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What Not To Fix When Selling A House | The Definitive List
Houston Real Estate
Houston Real Estate

What Not To Fix When Selling A House | The Definitive List

Your home could use some repairs now that it is a decade old. The restorations needed range from repainting the whole exterior to replacing sunken electrical sockets. 

You're worried that you might spend a fortune making home repairs and exerting tremendous effort selling your home, and there is still no guarantee of attracting potential buyers. It would help immensely if you could save all of your resources for your upcoming move. 

What are the things to fix before selling your house, and what should you not fix when selling a house?  

Sell smart with this list of what not to fix when selling a house in 2022. 

What Not To Fix When Selling A House

The great news is that a home seller doesn't have to do a complete home renovation in order to sell their house. There are items or parts of the house that you don't have to fix to sell. Here are some things to remember: 

  • The home feature you choose not to repair mustn't turn off a home buyer.
  • If repairs are a must, they shouldn't cost an arm and a leg. Focus on a return on investment. 
  • If the repairs you intend on making to the house don’t increase your home sale price or improve the overall safety or livability for the buyer, it’s best not to do it. 
  • The end goal is to pass the home inspection by the licensed inspector. 

Minor vs. Major Electrical Fixes

What not to do when selling your home? Going the extra mile to abide by your city's present mechanical and electrical codes. 

Bringing up your home on par with current standards is not a requirement, and the only time this is possible is when the house is newly-constructed. What you should do, however, is disclose any and all electrical and mechanical flaws in the Seller's Disclosure Notice and, of course, have a satisfactory inspection report. 

Before you sell, fix or address these major electrical issues, make sure you check for these major issues so as not to endanger the next homeowner:

  • Exposed wires that could overheat or spark;
  • Tangled cabling and wiring;
  • Heating or protruding electrical outlets;
  • Outlets that cause a shock when you touch electrical fixtures;
  • Gas leaks and ungrounded gas lines;
  • Hot wires and burning smell;
  • Aluminum wires in older homes;
  • Dangling light fixtures;
  • Loose electrical connections resulting in flickering lights.

Everything else, like an old water heater or air conditioner and a non-functioning light switch, can be considered minor electrical issues. 

If you have any concerns or doubts about what to fix when selling, get in touch with a licensed electrician and your real estate agent for your peace of mind and the safety of all. 

Functional vs. Cosmetic Fixes

Have you ever noticed that when someone buys a house in the movies, they're satisfied when the home "has good bones?" It’s because an investment in a home with a solid foundation is a smart decision for buyers. Sellers can rely on those good bones to get their house off the real estate market. 

All you need is a decent footprint, interior and exterior finishes, working appliances & HVAC systems, and sound home framing & foundation. 

Buyers spend on average 15 to 30 minutes viewing a home. This means they are looking for those foundational elements of the home to be in order – details that can be gleaned in an inspection report. The rest they can personalize to their preferences anyway. If the bones of your home are in excellent condition, the most you could do is switch your home's bright paint colors to neutral colors just to give buyers a blank slate to allow their imagination to unfold. Don’t worry about keeping up with trends or overhauling your home’s entire scheme just to fit in; allow the strength of the home to do the talking. 

Removable Vs. Non-Removable Fixes

Rule of thumb: if it's removable and not built-in, don't bother repairing or replacing it. They won't likely add much value to your home. Removable items are things like art, furniture, window valances, and curtain rods - basically, anything you can easily carry and discard. Again, replacing these only to be changed by the seller is a waste of your time and money.

You're better off using the old objects in your next home, selling them in a garage sale, or donating them. Buyers would appreciate it more if your home was clean and clutter-free so they could easily see the potential of the space. How fast you can pack and go is also a plus point. 

As for built-in items like permanent benches, shelves, furniture, cabinetry, and appliances, give them a deep cleaning as well as highlight their possible uses.

A word of caution: some buyers might not share your preferences and beliefs. You might unknowingly turn them away and increase your risk for theft when you leave personal effects around at stagings. Realtors recommend removing all college diplomas, family photos, animal rugs, political banners, memorabilia, firearms, medications, and other valuables.  

Driveway Or Foundation Crack Fixes  

Don't obsess about shallow holes and hairline cracks in your foundation or driveway. Unless it's an obvious safety risk or potential hazard, there is no need for paving and re-doing the entire section. Did you know that most sellers only get about half of their investment in major renovations? Yikes.

Refocus your energy on doing these DIY-friendly and affordable curb appeal projects. You may also reach out to your trusted landscape contractor when:

  • Installing flower boxes;
  • Installing a new storm door;
  • Installing shutters;
  • Adding nighttime lighting;
  • Planting trees;
  • Replacing light fixtures;
  • Laying concrete, clay, stone pavers, and bricks;
  • Replacing your mailbox;
  • Installing new home numbers;
  • Applying fresh paint to the exterior of the house.

Don't forget to do some mulching, bush trimming, and tree branch removal too. Realtors also advise taking professional pictures of your landscaping in spring or summer to capture the lush greenery when you expect your listing to be active in winter or fall. 

Old Appliances Vs. Broken Appliance Fixes

Fixing any malfunctioning appliance in your home is part of the minimal improvements you should make when selling a house. Feel free to repair or replace eyesore appliances or broken doors. If the fact that an appliance is outdated is the issue, you'd be glad to know that buyers usually have low expectations and are looking into bringing their own or buying new appliances.

If you must replace it, scour Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for the best deals on used appliances. Some sellers are letting go of machines only because they want to remodel. Consider less expensive options like a front-load washer dryer combo instead of the more costly top-load one.

Turn over appliance manuals to the new homeowners and never impose brand preferences. You'll never know what brands they are loyal to. 

Conclusion

Apart from the above, real estate experts also suggest not to remodel the flooring, bathroom, and kitchen as they are, again, subject to the buyer's preferences. It is also their recommendation to prevent your home from standing out from the community for the wrong reasons, as this will turn away buyers and neighbors alike.

Avoid partial room upgrades (whole room updating is better), out-of-pride fixes, and lengthy, labor-intensive projects.

Lastly, there are things out of your control, such as your home's location and square footage.

You have the choice to sell the house as-is or fix it up. Real estate investors or cash home buyers like Assemble Houston will buy your home as-is without needing to do repairs.

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