Should You Make Repairs Before a Property Sale?

Every property owner selling a property wants to achieve the highest price possible. In the course of preparing to put a property on the market, attention will often turn to improvements that can be made to enhance a property’s appeal and likelihood of achieving a better price.

Vendors selling properties in competitive markets, including the market for investment properties in Sydney, often consider and undertake repairs — including large and small scale repairs and renovations — to maximise the profit they can achieve. While this may seem a great way to make extra money, it is important that property owners do not over capitalise, but instead remain focused on the repairs and modifications that yield the largest return.

Yes or no?

Essentially, it is wise to fix problems that are immediately obvious and concerning when selling a home or investment property. Sydney real estate is indeed competitive, and purchasers expect to achieve exceptional value for their financial investment.

Most often, seeing to the ‘quick fix’ items in a property will pay off, but a number of variables will determine the types of repairs that derive the greatest value. Such variables include:

  • The time of year
  • The location of the property
  • Market trends
  • The quality, condition, features and other features of similar properties on the market

Areas of repair to consider:

Flooring:  The type of flooring that features throughout a property can definitely influence a buyer’s perception. If the flooring in the property that you intend to sell (or already have on the market) is damaged, dated, of poor quality or is unimpressive for any other reason, replacing it can make a huge difference. Consider current trends and seek advice as to the types of flooring that most appeal to your target market. Having an appraisal of your property and the value that is likely to be added through such a repair will also help guide you in terms of how much you should invest in replacement flooring.

Painting:  A new coat of paint (possibly in a new colour, but one that will hold appeal for a range of buyers) can make a world of difference to a property and how it is perceived. The good news for vendors is that painting can often be done quite inexpensively, representing great value for investment. A good paint job almost invariably conveys a message of freshness, but keep in mind that it is not just the walls that attract the attention of potential buyers — many spend a lot of time inspecting the ceilings, looking for signs of a leaky roof and cracked cornices.

Kitchen improvements:  Although kitchen repairs and renovations can often be expensive, they quite often result in a worthwhile return on the monetary outlay. While it may not be necessary to replace all appliances so that they are the most contemporary and sophisticated available, replacing or fixing cabinets and bench tops that are old, outdated and damaged can greatly improve the look of your kitchen, the feelings potential buyers have about your property and the money you are able to achieve through its sale.

Bathroom improvements:  Like the kitchen, buyers are heavily influenced by the state of a bathroom when considering the purchase of a property. If the bathroom is dilapidated, run down and dated, many buyers will be deterred and recognise that they would need to spend money on renovations and repairs in this room if they were to acquire the property. Even if you do not repair, replace or update the entire bathroom, attention to and repair of floors, fixtures and lights will often pay dividends when selling.

In an ideal world, many buyers seek to purchase a home that does not require significant repairs (of course, property investors are generally an exception). There are a number of repairs a vendor can make in order to increase the appeal and price that buyers will pay for a property, but it is important that the repairs made prior to sale do not involve spending to excess and in areas that will not deliver profitable return when a purchase price is agreed.

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