Should you upgrade your house before selling?

September 28, 2017

If you’re thinking about selling your house, you’re probably also wondering if you should make significant upgrades before putting it on the market. The simple answer is, probably not.

Upgrades Before You Sell

You will likely see the best return for the money you put into your house if you focus on minor repairs and quick updates. You’re much less likely to recoup the cost of a big remodel.

Start by fixing anything minor, like doors that don’t close properly, leaky faucets, broken tiles, and holes and cracks in the walls. Small details like these can quickly turn buyers off, because they may think that if you didn’t take care of the little things, you certainly didn’t take care of the rest of the house. Other small investments that can pay off with a higher selling price include painting the walls a neutral color, heavy duty cleaning of grout and carpets, and refinishing wood floors.

If the kitchen is outdated, don’t buy new appliances – buyers have differing preferences, so you’re better off pricing your house a little lower than spending money on new appliances. However, if the appliances are extremely old or have lots of surface damage, you could spruce them up with appliance paint or adhesive panels. Changing out the cabinet hardware, kitchen faucet, and even light fixtures are relatively small changes that can give a kitchen an updated look without the effort or expense of a full remodel.

Similarly, in an older bathroom, you can easily and inexpensively replace the toilet seat, faucets, and any cabinet hardware. If the floors in the kitchen and bathroom are dated, consider applying vinyl tiles over the existing floor for a cost-effective way to get a new look.

Don’t forget the exterior of your house – adding new shrubbery and improving the curb appeal can make a great first impression on buyers. If the front door is looking shabby, give it a fresh coat of paint or even consider replacing it, since it’s one of the first things buyers will see.

If you’re still contemplating a large-scale remodel, be sure to ask your real estate agent for advice. He or she should be able to tell you if you would recoup the cost of a major upgrade with a higher sale price, and if so, what type of remodeling you should pursue. You should also compare similar homes in the area to see how updated they are, and how they are priced.

Not surprisingly, the most popular remodel that adds value to a home is updating the kitchen or bathroom. In fact, adding a new bathroom to a house that has only one can significantly boost the selling price, though not necessarily by more than the cost of building the bathroom.

Finally, keep in mind that the hotter the real estate market is in your area, the less work you need to do to attract top offers.

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