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  • Peter Jorde

Should You Renovate Before You Sell? The Answer Might Surprise You

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

When I'm working with a Mobile Home or Manufactured Home Owner and we're discussing getting their home on the market, I invariably get asked the same question: "Should I renovate the house before putting it on the market in order to get a higher price?" While the initial inclination might be to invest in renovations to increase the selling price, the answer to whether you should renovate before you sell is not as straightforward as it may seem. Let's delve into the factors at play and explore why the answer to this question might surprise you.

The Appeal of Renovations

Renovations can undoubtedly enhance the overall appeal of your property. A freshly renovated kitchen - like the one we remodeled above - a modern bathroom or updated flooring can catch the eye of potential buyers and create a positive first impression. It's natural to assume that a renovated house will fetch a higher price in the market compared to a property that has seen better days. After all, everyone wants a move-in-ready home, right?

The Cost-Value Conundrum

While renovations can make your house more attractive, the cost of those renovations must be carefully considered. It's crucial to remember that not all renovations offer a one-to-one return on investment. Spending a significant amount of money on renovations doesn't guarantee that you'll recoup that entire amount when you sell the house. Some renovations may only yield a portion of their cost in increased property value and/or selling price.

For instance, a complete kitchen overhaul can be quite expensive and can cost $15,000 to $30,000 or more if you replace cabinets, countertops, appliances, and fixtures. While it might make the kitchen more appealing, potential buyers might not be willing to pay a premium that covers the full renovation cost. In some cases, buyers might have different preferences and may intend to make their modifications after purchase, leading them to place a lower value on the renovations you've done. I recently sold a beautiful home in Anaheim with gorgeous granite countertops but the buyers completely ripped out the kitchen, cabinets, and all, and started over so the money spent on the countertops didn't have the same value as it did to the original homeowners.

Buyers in the real estate market are incredibly diverse in their preferences and priorities. What you perceive as an upgrade might not align with what potential buyers are seeking. For example, you might decide to invest in a home office renovation, but the buyer might be more interested in a finished backyard for their children to play in. Understanding your target market and their preferences can be challenging, and it's possible that your renovations might not align with what buyers are willing to pay for.

The Timing Factor

Another critical aspect to consider is the timeline for selling your house. Renovations take time, and if you're in a hurry to sell, you might not have the luxury of waiting for renovations to be completed. Lately, the real estate market's conditions have not been conducive to waiting. Higher interest rates have started to erode home values and if the trend continues, selling sooner rather than later can be a big benefit in terms of the selling price. You might also miss out on buyers currently in the market who will have already found their perfect home while you're busy remodeling. In other words, If the market is hot and houses are selling quickly, delaying your listing to renovate might cause you to miss out on potential buyers or end up selling in a market that has cooled off.

The Middle Ground: Strategic Renovations

So, what's the middle ground? Instead of diving headfirst into extensive and costly renovations, consider strategic upgrades that can make your property more appealing without breaking the bank. Focus on simple, high-impact projects that can freshen up the appearance of your home. Repainting walls, updating fixtures, enhancing curb appeal, and ensuring the house is clean and well-maintained can go a long way in creating a positive impression.

Furthermore, consult with a real estate professional before making any renovation decisions. A real estate pro, especially if they are familiar with mobile homes, can provide valuable insights into the local market trends and help you understand which renovations are likely to yield the best returns in your specific park. Their expertise can guide you toward making informed decisions that align with your goals and market conditions.

In Conclusion

The answer to whether you should renovate before you sell might indeed surprise you. While the allure of a fully renovated home is undeniable, the cost-value conundrum, diverse buyer preferences, timing constraints, emotional attachments, and the unpredictable real estate market can all play a significant role in shaping your decision. Instead of assuming that renovations are the only path to a successful sale, consider a balanced approach that takes into account your budget, market conditions, and the preferences of potential buyers. By striking this balance, you can increase your chances of a successful sale without falling into the renovation trap. Remember, the goal is not just to sell your house at the highest price, but to do so at a price that will net you the most for your investment.

Peter Jorde is the Owner/Founder of South Coast Mobile Homes and has nearly 40 years of real estate sales and management experience. If you have a need to sell your mobile home or manufactured home, please consider reaching out for a comprehensive market analysis, including a marketing plan guaranteed to get you the highest price in the market. Peter has staff with expertise in home staging and renovations to help you decide which renovations are necessary to obtain the highest price for your home. You can reach Peter at (949) 613-1044. Please sign up for our "First Call Newsletter" for tons of insights into the selling process. Sign up here: And please check out what our clients are saying:

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