How important is it to update your home before selling it?

Asked by Deirdre Lehner, Chandler, AZ Sat Jul 21, 2012

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Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Sat Jul 21, 2012
It really depends on how dated the home is, what your time and goals are and your available funds.
Clean, crisp and decluttered are always the first steps. Paint & carpet can be reasonably affordable and carry a great return. Kitchens & baths can be pricey, so it will come down to how functional they are, what you can accomplish and for how much. Don't over improve whatever you do or you won't get any kind of return.
Have a couple of agents come by and provide an opinion as is and with the updates you have in mind. You may also want to speak with a Staging professional for a third opinion.
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Maria Cipoll…, Agent, Coral Springs, FL
Wed Feb 20, 2013
Just by de-cluttered, cleaning, painting, adding more sources of lights and reducing your furniture to a minimum can give your house a fresh look and potential buyers can really envision themself living there.

Best of Luyck,

Maria Cipollone

Century 21 Tenace
1 vote
Chris & Mich…, Agent, Glendale, AZ
Sat Jul 21, 2012
Hi Deidre, it really boils down to economics. Of course a nicely updated home will sell much quicker but there is a definite balancing act. I agree with some of the answers already mentioned, start be decluttering the house. If need be put some larger pieces of furniture into storage. Rearrange the pieces that are left to best compliment the layout of the house. Apply some neutral paint to your favourite purple room :) put away all those small nic-nacks. I would not spend a huge amount of money right now in the Phoenix market as it really has become a sellers market. Good luck!
Chris & Michelle
1 vote
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Sat Jul 21, 2012
Historically, it would be a 50/50 proposition;
you can please half the people....

Lately, the preponderance of evidence would lean toward doing the work:
It seems a great many buyers are stretching it to just buy the darn place; they have no money left over to update it.
In order to combat this, the Lenders have come up with fix-up piggy-back loans and allow the borrower to get up to 125% of the appraised value.
Of the two, the trend is to look for homes with the work already done.
If you can afford it, do it, and do it neutral.
If you can't afford to do it right, don't do it at all.
1 vote
Karen Peyton, Agent, Chandler, AZ
Fri Aug 9, 2013
When it comes to selling your home "clean" goes a long, long, way! First start by de-cluttering your home and garage. Ditto with landscaping to make sure trees and bushes don't touch giving a "forest like" appearance. Then, do a well focused spring cleaning to include carpet and windows.
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Joseph Roraff, Agent, Onalaska, WI
Wed Feb 20, 2013
It depends, but personally I think it is very important. Many buyers can't see the vision of what a house "could look like". I know when I am looking at homes first impressions are huge. If someone can't see themselves in that home than you've already lost them.
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Elizabeth Cl…, , Manteo, NC
Wed Feb 20, 2013
"Updating" implies different things. Before listing your house, I recommend the following:
1. Remove clutter. Recycle the newspapers and magazines older than 2013, clean off the counters in the bathrooms and kitchens. The first impression is key to a good showing.
2. "Powder & Paint" The most economical method is painting the walls - change hot pink walls to a neutral color - taupe is good.
3. Landscaping - mow the grass, trim the edges, remove the Christmas decorations!
4. Take the children's artwork, magnets, etc. off the refrigerator.
5. Smell your house. Do you smell a litterbox? Fried onions? Time to Lysol and put in some air fresheners (but not too strong).
6. Clean out the garage - time for a yard sale.

Remember - sellers will focus on your "treasures" instead of your house. Clean it out, clean it up, clean it inside/out.

Good luck.
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Martin Boonz…, Home Buyer, Phoenix, AZ
Mon Aug 6, 2012
Hi Deirdre,
I address this subject in detail as well as some great, time-saving alternatives on a very information free webinar that I put together for house sellers. I would really encourage you to check it out at

There are several challenges with updating:
(1) Your improvements may not be the "style" or "taste" of the buyer, in which case your investment is wasted.
(2) When you start updating, you really need to update the whole house, so that it is "move-in" ready. If only part is updated, then it will still only appeal to people looking for a "project" and you may not get the full benefit you were looking for.
(3) Unless you do the project yourself, the outcome of the renovation is dependent on the skill set of your contractor, which may or may not be a good thing!
(4) As a home owner, you may have difficulty objectively making cost-effective renovation choices, in which case you may overspend and again, thus limit the effective "return" on your investment.

So my advice is, if you go forward, invest a little extra time and money up front to formulate a plan with someone experienced in your area - they'll be able to give you great advice on how to get the most bang for your buck!

Good luck.
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Bill Hays, Agent, Cardiff, AL
Sat Jul 21, 2012
It depends upon the seller's objectives in selling the home and how much updating will cost relative to how much the updating will increase the sale price.
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