Should I Remodel Before Selling?

You should always remember to do the basics, such as make sure the lawn is manicured, or at the very least, presentable. Houses almost always look better when furnished than when empty, and they also look much bigger. If you are moving to another house and plan to take your furnishings with you, go ahead and try if possible, to arrange showings of the home to be done while you are still occupying it. However, if your house also has structural defects that are frightfully expensive to finish, you might decide to leave it.

Many homeowners wonder whether or not they should do perform work to their homes before selling. They hear so much about how certain renovations or touchups reap monetary rewards when it comes time to list the house. What many homeowners don’t realize is that just because you are adding to the house, doesn’t mean it will make you more money when you sell it.

It is practically impossible to buy a house that has no flaws. Every home has them, and will affect the price a buyer is willing to pay, depending on each situation. It is a mistake to think that a potential buyer will assume that the only defects that exist are those that are visible. They will bring in an inspector, which is why you should have the home inspected first, so that you are aware of any problems before they are. It will either give you a chance to fix it without them knowing, or, be able to let them know beforehand so they don’t think you lied.

There are some instances in which you should fix up before the sale. A example is where is a large variance in the cost of the fix-up, and a potential buyer is likely to over-estimate the cost. Another example is where most potential buyers can only afford a small down payment and aren’t in a position to pay for major repairs. By making the repairs before sale while setting a correspondingly higher price, a buyer is in effect financing the improvement in the mortgage. If a buyer with limited cash had to make the improvements after purchase, the financing costs would be substantially higher.

When the buyer has the financial ability to pay for all needed improvements, they can leave it the way it is. Other cases include situations in which the thing that needs fixing up, is something that the buyer would want specific to their taste, and would have un-done anything you had done anyway.

If a house has significant defects, the smart seller will order her own inspection, and in some cases, solicit estimates of the cost of required fix-ups. This will help in deciding whether the best arrangement is pre-sale fix-up, sale as is, or some combination of the two.

In addition, a seller-ordered inspection will tend to equalize the negotiating power of the two parties. Generally, if there is something wrong with the house, the buyer is going to try to drastically drive down the price. Buyer-ordered inspections are designed, consciously or unconsciously, to provide bargaining ammunition for the buyer by exposing everything that is wrong or might go wrong.

For more answers, check out Remodel Before Selling? on Zillow; as well as, Can a Remodeled Bathroom Help Sell My Home?

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One comment on “Should I Remodel Before Selling?
  1. Kelsey says:

    This is such a common question that is dependent on SO many things that it’s hard to really give an opinion. But I did want to write that you must do touch-ups. Now, those “touch-ups,” may include some level of re-modeling simply out of the need for it (whether or not things work, such as plumbing). I think it all depends. But I like this article!

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