Dian Hymer’s column addresses a very common question, what to fix before selling your home.

I get calls on this all the time.

Here is one common scenario. The home seller always wanted the home to have __________ but never got around to doing it. Now they want to do it just before selling.

If it’s to remodel the kitchen and bath, add a bedroom or anything big, it won’t likely pay for itself unless you really know what you are doing. If you are thinking of asking me this question then you really don’t know how to make the right improvements at the right price and you shouldn’t do it. If you have fixed and flipped homes successfully in the past then you know what to do even if this isn’t really a flip.

Sellers often put money into homes right before they sell that will never pay for itself. Occasionally you’ll see “improvements” that are so bad that they actually hurt the value of the homes.

Fix Up or Credit?

My philosophy is that credits hurt you. Instead of offering a credit for new carpeting you should either 1) put in new carpeting (much preferred), or 2) simply lower the price of the home.

Don’t play games with credits. They make they home look more expensive then it really is. Just lower the price.

What are the best improvements to make before selling?

Here, I defer to the great one, Bob Bruss.

These are your best cosmetic fix-ups to make before selling.

  • Fresh paint (by far, the most profitable improvement of all)
  • New landscaping
  • New light fixtures
  • New carpets or floor refinishing
  • General cleaning and repair
  • Kitchen cabinets and appliances

Staging is also a great investment if the home is occupied.