Most Important Updates and Repairs to Make Before Selling Your Home



Getting your home ready to sell is no small feat. From the moment you decide to sell to the day you sign on the dotted line, you’re faced with a lot of questions to answer. One of those decisions to consider is, should you make repairs or sell as is?


The market dictates everything. A buyers’ market will often require you to pull out all the stops to hook, line, and sink a buyer. But a sellers’ market might allow you to polish what you have and sell with little sweat. So, while you may have torn out the carpet, replaced the roof, and spit-shined every square inch to sell your last home, you might not have to with this one. 


The best way to find your answer is to gauge the current market value of your home against the estimated value once improvements are made. This will help you most accurately determine whether you’ll make a profit from the modifications or if you’re running the risk of over-improving. 


“As a Realtor who represents both experienced and first time home buyers, “turn-key” is a request I most often get. Meaning they don’t want to have to do anything to move in. If it’s a realistic option, fresh paint, luxury vinyl plank floors, and quartz countertops are the highly desired upgrades right now and attract a lot of attention. But there are other more affordable options to help you attract a buyer, too. If you are on a budget. you might be surprised what a few tricks and tips can do to show your home in its best light. Don’t underestimate what new drawer pulls, light fixtures, bright white switch plate covers and what a pro cleaning job can do!"Shannon Cole, Co-Owner & Realtor at The Honor Group


The bottom line? A modified space can help you sell your home faster and turn a larger profit. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to see more capital gains? So let’s get to it!

The Most Important Repairs and Updates to Make Before Selling Your Home 


Focus on the Big Stuff 

If you’re willing to dive into a few larger projects to increase the value of your home, then paying closer attention to areas with a high return on investment will serve you well. 

Start with the Kitchen


Start with the room where you spend most of your time. The kitchen is high on everyone’s list. And while some are willing to renovate to mold it into their dream space, others are not. Instead, give it to them. 


What are they looking for, exactly? Home buyers want a high-functioning, spacious, and organized kitchen. If your space appears small with little storage and has old appliances and dated finishes, then talk to your real estate professional about whether you should tear down a wall, add additional fixtures, quartz or granite countertops, and more. 


But what if you don’t have the time or money to make updates? Is it necessary to gut the room and start from scratch? Not necessarily. Since most homeowners don’t see more than 60% return on a full kitchen overhaul, it’s not a bad idea to stick to simple updates. 


It might only take a few updates to freshen up the room and attract buyers: 


  • New hardware. 
  • Shiny, new appliances. 
  • More lighting.
  • A fresh coat of paint on walls (and maybe the cabinets, too). 

Pretty Up the Bathroom 


What’s the second most used room in any home? The bathroom, of course. Bathrooms might not be used for pretty things, but we all like it to look pretty while it does its job. Your goal is to make it look as large, bright, and clean as you can before selling. 


How can you accomplish this without funding a full overhaul?


  • Replace old fixtures.
  • Install a new vanity. 
  • Recaulk the shower. 
  • Replace tiles. 
  • Replace flooring.
  • Paint. 

How Much Will a Bathroom or Kitchen Renovation Cost You?


Does your home have a master bathroom? Many older homes do not. But do you know what home buyers really want in their next home? You guessed it, a master bathroom. While this project will soak up a considerable amount of time and money, it could make the difference between selling or not selling. 

Exterior Updates


Your property’s exterior is crucial, since it makes the first impression. Have you ever found a home listed online and eagerly driven past it in hopes of finding the one but, upon seeing the neglected exterior, kept on driving? 


The great news is, freshening up your home’s curb appeal doesn’t have to break the bank. A handful of small projects can help grab the attention of potential home buyers. 


  • A fresh coat of paint.
  • Vibrant, healthy landscaping.
  • Replace broken railings. 
  • Fix cracks in the cement.
  • Pressure washing. 

Minor Repairs and Maintenance


Let’s go back to the original question, should you make repairs or sell as is? Your answer might lead to no when it comes to larger repairs and projects around the home, but that doesn’t mean that you should do nothing. It’s important to perform maintenance and make minor modifications as needed.  




Paint. A fresh coat of neutral paint on the walls is an inexpensive way to update your space. Not only does it clean up lived-in walls, but it creates a blank slate for buyers. 


Flooring. Just as important as providing clean walls is the need to have clean flooring. That might mean cleaning relatively new carpet, refinishing hardwood, or cleaning the grout. If the home has carpet throughout, consider replacing it altogether. 


Hardware. Is your home still sporting brass doorknobs brought to life by the ’90s? It’s time to let them go. Replace out-of-date hardware throughout your home with something more modern such as brushed nickel, silver, or black.


Patch the walls. Remember all the extra holes behind photos you made trying to the get the frame to hang just right? Now’s the time to fill them. Oh, and don’t forget about the baseball sized dent your kids made when they were having a little too much fun in the house. 


Replace light bulbs. You’d better believe every light in your home will be turned on for showings. Replace any burned out bulbs.


Install new appliances. If your current household helpers are on the fritz, a shiny new dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, or washer and dryer can go a long way toward reassuring a buyer that everything is in perfect working order. And it doesn’t hurt that they look nice, too! 


Replace torn window screens. The wind, pets, kids, and accidents happen—but potential buyers don’t need to know that. Take a walk around the house and fix any torn screens. 


Fix the hidden issues. It should go without saying that before listing your home for sale, you’ll need to attend to any leaks, cracks, and water damage around the property. 


Cleaning. Lastly (and most importantly), it’s time for a deep clean. The biggest turn off for any home buyer isn’t going to be the 1970’s kitchen, it’ll be the dingy baseboards, cluttered counters, and dust bunnies floating across the floor. Clear out all unnecessary things in your home, then pay for a professional cleaner to make your home sparkle brighter than it ever has before. 


Shannon Cole also notes,

“Another priority is making sure your home is ready for inspection. Once you have an accepted contract, the buyers will likely have it checked out from top to bottom. Electrical, plumbing, or roofing issues can sometimes be a deal breaker, or at the very least leverage for negotiations that are often in the buyers' favor. Remedy any known problems in advance or have multiple quotes in hand and be prepared to disclose it up front and offer a credit.”


Upgrades You Can Skip



Space conversion. When converting your garage into a home gym or an office, you can't anticipate how the buyer will want to use the space. Many people seek out large garages to use for its intended purpose. Keep the integrity of the home and allow the buyer to make these bigger modifications should they feel the need to. 


Replacing a bedroom. The space conversion rule applies to bedrooms as well. From 6 Upgrades You Can Skip When Selling Your Home:


“If your ‘home office’ space is really a bedroom, don’t advertise it as such. Bedrooms often equal value. So list the largest number of bedrooms you can and let potential buyers imagine what they can do with the extra room.”


A pool. Even if other homes in the area feature a luxurious pool or hot tub, the return on investment is relatively low. It’s best to focus on other necessities around the home and let the buyer make this addition should they decide to. 


Finishing the basement. While it often means an additional playroom, man cave, extra bedroom, or project area, an unfinished basement isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. Many home buyers will embrace the opportunity to customize this space to their liking. 


From the nest article, Is It Worth It to Finish My Basement If I Am Selling the House?:


“An unfinished basement holds infinite potential. Possibilities include rent-free storage for all the stuff you want accessible without crowding your living space -- or space in which to create a bar, a media room, a man cave or an apartment for your mother-in-law.” 


Still, a finished basement can add value to your home, so it’s a good idea to take a look at the market, your finances, and your selling timeline to make an educated decision as to whether you should start this project. 


Getting your house ready to sell is an undoubtedly large undertaking, even if you’re a seasoned home seller. With all of the tools and resources made available, you can have the confidence to budget your repair projects and get to work. And when you’re ready to list your immaculate home on the market, you know where to go-- MilitaryByOwner!