When Derek Martinez sold his home he never expected to lose thousands of dollars. Derek was advised to make expensive changes to update his home before selling it; but in the end, the return on investment was negligible. He didn’t even recoup the money he spent preparing his home for sale on some of the updates he made. In this article we’ll cover what not to fix when selling a house so you can avoid the expensive pain and headaches Derek faced.
How to Decide What Not to Fix When Selling a House
When you look at your house it’s easy for you to see every little problem because you live with them everyday. Keep in mind that a potential buyer may only spend 30 minutes looking through the home so the things in need of fixing need to be very visible, affordable and make a big impact.
Look around your home and ask yourself: Will this problem stop a potential buyer from wanting to buy my house? If I fix this, will I get a good return on investment (more on that below)?
If I don’t fix this problem in my house will my home stay on the market for a long time? How much money will that cost me? And finally, something to consider: If I make this change will it be something the end buyer may want to change or update anyway?
Don’t Fix: Windows
Up first in our list of do not fix before selling a home is your windows and their treatments. Windows do matter but that doesn’t mean you need to fork out thousands of dollars on all-new blinds to replace your old, broken or discolored blinds. Consider taking the blinds off the windows and cleaning the windows and sills really well instead of putting up new expensive blinds.
You could also instal new and neutral curtains rather than display your old junky blinds that may affect the perceived value of the home. If you have a ripped window screen it’s easier to pop it out — a missing window screen is much less noticeable than a ripped window screen.
These types of small repairs aren’t a deal breaker for home buyers and taking away the eyesores will help potential buyers see the home without those distractions. Save yourself the money on updating window fixtures and screens and just remove them instead.
Don’t Fix: Carpets and Floors
Don’t fix your carpet and floors — this sounds crazy, right? Your flooring is a huge part of your home but that doesn’t’ necessarily mean you need to pay thousands of dollars to update your old carpet before selling.
Rather than pay for new flooring hire a professional carpet cleaning service to come and steam clean your carpets before photos and showings. A good deep cleaning goes a long way in helping carpets look fresh and new.
If your carpet is in pretty bad shape from animals in the home then you could offer repair escrow money for the buyer to use to do the repairs themselves. This means you won’t have to pay for the repairs up front and the buyer can do the carpet updating exactly how they would want it. While this option will still cost you money it will not be thousands of dollars spent before even selling your home and hoping that your carpet choice appeals to potential sellers.
Don’t Fix: Minor Problems with Home Systems
If your heating and air system doesn’t work, you have a bad water heater or electrical system, then yes, these are major repairs that would scare away many potential buyers. If you have minor issues with plumbing, electrical or your HVAC system then you do not need to stress before selling.
No older home is in perfect condition or even up to current code that would apply to new home builds. If your HVAC is old but still working do not feel like you need to update it! If the systems in your home are safe and working (even with minor problems) then move forward with the sale without overhauling and replacing your expensive home systems.
Don’t Fix: Part of a Room (Do All or Nothing)
If you have an older kitchen or bathroom it’s tempting to pick a big expensive update and stop there — sometimes that’s all you can afford, right? Unfortunately when it comes to upgrades a partial upgrade is often worse than doing nothing at all. Expensive upgrades like new cupboards or a fancy new countertop often add little value to the home and end up costing you money instead of making that money back.
Avoid a partial remodel and instead deep clean the area, de-clutter and help the buyer see the potential changes they may want to make with a clear space for visualizing. Keep in mind, those expensive countertops (that you chose and won’t even get to enjoy) may not be to the taste of the home buyer.
Don’t Fix: Minor Wear and Tear
Just because you know every spot where the kids spilled slime on the carpet, or dented the wall or smashed a baseboard doesn’t mean that will be noticeable to a buyer. Don’t stress over all the small flaws to your home and instead focus on any major and eye catching issues that could deter a buyer. Even small repairs can add up quick in both time and money so don’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to preparing your house for sale.
Repairs with The Biggest Return on Investment
There are certain home improvements that will garner a better sale price but not before you pay the price of having the renovations done. A roof in poor condition is worthwhile to repair before selling, according to the National Association of Realtors, a new roof promises an average ROI of 107% of your cost as the homeowner. A brand new roof means the new owners won’t have to worry about the expense and headache for 25-30 years and people are willing to pay more for that kind of peace of mind.
If you can afford new flooring then that is often shown to potentially bring in 106% of the investment. Meanwhile if your HVAC system is broken then only 85% of that cost is shown to be recouped from the sale of the home.
Worried Your House Still Won’t Sell?
If your home falls into the major repair category then you may be worried that it will not sell in the current market. If you can’t afford to make the costly changes such as roofing, HVAC, or overhauling the floors from pet damage, then it can feel like you are out of options. The good news is that there are non-traditional house buyers, honest investors like Gary with Gary Buys Houses, who will purchase your home in as-is condition.
Gary buys your home for cash, closing in as little as a week, and then goes about improving and updating your home, leaving you free and clear to move on without spending thousands of dollars to repair your home. Contact Gary to get a customized quote today.