colors that will appeal to a wider variety of buyers.

Finally, regardless of whether you do any remodeling, always de-clutter your home. Removing your personal items and opening up the space can make a huge difference in the time it takes to sell your home. If necessary, rent a storage unit to contain your clutter until you find a new home.

Tags: , , , , ,