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  • Writer's pictureDenise Davis

What things should I fix in my inherited house before I sell it?

Updated: May 7

house with a for sale sign in front of it.

Are you thinking of selling a house you inherited? If so, you may be asking yourself "What things should I fix in my inherited house before I sell it?" Whether it’s to upgrade to something bigger, move closer to family or friends, or make a fresh start somewhere new, certain steps should be taken before putting your property on the market.

One important step is making sure all necessary repairs have been taken care of-repairing worn-out floors and broken appliances will go a long way in helping you get top dollar for your house in the seller's market.

In this post, we'll look in-depth into what needs fixing before selling a house and explore creative solutions that won't break the bank.

With these tips, you can prepare your space for potential buyers without spending too much time and money on renovations.

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Why Should I Fix Up My House Before Selling?

Cream color house with bushes in yard

The mantra “first impressions count” or "potential buyer's first impression" rings true when selling a property.

Potential buyers will form their opinion of your home within the first few minutes of seeing it, and if they see that repairs have not been made, they may be turned off by what they see.

Making necessary repairs before listing your house can ensure you get top dollar for your property.

Investing in minor repairs, such as patching holes in walls or fixing broken appliances, can pay for itself when buyers offer more money for a well-maintained space.

Fixing up your home also sets you apart from the competition because many homeowners overlook this step when prepping their properties for sale.

Investing in some improvements can help your house stand out from the rest.

The first step to consider is consulting with a real estate agent. A local real estate agent will tour your home and provide you with an assessment of what needs to be repaired or improved and they will answer your questions "What things should I fix in my inherited house?"

Top real estate agents can also easily point out potential problems affecting the sale, like safety issues, zoning regulations, etc.

Some Of The Things You Should Fix In your inherited House Before Selling

Improve The Exterior of Your Home

Chinese couple meeting with Chinese real estate agent

Before putting your home on the market, it's important to make sure that the exterior of your house looks as good as possible.

Investing some time and effort into sprucing up the front of your house is a great way to add curb appeal and attract potential buyers.

Here are a few tips for improving the exterior of your home before you list it for sale:

Start with the basics

Clean up any clutter outside, mow lawns, trim hedges and trees, sweep pathways, pressure wash surfaces such as siding or driveways, and repair anything broken or damaged, like fences or steps.

Paint where necessary

Giving your home’s exterior a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for its presentation. Make sure to go over any wood with a sealant or primer before painting, and don’t forget the garage door too!

Enhance garden areas

Clear out any unwanted debris or weeds in the yard, remove dead flowers, and add a few new ones to brighten the area. You can also invest in furniture, such as seating or a fire pit, to give the space an inviting atmosphere.

Improve lighting

light bulb on with other light bulbs around it.

Adding lights around your garden will help improve visibility if you have potential buyers viewings at night time. Additionally, solar-powered lights provide a great ambiance without worrying about monthly bills.

Update outdoor fixtures

If you have old faucets, light fixtures everywhere, or door knobs that look dated or worn, replacing them can give the exterior of your home a much-needed facelift.

By following these simple steps and investing some time in prepping the exterior of your house before selling it, you’ll be able to make a great impression on potential buyers and help ensure a successful sale.

Check And Repair The Roof For Any Signs Of Damage Or Wear And Tear

roof of a house

The roof is often the most expensive repair, so it’s important to ensure everything is in good condition before listing your home on the market.

Have a professional inspection for any leaking issues, missing shingles, or broken tiles that may need replacing.

Cracks or broken sealant should also be addressed, as these can lead to larger problems in the future.

Proper roof maintenance and repairs will help avoid costly replacements and make your home more appealing to potential buyers.

Repairs may seem costly upfront, but they’re essential for getting a good price on your home when it comes time to sell.

Keep records of any major improvements you make to improve the condition and appeal of the home—it could make all the difference!

Paint Areas of Your House That Need It

red and orange paint with different type of paint brushes around them

Painting is always a great way to improve the look of any home before selling. Even small updates, such as touching up areas that need it or freshening up faded walls with a coat of paint, can make a house feel updated and inviting.

When you’re getting ready to put your house on the market, start by taking stock of each room and deciding which areas should be painted.

Pay attention to scuff marks, scratches, and other blemishes in high-traffic areas like hallways and entryways, but also don’t forget about spots near windows, baseboards, and other hard-to-reach places.

If you’re going to do the painting yourself instead of hiring a professional, you’ll want to start by prepping the room.

Make sure to move furniture out of the way and cover anything that needs protecting with drop cloths.

Once everything is ready, clean the walls and wipe off dust or cobwebs with a damp cloth.

Next, it’s time to apply primer (if needed) and then paint. Spend extra time on edging corners and other hard-to-reach areas using an angled brush for maximum accuracy.

If you have more than one coat of paint to apply, allow each successive coat enough drying time before moving forward.

When finished, take stock of your work--did you miss any spots? Does the color look even, or are some areas darker than others? What about texture--are there any drips or streaks that you missed?

Finally, properly clean your brushes and rollers before putting them away. This will help ensure they’re in the best condition for your next painting project.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

beautiful clean bedroom with bathroom partially showing.

Refinishing hardwood floors is a great way to bring value to your home before you sell.

Hardwood floors are timeless and add a classic appeal to any space, but they do need some upkeep.

Refinishing can restore the wood's natural beauty, protecting it from dents and scratches.

Refinishing hardwood involves sanding down, staining or painting, and sealing the surface of the wood.

The work depends on how much damage has been done to the floor's surface over time.

If there are only minor scratches and discoloration, light sanding may be required for refinishing; however, if more serious damage, such as deep gouges, has occurred, then more extensive sanding will be needed.

Once the floor is prepped and ready to go, you can begin staining or painting it. There are a variety of color options designed to match any style or palette.

After the stain has dried, a sealant should be used for added protection against water damage and UV rays from sunlight exposure.

Refinishing hardwood floors may seem daunting, but you can do the job quickly with some elbow grease and patience.

With proper care, refinishing your hardwood floors could add thousands to the value of your home when it comes time to sell.

Not only that, but it’ll help ensure your house looks its best and make potential buyers feel amazing at home.

Upgrade Your Kitchen With New Countertops, Appliances, And Cabinets

woman in kitchen with different ingredients out.

When selling a home the kitchen is often a major factor in how potential buyers perceive the property.

So if you want your property to look its best and command top dollar, upgrading your kitchen before listing it on the market is important.

With a few strategic upgrades, you can make your kitchen more attractive and appealing to prospective buyers.

One of the easiest ways to refresh an outdated kitchen is by replacing old countertops with modern materials like granite or quartz.

Not only are these materials stylish and durable, but they also offer easy maintenance for busy homeowners.

Replacing appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, and ovens can help create a cleaner, more contemporary look in the kitchen.

Consider upgrading your cabinets for a more sophisticated look. Replacing them with new painted or stained-wood cabinetry can make a huge difference in the overall feel of your kitchen.

Of course, if you’re on a budget, it may be worth painting existing cabinets or refacing them to give the room an instant facelift.

By making simple upgrades like these to your kitchen, you can help ensure that potential buyers see your home in its best light—which could mean a higher sale price and even faster turnaround time when listing your property.

So don't forget to invest extra time and budget to update key areas like your kitchen when preparing to sell!

Set All Plumbing Problems.

Pipes underneath sink leaking water

Before selling your home, it's important to ensure all plumbing problems have been fixed. Leaky pipes, faulty water heaters, and broken toilets detract from a home's value and are things that potential buyers typically look out for.

These issues can cost you thousands in repairs or even a lost sale if not taken care of.

So what should you do? Inspecting every pipe in your house may be too time-consuming and costly, so focus on checking for any obvious signs of trouble, like discolored walls or floors around fixtures, rust stains on faucets and drains, and slow-draining sinks or tubs.

You should also flush all the toilets to ensure they work properly and test the water pressure in all of your fixtures.

You may want an experienced plumber to inspect the system if anything is amiss with the pipes or connections. Be sure to hire a qualified professional to properly assess your electrical system and diagnose and repair any issues.

This will ensure that you and the potential buyer don't run into any problems when it's time for the inspection during escrow — which could cost you more money.

By ensuring all plumbing systems are functioning correctly, you'll be able to increase your home sales price and impress potential buyers with its condition.

Taking care of these matters ahead of time is well worth it.

Replace Old Windows With Energy-Efficient Models.

window with curtains partially open and a small plant sitting on window sill

Preparing your home for sale involves many steps, including replacing old or torn window screens with energy-efficient models.

Adding new windows will add to your home's overall appeal and desirability and reduce the amount you'll spend on heating and cooling costs each month.

When selecting replacement windows, look for weather-resistant materials that are easy to maintain.

Vinyl frames are popular since they're lightweight, durable, low-maintenance, and more cost-effective than wood or aluminum.

Ensure you choose a style that fits with the architecture of your house; if you have an older home, opt for a classic double-hung design, while contemporary homes may benefit from a sleek picture window.

Remember that replacing your windows is an investment that will be returned when you sell.

What may seem like a large expense now can pay off significantly come closing time.

You'll recoup the installation cost and enjoy savings on utility bills for months, making it worth the effort.

Be sure to get quotes from several contractors before choosing one; look for someone with significant experience and favorable reviews from other homeowners.

A good contractor can help you select windows that meet your needs while staying within your budget—so don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek their advice as you consider different models and materials!

With the right energy-efficient windows, you can increase the home's curb appeal and value of your property, setting yourself up for a successful sale.

Functionality is Essential

modern kitchen in apartment

Functionality is essential when preparing to sell a home. Potential buyers will be looking for a home that functions properly, so it's important to ensure all necessary repairs have been taken care of before listing your property on the market.

This includes repairing worn-out floors and broken appliances, fixing leaky faucets, and any other minor fixes, upgrading locks and door handles that work properly. This will also help update the look and feel of your space.

Other functional items that should be addressed during the home inspection include ensuring all electronics are in working order, such as televisions, computers, microwaves, etc.

Check smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers to ensure they are up to date and work properly - this could save you money during inspections or when negotiating a sale.


What things should I avoid doing if I want to sell my house quickly?

When preparing your home for sale, the most important thing to remember is that you should not make any major renovations or changes.

Although taking on a large project may seem attractive, it will ultimately take away from the time and money spent on other necessary home repairs.

Major projects like installing a swimming pool or remodeling an entire room can deter potential buyers.

What causes the most damage to homes?

The most common sources of damage to homes are exposed to the elements, such as rain and snow, as well as age-related wear and tear.

These factors can cause water infiltration, foundation problems, roof damage, etc.

What common problems can occur when selling a home?

The most common problems when selling a home include poor curb appeal, outdated appliances, plumbing and electrical issues, a lack of energy efficiency, pest infestations, and more.

Buyers and real estate agents will often consider these factors when assessing your property's value.

What color house sells best?

Studies have shown that home buyers often prefer neutral colors when it comes to the exterior of a house.

Neutral tones such as whites, grays, and beiges are popular because they offer a timeless look that won't clash with potential buyers' or buyers' style preferences.

What doesn't add value to a house?

Unnecessary upgrades such as installing a Jacuzzi or adding an extra bedroom can be costly and might not add any additional value to the home.

It’s important to note that some DIY projects may reduce the value of your home if not done properly.

What things should I fix in my inherited house?

Selling a home can be intimidating, and it's important to ensure your house is in prime condition before you list it, unless you are just looking to sell it as-is for a fast cash offer.

Taking care of the necessary repairs and upgrades before listing gives you more negotiation power and increases the likelihood that you'll walk away with the right deal.

If you would like to discuss which option is best for you please feel free to contact me.

Join our Private Facebook group where you can ask questions and get answers, learn from others or share what you learned about the probate process. Be the first to join our new group! Join Here.

Denise Harper Davis Certified Probate Real Estate Agent

Denise Harper Davis

Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist

Licensed Realtor


* NOTE: North Carolina Probate Solutions and the author of this article is not a licensed attorney or CPA. This post should not be considered legal or tax advice. Always consult an estate attorney or tax professional when needing legal answers, guidance or advice.

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