At Home with Christie – What To Update


Christie Mahany
Christie Mahany

Editor Note: Follows is a question from an reader for Christie, you may send your question to

Q. Christie, we are planning on selling in less than 5 years but have some cash to do some remodeling. What would be the best things to invest in to bring a good return and help market our house.

A:This gets kind of tricky, because rarely does selling in 5 years actually mean 5 years. It usually ends up being closer to 2-3. I’m not sure what your current budget is or what your house currently looks like, or its strengths and weaknesses, so for right now I’m going to talk generalities. This is the order I would budget:

1. Any unfinished projects or repairs. There’s always something that has been on your to-do list or a project that you started but haven’t finished yet. I would start there.

2. Curb appeal. Buyers will drive by your house and decide if they want to see the inside. The “don’t judge a book by its cover” rule does not apply to real estate if you’re a seller. Do some landscaping, paint, put up new house numbers, paint the front door, or add a brass kick-plate and hardware. For goodness sake make sure your front door is easy to unlock and open. Be the shiny penny on the block.

3. Address the cosmetic issues. Remove old wallpaper, touch up paint and clean the carpets. Repaint the interior rooms that are outdated or a – but NOT white. Go to a true paint store and see what colors are in style, and get a professionals opinion on what would be a good choice for your house.

*4. Address any “end of useful life” items.* What major items are going to need replaced in the next 5 years? Roof, furnace, hot water tank? At the very least get a quote, and keep some funds aside.

*5. Kitchens and baths.* Kitchens and baths frequently sell a home. The reason they are last on my list is because they’re expensive, and you rarely get the money back out of them unless you’re planning on staying for awhile.

*Yep, I starred numbers 4 and 5. With interest rates the way they are, you might be better off selling the house at a lower price without addressing the pricier updates, and using the money to purchase your next home sooner. Many people think they have to have their house in superior shape in order to sell (which does help) but ultimately you want to be making smart choices with your money. The smartest choice might be not spending it.

Thanks for the question, and I hope this helps focus your funds!

At home, Christie

About Christie Mahany:

Christie Mahaney
Christie Mahaney

On any given day I’m a full time real estate agent, momma and chief wrangler of two kids and two dogs, married to a guy who essentially hunts and fishes for a living, and happy residing on the outskirts of Erie, PA. Sometimes I fool myself into thinking I have superpowers, except my cape is usually in the laundry…I hope. It’s all in a day’s work.

Editor note: You can follow Christie on social media at the following link:
facebook icon

You must be logged in to post a comment Login