Renovations to Avoid Before Selling a Home

Renovations to Avoid Before Selling a Home

There are plenty of things Sellers can do to make their homes more appealing. Depersonalizing, improving curb appeal, and proper staging are givens. But many Sellers believe that major renovations will lead to major price bumps, which often isn’t true. Help your clients avoid overdoing it with these tips on which renovations to avoid and which to do instead.

Avoid: Installing All New Flooring

New flooring is definitely a tempting renovation to make. However, there are two obstacles that Sellers may overlook with new flooring.

  1. It can be very expensive and have a cascading effect.
  2. There’s no way to know whether a Buyer will like the new floors.

According to HomeGuide, the average cost for new flooring in a medium-sized room (about 500 sq. ft.) ranges between $2,000 and $7,500. And wood, which is one of the more popular flooring types, tends to lean toward the higher end of that range, often going above it. Plus, once Sellers start in one room, they may be tempted to redo others.

While the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) found that Sellers typically do see a positive cost recovery from new wood floors, it’s a relatively small bump.

  • $4,700 cost estimate
  • $5,000 cost recovery estimate

Given the time and cost invested, it’s important that your Sellers know that installing new wood floors likely won’t lead to a big price bump.

In addition, it’s difficult to predict whether the floor the Seller likes is one Buyers also like. There’s a decent chance that the newly installed floors will reflect the Seller’s personal taste, which may not align with the tastes of Buyers.

Instead, deep clean current flooring

Instead of a major renovation, suggest a deep cleaning of the current floors. If your Sellers can do it themselves, it may only cost them a day or two of time plus a relatively small cost to purchase or rent a wet/dry vacuum.

And if your Sellers would rather leave it to the pros, they can hire professional cleaners for a fraction of the cost of a renovation. When cleaned properly, professionals can make floors look brand new!

Avoid: Converting Garage to Living Space

For Sellers who have a garage (especially an attached garage), it may be tempting to convert it to a bedroom or living space. However, this is a notoriously low-value upgrade.

With more homeowners getting back to in-person work and school, a functional garage has much more value than an extra living space. In addition, Sellers may need to invest money into heating and cooling to truly make a garage livable, on top of getting proper building permits. That can get expensive and time consuming fast, and for something many Buyers don’t really want.

Quite simply, most Buyers would prefer a functional garage to extra living space.

Instead, consider a new garage door

Rather than converting the garage, you may want to suggest replacing older garage doors. It’s less expensive than converting the garage to a living space. It’s also an upgrade that Buyers truly want, according to NAR.

Coverage your clients deserve

Add the industry-leading home service plan to your agent tool kit.

A/C Unit

Avoid: Building a Sunroom From Scratch

Sunrooms may be becoming more popular, but they’re unlikely to help you make more money from a sale. In fact, in some cases, Sellers will only make back about 52 cents for each dollar they spend on a sunroom.

Instead, try professional window cleaning

If more light is the goal, a professional window cleaning is a much less expensive upgrade than a sunroom renovation project. Dirty and grimy windows are notorious for blocking light, so a professional cleaning can help. Clean windows are also an excellent way to boost curb appeal.

Also, consider replacing light fixtures

Another, less expensive option than building a sunroom is to replacing light fixtures with more modern light. In older homes especially, warmer lighting can make rooms feel darker than they should. Consider suggesting adjustable LED lighting that allows for 3000K, 4000K, and 5000K light. That gives Buyers options for cozier and warmer light (3000K) though brighter, daylight-mimicking light (5000K).

Even better, many LED fixtures are fairly easy for Sellers to install themselves.

Avoid: Entirely New Appliances If Your Current Ones Work Well

One of the benefits of being in a Seller’s market is that Sellers don’t need everything to be brand new. If major appliances like their oven and refrigerator still work well, there’s little reason to replace them. As long as they look good and function as they should, upgrading appliances is unlikely to increase the home’s sale price noticeably.

Instead, purchase a home warranty for the Buyer

A home warranty from 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10) is a less expensive and more inclusive way to convince Buyers that their appliances will work well. Plus, it’s the #1 home-selling incentive in 2024. Sellers can purchase coverage for the Buyer and provide three big benefits.

  1. Peace of mind that the appliances work well as they are, since appliances must be in good working order to qualify for coverage.
  2. If a major kitchen appliance breaks down from routine use, the home warranty may help reduce the cost to repair or replace it drastically.
  3. Buyer Coverage can protect many of the home’s most important systems—like heating, cooling, and plumbing—in addition to major kitchen appliances. That gives Buyers a sense that their home will function well when they move in.

A smiling real estate agent handing keys to a new homeowner. The phrase Comprehensive, Flexible, Convenient: Cover Your Clients Deserve is on the left


Sellers don’t need to commit to huge renovations to sell successfully. With your expertise, along with the fact that it’s a Seller’s market, there are many smaller improvements they can make to attract Buyers and have a successful sale.

As you guide your clients—both Buyers and Sellers—through the process, 2-10 is here to help you provide added value and show prospects that you’re the agent they want to work with.

Coverage your clients deserve

Add the industry-leading home service plan to your agent tool kit.

A/C Unit

Coverage your clients deserve

Add the industry-leading home service plan to your agent tool kit.

Learn More