What Not to Fix When Selling a House
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As the seller, you want your home to shine in its best light to potential buyers. But spending lots of time and money on home repairs is not always necessary. No home is perfect, and while some issues may lower a property’s value or overall appeal, many flaws can and should be left alone.
Here are six common problems that usually don’t need to be fixed when selling a house.
Minor Cosmetic Flaws
It's only natural for a home's interior and exterior to endure some wear and tear over the years. While severe damage will lessen a property's value, minor flaws like chipped paint, scratched floors, or cracked pavement usually won't cause a buyer to lose interest.
Keep in mind that the average home tour doesn’t last more than 30 minutes. Buyers don’t have time to thoroughly inspect every detail of a home, so cosmetic issues that seem glaringly obvious to you will often go unnoticed by them.
Minor Electrical Problems
When it comes to a home's electricity, all that matters is that everything is safe and functional. Safety hazards should be addressed, but electrical problems that only pose a minor inconvenience—such as dead outlets, loose plugs, and switches that don't work—don't need to be fixed.
Much like electrical fixtures, appliances don’t need to be perfect; they just need to work properly. It doesn’t matter if your washer and dryer are state-of-the-art, just as long as they do their jobs.
Appliances in rough condition may need to be replaced before selling, but these don't need to be swapped out for brand-new items. Online marketplaces usually have gently used appliances available for lower prices, which can be sufficient for a home sale.
Carpets or Floors
It’s common for a buyer to replace carpeting or flooring in one or more rooms as soon as they move in, which means that the brand-new hardwood floor you spent money to install might be ripped out in a month or two.
Don't waste your money on new carpets or floors unless they're severely damaged. In most cases, a deep clean is all that's needed to get a house ready to sell.
It's common for window seals to break, especially in warmer climates. Fixing a seal for a single window costs hundreds of dollars on average, which can add up for a whole house. So rest assured that spending this money isn't usually necessary.
Broken seals are not typically any cause for concern—all they do is make windows look a bit foggy. Most buyers aren't particularly bothered by this issue, so it's not worth investing in new seals unless your windows are nearly opaque.
Easily Replaceable or Removable Items
While a home's decor can influence a buyer's decision, removing unattractive or overly niche items from a house is often much more practical than replacing them entirely. If there's a piece of furniture or ceiling fixture that you think buyers may find unappealing, you can simply throw it away or place it in storage until your home showings are done.
For example, if the blinds on your living room window don't go up and down properly, it's OK to just take them out without adding a new set. Buyers expect to buy new furniture and accessories when they move in, so they usually won't mind if something small like this is missing.
General Rules to Keep in Mind
If you’re still unsure of whether it makes sense to fix a part of your home, here are some practical points to consider:
Don’t spend more on repairs than you’ll receive in profit.
Your goal as the seller is to make the best possible profit for the lowest possible investment. Before paying for any repair, you should ask yourself: “Will I make this money back after selling the home?” If the answer is no, the fix is not worth doing unless it will prevent the property from selling.
Your home doesn’t need to look better than the neighbors’ homes.
If a buyer wants a luxurious home, they'll look for one in an upscale neighborhood. There's no reason to install a home theater or an in-ground pool if none of your neighbors have these things. The overall quality of your home should match the quality of other homes in the area, not exceed it.
Don’t bother with partial upgrades.
When it comes to home renovations, it's generally best to go big or go home. Only updating one part of a room usually makes the rest of the room look bad by contrast. For example, suppose you only upgrade your bathroom sink and mirror. In that case, buyers are likely to notice how shabby your bathtub and toilet look in comparison. In most cases, partial upgrades aren't just a waste of money—they make your home even less appealing than before.
Staging is often more important than making repairs.
When selling to a traditional buyer, the most critical factor in whether or not your home sells is how well they can envision themselves living in it. In many cases, a well-staged home with minor flaws may be more sellable than a poorly staged home in pristine condition.
A little cleaning goes a long way.
Getting a house ready to sell often requires more elbow grease than money. All the
repairs and renovations in the world won’t make a house sellable if it’s dirty or cluttered. Be sure to clean every nook and cranny in each room before potential buyers tour the home.
Talk to your agent before making any decisions.
Regardless of how much you read up on selling a home, you’re not an expert, and it’s easy to make mistakes. If you plan to sell on the open market, let your agent guide you on the best possible plan for selling, and don’t commit to any pricey repairs without consulting them first.
Want to sell your house without fixing anything?
If home repairs are too much of a hassle, there's an easy way to avoid dealing with them: selling to a cash house buyer.
If you’re looking to get rid of a house quickly without fixing anything, consider selling to AMI. We buy homes as-is, in all conditions. Contact us today for a no-obligation cash offer.