Vail Daily column: Should I fix up before I sell? |

Vail Daily column: Should I fix up before I sell?

Joan Harned

Dear Joan, ​

Shall I do some fix-up/remodel before I entertain listing my house with a broker? My wife says we need to remodel the kitchen and our master bath and do all new floor coverings before we can ​put our home on the market.​ I say, we should stay here​ if we put that much money into it​! Should I do anything at all​, and if I do, how ​do I know I will get my money back from the cost of the remodel when the house sells​?

Dear Fix-Up,

Many sellers make the mistake of spending too much on the wrong thing, ​and/or not fixing the most important items to make the home able to sell in today’s market.

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​You will not be surprised to hear me say the first thing you need to do is find a knowledgeable, honest and successful real estate broker to come look at your house just the way it is today. They should be able to give you the information you need to make intelligent decisions on what to do and what not to do to facilitate the quickest sale for the highest net to you. Remodel also affects the timing of a sale, which is also very important in our current market.


In the 2014 Remodeling Cost vs. Value found on the National Association of Realtors website, Realtors responded to a new survey and voted that the exterior was the first most important item to spend money on to receive the biggest financial returns. If your house does not look like “a million dollars” (or whatever your asking price is) when the buyer drives up, then it is hard to even get them in the door. Actually all of the outdoor living space is considered important in today’s market. The survey listed five mid-range remodeling projects that offer the biggest returns monetarily.

Surprisingly, the survey said that the highest return for your dollars (96.6 percent) was received by replacing your front door. Obviously they are very concerned with that immediate feel of “opening the door” to a great home. The kitchen remodel you spoke of is the fifth suggestion on the survey, giving you the possibility of receiving up to 82.7 percent back from your investment. Remember, these numbers are only educated guesses and they are based on nationwide information.

Oftentimes, it is better to thoroughly clean your home (and windows), clean the yard (if there is one), de-clutter and have a stager help you present your home in the best way possible than spend significant money to do a remodel that will significantly raise the listing price. There are exceptions to every rule, and if you can afford it, then remodeled kitchens, baths and new flooring can usually bring you a quicker sale.

The question is the return on investment. So, remember, have a serious pre-listing talk with your Realtor about the market in general, your neighborhood, comparable sales in the whole community and what your competition would be in the market today. You will be able to make good choices once you are armed with the knowledge you need. Good luck!

Joan Harned is an owner-broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Joan with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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