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What Not to Fix When Selling a House: 10 Tips Pros Want You to Know

Knowing what not to fix when selling a house is as important as knowing what to fix. Large appliances are too expensive to fix or replace, while other items, like window treatments or smart home technology, will probably get replaced by the homebuyer anyway.

Exclude key items from your list of things to fix or replace. This saves time and frustration, while putting more money in your pocket.

Any fix or upgrade should ease the sale or contribute to a higher sales price. Otherwise, you’re simply giving away free stuff to the homebuyer.

Window Treatments

Blinds, shades, curtains, and drapes enhance the appearance of the entire room. So, when window treatments are broken, dirty, and outdated, they make the house look dingy and worn.

It’s tempting to replace the window treatments when selling a house. But the cost of purchasing new curtains or blinds generally isn’t borne out in the house sale. 

Remove damaged or outdated window treatments. Buyers will likely want to choose curtains of their own anyway.


Appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, wine fridges, washers and dryers, and stoves become outdated or broken.

Not only are appliances expensive to replace, but the seller has no obligation to repair or replace them. These items typically don’t remain with the house unless specified by the contract.

Remove the large appliances or leave them behind, unrepaired. As with window treatments, homebuyers expect to buy new appliances.

Coordinate with your real estate agent. They may tell you that a certain fix is indeed necessary—or that you should skip it altogether.

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Unfinished Spaces

Your home may have unfinished spaces that are more like blank canvases than actual rooms. Basements are routinely left unfinished by builders. A small bathroom remodel might be in-process next to that guest bedroom.

Unfinished projects are far too expensive to build out simply for the sake of a house sale. Leave them unfinished and let the next owner dream of what to do with them.

Floor Coverings

Floor coverings like carpeting, laminate, vinyl plank, and sheet vinyl gradually wear down. Floor coverings are meant to be occasionally replaced; that’s why they’re called coverings.

Instead of replacement, have carpeting professionally cleaned. Hire cleaners to deep-clean hard floor coverings like vinyl or ceramic tile. 

Solid hardwood costs far too much to replace, so sand and refinish it if it is severely damaged.

The cost of refinishing a solid hardwood floor is usually recouped upon sale of the house.1


Outdated or poor windows are unattractive energy-wasters. Though the homebuyer wouldn’t mind if you bought new windows for them, this would be an extremely generous gift. 

On average, windows cost $700 to $1,000 per window, for a total of $10,000 to $15,000 for a medium-size house.

Instead, have a window cleaner clean the windows inside and outside. Touch up paint and clean stubborn stains. Otherwise, leave the windows as they are.

Minor Electrical Issues

Many electrical problems like wobbly outlets, switches that don’t work, or dead outlets may have been on your list of annoying things to resolve—for years. 

But now is not the time to fix them. Some repairs are inexpensive, but they aren’t worth your time. The home inspector will note them on the inspection report.

Home Technology

Homes are packed with more technology than ever: Nest thermostats, home security cameras, home theater systems, or Ring smart video doorbells.

Upgrading or replacing some types of home technology is expensive. More so, home technology is personal, mobile, and transferable. The wireless video doorbell that you installed is a personal item, and it can easily be removed and installed elsewhere, when selling a house.

Code Violations Allowed Earlier

Building codes are continually in flux. Today’s code may not be applicable to your house as it was ten or twenty years ago. 

Code violations that were legal and permitted in the past typically do not have to be updated by the seller.

Remote Places

Homebuyers tend to look at the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and common spaces when selling a house. The more remote and minor the area, the less likely it is that buyers will look—or even care—about damage or wear.

Laundry rooms, laundry sinks, outdoor sheds, and carports are too remote to warrant repairs or upgrades. Focus on noticeable areas—like the kitchen or bathroom—instead of replacing the shed roof.

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