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Home Sellers: Home upgrades vs Standard maintenance

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Wheatland Realty Agent Tony Tudisco walks us through the difference between an upgrade and regular maintenance on your home.

Just doing some maintenance to your home may not increase its value. For instance, would you buy a vehicle for more money just because they did an oil change and rotated the tires? Of course not!! Even if there were new tires how much would that really add? Routine maintenance is expected on your home just like a car. The better you keep your home up, the more it will appeal to potential buyers.

Here are some general tips on what is maintenance and what are upgrades:

1. Replacing carpet and flooring- MAINTENANCE.  Carpet, linoleum and even laminate are standard in most homes.  UPGRADE POTENTIAL. – Hardwood flooring
2. Stainless Steel appliancesUPGRADE.  White or almond kitchen appliances are expected. Stainless steel is a bonus for most buyers. Try to keep all the pieces from the same manufacturer if possible. Avoid mixing stainless with white!
3. New roofMAINTENANCE.  A potential buyer is most likely spending all available cash on purchasing and won’t have extra money for a major project like a roof. If yours is near the end of its life it can definitely affect a real estate deal.
4. PaintMAINTENANCE.  Clean neutral paint is a must and please do NOT go all white! This is a home, not a hospital. No scuffs, no texture paint, no cracks or taping strips breaking away. This is the cheapest and most impactful way to improve your aesthetic appeal to buyers. Stay away from wallpaper!
5. Light fixturesUPGRADE.  If you have builders gold and/or Hollywood lights in your bathrooms replace them! New light fixtures with more appeal aren’t expensive, and show a buyer that your house is just a little bit better than others.
6. Window coveringsDEPENDS.  Curtains or blinds in good repair and neutral can add some value. However, replacing bent or damaged blinds is maintenance. An upgrade would be replacing them with 2 inch wood blinds or custom blinds. Be sure your area calls for the upgrade before you do it.
7. Granite or Quartz countersUPGRADE.  Some price points expect upgraded counters for others it’s an upgrade to laminate.  What does the buyer in your particular price range and market expect?  If you are a $700k house with laminate counters again could be a problem.

The bottom line is that generally anything visual is usually an upgrade, and anything structural or mechanical is usually maintenance. Market and price will ultimately dictate which is which. It’s best to contact a trusted Realtor to help you know for sure!

Tony and Nicole Tudisco