Repair or Renovate?
We've already looked at some of the problems, such as odors and leaks, that can send buyers running in the opposite direction. But what about other improvements?
Here are a few rules of thumb:
- If it's broken, fix it: You wouldn't want to buy a car that stalls at stoplights, and you wouldn't want to buy a home that needs repairs. If the roof leaks, the toilet runs non-stop, or you have to jiggle the kitchen light switch to get it to stay on, fix them.
- If it's bad, make it good (maybe): If something isn't broken - just ugly or outdated - think before you improve it. You may love the idea of changing your old vinyl blinds for wooden ones, but your buyers may not love it enough for you to recoup the expense. Consider upgrading areas that can make a difference to buyers, such as replacing worn-out vinyl flooring. Remember, anything you do to your home needs to either help you sell it, or help you get a better price.
- If it's good, don't make it great: It's true that some home improvements, like upgraded kitchens or bathrooms, really do add to the value of your home. And, if you've made those improvements in previous years, prepare to reap the benefits. But it's risky to start an expensive kitchen or bathroom renovation right before you sell your home: This work can be extremely costly, and there's a good chance you won't recoup all of your investment.