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What to Fix When Selling A House – Where to Spend Your Time and Energy

what to fix when selling a house

Doing updates and repairs to a property can bring a properties value up. However doing certain things can not pay off as expected. Meaning the cost of the repair/remodel can outweigh the amount of money the seller would be getting in return. Therefore many people are left with the question of what to fix and what not to fix when selling their home.

Or maybe a property just has so many things to fix/update it can be overwhelming to decide where to spend your time and energy.

In this situation its difficult to give general advice because each property is unique and every owners situation is unique. In this post I will do my best to explain what to fix when selling a house.

What to Fix When Selling a House

Recently I had a seller asking me what repairs on his property should be a priority. In some properties the answer is obvious. Say a home that is really old and needs a ton of work. Its a simple answer to not fix anything.

However in this case the property was originally an older home and he had been fixing it for years.

There were some unfinished work and repairs and he wanted to know which should be a priority.

Here is my general advice:

What to Fix

  • Fix/Finish unfinished interior projects
  • Drywall repairs (Buyers always freak out when they see the slightest drywall damage because they think it could be a leak).
  • Leaks
  • Safety issues (This is important to have a property be financeable)
  • Water heater
  • Any exterior rotting

If all of these are taken care of and you still would like to put money into improving your property. Here is the priority list from most to least important I suggest for doing upgrades. Painting (interior then exterior), interior appliances, flooring, fixtures, countertops, showers, cabinets, doors, windows.

What to Not Fix

  • Don’t add on any yard fence or landscaping.
  • Upgrading of cosmetic items.

The reason why I don’t recommend upgrading cosmetic items is because sometimes the cost in Hawaii can outweigh the benefit. Because materials and labor here are so expensive it may not be worth it. Especially if you are having to hire out everything. Plus with the market being very good right now and limited with inventory buyers are buying outdated homes.

The most important thing is to make sure that the property is financeable. It needs to be in live able condition.


Why its so important to fix safety issues:

You may be wondering why I stress fixing safety issues. The main reason is because most buyers today have to obtain a loan. Loan companies will not lend on a property that is considered “unsafe”. Therefore to get the most amount of buyers interested in your property it needs to be financeable.

If there are major safety issues the best type of buyer for a property would be a cash offer. That way the sale is not depending on the approval of a mortgage lender.

Basically the home needs to be live able and safe.


My Final thoughts on what to fix when selling house

Bottom line I explain to my sellers to not stress too much about a properties condition. Especially if they do not have the funds. Right now the real estate market is good and homes are selling regardless of the condition. If a seller does have money to sink in to do some repairs then thats great. If not its not the end of the world.

If a home does have neglected repairs just be prepared for the buyers to ask for a credit at closing to handle those repairs.

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