Should You Renovate Before Selling Your Home?

Should You Renovate Before Selling Your Home?

  • Jacqueline Marks
  • 12/14/22
Sellers are always on the lookout for a leg up when it comes to preparing their property for the selling process. Home renovations, staging, and wellness amenities are today’s trends, but just how much time and money should you put into renovating your home before you list it? What do buyers really want? And what will yield you the greatest return on your home renovation investment?

The statistics show that buyers are increasingly more interested in turnkey properties, meaning up-to-date, well-maintained homes that are stylish, comfortable, and sparkling clean. Buyers are typically much less interested in battling with old, draft windows, outdated kitchens, and as-is messes. However, given a choice between beauty and function, most buyers shy away from properties lacking a strong foundation. Even if the kitchen gleams with designer amenities, that alone will not entice a buyer if the furnace is ancient and the roof leaks. As you work with your real estate agent, you will soon discover that the question is not simply whether you should renovate before selling but also what kind of renovations you should do. Whether you’re selling your home on the downtown Miami or Palm Beach real estate scene, here is what you need to know.

Schedule a pre-listing inspection

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Before you grab that hammer or call up the local contractor for demolition day, consider scheduling a pre-listing home inspection. A reputable home inspector will examine the property and compile a report of every last inch, from outdated wiring and faulty outlets to water heater issues and leaky pipes. This will give you an idea of what really needs attention. Bonus: although most buyers will still schedule their own inspection upon acceptance of their bid, offering a pre-listing inspection straight out of the gate can boost trust and a good faith feeling, which sets an ideal foundation on which to strike a lucrative deal.

Once you have your pre-listing inspection report, you can work with your real estate agent to determine the best course of action to tackle any concerns. If your home requires basic repairs, like a new air conditioning unit or roof, focus there first. If the foundation is already in order, now may be the time to invest in a cosmetic renovation.

Renovations that increase home value

When considering a home renovation, getting your return on the investment is the name of the game – so which home improvements actually pay off? A few areas consistently and successfully recoup renovation costs, but often the answer depends on your particular property. Bathrooms and kitchens do tend to add value to the home, as these are the rooms where people spend most of their time. These are the areas that buyers tend to hone in on when touring a property.

There are times when an additional bathroom is key – and when it is not. For example, if your property has four bedrooms and only one bathroom, and the rest of the homes on your street have multiple bathrooms, you would do well to add a second bathroom rather than update the kitchen. However, if your neighborhood’s homes all contain two bathrooms and two bedrooms, you may not benefit from adding a third. Speak with your agent about your area’s specific market to learn more about which features buyers are looking for in their house hunts.

Perhaps the most common question home sellers have regarding renovations is should I remodel my kitchen before selling? Again, this depends on your neighborhood and the other factors of your property, but generally, yes! Minor kitchen remodeling does indeed pay off. Minor, in this context, clocks in at around the $15,000 range. Regarding kitchens, renovated homes for sale can recoup anywhere from 67% of costs in a smaller market to well over 100% in the industry’s hottest markets, like Miami.

In this post-pandemic age of remote working and Zoom calls, home offices have become as important to buyers and homeowners as a swanky kitchen. While the home office was a relatively uncommon feature just a decade ago, today, home workspaces are a necessity rather than a luxury. Even if you do not do a full office renovation before listing your property, you may want to ensure that at least one extra room contains plenty of outlets for computer chargers. It might also be a good idea to take the extra step to stage the room as an office so that buyers can visualize their ideal workspace.

What not to fix when selling a house

Interestingly, bedrooms are low on the list of investments yielding lucrative returns. Depending on the home values and trends in your community, adding an extra bedroom to increase your profits may backfire. Putting on this kind of addition could add up to more time and money than you bargained for. After all, every city has different permit requirements and costs associated with obtaining said permits. Add to that the increase in building costs, and you may find yourself spending much more than you can recoup.


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If you and your agent decide a home renovation is unnecessary for your home, there are still plenty of ways you can brighten up the property and get it in shape to sell without the power tools. Staging is the process of arranging your home in a way that highlights its most attractive features. This process involves deep cleaning, decluttering, and defining each room for maximum comfort and style, as well as landscaping the yard and paying close attention to curb appeal. Staging also includes making small repairs, like fixing loose door knobs or adding a fresh coat of paint.

Staging is critical to your home-selling success because it creates an aspirational atmosphere and a neutral canvas, both of which are crucial to your buyer's ability to visualize their family’s new life in the house. A properly staged property evokes the feel of a five-star hotel and gives the buyer a chance to see their family’s future, which makes them want to pick up the pen and sign that offer letter.

Are you interested in selling Miami Beach properties or looking into Palm Beach luxury homes for sale? Contact Jacqueline Marks today to begin your real estate journey.

*Header photo courtesy of Pexels

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Jacqueline believes that the most important aspect of any relationship is trust and, as such, works tirelessly to ensure that her clients feel that she is trustworthy and always places their needs first.

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