Are you selling a house?

Do you want to fix it up to make more profit?

If you answered yes then you are not alone.

In a recent phone survey, 87% of home-owners who were getting their house ready to sell, were planning to fix things to make it worth more! A follow-up question revealed only 16% were seeking professional help to ensure they didn’t spend money on the wrong things!

AND I was one of those people too!

I recently sold my house. And did just that. I fixed it up nice to get it ready to list.

Of course, I made some common mistakes when preparing my house to sell and I would like to share those with you.

Because selling a house is stressful enough. You know, with all the pressure from buyers agents and your realtor, listing it, showings, and all the other hassles. In-fact research shows selling a house

AND my desire is for you to sell your house as easily and for the most profit as possible.

As a Denver home buyer, I see homes where people have fixed things that don’t add value. Because of this I want to share all my knowledge so you don’t fall into the same traps!

Because, Don’t you want to get some fabulous offers when you list?

AND don’t you want to sell your house for top dollar?


Avoid Mistakes When Prepping Your House for Sale

Some things you fix will make you money. Others will cost more than you recoup.

And that’s why it’s important to know what not to fix when selling a house.

Especially when everything costs so much these days.

For example. Did you know a small kitchen renovation can cost over $20,000?

Do you think you will recoup all your cash from that?

Will you get your money back from fixing it up? how much money you will get back from that?

Stay tuned to find out, but first Let’s talk about recouping your money, return on investments and how to make sure that the things that you fix actually make you money.

Recoup Your Money and Return on Your Investment

Should I fix it? I get asked that all the time.

My response is, “Will you recoup your cost?”

And not only that, but what is the return on your investment? Because these are different things. First, let’s talk about getting all your money back. When you fix up your home.

Getting Back What You Put In

Recouping the cost of repairs is about increasing the value of your house as much as it costs to fix it up. Right?

For example, If you spend $2000 on repairs. Then you want the house to go up at least $2000. But if you like me, don’t you really want it to go up $3000? Because not only do I want to recoup the costs, but I also want to make money.

Measuring Return on Investment.

Return on investment (ROI) Is how real estate investors, real estate agents and home improvement experts determine if they should fix something when flipping a house.

“For my business to be successful, not only do I have to recoup the cost, but I need to make a profit too!” said Jennifer S, a real estate entrepreneur and home buyer in Denver, CO. “Because of this I have to make sure every little renovation or thing we fix adds value to the bottom line. While it’s not all about profit, we do have to keep the lights on and pay rent. For me, calculating return on investment includes:

  1. How much money it costs to make the repair
  2. The length of time
  3. What a contractor charges
  4. Cost of materials
  5. Finally how the value of the house will go up.

The last one, is all about what I can list it for once the renovations are completed. I run comps to work this out, looking at before and after prices, the listing photos, and ultimately what the homes sold for.

Getting your money back for all the things you want to fix is important. Not only for the average home-owner but also for the legit real estate PROS!

Let’s talk about some specific items you should avoid if you want to sell your house, and get a great return on your investment.

TOP 10 Repairs That You Must Not Fix When Selling a House

Here are 10 repairs you will loose money on every time. Because you will loose money why on earth would you do them?

Because not only will they cost you lots of cash but there is potential they will take a long time. This will only delay you getting you house on market. Any delays could be tragic if you need to sell your house fast!

AND one more thing: Do not fall into the trap of thinking you need to fix these things after a home inspection! There are many common home inspection issues and things that fail a home inspection, that as a seller you do not have to make despite a potential buyer insisting that you do!

Trust me! Not fixing them will not tank the deal. If a buyer has got as far as performing a home inspection the house your selling, in their mind, they have already moved in!

Checklist: 10 Fixes To Avoid at All Cost

  1. Replacing or repairing windows
  2. Avoid fixing driveway cracks and cracks in concrete paths
  3. Do not replace front door because of old weatherstripping
  4. Never switch out just one door handle – if you are going to do 1 you have to do them all
  5. ADDED to that – Partial upgrades are tricky – the results can look out of place and unappealing
  6. Another group of items not to fix are grandfathered in code violations ***
  7. Trendy paint colors.
  8. Replacing curtains or blinds
  9. Upgrading old appliances
  10. Any type of major renovation

Lets discuss each item on the list of to give you a clear understanding of why you should not do them when preparing your home to sell.

Replacing or repairing windows

New windows are very nice, and there are some benefits, however they have a very poor return on investments. Not only will you loose money on your investment but you could be waiting months just for them to show up. Then you still have to install them! Because of this you should not repair or replace windows when getting your house ready to sell. Especially important if you need to sell your house fast, right?

Avoid fixing driveway cracks and cracks in concrete paths

First impressions last and that is why all real estate experts recommend sprucing up the curb appeal. However you should not pay to have the drive repaired.


You guessed it!!!

You will not get your money back. When you fix a driveway you will spend way more than what you get back when it comes time to sell. The same can be said for re-pouring a garden path.

PRO TIP: If you do want to improve the look of a cracked driveway look for a mortar repair sealant. Applied correctly, it can make the driveway look great and protect it from further water intrusion and cracking.

Do not replace front door because of old weatherstripping

“Potential buyers don’t notice minor details like upgraded weather stripping. You will be throwing your money down the proverbial drain,” stated Alex, a real estate agent and San Clemente, CA home buyer, a red hot coastal housing market. “Because of this you are wasting both your time and hard earned cash. You would get much better returns elsewhere on your home.”

Never switch out just one door handle – if you are going to do 1 you have to do them all

If you reaplace just one door handle it will look odd. That makes sense right? Therefore if you are going to do one you absolutely have to do them all. However if you replace just the door handles in an old house, that in itself could look very strange. Fix door handles, thinking that the value of your house will go up, isn’t the best investment. You are better of leaving them alone.

Partial upgrades are tricky – the results can look out of place and unappealing

Just like the FACT you should ignore upgrading door handles, you should also avoid a partial room upgrade.

PICTURE THIS: You have a bathroom from 1970. It’s a funky green color. You decide to put a brand new (and beautiful) expensive trendy grey vanity in there to increase the sales price. What do you think happens?

This is what happens to that expensive upgrade…
Potential buyers will notice it. But they will think it looks strange and out of place. Worse still, they may believe you are trying to hide something.

Because of these reasons you should not replace just one item in a room. If you are fixing things to sell you home do not do a partial room upgrade. Because most times they will look out of place and you will not recoup the cost, let alone increase the value of your house!

Another group of items not to fix are grandfathered in code violations ***

*** Grandfathered in code violations are common. They do not mean the house is unsafe. They are upgrades you can ignore. An example would be:

  1. Window in basement that is not to code size (replacing windows cost a lot and just ordering them can take several months. Not an upgrade you want to take on and certainly not one that you will get your time or money back form.
  2. Electrical violations: according to the latest code the dishwasher should be on its own circuit. This circuit cannot supply any other appliance or light fixture. Commonly in older homes the entire kitchen runs on the same breaker. This is allowed if you are not performing a major renovation.


DO Not Fix these things if you want to avoid costly mistakes and make more profit when you sell your house.

Trendy paint colors.

A fix or upgrade you must avoid when preparing your house to sell is painting the inside trendy color. you paint your house a trendy color, you are limiting the number of potential buyers. If you must paint the inside of your house, painted a neutral color. My go to favorite at the moment is alabaster white by Sherman Williams SW 7008.

Replacing curtains or blinds

Why spend your hard earned money replacing curtains or expensive blinds when you can just remove them?

If you were preparing your house for sale. And you’re thinking about upgrading a removable item. This is what you should do.

Remove it. It’s that simple. There is nothing in the rulebook that says a house that is for sale has to have curtains. Upgrading, or fixing something, that you can just take away, is a waste of money.

Upgrading old appliances

You will not recoup the cost if you upgrade the appliances. On top of this, if you put brand new appliances in an old kitchen, it could look strange. Because it looked strange. Instead of adding value, you may just raise questions from the potential buyers.

Therefore, if you are getting a House ready to sell a highly recommend you do not upgrade the appliances.

That said, the one time you should repair or replace an appliance in the kitchen, as if it is not working properly. You might as well get ahead of the home inspection.

Any type of major renovation

If your plan is to repair certain things, to add value before you sell your home, then you must heed this advice.

Do not take on a major renovation.

Even a small kitchen remodel can cost $20,000. Guess how much? The value of your House will increase after spending all that cash.

The average homeowner will recoup only 60-70% of any major renovation cost and because of this extremely poor return on your investment it is imperative you do not undertake a major renovation when getting a house ready to sell.

Using the kitchen as an example:

If you spend $20,000 fixing your kitchen and making it nice you will only recoup $13,600. This means you will loose $6,400!!!

That is definitely an extremely poor return on your investment and an upgrade you must ABSOLUTELY not make!


FAQ About What Not to Fix When Selling

QUESTION: Should I replace my fence before selling my house?

The only time you should replace your fence is if it is broken or it has fallen down. So, let me ask you this…

  • Is your fence broken?
  • Is your fence falling down?

Or is this more of a vanity fix. You want to fix it because you think it will look nice?

Vanity fixes are another trap you must avoid. Vanity fixes cost more money than you will get back. If your goal is to invest money in your home to increase its value beyond what you spend, do not replace your fence when getting it ready to sell

QUESTION: How do real estate investors, fix and flippers and home improvement experts make money then?

Real estate professionals have access to discounts because they buy in bulk. Also, you will find they typically will renovate a house from top to bottom. Nothing will be left in its original state. Because of this they create an entirely new home.

As a home-owner needing to sell your house if you renovated everything you might in-fact make a tidy profit. However this is a monumental task. AND even the real estate experts get it wrong some times and loose money!

QUESTION: Can I sell my house without fixing it up?

You can sell your house without fixing anything. This is called selling your house as-is. Selling as-is means you, literally, do not fix anything. The day you choose to sell your house you can reach out and find a buyer.

Generally, the person or company that buys your home will pay cash for houses. These companies are also referred to as”

  1. Real estate investors
  2. We buy houses companies
  3. Professional home buyers

AND they can be found easily online. While selling as-is is not for everyone if you:

  1. Need to sell your house fast
  2. Don’t want to make any repairs
  3. Avoid all the stress of a traditional home sale
  4. Want to be paid cash directly to you

Then selling your house as-is might be the best choice.


What Not to fix When selling a House: Final Word

We have all read that selling a house is incredibly stressful. Imagine the increased levels of concern if you fixed some things only to lose money?

Don’t make the same common mistakes when preparing your home for sale. Make sure you only fix things that have a positive return on investment.