Should I Make Home Upgrades Before Selling?

home upgrades

If you’re trying to sell your home, all its problems are probably magnified in your eyes. Will buyers really be interested in a house with as many minor issues as yours?

You may think that it’s necessary to make major improvements to compensate for them.

I’m here to tell you not to.

And yes, it is true that the fascination home buyers have with fixer-uppers is far less common these days than it once was. Today, buyers are increasingly looking for a home in move-in condition.

So what should you do if you’re trying to sell a home that’s not in move in condition?

Let’s talk about it.

Why Sellers Invest in Home Upgrades

When sellers first plan to sell their homes, they take a few things into consideration:

  • Whether the market is hot or cold
  • How fast they’re trying to sell
  • Whether existing problems will affect first impressions
  • The condition of comparable homes on the market
  • Whether or not there are any deal breakers

If the conclusion they reach on any of these is particularly bad, they might just try to find a quick fix in the form of home upgrades and repairs.

And a lot of the time, this method does work to help you sell your home successfully. You probably have already noticed how often real estate agents mention a newly remodeled kitchen in their advertisements.

But sometimes, the headache (and cost) of the remodel simply isn’t worth it. That’s why you need to know exactly what you stand to gain from making costly home upgrades before you decide on anything.

Consider Your Options

If you’re worried about the state your home is in but you’re not quite sure the extent of the damage, you should hire a professional home inspector.

Remember that whenever you make repairs on your home, they may cost more than the recoup value. And because you won’t be there to enjoy the repairs and improvements you make, you’re really just spending money on another family’s enjoyment.

Also, what if your remodel… is bad? You could spend months making costly changes to your whole home just to find out that what you added is exactly what turns buyers off.

Your best bet is to think it all out carefully and weigh the pros and cons – then, only fix what’s totally necessary.

What You Absolutely Must Fix

At the very minimum, you want to repair anything obvious.

Eyesores like cracked windowpanes, broken tiles, and holes in the wall should be fixed immediately. You need to correct any high-priority issues like moisture leakage or rickety stairs as soon as possible – preferably before you even list your property.

But the areas you should really focus on are your kitchens and bathrooms.

home upgrades

Kitchens and bathrooms are the areas in any home where you can immediately tell if money has been well spent or not. They’re both the most expensive areas of the home to construct and where people spend a good deal of their time.

But don’t over-think the remodel of these spaces.

Instead, think traditional: standard commercial appliances, natural wood or stone floors, wood cabinets, and stone countertops. Install a walk-in shower instead of a huge whirlpool tub.

However, those new kitchens and baths won’t be as glamorous if there’s water in the basement or a broken staircase. Your priority should be to keep your existing structure sound.

Alternatives to Remodeling

If your house isn’t in top shape, you surely want to transform it from a fixer-upper to a showstopper. But that’s not really necessary.

Most buyers have a limit on what they want to spend on a house. If they know they won’t have to spend money after the purchase on upkeep for basic systems, they’re more likely to buy the house and handle the upgrades themselves.

So whenever you spend money to improve the home before you sell it, think about what will make it as livable as possible.

For instance, you shouldn’t spend a ton of cash remodeling your bathroom if you only have one bathroom. That money would be far better spent on adding a second bath.

Also, your property value will increase dramatically when potential buyers see that higher number of bathrooms: every 1,000 square feet added to a home boosts the sale price by more than 30 percent, according to a study from the National Association of Realtors.

Instead of spending your money on improvements for your home’s next owners to enjoy, try to show the home as it is in its best possible light.

Think About Curb Appeal and Staging

If potential buyers drive by your home and are not impressed, they’ll probably forget all about it.

That’s what makes curb appeal so important if your house is a fixer-upper. You want your house to stick out and convey a sense of welcome.

home upgrades

If you focus completely on the inside but not at all on the outside when you remodel, you’ll never have a chance to bring potential buyers inside.

Add a fresh coat of paint to your walls, your trim, and maybe even your front door. Try some basic landscaping changes, and replace your existing siding to make your exterior look good as new.

You should also think about staging, both inside and out.


Because staging can improve your sale price by an average of six percent and increase the speed of your sale by up to 50 percent.

Always be ready for potential buyers to stop by and want to take a look inside. Arrange the house so that you take advantage of all the available space and present it as a desirable home. Help the buyers see themselves living there comfortably, despite any noticeable flaws.

In the front and back yards, lay down fresh sod and grass seed. Install a birdfeeder to create a point of visual interest. Purchase inexpensive bistro furniture to create an outdoor-living environment.

And remember – you can take whatever interesting props you buy to your next home!

Don’t Overdo It

The takeaway message from this post is simple enough: only make repairs that are absolutely necessary. If you go overboard making your house perfect for the buyer, you won’t have much to show for it after the house sells.

So when you do add home upgrades, only choose those that will immediately improve the value.

And remember, a real estate agent’s advice can go a long way toward figuring out which repairs will get you the most return on your investment. If you have any questions on home upgrades or real estate in general in the Austin, Ft. Hood, or Killeen area, contact me today.