Usually, the main objective when one decides to sell their house is to be able to sell it for the highest amount. There are a few factors that will play into this. Such as what can the homeowner do to increase the sale price and get what they are asking for. This now leads the homeowner to make the decision to sell the home as is or fix it up. The right answer is going to depend on a few important factors. One of these will be in regards to what needs fixing up. Then how much will it increase the value of the home if the fixes and upgrades are done?

What to Fix Up When Selling a House



The best approach to determining what to fix up when selling a house is first determining what is mandatory and what is optional.

What Are Mandatory Fixes?

A good metric for determining what a mandatory fix would be is to be aware of what will be looked for in a home inspection. Many home buyers will include a home inspection as part of their purchase conditions.

Home Inspection:

A home inspection is carried out by a professional home inspector who has to rely on visual observations only. These experts are not allowed to cause any damage during their inspection, so they are limited in their scope of the inspection. They will look for common areas of concern such as;

  • Any visible damage to the roof
  • Issues with drainage
  • Deterioration if the structure or foundation
  • Items that are not present such as proper ventilation
  • Inspection of the heating and cooling systems

What this tells the homeowner when determining what to fix is to do a thorough inspection of the house to determine if there are any issues that may come to the attention of the home inspectors. These should be considered as mandatory fixes.

Doing Repairs Pertaining to Disclosure

There are laws that state what a seller of a home must disclose to a potential buyer. If any of this are present then you need to determine if they should be fixed. Or if this is going to be too costly then a decision has to be made to perhaps take a reduction in the sale price to compensate for this.

Physical defects may get identified through the home inspection.

Latent Defects

These are those flaws that cannot be seen visibly. Some of these may be minor, and there is no necessity to disclose them. If they could affect the safety of the buyer inhabiting the home, then they need to be repaired or disclosed. Latent defects cannot be camouflaged either by the seller and not disclosed.

Optional Fixes

While doing the inspection, the homeowner should look at it through the eyes of a potential seller. If there are things that are less than appealing, then attention should be given to repairing or doing updates.

Important Repairs to Make Before Selling a House

Many of the Canadian mortgage companies follow the statistics used in the US when it comes to cost vs. value. One of the most reliable resources used for this is the figures produced by the Remodeling Magazine. What is interesting to note is that there is a key list of improvements that are considered important but they fluctuate each year as to their level of importance.

As an example, the following is a list of improvements that allowed for an increase or decrease in recovering the costs of the renovations during 2017 and 2018

Increases in 2018:

  • Bathroom additions in mid-range homes
  • Bathroom remodel in mid-range homes
  • Deck additions wood in mid-range homes
  • Steel entry doors mid-range homes
  • Garage door replacements upscale homes
  • Manufactured stone-veneer mid-range home
  • A minor kitchen remodel in the mid-range home
  • Siding replacement mid-range home
  • Universal design bathroom for mid-range home
  • Vinyl window replacement for upscale home

The following is a list of those improvements that resulted in a loss in value of recouping the costs involved.

  • Backyard patio
  • Bathroom addition to upscale home
  • Grand entrance fiberglass upscale home
  • Bathroom remodel upscale homes
  • Deck additions comprised of composites in midrange home
  • A major kitchen remodel in midrange home
  • A major kitchen remodel in an upscale home
  • Master suite addition mid-range home
  • Roofing replacement mid-range home
  • Wood window replacement upscale home

The majority of these are major improvements, and those that are selling their homes should do further research as to what is applicable for return on investments for fixes such as these in the year of the sale.

Cheap Fixes to Sell a House



There are some relatively easy and inexpensive fixes that can be done to a home to modernize it and make it more appealing for potential buyers. Some of these are;

  • Upgrading outlets with USB ports
  • Try to go as wireless as possible by hiding cords and buying items that don’t require wiring
  • Clean carpets even if they are not going to be sold with the house
  • Using accessories in the kitchen that will create a mirror effect to give the illusion of a bigger space
  • Clean out and declutter the garage and basement so it shows off the additional storage space that these areas of the home give
  • Upgrade the garden so it looks low maintenance yet enhances the outdoor space
  • Upgrade outdated fixtures such as those in the kitchen and bathroom as well as handles on cupboards, cabinets, and doors
  • A fresh coat of neutral colored paint throughout the house will freshen up the entire house
  • Declutter and stage the house for showing
  • Organize the cupboards and closets using shelving to give it a spacious and organized appearance
  • Make minor repairs that the house is energy efficient like switching to LEF lightbulbs
  • Remove heavy coverings from the windows to allow as much natural light into the house
  • Make sure the best lighting is using in each room to bring the best out of what the room has to offer

What To Not Fix When Selling a House

It is usually not recommended that major improvements be done to a house that is going to be put on the market. The reason being that it is most difficult to recoup the money for the renovation in the sale price of the home. Only those areas that could affect the sale of the house should be repaired.

A common mistake that is often made by home sellers looking to spruce up their home is focusing on the wrong things. In Canada the outdoor season is short. Do renovations like adding a new deck, installing a swimming pool or extensive landscaping will not yield a return on these investments.

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