Should I Replace The Carpet Before I Put My House On The Market?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty - Denver Southlands

Should I Replace The Carpet Before I Put My House On The Market?

When getting ready to sell your house a common question I hear is: Should I replace my carpet?  It is a good question because Sellers do not want to spend huge amounts of money to get their house sold.  Most sellers would like to preserve any money they get out of the house for the new place.  So the answer would depend on the condition of the carpet.  If the carpet is only a couple years old and can be cleaned, then it might not be worth it to spend the money on new carpet.  Older carpet that is not stained could also show well enough that a buyer would not be turned off completely by the look and feel of the carpet.  Carpet that is 10+ years old and/ or is visibilly stained would be carpet that is "bad" and in my opinion would require a discussion with your Real Estate Agent regarding whether or not it should be replaced.

There are a couple different ways to handle bad carpet.

#1. You can offer a dollar amount for new carpet.  The pros of doing it this way is that the buyer can pick out their own carpet, and you won't have the hassle of getting new carpet installed.  The cons are that you will not be able to acheive the "best foot forward" principle.  When putting your house on the market it is a competition and you want to have your house in the best possible condition it can be in.  There is no perfect house, but it is important to remove as many objections to your house as possible.  Also, buyers will not get that "wow" factor when they walk in the door.  Depending on what the carpet looks like, they could get that "yuk" feeling, and no amount of money to replace the old carpet will fix the feeling they have.


#2.  You can replace the old carpet with new carpet.  This option requires some upfront funds, time and effort with the hope that it will give you a greater sale price for your house.  I am a strong believer in staging, cleaning out closets, boxing up "stuff" to make the house look better.  Those are all "free" things that require your time and will give you a big return on the effort you put into it.  The carpet, in my opinion, fits into this category although it also requires a large amount of money.  The pros for new carpet are obvious... The house will look clean, fresh and give a great first impression!  The cons are also obvious... The cost, the time, and the hassle of having carpet installed with all of your things still in the house.

Bottom Line: Should I Replace The Carpet Before I Put My House On The Market?

It depends!  Do you have the money to invest in the sale of your home?  Is the carpet bad enough in your own opinion that you wouldn't enjoy sitting on it and playing a game with your family?  Was your carpet purchased in the 1990's or earlier?  Then YES!!!  Buyers may even look past other small negatives because they are distracted by how nice and clean the house feels!

Comments (33)

Lee Alley
Pro Mobile Photo - Snohomish, WA
DIY Your Own Expert Smartphone Photography

I believe new flooring in the "key" rooms, if needed, costsless than the alternative of lower price and flooring allowance.  Kitchen, LR, DR, MBR need fine flooring.

Aug 30, 2012 11:41 AM
Karin Lundeen
Keller Williams Realty - Denver Southlands - Centennial, CO
Realtor Centennial Homes For Sale

H Lee ~ I agree that most sellers will spend less if they get it done themselves!

Aug 30, 2012 10:13 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I have a house like that now. The carpet was so worn and full of holes and stains, I had them pull it up and they did a somewhat professional job with the wood underneath. It's not perfect but a hundred times better than before.

Sep 05, 2012 05:33 AM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Alliance 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Karin, The first option of offering an allowance seems to lead to double discounting.  Buyers take the allowance AND aren't willing to pay as much either, so it costs the sellers twice.  If at all possible, our advice will be to replace it prior to putting the sign in the yard and keep it under the sellers control.  Plus the "want to move right in" buyers won't eliminate an otherwise good fit from their list.

Sep 06, 2012 05:48 AM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

I think you're right in that it "depends."  but, if the carpet smells/has pet stains, I think you really NEED to replace it...or if there is hardwood underneath it, you can refinish that.  In our area, refinishing the hardwood will often cost less than recarpeting and it will usually improve the vlaue of the home.  Or, if the customer is super limited on funds, they could just rip up the smelly/stained carpet.  That is way better than having that smelly carpet in there.

Sep 06, 2012 06:33 AM
Tricia Hoffmann
Your Home Free - Highland Village, TX

Before I was in real estate, my husband and I decided to put in new carpet in every room except the master.  We put a sign up that said "Carpet has been purchased and will be installed prior to closing".  We just got a puppy and had the doggie door going through that room and she had eaten some of the old carpet.  Why replace it when it would get torn up again.

Would you believe we got feedback like "Carpet in master needs to be replaced".  Really??!!

I also had a client that was in the flooring industry and always commented on their selections "I wish they wouldn't have put this crap in".

The key is, when selling, no matter what, try to have a clean, well-kept house.  Do what you can in the meantime!

Sep 06, 2012 07:29 AM
Karin Lundeen
Keller Williams Realty - Denver Southlands - Centennial, CO
Realtor Centennial Homes For Sale

Hi Jill,  Sometimes even an imperfect fix is better than what it was:)

Liz & Bill ~  We don't want to encourage double discounting!!!

Debbie ~ Hardwood is definitely going to show better than yucky carpet!

Tricia ~ I had a listing and we weren't going to allow any showings until the carpet was installed, but the Buyer's Agent persisted, so I allowed it and made sure they new that new carpeting was going to be installed.  After the showing i received the feedback " House is a little rough around the edges and the carpeting needs to be replaced"  ugh!  How do some of these agent make a living when they don't listen!!!

Sep 06, 2012 07:42 AM
Andrew Ostrander
Ostrander Real Estate Group - Phoenix, AZ
Ostrander Real Estate Group

Always better to upgrade flooring if it is even remotely suspect.  Yes, cleaning is easier if the carpet is relatively new and I even encourage clients to try that first since it is so inexpensive.  But, they need to understand that if it isn't in great condition and smells nice we either have to replace or be prepared for those comments and that potential buyers will discount the price to take that into account.

Sep 06, 2012 09:19 AM
Karin Lundeen
Keller Williams Realty - Denver Southlands - Centennial, CO
Realtor Centennial Homes For Sale

Andrew ~ They will definitely discount... and usually more than just getting it replaced!

Sep 06, 2012 09:26 AM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Sometimes it is better to remove the old carpet so that they can then imagine...the new carpet that they would choose. and give an allowance..

Sep 06, 2012 10:54 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

#3 -- you can leave it and sell the home AS IS.  We closed a deal a little less then a month ago.  The carpet was worn and even faded in some parts.  My client bought the house even with the terrrible carpet.  I saved my client over $10,000 in the deal and the other amenities -- great lot overlooking a pristine protected area -- were better things to focus on.

Sep 06, 2012 11:44 AM
Tiffany Sniezek
RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring, TX 713-594-9639 direct, - The Woodlands, TX
Tiffany Sniezek 713-594-9639 RE/MAX Woodlands TX

I have a client right now that is hung up that the home does not have newer carpet.  I explained to them it could work out to as they can choose their own and they like that option.  So, it does definitely depend but in this case they prefer to pick it themselves.

Sep 06, 2012 01:24 PM
Karin Lundeen
Keller Williams Realty - Denver Southlands - Centennial, CO
Realtor Centennial Homes For Sale

Hi Ginger, Not everyone is able to imagine so it gets hard to convince a client to buy something that doesn't look good>

Carla,  Good point, some buyers prefer picking the carpet out themselves!

Tiffany, Some people are able to see past a few negatives, but others can't.  Nice your client had you to talk her through it!

Sep 06, 2012 01:30 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Karin - You've given a good explanation of the reasoning and pros and cons of new carpet.

Sep 06, 2012 03:59 PM
Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Good morning Karin - Wise post. Great that these sellers are willing to recognize that their carpet needs replacement and aren't pretending it's perfectly fine :)

Sep 06, 2012 08:50 PM
Karin Lundeen
Keller Williams Realty - Denver Southlands - Centennial, CO
Realtor Centennial Homes For Sale

Hi Erica, I couldn't agree more!

Thanks Christine!

Wayne and Jean, I try and help sellers see things from a buyers point of view!

Sep 06, 2012 10:06 PM
Mike Yeo
3:16 team REALTY - Frisco, TX

Good morning Karin. Great advise about carpet. It really depends on the seller's situation. It is great to have the talk upfront to avoid any surprises.

Sep 07, 2012 12:33 AM
Karin Lundeen
Keller Williams Realty - Denver Southlands - Centennial, CO
Realtor Centennial Homes For Sale

Hey Mike, Having a discussion about potential problems for buyers is important!

Sep 07, 2012 04:18 AM

Thank you for this, and especially for Lee's comment -- we hadn't even thought about just replacing it in the main area.  Our real estate agent has a huge list of things we "need" to do before putting the house on the market -- about $20,000 worth.  For a $200,000 house.  *sigh*  Now I understand all the "seller to make no further repairs" listings.  It's ridiculous to me; that is about the total amount of equity.  Replacing two rooms, however, might be doable!

Jul 07, 2013 05:20 AM
Karin Lundeen
Keller Williams Realty - Denver Southlands - Centennial, CO
Realtor Centennial Homes For Sale

Hi Julie,  Thanks for your comments!  It seems like spending $20,000 is a lot to get a house ready to sell!  I like the idea of just doing a couple rooms.  Good compromise!

Jul 07, 2013 08:51 AM