Senior Living


Health & Spirit

Home Repair Value

Doug Mayberry on

Q: My husband and I are looking forward to moving into a wonderful retirement community, which will put us closer to our children. In order to buy a home there, we're looking to sell our longtime family home for a reasonable price.

A major problem is that we haven't done work on the house for a long time. The decor is outdated, and many things need attention. Looking at similar houses for sale, it seems like they're either selling for below what we hope to get or staying on the market for a long time.

How can we get a decent price for our house?

A: Focus on repairs that will get you the most value.

Any major structural repairs will deduct from your selling price, but you may be unable to tackle them. If you have serious damage to the electrical system or plumbing, you may have to sell for lower than you are hoping.

Talk to a real estate agent and ask what they recommend. They know the most about the local market and what buyers are looking for. Be specific in asking what renovations will generate the most profit; what you fix should depend on demand.


Fix anything that is visibly broken, such as windows, leaky faucets, ceiling and wall cracks and appliances.

Kitchens and bathrooms yield a high return, so focus on these areas. A new paint job and a change of old fixtures is highly likely to attract buyers and will be relatively inexpensive.

Most buyers look for a house that is ready for them to live in. If your home isn't in good condition, you have a narrower list of potential buyers.

Depending on the market, it may also make sense to replace a wrecked roof. Buyers may consider your home a "fixer-upper," and their asking price is likely to be lower than the home value minus the cost of a roof repair. This is due to the inconvenience.


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