Selling Your House FAQ

How much should I fix up the house before selling it?

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How much should I fix up the house before selling it?

Home buyers’ fascination with fixer-uppers seems to be on the wane. Even if it costs more, home buyers are increasingly looking for a home that’s move-in ready. So where does that leave you, as the home seller?

Paying more money just to get money out of your home may be the last thing you were hoping to take on (or have the cash to complete). Nevertheless, some investment may be necessary in order to attract buyer attention.

At a minimum, you’ll want to fix obvious eyesores and danger spots, such as cracked windowpanes, tiles, and plaster. Correct high-priority issues like moisture leakage or rickety stairs. Walk around your house with a critical eye, noticing areas where you’ve always meant to deal with a problem – such as a light switch that doesn’t work or a window shade that’s lost its pull string -- but haven’t gotten around to it.

After that, a new paint job is one of the more affordable ways to give a house a fresh look. If painting the exterior is more than you can afford, consider at least painting the front door, and possibly the trim.

Simple cosmetic touch-ups can give your house a more cared-for look – all the way up to a major staging job, as described in Nolo’s article “Is Hiring a Home Stager Worth the Cost?” 

Of course, we’re dancing around the big issue here, which is what if the kitchen, bathroom, or somewhere else is just crying out for a remodel? You may have already noticed, from reading the real estate ads, that the agents never fail to mention “newly remodeled kitchen.” You’ll need to proceed with caution. The worst possible result is to pour money into a remodel that buyers don’t like and plan to rip out anyway. For tips on how to plan a remodel that will recoup its costs and then some, see “Do Home Improvements Really Add Value

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