Do's and Don'ts of Presale Home Updates

You've decided to sell your home.  Neighboring homes have recently sold for top-dollar, but they also spent a lot of money remodeling.  Does that mean you need to upgrade your home to sell or is it worth trying to sell as is?  If it's listed as is, will it be passed up and stuck on the market?

Fortunately, full-scale remodels aren’t required to sell your home. While a complete home makeover may bring a higher sale price, it’s not always worth the time and effort. 

How do you know what’s worth fixing up? Here are the do’s and don’ts I follow when helping homeowners prepare for market: 


  • Clear walking space throughout (and around) the home. Repair uneven flooring and sidewalks and rearrange furnishings (if necessary) so there is a three-foot wide minimum pathway through each room for touring buyers.  Hallways that are three feet wide or narrower should be clear of side tables, stools, and benches. 
  • Fix pet damage and lingering odors. Scratches on doors, torn window screens and holes in the yard will only make buyers wary of further pet damage on the property.
  • Fix water stains. Even if you’ve fixed the pipes or plumbing issues, buyers may still worry about mildew or mold problems plus water stains just don't look pretty!
  • Deep clean to sparkle. While this won’t magically make your home look magazine-spread-worthy, it will make it look, feel, and smell good to buyers.  ☝️ Designer tip: If you're pressed for time, deep cleaning can be done after the listing photos are taken, but before showings take place.
  • Update the basics. In most homes and markets, this is all you should be focusing on.  A home that has a kitchen with appliances that function and match and bathrooms that have been freshened up with a big mirror and bright lights are always appealing to buyers.


  • Make updates that are inconsistent.  A new, modern kitchen will look silly next to a dining room with golden oak paneling and a polished brass chandelier.  Only commit to updates that you can afford to carry through the entire house such as all new carpet or fresh paint on all interior walls.  
  • Decorate the home with trendy or bold colors. Neutral colors (especially the right white paint) photograph better, make the space look larger, and help buyers visualize the house with their belongings. Bold and bright colors do the opposite.  ☝️ Designer tip: Add pops of color with tasteful accessories to make your home look current and on-trend.  2019 Trend Report (with Amazon shopping links!)
  • Renovate beyond what your neighbors have done. Buyers will make offers based on what comparable sales suggest, no matter how much money you’ve spent on remodeling.

A few repairs and upgrades can certainly make your home more marketable but a full-scale remodel just isn't worth it in most cases.  These do's and don'ts can serve as a starting point. 

If you're not sure how to make your curb appeal and each room look its best, get in touch today for a custom home staging checklist to use as your guide!

Subscribe to my newsletter and you'll get the two tools I made just for sellers: a DIY Staging Checklist and the 5 Things Every Home Needs to Attract a Buyer
Follow us on Facebook for Staging tips you can easily apply in the home you're selling - @StageMyListings 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published