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Should I Renovate Before Selling

 I own a home that is is in  good condition, but has not been modernized.  Is it a good idea to make renovations to update the kitchen and two baths before selling or should I just sell as is for a quick sale
  • February 21 2011 - Wharton-Hawthorne-Bella Vista
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Answers (20)

Since it seems everyone has their own personal ideas of style and design, I feel best to not spend your money renovating, instead price your home accordingly. As long as you know there are no known defects you should be either repairing/ replacing as they would need to be disclosed to purchasers.. Cosmetic touches such as painting and freshening do well and make sure it is clean, clean, clean! 


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  • April 23 2011
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It's difficult to answer this question without seeing your property. Kitchen and bathroom updates are always a good idea. I would suggest minor updates instead of a total redo.  Paint in a neutral color is always a great start.  I also encourage my clients to clean clean clean,de-clutter the counters, put a bowl of fresh fruit on an island or table. Hang new towels in the bathroom, replace old grout.  Stand at the entry of each room and look at it as though you were a buyer. Does it look bright and open?

  • March 30 2011
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The key to updating your home prior to selling is to be very selective as to what you do. Modernizing your paint colors and replacing carpet in key areas can be big contributors to selling your house quickly while not breaking the bank in the process.

Greg & Nancy Colley
Remax Alliance, Colorado
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  • March 12 2011
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Depends on your situation. Some repairs will have beter return then others. Kitchen and baths are probably the best returns if you can do them at a good value to you and dont add your own personal taste as much as possible. When buyers are viewing home the biggest $$$ signs they see are in upgrades needed to kitchens and baths. I also feel that exterior upgrades go a long way. IE Roof with transferable warranty, insullated siding in rear, windows...
  • March 10 2011
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As long as you understand that you're likely not to recover much, if any, of the expense to renovate.

The alternative is to price the property such, that it reflects the renovation it is missing. 
  • February 28 2011
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Renovate.

Homes' with older finishes are the one's lingering in this market.  Buyer's want a "plug 'n play" purchase, and if they want a "fixer upper", they want it at the cheapest price possible. 

You're either going to get horribly "dinged" on the sale price, or you'll get "dinged" now by having to expend the money to renovate.
  • February 27 2011
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Always focus on the 'little' things first.  Cleanliness, odors, etc.  If walls need to be repainted, or if the carpet is in terrible shape, it might be a good idea to address those things.  Don't worry about expensive landscaping, just make sure the grass is cut and you don't have overgrown flower beds, etc. When you start taking on big projects, don't expect to get an equal return for the money you put into them.  You can usually expect to only get about 1/2 of your money back, but it might be worth it to you if it causes your house to sell faster. 
  • February 26 2011
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Have a home stager come and do an assessment. It would cost less than $200, and you'd get expert advice on what needs to be updated, and what can be addressed by restyling. Inexpensive updates like changing light fixtures or hardware may do the trick, but if more extensive changes are warranted, a good professional stager can give you advice on what updates will give you the most bang for your buck, and they often have connections with suppliers and installers that can help keep costs down.  
  • February 25 2011
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Selling without renovations is an option.  Just be sure that you de-clutter, clean thoroughly and remove collections and personal items.  Another tip, always allow the buyers and their agent to view your home without your presense.  Many buyers are nervous about sellers being in the same room while they are looking.  They don't feel that they can look at or talk about your home while you are there.  Some buyers have even told me that they feel they are intruding when a seller is present at a showing.

I wish you the best of luck!
Patty Miller

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  • February 24 2011
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As a Contractor, what I usually tell home owners that are thinking of doing home improvements before selling. Find a local realtor that you trust to walk through every part of the house and make suggestions on   what improvements need to be done if any.
I agree it depends on the condition and location of the property. Some home improvements may not be what the future buyer wants. However we have done some renovations, especially to the exterior to enhance the curb appeal that has attracted more buyers and helped the realtor close it quickly.  One example was project we worked on that sold last year 41 Owenoke Way Riverside,CT 06878
  • February 23 2011
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Profile picture for Solid Rock Realtors
Before you decide to renovate you should speak to a Realtor that is versed in your specific area.  Sometimes you don't get the bang for your buck during a renovation and you may be out more money as a whole with the renovation.  Here are a few things you could do to your home that are free or are very inexpensive, that could have a great impact on the appeal of your home.
1. Declutter: Clean your home and box up "ALL" personal belongings. Any pics of the family and get rid of the Beanie Babies collection thats in the spare bedroom. 
2. New Curb appeal, Get some flowers, a layer of fresh mulch and edge your sidewalk, Check your front porch for any woodrot or any need for paint.  Give it a new look and paint your front door.
3. Paint inside.  Paint is one of the cheapest renovations that have the best return on the investment.  Yeah most people hate painting and you may pick a color that a buyer may not like so here is a tip.  Paint NEUTRAL colors.  Go to Lowes or Home Depot and look at some of the painting books. 

Good luck and I hope your home sells quickly.
  • February 23 2011
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I agree it depends on the condition and location of the property. Some home improvements may not be what the future buyer wants. However we have done some renovations, especially to the exterior to enhance the curb appeal that has attracted more buyers and helped the realtor close it quickly.  One example was project we worked on that sold last year 41 Owenoke Way Riverside,CT 06878
  • February 23 2011
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Here is an interesting recent article on the subject:

The Worst Home Improvements For The Money
  • February 23 2011
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Get a realtor to do a market analysis of your home in its present condition...then get an estimate of the cost of remodeling from a licensed professional contractor...then get the realtor to give you a market analysis of what the improvements would do to the sales price...if the costs to renovate justify an increase in sales price that is geater than the cost to renovate or remodel...do it...otherwise list it as is...everyone's taste is different.
  • February 23 2011
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It is always a good idea to try and make your property look the best it can prior to listing it for sale. However, you may not want to pay for the improvements (not knowing for certain if it will help sell the home), and you also may not be certain the home will sell for enough to recover the additional costs of the improvements. Buyers may indeed wish to improve the property differently than you would actually improve it.

Therefore, consider working with a Realtor who will advertise your property properly; making buyers aware that they can improve your property to suit their own tastes, and that they may either finance the cost of improvements at the time they purchase the property (using an FHA 203k loan for example), or you will pay for certain improvements at a higher price which includes the costs you will pay.

The appraised value of the property on an "as completed" basis will have to be equal to or above the total cost basis (price plus improvement costs) in either case.

Remember, though, some buyers cannot imagine what the property might look like after improvements are completed. It's a tough call either way.

My personal preference would be to try and sell it allowing the buyer to improve it as they wish. If it isn't bringing reasonable offers, you will probably be getting feedback as to what the buyers' concerns are about the property, and then you can decide if you want to address those concerns and list it at a higher price after improving it.

A good Realtor will be able to advertise the increased listing to highlight the improvements. And the Realtor can contact the former prospective buyers who had concerns to inform them that they have been addressed and ask if they would like to see the property again.

Good luck!
  • February 23 2011
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It depends if the marginal cost exceeds the marginal benefit. If renovating will increase your return on investment and will help the home sell quicker then yes. If it doesnt then no. Hope that helps!!
  • February 23 2011
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Profile picture for paul fontaine
It all depends on what your home looks like.  I live in bella vista area which it seems you also do and most competing home for sale tend to be updated, but it just depends on the price you want to sell it for.  Usually the best, low cost things to do to sell a home is repaint, clean and get rid of/or pack up a lot of personal items.
If you'd like someone to view your property and give you a better idea of value or recommendations, please let me know as I am a Realtor with Prudential Fox & Roach. [Link removed by Zillow Moderator] Paul Fontaine
Hope that helps.
  • February 22 2011
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I suggest you talk to a local realtor and see what's selling. Ask the realtor what the current selling price would be and what it would be with the renovations.

Some buyers are looking for that house that is in "move-in" condition and it "pops" as soon as you walk in. Then there are buyers that have a specific idea what they want in a kitchen and bathrooms and really want your neighborhood.

You have suggested two of the major factors that sell a house ... the kitchen and bathroom ... both are key selling points. While I'm sure you will do a fine job remodeling, your taste will not fit every buyers taste. So talk with a local realtor (one that has several signs up in the area) and see what their opinion is.

Good Luck!
  • February 21 2011
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I don't think anyone can tell you for sure if it's a good idea.  A property that is thoroughly modernized is certainly going to be more attractive to the buyer... but that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to make you more profit.


This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.
  • February 21 2011
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Are the bathrooms dated or despicable? Just dated? Clean , neat, uncluttered will  usually give a better profit margin then expecting someone to pay for renovations that may not be according to their expectations.
  • February 21 2011
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