Before you sell – should you renovate?

The rule of thumb is to fix before you sell, but do not renovate with the view to making more money on your property, says Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group.

It is important to remember that prospective buyers may not want to pay more for extras. Most buyers are looking for the basics in a home, presented in an attractive and well-maintained condition.

Improvements which do pay

Undertake all general repairs and fix broken fittings, and finishes so that buyers do not overlook the property, or look for a price discount.

Give the property a fresh coat of paint and keep it neutral. While bright colours are trendy, they are not to everyone’s taste, and it is always best to keep it neutral. Buyers will not want to repaint.

Complete all building works. If there is anything undone around the house, ensure it is completed and signed off by the local council where applicable.

Good security including burglar bars and security gates as well as an alarm system is a good selling point. Linking it to a local armed response service may also add value.

Solar panels are now increasingly sought-after, but ensure that you do not overcapitalise. Do not install them simply with the view to getting a higher price. Check with your local agent.

Tidy the home and pack away all personal items and clutter. The home must be presented in a tidy condition with minimal décor so that buyers can envision themselves living in the home.

Improvements which do not always pay

A revamped kitchen and bathrooms will always be a good selling point, but keep it neutral and costs to a minimum. Remember, your price expectation need to fall within the prevailing price bands in the area.

Elaborate finishes such as overly fancy wardrobes and flooring, and expensive exotic gardens with elaborate irrigation systems also do not add value.

Extra rooms that buyers generally do not go for in the area. Most buyers look for three bedrooms, a fourth bedroom, third lounge or gymnasium may be superfluous for the area.

Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, cautions that not all upgrades are equal and, whilst many will deliver on returns, there are some remodels that can work against you and could even make your home less desirable, ( article published, Oct 2022, ‘Renovations that add value to your home and those that don’t’)

“Some renovations will actually cost you money in the long run. Just because you regard something as an improvement doesn’t mean that potential buyers will feel the same way – and you could significantly decrease the pool of potential buyers if you’re not careful.”

According to Geffen, these are some of the upgrades that will lower your home’s value:

  • Outbuilding your neighbour
  • Too much carpeting
  • Bright and old colours
  • Amalgamating bedrooms to create a bigger room
  • Removing closets
  • A hot tub
  • DIY projects

What to do if you are thinking of selling

Look at other properties in the area and make sure your home does not stand out because it is too big and elaborate, or poorly maintained.

Call in an experienced agent who has sold houses similar to yours in the area. The agent can provide you with a valuation and advice in terms of any maintenance to be undertaken.

Ensuring your property is in a good, sellable condition will greatly improve your chances of securing an offer and a sale.