Repairs before the sale: Pros and Cons

Before putting an apartment on display for potential buyers, many ask themselves about the advisability of carrying out repairs. Each owner wants to sell their home in the shortest possible time and at the most favorable price. What are the advantages and disadvantages of renovation before selling an apartment?

Repair before the sale: is it necessary or not?

Selling an apartment, each owner sets individual priorities for himself. For some, they consist of the quick sale of real estate; for others, in a lucrative offer from the buyer; for others, they are on sale without unnecessary legal delays and dozens of views. At the same time, most sellers are sure that the home renovation will significantly affect the process of selling an apartment: the speed of the transaction, price formation, and other related components.

But each apartment is a particular case. Repairs with a single budget amount can affect the sale of Khrushchev on the outskirts of the city, and at the same time, may not affect the competitiveness of elite-class housing in a new building. Therefore, before carrying out repairs before selling an apartment, the owner should consider the existing risks and correctly calculate their benefits.

Feasibility of repair

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An apartment is a product, the condition of which determines the buyer’s desire to purchase it. In most cases, a potential owner buys real estate for his residence (or for relatives), and in the case of using the premises for business, the requirements are entirely different. Leaks and cracks on the walls, old rust on pipes, and non-closing windows are unlikely to contribute to the sale of an apartment.

Carrying out repair work when selling an apartment is relevant in such cases:

  • the last renovation was carried out more than ten years ago (during this time, most communications, wall and floor coverings wear out);
  • visible damage and defects on the surface of the floor, walls, and ceilings;
  • dilapidated pipes, plumbing, electrical wiring, or windows;
  • not the most advantageous location of housing within the boundaries of the settlement;
  • Housing needs to be sold quickly or at an overpriced price.

But in some cases, the seller may not make repairs for an effective sale:

  • apartment with fine finishing;
  • an object in which significant repairs were carried out in the last 5 years;
  • The owner has no time to bother with such things.

Real estate market situation

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The level of consumer demand and the direction of price movement are important parameters indicating the feasibility of pre-sale repairs. It can be recognized in two ways:

  • independent monitoring of ads in your area (for example, using the convenient and functional search system);
  • Realtor services (the intermediary researches the real estate market, appraises the object, proposes the cost of housing, and proposes a sales strategy).

When prices for apartments similar to the one on sale fall, the buyer becomes more picky, so fresh decoration, new tiles, and the wallpaper will help sell the object more profitably and faster.

Advantages and disadvantages of pre-sale renovation

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Pros of pre-sale repair:

  • Increasing the liquidity of the apartment. If prices on the market are kept at the same level, then they usually ask for 5-10% more for renovated housing;
  • Winning the buyer’s favor. This is an exclusively psychological factor – it is much more pleasant for a potential buyer to feel in a well-groomed, clean apartment, where minor flaws have been eliminated. It is easier for the future owner to imagine himself relaxing or preparing dinner in such an apartment.

The disadvantages of pre-sale repair include the following factors:

  • personal preferences of the client. No matter how the owner tries to transform the apartment by making a fresh renovation, there will always be a buyer who will not appreciate such efforts. The reason may lie in the client’s desire to independently engage in repair work, natural pragmatism, which considers the proximity of the highway, unpresentable approach, and other points. In this case, the buyer will not agree to the inflated cost;
  • unsatisfactory work of the construction team. Not every seller will have time to carry out repairs, so in such cases, they resort to the work of hired workers. If you choose unskilled builders, then the repair result may not increase but lower the cost of housing.

What repairs should be done before selling?

two men in ladder on wall

The scale of the renovation work depends on the apartment: in one case, you need to re-glue the wallpaper, in the other – to change the pipes additionally, and in the third – to align the walls and ceiling. As mentioned above, such measures increase the cost of housing and greatly simplify selling an object. But for the owner, in this case, it is essential to decide what kind of repairs should be done during pre-sale preparation.


According to many realtors, investing in pre-sale renovations for apartments in houses built more than 30 years ago does not make much sense. But if the owner nevertheless agrees with such actions, then cosmetic repairs will look most relevant in such housing. To repair sockets and switches, update wallpaper and painting, lay linoleum realistically and on our own. But in the end, such an apartment will look more profitable against the background of similar objects in a worn-out condition.

An apartment in a new building will not be redecorated in value since the new owner will, in any case, redo everything for himself. In the case of housing built in the last 10-15 years, the result is not so obvious – it all depends on the condition of the premises.

Major overhaul

An overhaul is a complex of significant works to improve buildings and structures, utilities, machinery, and equipment. This fundamental transformation of the apartment involves leveling the walls (removing old wallpaper, layers of plaster), floors (replacing the coating), replacing plumbing fixtures, electrics, and windows. These “fixes” of housing are reflected in the time frame and budget – they are significantly increased compared to redecoration. For example, a significant overhaul of a one-room apartment will take at least 20 days, a two-room apartment – about a month, and a three-room apartment – from 5 weeks. At the same time, the estimate of such work increases depending on the footage and the use of the labor of the construction team and is in the range from 1 to 6 thousand dollars in the secondary market; in the case of a new building, this amount approximately doubles.

After major repairs, many sellers plan to increase the cost of housing by 5-10 thousand dollars. Such a move will help find your buyer and may scare you away (especially if there are similar but cheaper options). Therefore, estimate the repair work in advance to accurately calculate the possible profit from the spent time and material resources. An overhaul is more likely to suit business and elite-class apartments, and economy-class housing may not pay off.

Designer renovation

Such renovation is the implementation of the author’s interior concept using advanced technologies and modern building materials. Sometimes such housing is made in some well-known styles: Scandinavian, loft, country, classic, modern, or others. However, the original decor and creative layout can attract a narrow circle of buyers, and it takes a lot of time and money (about 2 times more than with a major overhaul). Finding a potential owner with the same tastes like a home seller will take a lot of effort. Therefore, design repairs are inferior to overhaul in terms of efficiency.

Carrying out pre-sale repairs is a controversial issue. For the sale of secondary housing, it is optimal to choose an inexpensive cosmetic repair, which will favorably distinguish the object against the background of other apartments. And in the case of a new building, it all depends on the degree of finishing and the class of construction – both cosmetic and significant repairs are suitable here.

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