Smart sellers will weigh the cost of proposed improvements against the home’s market value after the repairs or upgrades are completed. Before you decide to lift the roof and install skylights in the master suite, realize that kitchens and baths carry the highest return. This doesn’t mean you need to buy designer appliances and tear out the cabinets. But a minor kitchen remodel might be a good investment. Sometimes, simply painting oak cabinets a darker color and installing updated hardware can give your kitchen an all-new look.

Make a list of everything that is defective, broken or worn out. If buyers spot problems or malfunctioning systems, they might wonder what else in the home has been neglected.

Here are 10 minimum improvements to make before selling your home:

  • Patch holes and cracks in walls and ceilings.
  • Fix all broken appliances and HVAC systems.
  • Repair leaky faucets.
  • Replace worn or stained carpeting.
  • Repaint dark or marred walls with neutral paint (not white).
  • Replace broken window glass.
  • Repair the roof.
  • Change out any dated light fixtures / ceiling fans.
  • Replace old drapes and window coverings.
  • Fix code violations.

If your real estate market is extremely hot, a seller’s market, you can get away with fewer fix-ups before selling; however, a home that needs repairs will still deliver a lower price. In slow markets, a buyer’s market, buyers might not even look at a home that needs work. Ask your agent for advice.