Home Home Improvement What Not To Do To Your Home Before You Sell

What Not To Do To Your Home Before You Sell

by Eric Rothman
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If you’re about to list your home for sale you’re probably wondering how to get the most value in the sale. We hope to save you some time and money with a simple list of where you shouldn’t spend your time and money.

1. Do Not Completely Overhaul Your Kitchen

While a beautiful kitchen can sell a home, kitchen design is personal, and it can get expensive, with high-end renovations running from $30,000 to $100,000 or more.

In fact, a major kitchen remodel of $59,999 recoups just 64.9% of that investment at sale, nationally, according to Remodeling.hw.net, while a minor one of $20,122 does a bit better, returning 83.1%.

As to the argument that a new kitchen may sell our homes faster, that’s only if we nail the prospective buyer’s taste — if we go traditional and they wanted modern, the buyer won’t pay more and may feel bad about having to rip it out and start over.

2. Do Not Fully Overhaul Your Bathroom

There’s reason to focus on the bathroom when you’re putting your home up for sale. At a minimum, people want to see a clean bathroom that smells nice and has clear counters.

A full renovation will start at about $10,000 and can easily jump to $30,000. And the full cost may not be recouped. Based on national numbers, a $17,908 remodel nets just 65.7% of your investment upon resale, according to Remodeling.hw.net.

As long as your bathroom is clean and functional, small upgrades are usually the way to go

3. Do Not Paint Your Whole House White

Most advice to potential sellers is give the entire interior a fresh coat of paint for a clean look and to cover up color. But that doesn’t mean everything needs to be stark white.

In fact, rooms without much natural light, especially if they’re small, can look downright sad and institutional when painted a bright white.

Instead, choose warm neutral tones or those with hints of color (greys and blues work well). Or choose an accent wall to paint a brighter color in a room that needs some pop.

4. Do Not Stuff Everything Into Your Closets

We know we’re supposed to declutter and depersonalize visible spaces before we sell our homes. But it’s a mistake to just stuff those extra kitchen doodads into drawers, cabinets, closets.

Buyers open drawers and cabinets and they peek into closets – even in the garage. If they’re stuffed to the brim, the message is that there’s not enough storage space in the home: a big turnoff.

By contrast, organized closets let buyers daydream that “if I lived here, my closets could be this neat and orderly too.”

5. Do Not Strip Away the Character

While sellers will want their home to appeal to as many buyers as possible, we shouldn’t destroy the home’s character in that attempt.

If you’ve got a Craftsman bungalow, play up that charm and don’t renovate it into a modern bachelor pad. If your place has a Spanish feel, then don’t decorate it like a Nantucket beach getaway. Play up your home’s charms and the right buyers will respond.

Questions sellers should ask before embarking on a major home remodel:

  1. How hot is the market? If the market is hot enough, it won’t matter that you haven’t updated your kitchen in 10 years. Buyers who are just desperate to get into an area (for prime location or schools, for instance) will overlook things like outdated appliances that would be an issue in a softer market.
  2. How does my home compare to other homes in the area? If most homes for sale in your area have pristine designer kitchens and baths, then yours will likely sell for less. If that’s an issue, you may want to upgrade. Sprucing it up with small upgrades can help you sell it faster without incurring the cost of an expensive remodel. On the other hand, if your home is already the most expensive on the block, you’ll be unlikely to recoup your investment.
  3. Who’s buying in my area? Is it singles who want the ease of move-in ready, or young families looking for a bargain to slowly update themselves? Or is it investors purchasing homes for teardown? Any updates you make to the property should reflect your potential buyers’ mindsets.
  4. How much is my time worth if I do commit to a substantial upgrade? It’s not just about how much money a renovation will cost, but also how much of your time it will take up. Time is money, and you should factor it into your decision, too.

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