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  • Writer's pictureMike Roberts

Should You Remodel Before Selling Your Home?

Home sales in many parts of the country are red hot. With houses selling so briskly, is it worth the money to remodel a kitchen or bath to make yours more appealing to sellers?

Houses are flying off the market

Across the United States, demand for homes is strong and the supply is small. The result is that most markets have barely a month’s supply of homes for sale instead of the more typical six months’ inventory. Homes are often selling in less than a week, with multiple offers and for thousands over the asking price.

In such a market, should you remodel to sell, or put your house on the market “as is”?

Think remodel from the buyer’s perspective

Buyers are keenly aware of how much of a seller’s market they are facing. They know that to win a bidding war for a house, they may have to pay above the asking price. If the market forces them to do that, they understandably don’t want to have to pay additional money for repairs or a big remodel. So a remodel may help you sell.

That said, you understandably will want to sell for enough to recover the remodel cost. If you invest too much in such work, you may end up either pricing your home out of reach or finding that you can’t recover your investment. It is difficult to recoup the full cost of large remodels, even in a hot market. Homes are selling over the asking price, but a big-ticket remodel shortly before selling likely will cut into what you’ll make on the sale. An additional factor to weigh is that your tastes in a kitchen or bath remodel may appeal to some buyers but not to others. This can narrow the field of potential buyers for your house.

There’s a case to be made for avoiding a remodel and instead making only minor cosmetic changes to dress your home up without over-investing. Let your eventual buyers do the big remodel to suit them.

Do the basics: cleaning and repairs

Whether you choose to remodel before listing your home or not, getting your home looking its best will help you sell it. Here are some ideas for getting your home in tip-top shape.

  • Have your home professionally cleaned, including carpet and tile cleaning.

  • Wash the windows to admit as much natural light as possible.

  • Declutter closets, the basement, the attic and the garage. Sell, donate and discard as much stuff as possible. Clutter makes a house look smaller than it actually is.

  • Do not ignore needed repairs by prioritizing a remodel. A sleek new kitchen will not mean as much to a buyer if there is a leaking roof or faulty heating and air system.

  • Apply fresh paint on interior walls for a crisp look and smell.

  • The front door creates the first impression of a house, so make it count. Look at your front door and garage door. Give them a fresh coat of stain or paint if they need them.

  • Clean up the landscape. Mow, edge and trim bushes and gangly tree limbs. Plant fresh flowers in the beds. Put colorful flowers in pots on the porch.

These steps will dress up a home for selling without the financial risk of a substantial pre-sale remodel.

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