No. of Recommendations: 2
Obviously it depends on location and people have different opinions of what is "ok".
And yes, I've heard from agents that people tend to be pickier now due to all of the tv shows.

I think the best rule of thumb is to fix easy things but things that turn off people. While painting is something most of us can do, and isn't anything structural, many buyers have a tough time imagining a place with fresh neutral paint. So generally painting walls is a pretty easy job (I'm not handy but I've done too much painting a few houses).

Tidy things up and throw away stuff.

If something is old but functional (e.g., HVAC) don't spend money on it.

Clean up the yard so people driving by can make a good first impression.

The worst things are major repairs that aren't needed. People spend $100K on a new kitchen in a $400K house. You aren't going to make your money back. Instead paint cabinets or get new doors/hardware on them. Get some new light fixtures.

If the house is a mess, get it professionally cleaned.

Carpet is pretty cheap and can easily be replaced.

And figure out if anything is a structural issue since that will (or should) show up in a home inspection. Same for bad water drainage issues.

I'm not handy but due to locations and my budget, I've bought a couple of fixer uppers but the kind on the low end of fixing. That is, structurally they were fine but cosmetically needed updating. I think the only original things left in my recently sold house in MD was the refrigerator, windows, HVAC, and the hardware floors (they were covered in ugly green carpet). Every room was painted, bathrooms slowly remodeled (for a reasonable price), kitchen redone but for more of a $20K price tag.

Whatever you do, consult with several real estate agents and try to figure out a consensus. Some agents simply want to get a listing, the good ones will tell you what to do or not to do. I was pondering what to do with a fireplace, keep it as is or turn it into a wood stove. An agent said in my area, it is a 50/50 thing so don't waste money on it.

While I avoided reading a lot of opinions left by prospective buyers some were amusing. "Loved the house but all the rooms are too small" (Well a 2,000 sq ft home is only so big.)

Good luck.
Rich
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