what not to fix when selling a house

Any real estate agent will tell you that curb appeal helps sell your home fast and for a higher price.  As a third-generation Tampa native and highly experienced real estate agent, I have previously discussed how sellers can employ smart staging, high-resolution photography, and home improvement tips to generate a great listing. After all, first impressions are everything! 

However, focusing on the right type of home improvement is essential so you don’t waste money on anything that won’t boost your market price. While you may want to spruce up your landscaping or make a few major renovations before selling, certain improvement projects really aren’t worth your time or buck. 

Learn how to sell your home in Tampa and maximize your home’s value in this guide on what you shouldn’t fix before selling your house. 

Why Shouldn’t You Fix Everything Before Selling Your Home? 

It’s wise to fix significant issues affecting your home’s asking price, but renovation costs can quickly run up to tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, so you need to be strategic. Making minor home repairs and replacements can be a waste of money if what you’re doing won’t actually increase the home’s sale price. 

Plus, some potential buyers may not even think the improvements are necessary. Buyers tend to look at the big picture when searching for a new home. They know they can always make improvements after the home sale. 

Deciding What Not to Fix When Selling a House 

What’s the best way to figure out what to fix (or not fix) before selling your home? Don’t worry – I got you! Here’s how you get started. 

Talk to a Trusted Real Estate Agent 

First of all – please allow me to help you with this! As a local real estate agent with decades of experience in the Tampa market, I can talk to you about anything in your home that needs a makeover before it hits the market. I know what’s currently hot in the real estate market, such as desired features of comparable homes in your neighborhood. Trends change, the market evolves, and you want to talk to someone who constantly has their pulse on what’s happening.  

In short, I pay attention to the Tampa real estate market for a living. Don’t hesitate to get me involved so I can point you in the right direction – this is what I love to do! I can advise you on the upgrades that will make a difference in your asking price and offer tips on saving money when renovating. 

Consider the ROI 

The next step is determining if the repairs or improvements will add value to your home and provide a good return on investment (ROI). If you can’t recoup the project’s cost (or most of it) when you sell, skip it. 

For instance, total kitchen remodels have one of the best ROIs of any home renovation project. Low-cost improvements, such as a new coat of paint, also have great returns. Just don’t go wild with the paint colors, as it might drive some buyers away. Stick to something neutral so the buyers can picture how they’ll make the space feel like it’s theirs.   

Avoid Vanity Fixes 

While it’s nice if it is, your home doesn’t need to be in showroom condition to sell. Buyers want to see that you took good care of the property, but they aren’t there to judge your style or decor. 

So if you don’t love your countertops, that’s okay! The next owner may love them. Just because you notice cosmetic flaws doesn’t mean potential home buyers will see them, too. 

Instead of making vanity fixes, your time is better spent cleaning, decluttering, and de-personalizing. (Yes, please take the family photos off the fridge. We want the potential buyer to look at the fridge and picture their family photos on it.) I have a guide on staging your home that you can check out for more advice. 

Making good use of space in your home makes it easier to highlight all the fantastic aspects of your space. 

What Should You Not Fix When Selling a House? 

Unless you’re a real estate investor flipping homes, you want to create a do-not-fix list once you decide to sell. Here are some of my recommendations for what to leave as is. 

Minor HVAC, Plumbing, or Electrical Issues 

The 2019 Remodeling Impact Report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that a complete HVAC replacement was one of the most appealing projects to prospective buyers. 

However, there is a caveat: if you aren’t going all out to replace a broken system completely, skip fixing minor HVAC issues. 

The same applies to minor electrical issues, like light switches that lead to nowhere, and minor plumbing issues, like leaky faucets. 

Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address significant safety hazards. In fact, a home inspector would likely require you to fix anything dangerous for occupants. They will note any necessary repairs in the inspection report. This is precisely why you need a home inspection in the first place; it identifies the problems you must fix or disclose to potential buyers, as required by law. 

But don’t stress out about the little things. 

Normal Wear and Tear 

Most prospective buyers spend little time in the home during the buying process, so they aren’t scrutinizing minor wear and tear. 

Cosmetic issues like scuffs on the hardwood floors or hairline cracks in the driveway are just part of life. They are not a deal breaker when selling your home. 

If you have the DIY skills to fix normal wear and tear and it’s not too much trouble, then knock yourself out sprucing it up, as long as it won’t cost you much time or money. But if you need to hire professionals, I’d say skip it! 

Old Appliances 

Okay – so it’s true that broken, missing, or severely worn appliances can hurt your home’s value.  

However, you don’t need to go out and buy brand-new, high-end items to impress buyers. Instead, you can replace old or barely working appliances with well-working used ones. 

Alternatively, you could be upfront about the appliances needing an upgrade and let the next homeowners choose new appliances at their discretion (and on their budget). 

Removable Items 

Don’t feel obligated to replace worn or dated removable items, like window treatments or light fixtures. Simply remove the things that are not in good condition and let the next owners decide how they want to replace them. (This is often their plan anyway to make the house feel more like theirs.)  

Outdated Parts of a Room 

Consider a partial room upgrade rather than a complete renovation if a room has old or worn parts, like outdated floor coverings or a broken door. 

For instance, you could install a new sink in the bathroom or new kitchen cabinets to liven up the spaces without putting too much money into the projects. 

There are more minor upgrades you can do that brighten up a room but don’t break the bank. A fresh coat of paint with neutral colors can help turn a room into a calming oasis. Putting in some colorful home decor accents with a bright pop of color or getting plants can also help bring life to a room.  

For more ideas, check out my guide to top home improvement hacks

Let’s Work Together To Sell Your House 

I don’t want you to feel like the home selling process is overwhelming or that your home needs to be in perfect condition. Just follow my advice here, and you’ll have no problem finding a buyer in this hot Tampa real estate market. 

Let me show you how much fun the home selling process can be! I love working with clients on their home-selling journey and strive to make it stress-free and enjoyable. 

If you need advice about home renovation projects to complete before selling or are ready to list your house, contact me to get the ball rolling today!