Should You Renovate Your Home Before Selling

One of the most persistent questions about selling your home is whether you should renovate it before you sell. Sure, you want to sell it for more than you paid. But the truth is, the “right” answer is complicated because certain renovations will never raise the value of your home enough for you to break even on the cost.

Here’s what you need to know when you’re asking, “Should I renovate my home before selling?”

What Do Home Buyers Want?

You’ll generally encounter two main types of buyers: people who want a move-in ready home and people who want to fix or flip the property.

The average price of a move-in ready house is $250,495. In contrast, the average price of a fixer-upper is $199,819 – a difference of $50,676. Buyers looking for a move-in ready house (who are buyers who like to see renovations) versus home flippers are looking for different things.

For home flippers, saving money is the main factor. Many who want to fix or flip the property simply like the house and the neighborhood – and some even think they’ll enjoy the work.

When you’re selling your home, you should make renovation plans based on which type of buyer you’re looking to attract. You need to make plans based on your:

  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Listing price intent

In other words, you may not want to launch a complete kitchen remodel if you plan to move in a month. Similarly, you shouldn’t expect to list your fixer-upper home for the same amount as the pristine, move-in ready home next door.

Things To Consider Before Renovating

You’ll want to consider two things before you decide whether you want to renovate your home:

1. Which improvements will increase your home’s value? The most high-return home value additions you can make include adding a fresh coat of interior paint, touching up your landscaping, upgrading bathrooms, remodeling your kitchen and improving energy efficiency.

2. Which improvements will deliver the greatest return on your investment? You’ll also want to consider these improvements, which deliver the greatest return: improving energy efficiency, fixing up the exterior, budget-friendly kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, paint, flooring fixes and adding space.

Consider Using A Listing Agent

A listing agent can help you pinpoint which areas in your home will deliver the biggest renovation bang for your buck. For example, a real estate agent may be able to tell you how much you can sell your home for if you redo the kitchen and put a few scenarios in front of you.

They’ll consider costs beyond the neighborhood, too, such as the property’s age, condition, features, lot size and more. A listing agent also has a pulse on the conditions of the local and national markets and how that can affect your specific home as well.

We asked our agents, “Should sellers renovate their home before trying to sell it?” Here is what they had to say:

Brenda Tokarz says: “This is a great question and one I get asked by my seller clients a lot! The answer really depends on the condition of the home and the home sale prices in your area. In most cases, just painting, carpet cleaning and regular maintenance will be enough, because you wouldn’t want to update the home so much so that you can’t recoup your costs at the time of sale. I also suggest you speak with a stager prior to listing to maximize the space you currently have, even small spaces staged correctly will enhance those areas of your home that will bring you the best offering price. But if updating a bathroom or Kitchen will raise the value and sales price of the home, then yes defiantly renovate those areas that will do that for you!”

Jackie Kretzer says: “Maybe, that’s a great question for your Realtor. In general, my rule of thumb is that if you want top dollar for your need to give top presentation. No matter how completive this market has become this phrase still rings true in my practice. We all have a threshold for what we can pay for or perform and your Realtor can help you determine which features will bring the best return on your investments, some of them may be more affordable than you think!”

Ray DePlatchett says: “Any major structural issues should definitely be repaired, touching up any cosmetic issues should also be taken care of, however understand that what your preferences are may not be the same as a potential buyer. Any interior painting should be in neutral colors and the home definitely should be “decluttered” to give it a larger appearance. You’d also be surprised what a good cleaning will do as far as selling your home goes!”

The Bottom Line: Are Pre-Sale Home Renovations Worth It?

So, is it worth remodeling a home to sell?

Let’s review the factors that sellers should consider before renovating: What potential buyers want, which improvements are worth the cost and which deliver the greatest return on your renovation investment.

Additionally, the decision to renovate or not should be based on your timeline, market, budget and price intent. And while there’s no “right” or magic bullet answer, you should always be making preparations before you list.