So you’ve made the decision to sell your home. You look around for similar properties on the market, and find that many homes similar to yours seem newer, nicer and generally more attractive to a potential buyer.
Your home might need some exterior repairs, or the kitchen and bathroom might be outdated. There might be some noticeable wear and tear on the floors or walls – overall, it could use some work.
This might lead you to a common home seller’s dilemma. Should you renovate your home before selling it? Is selling a house that needs repairs a good idea? What’s involved in fixing up a house to sell?
The answer depends on your situation, but one thing is for certain: the need for repairs or renovations can affect a sale. With that in mind, it’s best to inform yourself as much as possible about fixing up homes to sell so you can make the right choice.
To renovate or not to renovate
To help answer this question, you need to collect as much information about your current market. Look at the condition of similar homes for sale in your area. Is the market hot or cold overall? Are there any local trends that you need to be aware of?
Essentially, the question will come down to this: should you choose to renovate before selling, how can you get a return on your investment?
It’s not just about repairing or remodeling everything that needs work. You have to ensure that you don’t spend too much money for what you’ll get in return – a common pitfall for people who decide to renovate before selling their home.
The fact is, there are many issues that buyers might never notice or just won’t pay extra for. That’s why it’s important to get informed about the local neighborhood and general trends.
Selling your home “as is”
Generally speaking, the more work your house needs, the more potential for overspending you might encounter if you choose to renovate. If there are serious issues, you might find yourself stuck with rising costs and endless delays.
If your home is a serious “fixer-upper” and in need of major repairs, it might be worth it to sell it as is and just drop the price. You’ll have a better chance of attracting multiple offers, probably mostly from contractors and flippers. You might also attract a do-it-yourself type person that is looking for a deal and up for a challenge.
It’s all about feeling out the market to see if it’s favorable for “as-is” home selling.
Do people want fixer-uppers or renovated homes?
When most people look to buy “fixer-upper” homes, they really mean homes that require light cosmetic repairs. They are generally looking for a slightly better deal in exchange for having to do some minor work on the home. Things like new paint, carpeting, or light fixtures would be good examples of this type of work.
Most people looking for fixer-upper deals would not be interested in doing major structural repairs such as rebuilding a foundation, replacing a roof or moving walls. Even if you bring down the price of the home by the estimated amount it would cost to fix the issue, most people would rather just buy a renovated home for a higher price and avoid potential headaches.
Sometimes, people who seek fixer-uppers are looking to flip a home and make a profit. In this case, they will likely want to discount the price of the home to account for repairs, and then lower it a bit more for the inconvenience. In this scenario, you’d be better off to fix the issue yourself and sell your home at a higher price.
Generally speaking, buyers want a home that they can move into right away.
What to consider before fixing up your home
If you do decide to fix your home before selling, start by finding out what repairs or renovations you’re going to focus on. Your guiding principle should be return on investment.
What adds the most value to a house?
Remodeling your kitchen, and to a certain extent your bathrooms, will typically add the most value to your home for your money. While these types of renovations generally have better returns than others, it’s also important to gather as much information about your local market as possible so you can focus on being competitive.
What to fix up when selling a house?
Start by making a list of everything in your house that needs work, whether it’s defective, broken or worn down. Signs of malfunctioning appliances, wear and tear and battered furniture will likely bring down the value of your home in the eyes of potential buyers.
Identify easy fixes such as patching holes and cracks in walls and ceilings, fixing broken windows, repairing leaky faucets and tuning up HVAC systems.
If you have any building code violations, you need to address them as well. Buyers will have your home inspected before they make their decision.
Spruce up your home’s appeal with some easy cosmetic fixes like new light fixtures or ceiling fans. Replace worn or stained carpeting and give your walls a new coat of neutral paint — but not white. If you have old drapes or window coverings, consider updating them as well.
How many fixes should you make before selling your home?
The state of the real estate market will dictate how many fixes you need to make to be competitive. If the market is very hot (a seller’s market) you will be able to get away with making less repairs.
However, a home that needs any repairs will always go for a lower price in any type of market. If the market is particularly slow from a seller’s perspective, homes that need any repairs might be overlooked entirely.
Remember to ask for advice. Your real estate agent is the key to understanding the market and making the right decisions when it comes to fixing up your home before selling it.