What Not To Fix When Selling A House [Expert Tips to Recoup Your Cash]

For Sale sign displayed outside a terraced house in Crouch End, London

Do you want to sell your house for the most amount of money?

Are you scared you will spend cash that you want recoup?

Welcome to my world! 

I recently sold my house. I have to tell you that I was really stressed out. Turns out though that most people are stressed when selling their homes. In-fact, recent real estate research showed 9 out 10 people were so stressed when selling a house they couldn’t make a simple decision!

AND that’s why I am here to tell you what not to fix when you sell a house. Together we can take a lot of the guess work out of it and avoid all of the costly mistakes.  

Sound good?

Selling Your House is a Big Deal [Literally!]

It’s such a big deal it can be worth 100’s of thousands of dollars!

Selling a house is a big deal, and it takes much more than planting a “For Sale” sign in your front yard. However, if you’re glued to television shows like “Property Brothers,” “Fixer Upper,” and “Flip or Flop,” you might think it’s no big deal to remodel your house completely. 

Unfortunately, those television shows are terrible at showing you what’s required to renovate a home. They’re professionals, and they always have someone they can call when disaster strikes. They can’t help you answer the question “what not to fix when selling my house?”

“I have watched Property Brothers and they make it look so easy! In the blink of an eye the house is transformed from drab to fab and sold for top dollar. I wish it were that easy!”, Dr Suzanna Wong, a Chiropractor in San Diego. “My brother-in-law is a real estate investor and I have seen and heard the reality of it! There is a lot more to it than they make out.”

Home Improvements and Renovations to Sell

Some homeowners choose their renovation projects based on the return on investment (ROI) they can expect from the work. However, that strategy isn’t always solid because most major home remodeling projects only offer about 50 to 60 percent return. 

Your ROI sinks even more when you update something that isn’t actually in need of significant improvement, just to keep up with a recent trend.

“When preparing your house to list make sure you focus on repairs that you will recoup your cash from” said Shaun M, a home renovation expert in Denver, CO. “It’s easy to spend money on renovations that cost more than they are worth. My best advice would be to talk to a local real estate pro you can trust.”

What You Should Learn from This Article:

  • Improving curb appeal, cleaning the house, and decluttering are essential projects when you sell your home.
  • Expensive remodeling projects aren’t a good idea right before you sell.
  • Always consider the return on investment (ROI) before conducting repairs.
  • Update only as much as you need to for the character and quality of your neighborhood.

Speak with a Real Estate Agent Before Starting Repairs

Getting a quick sale is essential to many homeowners. However, sometimes all it takes is a boost to curb appeal and a few weekends spent cleaning and decluttering before you can put it on the market. Make a call to a local real estate agent who will know the condition of the market and what repairs will help you get the fastest and most profitable sale for your property.

A document your real estate agent can give you is a comparative market analysis (CMA), which will show you how your house stacks up against other nearby homes for sale. The research might indicate that most of the homes for sale around yours are similar. You might find that you don’t need to do any repairs before putting your house up for sale.

On the other hand, if the CMA indicates that your home lags somewhat on updates and presentation, you might want to get some estimates on a few repairs. The CMA is an excellent document for figuring out what not to fix when selling your house.

It’s important to carefully consider the repairs your real estate agent suggests you get before selling. Your real estate agent receives a commission based on the sale price of your home and might not care that your $200,000 in updates only nets you a $100,000 increase. The agent still enjoys a more significant commission based on that $100,000 increase in the sale price.

Don’t Go for a Major Renovation

If you’ve found your forever home, a brand-new kitchen might make your dreams come true. However, the beautiful new kitchen you spend $100,000 on might not boost your sale price by an incredible amount. According to a report published by Remodeling Magazine, a significant kitchen remodel only nets a 54 percent ROI. The kitchen might rank as the number one large project of what not to fix when selling a house.

If you’re not planning to list your home for several years, a major renovation might make sense because you can enjoy the fruits of your labor before selling the house. On the other hand, if you’re ready to sell as soon as possible, avoid major remodeling projects like extensive bathroom renovations, kitchen renovations, and master suite additions.

Don’t Start a Huge Project You Can’t Finish

Most home remodeling contractors include an emergency fund as part of their estimate because something almost always goes wrong during the work. If your contractor tells you it will take six weeks to update your kitchen, it’s always a good bet to increase that estimate by 25 percent. It’ll probably take eight weeks, if not longer.

Although the effects of the pandemic will fade with time, manufacturers of all kinds are still seeing significant increases in delivery timelines for materials. Statistics tracked by the Federal Reserve Bank indicate that the manufacturing sectors in states like New York, Philadelphia, and Texas are experiencing delays of more than 300 percent over what they were experiencing before 2020.

The delays don’t necessarily mean you need to cancel your renovation plans. However, it would help if you held off starting demolition until your contractor has all the equipment they need to complete the job. Don’t tear out the countertops in your kitchen if the marble isn’t even in the country yet and is sitting on a container ship somewhere off the coast.

Ignore Popular Trends

Much like clothing, popular trends in home remodeling projects come and go. Making updates because they’re popular could destroy the first impression a buyer forms of your house. The unpainted wood decor and wicker furniture in style this year might become the beaded curtains and popcorn ceilings of the future.

The best option for making your house as appealing to as many buyers as possible is to keep things clean, neutral, and classic. Don’t rip the cabinets out and install floating shelves at great expense because it’s popular for the kitchen. Instead, consider upgrading the cabinet hardware and painting your kitchen an uncomplicated color like white.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Selling for Cash a Good Idea?

Selling a home quickly for cash is convenient, but cash offers are often below what you might receive by cleaning and decluttering your home and selling it more traditionally. A huge benefit is that you can sell your house as-is. Of course, a cash sale is not for everyone. 

What’s Absolutely Necessary for Selling a House?

Generally, you’ll want to sell a home that’s free of any safety issues. Problems that might prevent your home from selling include leaky roofs, bug infestations, and sewer problems.

Is it a Good Idea to Stage My Home?

Staging costs money that you might recoup with your sale, but it’s not required. For some homeowners, the simple act of decluttering and deep cleaning the home is enough.

The Bottom Line

You might not need to fix anything substantial in your home to get a quick sale for your asking price. Speaking to a real estate agent can help you figure out what not to fix when selling a house, but you can use basic math to determine whether it’s worth it to upgrade, repair, or remodel various parts of your home. Don’t take on any giant projects immediately before you want to sell, and try to keep things simple and neutral to appeal to the most significant number of potential buyers.

Disclaimer: This article contains sponsored marketing content. It is intended for promotional purposes and should not be considered as an endorsement or recommendation by our website. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research and exercise their own judgment before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here