To fix or not to fix, that is the question every homeowner has when it’s time to sell. Investors also want to know what renovations and upgrades are worth their while if they plan to buy and hold real estate.
You want to offer a property that has excellent curb appeal, but at the same time, it’s wise to temper your funds and use time efficiently. By making strategic, high-impact home improvements and ignoring what won’t increase your return on investment, you can maximize your house’s marketability.
Your real estate agent can give you tailored advice on what to fix to boost your home’s value while staying within market expectations. For example, you don’t want to over-improve for potential buyers of starter homes, while you also don’t want to offer something lackluster to high-end home buyers.
The Goal: To Show Well
The truth of the matter is that no prospective buyer notices everything when they walk through your home during a showing. Therefore, focus on high impact home repairs will make your house show well. Avoid over-improving because it’s not only exhausting, but it also won’t increase your sale price. Here are the things to ignore unless your buyer really has their heart set on them.
1. Driveway Cracks
Any cracks in pavement or asphalt naturally happen over time and aren’t a big concern, and frankly not noticeable at first glance. These are also easily fixed with seal coating or some Quickrete, so buyers aren’t too concerned about this during a home sale, and neither should you.
2. Functional Appliances
If your old appliances are working properly, you can leave them be. If a buyer is truly intent on getting brand new appliances, they can ask the home seller for it after the inspection. However, if the home inspector deemed these units functional, then sellers can feel free to say no to replacing them.
3. Minor Cosmetic Defects in Flooring
The occasional crack in a tile or scratch on wood flooring isn’t a deal breaker for many, and if you just leave them be, chances are the buyer won’t think they are a big deal either. These defects don’t typically jump out as a bad first impression. However, missing grout or missing floor panels should be fixed.
4. Outdated Faucets
Sure, you may have the faucet that resembles the Ice Age squirrel, but it works. Functional items that may be cosmetic flaws are tolerable, especially when they are easy DIY projects. Chances are, the buyer will replace any new faucet you install anyway, so leave any functional faucets alone since these items are a matter of taste that homeowners often change.
5. Functional Windows
Realtors often advise homeowners against replacing windows that are in standard condition. They don’t have to be new or perfect, and they can even still be builder grade. As long as they don’t have cracks or impacts from projectiles, then your windows should not be an issue. The cost to replace them is typically not worth what you’ll recoup from the sale either.
6. Retro Elements
If you own an older home, there will naturally be some vintage design elements dispersed around the home. Whether it’s a formica countertop, a very 90’s golden light fixture, or that iconic jazz solo cup pattern on the walls, there could be someone who wants to keep them around.
Since one person’s eyesore can be someone else’s nostalgia, don’t waste your time or money replacing these elements unless you’re in a buyer’s real estate market.
7. A Dud Outlet
If you have one dud outlet in the house, then this minor electrical issue won’t make the next homeowner’s life miserable. However, it can cost you a lot of money to hire an electrician to resolve the issue. Unless the plug is somewhere important, like prime TV power source location, then a fluke like this can probably slide.
8. Cabinet Knobs
Knobs are convenient for opening cabinets, but if your home never came with any and you’ve lived for years without them, there is no need to start a huge knob installment project. Knobs can add up in cost, and don’t have any impact on the home inspection report. Plus, the buyer may just get their own kitchen remodel and install their own knobs in the future.
9. Older Light Fixtures
If your light fixtures work, then don’t worry about them. Improving these don’t much to the value of your home. Just clean them and make sure they have all their light bulbs, and they should pass initial scrutiny. In fact, the right buyer might even find them charming.
10. Unfinished Attics or Basements
Finishing a basement or attic does help a home sell, but its significant cost and commitment can make it a project that is too expensive and stressful to take on before selling. Plus, you may not have enough time to update your home’s records to include the new total living square footage, so it might not help raise your asking price.
On the other hand, something like water damage needs to be addressed in spaces like these to make sure it passes the home inspection.
What NOT to Fix When Selling Your House With Marketplace Homes
Making strategic fixes can maximize your listing price and minimize your rehab budget. An experienced real estate agent from Marketplace Homes can give you custom home makeover advice that would make your home marketable for its price bracket.
Different markets involve various levels of buyer expectation. Whether you need updated landscaping, a new HVAC system, or just need neutral paint colors, it all depends on your home’s unique character. If you need to sell your home or prepare an investment property for a new resident, contact us today!
Alicia Persson is the the real estate content writer for Marketplace Homes. She has several years of experience working in real estate teams that specialized in investments and property management. Before she joined MH, she was a freelance writer for 7 years, providing real estate and home living content for boutique digital marketing agencies.
She is a proud University of Virginia Masters graduate and enjoyed her undergraduate years at the University of Mary Washington. When she is not writing, she is playing keyboard in a local 90’s band in central Virginia or spending time with her amazing family.