What not to fix when selling a house

It can be difficult to know what to fix and what not to fix when selling a house. Some home improvements will help you sell more quickly, but others are an unnecessary expense that you’re unlikely to make back. In this guide, we’ll look at different home improvements that you might consider making before putting your property on the market. Which are wise investments and which should be avoided?

Woman painting an internal wall in her house considering what to fix and what not to fix when selling a house

In this guide

  1. What to fix and what not to fix when selling a house (UK)
  2. Common mistakes when selling your home
  3. What needs to be done before selling a house?
  4. Is it worth decorating a house before selling?
  5. Is it worth replacing the boiler before we move?
  6. Is it worth replacing windows before selling a house?
  7. Is it worth putting in a new kitchen before selling?
  8. Should you re-do your bathroom before selling?
  9. Should we get the garden done before selling?
  10. Do we need to make our property more energy efficient before selling?
  11. How to fund home improvements in the UK
  12. Is it worth renovating a house before selling (UK)?
  13. Selling a house in poor condition in the UK

What to fix and what not to fix when selling a house (UK)

There are certain things that should be fixed before you sell your house. Anything to do with electrics, gas, or plumbing should be investigated. If anything serious is identified, it should be addressed immediately.

Non-urgent tasks for electrics, gas, and plumbing should also be considered. These are things that are likely to be picked up in a property survey and may be used as evidence to reduce the agreed sale price. Some buyers will be put off if even minor issues are identified. If the issues are inexpensive to fix, it’s worth getting them done to avoid any concern from buyers.

The same applies to any leaks, cracks, or signs of damp in the property.

Common mistakes when selling your home

Homeowners often fall into two groups: those who don’t make enough home improvements before selling, and those who do too much.

If you don’t address issues you’re aware of, you risk not being able to sell. Do too much, and you risk spending lots of money that you won’t make back.

It’s important that your home is attractive to buyers, but that doesn’t mean spending a fortune on an entire property renovation.

What needs to be done before selling a house?

Which jobs you choose to tackle before you put your property on the market will largely depend on how quickly you want to sell and what budget you have available.

If you want to attract buyers, it’s important that your property is well-presented, even if you’re selling it as a renovation project for someone. At the very minimum, your property should be clean and clear of clutter.

Is it worth decorating a house before selling?

Yes, a quick refresh can make your home more appealing and help you achieve a higher sale price.

If you like strong colours and patterns in your home, you can use this as an opportunity to neutralise any decor that may divide opinion among buyers. This will broaden the property’s appeal and help you to sell more quickly. Whilst you want your property to feel warm and homely, you also want to make it as easy as possible for buyers to picture themselves and their own belongings in the space.

So, should you paint a house before selling? Yes, absolutely. Even if it’s just a refresh of the same colour palette, properties start looking ‘tired’ very quickly. A quick re-paint is the fastest and easiest way to get your home looking its best.

Is it worth replacing the boiler before we move?

If you know your boiler is on its way out, you might want to consider replacing it before you put your house on the market.

Few buyers will want to purchase a home knowing they’re going to have the immediate expense of having to replace the boiler.

A new boiler will give your buyers peace of mind and offer the added benefit of improving the energy efficiency of your home. This will result in lower bills and a better EPC rating, both of which will be appealing to buyers.

Is it worth replacing windows before selling a house?

Windows can make a big difference to how quickly a property sells and what price it sells for, but new windows aren’t cheap.

Whether it’s worth replacing windows really depends on what state your current windows are in. New double glazing is likely to cost you in the region of £8,000-£12,000, depending on the size of your property. If you’re considering putting your house on the market and aren’t sure whether it’s worth replacing the windows before doing so, ask a local estate agent to come and value your property. They’ll be able to tell you how much they think your property will sell for in its current condition, and how much of a difference new windows would make to that price. You’ll also need to consider the time implication of getting this sort of work done. If you’re in a rush to sell, it might be wiser to simply adjust your asking price to reflect the work that needs doing.

Is it worth putting in a new kitchen before selling?

If you’re considering putting in a new kitchen before you sell, there are a few questions to consider:

  • How much does a new kitchen cost?
  • How much value does a new kitchen add?
  • How long does it take to fit a new kitchen?

Making the right decision will be a balance of these questions. How much will it cost you and what impact would it have on property value? Is it worth the time it would take to put in a new kitchen?

If you don’t want the hassle and expense of a complete kitchen renovation, you could consider doing a smaller kitchen ‘makeover’. Smaller, less expensive improvements – such as repainting walls, retiling, or putting in a new worktop – can have a big impact with far less disruption.

Can you put new doors on old kitchen cabinets?

Yes, there are now a number of companies that can supply new doors for your existing kitchen cabinets. This is a quicker, easier, and significantly cheaper alternative to an entire kitchen renovation. For this to be a suitable option for your home, the structure of your kitchen cupboards will need to be in good condition.

Should you re-do your bathroom before selling?

It is rarely worth putting in a new bathroom before selling. Bathrooms are expensive to replace. A new bathroom will cost an average of £5,000-£10,000 but can cost considerably more if you want a high-end finish.

If you’re planning to sell the property, you’re unlikely to want to spend a large amount of money on a bathroom renovation.

Depending on the condition of your current bathroom, it might be wiser to spruce it up by re-grouting the tiles, giving it a lick of paint, and adding some nice accessories.

Should we get the garden done before selling?

It’s unlikely to be worth your while getting your garden landscaped before selling.

Whilst an attractive outdoor area is likely to increase the appeal of your property, it could easily cost you £10,000 or more. There’s no guarantee that a landscaped garden will add that amount of value to the property. It will also depend on what time of year you plan to sell. A beautifully landscaped garden will have more of an impact on the value and appeal of your property during the spring and summer months, when people naturally spend more time outside, than it will in autumn and winter.

As long as your garden is tidy and well-maintained, buyers should be able to see its potential. Most buyers will be more concerned with the size of the garden than how manicured it is.

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Do we need to make our property more energy efficient before selling?

As part of the sale process, your property will need an up-to-date energy performance certificate (EPC). The more energy efficient your property is, the lower bills will be. The better your EPC rating, the more appealing your property will be to buyers.

There are several quick and easy energy saving improvements worth making to your property before you sell.

How to make your home more energy efficient

Quick and easy ways to improve your EPC rating:

  • Upgrade your light bulbs to LED bulbs
  • Install a smart meter
  • Add additional insulation to any loft space

EPC rating improvements that require more investment:

  • Replace an old, inefficient boiler with a newer model
  • Add additional wall insulation
  • Replace any failing double glazing/add triple glazing
  • Installing solar panels

How to fund home improvements in the UK

There are several ways to fund home improvements. If you don’t have sufficient savings available to cover the cost of the work, most homeowners will look at additional mortgage borrowing or a personal loan. If you’re making the improvements in order to sell your house, it’s important to remember that additional borrowing will impact your budget for your new home. Mortgage lenders will consider any personal loans when decided how much they can lend you.

What grants are available for home improvements UK

If your planned improvements will increase the energy efficiency of your home, there may be grants that you can apply for. Current home improvement grants include:

Boiler Upgrade Scheme

Connected for Warmth

Home Upgrade Grant

Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Scheme

Is it worth renovating a house before selling (UK)?

It will rarely be worth undertaking a full property renovation before selling your house, especially in the current market. When considering a full property renovation, it’s important to think about both the time commitment and financial implications. It’s unwise to carry out work that won’t add value. If you’ve already made the decision to sell, it’s unlikely that you’re going to want to undertake months of renovations before doing so. In a slow market, there is also no guarantee that you would get back the money you spend on improvements.

Selling a house in poor condition UK

There is a market for homes in need of renovation. Home renovation accounts on social media have inspired many buyers to consider taking on more of a ‘project’ property, but your house will need to be priced realistically, taking into account the amount of work that needs doing.

If you don’t want the stress and uncertainty of trying to sell your property on the open market, there is also the option of selling to a cash homebuying company. Because cash homebuying companies don’t rely on mortgages or investors, they can buy any house, in any condition. This means you can sell your property ‘as is’, with no need to carry out any work before selling. A genuine cash homebuying company should be able to complete the sale of your property on the date of your choice. This can be in as little as a week if you’re keen for a quick sale.

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Beth Lane

Beth Lane

As an integral part of the marketing team, Beth is responsible for creating Quick Move Now’s external communications and dealing with national and regional press enquiries.

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