6 Things You Shouldn’t Fix When Selling Your House

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You can do a plethora of things to your home before listing to draw in more potential buyers. This can include things like decluttering, removing personal items, and fixing significant issues with the home. And while there are issues that will make selling your house impossible without addressing them, there are also things you shouldn’t fix when selling your house. It’s common for sellers to have trouble prioritizing and fixing every tiny detail in their home before selling. However, after going through this list, you’ll see that some things may not be worth the money and effort they take.

#1 Avoid major cosmetics renovations

Every seller and buyer should know that every house will show certain signs of wear and tear. No house will be perfect. Even wholly new builds might end up having at least one cosmetic problem. Falling into the trap of doing major cosmetics, renovations, and repairs is very easy. But, it rarely turns a profit. Most experienced and motivated buyers will be open to accepting cosmetics issues. Some will even approach them with open arms because they were already planning on personalizing the look of the home after moving in.

The biggest problem with starting even minor cosmetic fixes, like replacing an old vanity in the bathroom, can quickly snowball into a full bathroom remodel. This is because it’s common for a cosmetic upgrade to stick out and highlight other problems instead of becoming the focus of a room. For example, adding new marble countertops to your kitchen might accentuate the dated tiles you would need to upgrade. And even though you started with a minor fix, you’ve now made a considerable investment that you’ll probably end up losing money on.

Of course, small, quick, and necessary fixes are acceptable. If the paint on your living room walls hasn’t been updated in years and looks dirty, you should fix that. This is easy to DIY and a pretty cheap upgrade. Aside from saving you from a negative ROI, skipping this unnecessary step in selling your house will help you sell it much faster.

#2 Don’t replace appliances if they still work

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When it comes to appliances, most buyers will understand that they age. Let’s go through three of the most common scenarios when it comes to fixing and replacing appliances and what you should do in each of them:

  1. The appliance is old but in working order. If this is the case, the best course of action is to just leave it. If the buyer is motivated, a washer and dryer a bit older won’t make or break the deal. And if they really want new ones, you should leave that expense to them;
  2. The appliance is not in working order or is close to becoming unusable. This is the only situation where replacing an appliance might be justified. If it’s something you can replace with little money, you should. However, if the replacement seems like it’ll be costly, it’s still smarter to just remove it and leave the expense to the buyers;
  3. The appliance is brand new. Brand-new appliances can attract buyers. However, it might be wiser to take these with you to your new home. If you’re planning a relocation on a budget, there’s no need to spend a fortune on new appliances. Spending a few extra bucks to have your movers do one more round-trip and bring your appliances to your new home is a much better option than counting on the appliances to be the reason you closed a sale. 

#3 If the house can do without it, don’t replace it, remove it

As mentioned, there are some things you shouldn’t fix when selling your house. Instead, prioritize decluttering and focus on things that neither you nor your buyers will need. This might prove an obstacle because it’s easy to confuse unnecessary items with important ones. 

For instance, if you think the old curtains on your windows will put off many buyers, you shouldn’t replace them with new ones. What you should do is just get rid of them. While a small investment, like new curtains, might not seem that big, these small expenses can quickly add up. And in most cases, they don’t even help you turn a profit. 

Most buyers will look for a neutral, bare-bones house that they can personalize to their taste. So, going back to the curtains example, they might prefer seeing that there are none and having the space to imagine the ones they would like.

#4 Be smart about fixing electrical issues

When it comes to things you shouldn’t fix when selling your house, electrical issues are some of the trickiest obstacles. It’s pretty obvious that you should fix anything that poses a safety hazard. This includes detached light fixtures, exposed wires, dated fuse boxes, etc. However, there are also some minor issues that you should just skip over. These are things like poorly installed outlets that aren’t going to put anyone in danger and just look a little wonky or light switches that don’t turn any lights on. 

Trying to install smart home features at the last minute is another common mistake sellers make. These are going to look attractive to buyers. But, they are a completely unnecessary expense. And they probably won’t have a significant impact on closing a sale.

#5 Pavement fixes are usually just unnecessary expenses

Doing things like repaving, resealing, and especially expanding your driveway are likely to improve your home’s curb appeal. However, these fixes can be extremely expensive. And, in the end, they probably won’t improve your home’s value significantly enough to be justified. It would be best to avoid driveway and pavement fixes unless they create legitimate safety concerns. If your house is in good condition, one or two cracks in your driveway will not make or break a sale.

#6 Avoid a roof replacement unless the buyer demands it

This rule only applies if your roof has no issues or only a few minor problems which your buyers find acceptable. As long as you are upfront and disclose any issues with the roof to a potential buyer, you should be able to skip this major expense. 

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Most buyers will be fine with doing these repairs on their own as long as you’re pricing the home accordingly. You should work with your real estate agent to determine the most appropriate price relative to the issues on your roof. Or you can get a professional appraisal.

Making sure you’re prioritizing the right things

The best way to find out which things you shouldn’t fix when selling your house is to work with a trusted real estate agent and get them to do a comparative market analysis. Aside from comparing prices, this can help you to properly gauge the state of your house relative to the other ones in your local real estate market. For example, if no one in the neighborhood has smart home features, there’s no need for you to spend time and money to install them. However, if your agent informs you that every listed house in your area has a brand-new roof, you might have to spend a bit more to catch up to the competition. Of course, if you find trouble selling your house without these unnecessary fixes, you can always get in touch with professional house buyers and offer an as-is sale.

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