What Not to Fix When Selling a House in the UK

Woman painting a wall white


Selling a house in the UK can be a complex process, and one of the questions that often arises is what should be fixed or renovated before putting the property on the market. While it’s important to address certain issues to make your home more appealing to buyers, there are also fixes that sellers need not undertake. 

In fact, some unnecessary fixes may not only leave you out of pocket but could also have minimal impact on your property’s saleability. In this article, we will guide you through what not to fix when selling a house in the UK, helping you make informed decisions during the selling process.

But Firstly, What You Should Fix When Selling a House

While it’s essential to know what not to fix when selling a house, it’s equally important to address issues that can significantly impact the sale and the overall appeal of your property. Here are the key aspects to consider fixing:

1. Any Serious Electrical, Gas, and Plumbing Issues: Safety should be a top priority when selling your house. Address any significant electrical, gas, or plumbing problems. Ensure that all safety devices and appliances are safe and in full working condition.

2. Structural Cracks: Structural issues can be a deal-breaker for potential buyers. Address any significant structural cracks or damage to the foundation to ensure your property’s stability and safety.

3. Rotten Joists: Rotten or damaged joists can compromise the structural integrity of your home. Replacing or repairing joists is crucial to maintain the overall quality of the property.

4. Subsidence: Subsidence issues can affect the stability of the building. It’s essential to address any subsidence problems and provide relevant information to potential buyers.

5. Bowing Walls: Bowing walls can indicate structural issues. These should be addressed to prevent further damage and to assure buyers of the property’s stability.

6. Missing Tiles: Missing or damaged roof tiles can lead to leaks and structural damage. Repairing or replacing missing tiles is necessary to maintain the property’s condition.

7. A Leaking Roof: A leaking roof can result in extensive water damage. Fixing a leaking roof is essential to protect your property from further harm and maintain its value.

8. Rising Damp: Damp issues can lead to mould and damage to the interior of the property. Address rising damp problems and ensure proper ventilation to maintain the overall condition of the house.

9. Insect Infestations: Address any insect infestations promptly, as they can lead to damage and pose health risks. Seek professional pest control services if necessary.

If your property has any of these issues, it’s crucial to address them before putting your house on the market. Buyers are often more attracted to homes that are in good structural condition, free from safety hazards and don’t require immediate costly repairs.

Understanding the balance between what to fix and what not to fix is essential for a successful house sale. A well-maintained and safe property can attract more buyers and potentially lead to a quicker and more profitable sale.

Don’t Overspend on Replacing Old Appliances:

While it’s essential to ensure that appliances are in reasonable working condition, there’s no need to replace old appliances unless they are in extremely poor shape. Generally, replacing white goods like fridges and freezers is not necessary, as many buyers prefer to bring their own appliances when they move into a new property. However, there are exceptions, such as replacing a boiler, which can lead to a more favourable surveyor report and positively impact your property’s value.

Consider Second-Hand Appliances:

If some appliances do require replacement, consider purchasing second-hand ones that are in good working condition. This can be a cost-effective solution and is entirely legal. It’s essential to ensure that the appliances meet safety and functionality standards.

Keep Decorating Costs Down:

While a worn-out appearance can deter buyers, there’s no need to completely revamp your property with new colours and features. Often, a fresh coat of paint in areas that need it can work wonders in making your home look more inviting and presentable. It’s better to enhance the existing colour schemes to maintain the property’s authenticity and appeal.

One simple yet effective decoration is painting the front door a different colour. A freshly painted door can create a positive first impression for potential buyers. Neutral colours like navy blue or even bold colours like red can work well, depending on the property’s style and location.

Avoid Aggressive Home Staging:

Aggressive home staging, involving moving out old furniture and renting new furniture to make the house appear more appealing, is generally unnecessary and can lead to additional costs. Besides the financial aspect, it can make the house look odd and uninviting. Decluttering and tidying up the house for staging is important, but aggressive home staging can often be avoided.

Avoid Big Home Improvements:

While it might be tempting to undertake major home improvements before selling, it’s not necessary. Some wear and tear in a property are expected, and minor issues like cracks, scuffs, leaking taps, dirty grout, and mould can typically be fixed without significant expense. However, extensive projects like replacing flooring, and countertops, or large-scale renovations can be costly and time-consuming.

It’s important to note that adding modern elements to your property, like a new bath or sink, may not be worthwhile if the rest of the room isn’t modernised, as it can create a mismatched appearance.

Focus on Big Electrical Issues:

Dealing with significant electrical problems is essential, and these issues should be addressed promptly. However, minor electrical problems, such as faulty light switches, can often be left as long as they are not dangerous in the short term. These issues can still pass the surveyor’s inspection, and they’re unlikely to deter potential buyers.


Understanding the balance between what to fix and what not to fix is essential for a successful house sale. A well-maintained and safe property can attract more buyers and potentially lead to a quicker and more profitable sale.

For personalised guidance on selling your property in the UK, consider consulting with Michael Anthony Estate Agents who can provide expert advice tailored to your specific circumstances.