Repairs Before Selling

Repairs Before Selling

When you're getting ready to list your home for sale, you undoubtedly have a few minor repairs that should be made. Making these quick fixes before you sell always pays off, but some repairs will come with better returns than others.

There's no doubt that minor fixes and aesthetic projects like painting, take little time and money and help speed up the sale of the home. Which projects you should and should not tackle depends on several factors, including:

  • The time of the year
  • The location of your home
  • Market conditions
  • Competing homes

Most Important Repairs to Make

The following are basic repairs you should always undertake before listing your home.


Fix up ceilings and walls

Don't underestimate how much time potential buyers will spend looking at your ceilings and walls. Patch up any nail holes in the interior walls using lightweight putty, and then paint the entire wall with a neutral color that will appeal to most people. Use fiberglass tape to repair cracks and remove wallpaper.

Replace damaged flooring

Check any vinyl flooring in your home. If you see discolored or loose areas, make sure it gets repaired.

Preparing to Sell
The Selling Process

Improvements That Pay Off

If you don't need to replace the appliances and cabinets, don't. Cabinets that look dirty, scratched or outdated -- but are in good shape -- may be brought up to date with paint and new hardware. If the cabinets are beat-up, it's best to replace them as your home may not sell otherwise.

Kitchen remodels have high returns, with minor and mid-range remodels giving the best return on your money.

In the bathroom, new fixtures, floors and lights bring the best payoff.

If your home has hardwood floors, it pays to have any carpeting overtop removed and the floors refinished. Make sure to highlight the floors, and be careful about adding large area rugs; buyers tend to think they're used to hide defects.

Addressing Major Repairs

Many sellers are left uncertain about what to do when larger items need repairing. Should you fix it yourself or simply disclose it and let the buyer take care of it?

Before you make this decision, consider that fixing the issue on your own can earn you a higher sales price. Homes in move-in condition are more appealing to most buyers. When buyers find there's a serious problem with the home, they typically ask for a very ambitious discount based on an inflated look at repair costs -- if they don't walk away first. Many issues can also keep buyers from getting financing at all.

Prior to making major repairs, have your own inspection done on the house and get estimates of the cost of the repairs. This will help you decide if it makes more sense to fix up the house before the sale, sell it as-is or go somewhere in the middle. When a buyer gets an inspection, it gives them ammunition in negotiations by exposing anything wrong with the home. When you get your own inspection, you can use it to emphasize how trivial any defects are and the small repair costs, if you don't want to fix them yourself.

Real Estate Listings

The Bottom Line

Buyers want to purchase a home with newer appliances, updated electrical,
heating and plumbing systems and minimal repair jobs, whenever possible. Go through your home
and imagine you are a buyer. What draws your eye? What would leave you with concerns?

Are you ready to save THOUSANDS when selling your home?