2. Repairs, Updates, and Improvements

Woman painting blue house sunny day

Repairs, Updates, and Improvements

There are many things that a home seller can do to increase their home’s real and perceived value in the eyes of potential buyers. Making the right repairs and desirable updates will show buyers that your home is move-in ready.

Walls and Floors

Fresh paint: Nothing revitalizes a room like freshly painted walls and trim. Neutral wall colors help buyers imagine their belongings in the space. To make a room appear to be bigger than it is, you should paint it the same color as adjacent rooms. Stains or marks on the ceilings, especially from old leaks, must be patched and painted over (after fixing the cause of the problem!).

Wallpaper: Wallcoverings come in and out of style. Many buyers have problems seeing past wallpaper that they don't like. If you have a wallpaper that is an unusual color or pattern, you should consider removing it and painting the walls.

French doors opening to living room

Tile and stone floors: These floors usually look great for many years, but are very noticeable when sections are chipped or cracked. Even if you don’t have extra tiles on hand, most problems can be repaired by a professional.

Hardwood floors: Wood floors are the top choice of buyers in all price categories, so it’s worth the effort and expense to get them into good condition. If your floors are scratched, they can be screened and polished or sanded and refinished.

Carpeting: Wall-to-wall carpeting needs to be free from worn spots, stains, and odors. If steam cleaning doesn’t make carpets and rugs smell fresh and appear clean, then you should consider replacing them. Buckled carpeting can be stretched and re-tacked if it's in otherwise good condition.


Cabinets: Doors, drawers, and interiors should be free from marks and scratches. If needed, they should be touched up or refinished. Doors and drawers should open and close smoothly. New handles, knobs, and hinges are easily replaced and instantly update the room.

White kitchen with island and stainless appliances

Appliances: They don’t need to be brand new, but they should be clean and attractive. Make sure they are in good working order.

Countertops: If your Formica or tile countertops are in poor condition, you should consider installing replacements. New granite or solid surface tops can be quite affordable and more than pay for themselves when you sell.


Bright, Clean, and Functional: Nice bathrooms are always high on buyer wish lists. You can dress you a bathroom with fresh towels and pretty soaps, but first, make sure that everything is in good working order.

Fixtures: Sinks, showers, and bathtubs are always checked during showings and need to be in good condition. Small chips in sinks and tubs are usually simple repairs that you can make yourself.

Bathroom with blue tile and white vessel sink

Faucets: They should be clean and shiny, and they definitely shouldn't leak! Water pressure is important, too, so make sure plumbing is in good working order. Drains need to run freely.

Light Fixtures: Jewelry for the bathroom! Consider installing new light fixtures matched to cabinet hardware and towel bars. 

Mechanical Systems

A pre-listing inspection is the best way to discover any problems with your home’s major systems. It’s almost always less expensive and stressful to do necessary repairs ahead of time, rather than in the time crunch after the buyer’s home inspection.

Hire a licensed electrician to repair bad wiring, problem sockets or switches, or an overloaded electrical panel. Electrical problems are always a big concern for inspectors.

Your furnace, air conditioner, and hot water heater should be in good condition, with no leaks. Clean the vents and put in new filters.

Plumbing lines for the hot water heater, dishwasher, and washing machine should be checked for leaks and replaced if necessary.

Man power washing white siding and deck

Exterior Repairs and Maintenance

The beginning of curb appeal is a well-maintained appearance. The condition of the exterior of the home is just as important to buyers as the home's interior.

  • Make sure the front door and locks are in good condition. If the front door is in bad shape, then paint, stain or consider replacing it.
  • Siding, window frames, and trim should be free from damage, and clean or newly painted.
  • Repair or replace loose or missing shingles, flashing, and masonry.
  • Gutters and downspouts should be in good condition and carry water away from the foundation.
  • Power wash the driveway, patios, decks, walkways, stairs, and outdoor buildings.
  • Repair cracks or sinking in walkways, the driveway, patios, stairs, and porch or deck footings.
  • Paint, stain, or even replace worn-out garage doors.

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