Repairs to Make Before Selling Your House

We all know that fixing and updating your home before selling always pays off, but many people concentrate on the wrong things and end up losing a lot of money on unnecessary repairs and upgrades. Many sellers make the repairs they would like to see in a house, but more often than not these are not the things buyers want or expect. Even though there are no repairs and upgrades that are guaranteed to make a 100% return of what you have invested, there are repairs you should make before selling your home that can have an enormous impact on the value of your property.

Sometimes it takes a lot of time and a financial investment to reap the rewards while other times all it takes is a little bit of work to see the results you want. Whichever path you end up going down, let’s have a look at some of the most important repairs you should make before selling your home.

Repairs You Should Make Before Selling Your Home

Invest in the Kitchen

Nearly all of the buyers I meet want a large and well-equipped kitchen for food preparation and entertaining, even if they do not actually do either of these activities. Unfortunately, old kitchens rarely satisfy new buyers (i.e. too small, closed off, not enough light, etc.), so you might want to consider introducing some upgrades. You do not have to do a complete remodel unless your kitchen is really very outdated.

However, you can always make some minor changes and updates that will make your kitchen more appealing. Some of these include repainting, upgrading the lighting, replace/redo the cabinets, and definitely replace the countertops if they date from the 70s or are outdated materials. When it comes to countertops, many buyers love granite and marble, but it can be a bit of an investment, so ensure it is a worthwhile investment before starting down this path.

Additionally, buyers expect every appliance and gadget to be in working condition, so if your oven or your dishwasher is out of order (or just super old) replacing them might be the best option. Shiny and new appliances make an excellent impression. Moreover, they are upgrades that many buyers and investors expect, especially in higher end properties.

Do All Necessary Bathroom Repairs

If you want your home to sell fast then you have to have a functional, working, and clean bathroom. Do not let small problems such as an ugly toilet and leaky faucets cost you a sale. You can improve the situation just by replacing the toilet seat and tightening up some loose screws.

Also, cleaning or replacing the grout is always a great idea, especially if you replace all broken and missing tiles while you are doing the work. Any bathroom improvements will typically bring a decent return on investment so keep that in mind. That is why it really is crucial for you to take care of all bathroom issues before you get ready to put your house up for sale.

Fix the Wiring

Every experienced buyer will check out wiring in your house.  If they do not, you can bet the inspector will during the home inspection. Electrical problems are quite dangerous and can set you back thousands of dollars, so make sure to take care of them as quickly as possible.

If you are lucky, you might only need to do cheap touch-ups, but if you need to rewire your whole house, you might be in for problems. This venture can cost you thousands! Fortunately, only rarely is total rewiring necessary. Even homes with outdated wiring from the 60s and 70s do not always need to be completely replaced.

Most likely, you will need to replace a couple of wire nuts, damaged junction boxes, switches and outlets, or fix some frayed wiring. These types of repairs can all be DIY’ed or hired out without costing you a mint.


Water can do quick damage to a home, especially if it is not resolved in a timely manner. From leaky pipes, to sump pump failures, to water heater problems, there are a number of things that can go wrong. Many simple plumbing issues you should be able to resolve yourself, even if you are not a DIYer. For anything beyond your skill level, you need to bring in a pro to take care of it.

Other issues like poor drainage, low water pressure, and even running toilets can cause concern for some buyers. When left unresolved, water problems can cause structural damage, wood rot, and even mold can become an issue if moisture is not eliminated. While these fixes will not increase your home’s value, you will remove a barrier to getting your home sold.

Inspect the Roof

If your roof needs some type of maintenance, it needs to be fixed, even though it may cost you more than you want to pay. In the end it is an investment that will pay off because very few consumers want to buy a home that has roof issues. Many will move on if the property has unresolved roofing problems.

A faulty gutter can cause all sorts of water damage and wood rot that can be dangerous for the home. The sun can do a lot of damage to your shingles and storms can cause tears in the roofing. If you leave all of these unfixed, you might even end up needing a new roof which will seriously set you back.

Even if your house has all of these problems, it does not necessarily mean your home needs a new roof. Most of the time you only need to replace damaged shingles, repair gutters, or take other minor actions to remedy the issue.  When in doubt, hire a professional to check for damages and perform repairs.

Check for Foundation Damage

Things like faulty drainage can cause issues that can lead to foundation damage. Most likely your foundation damage is minor, caused by natural settling of your home, but sometimes you might experience larger damage that can seriously affect your home’s foundation and make selling a very expensive proposition or a mission impossible.

If you are not sure you have foundation issues, check if you have slanted floors, doors and windows that will not close. Cracks in the façade or exterior foundation are also indicators you may have some type of foundation problem.

If your home has these types of issues, you will want to seriously consider your repair options. Basic foundation repairs such as crack ringing are not very expensive, but can still cost you some time and a good bit of frustration. More serious damage can cost you thousands of dollars, but will still be necessary to repair unless you can find someone to buy the home as-is.

Repairs to Make Before Selling Your House

Provide Proper Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning

There is no way you will manage to sell your house in the winter if your heating does not work perfectly. That is especially true for areas where the temperature gets below freezing.

A working HVAC system is actually integral no matter the season. You might want to check out the efficiency of your system and deal with any issues as soon as you find them. If repairs are indeed necessary, you should rely on a qualified technician to make the fixes.

Just be ready to pay for all expenses, such as a flat rate for the service call, and some additional fees for repairs and parts. In the end, it will be money well spent. You would not want to buy a home with these types of concerns and you can bet others will not either.

Beautify Your Home’s Exterior

The exterior is the first thing buyers will see, so you want it to look good. Dirty paint, damaged tiles and a cracked driveway all affect how buyers perceive your home. Probably the easiest way to beautify you façade is to give it a thorough pressure washing. It’s fast, easy and cheap, but it makes a big difference.

Another quick fix is to plant some flowers to add color. It also makes sense to trim trees/bushes, remove weeds from flower beds, and make sure your lawn is neatly mowed.

While none of these things will do much to increase the value of your home, they can have a big impact on its curb appeal. If consumers like what they see when they pull up to the curb (or view online), you have passed the first test. If you cannot get them to stop or enter the property you stand very little chance of selling them your home!

Repaint the Property

If your home’s façade is dirty and faded, a good option is to invest some money in new paint. A fresh coat of color to your exterior will leave a great first impression and buyers will definitely remember your property. A facade looks best if repainted by professionals, but if funds are tight, you can definitely tackle this job yourself. Rent mobile aluminum scaffolding, grab the paint, and get to work.

Make sure to choose a paint color that compliments your home and fits the neighboring homes if you want to appeal to the largest number of buyers. You can also give your fence a new coat of paint while you are at it to add a nice finishing touch to your property.

Do Some Yard Work

Signs such as clogged gutters, down spouts that direct water to the house, water stains and spongy soil all point to yard issues that you need to address. Most of these issues can be fixed in a day, but if they are caused by a poorly sloped yard, you might want to consider regrading it.

Even though this major project might cost you some money, It could make the difference for buyers, especially those with young kids. Improper drainage and grading can cause more serious issues with your foundation or roof, so deal with it while it is small.

Final Repairing Your Home Thoughts

As the points above spell out, most buyers want to buy houses that are well equipped, up to date with electrical wiring and an HVAC system, that have no visible maintenance issues and are completely ready for the move-in. If your home is as issue free as you can make it, and is priced according to the current market conditions, you should expect to see plenty of consumer activity and perhaps a quick offer too.

Additional Seller Resources

3 Keys To Getting Your Home Sold from Kevin Vitali (Realtytimes)

Tips To Sell Your First Home via Kyle Hiscock (LinkedIn Pulse)

Top Seller Resources on Pinterest

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About Anita Clark Realtor

Anita Clark has written 617 posts on this blog.

Anita is a residential Real Estate Agent in Warner Robins Georgia, with Coldwell Banker Access Realty (478) 953-8595, aiding buyers and sellers with all their real estate questions on her Warner Robins blog.