How to Handle Repairs on a House You’re About to Sell

If you’re interested in selling your house, it might be important to repair the home before you start marketing it. However, it’s not always clear what repairs are worth the time, money, and effort – and which ones should be avoided.

How can you tell which repairs are most important? And is it always worth making repairs in the first place?

Your Options

First, you should know that you have several options. If you want to sell the house quickly for the highest possible price, and avoid any issues with closing the deal, it’s important to repair as much as possible within the home.

However, you may also attempt to sell the home without making major repairs, or only dealing with minor forms of damage and deterioration. Some buyers on the market will be more than willing to buy the home and deal with the issues after the acquisition.

Of course, you can also sell your home as is to a cash buyer. You might not fetch the highest possible sale price, but you’ll be able to sell your property immediately without having to deal with repairs at all – no matter what condition the home is in – which might be better.

Setting Priorities With Repairs

Before delving into the topic of repairs, it’s important to understand and set your own personal priorities. Committing repairs to a home is, in some ways, a balancing act; you’ll need to adjust your approach carefully to achieve everything you want.


·         House price and time on market. How important is it to you that you sell the home for the highest possible price? Or that you sell the home quickly? Generally speaking, the more you want from this category, the more repairs you’ll need to commit.

·         Complications with the deal. Some repair issues can cause complications with the deal going through. Prospective homebuyers may discover a big problem with the house and pressure you to fix it or lower the price as compensation for the problem. Even if the buyer’s okay with the situation, their lender may prevent the deal from going through – especially if the building doesn’t appraise.

·         Money spent. You’ll also need to think about how much money you’re willing to spend. You can spend $15,000 fixing up the property, but if it only raises the purchase price by $10,000, you’re going to lose money on the deal.

·         Time, effort, and headaches. Money aside, planning and executing repairs can cost you a lot of time, effort, and stress. Even if you’re hiring a contractor, rather than doing the work yourself, it can be an intensive operation.

Getting Professional Advice

If you’re not sure which repairs are most important to issue or if you’re still undecided on your personal priorities, consider getting some professional advice. If you’re working with a real estate agent, they’ll likely tour your house and point out some of the most important fixes to make. They can also help you estimate the cost of such repairs and calculate how it may affect your eventual purchase price.

The Highest Priority Repairs

The most important repairs to make tend to fall into one of two categories. There are repairs that impact the safety of the home, rendering it borderline inhabitable, and repairs that are so quick and easy to fix, you might as well make them.

For example:

·         Bad wiring. Electricity can be a major hazard. If your wiring is faulty or connected improperly, it’s going to cause complications.

·         Bad plumbing. The same is true of plumbing; water damage can be majorly problematic.

·         Grading and drainage issues. It’s hard to fix grading and drainage issues, so they can be a showstopper for prospective buyers.

·         Old or leaking roof issues. Leaking or non-functional roofs are often a dealbreaker.

·         Foundation damage. Damaged foundations can often be repaired, but buyers won’t be interested in a home where the repairs aren’t already made.

·         Cosmetic issues. Small cosmetic issues like peeling paint, cracked pavement, and damaged tiles can be replaced without much time or money – but they can make your house look much better.

Other Important Tips

These tips can help you manage your repairs efficiently as well:

·         Consider the market. In a hot buyer’s market, buyers will be willing to overlook more than usual.

·         Estimate conservatively. Always assume it’s going to cost more than you initially think.

·         Do some of the work yourself. Paint touchups and minor repairs are easy even for amateurs.

·         Hire people you trust. When working with contractors, only hire people you trust to do great work for a fair price.

Repairing your home for sale can be a headache, but it doesn’t have to be. Set your priorities in advance, stick to a budget, and if you just want to avoid dealing with repairs altogether, consider selling your home as-is. 

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