If you’re planning on renovating your house before selling it, there are certain things you should do and certain things you shouldn’t do.
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Here’s a rundown of some of the do’s and don’ts of home renovation if you’re getting ready to sell your home.

Don’t: Wait until you’re ready to sell to start renovating. This is one of the biggest mistakes sellers can make. Do yourself a favor and do your renovations while you live in the property so you can enjoy them. You’ll never be able to get a dollar-for-dollar return for them, so the best way to compensate for that is to use those renovations for your own personal enjoyment.

Do: Work on curb appeal. People tend to overlook this here in Alaska because it’s hard to manage curb appeal in March, but curb appeal is the No. 1 thing that draws people into a home. If they don’t like what they see when they drive up, you’ll probably lose them before they ever step foot into the home. Just make sure to use common sense and avoid doing something like building a $10,000 decorative retaining wall because you definitely won’t get your money back. Just clean everything up and make your exterior look nice and neat and it will carry you further than you can imagine.


Don’t: Expect to get a dollar-for-dollar return on invisible repairs. Repairing or improving things like heaters, septic tanks, and roofs is necessary for your sale, but buyers will already expect them to be done, so you won’t be able to raise your list price $15,000 just because you put $15,000 into repairing your septic tank. That’s not how the market works.

Do: Make sure the upgrades you make are appropriate for your home. You don’t want to tear apart a kitchen in a million-dollar home and replace it with $10,000 worth of upgraded kitchen cabinets. The reverse is also true—you don’t want to put $150,000 into a kitchen in a home that’s only worth $250,000. It’s OK to go high on a renovation, just make sure you’ll be living in that home for the next three to 10 years. The longer, the better.

Don’t: Overspend on a deck upgrade. Everybody loves decks, and in the lower 48 the return on investment is very good for an upgraded deck, but that’s not the case in Alaska. We typically don’t spend a lot of time on our decks—our winters are too harsh.

Do: Make sure your upgrades are appropriate for the subdivision. If you put $150,000 into a home that’s worth $250,000 and you wanted to get $400,000 out of the home, you should know that the subdivision would never support that $400,000 pricing.

If you have any questions about home renovation or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in our market, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you.