Should I Update My Home Before Selling?

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It’s the age-old question every home seller has to face: will renovating and making upgrades to my home help me sell it faster and get the best value out of the sale?

Here are a few things to consider:

Making Your Home More Attractive

It’s often a good idea to take on some tasks that can make your home look better to buyers. You’ve probably heard “curb appeal” is important because it gets people through the front door. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make the front of the home look nicer – even some extra flowers and a bit of tidying up can do the trick!

Indoors, consider making some changes that will give the home a more universally appealing look. You may be fond of the bright green in your bathroom, but many buyers prefer something more neutral. Fresh paint is an inexpensive way to make a world of difference.

Should I Update My Home Before Selling? Cabinet ImageFixing Major and Minor Problems

Some people are attracted to fixer-upper homes, but they’re also probably looking for fixer-upper prices. If you’re looking to get top dollar for your home, it might be worth making those nagging repairs. This could be a series of little things like tightening the screws on the cabinets and re-caulking the tub, or it could be bigger fixes like replacing the cement steps up to the front door. If a buyer looks at your home and sees a lot of flaws, it makes it easier for them to talk themselves out of buying it. 

Fitting in with the Neighbours

Think about how your home compares with others in the neighbourhood. This is tricky because you want your home to stand out enough that it will sell quickly, but you don’t want it to stand out so much it seems out of place. For instance, everyone loves high-end landscaping, but if all of the homes in your neighbourhood have fairly average lawns, investing a lot of money in this area may not yield the biggest return based on the average home value in the neighbourhood. However, if all of the other homes in the community have a great patio out back and yours doesn’t, this could make your home seem less attractive. 

In short, if the renovations you’re thinking about will bring your home up to the standards set by other homes around you, the renovations could be a good investment. However, if they make your home seem too upscale for the neighbourhood, you should probably avoid the expense.

Don’t Spend Too Much

Doing renovations means getting a quicker sale at a higher price than what you originally paid. But you also don’t really want to sink a huge amount of money into changes in your current home when you’re planning to move. 

The exception to this might be if you aren’t planning to sell your home for another few years. If that’s the case, you could spend the money to renovate the kitchen and still be able to enjoy it yourself while you continue to live in the home. 

Should I Update My Home Before Selling?  Couple with Agent ImageTalk to a Realtor

Each home is different, and without seeing your home it’s hard to say whether or not you should renovate before you think about selling. That’s where a good real estate agent comes in. He or she will know what other homes in your neighbourhood look like, and will know what buyers are looking for in a home. They can easily point out the areas in your home that could use some improvement and let you know how those improvements can affect the price of your home. With that knowledge, you can make decisions on your own.

Renovating your home before selling makes sense if it helps you get a fast sale for the best price. However, be careful not to get carried away and over-invest. Carefully pick the changes that will have the biggest impact. If you need some more suggestions, check out our guide to 10 Areas to Spend Your Upgrade Dollars for more helpful info. 


Photo credits: colour swatches, cabinet, couple with agent
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