These 11 Repairs Aren't Worth Your Time or Money

There are a lot of decisions to make when you put your home on the market, and one of the biggest is your asking price. While you can’t change the number one factor in your home’s value—its location—you do have control over almost everything else that might encourage a buyer to make a good offer. But many sellers mistakenly believe that to get top dollar, they have to invest a bundle in repairs and upgrades. Unless you're planning on selling your home as a fixer-upper, some repairs are must-dos—for instance, plumbing leaks, electrical system issues, nonfunctioning central air conditioning or heating, structural problems, and pest infestations. Other fixes and renovations, though, simply aren’t worth the time and expense, particularly if you live in a hot real estate market. So, before you embark on extensive improvements, rest assured that your home will still be competitive if you skip the following repairs and renovations.

  1. Lavish Landscaping

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    Don't landscape before selling house

    Yes, you need to mow, prune, and clean up both the front and backyard before showing your house. And a few pots of colorful annuals by the front door is a nice touch that costs little but greatly increases the curb appeal of your home. But going all-out on new landscaping is unnecessary. You’re unlikely to recoup the cost, and buyers looking to upgrade the exterior of their new house will have their own preferences.

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  2. Professional-Grade Kitchen Appliances

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    Don't install new kitchen appliances before moving

    If your kitchen still sports avocado green or harvest gold appliances, it’s worth replacing them with new but not top-of-the-line models. But forget about installing a professional cooktop or dishwasher. Not every prospective buyer loves spending time in the kitchen, and some may be intimidated by very high-end appliances. Budget-minded buyers, on the other hand, may suspect that expensive kitchen appliances are reflected in the asking price, pushing it beyond their range.

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  3. Trendy Paint Colors

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    Don't repaint home before house sale

    A new coat of paint is a worthwhile expense—it creates a clean, fresh appearance that immediately increases a home's value. But forget about trendy black or super-bright walls, no matter how many you see on Instagram. Instead, play it safe with a soft gray or warm white.

    Related: These Are the Design Trends Realtors Recommend Skipping

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  4. Laundry Room Upgrades

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    Don't upgrade laundry room house sale

    While you’ll definitely want your laundry room to be as clean as possible before you show your house, it isn’t necessary to replace the washer and dryer, make extensive repairs, or spend a lot of money renovating the space. This is one area of the home that’s typically a fairly low priority for potential buyers, and many probably plan on buying new appliances after moving in, anyway.

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  5. Hardwood Floors

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    Don't install hardwood floors before house sale

    If your home already has hardwood floors, definitely have them buffed and polished before the first open house. But don’t tear out existing flooring and replace it with wood just for a sale. While doing so will increase the value of your home, it’s unlikely to push it up enough to cover the expense and inconvenience of installing the new floors.

    Related: 8 Times “Wood Look” Is as Good as (Or Better Than) the Real Deal

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  6. New Windows

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    Don't install new windows before house sale

    If a window has a broken pane, obvious leaks, or a damaged frame, it's worth fixing. Now is not the time, however, to remove old windows and replace them with expensive high-efficiency models. If your windows happen to be new, that's a definite plus in setting a sales price, but installing new windows right before you put your home on the market is a major expense you probably won’t recoup in your home’s final selling price.

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  7. Kitchen Cabinets

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    Don't buy new cabinets before house sale

    Thinking of tearing out your existing kitchen cabinets and replacing them with newer models, or going open-shelf and skipping cabinets altogether? Hold on. As long as the existing cabinets are in reasonably good condition, without missing or broken doors, damaged shelves, or drawers that no longer slide in and out, they'll just need a thorough cleaning, a fresh coat of paint or stain, and some new hardware to appeal to potential buyers.

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  8. New Carpeting

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    Don't install new carpet before house sale

    Carpet that has permanent stains, holes, or heavy wear is a no-no when it’s time to sell, so you should replace carpeting that’s beyond repair with new flooring in a neutral color. But if the existing carpeting is in good condition, save the big bucks on replacement and instead hire a carpet service to give it a deep cleaning so it looks its best for showings. Chances are good your buyers will want to replace it with something of their own choosing.

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  9. Bathroom Tile

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    Don't install new bathroom tile before house sale

    If your bathroom has chipped or missing tile, go ahead and replace those pieces. While you're at it, it's a good idea to steam-clean bathroom tile and grout to bring  back the shine. You should also consider recaulking the tub or shower; it’s a small, inexpensive job that makes a surprisingly big impact. But don’t completely retile the bathroom just to sell your home. Specifically, avoid elaborate mosaics, trendy designs, or unusual colors, any of which might turn off a potential buyer.

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  10. Granite Countertops

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    Don't install granite countertop before house sale

    Granite continues to be an extremely popular material for kitchen counters, but it’s also one of the most expensive. Before tearing out your existing countertops to replace them with granite, consider whether the cost is justified. If every home in your area boasts granite, it may be worth going ahead with the renovation. But if not, and if your existing countertops are in good shape, you're better off decluttering them and giving them a good cleaning.

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  11. Elaborate Lighting Fixtures

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    Don't install expensive light fixtures before house sale

    You do have to replace lighting fixtures that don’t work, but that doesn’t mean you have to replace fixtures that may not be Pinterest-worthy but aren’t actually objectionable. If, however, your living room or bedroom is weighed down by tired-looking fixtures, you can amp up your home’s appeal by replacing them with simple contemporary designs.

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  12. Don't Miss!

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    If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!