The Do-Not-Fix List: What You Should Avoid When Selling Your House
When it comes to selling a house, the process can feel overwhelming. To sell a house as is or fix it up, this is what you will learn by reading this article.
From decluttering and deep cleaning to neutralizing colors and updating furniture are only a few important things when selling your house.
Preparing your home for sale can be a multistep process. However, it’s important to avoid the common mistake of over-improving your home.
Before you start making upgrades and repairs, it’s crucial to know what you should avoid when selling your house.
By George Nicola (Expert Stager)
Table of Contents
It is shocking that average homeowner is not aware that by understanding which repairs and upgrades can be skipped not only time and money but, their listings can get at the top of the seller’s market.
When is a house not worth fixing?
A house may not be worth fixing if the repair cost significantly outweighs the house’s potential value.
If, after investing substantial amounts in repairs, the house still retains considerable structural problems.
For example, issues like a leaky basement and crumbling foundation walls might persist even after expensive renovations.
Another factor to consider is if you’re looking to sell your house, investing heavily in fixing all flaws might not always be advantageous.
Some sellers pour too much money into improving their houses, repairing elements that a potential buyer might not notice or be willing to pay extra for as they set the market conditions (buyers market).
Smart home selling: Fix Before Selling Without Overspending
While it’s tempting to bring in a decluttering expert to help you clear out your home, you can do it yourself with a little discipline and organization.
Start by inspecting and repairing your home, then clear out the clutter and conduct a deep cleaning.
Neutralize the colors in your home and arrange your furniture for maximum impact. Adding luxurious-looking accessories can also make a significant difference.
It’s important to remember that these changes may also need to be made outside of your home. It’s crucial not to over-improve your property, as this can lead to overspending and a lack of return on investment.
Keep in mind that preparing your home for sale can be a time-consuming process.
Give yourself plenty of time to complete the necessary steps and get your preparations underway early to hit the busiest home selling time of the year, which is April, May, and June.
This is where “The What not to fix when selling a house list” comes into play.
In this post we’ve explained a strategy How to sell your outdated home
The importance of Home inspection
A home inspection can tell what repairs to do before selling house.
Potential buyers’ first impression matter! Before you start showing your property to prospects, it’s essential to have a professional home inspector give your house a thorough inspection. This is an essential step in the home-selling process for two reasons.
First, you are legally required to alert a prospective buyer to any potential problems with the property.
Second, getting in front of real problems can keep you from having to negotiate away any profit you hope to earn on your home.
When serious buyers hire their own home inspector, they are likely to find any undisclosed problems, leading them to walk away from the deal.
Professional home inspection
A professional inspector will thoroughly examine your home’s major systems, including the heating and air-conditioning, plumbing, electric, roof, attic, walls, ceiling, floor, windows, doors, foundation, basement, and structural components.
It’s essential to keep in mind that no home, even a brand-new one, typically emerges from an inspection with flying colors. You may be surprised to find out about issues that you may not have known about.
However, if you get a decent inspection you can:
- decide what not to fix
- correct minor cosmetic problems and low-level safety repairs
- remove customized additions that most people wouldn’t want
- use the inspection report as a sales tool
This will help you build trust with any home buyer and provide easy the home selling process. An inspector can also help you address any concerns you may have and provide answers to questions that buyers might have.
By avoiding any potential issues and proactively identifying and addressing any necessary repairs, you can sell your property successfully and without leaving any money on the table.
How perfect does your house have to be to sell?
It’s a common misconception that all repairs must be completed before putting a home on the market. Focus on what really matters: good presentation and overall condition of the property!
If things like paint and minor repairs are taken care of before anyone puts in an offer, then things will run much smoother.
If you have to get one thing from this blog post, that will be the list below.
Identify things cheap and easy fixes that will increase home’s curb appeal and sales price but are not significant repairs:
- gaps in weatherstripping
- scratches or dents in walls
- carpet cleaning
- clean windows
- wash walls from smoke and grease
- leaky faucets
- minor electrical issues
- replace burned-out lightbulbs with energy efficient ones
- broken light fixtures
- broken light switch
- change the outdated electrical service panel
- add new carbon monoxide detectors
- regrout tiles in bathroom and kitchen
- reapply missing tiles
- change damaged countertops
- unclog drains
- remove and reapply the caulk
- cover dark walls with light colored interior paint
- grease the squeaky garage door
- remove stains from hardwood floors
- clean appliances from grease
- clean or change door knobs or cabinet handles
- add missing shingles (do not buy new roof)
- patch up the driveway cracks
- remove heavy curtains
- make room for natural lighting
- deal with insect infestation
All these things are relatively easy fixes that can help simplify the selling process and potentially increase your home’s value. But avoided can become the deal breakers!
While it’s certainly in your best interest to make sure your house is serviceable to potential buyer, you don’t need to exhaust yourself trying to tackle and fix every corner of the house.
The below are considered major important fixes fix when selling a house but also a more expensive ones:
- Structural cracks and subsidence
- Rotten wood and joists
- Leaking roof
- Active rising damp
A buyer may want some things done, but they could also see value in being able upgrade the house to current trends in their own way.
Plus, doing these renovations and repairs can increase the allotted time needed to sell – meaning more work for you!
We can help sell your place with good virtual staging >
Consulting with a Top real estate agents
Selling a home is no easy feat. Taking the time to plan ahead and consulting with a top local agent can be invaluable for averting any unnecessary fixes when preparing to sell your property.
It can provide sound advice on specific repairs and upgrades that might make all the difference in a home’s overall appeal and sale price.
Making smart decisions on what home improvement fixes you should or shouldn’t do before listing your home, can help you save time and money while hoping that future owners will be able to appreciate the deal.
Determining if the renovation and fixes cost can be recouped
Don’t fix everything if you aim to save.
Once you’ve identified which parts of your home need a fix before it goes on the market, the next step is to determine if these fixes are worth pursuing in terms of time and money.
Investment in repairs can significantly increase the sale value of your home, but it’s important to consider whether or not the cost of these repairs can be recouped; you wouldn’t want to end up spending more than you can make back.
Doing your homework – researching recent similar sales and renovation costs – will help ensure that when all is said and done, you’re able to comfortably get back whatever funds were invested.
Identifying and ruling out vanity fixes
To ensure the success of your home sale, it’s wise to consider both essential and nonessential improvements.
By making strategic “vanity fixes” you can differentiate your home from others on the market giving you a competitive edge over selling price.
When selecting these upgrades always prioritize options that will add true benefit to the property while remaining mindful of profit margins and expenses.
This thoughtful approach should be taken when deliberating over any needs versus wants – that’s how prepared sellers who want to sell have an edge with listing the home!
Before you start putting your home on the market, it’s smart to make a list of any minor problems that wouldn’t really affect the future buyer or how they use the property.
These don’t need to take priority in terms of budget and effort. Minor cosmetic issues or cheaper maintenance tasks that can be put off can go on this list.
Curb appeal and Cosmetic flaws
Take into account any cosmetic flaws it might have. These can range from chipped paint to broken exterior tiles that need to be replaced.
It’s best to fix these issues as soon as possible in order to increase the value of the property and make it appealing to prospects.
It’s important to know that minor touches like pressure washing the driveway or planting some colourful shrubbery will go a long way in making the home look more inviting.
Improving the curb appeal mostly will deter any real estate investor, cash buyers or clever real estate agent who’ll be trying to cheat you into selling at a lower price because your home appears “as is”.
On top of this, making sure all appliances are working properly is also important.
Taking care of these details can make your home-selling journey much smoother and give future owners peace of mind when purchasing a new property!
Minor electrical and plumbing issues
Taking care of minor electrical and plumbing issues before selling your house is an easy task to check off your list.
By making sure these two components are functioning properly, you’ll be able to give future owners peace of mind.
Not only that, but addressing electrical and plumbing problems will open up a whole new world of buyers who aren’t as willing to take on such issues themselves right after purchase.
So, if you want the best possible outcome when it comes time to sell, taking the extra step of servicing your home’s electrical and plumbing systems is highly recommended.
Landscaping, Driveway or walkway cracks
If you’re looking to attract buyers, taking care of the driveway or walkway cracks is a great place to start.
Even small issues can be an eyesore when it comes to potential buyer, so it’s important to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.
On top of that, leaving those pesky cracks unaddressed could lead to bigger issues like greater damage in the long run and higher repair costs for the buyer.
Don’t spend money on landscaping features if they don’t exist at first place – the new owners may have different ideas for the property.
Increase curb appeal without overspending
While this may add some exterior appeal, it may ultimately be a bit of a waste of money.
To avoid this, focus on simple improvements that are less specific to your tastes, like making sure flower beds are neat and mowing the lawn regularly.
That way, even if they rip up what you’ve done and start over, at least the groundwork is present for a beautiful outdoor space!
Bottom line – show off your home’s best features and make sure all minor fixes are taken care of!
In this post we’ve explained the process of How to sell the worst house on the best street
Grandfathered-in building code issues
Many homes, especially older ones, have grandfathered-in building code issues that need to be addressed if a sale is being considered.
Although some of these can be ignored, they may arise as inspection finds down the road and lessen your returns or even make the sale impossible.
Be sure you are up to date on all local codes and that any red flags are taken care of before you list your property to make sure it will pass inspection with no issue when the time comes.
You did not remove the retaining wall in your last renovation, right?
Partial room upgrades
Upgrading a single room or one area of your property can be an effective way to boost its potential sale value. Even making small changes like repainting and adding new flooring can give a room an updated look that prospective buyers may favour.
It’s also much less time consuming and cheaper than having to upgrade several rooms all at once.
Consider the type of work necessary if you want to increase the price of your home; repairs and maintenance with smart, partial upgrades could draw more buyers in while saving money in the process!
Selling a house can be incredibly stressful, especially if it needs some extra TLC. One great way to show buyers that your home is ready to move into without a lot of serious work is to remove any items that are not fixed in place.
That includes fixtures like ceiling fans and wall art (not paint or wallpaper), as well as large appliances or furniture.
Little things like this give buyers the impression that they won’t have to take care of a lot of prep when they come in – they know their home is ready, even before they buy it.
And who doesn’t love coming home to an already serviceable home?
In this post we’ve explained the process of How not to clean a house for sale
Old and outdated appliances can be a major turn-off when selling a home. While you don’t want to break the bank replacing the entire kitchen, it’s smart to consider small changes that can make all the difference.
Updating older, out-of-date appliances can give your home more appeal and even increase its value.
If you not on a very tight budget:
Consider replacing or simply refinishing kitchen cabinets, adding modern lighting fixtures, or updating the oven or dishwasher with newer models – any of these changes will make your home more desirable and attractive to future buyers.
We can help sell your place with good virtual staging >
When selling a house, aged windows can be a real disadvantage for prospective buyers. Chances are, they won’t want to move and be left with the task of window replacement.
It’s always useful to proactively evaluate and, if necessary, replace any of these components when considering the sale of your home; after all, who wants to invest in a house that requires countless repairs?
The key is to make sure the aging windows are properly treated – you don’t want any drafts or gaps in insulation. Doing so will not only make the house more marketable but also allows owners to command a higher price.
Outdated floor coverings
Outdated floor coverings can take away from the value of a property, no matter how well-maintained it is. If you’re getting ready to put your place on the market, consider replacing any dated floor coverings with something more modern.
Doing so can help show buyers that they don’t have to do any extra work just to make their new home feel updated and fresh. Tearing out carpets and putting down new floors or installing tiles can be an easy way to give the space a face lift.
Plus, it’ll ensure you leave your future buyers with a space they can enjoy right away – one that doesn’t need a lot of repairs or patch-ups before they settle in!
Major renovation upgrades that cannot be finished
If your current abode isn’t quite up to the standards of potential buyers, there are certain major room upgrades that need to be finished before you can put your property on the market.
Don’t make any major repairs unless they’re absolutely necessary.
From full kitchen renovations and new appliances to total bathroom makeovers, these costly yet necessary changes often offer the greatest value when making a home more attractive to home buyers.
In case the kitchen has normal wear, change either the cabinet doors or repaint them with neutral paint. If the bathroom it is not a disaster, change the cabinet hardware, clean spotless all tiles, buy a beautiful second hand wall light fixture and don’t forget to de-scale the taps.
Don't go overboard with DIY home stagin
When it comes to preparing a particular home for sale, you don’t want it to look like a waiting room at the doctor’s office.
Keep it natural – after all, this is someone’s future home.
Sprucing up with some fresh paint and small decorations can go a long way in making the space feel warm and inviting, but going overboard will turn away potential buyers and soon become a money pit.
Don’t let your home staging project get out of control – stick to minor adjustments that will give the house character without scaring away potential buyers.
Virtual Staging - Bonus tip
When is a house not worth fixing, virtual staging or virtual remodeling is a good place to start.
Virtual staging is an affordable and effective service that is a substitute of home staging. It digitally enhances photos of spaces, creating a visually appealing images of homes that potential buyers can envision themselves living in.
While minor renovations and cleaning are still essential, virtual staging can boost your marketing efforts and help your home stand out in a competitive market.
We can help sell your place with good virtual staging, just like the above >
Better visual marketing for your property
This service is an essential element of any real estate transaction, as it is responsible for creating better visual marketing for your property.
Avoid major repairs by using virtual staging, you can transform your space and create a warm, inviting atmosphere that can increase your chances of selling your property quickly and for a increased value.
Virtual staging is especially beneficial if you lack the time or funds for a full remodel. Don’t let an empty or outdated home hinder your chances of making a successful sale. By using virtual staging, you can enhance the appeal of your property and attract potential purchaser.
Don't overprice your home when selling
Just because you think it’s more money – it may cost you a few buyers. Be realistic and you’ll find a buyer much sooner in any real estate market.
There are many buyers out there looking for all price points and styles of homes.
When you’re selling yours, it is tempting to list it at a higher price than what is realistic so that you can get as much money as possible, but this can backfire.
Overpricing means potential buyers might not even look at your house or make an offer on it because they will assume it is out of their price range.
The moment someone steps in and notices even minor issues, they leave. Buyers understand when either the seller or the real estate agent is trying their luck.
First that is not only unprofessional, but especially in a down turn markets will cost even more money.
It’s better to be realistic and competitive than risky in pricing your home so that you maximize your chances at getting an interested party and selling the home in a reasonable amount of time.
Ask a local real estate agent if you don't understand the real estate market
There are a few key guidelines that you should try to keep in mind that can help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
For example, make sure you understand the housing market in the area your home is located in.
Set an appropriate asking price, hire a professional photographer, stage your home so it looks inviting to buyers, and hire a professional and local real estate agent who understands the process to walk you through it step-by-step.
This goes for both traditional and online sales – understanding these components of selling a house is vital for achieving success! Taking some time before diving head first into things will save you time and money in the long run.
Avoid under pricing from potential buyers
One of the biggest mistakes that home sellers make is not preparing for potential contingencies.
During negotiations and after an offer is accepted, there are often details that must be addressed before closing.
It is important to anticipate those contingencies and proactively plan for them ahead of time.
Home sellers should also avoid under pricing their property; it’s tempting to set a lower list price in hopes of driving up more offers, but this can cause frustration when it fails to generate enough interest and pushes people away from your property.
Instead, speak with a professional real estate agent and set the price accordingly.
Based on market conditions, or look into varying pricing tactics such as staged bidding offers which may be able to help you secure maximum value for your listing.
Being aware of these potential issues can help you smooth out the sales process and ensure that you end up with the outcome you desire.
Final thoughts and tips for a successful home selling experience
Overall, the decision about whether to make fixes in your home before selling is a personal one, and there are many variables and considerations at play.
With the high cost of making repairs, it’s important to think through each one carefully and consult with knowledgeable professionals, such as experienced local real estate agents.
With their expertise, you’ll be able to assess what needs fixing and weighing the cost with any potential return on investment associated with these fixes.
Additionally, creating a ‘Do-Not-Fix’ list can help guide you in determining which small costs to avoid.
Ultimately, taking the time to be mindful of needed upgrades can mean a smooth sale process when it comes time to list your house on the market!