Updating an 80s or 90s House

Real Estate Agent with Associate Broker, Momentum Realty

I live and sell in a community where  A LOT of the homes were built in the 80s and 90s. As homes are turning over, there are some things that were done when these homes were built that are dated or ready to be replaced. I see, unfortunately, many folks who just want to leave all that for someone else. In this HGTV world, buyers are less enthusiastic than ever about taking on projects.

First on the list is updating kitchens and bathrooms. These are big projects and not everyone has the time or money to take them on prior to listing. If you do, make sure you spend your money wisely. Remove those corner bathtubs. Put in solid surface counter-tops. Stainless steel appliances are still safe. If big projects are not on your list, there are still some other things you can do to update your home.


  1. Replace your front landscaping. If it is still original, or even replaced once before, it is probably overgrown for your front yard. Even if you are a 'tree hugger,' this is the time to let that go and look at how much better your home will look with new plantings.
  2. Replace your garage doors. They are old and they are creaky. New garage doors not only look better, but the operate much more quietly giving buyers the impression that you have maintained your home well.
  3. Inspect your roof. If it hasn't been replaced yet, it is close to nearing the end of its useful life. Have someone out to check it and be open to replacing it.
  4. Have your HVAC system(s) inspected. Again, if it is original to the house, you may need to replace it or, at the very least, make sure it is inspected and serviced.
  5. Check the Hot Water Heater. Same as the HVAC system.
  6. Update fixtures. Including, but not limited to: faucets, light fixtures (hall, foyer, bathrooms, kitchens, exterior), sinks, light switches and door knobs. Each of these things will contribute to making your home look well-tended and updated.
  7. Freshen the Deck and Patio. Make sure your deck is safe and well finished. Replace any rotting boards. There are some great resurfacing sealants that can help you get a couple of extra years from the deck. Power wash your patio and make sure that it is in good shape. If necessary, have a contractor come and reappoint it so that it looks fresh and ready for entertaining.
  8. Resurface or replace your driveway. Driveways don't last forever. Make sure yours looks ready for the long haul.
  9. Remove wall paper. I know that you still like it and you don't feel it is dated. My experience with buyers is that even if they agree, they still want it down. Why? Because it is a big job that they don't want to take on later after they tire of it.
  10. Update flooring. Buyers want hard surface flooring. Make sure your floors are updated, and in good shape. If you are going to have carpet in your house make sure it is steam cleaned or, better yet, brand new.

This list is not all inclusive and each home will generate a different list. My point is just know that in order to optimize your sales price, you will need to put some money into your home. Work closely with a REALTOR® who understands your market and put together a list that will allow you to maximize your return on investment.


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 Momentum Realty

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