Back To Blog

What Not to Fix When Selling A House: 10 Things to Avoid

What Not to Fix When Selling A House 10 Things to Avoid

Selling a house can be a complex and emotionally charged process. As homeowners, we often believe that making numerous upgrades and fixes will skyrocket our property's value. However, this isn't always the case.

In our latest article, we'll provide insightful tips on what not to waste your time and money on. This guide is a must-read for anyone looking to sell their home effectively and efficiently. Continue reading to discover how to streamline your selling process by focusing on what truly matters.

Why Should You Not Fix Everything Before Selling Your Home?

Why Should You Not Fix Everything

When preparing a house for sale, it's tempting to address every imperfection. But this approach isn't always the most strategic. Not all repairs or upgrades are necessary or financially sensible. Sellers must weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each potential repair or upgrade. Here are the 3 key factors that you should consider.

Cost Considerations

It's a common misconception that extensive renovations automatically translate to a higher sale price. In reality, not all improvements offer a significant return on investment. For example, a fresh coat of neutral color paint can accentuate your home's aesthetic appeal. But overhauling a kitchen's current condition may not yield the expected financial returns. You should aim for cost-effective enhancements rather than costly renovations. This prevents you from having expensive repairs that do not promise potential returns.

Time Constraints

If you're aiming for a quick sale, undertaking major renovations can significantly delay listing your home. The delay can potentially miss out on favorable market conditions. Instead, focus on quick and essential repairs like fixing electrical issues. Replacing a broken light fixture is more practical as well. This approach allows you to capitalize on the current real estate market dynamics without unnecessary delays.

Buyer Preferences

Prospective buyers often have their own vision for the property. What seems like an attractive upgrade to you might not align with a buyer's personal taste. For instance, replacing cabinet hardware or laying hardwood floors might seem appealing. But these changes might not resonate with all potential buyers. It's more effective to present a home as a blank canvas. This allows them to envision their own changes.

What Should You Avoid Updating or Fixing?

What Should You Avoid Updating or Fixing?

In real estate transactions, it's crucial to prioritize which updates or fixes that will benefit the selling process. As mentioned above, not all repairs are necessary. Some might even be counterproductive. Worst, these updates can affect the selling price without offering a substantial return on investment.

Here's our Do-Not-Fix List to help you make an informed decision and avoid bad investments.

Squeaky Doors or Cabinets

Squeaky doors and cabinets are often seen as a sign of normal wear. They don't typically deter potential buyers. Fixing these minor issues might not significantly enhance the home's value or appeal. So, the cost of repairs and effort might not give you a maximum return on investment.

Loose Tiles or Grout

While loose tiles or grout may seem unsightly, buyers often overlook them. They are more focused on larger aspects like the layout or outdoor space. Addressing these minor repairs might not contribute significantly to the home's overall aesthetic appeal. Not to mention that you may spend thousands of dollars on such fixes, especially for creaky floors.

Small or Hairline Cracks on Walls

Hairline cracks on walls are common in many homes and usually don't indicate major structural problems or safety issues. These minor cracks are often viewed as cosmetic issues. New homeowners can easily address these. So, repairing them might not add to the fair market value of the house.

Minor Plumbing Leaks and Electrical Issues

While important, minor plumbing leaks and electrical issues may not always need immediate fixing. If these issues do not cause safety hazards or building code issues, you can disclose these details about your house during showings. This allows potential buyers to make smarter financial decisions later on.

Outdated Appliances

Outdated appliances can be a tricky area. While modern, energy-efficient appliances are attractive, they might not align with the personal tastes of prospective buyers. Replacing them might not yield a significant increase in the selling price.

Cosmetic Issues and Faded Paint

Cosmetic issues are damages that lessen a property's aesthetic appeal but do not cause any problems with its functionality. So you can ignore these along with a faded coat of paint. As a rule of thumb, present your house in a clean and tidy condition. Fresh paint, especially bold colors, and other extensive cosmetic renovations can limit the buyer pool. Some might prefer a more personalized color scheme.

Cracked Driveway or Walkway

Driveway or walkway cracks might seem like a curb appeal issue. But they are often seen as acceptable normal wear. The cost of fixing them might outweigh the benefits in terms of attracting cash buyers or increasing the list price. So it's best not to do any major repairs.

Slight Wear on Window Panes

When it comes to slight wear on window panes, it's a strategic decision to leave them as is. Fixing every minor blemish like a broken seal or minor gaps in windows can be a costly endeavor. This wear is usually classified under normal wear and is often expected in used homes. It is not usually a deal-breaker for potential buyers who understand that every home comes with its own set of minor imperfections. In fact, these can be used as negotiation points for a more flexible selling price.

Old Carpeting

Addressing old carpeting in a home for sale often doesn't yield the expected return. This is because carpet preference varies widely among potential buyers. Some may prefer hardwood floors or different textures and colors. So, investing in new carpeting is a potential mismatch with buyer tastes.

Unfinished Basement or Attic Spaces

The basement and attic are bonus spaces that your house offers to its potential new owner. Rather than investing in expensive renovations to finish these areas, showcasing them as they are can be more beneficial. Buyers may appreciate the opportunity to customize these spaces to suit their needs. This approach can also broaden the buyer pool as different buyers will have varied visions for utilizing these spaces.

How to Decide Whether to Fix Something or Not?

How to Decide Whether to Fix Something or Not?

Deciding whether to fix something before selling your house can be a daunting task. Each decision should be made with careful consideration. You must have a deep understanding of the real estate market and potential buyer expectations.

To make an informed decision, ask yourself the questions we listed below. This will help you evaluate the necessity and potential impact of repairs and updates.

  • Does the issue pose a safety risk? Evaluate if the problem can be a safety issue for potential buyers. If your answer is yes, prioritize repairing it to ensure a safe living environment.
  • Is it a significant structural problem? Address major issues like significant plumbing issues or roof damage. These can affect the house's integrity and become a major turn-off for buyers.
  • Will fixing this increase my home's curb appeal? Enhancements that improve curb appeal can make the house more attractive at first glance. This can potentially increase buyer interest.
  • What is the return on investment? Consider if the repair will increase the sales price significantly.
  • Is this a cosmetic or a deep-rooted issue? Distinguish between superficial fixes and deeper issues. Focus on fixes that genuinely enhance the home's value.
  • How does this issue compare to current trends in the market? Understand current trends and buyer preferences. For example, if energy efficiency is trending, updating to energy-efficient appliances may be beneficial.
  • Will the repair expedite the selling process? Determine if the repair will lead to a quick sale. Sometimes, even minor adjustments like tightening a light switch can make the home more market-ready.
  • What are the potential hazards if left unfixed? Assess if leaving an issue can lead to bigger problems in the future.
  • Is the cost of the repair worth the potential increase in the list price? Weigh the cost of repairs against the potential increase in list price. Sometimes, the investment in repairs may not yield a proportionate increase in value.

Read also: Does Solar Panels Increase Home Value?

What Should You Fix Instead?

Now that you know what to fix, repairing the right areas can significantly enhance your property's appeal and value. Some updates and fixes are essential. Those can make a substantial difference in the selling process. Here are our tips for you.

Structural Issues

Structural problems are a top priority. Addressing foundation issues or a compromised roof is crucial as these are significant concerns for potential buyers. Work with a structural engineer and obtain necessary permits. This repair ensures the safety and integrity of the home. It also instills confidence in buyers about the quality of the property.

Major Home System Issues

Systems like heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing are critical for a comfortable living experience. Potential buyers often conduct a thorough inspection of these systems. Significant issues can lead to renegotiations or even sale fall-throughs. Therefore, addressing major problems like fixing a malfunctioning HVAC system or resolving significant plumbing issues is vital. Such repairs ensure the home meets current building codes. Those fixes also present the property as well-maintained so it deserves a higher list price.

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is another critical area. Simple yet effective enhancements can significantly boost the property’s appeal. Start by ensuring the front of the house is in top condition. A well-maintained front yard with neatly trimmed hedges and a clean walkway can make a substantial difference. Additionally, make your entryways more inviting. This can positively influence buyer perception before they step inside.

Kitchen and Bathroom Upgrades

Kitchens and bathrooms are often considered key selling points. Upgrading these spaces can make a strong positive impression on potential buyers. Address wear and tear in high-traffic areas to present a well-maintained home. This includes attending to issues like worn-out countertops, outdated fixtures, or damaged tiles. You may consult a real estate agent for guidance. An experienced agent can help you identify specific upgrades that align with market trends.

Landscaping And Lawn Care

The exterior of your home is the first thing buyers see. So, landscaping and lawn care are essential in creating a strong first impression. Regular lawn maintenance, trimming overgrown bushes, and adding colorful, easy-to-maintain flowers can significantly enhance curb appeal. Consider adding or updating outdoor features like patios or decks. These can increase the usable outdoor space and appeal to buyers looking for an outdoor living area.

Undone Renovations

Lastly, completing any unfinished projects is crucial. Unfinished renovations can signal neglect and potentially lower the sales price. These can affect the successful sale as buyers may feel the burden of completing the project. So make sure to finish the partially remodeled kitchen or an incomplete bathroom upgrade. Focus on ensuring that your property is house-ready.

Wrapping Up: Consult A Real Estate Agent Before Making Repairs

Knowing what to fix on your house can save time and money. This also makes the selling process more efficient and less stressful. Instead, focus on improvements that are more likely to yield a significant return on investment.

If you're looking for expert guidance in navigating the complexities of selling your home, Corcoran Connect is your ideal partner. Our deep market knowledge of Central Florida simplifies the selling process. We ensure that your journey in selling your home is smooth, successful, and aligned with your goals. Contact us today at (407) 953-9118 and let's work together to achieve the best possible outcome for your home.

Add Comment

Comments are moderated. Please be patient if your comment does not appear immediately. Thank you.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.