Should you remodel before you sell?

Dear Liz: It has been almost one year since my domestic partner passed away, and our home of 43 years is fully paid for. I am ready to sell. The house is structurally in good shape but needs upgrades and a backyard redo. I have heard that painting both inside and out is a plus, but I’m concerned that any other improvements, such as flooring, would be my taste and not the buyer’s. Is it a wise idea to indicate that any major improvements be deducted from escrow funds?

Answer: You’re smart not to take on any major remodeling just before you sell, since few home improvements come anywhere close to paying for themselves. The fix-ups that typically do return more than they cost include painting, deep cleaning, trimming and freshening your landscaping, and de-cluttering. Consider storing half or more of your possessions. You’ll have to pack them up anyway to move, and getting them out of the way now will make your house look bigger.

Talk to your real estate agent about the advisability of replacing your floors. If yours are quite worn, the investment may pay for itself. Otherwise, a cleaning may be enough. You don’t have to offer to pay for the next owner’s improvements. Just price the home appropriately to reflect the fact that it needs updates.

Related Posts

  • Thursday’s need-to-know money news Today's top story: How the pandemic has shaken up retirement. Also in the news: 6 steps for financial spring cleaning, what to know if […]
  • Q&A: House transfer in a trust Dear Liz: My dad set up a living trust that included his house, which has a mortgage on it. The lender accepted the transfer of the home […]
  • Wednesday’s need-to-know money news Today's top story: Spring travel ahead? One airline is prioritizing customer safety. Also in the news: Considering elite airline status in […]
  • Thursday’s need-to-know money news Today's top story: Why you should stop waiting to sell your home. Also in the news: How to find a Black financial advisor, sharing renters […]