Should You Fix Up Your Home Before Selling it?

You might be eager to sell your home, but is it really ready for the market? Upon closer inspection, you might notice that there are a few issues with your property that require attention. Even your real estate agent might notice a few things that buyers might have a problem with.

Whether the issues have more to do with updating some old-fashioned features and finishes, or are more along the lines of repairs, you’ll need to decide what you’re going to do about them, if anything at all.

But what if you’re in a rush to sell? Or what if you don’t want to pour in more money than necessary? After all, you want to make sure that you don’t spend any more money than necessary to spruce up your home enough to impress buyers. Should you even bother to fix up your home at all or just sell it as is?

Ideally, a home should be in pristine condition before it’s listed on the market. Most buyers are looking for a turn-key home that doesn’t require any work after moving in. That said, it’s not impossible to sell a home that is in need of a little TLC. The decision whether or not to spend the time and money fixing up a home before listing depends on a number of factors, including the following.

The Competition

Other listings in the area that you are directly competing with should be carefully assessed. It could very well be that other properties that are up for sale could use a little upgrading too. In this case, it could be a little easier for you to sell without doing much fixing up.

However, if other properties in the area are fixed up and are in move-in ready condition, you’ll find yourself having a tougher time competing, especially if you’re trying to attain a certain price point.

If you choose not to fix up your home, your listing price will have to reflect the property’s condition appropriately. If you price your home right, you may be able to get a buyer who is willing to use the extra money saved to improve the home according to their specific tastes.

The Current Market

The temperature of the market plays a key role in your decision whether to fix up your home or sell it as is. In a hot market, you’ll need to pull out all the stops to make your home stand out from the crowd.

You can bet that other sellers in the area are doing whatever is necessary to garner as much attention from prospective buyers as possible, and that often entails making necessary repairs and updates. If you don’t keep up with the Joneses in a sizzling housing market, you can easily find yourself lost in the crowd.

On the other hand, a soft market might not necessarily press you to make any updates to your home before you list. If the competition is weak and the market favors sellers, you might be able to get your home off your hands for a decent sale price without having to invest the time, effort, and funds needed to update the place. Just be wary that a home that requires repairs will sell at a lower price than fixed-up properties that are similar to yours, no matter what type of market you happen to be in.

Your ROI

Many sellers do fix up their homes before they list on the market, as is the typical recommendation. But some sellers invest too much money on upgrades that they often are unable to recoup once the sale goes through. All sellers need to be very careful about what types of improvements they make on their homes and how much they’re investing to do so, as not all upgrades will bring in the same ROI.

Some upgrades are just not worth investing in and make little financial sense to do. If you decide to partake in some home improvement projects, be sure to consult with your real estate agent to discuss the types of improvements that are more likely to bring in a higher ROI based on their cost versus how much extra value they’ll add to your home.

The Bottom Line

In every market, there will always be a buyer looking for a home that they can fix up on their own in an effort to add extra equity and end up with a home that perfectly suits their tastes and needs. Many buyers purposely look for the worst house on the best block for this specific purpose, and your home might be the one they’re looking for.

But even though you may be able to find a buyer for your home who’s willing to take your property in its current condition, you’ll still likely sell for a lower price than other properties that have been fixed up for the market.

You’ll need to seriously consider how much lower you’re willing to sell for as a result of your home’s current condition. Always consult with your real estate agent to get sound advice, including whether or not it would be worth your while to fix up your property before listing.