Home Sellers – Don’t Confuse Remodeling and Repairs

*By Joe Cooke, RISMedia Columnist


According to Remodeling Online’s annual Cost v. Value report, the average remodeling project costs more than the value it adds, at least in the eyes of the buyer. So, for the most part, when you are getting ready to sell your home, it doesn’t pay to consider remodeling projects, no matter how tempting that may seem. However, don’t confuse remodeling with repairs.

Karin Simpson of Windermere Real Estate North in Seattle, Washington recalls a house that needed some drastic updating, but even more importantly, it suffered from deferred maintenance, specifically, a leaking roof.

“There was no way we could sell it as is,” Simpson said. “Remodeling usually doesn’t pay off, but basic repairs and cosmetic improvements can help the home sell quicker. Think about things like fresh paint, new carpet, even re-facing cabinets. Especially on older homes.”

Fixing a leaky roof, replacing worn linoleum and even carpet can help a home sell faster and prevents buyers from creating costly renovation projects in their heads. Repairs and maintenance don’t necessarily increase the sales price, but they can maximize the bottom line by preventing buyers from de-valuing the home to compensate for the deferred maintenance.

With an older home, you might also consider offering to purchase a home warranty in favor of the buyer, but be sure that all the parties understand exactly what is covered and what is not.

You might also consider getting a pre-inspection. A pre-inspection is ordered by the seller before putting the home on the market. The seller then fixes the exceptions and can even leave a copy of the inspection and the invoices from the repairs for potential buyers to examine before making an offer. Know, however, that most buyers will order their own inspections as part of the purchasing process.

“If you’re going to get a pre-inspection, get a good one,” Simpson says. “Even so, you have to realize that the buyer’s inspection may have new issues on it.”

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