What Not to Fix When Selling a House

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Selling your home? Don’t stress about your to-do list of things to fix before selling a house.

These are home improvements that aren’t worth doing in today’s real estate market. That’s because you’ll never get your investment back. 

In a different market, these were the best home improvements to do before selling.

Also, homes are still selling quickly. This is true even though interest rates are on the climb.

In fact, according to Money Magazine, last month homes sold faster than any other time in the recent past. That’s really incredible.

So, with homes selling fast, buyers are often willing to look past things that might have turned them away before. For example, if your house needs a fresh coat of paint or your driveway needs to be resealed, let it go. Instead, get your home listed now while the real estate market is still hot.

List of what not to fix when selling a house

Here now is a list of seven things you shouldn’t bother fixing before selling your house. Really, truly, you can get away with listing a home as is. In today’s real estate market, still having these items on the honey-do list won’t stop people from wanting to buy your house.

No need to fix flooring and carpet

If you’ve got hardwood floors underneath old carpet, leave the carpet. It’s not worth your time or money to fix the flooring by removing or replacing the carpet, or redoing the floors.

Someone coming in can make that decision. And, in fact, giving them this option may make your home more attractive to buyers.

Leave landscaping alone when selling a house

Don’t bring in a landscaping company to completely redo your gardens. Chances are the new owners will rip out anything you put in to improve the home’s curb appeal. I’m still bitter about the magnolia trees we’d planted in our front yard and the new owners cut down.

Instead, you can do simple things, like weeding any garden beds. Also, if you’re selling in warm-weather months, make mowing the lawn a priority so the yard always looks neat.

Painting not necessary

Unless the walls are cracked and peeling, most people can look beyond old paint. Even ugly paint colors won’t dissuade buyers in a hot market. So, save the money on painters. 

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t touch up paint. That is, if you still have the colors lying around.

Don’t fix walkways, sidewalks and driveways

As I mentioned at the top of this article, it isn’t necessary to spend time and money resealing a driveway or repairing sidewalk or walkway cracks. Those are not top priorities.

Appliances don’t need to be replaced

If you’ve got mismatched appliances in the kitchen, such as some white, some stainless, leave them be. This is especially true if everything is still in working order and doesn’t look old and awful. Just give them a good cleaning before putting your house on the market.

Leave the roof alone

While having an older roof isn’t great, it’s not a deal breaker, either. When you list your home, keep a credit for the roof in your back pocket. That way if the house doesn’t sell quickly, you can always offer to give the buyers a credit towards the purchase of a new roof.

On the other hand, definitely don’t spend the money replacing the roof. That would be thousands of dollars you likely wouldn’t earn back with a higher sale price. It just wouldn’t happen.

Don’t fix up bathrooms when selling a house

If you live in an older home, you may have an older bathroom. As long as it is clean and everything is working well, don’t invest any money in renovating the bathroom.

Drawbacks of not fixing things before selling a house

Of course, there are some drawbacks when deciding not to fix things in your house or yard before putting it on the market. For example, your home may not photograph as well if you choose not to wash windows or fix lighting before your real estate listing is done.

Also, homes that need improvements might not get as many offers as others. That doesn’t mean they won’t get any offers. But you may not be like our friends who got 11 offers in one weekend at their home.

Consult your real estate agent

Finally, if you’re working with a real estate agent, ask them for an opinion on what to fix and what not to fix before selling your home. They’re the experts in the field.

Of course, it hurts to offer this advice. A few years ago we sold a home in a very cold real estate market. Despite it being close to the beach and in a great school district, it sat on the market for six months. Even fixing all that was wrong with the house before listing it didn’t sell it fast. 

I’ll bet that in today’s market we would have had a completely different experience. In fact, when I visited Redfin.com today, here’s what I learned. By Redfin estimates, the house would likely sell for more than 50% of what we got for it in 2018. Now that really hurts.

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