9 Home Repairs You Should Tackle Before You Sell

Getting these repairs done before selling your home can cost money upfront, but they’re often worth doing.
Last updated Aug. 25, 2022 | By Ben Walker, CEPF | Edited By Rebecca McCracken
Home For Sale Sign in Front of New House

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Getting ready to sell your home can be challenging. You have to list the house, find potential buyers, and balance buyer and seller needs. If you’re also going to buy a new home, you have to search for houses and figure out who the best mortgage lenders are.

But before selling your home, consider any potential repairs that need to be done beforehand, and do the research to ensure you find a reputable contractor. This will help you avoid one of the top money mistakes homeowners make — letting home repairs drain your bank account. Plus, getting these repairs out of the way before starting the selling process can speed things up and cause fewer problems down the road.

Here are nine fixes to keep in mind.

Wiring

astrosystem/Adobe Electrician repairing wires in the wall

A good electrical system is necessary for living in most homes, which means it’s in your best interest to fix any faulty wiring before selling. This could mean ensuring all your light switches are working and there’s no damage to electrical panels or any visible wiring.

If you don’t fix known electrical issues, it’s likely going to come up in a home inspection, and you’ll have to address the concern or potentially lower your asking price.

Estimated repair cost

  • Small repairs, such as fixing outlets or switches: around $280
  • Large repairs, such as replacing an electrical panel: $2,000 to $6,000

Estimates from homeguide.com.

Roof

nd700/Adobe handyman using nail gun to install shingle to repair roof

Common roof issues involve mildew, cracking, pooled water, and more. A leaky roof can cause water damage and increase the risk of mold inside the home.

If you think about your roof as the main protection for one of your largest assets, it makes sense to nip any issues in the bud well before deciding to sell. Otherwise, you might have a hard time finding a buyer or would have to accept less money.

Estimated repair cost

  • Minor repairs: $200 to $800
  • Extensive repairs: $1,000 to $3,000

Estimates from homeguide.com.

Paint

Andy Dean/Adobe House Painter Spray Painting A Deck of A Home

Nobody wants to see cracked, peeling, or faded paint — either on the interior or exterior of a home. It’s off-putting and typically viewed as a hassle that homebuyers don’t want to deal with.

However, a few coats of fresh paint around the house could easily help attract more buyers and give your place an updated look. In addition, new paint on the exterior can help protect against the elements, while new interior paint can help your house stay clean.

Estimated repair cost

  • Paint interior walls: $1,192 to $3,919
  • Paint exterior walls: $1,800 to $5,000

Estimates from homeguide.com.

Plumbing

SkyLine/Adobe A man checking pipes with a wrench

Plumbing problems can range from leaky faucets and clogged drains to issues with septic tanks and main water lines. Potential buyers will look for any water damage throughout your home and check to make sure water is flowing properly everywhere it should be.

If you don’t address plumbing issues, whether big or small, you might limit your number of interested parties. In the end, this could mean a smaller payout or a longer selling process.

Estimated repair cost

  • Small jobs, such as fixing a leaky faucet: $125 to $350
  • Larger jobs, such as repairing a pipe leak: $500 to $800 (but this can range into the thousands depending on the issue)

Estimates from homeguide.com.

Lighting

Angelov/Adobe Electrician is installing and connecting a lamp to a ceiling.

It’s important to have well-lit rooms in your house to present a welcoming home for potential buyers. People should make as little effort as possible to imagine themselves living in a home, which could be problematic if lights aren’t working or rooms are dimly lit.

Apart from aesthetics, lighting is also part of the electrical system — so you can expect certain lighting aspects to be inspected by a home inspector.

Estimated repair cost

  • Install basic light fixtures: $133 to $414
  • Install recessed light fixtures: $125 to $300

Estimates from homeguide.com.

Landscaping

Tomasz Zajda/Adobe Man planting flowers

Curb appeal is real. The landscaping and exterior of your home are the first things people see, which means they need to look good. If they don’t, you could be setting the wrong tone for showcasing your home.

This doesn’t mean everything has to be pristine, but even having your lawn trimmed and cared for can go a long way in helping someone see the potential in a property.

Estimated repair cost

  • Landscaping per hour: $50 to $100 per hour
  • Landscaping per square foot: $4 to $12 per square foot

Estimates from homeguide.com.

HVAC

A Stockphoto/Adobe Technician checking air conditioner

Your HVAC system includes everything to do with your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Having these components in working condition should be a high priority because buyers and inspectors will want to make sure they’re in working order.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes for a second — would you want to buy a home that doesn’t heat or cool properly? Most likely not, which means you should address any HVAC issues before your house hits the market.

Estimated repair cost

  • AC service: around $319
  • Furnace service: around $268
  • HVAC replacement: $4,820 to $12,350

Estimates from homeguide.com.

Basement

auremar/Adobe worker working on a wooden ceiling in the house

Musty basements aren’t appealing in the slightest, but they can also be unsafe. Water in your basement can lead to mold issues and potentially affect your foundation, beams, and walls.

To avoid these issues, it’s best to waterproof your basement. A clean, fresh basement can help show buyers the potential for this downstairs space.

Estimated repair cost

  • Mold removal: $15 to 30 per square foot
  • Waterproofing: $1,920 to $6,320

Estimates from homeguide.com.

Flooring

andrey gonchar/Adobe Professional flooring installation

People are often torn on what kind of flooring they like, and it also might depend on which room you’re talking about. But one thing is for sure — old carpet doesn’t have many fans.

Seeing old carpet is typically an instant red flag for potential buyers because they’re going to want to replace it, which is an added cost. Instead, you could negotiate a lower asking price or simply replace the flooring yourself with something more appealing. Then it shouldn’t be a sticking point during negotiations.

Estimated repair cost

  • Carpet removal: $0.11 to $0.56 per square foot
  • Flooring installation: $6 to $10 per square foot

Estimates from homeguide.com.

Bottom line

Andy Dean/Adobe Home For Sale Sign in Front of New House

Avoiding certain repairs on your home when you want to sell can be a costly misstep. But if you’re not looking to sell quite yet or are interested in picking up home number two, here’s what you need to do first before you buy that second home.

Not a homeowner yet but still thinking about buying a house Here are six things to do if you want to buy your first home.

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Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF Ben Walker, CEPF, is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially sound decisions. For over a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben is a Certified Educator of Personal Finance and has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.