Fix it or Not? What to Update before Listing

Fix it or Not? What to Update before Listing

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Are you considering listing your home on the real estate market and wondering what things you ‘may’ need to address first? Perhaps you are in an older home and question larger repairs, refinishing floors or bathroom/kitchen remodels, or maybe you are in a newer home thinking about minor repairs or updates. If you’ve owned a home and considered selling it, this has surely crossed your mind.

Let me address a few important items.

First, let’s have a conversation about your home. Every house is different. Every neighborhood. Every street. The bones of your home may be perfect but the interior may need a facelift. Or, the property may look flawless on the exterior, but a pesky inspection report may show some unwelcoming pests present. So, let’s take a look at YOUR home and see what might be necessary.

Here are some recommendations to help your home sell perhaps faster and maybe at a greater price.

  • How hot is your market? We know that the Charleston / Mount Pleasant real estate market is pretty much a seller’s market. This means that sellers can generally get away with fewer repairs or fixes and leave it to the buyer who has less inventory to choose from.
  • A darling home I sold quickly in Mt. Pleasant.

    A darling home I sold quickly in Mt. Pleasant.

  • Hit the basics. To sell quickly, I always tell my clients to do a few simple things – clean and de-clutter. It’s amazing how much a staged home can help sell a property. Buy some cheap Target or Home Goods bins and throw the clutter in them! Magazines, children’s toys and other random objects you’ve gathered over the years can be pushed under couches, stored in the attic or stacked neatly in a bookshelf. And, please clean your home… this means your bathrooms, kitchen, floors and countertops. Don’t forget your light fixtures and fans. People notice a dirty ceiling.
  • Cute storage containers I found at Target.

    Cute storage containers I found at Target.

  • Freshen up your floors, ceilings and walls. The big three that you cannot ignore. As I just said, make sure they are cleaned, but consider doing more like refinishing your hardwood, adding a simple coat of paint to your walls and ceilings or replacing extremely dirty or worn carpet.
  • Make basic fixes. You want your home to look like you really took good care of it while you lived in it, so please do simple repairs like fix leaky or broken faucets, doors that won’t shut (or door handles that need replacing), cracked tiles in your kitchen and bathroom and even consider replacing broken appliances. You want the potential buyer to feel they are walking into a well-loved home.
  • This sputnik is a showstopper! Paint your ceilings and add some light!

    This sputnik is a showstopper! Paint your ceilings and add some light!

  • Update without splurging. This isn’t always necessary. If you are in a well sought after neighborhood, you might be able to leave your 1960’s space alone and sell with no problems. However, if you are surrounded by newer homes – or homes where most have been updated – you may want to style your ‘old’ space a little without undergoing a complete gut and remodel. Here are some less costly suggestions – change your light fixtures, paint your cabinets, change out the cabinetry hardware, add some updated decorations (staging) and see how much better the space looks and feels. You are sort of masking the dated space with a fresh glow.
  • Small room updates and staging go a long way!

    Small room updates and staging go a long way!

  • Don’t forget your lawn. Because the curb appeal is so important, give your yard a nice mowing/cleaning and consider planting some fresh flowers. You want the first thing the buyer sees to be beauty.
Add a cute planter and fresh flowers.

Add a cute planter and fresh flowers.

If you don’t have the budget to take care of these items, you may want to be ready to lower your final price after an inspection. Know your bottom dollar and be ready to accommodate a buyer’s request for repairs that you didn’t make. Also, if it’s something small and probably not a deal breaker (like your gold 1980’s door knobs), then leave well enough alone. Let the buyer change them out.

This post was inspired by Houzz, my go-to location for ideas. I have a Houzz profile now so feel free to leave me a review while you’re there. 🙂

I love helping people successfully find and perfect their dream homes in Charleston. This is why I'm dedicated to home selling, buying, decorating, designing and remodeling.


  • June 20, 2014

    Love this! Great post!

  • June 22, 2014

    Great tips to keep in mind! The smallest things make such a difference. I bet it’s a seller’s market over there!!

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