We all realize that before you list your home, you need to make sure that it’s spick and span, ready to show off when the buyers come through the door. But when do you need to move beyond the mop and vacuum cleaner to the hammer and paintbrush? Renovations are a big expense, and you should work with your realtor to decide what needs to be improved before you put your home on the market. If you want to sell your home fast, it’s essential that you find ways to improve your home’s appearance, even if it’s just through minor enhancements. Even proper maintaining and caring for your lawn can improve your property’s appearance and may even increase your home’s value.

Related: How to save money on your home renovation

Repairs Come First

You should do minor repairs that will improve the appearance of the home without spending a lot of money. Holes in the wall, cracked windowpanes, and leaky faucets are easily solved problems that will make your home look ready to live in, even if the buyers plan to do their own renovations some day. If your roof is in serious disrepair, it’s a good idea to replace it before listing your home.

What Lies Beneath

Should you tear out old carpet and lay down new flooring before listing? Start by cleaning the carpets and see how they look. Bring in a professional carpet cleaner for the best results – it will cost a lot less than purchasing new carpets! Let the buyers make their own decision about the flooring they like rather than spending thousands of dollars on something they might just tear up when they move in.

On the other hand, if you’ve got hardwood floors under that old carpet, it’s a good idea to tear out the carpet and spend the money on a professional refinisher. Gleaming hardwood floors can go a long way when looking to close a sale!

Fix Up the Kitchen and Bathroom

The two most expensive rooms in the house are the bathroom and kitchen, and they can easily turn into a renovation money pit. You don’t want to spend more on these rooms than you will get in return on your selling price. However, there are many little tweaks that can make a dated kitchen or bathroom look more attractive to buyers, so that they can envision living with it until they make their own decisions about their dream design.

Do those oak cupboards look dark and dingy? A fresh coat of white or cream paint can change the whole appearance of your kitchen. Whether you do it yourself or hire professionals, it will cost thousands less than installing new cupboards. It’s worth updating cabinet hardware, too. Don’t splurge on new granite countertops- not all buyers will like them. A neutral laminate top will brighten up the space. Not everyone likes a hard ceramic floor in a kitchen, while others steer away from hardwood flooring. If your existing floor is in bad shape, look instead at inexpensive vinyl flooring.

Meanwhile, in the bathroom, you should again focus on clean and fresh rather than ripping everything out and completing an expensive renovation that might not appeal to buyers. On the other hand, if the toilet is in less than perfect shape, that’s an easy replacement job that will go a long way to making the room look better!

Renovating a home before selling can end up costing you more money than you can get back in your selling price. However, minor repairs and cosmetic changes can help you make a quick sale at a good price!

Richard Frankel, REALTOR® with Durham Region Property Search, helps you buy, sell or rent your home in the Durham Region and the Greater Toronto Area. In his spare time he enjoys exploring new neighborhoods and finding great local restaurants.