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To Repair or Not To Repair


If you’re getting ready to sell your home, you (or your realtor) may be preparing the house to shine when it’s on the market. In fact, you may already be planning to stage your home. After all, according to,

Preparing a home for the current buyer demographic these days is critical in order to achieve top dollar.

We are huge believers in the power of home staging, but there is a line to be drawn between staging your home and making necessary repairs. Depending on the issue, the process of preparing your home for sale may include both repairs and staging. Don’t be surprised if you’re calling a handyman or contractor to prepare your home for sale.

As you’re reviewing the common repairs below, avoid the temptation to throw some paint over the issues and hope the problem doesn’t come up during the inspection. It most likely will!

Common Repairs

Here are some of the common repairs you should consider before staging your home. This is not an exhaustive list, just a few starting points.

If you’re looking for a more detailed list of the repairs of your home, you may consider hiring an inspector before listing your home for sale. However, check with your realtor, or with your state for disclosure requirements, before doing this.

Water Issues

Do you have water stains on your ceiling? Don’t just paint these; investigate what is causing the water stains and have the underlying issue repaired. Most likely, the buyer will order an inspection of the roof and plumbing anyway, so painting these items will only come back to haunt you later.

Do you have water in your basement? Like water stains on the ceiling, these items will also come up during an inspection. Be sure to fix the underlying issue and disclose past and current issues as your state requires.


Often, when windows are beginning to fail, you will see some paint peeling or water stains on the trim around the window, either inside or outside. Review these carefully and determine whether the window needs to be replaced. Even if you choose not to replace the windows (because this can add up quick), you’ll still want to disclose any past or current issues as your state requires.

Even if your windows do not have any peeling paint, make sure they all open and close smoothly. A homebuyer may not try every window, but the homebuyer’s inspector certainly will. Prevent any issues by knowing that you’ve already resolved and disclosed them.


When we’ve lived in a house for a period of time, we sometimes learn to ignore issues on the carpet or wood flooring. Some of these are basic stains that need to be shampooed. Other issues can include water, scratches, or heavy wear.

It’s tempting to throw a rug on top of the flooring and call it a day, but that’s a trap. The homebuyers will see the flooring after you’ve moved out, prior to closing, when they do their final walkthrough. Go ahead and repair any major flooring issues. This may include replacing carpet or refinishing floors. While this feels expensive, it’s worth it to avoid a last-minute issue with the sale of your home.


Before you list your home for sale, it’s time to review it with a fine tooth comb and take care of the annoying items on your to-do list. Some examples include:

  1. Fixing cabinet doors and drawers so they open and close smoothly.

  2. Ensuring all light bulbs have been replaced and match. This allows you to test every light fixture as well.

  3. Adjusting all interior and exterior doors.

  4. Replacing sliding closet doors to ensure they open and close smoothly.

While these adjustments typically aren’t “major repairs”, they will make a difference in how your home is presented to homebuyers. Homebuyers will typically try all of these items, and they will subconsciously form an opinion about the condition of your home based on their experience.

Keep in mind that when making these adjustments, if a larger issue presents itself, go ahead and fix it and disclose based on the requirements of your state.

Next Step: Staging

Once you’ve completed all of the basic necessary repairs, now it’s time to stage your home. Check out these seven steps your stager will recommend.

Finally: Staged, Listed, Sold

It might seem like it takes forever to prepare your house for sale, but the more you do up front, the smoother the sales process will be in the long run. Hang in there; you’ll be out of your current home and into your new home before you know it!

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