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Should You Keep Your Home's Original Features or Upgrade Them Before Selling?

A house that’s dated can be an immediate turnoff for potential buyers, especially when other houses for sale in the area have been updated. If you’re planning to list your home, you don’t necessarily have to update or upgrade everything that isn’t new or in pristine condition. You need to figure out which upgrades will help you sell quickly and get you the most bang for your buck.

Address Any Safety Issues Before you put your house on the market, identify any safety hazards and have them addressed. That might mean repairing an unstable staircase or having the electrical wiring replaced. Those types of upgrades can be expensive, but not making repairs can make it difficult or impossible to find a buyer. If someone makes an offer and then learns about a serious problem through a home inspection, you might have to pay for repairs or agree to a lower price, or the buyer might decide to walk away.

Focus on the Kitchen and Bathrooms An outdated kitchen or bathroom can make buyers immediately decide to pass on your house, but that doesn’t mean you have to gut your kitchen or bathroom and start over from scratch. That would be far too expensive and wouldn’t give you a good return on investment. Some minor and relatively inexpensive changes, such as painting the walls and cabinets, replacing the kitchen countertops and backsplash, and installing a new vanity in the bathroom, can be enough to impress potential buyers.

Get Rid of Dated or Damaged Carpet Carpet that’s decades old needs to go before you put your home on the market. Even if it’s in good condition, which is unlikely, it looks dated and unappealing. Many buyers prefer homes that don’t have carpet since it traps dirt, dust, and pet dander. If your house has hardwood or tile flooring that’s in good shape, you might be better off leaving it exposed instead of installing new carpet.

Keep Unique Features That May Appeal to Buyers If your home has features that are reminiscent of a particular era or that make your house different from others in the area, consider keeping them as is. Those little details can catch people’s attention and may even become the deciding factor if a buyer is trying to choose between your house and another.

Consider the Local Real Estate Market The current conditions in your area can influence your decision on whether to update your home before selling. In a buyer’s market, there are more homes for sale than interested buyers. That means buyers can be picky and avoid houses that need upgrades. In a seller’s market, there are fewer homes available than people interested in buying them. In those conditions, houses can get snapped up fast, even if they need work.

If your house needs updating, spend your money wisely. Your real estate agent can give you advice on which upgrades will help you attract a buyer and provide the best return on investment.

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