Does it pay to upgrade a house or sell it and save the cost the cash out lay?

Asked by gabriel palotas, Pompano Beach, FL Mon Sep 27, 2010

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Team Real Es…, Agent, STATEN ISLAND, NY
Mon Sep 27, 2010
Well it all depends. The key is to determine the type of renovations one should concider.Some renovations will bring and justify the value and some will be a waste of time and/or money. Some buyers are looking for the perfect move in condition home and others are looking to do their own thing. I wrote a blog on this a short time ago.
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1 vote
Constantine…, , San Diego, CA
Sat Oct 2, 2010
Chances are, upgrades are worth it in sales price. $15,000 invested in my last property equaled $20,000 in sales price increase.
2 votes
Stephanie Cl…, , West Bellevue, Bellevue, WA
Wed Sep 29, 2010

I just found an article that I posted on my blog on this same subject. Here's the link to the article that addresses the top 10 home updates and what's best to do before listing:

Hope this helps!

Stephanie Clancy
The Cascade Team
Simply Outrageous Service! Not Outrageous Commissions!
2 votes
Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Tue May 1, 2012
It depends on what you mean by UPGRADE.

If you are talking paint, new floors, new interior doors for example that would be worth it if you have the funds.

A brand new kitchen and bath are great selling points, but are costly and time consuming.

If your home is very dated you may want to change a few things, but be very careful in doing costly upgrades.

The main thing is to have your home in good condition. Make sure the AC and furnace are working properyly. No cracked or broken windows. Repair a leaking roof. And of course make sure the lawn is cut, trimmed and green. Clean the interior and remove any clutter.

Last, price it right and you should be in good shape.

'Best of Luck to You.

Kawain Payne, Realtor

1 vote
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Tue Sep 28, 2010
As stated below, it depends. You want your home to be in better condition than the average for the neighborhood, yet at a price that makes it attractive. If the home is in a run-down part of town, the probability of spending money to improve will be much less than if you are in a better location.
1 vote
Cricket Yee, Agent, Sherman Oaks, CA
Mon Sep 27, 2010
Hi Gabriel, great question, and one of my favorite things to speculate on! Whether an improvement pays itself back or not varies from region to region (storm shutters would do nothing for us out here in Los Angeles). Realtor or Real Estate magazine publishes a study every year about just this topic. I gave my last one to a client, but I'm sure you'll be able to find it in the archives.
1 vote
Alex Khalili…, Agent, Woodland Hills, CA
Mon Mar 16, 2015
Paint, new floors or carpet, new interior doors for example that would be worth it if you have the money.

Please let me know if you have any other real estate-related questions!

Alex Khalilifard | Realtor - General Contractor
Listing and Selling Agent
Direct: 818.925.8088
0 votes
David Inderm…, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Mar 20, 2014
If the home is in good condition and just needs cosmetics upgrades like new kitchen and bathrooms, typically you will get more money back on the sale of the home. When you have new kitchens and bathrooms you tend to get more buyers interested as this is an emotional purchase.

I hope that helps.

0 votes
Maripat Klint, Agent, Granada Hills, CA
Thu Mar 20, 2014
The current market for homes in Northridge is very aggressive. Homes are selling quickly & inventory is limited. Right now is the perfect time to sell your home at top market price. You need to decide if you & your family want to live in the middle of a construction site for the next month or two, or would you be happy if you could sell the home for top dollar and in it's current condition -- and avoid all of the hassle and cost of upgrading. When you start upgrading, it is often difficult to know where to stop. I specialize in the Northridge/Granada Hills area, and I would be happy to take a look at your property -- if I can be of further assistance, please contact me.
Maripat Klint (818) 606-8046
Coldwell Banker Greater Valleys
0 votes
Adel Rafael, Agent, Chatsworth, CA
Wed Mar 19, 2014
It always pays to upgrade a house and keep it, renting out a house at a break even point and keeping it for retirement will produce much better return than any money cashed out and invested anywhere else
0 votes
Robert Krop, Agent, Frederick, MD
Wed Mar 19, 2014
It all depends on what you are looking to upgrade. Kitchens generally yield the highest returns, but that is something you should consult a local agent about in your area. They would be able to tell you if that is what buyers in that area are most interested in or not.
0 votes
Brad Korb, Agent, Burbank, CA
Sat Mar 1, 2014
Hi Gabriel ,

Most of the time it is better to "Stage " the property to get top dollar,the better the house looks ,the more a buyer will usually pay for it ,if however you are selling a house for land value ,it it would be a waste of money to do any fix up at all.Good Luck !
0 votes
I suppose it depends on what sort of improvements you are going to make. If you're going to be doing some repairs, then I would say that it's a good idea. If you start doing big renovations though, your price tag will increase as well. Be careful with what you decide to work on.
Flag Tue Mar 24, 2015
Bruin Fan, Home Seller, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Mar 1, 2014
Like most answers it depends if the upgrades will improve the value of the house by more than what you have spent.
0 votes
Ali Qureshi, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Sat Feb 8, 2014
It depends on the market and also the amount of work. If it is cosmetic work that won't cost you much you're better off getting the work done before listing the house to get a higher return. If it is costly you may rethink.
0 votes
Gail Mercedes…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Feb 8, 2014

You have to do an analysis of upgrade costs compared to recent sales of updated and or renovated homes in your neighborhood. Contact a local Realtor in your area have them give recent sales in your neighborhood within 0.50 miles. Request similar properties in original and updated condition. Compare update costs to similar comparable sales. You can determine what is more cost effective upgrading or selling in current condition.

Gail Mercedes Cole
0 votes
Stephanie Me…, Agent, Schenectady, NY
Thu Jan 2, 2014
I would ask for a comparable market analysis of properties that have been recently remodeled. Assuming your property has some outdated features, also get a comparable market analysis of properties that have sold recently in similar condition. Look at the numbers and see if improvements would be worthwhile. You will also be able to look at photos to see which upgrades and finishes are helping homes sell in your area. Whatever you do, don't go overboard with renovations. Fix obvious deferred maintenance and clean clean CLEAN every inch of your home. If you don't have extra funds for improvements, cleanliness goes a long way, along with minimizing any clutter.
0 votes
Dominic Mill…, Agent, Denver, CO
Sun Dec 22, 2013
Hi Gabriel, this is a great question. It can depend on the home, neighborhood, and/or city. If your home is dated, it is definitely always a good idea to put in some renovation expenditures to update it. Especially in the kitchen. A $5000-$8000 kitchen upgrade can sometimes yield double or triple that on the home value. You do, however, want to be very careful that if you decide to renovate, that you do not upgrade your home right out of the neighborhood market. If you are planning on upgrading and moving on to another home, be sure to have your broker/realtor help you with an assessment on your home so you know where your home stands in your current market! Good Luck!!
0 votes
kirksharon14, Home Buyer, Just Us, Atlanta, GA
Sun Dec 22, 2013
Sell your house as is and save on repair cost.
Get a no hassle, no obligation cash offer on your house.
We buy houses in any condition anytime.
0 votes
Brad Korb, Agent, Burbank, CA
Sat Dec 21, 2013
I say 99.99% it is better to stage a house than sell it as is,take a car for example .I f you drive 2 same cars to the car lot to sell & you sell one as- is & the other one you steam clean the inside & the engine & then spray new car smell in it & put armor-all on the tires,which one will sell for more & which one will sell quicker .same as for a house ,good luck !
0 votes
Jason Galardi, Agent, Beverly HIlls, CA
Wed Oct 2, 2013
I always say sell as-is. The bottom line is that you are probably not a professional contractor or have the contacts of people who can do it for cheaper than the competitors who do this everyday.

I deal with lots of investors and there is no way that you could redo your home for a cost effective price and maximize the dollars like investors do. Not to mention, do you have the time to supervise the project? Do you have the contacts at the city to get permits pulled faster? The list goes on and on.

Don't get caught up in the grand illusion that "flipping" a house is easy or you can make a lot more money. You are lacking time, experience and know how.

Sorry for the direct answer but that is how I work. I don't like to give my clients false expectations. Feel free to call me so we can schedule a time to talk about selling your home:

Jason P. Galardi
Multi Million Dollar Listing Agent
Keller Williams Beverly Hills
C 310-980-1256
BRE# 01322753
0 votes
robertcruz100, Both Buyer And Seller, Dallas, TX
Mon Sep 16, 2013
How fast do you want go get out? Broker "recommended" upgrades would cost $50k and 6 six weeks (kitchen counter tops to granite, new cabinets, wood floors and related trim accounted for most of that estimate). Offering price was dropped $20k from market estimate and with an additional 10k in selling concessions it sold in 12 days.
0 votes
Lacy Burke, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Dec 8, 2012
In this market homes sell quickly and are usually receiving multiple offers above asking price. Make the house look nice when selling it by staging the home. Staging usually generates an adittional 5% return. Upgrading can be expensive and doesnt always provide a profit!

Lacy Burke
0 votes
Lu, Home Buyer, California, San Bernardino, CA
Fri Aug 17, 2012
It depends on what type of buyers you want to target, and the kind of community your property is in. Generally, I would spend just enough to make the house looks clean, fresh and well kept; make it close to a turnkey condition for quick sale, but not too fancy. I would limit the costs of upgrades to the point that the value of your home + the cost of improvement will not exceed the highest sold price of the comparable houses in the area. Because no matter how good a job you did on the improvement, buyers usually have different taste or preferences. You are not going to be able to capitalize 100% of your upgrades.
Good luck.
0 votes
carlos parra…, Other Pro, Monrovia, CA
Fri Aug 17, 2012
As someone who has renovated many homes, I would say the answer is usually yes.
First, you need to make sure your home is not already the most expensive in the neighborhood. If it is, then I would say don't do it as it may be difficult to attract a buyer of that level.
Second, make sure you have the money, time and know how(or have hired the right people) It takes time to renovate/upgrade a house. Cutting corners will hurt you more than help you.
Third, What are you upgrading? Bathrooms and Kitchen yes, but perhaps a hot tub, pool or game room might not be the right thing to do.
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Wed Aug 15, 2012
In my opinion you should Upgrade your property for several reasons:

1. you will be able to set a higher asking price
2. you will sell for more
3. you will attract more qualified buyers

This market has many first time buyers looking for homes in nice condition. What is available does not meet the demand (in my area. ) Be sure the upgrades are good quality upgrades that the consumer is looking for:
Top in demand with my (Los Angeles Area) buyers are:
Hardwood floors or good quality tile floors (travertine etc)
Granite or similar counter on all counter tops (kitchen and bathrooms)
Stainless Appliances
A/C is a God send in Los Angeles if you can do it.
0 votes
Kieran Jacks…, Agent, West Hollywood, CA
Tue Jun 5, 2012
Hello Gabriel,

I think the answer to this question will be different in almost every different scenario. But as for a catch all answer... Improvements that add technology and modernness to the property, such as tank-ess water heaters and cutting edge solar panels that the homeowner does not have to maintain out of their own pocket, would increase the value of the property. Gold flaking the outlet covers, would probably not.

Stick with solid improvements that MOST people would see the value in!

All the best,
Kieran Jackson, CA DRE # 01903647
Keller Williams Hollywood Hills
213.632.8484 Direct

Short Sale Specialist (SFR)
Web Reference:
0 votes
Shannon Chang, Agent, Arcadia, CA
Sun May 6, 2012
In order to answer your question you need to do a little homework. First you need to answer the question: "How much is your house worth in its current condition?" Second, you need to answer the question: "How much is your house worth if it were in an upgraded condition?" Third, you need to answer the question: "How much will it cost to get your house in an upgraded condition?" Fourth, you need to answer the question: "How long will it take to upgrade your home?" Now depending on the base value of your home your answer may vary, but generally if you can double your money that you put in to upgrade, then I would say it is worth it. There are considerations however. You don't want to upgrade your house to be the most expensive on the block.
0 votes
Nancy Celis, Agent, Covina, CA
Thu Apr 5, 2012
A home that is in great shape both in and out, and that offers the any upgrades buyers are looking for is always a plus.

Upgrades depend on how much you plan to spend and most importantly what your return rate will be on those upgrades. What is the current value of the home? will adding upgrades increase the value? is it worth the cost and return rate? These are questions you will have to decide on prior to doing some renovations.

On the other hand, if the home is already in great condition and offers some extra features, you may not need to spend on major upgrades. Usually minor cosmetic repairs will do, ie., painting the home, repairing minor details, staging the home, removing excess furniture and personal belongings, keep the home fresh and clean, bright, remove animal scent (if applicable). Remember you also have buyers that wish to buy a home as is -- come in and make their own upgrades and renovations, at a great price purchase price. Best of luck
0 votes
Adel Rafael, Agent, Chatsworth, CA
Wed Apr 4, 2012
Do not sell. Keep it rent it out.
The rental market is heating up, I can not keep my inventory for more than 2 weeks.
If anything buy more and get as many mortgagees as you can. money is cheap, prices are low, rent is high.
All signs that tell you keep it

Adel Rafael - President
RPM West San Fernando Valley
Cal Broker Lic # 00910636
20945 Devonshire Street Unit 205
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Office (818) 727-0100
Fax (888) 710-1823
0 votes
Heather Paul, Agent, Santa Monica, CA
Mon Oct 11, 2010
If you can afford doing some upgrades, it will usually pay off big in return to you when you sell. The best upgrades to do that bring the most value to your property are:
1. Kitchens and Bathrooms
Kitchens and Bathrooms pay off huge when upgraded in general. If there is dated flooring or counters, replace them, shop around you can usually get some good deals and it regularly will bring you almost 3-5 times what the cost of the simple upgrades cost.

Have a great day,
Heather Paul
Coldwell Banker
0 votes
Frank Dolski, Agent, Lahaska, PA
Tue Sep 28, 2010
It certainly depends on the situation. If a seller is trying to get "top dollar" and sell their home quicker, then careful consireation must be taken of what "like Properties" have to offer. Obviously painting, staging, de-cluttering and landscaping are all a given. I always make recommendations through a buyer's eyes as well as use professional stagers to provide a quote for staging. A home may need granite or appliance upgrades and if it is expected and the competition has it, then I would recommend the same unless the price was reduced to make up for the difference. But buyers are not always looking for a perfect deal so sellers need to discuss upgrading, painting, etc. with their respective agents. I have always found that at a minumum, painting, de-cluttering and staging is required!

Frank Dolski MBA, ABR, e-PRO
Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors- Lahaska, PA
Web Reference:
0 votes
Lori Hobin, Agent, Jupiter, FL
Mon Sep 27, 2010
That's an excellent question. I would have to ask if when you say "sell" are you talking about selling and buying up? If that's the case I would suggest you talk to a Realtor about what upgrades you want to make on your home. For example, some bring a higher cash return then others...granite counter tops in our area pay for themselves in resale. If you are going to sell your home and buy a larger one you may not got the $$ for your current home but you will save a higher percentage on the more expensive home.
0 votes
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