Refurbish before selling?

Q: I’m thinking of selling my home and it’s looking quite tired. Should I spend money refurbishing it or put it onto the market as it is?

A: This is a common dilemma for anyone selling. It depends how tired your property is. For example, if your property is very run down and needs new bathrooms, a new kitchen, new flooring throughout and so on, you’re better off marketing it as a refurbishment opportunity. With so many home improvement shows on TV these days, UK buyers love getting their teeth stuck into a project and I’ve seen many properties go to sealed bids and sell for a premium because there was a flurry of buyers all desperate to do a refurbishment.

If your home is looking a little run down but nothing more than that, there is an argument for freshening it up. However, if you’re going to go down this route then make sure you do it properly. Don’t do a cheap job as most buyers will pick up on this. In which case they’ll probably want to rip out what you’ve done and start again – and they certainly won’t reimburse you for the money you spent.

This also applies if you’re doing a complete refurbishment on a property to sell. I see so many awful refurbishments and it’s really frustrating. There’s a huge difference between walking into a home which has been lovingly refurbished and lived in, where every tiny element of the property has been considered, versus walking into a property which looks nice on the surface but in reality has had little thought put into it. Some developers are superb and do think about every element, whereas others spend money on what they perceive to be wow factors – such as blue up lights in hallways or projector screens – but they’ve failed to think about, or care about, small practical details such as where the buyer will put their coats when they enter the property.

The more you respect your potential buyers, the more you’re likely to appeal to them and, in turn, achieve the best possible price. Those sellers who try to make a quick buck on the other hand are often caught out. So whatever approach you choose to take, just make sure you do it well.

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email or tweet her @joeccles.