Lynnette Boudet

Articles and Advice

Sellers: Discount or Fix Up?

Whether you're buying or selling a home, the sales price is always at the top of the agenda. For sellers, the final sales price affects bottom-line profit and future plans. For buyers, it impacts future expenses for bills, home repairs, and renovations. Before selling your home, it's essential to consider repairs and upgrades that impact your profit and decide whether making them is your best option.

Many homeowners are faced with the dilemma of selling their home in "as is condition" or sinking money into needed repairs and upgrades. To answer that question, you need to evaluate necessary repairs, examine your financial situation, and research local real estate markets to determine the return on your investment.

Evaluate Necessary Repairs

All homes need repairs, but some are more urgent than others. If you live in an old home that hasn't had a lot of upgrades, you may have more costly repairs. Start by walking through the house and making a list of repairs and upgrades that may impact your sale. Any repairs to the foundation, roof, plumbing, and HVAC systems (heating and air conditioning) should be at the top of your list because they bring the highest return on your investment.

Other repairs and upgrades that add value include:

  • A fresh coat of paint
  • New flooring (carpets, wood, tile)
  • New sinks and bathtubs
  • New appliances
  • Updated light fixtures
  • New gutters
  • Installing sprinkler systems
  • Installing alarm systems

Examine Your Finances

Selling your home means moving to a new location. Whether you're buying your dream home across town, relocating out-of-state, or downsizing in retirement, you must consider moving expenses, as well as other move-in costs such as monthly bills, home repairs and upgrades, property improvements, property taxes, and mortgage payments, unless you pay cash. If you discount the sale of your home to allow the buyer to make necessary repairs, how does that impact your future finances?

Some buyers look for fixer-uppers, but generally that means minor repairs like new carpeting, new paint, and new light fixtures. Major repairs like a new roof, new windows, new plumbing, and a new electrical system are too costly. When major repairs are necessary, a buyer will usually offer a significantly lower price, ask the seller to pay for repairs, or walk away from the sale. Most buyers want a home that's in move-in condition, but you have to make sure necessary repairs won't impact your financial situation.

Research the Local Real Estate Market

Researching homes for sale in your area can help with decisions on making repairs. In most cases, fixer-uppers reflect a lower sales price than homes with numerous upgrades and renovations. You can view homes online or talk to your real estate agent about important repairs and upgrades that boost sales and provide the best return on investment.

Smart sellers weigh the cost of making improvements against the home's market value after improvements are completed. If you notice that most higher-priced homes for sale have upgraded kitchens, that's probably because the return on investment is high. This doesn't mean you have to tear out the cabinets and install top-of-the-line designer appliances. In some cases, painting old cabinets, installing new hardware, and hanging new light fixtures are enough to give your kitchen an updated look.

When you're selling a home "as is," this means you will not make any repairs or offer the buyer any discount to cover the cost of repairs. Based on your real estate needs and your timeline to move, your real estate agent can help you decide whether an "as is" sale or a discounted price is your best option.

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