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  1. Blog
  2. What not to fix when selling your house
House selling tips
27 September 2021

What not to fix when selling your house

Sam Edwards
A woman using a roller to paint the wall of her home.

Table of contents

  1. 1. Before you consider any home improvements make sure you…
  2. 2. What shouldn’t you fix when you sell your house?
  3. 3. There’s nothing wrong with a deep clean and declutter…

If you’re thinking of selling your house, it’s in your interest to make it serviceable to future owners. Most buyers want a home they can move into with as little work needed as possible. Without fixing some bits, you can seriously limit the number of potential buyers.

On the other hand, there are some things that simply aren’t worth fixing - and fixing them could leave you out of pocket with not much return on your investment.

Before you consider any home improvements make sure you…

1. Assess the costs of selling

Selling your home can be lucrative, but it can be expensive too. Make sure you’ve got a good idea of the costs of selling before you decide to make any home improvements. They might cost more than you expect, especially when paired with other fees you pay at the end of a sale (conveyancers, estate agents and mortgage repayments).

2. Check the state of the property market

In seller’s markets, properties sell quickly, even if they need a couple of improvements. That said, a poorly maintained and damaged home will underperform in any type of market.

3. Evaluate similar properties

After evaluating your home, your estate agent will provide you with a report containing both their valuation, and an analysis of recently sold properties (that are similar to yours) in the local area. Using this information, you can easily see where your property stands in the local market, and whether it’s worth making any changes.

If you’re looking for a quick idea of your property’s worth, try our free House Valuation Tool. With just a few details about your home, we provide an estimate of its value completely free of charge.

What shouldn’t you fix when you sell your house?

Without further ado, here are the main things you should avoid fixing if you’re considering selling your house.

1. Don’t spend too much on replacing old appliances

Unless it’s on its last legs, you should try to avoid replacing old appliances. However, some appliances, like boilers, will need replacements to boost the outcome of the surveyor’s report. You don’t have to spend loads to replace these items - second hand appliances are perfectly legal, provided they’re in good working condition. Plus, many people decide to bring their white goods with them, so don’t worry too much about appliances like fridges.

Remember: Never shirk out on safety appliances. Make sure your smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and other safety devices are in full working condition.

2. Don’t go over the top with decorating

There’s usually a fine line between too much and too little, but a good example of ‘too much’ is aggressive home staging. Home staging is the practice of framing your home’s interior to look more appealing to potential buyers. While for most people, this simply means decluttering and cleaning, some homesellers take it a step further by moving old furniture into storage and renting out new furniture to better present their home.

We strongly advise against this. New colours and furniture can completely change the dynamic of your home, while looking both false and unsettling. A simple touch up of paint can work wonders. Bring out the best in your home by revitalising existing colour schemes.

While a completely new paint job might not be ideal for the interior, painting your door a different colour is a good way to add value to your home. It’s the first thing people will see when they view your home after all. Neutral colours, such as greys and navy blues are always a good choice.

3. Avoid last minute big home improvements

Cracks and scratches can be easily fixed, but some issues require big projects which could cost you time and money. Properties are expected to have some wear and tear, and replacing countertops and flooring can be expensive. You could be better off lowering the price of your home rather than spending ages fixing all the details.

This extends to partial upgrades. You might be thinking of getting a new sink or mantelpiece, but they will look out of place if the rest of the room isn’t as new. You’re not doing enough to add value, but you’re doing enough to point out the flaws in the rest of the room. It’s better to give the furnishing a new lick of paint or tidy it away in storage.

4. Fixing small electrical issues

It goes without saying that big electrical problems can be dangerous and should be addressed right away. But if your problem consists of a faulty light switch, you might be better off leaving it be. Every property on the market comes with its issues, and some issues, like faulty switches or broken doorbells, pass easily on a surveyor’s inspection.

5. Fixing small things if your property is badly maintained

If the home you’re selling is in extremely poor condition, this isn’t something that can be fixed for cheap. In such a scenario, your best course of action should be to lower the price of your home enough to attract multiple offers from different contractors.

There’s nothing wrong with a deep clean and declutter…

If you’re thinking of selling your home, remember - there’s nothing wrong with the basics. It’s surprising how much a deep clean and declutter can boost your property’s success during house viewings.

For more information on the things you can do to add value to your home, check out our guide article, ‘How can I make my home more valuable?

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