Things To Repair Before Selling A House

What to Fix When Selling a House

Considering the expense of buying a home, plus the costs to move, it is easy to see why most people try not to spend too much money on the home that they are selling. We learn to live with a bit of inconvenience to save a few dollars.

However, the next person who buys your existing home will likely want those nagging items fixed before moving in.

It is common for a real estate contract to be canceled due to repair issues. In a report released by the National Association of Realtors, 17% of the purchase contracts signed in May 2020 were canceled due to repair and inspection issues.

That means 1 out of 6 real estate contracts are terminated because of some delayed repair issue.

Fixing the issues now before having a contract fall through and cause you to possibly miss out on your next home.

Listed below are the top areas to fix when selling a home.

Exterior Drain Issues

The gutters on the house along with the shrubs are there for an important reason; they keep the rain away from the foundation of the home and prevent erosion.

You can notice these issues by spotting trouble spots such as spongy soil located next to the foundation of the home or wet stains in the basement.

The first thing to check is the downspouts and the overall condition of the gutters. Clean out all of the gutters thoroughly along with the downspouts.

If that is not the issue, it could be a case of a bad layout of the yard. Trees and bushes located in the wrong spot, or a slope of the yard itself, can cause some major issues with drainage. Talk to a landscape expert and find out how these items can be fixed before listing the home for sale.

Home Foundation Issues

As mentioned in the previous section, drainage problems can impact the foundation of the home.

Some issues, such as patching a crack, can be rather quick and easy to fix.

Other items can be burdensome, expensive, and possibly impact the ability to sell the home.

Some things to look out for in the home that indicate an issue with the foundation are

  • Doors get stuck or will not close properly
  • Windows are incredibly difficult to open or close
  • A pitch in the floor that feels like you are going downhill or uphill when walking
  • Visible cracks in the interior wall
  • A gap between the top of your kitchen cabinets and the ceiling

If you have noticed any of these signs in your home, please contact a professional to review the foundation of the home. Foundation problems can make the home dangerous to live in.

Damaged Wires and Other Electrical Nightmares

On an average year, over 50,000 homes will experience some type of electrical fire. This information comes from the Electrical Safety Foundation International located in Arlington, VA.

Wire damage, or faulty electrical work, can cover a wide range of issues and also a wide range of costs.

Like a junction box that has been damaged or some writing that is frayed and needs replacing, some items will be a rather simple repair that a certified electrician can fix in short order for a reasonable fee.

Other things, like the circuit breaker for your home, can be time-consuming and expensive to repair.

Go through the home and review the electrical outlets as well as the light switches, to see that there are no obvious signs of damage. Check out the breaker box and inspect for any clues that there could be problems.

If you are not sure about these items, contact an electrician to look over the home and provide feedback on possible problems.

Roof Damage

A roof, like the foundation, is essential to the safety of the home. Keeping this item in good shape will protect the home and all your valuables.

One common area that causes issues is something we mentioned earlier in this article, the gutters. If the gutters are not cleaned regularly, the water from the gutters can get backed up under the edges of the roof. This will rot out any wood around it and lead to damage to the shingles.

Other issues for a roof can come from the sun such as curled-up shingles. Then there are things like ripped shingles that come loose in major storms.

While it is impossible to prevent these problems due to Mother Nature, it is important to fix any noticeable problem as soon as it happens.

Allowing one or two loose shingles to sit around for weeks or months can lead to major leaks in the roof, which damages the sub-structure and could lead to major damage to your ceiling.

Plumbing Problems

As we have discussed, water can damage a home due to issues with the gutters or an issue with draining due to the yard layout. So, it is no surprise that water can damage the inside of the home if there is a problem with the plumbing.

The biggest problems with plumbing come in the form of leaks. It could be a leak from a drain located under a sink or a leak around the edge of a toilet. Or it could be a leak inside a wall or floor.

If you spot water, it is best to assume there is a problem and treat it right away. Excess water can lead to extensive damage as well as rot or mold. Mold can be very expensive to treat and time-consuming to get fixed properly.

There are also other minor issues, such as a dripping faucet or a drain that clogs up frequently.

A licensed plumber can tackle all of these problems and get the items repaired so that you can be ready to sell your home.

Problems with the Air Conditioner and Heater

Some problem areas can be masked or undetected for a while. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the air conditioner and heater. You know as soon as the weather changes that there is a problem.

It is incredibly difficult to sell a home when the temperature inside the house is uncomfortable.

Sometimes the unit is not working due to a maintenance issue or a ventilation problem. A certified HVAC technician can visit the home, inspect the problem, and provide you with a solution and appropriate costs.

There are instances where the unit simply needs a tune-up and items need to be removed from the vent to allow more air to flow. Other times the price to fix the issue may be more costly.

Pay Attention to Bathrooms and Kitchen

Two areas of almost any home that will get a lot of attention from potential buyers are the bathrooms and kitchen.

Whether it is entertaining guests, getting ready for the workday, or relaxing after a busy schedule, most people will spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This room sees a lot of traffic and gets used in a variety of ways. Therefore, it makes sense to add special attention to this area.

First, as previously mentioned, check to see that the sink is working correctly with no leaks or drips.

Next, move on to the electrical supply. There needs to be a sufficient supply of electricity for the major appliances like the stove and refrigerator as well as places to plug up smaller items such as a toaster, blender, and coffee maker.

You want to make sure the cabinets are clean, decluttered, and without any noticeable damage.

Finally, make sure the floors are clean and free of any problems.

In the bathroom, make sure the sinks, tubs, and toilets all drain properly and that there are no leaks.

Check the vent over the shower to make sure it is clean and allowing air to flow properly.

Replace any cracked or damaged tiles in the floor, shower, or backsplash along the counters.

Finally, in both the kitchen and bathroom, make sure that all the light fixtures are working and replace any faulty bulbs. A bright kitchen and bathroom make a home feel more inviting.

Garage Doors and Exterior Doors

Getting into the home is rather important to a new homeowner. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to inspect all the exterior doors and the garage door to see if there are any issues to repair before selling a home.

Inspect the exterior doors and see if there are any chips or scratches that are distracting to the eye. Clean up the door handles and give them a thorough test to make sure they work properly. The doors should be easy to open and close without any extra effort.

The garage door needs to work correctly along with their remotes. If there are any major problems with the garage door, you may need to hire someone to inspect it and make the necessary repairs.

Consider a Pre-Inspection Before Listing a Home for Sale

If you are not sure about some of the items mentioned above, or you do not feel comfortable tackling some of these projects, it could be a wise investment of your money to pay for a pre-inspection.

Getting your home inspected by a professional will help you in several ways and possibly save you some headaches.

First, the inspector can identify any major issues that will need to be repaired for the home to pass an FHA or VA home appraisal. Since you cannot be certain of the type of financing that will be used to buy your home, it is wise to find out if your place fits within the guidelines of two of the most popular types of home loans.

Second, the pre-inspection will help you and your real estate agent to set a realistic price on the home. By finding out the value of the home’s current condition and repairing any major issues, you and your agent can confidently put a price on the home based on your local market.

Third, reduces delays and the chance of renegotiation. There are times when a homeowner has just been too busy to attend to a few small issues that needed repair. When these issues come to light due to an appraisal or home inspection, the time it takes to get the item fixed and then re-inspected, can delay the loan closing and cause some irritation for the seller and buyer.

If all the items on the home have been repaired before a buyer looks at the place, there is less chance of them renegotiating due to a delayed repair issue.

Fourth, it will save you time and aggravation. If you get a pre-inspection and you find out that there are a few things to fix and it will take a few weeks to get everything fixed, you now have a plan to put in place before selling the home. You can talk to any needed professionals, line up the work, and get everything finished before placing the home on the market. This means that when a potential buyer provides you with an offer to purchase contract, you are assured that the home is in tip-top shape and you will not lose time waiting on an emergency repair and the appraiser or home inspector to make a 2nd visit to your home.

Selling one home and moving to a new location can be a rather exciting adventure. However, that excitement can be hampered by the hassles that come from delays due to repair issues on your existing property.

Summing Up Things to Fix When Selling a House

Take some time to inspect your home as if you are seeing it for the first time. Consider if you would be happy to buy a home in this current condition. Taking this approach will help you objectively look at the home and see what needs the most attention before selling the house.

What to Fix When Selling a House

What Should Be Fixed Before You Sell Your House

About the author: This article on “Things to Repair Before You Sell Your House” was written by Luke Skar of As the Social Media Strategist, his role is to provide original content for all of their social media profiles as well as generate new leads from his website.

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Filed under: Real Estate

Luke Skar

Luke Skar is the web developer and content strategist for Currently working for NRL Mortgage which serves 47 states including Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Florida. Guided by his 20-plus years of various mortgage marketing experience, Luke provides top-quality SEO services, effective social media management, and web development and maintenance. Luke’s career in the mortgage industry began back in 2001, as a loan processor. After becoming a loan officer for a number of years, Luke now runs To ensure that all the information he posts is fresh, accurate, and up-to-date, Luke relies on the knowledge which his years of dedication to keeping up with the constant change that the mortgage industry provides.


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