To Fix or Not To Fix? 6 things to do (or not) before selling
(1) FIX: Paint. There is simply no accounting for the massive upgrade a fresh coat of paint can bring to the look and feel of your home, inside and out – especially given the relatively low cost and high do-it-yourself-ability of painting. A home that is freshly painted inside and out reads as fresh, clean and ready for new life, from a buyer’s perspective. If you can’t afford the time or cost to paint everything, take a hard look at your walls and rooms and see which hallway or room(s) need it the most. Also, painting your trims, doors and moldings can go a long way toward de-shabbifying a place.
(2) DON’T FIX: That luxurious kitchen remodel you always wanted. Do gorgeous kitchens sell homes? Yes. But they also easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Unless your home’s existing kitchen is truly cringe-worthy, a high-end overhaul just before listing is not likely to even recoup what you spend on it.
(3) FIX: Plumbing problems. Plumbing leaks make noise, cause damage to the wood structure and areas around them and are often believed by buyers to cost more to fix than they actually do. In some parts of the home, plumbing leaks are prone to being called out as conditions conducive to long-term structural problems by inspectors. If you have old, dinged, ugly or broken toilets and sinks anywhere in your house, these are things you may want to rip out and replace before listing your home. You might be amazed at how fast and inexpensively these fixes can be done, and how much of a stylistic upgrade and update you can get out of them.
(4) DON’T FIX: Malfunctioning, costly appliances. Consider offering a credit for the buyer to use to replace appliances that don’t work – or don’t work well. Buyers appreciate the ability to select their own new appliances on your dime.
(5) FIX: Old and outdated hardware, fixtures and finishes. Hardware can refer to the little metalworks that make things work (or not) throughout your home, like hinges that make a door hard to close, cabinet and drawer handles and pulls or your closet door and drawer slides. These are all the sorts of things buyers test out while they’re viewing a home. However, it also includes things that might work fine, but look outdated, like light switches, door knockers and kick plates. Hardware, as a general rule, is inexpensive as home fixes go – if it will make your home function more smoothly and look like it’s been well cared-for, the low investment is well worth an upgrade.
(6) DON’T FIX: Replacing old windows. This is a project that many crave to do, especially if the windows are single-pane, aluminum framed, or involve rotten wood casings. But it’s also a project that can easily become extremely expensive, and one that often snowballs into costly, time-consuming framing repairs. This advice is primarily for those tempted to replace a whole house worth of windows – if you have one window that is particularly offensive or allows water in, or even have multiple window panes that are cracked or broken, these are things you might want to repair or replace.