How to Know What Not to Fix When Selling a Home UK

Selling a Home UK

If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’re likely getting a lot of advice right now. From the helpful tips you get from family members and friends who have recently sold a property to the virtual information overload you typically get with just a quick search about selling your house online, you may not know where to turn right now, especially when it comes to what changes to make to your home before you sell. Almost every blog suggests some kinds of changes, but which ones actually need to be made and which ones are simply advice you can ignore? How do you know what not to fix when selling a home UK buyers will actually want? This guide was designed for those who want to do as little as possible before actually selling. Here, we’ll cover what not to repair as you prep your home for the market.

  • Appliance Replacement: Many home buyers are attracted to the idea of brand new appliances like a clothes washer, a fridge/freezer combo, and a tumble dryer in the home. It can actually boost the numbers on the surveyor’s report, too. The reality, though, is that replacing these may cost far more than the boost you get on the report. Some home buyers are even looking forward to bringing their appliances with them, too. Even if your appliances are on their last legs, you can replace them with something like a second-hand model as long as it’s in safe working condition.
  • Home Staging: Thousands of pounds are spent in the UK each year on home staging companies and furniture, but this move may not actually sell your home. There’s a pretty tight line between just the right amount of home staging and something that’s too aggressive. While you certainly want to make your home look appealing to buyers, you can typically do that with a solid cleaning and decluttering. You may even want to get rid of a bit of furniture that makes things look too crowded. Moving out all of your old furniture and replacing it with rental furniture just to add something to the space, though, is certain to end up costing you far more than it’s worth. Ne furniture may change the dynamic of your home, making it look false and fake. Just a few touch-ups are more likely to make your house look clean, fresh, and live-able, something every potential buyer wants.
  • Major Changes: Repairing a quick scratch on the floor is one thing. Reflooring the kitchen, however, is another. You’re going to make far more on your home if you don’t have to pay for the cost of major projects like this. If you’re thinking of making a big change like a new floor, know that it’s going to look a little out of place if you leave the decades-old countertops in place. They won’t look as new as the floor, and the buyer will easily be able to tell that something just isn’t working as well as it should.
  • Small-Scale Electrical Issues: If you know that your home has major electrical issues, those should be addressed before you place the property on the market. They will come up in the survey, and you may lose a possible buyer over them. If, however, you have small electrical issues like a faulty light switch or a broken doorbell, you may not want to put that call into the electrician. It can cost you quite a bit, and the problem won’t be an issue on the surveyor’s inspection. It’s best to let the new homeowner deal with the problem instead.
  • Windows: If you have serious issues with your windows that will show up on your EPC and you’ll have to fix before you sell anyway, you should certainly address those. If, though, you’re thinking about something like triple glazing or installing replacement windows before selling, you’d be better off simply lowering the sales price a bit than going to all of that trouble. Not only will you have to live with the frustration of having a big project done in your house as you try to prepare to sell, but you’re also not likely to recoup enough of the costs for it to matter.

What You Should Fix

Now that you know what you shouldn’t fix, is there anything that you should address before you sell? Absolutely. You’ll want to fix anything that a survey might turn up as problematic. If, for example, you know your home’s plumbing system is older than everyone on your block, you may need to have that addressed. You may immediately find a buyer as soon as you put your home on the market, but if the home survey finds massive problems like these, your buyer may walk away. Worse still, you’ll have to end up fixing the problems anyway, and the longer it takes, the longer your house sits on the market, which is a serious issue if you’re trying to make a fairly quick move.

In addition to serious issues like those, you’ll want to make your home look as attractive as possible. Focus on your home’s kerb appeal to help buyers feel like it’s a space they want to be in the moment they drive up. Clean the outside of your home, mow the front garden, and you may even want to paint the front door. Be sure the home itself has had a fairly recent deep cleaning, too. Nothing turns a potential buyer off quite as quickly as dirty floors, scuffed baseboards, and lingering cooking odours. You may even want to spend some money to have your home deep cleaned before you actually list it so you can have all of those potential problems addressed. A quick coat of paint on everything could be useful, too, as it will help give your home a lighter, cleaner look.

A Few Things to Note Before You Decide to Sell

Even if you don’t have to fix any of the above, you absolutely want to be sure selling your home right now is the perfect idea for you. Remember that selling your home will net you some money (especially if you don’t have to make the repairs above, but the reality is that it costs money to make the money back from your home. You’ll need to pay for the cost of an estate agent; various valuations, surveys, and inspections; and a conveyancing solicitor. You may also be charged a penalty for paying off your mortgage early. Add that to the fact that if you’re not currently in a seller’s market, it may be tough to move your property, and you could have a frustratingly bad financial decision on your hands. To evaluate whether it’s time to sell, look carefully at the costs of selling your home, consider how much your house is worth, and take a hard look at the property market to decide whether this is the best time to sell.

The Bottom Line

Unless you have a room or an element of your home that is deeply unattractive or in complete disrepair, you may want to reconsider spending any serious money on having it replaced or even repaired. Your goal in selling the house is to walk away with a solid profit having spent as little as possible to get that profit. Given that you’ll be spending quite a bit anyway on the sales process itself, spending less when it comes to repairs and remodels at the earliest stages of the game is a solid win. You want to spend just enough to bring the entire house up to a consistent standard. Make sure every room in your house looks fairly good, then put it on the market. Understand that if your home needs serious repairs, you may have to lower your overall selling price during negotiations to give buyers enough money in their own budgets to make those changes. Work with your estate agent to decide what must actually be done before you market your home. Estate agents are absolute experts on what changes should be made to attract buyers in your area, so spend some time listening to their advice so you know what repairs are actually needed.

If the list of repairs seems to be too much, know that there are ways to sell a home that requires serious repairs before the sale. Whether you choose to sell it in as-is condition to a cash buyer or you work with another kind of cash sale like an auction, with a bit of digging, you can still find a way to sell your home even if it has major problems that you simply don’t have the cash to fix right now.

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