Real Estate Watch: To update or not before selling?

Real Estate Watch: To update or not before selling?

I have had a number of calls from sellers asking me if I would recommend that they update their homes or apartments before selling or just leave them as is.  

It’s an excellent question to ask.  

But one has to keep in mind the reasons for renovating or not.  

Are you going to do this because you think you will recoup your investment upon selling, or that it will sell faster, which is a likely possibility or maybe you just want to enjoy the newness of the renovation for a while before considering selling.  

Lastly, maybe retrofitting for an older parent who might be moving in with you or for yourself to make it easier to function so you can stay in place.  

All four reasons have their merit, but you have to choose which one makes the most logical sense for you in your specific situation and timeline.  

If you are going to renovated and update, have you thought of a budgeted amount that you want to position yourself within and not go over.  

I have seen couples and families pick a budget and then they get into the renovation and sometimes go way past the original amount, because they get into the job so much, that they keep adding more and more amenities or extras that they never thought of; but now want them and lose sight of the original amount that they earmarked for the job.  

The more you spend, the longer you may have to wait for the market to increase to get back your investment.  

There are exceptions if you have been in your home for 15-50 years and have a lot of equity and the location has enabled above average appreciation.  

Many purchasers do not have the time and are afraid to go in that direction to renovate, since they are very busy and both husband and wife also may not have the basic skills or necessary knowledge or connections or comfort zone to go through the renovation process.   

So that part of the market may only want a renovated home and will consider paying more, so they will not have to deal with it themselves.  

In those situations, the seller might get back his investment, but it really depends on the timing of when you will be selling.  

The longer you can wait in a sellers market the better you can potentially do when putting your home up for sale and gaining back the renovation costs.  

However, if you are looking to try to sell faster, updating will obviously work, but be careful with the amount you allot.  

Look at your home like a buyer and see which items you would want to do before moving in.  

Do the kitchen or bathrooms, Interior or exterior paint job, sanding the hardwood floors and polyurethane them, landscaping.  

More important, how old is your roof, boiler, hot water heater, electric panel.  The cost of replacing those necessary things might save you money, compared with the potential adjustment in price that buyers might consider.    

If you have a home older than 30 years, you might want to hire a certified home inspector/engineer to let you know in advance all  those deficiencies that you may have, so then you can decide what are the real crucial things to be done prior to selling.  

So you are not selling right now for the foreseeable future.  The kids may or may not still be living with you, but  you would thoroughly enjoy renovating your living space is another answer why some will want to add that fresh look to their domicile.  

Is it possible you may have a parent coming in to live with you?  

Or maybe you just want to stay in place, and not going to a Senior residence and want to set your home up properly to make it much easier to deal with the everyday functions of getting around in your home.

The following are links to provide you a gargantuan amount of information for renovations and their costs as well as pros and cons to doing them:,,408045,00.html

Remember only you can make the final decision as to your budget in relation to what you want done; but also, what are your real reasons for doing the fixing and updating? 

Philip A. Raices is the owner of Turn Key Real Estate in Great Neck. He can be reached by email: [email protected] or by Cell, (516) 647-4289 to answer any of your questions.  

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