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Should you renovate your home before selling?


In the past month, I have received numerous calls with this question, ‘Should you renovate your home before selling?’. The answer really depends on your personal situation and other variables.

Should you renovate your home before selling

  • Condition of competing homes in your area
  • Current market conditions- is it a buyers, sellers or stable market?
  • And finally, the potential return on investment for you.

For example, if you know you need to move within 30 to 60 days, there may not be enough time for a large renovation nor enough time to re-coop the money invested. Depending how much you owe on your home, it is important to weigh the cost and benefits both personally and financially.

As well, not all renovations are created equal. We know that kitchens and bathrooms sell a home at top dollar. Renovations such as roof and windows, do not necessarily add value but maintain and support the property value.

Do home buyers want fixer uppers?

Generally speaking from my experience, the trend nowadays is that buyers want a MOVE-IN READY if not completely RENOVATED home that may only require light aesthetic repairs. Our buyers who do not mind looking at fixer uppers are those who either don’t qualify to buy a more expensive home or those who are extremely handy, or are interested in making a profit by fixing the home themselves.

It is quite rare to find a first-time buyer who will want a home that needs to be fixed up. Most buyers are willing to do simple repairs such as paint the walls, having the floors sanded or replace light fixtures. Typically, if a buyer does not like the layout, or overall finishes, they will not want to move walls or do major work. They will move on to another home.

The type of buyers looking for a fixer upper will expect to get a discounted price on your home to allow for the cost of labour and material. On the bright side, there is a buyer for every time of home!

Before Fixing Up Your Home

If you are thinking about repairs, and not sure which way to go, team up with a knowledgeable real estate broker, and analyze the cost of potential improvements against your homes real market value. Before you decide to give your home a quick “face-lift”, realize that a new kitchen and bathroom will give you the highest return. Whatever you decide to renovate always use the best quality material and workmanship, or else it is not worth doing!

Before deciding to make specific repairs I invite my potential sellers to take an afternoon off to visit homes for sale in the neighbourhood and compare. Take notes on overall conditions and major or minor renovations. By comparison for example, if most of the homes in your area have upgraded kitchens, you should concentrate on fixing the kitchen.

Currently many areas of Montreal are in a sellers’ market, with a very low supply of homes available for sale. The reality is that you will get more money if your home is newly upgraded or renovated, despite the sellers’ market conditions.

Selling a Home in “AS IS” condition

A few years ago, I was referred to a seller that needed to sell fairly quickly due to her financial and health situation, and the home had been neglected over the years.

The home appeared to have a good structure and was very well located in the heart of Montreal. However it did not take an expert inspection to see that the roof needed repairing, interior walls had holes, the bathrooms and kitchen were deteriorating and in need of major repairs. The windows and doors showed signs of aging and the floors would need repairing. Not to mention an old heating system which would need replacing.

This was not a home that could be easily fixed up quickly, it needed someone with enough money and time to spend bringing it up to standard. Not even a coat of paint would have helped sell this place. We priced it competitively enough that it attracted multiple offers, mostly from contractors and flippers.

The moral here is, do not make any hasty decisions before putting up your home for sale and even deciding to renovate. Contact a real estate broker who works with a team to help you assess you situation. We have access to a mortgage broker, professional contractors for estimates, professional stagers as well as a professional property evaluation company to help you make the right decision.

By: Eleni (Helen) Akrivos – info@mtltimes.ca

Eleni Akrivos is a Montreal real estate expert who is passionate about educating and inspiring everyone to succeed in real estate! She holds a Chartered real estate broker license and is President of North East Realties agency in Montreal.  As a lecturer in the Residential Real Estate Program at College Lasalle, Co-Host of “The Real Estate Show” on CJAD AM800 radio and contributor to the MTL Times newspaper, Eleni shares her stories of real estate success to help as many people as she can!


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