What Not to Fix Before Selling Your Home

5 Improvements NOT to Make

You’ve made the decision to sell your home and now your mind is quickly filling with a lengthy “To Do” list, but before panic begins to set in take heart and repeat a new mantra, “Soap and paint are my friends.” While the home should be neat, clean and in good repair, major improvements are not necessary and cost more than usually can be recouped in the selling price. So, give the house a thorough cleaning, a fresh painting and perhaps recarpet areas that have worn footpaths through them. Rest assured that money spent on soap, paint and carpet will reappear in the selling price of the home. And remember, if buyers can’t see the money you spent, you won’t recoup it…even if you tell them about it. Resist the temptation to undertake major renovations or replacements – particularly these five costly projects.

Mistakes to Avoid

Refusing to Make Profit Producing Repairs

It always costs you more money to sell 'as is' than to make repairs that will increase the value of your home. Even minor improvements will often yield as much as three to five times the repair cost at the time of sale. Your agent will be able to point out what repairs will significantly increase the value of your home. Seemingly small fix up jobs can have quite an impact.


Buyers may oooh and ahhh over a large walk-in closet that could double for a well organized bedroom, they won’t pay you extra for it. Adding, expanding or customizing closets can cost thousands of dollars and while they look impressive, the return on investment isn’t. Save your money.

Room Additions

Unless your home is a two-bedroom/one bath in a neighborhood of four-bedroom/two bath homes, don’t waste your time, sanity or money on adding rooms.


A pool may seem like a good way to attract buyers but many folks just don’t want the maintenance that comes with it. A buyer who doesn’t want the upkeep of a pool won’t purchase a house that has one. Pools and their surrounding deck areas are expensive and this cost is rarely returned in the selling price of the house. However, someone who adores the house would be willing to put in a pool later. Let them shoulder that expense.

New Roof

Putting on a new roof isn’t a good idea for a couple of reasons. A seller is only required to have a roof that doesn’t leak. Leaky roofs are easily and inexpensively patched. The money saved by patching the roof makes repair a better choice. Also, replacing the roof involves making a subjective choice about the color, shingle style and durability of the roof. If the buyer doesn’t care for the new roof, the cost of it could be money wasted.

Major Renovations to Kitchen or Bathroom

Remember the mantra? Soap and paint are my friends. These renovations are costly and require decisions as to style, colors, brands and price. In lieu of remodeling the kitchen or bathroom, experts suggest reducing the asking price to reflect the outdated kitchen and bathrooms and allow the purchaser to take care of these projects.

Spend a Little, Get a Lot

Check out these tips that will spruce up your home and keep costs down.

  • If your stove has drip trays, replace them. They are inexpensive, easy to install and improve the look of the appliance.
  • Clean all windowsills regularly. A dirty windowsill will negate any benefits of a sparkling window.
  • To create a feeling of space when showing the house, leave all interior doors open.
  • Hard water deposits on sinks and tubs can be removed with the same type of fine pumice stone used to remove mineral deposits from the side of swimming pools.
  • To remove old paint from ornate turnings, dip twine into paint remover, hold by both ends and pull back and forth between crevices.
  • To banish odors from a room, remove the source of the smell, then use room deodorizer, potpourri, carpet freshener, deodorized cat litter or cedar chips to freshen the area.