Should You Sell Your Home As Is, or Spring for a Renovation? Here's How to Decide (2023)

When you decide to sell a house that desperately needs updating, you basically have two choices: Sell it as is—in its current condition without improvements—or make upgrades in the hope of reaping bigger bucks down the line.

While renovating your property will inevitably sell your home faster and for more money, listing your property as is has its perks, too—including not having to fork over lots of cash for major improvements you won’t get to enjoy, and not dealing with the headaches of those improvements.

Deciding what to do can be overwhelming, but we’re here to break it down for you. If want to unload your property pronto and for maximum cash, here are some things to keep in mind.

Out of house often means out of mind

If you’ve already purchased another home and have one foot dangling out the door, things can get challenging. Between work and family obligations—plus dreaming about decorating your soon-to-be new home—chances are you won’t have the time or energy to reimagine your old one.

If you’re set on upgrading your old home to get top dollar, you’ll want to find the right professional to guide you through the process, says Eric Stewart, a Realtor® with Eric Stewart Group of Long & Foster Realtors.

“Unless you find a real estate agent whose experience you can trust, someone who has a very good track record preparing homes and understands how to do the work, you’re often better off to sell the property as is, so that you don’t get involved in chasing the market,” Stewart says.

Assess the potential workload, time, and money it’ll take to upgrade

Get an expert opinion—or better yet, several opinions—regarding how much updating and repair work would be required to boost the home’s bottom line: Does the place just need a good scrub, or an entirely new kitchen and three new bathrooms? And more importantly, do you have the cash, the time, and the patience to see the project through?

“It’s all about whether people want to deal with renovations or not,” says Paul Morse, a licensed contractor and owner of Paul’s Carpentry Workshop in Stoneham, MA.

Morse, who’s worked for several clients who wanted to spruce up a neglected home prior to listing it, suggests that sellers should identify three projects that need doing, and then consult their agent to crunch the numbers.

“Sellers should ask what their return would be if they fixed the bathroom and kitchen, for example, versus what the investment would be,” he says. “Then, get three prices from three qualified local contractors.”

And don’t forget to factor in the cost of owning the home during major renovations. Depending on how extensive your revamp is, you might need to find temporary housing while your property is being gutted, so add that fee to your bottom line.


Watch: Selling Your Home? Don’t Neglect These 4 Maintenance Tasks


Take your location—and the market—into account

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If your home sits on a great lot in a sought-after location, buyers—especially investors—might line up in droves. When the land is more valuable than the structure sitting on it, you might be better off selling the property as is, Stewart says—there’s little point revamping a house that will probably be torn down as soon as the ink on the purchase agreement is dry.

Stewart recalls a recent listing priced at $650,000 in a hot market.

“We sold it as is for $655,000, and the seller was able to leave everything they didn’t want in the house, lock the door, and say goodbye, which provided tremendous freedom for them,” he says. “The work they would have had to do would never have got them the return they got by doing nothing.”

‘As is’ doesn’t mean ‘falling down’

Of course, doing some inexpensive repairs often helps sell your home faster, notes Lynn Pineda, a Realtor with eXp Realty in Southeast Florida.

“Even when buyers say, ‘I’m going to sell my home as is,’ that doesn’t mean you have to present your home in shoddy light to a buyer; you still need to prepare it and make it look good,” she says. “Otherwise, you will sell for less money, or the house will sit on the market and you’ll lose money in the long run.”

If you just want to do the bare minimum and are willing to shell out a few thousand dollars, Morse suggests painting the entire home and resanding hardwood floors, if there are any. These upgrades would take about a month to do, but will make a huge difference in listing photos.

Selling your home as is won’t stop buyers from trying to negotiate

A house that hasn’t been updated in years—or even decades—often attracts builders or investors looking to gut or tear everything down and construct a new home. These “fix and flip” buyers always want to maximize their profit, Stewart says, and might try to haggle down the purchase price.

Find a real estate professional who can help you maximize your profits; look for one who’s had considerable success selling homes like yours, in your specific area of town. Some good questions to ask include how long comparable properties have stayed on the market before selling, what kinds of houses are selling fast and what condition they’re in, and which neighborhoods are most desirable.

Together, you can weigh what your home’s worth—and negotiate a better bottom line.


Should You Sell Your Home As Is, or Spring for a Renovation? Here's How to Decide? ›

The Bottom Line

Is it better to renovate or sell as is? ›

While renovating your property will inevitably sell your home faster and for more money, listing your property as is has its perks, too—including not having to fork over lots of cash for major improvements you won't get to enjoy, and not dealing with the headaches of those improvements.

What part of your house is the most worth remodeling? ›

Kitchens and baths are the areas in a home "where you can tell if money has been well spent or not," says architect Steve Straughan, a partner in Los Angeles-based KAA Design Group. "They're the most expensive areas of the home in terms of construction. And they're where people spend time in their homes."

What adds most value when renovating a house? ›

Bathroom and kitchen renovations are the most popular home improvement projects. You can expect to recover 75% of your investment (according to the Appraisal Institute of Canada).

Is it good to sell as is? ›

You may get a lower home sale price if you don't make any repairs, and depending on the property's condition, it may be more difficult to find a buyer. However, if the market is hot and inventory is low, it may be easier to sell a home without making repairs while still netting a good price.

Should I wait to remodel 2023? ›

After several years of double-digit gains, expenditures for improvements and repairs to the owner-occupied housing stock are expected to grow only modestly in 2023, according to our latest Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA).

Should you remodel a bathroom before selling? ›

If the bathroom was recently upgraded, and it needs some minor improvements, then it's likely worth the investment. However, if your bathroom needs important work, both in terms of time and money, then it can be worth listing the home as-is.

What is the most expensive part of a remodel? ›

The Most Expensive Home Renovation Projects
  1. Building an Addition. ...
  2. Renovating or Repairing a Home. ...
  3. Remodeling or Renovating One or More Rooms. ...
  4. Installing Solar Panels. ...
  5. Remodeling a Kitchen. ...
  6. Remodeling a Bathroom. ...
  7. Installing or Replacing an Asphalt Shingle Roof. ...
  8. Building or Replacing a Deck or Non-Masonry Porch.
Mar 24, 2023

What adds value to a home 2023? ›

During the pandemic, staying in place gave rise to extravagant outdoor kitchens and elaborate home offices. Now, homeowners are leaving the house more and the best return on investment (ROI) in 2023 comes from smaller renovation projects and updated kitchen, bath, and living spaces.

What adds the most value to a property? ›

10 quicker wins for adding value before selling
  1. Redecorate. ...
  2. Fix superficial defects. ...
  3. The front door. ...
  4. Declutter. ...
  5. Heating and lighting. ...
  6. Garden appeal. ...
  7. Create a driveway / off-road parking. ...
  8. Look smart and be energy efficient.

How do you know if your house is worth renovating? ›

If the inspection reveals only superficial repairs are needed — things like replacing broken doors/windows, repainting chipped walls, or adding some new shingles, then you've likely found a good investment. If the issues are deeper (think foundation, electrical, plumbing, etc.), then you might want to think twice.

What adds value to a house flip? ›

A simple upgrade you can make when flipping a property is to update the home's hardware and registers. For example, making sure the hardware in the kitchen including all handles, knobs, and pulls are not only a contemporary style but match is a simple detail that will matter to potential buyers.

What is the pros and cons of selling your house as is? ›

We discuss the key perks below.
  • No Repairs Needed. When you sell a home in its current condition, you don't need to make any home improvements. ...
  • Quicker Sale. Since you're not making repairs, you can list your home sooner. ...
  • Simpler Process. ...
  • Fewer Contingencies. ...
  • Fewer Costs. ...
  • Low Price. ...
  • Less Available Buyers. ...
  • Use an iBuyer.
Apr 26, 2022

Who pays for the renovations on sell this house? ›

You have to pay for the renovations.

A lot of people apply in hopes of receiving a free home renovation, but that's not exactly what they get. Be prepared to drop serious cash on the work done to the house. “The homeowners always pay for the renovation," an HGTV rep explained.

What is an example of sold as is? ›

For instance, if you are selling your home to another person, an as is contract means that you will not have to cover any repairs to the property after making the sale. The buyer is purchasing the home in its current condition, and they cannot hold you liable for any defects in the property.

Is it worth upgrading kitchen before selling? ›

The two biggest benefits to updating a kitchen before selling include being able to sell for more as well as faster. Pre-listing kitchen updates can significantly boost home value so homeowners can increase their asking price and walk away with more money in their pockets.

Is it cheaper to add on or build new? ›

It is typically cheaper to build an addition than to buy or build a new home that equals the space of your existing house plus an addition. At the very least, the closing costs involved with selling your old house and buying the new house would push this option over the top.

Is when investors buy property less than its worth remodel it and then sell it for a quick profit? ›

Flipping is a real estate strategy that involves buying homes, renovating them, and selling them for a profit in a short period of time. Flipping houses is a business that requires knowledge, planning, and savvy to be successful.

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