Should You Sell Your House As Is or Fix It Up?

Two homes in a middle-class neighborhood in Milwaukee, WI, are listed for sale.

Are you in a rush to sell a house with structural or cosmetic damage? Selling a home that requires repairs isn’t an easy task. Should you bother fixing it or sell it as is? What are the pros and cons of each option? 

Today, you’ll read about the benefits of making renovations before a home sale, as well as the disadvantages. You’ll also learn which upgrades are most important to home buyers. 

Sell House as Is or Fix Up? What To Do 

Before deciding whether to remodel your home or sell your house as is, it’s crucial to determine your goals. 

Are you trying to sell your house for the highest sale price possible? If you’re willing to wait a few more months to get your total home value, the return on investment of home improvements might be worth it. After you fix up your home, it will be “move-in ready,” and a real estate agent will have a much easier time selling it to potential buyers. 

On the other hand, if your goal is to make a quick home sale with minimal hassle, making home repairs might be a bad idea. If you’re willing to forego a higher price in exchange for not investing in repairs upfront, you should avoid a realtor and sell to cash home buyers in Milwaukee willing to give you a cash offer on your home. 

If you want to sell a house fast in Wisconsin, and you don’t want to make any repairs, it’s essential to know which prospective buyers to target. Focus on real estate investors and home flippers willing to buy your fixer-upper at a fair price. 

A real estate investor might use your property as a rental unit after they repair it, generating monthly income. On the other hand, house flippers typically aim for a more aggressive resale strategy and quicker returns. They’ll sell your home within 6-12 months after buying it for a higher price. 

There is a middle ground as well. You might not have the cash to fix up your home entirely if it requires a lot of work. However, investing smartly in repairs that bring the highest return on investment can help you get a better sale price. 

Later, we’ll discuss the most critical repairs for home selling. First, let’s list the pros and cons of fixing up your home vs. selling it as is. 

Benefits of Selling a House as Is 

Let’s examine the benefits of selling a house as is

  • You don’t have to spend money upfront on repairs. Depending on the extent of the damage, that could be very costly. 
  • Since you’ll typically sell to cash buyers, you can get cash in hand within as little as a few weeks. 
  • You can close much more quickly. Not only does selling through a real estate agent require more paperwork and time, but you’d also have to finish the repairs before hosting open houses and showings. Those repairs could easily take months or even a year. 
  • If you sell to a cash buyer, you can avoid many closing costs, such as the real estate commission you would have to pay if you use a local agent. 

In addition, there are many specific scenarios in which it makes more sense to sell your house as is. Those can include: 

  • You need to relocate to a new city for a new job opportunity or to be close to a family member, and you don’t have time for the typical selling process. 
  • A relative left you an old, abandoned home as an inheritance. You don’t have money to fix it up, and you have no clue what to do with it. You wouldn’t mind getting it off your hands for some nice cash. 
  • In addition to requiring repairs, your house is facing foreclosure. 
  • The housing market is facing issues, and home prices in the area are rapidly declining due to rising crime rates or new developments in the area. By the time you finish your repairs, prices may drop so low that the difference in price between now and then won’t be significant enough. 
A man makes some home improvements to sell his house.

Benefits of Fixing up a House To Sell 

There are certain benefits to investing in repairs as well. Here’s why you might want to fix your home before selling it: 

  • Your home will sell for a lot more if it doesn’t have structural damage that makes it unsafe to live in. 
  • There’s no need to target cash sellers. You can typically get a higher price by selling through a real estate agent, but you’ll need to ensure your home is livable first. You don’t need to negotiate with cash buyers directly when selling through a real estate agent. 
  • Not only that, but you can sell your home quickly once the repairs are complete, as it will be more attractive to buyers. 

What Repairs Add the Most Value to a House Sale 

Repairs that add the most value fall into two categories: major repairs and cosmetic repairs. 

Major repairs include those that make your home liveable, such as: 

  • Fixing water damage and removing extensive mold growth due to water damage
  • Installing a new HVAC system if you have an ancient one that is no longer safe to use and causes air quality concerns. 
  • Repairing structural damage

They can also include repairs that make your home more attractive to buyers, such as: 

  • A kitchen remodel, especially if your kitchen is outdated. People spend a lot of time in the kitchen, which is why kitchen remodels generate an ROI of up to 72%
  • Finishing your basement, especially if your target audience is buyers with kids. The basement can be a great playroom for the kids to spend time in, so the parents can get some quiet time upstairs. 
  • Finishing the attic and turning it into a bedroom, especially if it’s a small house. 

Of course, these repairs cost a lot of money. They’re not always worth it – a 72% ROI on a kitchen model isn’t usually enough to justify it. 

The cheapest ways to increase home value are typically cosmetic repairs, especially those that increase the property’s curb appeal. Making an excellent first impression on buyers can instantly boost your home’s value. 

Examples of inexpensive ways to make your home look better and increase its value include: 

  • Applying a new coating of paint to the exterior or installing new siding
  • Installing a new roof or replacing broken shingles.
  • Getting a landscaping company to mow your lawn and plant bushes, trees, and flowers
  • Adding a picket fence or gate around your property
  • Repainting the interior
  • Decluttering your home and doing a deep cleaning
  • Installing new windows or cleaning old windows

Not all cosmetic repairs make sense. For example, repaving your driveway because it has cracks isn’t a good idea. Most people barely notice them; it’s not something that matters to buyers as much as the home’s exterior. 

What Repairs Add the Least Value to a House Sale

Repairs that improve the value of your home the least are those that are easy to fix and don’t require a lot of time or money. Some examples include: 

  • Replacing old light fixtures with newer, similar ones
  • Replacing your old faucets with more modern ones (without remodeling the bathroom or kitchen entirely)
  • Changing the door handles in each room

Other repairs that you should avoid include those that only some buyers will like. Here are some excellent examples: 

  • Turning half of your garage into a home office or bedroom. Many people would prefer to keep it as a garage, especially if they own two cars. 
  • Creating a sunroom. Not everyone cares about having a sunroom or would even use it. 
  • Installing a swimming pool in the backyard. Some people prefer more open space for their kids to run around. Perhaps they want to install a swing set. Even if their kids enjoy swimming, an inflatable swimming pool might work just fine. 
  • Decreasing the number of bedrooms by turning a bedroom into something else, such as a home office, play area, or walk-in closet. One of the most significant factors influencing home purchasing decisions is the number of bedrooms. Instead, turn a part of your basement into a home office or study.  

Such repairs are very costly. A four-season sunroom, for example, costs $45,000 on average. Not only will these repairs not make your home more attractive to all buyers, but they may turn off some buyers (such as in the case of a swimming pool or garage-turned-office). 

Before selling your home, it’s a good idea to create a home sale preparation checklist, including a list of things worth repairing. Start with major and cosmetic repairs. 

Conclusion

Deciding which repairs to make isn’t always easy, particularly if you have limited time or funds. Sometimes, it’s best to skip the hassle entirely and sell to cash buyers. 

We buy houses Hartland buyers adore. Our process is straightforward and quick, and we don’t require you to make any repairs. Start by calling us or requesting a quote online. We’ll meet you at your home; you can also send us pictures if you don’t have time. We’ll give you our no-obligation offer. If you accept, we’ll close on your schedule. 

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