What Not to Fix When Selling a House and Why

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It's crucial to have your property ready before listing it for sale so that it looks attractive to potential buyers. Decluttering interior spaces, improving curb appeal, and making necessary repairs around the house are common steps to getting a house show-ready.

However, be careful not to overdo it. Spending too much money on a property might be a losing investment because it won't significantly increase its appeal or asking price, putting you on the hook for needless costs. It's critical to understand where to draw the line. Here’s what you shouldn't fix before offering your house for sale, along with the rationale for each.

Major room improvements that you can't complete

Avoid beginning any type of project — including remodeling a room — that might not be finished before you put your house on the market. Work in progress might harm a potential buyer's perception of your house. A buyer can offer less cash because incomplete work implies that the seller ran out of money.

Dated windows

Broken window seals are fairly common. This is mostly a cosmetic issue, not a sign that water or rain is entering through the windows. However, the loss of seals may indicate a decline in energy efficiency. Depending on the amount of moisture that is retained, it can also be an eyesore.

Repairing a window with a broken seal might cost hundreds of dollars. Most purchasers are aware that this is what occurs to windows in hot regions, and it’s a reality one must live with. The only time we would advise having this fixed is if it is so severe that it’s obviously an eyesore. In this situation, it would be worthwhile to either fix it or give the customer a discounted price so they can fix it themselves.

Your wish for spotless windows is understandable, but don't bother to replace them. In addition to being expensive, replacing your windows is often not a move that will add value when you put your house on the market.

Minor problems with the HVAC, electricity, or plumbing

There is a widespread notion that in order to sell a house, electrical and mechanical systems must be brought "up to code". However, unless a home is brand new and adheres to your city's most recent code standards, it is not up to code. A home does not have to be brought up to date with current code requirements before being sold.

If they are old but still in good operating order, leave your water heater, electrical panel, or air conditioner just as they are. Spending money to update a functional system at home is unnecessary.

This does not imply that you should sell a home with potentially harmful electrical or plumbing issues. You are in charge of providing a prospective buyer with a Seller's Disclosure Notice in order to disclose any latent flaws. However, there is no need to look for issues when everything appears to be functioning normally.

Outdated faucets, fixtures, and cabinet hardware

Even though your faucets, fixtures, and cabinet hardware might have been in style a few years ago, but are now a little obsolete, they don't need to be updated before you put your property on the market.

By selecting their own hardware and fixtures, some purchasers choose to give the house their own unique style. Instead of replacing them, concentrate on making sure that drawers and cabinet doors glide open and shut and that faucets are leak-free.

Removable items

Buyers may look past old window hardware, furniture, and artwork. It becomes expensive to swap out removable objects for more contemporary ones. New versions won't have much of an influence on how much purchasers believe your property is worth, as such additions are removable. 

You should get rid of all removable items altogether rather than replace them. Donating anything you don't need will help you tidy your house and get a jump start on your upcoming relocation. When the time comes, packing and moving will be simpler, and your open houses will be more successful.

Dated appliances

Your house sale may suffer if your appliances are out of sync, older than 10 years, inefficient, extremely worn, barely functional, damaged, or missing. Your property may gain value if you replace them with brand-new appliances.

If your appliances are old, unsightly, and barely functional, you can save some money by upgrading them with secondhand equipment rather than spending hundreds of dollars on brand-new appliances.

If you opt to purchase new, you do not need to buy top-of-the-line, high-end items to impress a buyer; basic new appliances may improve the appearance of your house without costing a fortune.

Partial renovations to the kitchen or bathrooms

The cost of renovating a kitchen or bathroom might be astronomical. One of the most common occurrences is when sellers spend a lot of money on expensive partial upgrades to these rooms, which will add minimal to no value and have a net negative effect.

It is best to do as much decluttering and thorough cleaning as you can. In contrast to a half-baked makeover with decisions the buyer would frequently never make themselves, this presents the customer with a blank canvas on which to build.

Either completely remodel the space to your specifications, or leave it as-is and allow the buyer to continue the job according to their own preferences. The middle ground typically costs you a large sum of money that you don't get back at the negotiation table.

Aesthetic preferences

Individual cosmetic tastes, such as the color of worktops or cabinetry, might differ greatly. What appeals to you as an update can repel potential consumers. Additionally, as long as these amenities are in good condition and work well, fixing them will probably take more money and time than they're worth, or the new homeowner may decide to replace them nevertheless.

It is beneficial to consult your realtor first. They can advise you to forgo making minor improvements and concentrate instead on costly issues like repairing leaks, foundation damage, and furnace repairs.


When selling a property, there are a lot of expenses that cannot be avoided, so it's critical to limit the ones you can. You want your home to be in good condition, but despite what it may seem like, not every repair is required before placing it on the market. Even while it's crucial to invest the time and resources necessary to ensure your house has a positive first impression, certain repairs can be neglected or even serve as a deterrent to potential buyers.
Before investing a lot of money in repairs and improvements, discuss the top priorities with a seasoned real estate expert. You want your money to go where it will have the most impact, get you the greatest deal, and give you the best value for your money.

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