Old Home, New Tricks: Repair An Old Home On A Budget Before You Sell

Approximately 85% of the nation’s homes were built before 1980 and need some kind of home improvement. But when you’re putting your home on the market, the last thing you want to do is pay for a major renovation unless it’s absolutely necessary.

What’s more, some renovations can be helpful but others can turn off potential buyers. Remember that the average mortgage balance as of 2017 was $244,000 and homebuyers with credit scores under 500 are ineligible for FHA loans. Potential homebuyers want a house that’s as move-in ready as possible.

That said, here are some repairs you can make on your home to make your older house a more livable (and buyable) space for future homebuyers.

Removing old paint and adding a fresh coat

Lead poisoning is a serious health problem and primarily occurs in homes built before 1978. When lead-based paint flakes, peels, and chips, the lead can be ingested or inhaled.

While you can spray the surface of your walls with a sealant or cover it with gypsum wallboard, painting over lead-based paint isn’t a long-term viable solution. Either carefully follow instructions on how to safely remove lead-based paint from your walls before re-painting or have professionals come by to do it for you. When potential homebuyers don’t have to worry about lead, they’ll be over the moon.

Install water-saving faucets and fixtures

In the shadow of the climate crisis, water conversation and eco-friendly homes are more important than ever. Fortunately, you don’t need to make any big changes to your home to make your house more eco-friendly before it goes on the market. You just need to replace your faucets and fixtures.

Just like how low flush toilets only use 1.3 gallons of water per flush to save on money and water, low flow faucets and showerheads can cut costs on utilities without reducing your home’s beloved water pressure. The average kitchen faucet has a flow rate of 2.2 gallons per minute, but most new kitchens have an aerator that reduces water use by 30% to 50%.

Pull up the carpet

Wall-to-wall carpeting was a major trend during the 1950s up through the 1990s. But today, many homeowners are pulling back that carpeting to enjoy their home’s original hardwood floors.

If your home has hardwood flooring that’s in good condition beneath the carpet, consider pulling it up and refinishing the floors. This way it’ll feel like you’ve just put in a whole new floor without having to pay for a new one.

Give your lights an upgrade

One of the biggest dangers of old homes is an electrical fire. If you haven’t upgraded your home’s electrical system since you’ve moved in, consider a lighting retrofit before you put your home on the market.

A lighting retrofit is an upgrade to your home’s light fixtures to increase safety and energy efficiency. Potential homebuyers will not only appreciate the energy savings but also the improved light levels and fewer maintenance headaches.

When you own an older home, you want to focus on repairing the features that would make the house a more livable space. By making the repairs above, you can boost your chances of getting your home off the market without going over budget.

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