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5 Things NOT To Renovate Before Listing – The Buyer Might Do It

things not to renovate before listing

When you decide to put your home on the market, you want to put your best foot forward in preparing it to look its best for prospective buyers.

Besides, the better your home shows, the more offers you’ll likely get, right?

Next, you make a to-do list of what things to fix and update around your home, only to realize that the list could go on forever. That’s when you realize: Do I have to do everything? and you start trying to decide what not to renovate before listing

things not to do when renovating your home for the market

For starters, all those projects could cost money. Unfortunately, not everything is going to pay off at the closing table. Knowing what to fix – and what not to renovate before listing – can be tricky.

Fixes are critical for any issues or defects that affect the intended significant function of a house system. To break it down, you should take care of any:

  • Leaks
  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Minor electrical or plumbing issues
  • Pest infestations
  • Other safety issues that could hurt your home’s value and pose imminent risks

But beyond those, especially when it comes to cosmetic repairs, it’s actually up to you. 

The last thing you want is to get carried away and pour money, time, and effort into any project that won’t get a return on your investment. So here are some of those fixes or updates you can skip without too many repercussions.

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1. OLD BUT WORKING APPLIANCES

Having state-of-the-art appliances such as a refrigerator, dishwasher, or oven can be appealing and is a nice bonus. But not having them is seldom a deal breaker. Especially in hot seller’s markets, old but working appliances may not need replacing or upgrading. All that you need is to give the appliances a good cleaning.

If your older model appliances are worn, broken, or missing some parts, that’s the time to think about replacing them. However, brand-new appliances can cost a fortune and are not worth buying only to get your home sold. So instead of splurging on top-of-the-line models (that you won’t be able to use much, anyway), consider buying used or floor models that can still add a lot of value to your home without draining your bank account. 

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2. KITCHEN AND BATHROOM

Should you renovate the kitchen and bathrooms? That’s probably one of the biggest questions sellers have when they decide to sell. 

It’s important to note that a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project can be costly and time-consuming. A kitchen remodel (midrange) will only recoup about 56 percent of the value, while remodeling a bathroom will only recoup about 59 percent, according to the 2022 Cost vs Value Report by Remodeling Magazine. First, you should consider several factors, especially time and budget, before spending thousands of dollars on these projects.

Likewise, your vision of a perfect kitchen or bath may differ from those of a potential buyer. And given all the home decor styles to choose from, trying to second-guess what they want and giving it to them when they visit your home is just plain unrealistic. It’s a risk when renovating these areas because they’re some of the things buyers look forward to when they can finally call it home.

If your kitchen or bathroom looks dated but functional, you only need to ensure it’s clean and clutter-free. Present it as a space with potential that is easily customizable to the buyer’s preferences. 

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3. FLOORING

If your home already has hardwood floors, there’s no need to tear out the existing flooring and replace it for the market. What’s important is to have your floors shined and polished before the staging or showing. The next homeowner may rip it out anyway and replace it with their choice of flooring, which could be wood, laminate, vinyl, or even carpet.

If you have older carpets, you only need to spend a few bucks and hire a professional cleaning company rather than investing money into replacing them. The only time to consider ripping it all out is if there is a terrible odor from pets or if there are impossible stains that would deter a buyer from submitting an offer.

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4. HAIRLINE CRACKS ON THE DRIVEWAY AND WALKWAYS

While improving your home’s curb appeal is crucial in enticing buyers to knock on your door, your home’s exterior needs not be perfect. Do not worry about fixing every small, minor, or insignificant crack in driveways and walkways that do not present any safety risks. They are common, and re-doing the paving of the entire section will cost more than it is worth.

Only spend the money on fixing them if the cracks are hazardous for driving or walking.

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5. REPLACING ANY ITEM WITH TRENDY COLORS AND DESIGNS

Trends come and go, even for home colors and fixtures. What looks “cool” now can become dated in a heartbeat, or what may be trendy for a specific slice of the population may be off-putting for others. When you decide to sell, your goal is for a wider pool of potential buyers to come to your showings. By providing them with a blank slate, it’ll be easier for them to envision themselves in your home.

If you’re repainting a room, door, trim, or cabinetry to provide a quick face-lift, pick neutral colors, such as whites, beiges, and light grays. Should you choose to fix any broken or damaged things like light fixtures, faucets, and cabinet hardware, never replace them with something too obnoxious or trendy. Always choose common fixture styles that can appeal to almost all buyers. They’d be happy to do their renovations once the house belongs to them!

Show off your home’s potential

Don’t get overwhelmed by the idea that you need to fix everything you think is wrong with your house to get more offers. You’ll only waste valuable time and money on unnecessary upgrades that you could use to cover closing costs.

You aren’t going to get a return on your investment if your house becomes “too much for the neighborhood” and yours is the only one that stands out. Aim to show your home’s potential instead of trying to achieve perfection.

And if you’re still in doubt about what kind of repairs to make before listing your home, consult with your real estate agent so you’re guaranteed to make the most out of your home sale. 

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About the Author

Jason Fox

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"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." ~ Gandhi [ Recognized as a top 3.5% agent in the United States. ] [ Jason Fox was born in Everett, WA currently lives in the Meadowdale neighborhood in Lynnwood and has lived in different parts of the Puget Sound area in between. He has been in the real estate industry for 20 years in many different capacities. From General Manager of a real estate CRM engagement business, Founder of 2 real estate marketing agencies, nationally recognized blogger with the Jason Fox Real Estate Marketing Blog, Marketing Manager for a top title and escrow service. ] [ Jason is now an award winning residential real estate sales agent, Co-Founder of The Madrona Group, Co-Owner of John L. Scott Ballard and John L. Scott Westwood. ] [ Active in the community, Jason is a proud part of the Autism Speaks effort to raise awareness for autism. This project is very dear to him as he has an 8 year old son, Hudson, diagnosed ASD. Jason is also involved with Neighbor's in Need, the Forgotten Children's Fund, WELD Seattle and the Union Gospel Mission assisting the homeless population in the greater Seattle area. ] [ "My passion is being able to give back to the community that has given so much to me." ] [ When he is not assisting his friends and family with the services of home ownership he loves being a dad to his 4 children, Carter, Rowen, Tyler and Hudson and being a husband to his amazing wife Sarah. Hiking, working around the house, cheering for the Seahawk's, Mariners and Huskies and golfing. ]

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