Posted on: February 14, 2023 Posted by: Comments: 0

Last Updated on February 27, 2023

If you’re thinking about listing your home in the future, it can be hard to know what you should update before you sell in order to present your home in the best possible light. Of course we always recommend calling your trusted Realtor for a full assessment of your home, but in the meantime, here are 14 items you shouldn’t think about renovating if you plan on selling your home soon.

A new roof

“While a new roof is something that buyers like to see, it doesn’t necessarily add value to the home.  Appraisers do not give extra value for your roof age and when we are providing an analysis for our clients, we don’t add any monetary value, as it’s part of maintaining a home.” —Kelly Cahill, Cahill & Miller Group, Ft. Mill, SC


“Do not spend a lot of money on extensive landscaping. Typically, some good old fashioned sweat equity is enough to get most homes spruced up and ready to go on the market. Spend some time in the great outdoors and trim any overgrown bushes, edge along the driveway, sidewalks and natural areas, and add new mulch or pine needles where needed. Finally, add some beautiful seasonal flowers and a new welcome mat at the front door. The first impression is a lasting one, make it memorable for all the right reasons.”– Cindy Hope, Matthews, NC

Formal dining rooms

“If you have a formal dining room I would not renovate it, I would just simplify it. Remove the table and chairs if they are large and cumbersome so that it creates a blank slate for buyers to have a flex room that they can determine their best use for this room. Todays buyers need office space(s) and they need playrooms or home schooling rooms for children, so create a blank palette and let the buyer decide what they want the space to be.”–Pam Matthews, Winston-Salem, NC

Kitchen backsplash

“Everyone knows a renovated kitchen will help sell, but I don’t recommend someone changing out a backsplash before selling. That’s a very personal touch on a kitchen, and along with hardware, it is like jewelry to an outfit. Leave that alone if it’s not already done and let the buyer decide what’s best for their own taste.” –Kelly Ramsay, Cashiers, NC


“Buyers expect a properly functioning HVAC system, however, just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it needs to be replaced. You will not recoup the cost of replacement when you sell. Any  concerns that come up at the time of sale can usually be resolved with a credit or a home warranty.” —Chris Carlin, Lake Norman, NC

Kitchens or bathrooms

“While kitchen and bathroom renovations can be expensive, they also have the potential to bring the biggest return on investment. However, if the kitchen and bathroom are functional and in good condition, it is often better to simply clean them up and make any necessary cosmetic repairs, rather than embarking on a full-scale remodel.”–Michael Jones, Charlotte, NC

Wallpaper or speciality paint

“One thing I’ve seen people do that I would not encourage is adding specialty paint or wallpaper in a house before selling. It’s really essential to accentuate the house as a whole and keep things simple. The more simple and straightforward the decor is, as well paint, the better!” —Keri Crown, The Robby Brady Team, Greenville, SC

Additionally, “Many sellers think they need to repaint the entire interior of their home before they put their house on the market, which can be very costly if you don’t have the time or talent to do it yourself. However, If you do feel you need a fresh coat of paint, keep it neutral. You don’t want to spend significant money on bold or “trendy” colors that you think look great. A buyer may look at this as another costly or time consuming renovation that they will need to make, but a neutral palate is a blank canvas for buyers to envision their own style. Furthermore, skip the repainting altogether by simply cleaning and removing any minor or major scuffs with a magic eraser and maybe a few paint touch ups. If your paint colors are darker, perhaps opt for some extra lamps in the room for more lighting to brighten things up. The main thing is you don’t want your home to appear unkept.”–Melissa Shelar, Oak Ridge, NC

Custom items

“One of the main rules of thumb is “will the renovation have universal appeal and will the change increase the purchase price for at least what you paid for it?” If you are thinking about selling your home, it’s not the time for custom wallpaper, steam showers, solar panels or hot tubs and pools. If you want to make extravagant upgrades to your home, be warned that custom, luxury home improvements typically only recoup a fraction of project costs.”–Ellen Suther, Charlotte, NC

“Know the difference between investing in a novelty type renovation versus a utility. Solar panels, for example, may require maintenance that a buyer finds off putting plus they can hinder future renovations like a new roof or home additions. Consider instead investing in updating kitchen appliances, worn/damaged flooring or painting/replacing the front door.”–Tammy Steele, Summerfield, NC


“Typically buyers are seeking, depending on price point, stainless steel appliances. If the home’s price point aligns with comparable properties that have updates to include stainless appliances, we will suggest renovating the appliance selections. However, we almost never recommend clients going to the ultra-premium and luxury level of appliances unless the price point of the home necessitates it. Often times, sellers believe that if they get the most expensive upgrade on appliances that it will yield a return on investment; however our approach is to maximize return on investment, bring the home into alignment with comparable properties, and not over improve to the point that the seller will be losing money because they went too high end on appliances.”—-Jeremy Ordan, The Ordan Reider Group, Charlotte, NC

Secondary bedrooms

“You shouldn’t renovate a child’s bedroom because typically all this will take is a can of paint for the new owners. Moving can be traumatic on a child so keeping their room as “normal” as possible (maybe some extra cleaning and putting away of toys) before it is time to move will provide the child with a sanctuary until it’s time for the new home.” Katherine Godwin, Concord, NC

The primary bathroom

“Updating a primary bathroom would be something that you would want to leave up to the new owner. It’s a very personalized space, and I would suggest maybe a seller credit towards the renovation of it.”–Glenn Austin, Winston-Salem, NC


“I suggest my clients not replace carpeting, instead offer a carpeting allowance with an acceptable offer, this way the potential buyer can choose the flooring they prefer. Same thing with painting, unless they go with a neutral color.” —Tim Atkins, Oak Ridge, NC

Dated bathroom tile

“In the mid 60’s and early 70’s it was common to have floor-to-ceiling tile showers. These were often done with pink, green, blue, or other colorful tiles. This definitely dates a house and is not a modern design, but I always recommend leaving it alone. First, that style is back in favor, and when paired with an original tile floor or new tile floor with a classic look, many buyers like the look. Secondly, it’s a big undertaking to remove a full tile shower and rebuild a new shower. The cost and effort put into a total reno here is just not worth it.” —Lee Hamilton; The Home Team, Rock Hill, SC

Keep reading: The best paint colors to sell your home quickly

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