Can I still sell my house if it is outdated?

Updated on October 11, 2022

Mail AttachmentBy Kristin Brown
The red formica countertop and the pepto-bismol pink and black tile bathroom have served their purpose in the time you’ve lived in your home, but now it is time for you to move, and you want to know if these things will be a turnoff to potential buyers…

The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is; it depends on the condition of the rest of the house. Many realtors agree that if the roof is leaking or the furnace is on its last leg, the beauty of the new granite countertop or the Jacuzzi tub aren’t going to matter much. Buyers want the basic systems of the house to be working. Yes, they care about what the bathroom looks like or how new the countertops are, but if they notice major issues with the big ticket items, they are probably going to leave long before they decide how lovely the new fixtures are in the bathroom.

As a seller, if you have an extra $10,000 to put into your home and your furnace is nearing the end of its useful life, you are much better off to put the money into the furnace than a bathroom remodel. Having said that, if all of the basic systems are running successfully – the plumbing, the electrical, the roof, the furnace, siding/exterior paint, etc., then what will earn you the most money back on your investment?

There are several things, but it’s safe to say that the biggest bang for the buck comes from a kitchen or bathroom renovation. Keep in mind the value of the house though, as it doesn’t make much sense to put a $200,000 kitchen remodel into a $600,000 house. If you do decide that remodeling makes sense, be sure that your selections appeal to most everyone. It would be awful to spend thousands of dollars on a remodel only for it not to appeal to the masses. Natural wood or white cabinetry is a safe bet; as are stainless steel appliances, stone floors and countertops. Neutral paint colors are also a good idea. Maybe you personally like a lot of color, however try and remember that you don’t want to offend anyone if you plan to sell in the near future.

Can’t afford a kitchen or bath remodel? If your budget is on the smaller side or you just cannot stomach the cost or the process of a renovation, there are things you can do to spruce up the place before a sale. How? Remove old wallpaper and paint. Remove old carpet to reveal hardwood floors or replace old carpeting if you do not have hardwood. Sand and re-do the hardwood floors, if you have them but they have seen better days. Think about replacing some of those older style light fixtures. These are some generally budget friendly things you can do that will completely transform the home. Even with the red formica kitchen countertops or the pink and black tile, the house will look neater, smell cleaner and appeal to far more buyers.

Kristin Brown is a realtor for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Lexington, MA. As a life long Lexington resident, Kristin has deep local roots. She has served Lexington and the surrounding communities for eight years, working with buyers, sellers and developers. She is 110-percent committed to achieve all of her clients expectations. Kristen graduated for the University of Massachusetts and is a member of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, MAR, NAR, MLS-PIN, Women’s Council of Realtors, and a recipient of The President’s Circle Award.

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