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Should I Spend Money On My Home Before Selling?

should i spend money on my home before selling?

If you’re lucky, your home will have increased in value since you bought it. In certain markets, such as London, this is almost a guarantee, so when it comes time to sell your home and buy a new one, you don’t need to do anything to ensure you get a good increase on your initial investment.

In other markets, however, values either increase at a much slower rate, remain stagnant, or drop over time. In such instances, it can be much harder to receive a good return on your investment when it’s time to sell. 

If you’re in this position, there are a few things you might consider doing to improve the chances of getting the highest possible value for your home. This includes spending money on renovations and improvements before putting it on the open market. But where are you best spending this money?


If the property you’re selling is relatively old, it may still have single-glazed windows in some or all of the rooms. When it comes to selling, this can have a series of negative effects on the value of your home.

First, it can literally reduce the pounds-and-pence value due to the likely fact that the windows will have to be replaced by the new owners.

Second, it can have a negative emotional effect on potential buyers. It can detract from the overall appeal of the property if buyers know that they will be left with the choice between taking on the additional and unwanted cost of replacing the windows, or being cold in the winter. This can turn them off entirely, or cause them to make a low offer.

Third, single-glazed windows mean that more heat escapes the home which means more energy must be spent heating it. This is both expensive for the owner and damaging to the environment. As such, it will have a negative effect on the EPC rating which itself can detract from the overall value of your home.

The question is, will you get a return on the investment of new windows when it comes to selling? Unfortunately, there is no single answer. You will need to ask your agent how much value they believe new windows will add. Luckily, prices vary wildly to suit most budgets.

New windows can cost anywhere between £250-£1,500 each, plus installation. 

Priority Rating: Medium

Central Heating

If your home has an archaic heating system, is it worth replacing before you put your home on the market? The answer is yes but no. 

Central heating can handle both your radiators and hot water. If it’s unreliable or underperforms, it can cause significant inconvenience as you probably already know. 

The fact of the matter is, nobody ever chooses a home with a dire heating system.  Psychologically, replacing it can feel like a big job. So if they find out your home is guilty of having one, it might turn them off entirely. But the important part here is ‘if’. 

We never like to be cynical here at Moving Home Advice, so we’ll simply point out that crap central heating is one of those flaws homeowners discover too late. An agent isn’t going to go out of their way to point it out to potential buyers, so unless they make a point of testing it while on a viewing, which is surprisingly unlikely, it won’t be a problem. 

For a four-bed house, replacing the central heating system will cost roughly £4,000

Priority: Medium

Extensions/Structural Changes

We’ll cut to the chase on this one, right before selling you home is not the time to start making any structural changes or adding any extensions. 

While it might be tempting to add that third bedroom by extending into the loft, thus getting a much higher asking price for your home, work of this magnitude can be devastatingly unpredictable. Who knows what might go wrong, what might get delayed, and so on? You only need to have seen one episode of either Homes Under The Hammer of Grand Designs to know this. It could end up costing you far more than you predicted. 

You’re better off making the most of what your home already has to offer and fixing any issues which bring immediate inconvenience for prospective buyers. Let the new owners decide if and when they want to knock down a wall to create a large, open plan living area, or add a conservatory onto the side. 

It’s important to remember that there is a buyer out there for every sort of home, big or small, spacious or cosy. There are less buyers, however, who want homes which are rundown and dilapidated. 

Priority: Low


This is a big one, in every sense of the word. Roofs are physically big, faults in them are a big deal, and the cost of fixing them is big, too. 

The roof is providing the most basic evolutionary function of the home: shelter. If it’s crumpling, sinking, or falling apart, you need to get it fixed before your home goes on the market. This is unless you are intentionally selling the home in a dilapidated state – perhaps at auction

The survey which a buyer commissions on your home will highlight any problems with the roof at the top of the report. And when the buyer reads it, they will invariably freak out. 

It’s impossible to predict how much it will cost to fix your roof, it depends on the materials, its current state, its size, and so on. But you simply must address it if you want to get any sort of decent offer for your home. 

As we’ve already said, not only does it threaten to cost the new owner vast amounts of money, it will also rub against their most basic desire for secure shelter. 

Sadly, whatever it costs, you’re probably going to have to stomach this one. 

Priority: High


The garden is a strange one in that sellers often disregard it as a non-priority while buyers are attracted to them like moths to flames. 

If the home you’re selling has any sort of outdoor space, you would be foolish not to bring it to its glorious best before going to market. You don’t need to go crazy and landscape an elaborate and vastly populated koi pond, you just need to make it clean, open, and inviting. 

If your garden is currently pebbled, fork out for some turf to be laid, and try to leave a border around the edge to give new owners the chance to beautify it should they wish. If your garden has become a place to store annoying objects like old mattresses or the corpse of last year’s Christmas tree, clean it up! Mow the grass. You might even pay for a small patio or dining area to be installed, complete with a brick BBQ.

The fact is, compared to the costs of improving the home itself, the garden is relatively inexpensive to improve. But the difference it can make in the mind of a potential buyer is priceless. We all crave a nice garden and it’s been proven that people will pay over the odds to get one. This is especially true in the time of Covid-19 and lockdown.

Priority: High


  1. Interesting article. On first viewings the three major things people look for are a nice kitchen, a decent bathroom, and a homely living room. If you had to prioritise funds to improve one of these, which would you go for?

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