What Should and Shouldn't You Fix When Selling a House?

By Home Bay

Posted on June 23rd, 2022

Almost everybody who has lived in a home for a few years knows there are a few things that need repair, maintenance or at least a little touching up. Maybe the carpet in your kid’s room has a stain or you have a few chipped bathroom tiles.

But if you’re about to list, does it make sense to spend a bunch of money on fixes to get your home into “sellable” shape? This post will help you decide.

If there are issues that are obvious to the naked eye and are easy and affordable to fix on your own, we recommend fixing them prior to listing and showing your home. This includes things like putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls and replacing old or rusted water fixtures. As for the rest of the issues?

Let Your Buyers Decide:

Your buyers will have a home inspection done prior to the sale. During that inspection, they’ll have the opportunity to notate what, if any, items they want to be repaired before they finalize their offer.

The list of repairs will then come back to you and you’ll have to decide whether to invest in the repairs or whether to negotiate the price down so buyers can manage the repairs themselves. So how do you decide which is the right option?

If you’re dealing with an easy repair that doesn’t require an outside hire:

Sometimes fixes are little things, like replacing a bathtub stopper, putting up a new outlet cover or replacing a door jam. If the repair is something you can do quickly and affordably, we recommend handling it yourself.

If you’re dealing with a larger repair that requires style choices:

Offering a credit for larger repairs like flooring installation can often be a better alternative for both parties. Buyers won’t be worried that the you’re going to do the bare minimum to meet the obligations of the inspection, they’ll have the freedom to choose their own laborers and they’ll be able to pick out the type of flooring they want.

Also, waiting on larger repairs can really slow down the sale process, offering a credit is a good option to keep things moving along.

If there’s a known issue that doesn’t need to be fixed… yet:

Honesty is always the best policy, and if you’d want someone else to tell you about an issue, then you should disclose it to your potential buyers (even if it doesn’t come up in the inspection).

A good example is if you know your roof has about a year left on it before it needs to be refinished. Share that information! Once known, it will establish trust with your buyers and will help them manage their future repair budgets.

The bottom line is, everything is negotiable when it comes to selling a house, so as a seller, you don’t have to fix anything. But there certainly are pros and cons to different ways of handling repairs, so use the guidelines outlined above to decide what to fix pre-sale, how to handle mid-sale fixes and what to disclose to your prospective buyers.

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Posted in Home Improvement, Preparing to Sell Your Home