Armchair Builder

Should I Update My Home Before Selling?

Home Updates

Photo by Kevin Saff

I was watching an episode of House Hunters on HGTV last night.  You know…the show where a home buyer looks at three properties and chooses one of them. (I’ve been known to watch the entire marathons they run on the weekends.  It really helps to better understand home buyers.)  So, in last night’s episode the couple looking for a new home stated several times how they wanted a home that was ready to go…with no work required.  Not only did they not have the money to make improvements after closing, but they just didn’t want the hassle.  After watching hundreds of these shows, I’ve come to realize that most people don’t enjoy tearing homes apart and rebuilding them.  This leads us to the question, Should I update my home before selling?

The short answer is yes.  Here we list the reasons why buyers choose the updated home every time.

  • Buyers don’t have the cash to make improvements after buying the home.  Many buyers stretch themselves to get into a home they love.  In doing so, they really don’t have the cash to make a lot of improvements after closing.  If it’s in the mortgage…they can pay over time.
  • Purchasers don’t have the time to tackle a whole lot of improvements after closing.
  • We hate the unknown.  Unless you remodel homes for a living, you really aren’t sure what the costs are.  So, looking at purchasing a home that needs a bunch of work can be intimidating…even if the price is right.   What if that bathroom remodel costs more than ten thousand dollars and we can’t finish it?  Or…what if we run into bigger problems once we start?
  • We want it now.  It’s easy to say…someday, we will remodel that bathroom.  Or…someday, we will finish the basement for the kids. The truth is, if given a choice, most Americans want it done now…and don’t want the hassle or expense.
  • Pride. We like to show off our new homes…even if they are old (or just new to us).  It can be hard to take pride in a home with shag carpet and foil wallpaper.  Don’t get me wrong…we shouldn’t be ashamed of these things, but the truth is…we are.
  • Buyers will associate the lack of updating with lack of maintenance. You will hear them say, What else has been neglected in this home that I can’t see?

If you are considering selling your home, definitely look at updating as much as you can.  You can update your home in an affordable way…just update it.  On the flip side, if you are looking at homes to buy, there are some screaming deals out there for those willing to take on some renovations after closing.  And if you take on the role of the general contractor/owner-builder, you can save significant money and get what you want.  Here are some resources for updating…Kitchen Remodel, Tile Floor Installation, Kitchen Backsplash.  For some ideas on getting a great deal on your next property, check out our post titled Take Advantage of The Real Estate Market and Take Advantage of The Real Estate Market, Part II. We would love to help you with your next project…let us know how!


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