How Much Should I Spend to Get My House Ready for Sale?

Just like the mad scramble to tidy up your house when you know guests are going to drop in, so should the same attitude apply when you are about to place your house on the market for sale. You should try to present it at its best, spruce up the interior and make the exterior pleasing to the eye. So, what does this all really mean? How much will it cost you?

Many prospective sellers think it means that you now have to pour tons of money into your house to make it shine, to ensure that it stands out.  In a regular market, it is the enhancement of the bathroom and the kitchen in particular which add value to a property, sometimes by as much as $9000 and $12,000 respectively.  However, we are not currently in a regular market. You may be very disappointed to know that a prospective buyer does not care how much you spent to remodel these rooms. All a buyer in today’s market cares about is “What type of property can I afford based on my bank’s pre-approval?”  They are willing to offend you with an offer which suits their pockets, so now all of your hard work has gone down the drain.

That callous approach to shortlisting property can get many an owner feeling dejected and disrespected after spending $20,000 to remodel his kitchen and bathrooms then hearing a prospective buyer ask for as much as $20,000 off the sale price.  Hurts, doesn’t it? So, where should you direct your money when you’ve decided you’re going to sell your house?

Since the aim is to sell your house in a timely manner and make a profit, wisdom dictates that you direct your money into the following projects which are of the most common concern:-

  • Cracks

Nothing will scare a buyer away more than major cracks.  You may have lived comfortably with that fork lightning crack on your dining room wall but now that you are trying to sell the house, you need to make it disappear.  Have an engineer investigate and see how that eyesore can be reinforced, filled and beautifully faded into the surrounding wall. Remember, if a coin can fit into that crack you have a major problem.  Fix it and fix it fast!

  • Water Damage

Another deterrent to a prospective buyer is any sign of water damage.  Think about it, when they see a water stain, they dread how long that leakage was ongoing.  Is the water still in the wall? Is the structure eroded? Is the stability of the wall compromised?  Have your contractor ensure that the leak has stopped, identify the nature of the damage and repair, repair, repair.

  • Pest Infestation

A buyer’s eyes are sharp.  Remember, anything that looks like a dirt trail along the wall in a buyer’s eyes means termite infestation.  It doesn’t matter how it got there, a buyer now envisions the walls crumbling down around him in just a matter of days.  Bring in the professionals, get them to do a thorough inspection of the house and spray it down. Kill ‘em, kill ‘em all.

  • Clutter

Get rid of it!  If a buyer can’t visualize themselves living in your house, the deal is over.  De-clutter the stuff in your domain, the junk that’s been sitting in corridors, the excess containers sitting on your kitchen counters and the clothes lying on the furniture that you keep promising to throw away.  Use this time to purge. You will be surprised at the number of large garbage bags of stuff you’ll discard. You didn’t know you were a hoarder at heart, did you? A de-cluttered house actually looks more spacious and helps the buyer focus on the property’s focal points as opposed to your ridiculous living conditions.

  • Curb Appeal

The first impression of your house will dictate the buyer’s emotions from the beginning to the end of the viewing.  If the entrance and environs of the house are attractive on arrival, the buyer will be open-minded, regardless of what he sees on the inside.  However, if your curb appeal is as attractive as the entrance to the public dump, you’re in trouble. He’s already turned off and his zeal for the house will surely fade thereafter.


So, be reminded, don’t go and overspend when it’s time to sell.  Put your money where it matters the most – in the areas that will detract a buyer from seeing the true value of your prized possession.  They will want to configure the house to their own taste anyway, so let them. Who’s to say that they will love and cherish your new blue & white Mediterranean style bathroom?  Present a canvas that they will be proud to call their own and take pride in transforming into a home sweet home.

Cherita O’dell is the Broker of this agency who brings a wealth of experience to the table, having been the Sales & Marketing Manager and Operations Manager of several 4-star hotels and in addition, the Marketing Manager of 2 luxury condo developments. She knows how to promote property for sale & rent and get them noticed. She is one of the best real estate agents in Barbados and won the The Agent of the Year award in 2019.

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