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9 min read Apr 25, 2023

7 Things Not to Fix When Selling a House

Be it Seattle or Miami, sellers spend around $14,163 on improving their homes before listing. The data suggests that most of the repairs before selling a house do not give the expected ROI. If you are a seller, you need to know what not to fix when selling a house.

🛠️Fixes That Hurt Your Home’s Value!!

  1. High-End Kitchen: A complete kitchen remodel can cost you around $80,000. You may recover just 60 to 75 percent of your expense.
  2. Luxury Bathroom: Bathroom remodeling with overly personalized finishes and additions can cost you more than $35,000. It can turn off the buyer and give you back just 70 percent of your investment.
  3. Basement Conversion to Living Area: Converting the basement to a living area may not attract future homeowners. You can end up spending $57,000 and lose 20 to 30 percent of it if the buyer doesn’t like it.
  4. Home Office Conversion: A prospective buyer would rather have an extra bedroom than a converted office space. Spending 3 to 4 grand on it without any return is just a loss.

👎What Not to Fix When Selling a House?

Avoid fixing issues that will not give a good ROI. Let‘s take a look at the do-not-fix list. It mentions the top 7 things you should not fix.

1. Don’t Fix Cosmetic Issues

You need not worry about cosmetic flaws like random stains on the floor, scratches, or dents. Your home needs to be structurally strong and have the necessary amenities. Just make sure the facilities that you are offering are functional and clean.

Another fact is that everyone has individual preferences. What if the prospective buyer does not like the wall paint or the cabinet countertop that you update?

Your entire investment in fixing can go waste as the buyer might change everything later. You can save a lot of money by keeping cosmetic changes minimal and focusing on other important fix-ups.

2. Retain Functional Gadgets and Appliances

Do not purchase new gadgets and appliances like a cooking range or an upgraded HVAC system. They can cost a lot and may not give a good ROI. If they are functional, do not replace them.

The broken, worn, or non-functional ones can be replaced with used models. They are more affordable and can improve the appearance of your home.

3. Ignore Minor Plumbing and Electrical Issues

Fix important issues like exposed or hanging wires and redundant electrical panels. Ignore non-functional switches or outlet plugs that have come loose, they can be left as-is. Go for an overall electrical inspection or an HVAC inspection.

Perform a plumbing inspection to determine glaring issues that need to be fixed. Leave the rest to the buyers because they would prefer to install fixtures, faucets, and cabinets of their choice.

4. Don’t Upgrade Bathrooms and Kitchens

Avoid bathroom and kitchen remodeling. Partial upgrades of bathrooms and kitchens can cost you $35,000-$45,000. A full remodel can cost the double of that. Moreover, such upgrades offer low ROI and may not impress the buyer.

An alternative is to simply declutter and clean the kitchen and bathroom areas. It becomes easier for the buyer to visualize the spaces according to their preferences. You can sell a house without remodeling it.

5. Retain Floor Coverings and Carpets

Keep your existing floor coverings and carpet as is even if there are a few stains or loose boards. Carpet cleaning service is available at a reasonable charge. Make sure that your old carpet does not stink or have glaring stains.

Cabinet tabletops, faucets and fixtures, floor coverings, and carpets are personal preferences. The buyer can replace the flooring as per their choice.

6. Ignore Small Cracks in the Driveway

Don’t fix every small crack that you come across in the driveway. Update the landscaping. The curb appeal will get a lift. Consequently, the buyer’s attention will shift from minor cracks in the driveway to the aesthetic appeal of your property.

Generally, buyers are not very nit-picky about minor issues unless they are potentially hazardous.

7. Skip Room Remodeling

Don’t even think about remodeling a room or two. According to experienced realtors, buyers are not usually concerned about minor flaws. They see the big picture and try to visualize themselves living in that house.

A partial remodeling can only make your other spaces seem outdated and highlight their inadequacies. Any major remodeling is bound to remain unfinished and can hurt the sale.

Firstly, the house cannot be staged perfectly for viewing because of the repairs going on. Secondly, it can give the impression that you are unable to bear the cost of repairs.

The buyer may offer a lower value thinking that you will accept the offer due to financial distress. It is always better to sell a house as is or with minor fixes.

Should You Sell House As Is or Fix it Up?

You should sell the house as is if there are no major issues. In case there are, fix those things that can impact the value of your property. Anything beyond that is just a waste of time and money.

An agent can suggest changes that can push up the sale price of your home and fetch better ROI. Then you can take an informed decision whether to sell a house as is or fix it up.

💲How Much Does It Cost to Fix a House for Sale?

Home renovations can cost anywhere between $17,696 and $79,177. Several reports give figures of the average cost of individual home improvements. Here’s an overview of the top five home improvements that sellers opt for:

Home ImprovementsCost Range
1. Landscaping$3,000 – $16,000
2. Painting$950 – $2,900
3. Carpet Cleaning$190 – $240
4. Kitchen Upgrade$5,000 – $60,000
5. Bathroom Remodeling$2,500 – $80,000

3 Things to Remember Before Fixing Your Home

Most home improvement projects give an ROI of 70 percent or less. The trick is to know what to fix before selling the home rather than losing money. These 3 points can help you decide.

1. Consult a Real Estate Expert

A real estate agent can tell you what not to fix when selling a house. They will also tell you which changes can help in selling your home faster.

You should be able to make money on the upgrades. Buyers generally offer a discounted rate to save money for the cost of repairs and fix-ups. There is no point in losing money even after you fix up the home before the sale.

You can wait for the home inspection report and the buyer’s feedback to see if any changes are necessary. A real estate agent or expert can give insights into the current market scenario and buyers’ preferences in that locality.

2. Ensure You Determine the Scope of Recovering Repair Costs

A report by CBS News, states that sellers spend the most on kitchen and bathroom remodeling. The average figures are around $10,000 and $5,000 respectively. It can be difficult to recover these costs while selling a house.

The real estate market of your location determines how much of the fixing cost can you ultimately recover. Get an estimate of the return on investment in the current market scenario before starting any repairs.

The safest bet is to go for a fresh coat of paint and spruce up the outdoors. If the yard is well-maintained, it can create a good impression on the buyers. Apart from these minor upgrades, you are not required to spend much on preparing a home for sale.

3. Find Out if Fixing Can Fetch a Higher Value

There is no need to go for the major cosmetic changes that you always wanted for your home. It makes no sense to fix everything when you are not even going to live there anymore.

Your home is not expected to be in immaculate condition as you have lived in it. Even if you don’t prefer showing your house in its current state, think twice before fixing it up.

Selling a house as is may get you a slightly lower value than your property’s fair market value. But it can save you thousands of dollars that would have gone into repairs and remodeling. At the same time, if a repair can fetch a higher value for your property, consider that.

👍What to Fix When Selling a House?

Buyers prefer homes that require few repairs. Although selling a house as is or with minor repairs is cost-effective, some fixes are a must before the sale. A few important ones are electrical, sewage, and plumbing issues. Read on to find out more.

  • Curb Appeal: Ensure your property is well-maintained for future home buyers and agents. Curb appeal is a big part of it. You don’t need to spend a fortune on it. Hiring a gardener for a day can do the job.
  • Damaged Doors, Exterior Windows, or Stairs: Fix broken stairs, loose doors, and damaged exterior windows before listing your home for sale. They can be a major turn-off for the buyers.
  • Electrical Hazards: Arrange for an electrical inspection to check if the electrical components are functioning properly. You do not want the buyer to get a shock, literally, from any exposed or hanging wire. The system should be updated to prevent any kind of mishap or electrical hazard.
  • Major Leaks: Fix major leaks by conducting a plumbing inspection or a roof inspection. A leaky roof or faucet can damage the property and make it structurally weak. The buyer will not deal with it.
  • Sewage Issues: Go for a sewage inspection and fix any sewage issues. The drainage system can pose a major headache if it is damaged. It can be a deal breaker and can prevent your house from getting sold.

Bottom Line

What to fix and what not to fix when selling a house is a dilemma that all sellers face. Every seller has to spruce up the property to some extent.

It is important to make changes that can fetch you a better ROI and help in selling your home faster. At the same time, it is crucial to know what not to fix and avoid unnecessary repairs and fixes.

When in doubt, it is better to consult a real estate agent or a home inspector before starting repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it better to fix up a house before selling?

Minor fixing up like a fresh coat of paint and sprucing up the exterior can have a positive impact on the home sale. However, major repairs and renovations should be avoided as they are not likely to give enough ROI.

2. What renovations are a must before selling a house?

Serious electrical, plumbing, and sewage issues must be resolved before selling a house. If there are no major issues, cleaning up and removing the clutter can make the house ready for viewing.

3. How to prepare home for sale?

Decluttering, cleaning, removing non-functional items, replacing the important ones with refurbished models, and giving a minor facelift to the property are enough to prepare the home for sale.

4. How to sell a house that needs repairs?

Make full disclosure to the prospective buyer. The value of the property can be fixed accordingly. If you want a higher ROI, go for repairs or remodeling as per the recommendations of an experienced agent before listing the property.

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