Home Upgrades to Avoid: What Will Turn OFF Buyers!

Making repairs before selling a distressed property.

Are you considering selling your home? If so, you might be thinking about making a few repairs and upgrades before you list it. Some changes can be lucrative, paying off in the long run. However, not all upgrades are created equal. We will let you know which upgrades to avoid!

Updating and beautifying your home is a surefire way to get more potential buyers in the door. However, many sellers make the mistake of making too many upgrades or upgrading things that do not increase the property value. Some people even make upgrades that end up turning OFF buyers! Before you take a sledgehammer to the bathroom wall or make a trip to Home Depot, consider making only necessary repairs and only the upgrades that will pay for themselves by substantially increasing your home’s value.

Paint and Carpet

These are by far some of the best upgrades to make to a home to make it more inviting and more sellable. You probably will not generate a huge price bump, but it will make your home more sellable. But there are some things you need to keep in mind before you make these repairs.

Painting a house is great, but color is very personal. So we suggest going very neutral. For many years all the rage was Johnson County Beige, the basic neutral color that everyone went for. Today’s neutral color is Greige somewhere between Grey and Beige. This gives you some color and warmth, whereas a too-blueish grey can be too cold and white just too stark.

Hiring a professional painter can be money well spent. Sure with a few friends you might be able to get it done in a weekend, but how clean and neat are they? or perhaps you are a very GOOD painter, but it will take you several weekends to get it done costing you time. And time is money, especially if you want to get the home listed to sell during the upcoming spring selling season.

The other thing you might be tempted is to replace the carpeting, which is also a great thing. But it is also a very personal thing. You might consider putting a solid surface floor in the main living areas – kitchen, living room, hallways. And while hardwood floors are the best there are a lot of very durable solid surface floors that are acceptable depending on the price range of your home. When we renovate a home we tend to go with solid surfaces in the main living areas. Quite often luxury vinyl plank. We use luxury vinyl tile in bathrooms and laundry rooms. No pile stair carpet and then a neutral frieze carpet in the bedrooms in the greige range.

Don’t Add a Pool Unless YOU are Swimming In It

You will not be able to add the price you pay for a pool to the previous value of the home. It doesn’t work that way. We have seen people spend over 50k to add a new pool, only to be able to add a couple thousand to their asking price. Unless you plan on swimming in the pool yourself for years to come, a pool will end up costing you more than it adds value. Point blank: A pool doesn’t provide returns. 

The average house has a certain number of potential buyers, but throw a pool in the backyard and that number goes down.  Only add a pool if you plan to live in the house for a long while and it’s something you want because it does not add to the future salability of the home.

Don’t Get So Personal

Avoid overly customized designs. This can include overly designed kitchens, baths, and anything else that you consider one of a kind. Consider toning down bold-colored rooms and creating environments that are a bit more neutral. A can of paint is a lot less expensive than a total room redo.

And let’s talk paint.  We just saw a post on Facebook from an investor buyer who had walked through a house to potentially buy and he found a blood-red living room and dining room, black kitchen, and bold bright blues and greens in the bedroom, a big turn-off for him.  We have also looked at homes that were perfect in price and condition other than the paint color and no one was buying.

And on that note…

Don’t Decide for Your Buyers

If there are obvious repairs or upgrades needed, there is a huge debate, do you make them or do you not?  I would talk to a cash buyer like kcmoHomeBuyer and see what they might offer and have a consultation with a Realtor.  Making the obvious repairs so the home is perfect and move-in ready can help the home sell faster and for more money.  However, the time and money spent may not make sense for everyone.

Instead of making repairs, you could adjust the price or offer a repair credit so the end buyer can make the repairs.  We have purchased homes where the previous owner had spent money on their ideas of repairs only to go in and rip them out because they didn’t work with the house, the taste was too personal, and most often, because they were trying to get the repairs done on the cheap, the quality was not very good and just plain looked bad.

So rather on repairs and upgrades,  don’t make them. Instead, provide a credit to the buyer, so they can have things done the way they want. It can be a great incentive when buyers can decide on the details of the home. People will be attracted to the idea of choosing their own countertops and lighting fixtures.

Point Blank: Don’t make upgrades based on your enjoyment or taste unless you plan on living in the home forever.

Leave the Basement Alone

Do you have a house with an unfinished basement? If, so… leave it that way. The costs to finish the basement aren’t worth what you will get back. Plus, many buyers will choose to renovate those areas on their terms. If you haven’t renovated it while you lived there, there is no reason to do it now that you are trying to sell.

Point Blank: An unfinished basement is best left that way. 

Make the Space Intentional

Keep the rooms as they were intended. Extra bedroom? Keep it a bedroom, not an office. Let the prospective buyers decide how they want to use the space. A room conversion will only knock down the perceived value. A 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom home will get more traction than a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom + den at the same price. Also, a gym/office/library/breakfast nook can become confusing.

Point blank: Plan your space with purpose. 

What are the Neighbors Doing?

Take a look at other homes in your neighborhood and keep your upgrades somewhere in the middle. If you go too far with your add-ons, you will be targeting high-end buyers. And maybe your neighborhood isn’t known for that. In addition, you will alienate buyers who love your neighborhood but don’t want to pay the high price.

Point blank: Keep your property competitive within your neighborhood, but don’t take it too far! 

Skip all the repairs and updates and sell the home directly to a cash buyer as is.


Leave a Comment