How much will you spend fixing your house before a sale

Real Estate Technology

This article was originally published on the Home Value Leads blog.

Selling a house can be a difficult chore. There isn’t a magical light switch that you turn on that allows you to sell your client’s home at the highest possible price. 

Maintenance. Renovations. Home Staging. Those are the three words that all real estate agents must keep in mind as they begin the process of selling a client’s home. Don’t fool yourself. It takes money to make money. The statement’s true for everything. It’s even true for your clients.

Real estate agent clients must provide the required maintenance, renovate their homes, and stage their homes to make it an attractive purchase. You, the real estate agent, must also hold their hand throughout the entire process. The more you can sell your client’s home for, the more you put into your bank account.

Home Maintenance: Are the air conditioning and heating systems in top shape? How’s the home’s foundation? Are the roof and plumbing up to code? If the basics of the home are in bad shape, you’ve got no shot at getting the most you can from selling your client’s residence.

House Renovations: Start in the kitchen. How old are the appliances? Should your client replace the cabinets? It’s been proven that home buyers first look at the kitchen. You know this. A clean, up to date kitchen could send the residence up the price ladder. Don’t forget to discuss the bathrooms with your client. Every bathroom in the home should appear as modern as possible based on the client’s renovation budget.

Home Staging: Home staging means you, the real estate agent, must prepare the home for sale in the real estate marketplace. You might want to consider taking on this part of the home selling process yourself. Not many clients are as good at home staging as the real estate agent is likely to be.

One final word on budget: stress to your clients the importance of not skimping out on maintenance and renovations. A few thousand spent today could help a real estate agent sell a home for an extra $10,000 to $15,000 (or even more!) in the future.

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Before selling a house:

Assessing your house’s condition

  1. The big four (we call them the big four because they cost the most money to fix) These must be fixed or the property may not qualify for a loan
      • HVAC- Air conditioning and heating systems
      • Foundation
      • Roof
      • Plumbing
  1. Make necessary cosmetic improvements - compare your house to other houses in the neighborhood
    • Have the other houses in your neighborhood upgraded?
    • Spaces to consider
      • Kitchens
      • Bathrooms
      • Master bathroom
      • Living room
  1. Prepare your house for the market
    • Once the house is mechanically sound and upgraded it must be completely cleaned and decluttered
    • Removing items stored in the garage and emptying closets and other rooms to make them appear larger


  • A home inspection can cost between $500 and $1000
  • The condition of the house directly affects the
    • Repairs and improvements
    • Money and time
  • If your house is not in good condition, expect to spend more money, time, and resources.
  • The National Association of Realtors suggest that buyers will automatically subtract double the cost of any repairs and unfinished issues.

Average costs for deferred home maintenance repairs

  • Electricity $500 - $3,509
    • Average cost of electric repairs go from $500 to $3,509 depending on the electrical project.
  • Heating & Cooling $750 - $15,552
    • Heating and cooling repairs cost from $750 to $15,552 depending on the project.
  • Plumbing $204 - $5,145
    • Plumbing repair services go from $204 to $5,145 depending on the services.
    • The average cost per hour of a plumber ranges from $45 - $150.
  • Water damage $1,043 – $30,852
    • Repairing water damage costs between $1,043 to $30,852, depending on the severity of the damage.
  • Gas $150 - $7,000
    • The average costs of repairing a gas leakage range from $150 to $7,000 depending on the type of repair.
  • Termites $500 - $2,500
    • The average costs of termite control go from $500 to $2,500 depending on the method of extermination (DIY up to chemical extermination).
  • Mold $500 - $60,000
    • On average, professional mold remediation and repair can cost from $500 - $60,000/; and depending on the severity of the mold, it can soar into tens of thousands.

Total average cost of deferred home maintenance repairs is $20,760


  • Newly renovated homes will receive a higher market price.
  • Renovation costs often run higher than what you might have originally budgeted.
  • Renovations are recommended for sellers who do not need to move out quickly, as these take time and money.

Average costs for renovations

  • Lighting fixture = $499
  • Door =  $860
  • Garage door = x $1,061
  • Interior paint =  $1,656
  • Exterior paint = $2,647
  • Windows = $4,745
  • Deck = $6,919
  • Bathroom = $11,365
  • Kitchen = $19,920
  • Master bedroom addition = $21,500
  • Living room = $23,042

Total average cost of renovating main living spaces of a home: $8,565

Home Staging

  • When you home stage, you prepare your house for the marketplace.
  • Home staging makes your house more appealing to potential buyers.
  • Staging won’t make your home sell for more.

When budgeting for home staging, budget 1% to 3% of your asking price for staging. Costs for home staging can range from a couple hundred dollars up to $5,000 or more. The average home seller spends an average of $1,800 on home staging. Staging includes

  • Props
  • Rentals
  • Services (power washers, lawn care, deep cleaning)
  • Professional stagers

Staging services average $400 to $600 but this depends on the market and square footage. Total average cost for basic DIY home staging: $1,800 Total average cost for fixing up your house before a sale can go up to: $21,153 Notes:

  • All costs are averages and they may vary depending on location, sizes, and condition.
  • Your house may not need all the services and renovations mentioned here, this is a global average cost in case your whole house would need fixing.
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Comments (2)

Peter Mohylsky, Beach Expert
PMI. Destin - Miramar Beach, FL
Call me at 850-517-7098

lengthy post and slightly fuzz on my screen but thanks for posting this information,

Jan 16, 2020 06:37 AM