Should I renovate my home before I sell it?

November 9, 2021 - By

Wouldn’t it be great if every real estate question came with a simple, one word answer?

The reality is, most questions about buying and selling homes have a two word answer: It depends.

Whether you should renovate your home before you sell it is no exception. It’s a common question with a not-so-simple answer. The good news is that we’re here to help break down the ins and outs of renovating before selling so you can confidently make the right decision for your situation. 

Where do I begin?

Let’s start by figuring out the goal of your potential renovations. It only makes sense to renovate before selling if you’re likely to add value to the home, making the property more competitive on the market and selling faster, getting higher offers, or both.   

So how do you know if a renovation will add value to your home to the point where it will bring you more money or more offers?

The first factor is your local real estate market. A seller’s market cuts down on demand for renovations, while a buyer’s market means you should do more to make your home stand out among its competitors.

The best way to gauge where your local market sits on the spectrum is to speak with your real estate agent, as they have the most up-to-date knowledge and they know the context of the market, where it’s been, and where it’s heading. 

Which projects add value?

Once you’ve identified your local market conditions, you can start choosing which renovation projects make the most sense for your particular house.

Remodeling magazine’s 2021 Cost vs. Value report  lists which projects have the greatest ROI, with garage door replacement, siding replacement, deck addition and window replacements placing in the top ten. However, just because new siding is high on this list doesn’t mean it makes sense for your house.

With any project you’re investing in before putting your home on the market, you need to take into account your home’s current condition, how it compares to surrounding homes and other properties on the market, and whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market.  

Related reading: These 3 major home elements have an impact on home value

Kitchens and bathrooms

It’s a common refrain in the real estate world that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Does that mean it makes sense to renovate those rooms? It depends. (Sorry.) If you’re trying to sell a home in a fairly competitive market and your bathroom, kitchen, or both are severely outdated or in poor condition, it makes sense to at least get a few quotes from contractors. 

If you don’t think a complete renovation is warranted, you can ask contractors or your real estate agent which minor improvements they would recommend for your specific problem areas.

Replacing laminate countertops with quartz could do the job at a fraction of the cost of a complete renovation. The same goes for trading an outdated kitchen sink for a popular farmhouse sink.

Try to DIY

Small but inexpensive tweaks can add value to your home, and if you do it yourself, you’re cutting out the cost of labor. Be strategic about DIY projects, only taking on what you can reasonably handle and finish within the necessary timeframe.

Consider refinishing rather than replacing where you can, and never underestimate the power of paint. For example, painting cheap-looking cabinets with an on-trend color can work wonders on a kitchen. The same goes for a fresh coat of paint on a dated bathroom vanity.  

Retiling with subway tile is much more doable and cheaper than hiring a contractor and using complicated tile patterns. Vinyl plank flooring is another improvement option that is accessible for the DIY crowd. This material can be installed on top of ceramic tile, saving you the cost and effort of a floor demolition. 

If you want to keep it simple but get the most bang for your buck, comparison shop for hardware and fixtures that will bring your kitchen and bathrooms into this century without setting you back financially. A simple upgrade in drawer pulls, light fixtures, and towel racks can make a real difference in your home’s all-important first impression.

Keep reading:

How to renovate your home on a small budget

6 updates you can make to your kitchen without renovating

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Category  Real Estate