What Not to Fix When Selling

By: Sylvia Smith

What Not to Fix When Selling



It is true that homes that are in pristine condition tend to sell quicker and for a higher price but we are in a sellers’ market.  The inventory of houses for sale is at an all-time low and there are many buyers still looking to buy a home. 

Investing in improving your home’s condition does not always mean it will sell for more.  You may not end up recouping your costs, in other words, your costs may be higher than the added value.

Preparing a house to sell can be a time-consuming process and many sellers believe they need to fix and replace hundreds of things to list their home to sell.   Also keep in mind that factors that normally make a home a challenge to sell cannot be changed, such as location, square footage, low ceilings, lot size, an unappealing floor plan, or low ceilings.  These are the most common reason that a property does not sell.  Investing in some upgrades and cosmetic changes do not normally make a huge difference anyway. or at least not enough to get a return on your investment. 

So how on earth do you decide what not to fix or upgrade when preparing a house to sell?  Here are some tips and suggestions to determine what you should or shouldn’t repair or replace before listing your house to sell.

Ask an Experienced Local Realtor

Sylvia Smith Realtor, Realtor in Vaughan, Vaughan Realtor, Real Estate Agent in Vaughan

I often tell my sellers to not do anything to their homes before I see it.  That is because many sellers overspend on repairs and upgrades that will not impact the home’s value.  Plus it is difficult for home sellers to understand what the competing homes look like.  So consulting with an experienced local Realtor before spending money on repairs and upgrades is vital to determine the home’s value by comparing it to other homes that recently sold in the area.

The market value of your home is determined by how your house compares to homes currently up for sale and homes that have recently sold. The last thing you want to do is spend too much on upgrades and repairs that you will not recoup once you sell your house.  Remember that what is a critical upgrade in one neighbourhood may be a waste of money in another neighbourhood.

Here are some upgrades and repairs that are generally considered to be avoided at the time of selling your house. 

1. Making Partial Room Upgrades

Selling a house, should you do a partial upgrade, kitchens, bathrooms, Selling a house in Vaughan, Best Realtor in Vaughan

If your kitchen counter is outdated, it may make more sense to let it be – of course unless you can justify a complete kitchen remodel – which normally does not make sense from a return on investment perspective. 

A partial remodel rarely looks good and you normally end up not adding significant value to the house.  What is more concerning is that it may look like you are trying to cover up a flaw rather than just an update plus a brand new countertop will just make the old cupboards look even more outdated. 

2. Repainting with Trendy Colours

Preparing to sell a house, paint, paint colours for a home

If you decide to paint the house paint with light colours that make the house feel brighter and more spacious.  Avoid using trendy bright colours that tend to disappear out of style as quickly as they appear.  You want to appeal to a broad demographic and going with a neutral light colour is the way to go.  Ultimately the buyer may want to repaint in colours that they like anyways.

3. Old Appliances

Old appliances, selling a house, should you replace old appliances, new appliances

If your appliances are outdated and are not working well don’t blow away tons of money by replacing them with updated new appliances.  You can instead replace them with used newer appliances that are in good working order for a fraction of what new appliances would cost you.  You can search on online websites and marketplaces (such as Kijiji, Facebook) for the best deals and quite often people are getting rid of them because they are remodelling and the appliances are in perfect condition. 

4. Replacing Removable Items

Why would you replace what you can simply remove?  Such as outdated window treatments.  Why would you replace and incur additional expenses when the new owner will most likely replace anyway to complement their taste and home decor style anyways. 

5. Driveway or Walkway Cracks

Selling a house, repair driveway or walkways, preparing to sell a house

While I would recommend improving the curb appeal of a house to increase resale value, keep in mind that increase curb appeal does not include repairing superficial minor cracks in the driveway or walkways.

In Ontario driveway and walkway minor cracks are quite common due to the cold winter months and as a result, will not scare off buyers unless they are huge cracks.  

6. Over Renovating 

It is fine to do renovations that bring your house up to the neighbourhood standard but you will most likely not recoup your investment if you go overboard and now your house as a result is the nicest home on in the neighbour as the sale price will most likely be directly impacted by recent homes sold in your neighbourhood.  

Are you thinking of selling your home soon?  Reach out before you start to prepare your house to sell.