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5 Updates You Shouldn't Make Before Selling

Michelle Schwinghammer serves as a Director for the Denver Metro Association of Realtors and is a contributor to its Market Trends Committee which provides timely, consistent, and relevant summaries of valuable local real estate market statistical data to the public and press.


Whenever you decide to sell your home you want it to show its best to fetch the strongest offer, but making updates that your future buyer will likely do (and re-do) themselves later just doesn’t make sense. Here are 5 don’ts and a few do's to make your future sale swift and smart.

DON’T Knock Down Walls. It’s always easier to take walls out than add walls back in. Let your future buyer envision how they might open the space up without doing it for them. Big bonus: More rooms usually means more “counts” that can help you come appraisal time ...

DO THIS INSTEAD: Reduce volume, by a LOT. Pack like you’re moving before you even think about listing. Donate all unused items to charity. Store personal items in closets or garage areas. Make your home “bigger” via aggressive, deep de-cluttering alone. Big Bonus: You’ll be super glad you did when it comes time to move and your home will become show-ready by following a simple yet powerful "less is more" strategy.

DON’T Replace the Flooring. Pulling up perfectly good flooring just to mimic what you’ve seen on Instagram is wasteful and a pain. The next owner likely wants something completely different, especially after the latest trend launches on TikTok a week after you finished ...

DO THIS INSTEAD: Shine and polish hard wood floors to make them look their best. Steam and scrub tiled floors. Deep clean and stretch or replace worn carpet with neutral colors and textures that match your home’s overall color scheme.

DON’T Redo your entire kitchen. Most buyers will prefer customizing their kitchen in their own way. Kitchens are ... well, personal. 😳

DO THIS INSTEAD: If your kitchen is dated just make sure it’s squeaky clean, 100% clutter-free, and as bright as possible. Functional appliances are a must. Set out a cutting board, a cookbook or two, and stage a couple of inviting wine glasses and you’ll be amazed at how well it shows, as is. The kitchen is the heart of every home, and will shine when you honor it.

DON’T Sweat the bathrooms – but DO take them seriously. They can add significant value and greatly increase buyer demand.

DO THIS INSTEAD: Deep clean everything (are you sensing a pattern here?). Recaulk showers and sinks. Replace dingy shower curtains with new ones. Clean ceilings and light fixtures and resupply bright matching bulbs. Buy new white towels and display them minimally, rolling a few hand towels and add a spa-like touch with simple guest soaps and small succulents.

HUGE BONUS OPPORTUNITY: If you have a stub-in, hire a contractor to finish it out into a ½ or ¾ bath. That small, simple, yet affordable investment is almost guaranteed to pay big dividends in both price and buyer interest.

TL;DR: DON’T Spend a fortune, months of work, and tons of headaches trying and recreate your home into what you think a future buyer wants. I promise that vision will change before you finish any project.

DO THIS INSTEAD: Deep clean, declutter and neutralize your home as much as possible ... practically. Repair or replace worn/broken everyday items that will be noticed during showings.

Price strategically and realistically to attract the most buyer interest while reducing your carrying costs which should factor in your stress load as well. (In all of this number crunching, don't forget that you and your family matter too.)

I promise, a practical yet intentional route will get you on the road to your next chapter faster, happier, with the least hassle and expense AND bring you your highest overall net.

Bank on it. 😉 Thinking about selling? Let's grab coffee or a beer, catch up, look at the data, and make a game plan together.

Until next time ... rest assured that I'm here for you, ready and able to help, and promise to be a real estate guide you can TRUST. Call me 🙂 ~Schwing!


Michelle Schwinghammer is a REALTOR®, Certified Negotiation Expert® and Certified Pricing Strategy Advisor® who helps people move forward in Colorado. She currently serves as the West District Director for the Denver Metro Association of REALTORS and is honored to serve as a contributor on its Market Trends Committee.

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