3 Small Home Projects That Just Aren’t Worth It, According to a Real Estate Agent

published Sep 12, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

Are you thinking of adding some value to your home ahead of sticking the “For Sale” sign out on the front lawn? Before you start rolling up your sleeves, you need to consider whether those small home projects are even worth the time and effort. 

“When we talk to our clients, we give them three different categories when it comes to home improvements and repairs: necessary repairs, recommended repairs, and home improvements that could increase the value of the home,” explains Kendall Bonner, broker and owner of RE/MAX Capital Realty in Lutz, Florida.

“Recommended home repairs typically target minor imperfections to make your house more aesthetically pleasing to potential homebuyers,” she says. “Necessary projects are the ones that are going to pop up on a home inspection, so those we would recommend customers do.”

However, not all small home projects are going to pay off when it comes time to sell. Here are some home projects Bonner says just aren’t worth it.

Cosmetic Imperfections

Normal wear and tear is to be expected when buying a home, and some cosmetic flaws may be overlooked by potential buyers. Not every single cracked tile or outdated finish is worth fixing or replacing. 

“Cracked, chipped, or missing tiles are not something you want to pull up the whole floor just to fix,” Bonner says. “Fixing cracks in the stucco or redoing the caulking around the sinks, bathtubs, and baseboards — sometimes those are things that you could maybe get away with not doing because they’re aesthetic.”

If it’s still in good shape and it would cost more money than it’s worth, there’s no harm in skipping improvements on small imperfections. 

Driveway or Walkway Cracks

Curb appeal is important, but it doesn’t mean everything has to be perfect. “It depends on how bad it is, but a cracked driveway or walkway [is skippable],” Bonner says. 

Cracks are common and can appear in even the most meticulously laid concrete driveways. Plus, fixing a driveway tends to be a big job, with the average cost of a small project running around $1,684 and some modifications costing as much as $4,500.


Some outdated fixtures may be worth replacing, but others may not. Bonner explains that replacing old wall-to-wall carpeting, replacing doorbells, or a damaged mailbox might not be worth the effort. It depends on the condition of each.

Some features may also just need a good cleaning. For example, if the existing carpeting is in good condition, you could save big bucks on replacement and instead hire a carpet cleaning service to give it a deep cleaning for showings. 

Bonner’s main piece of advice is to sock away money for the projects that fall in the “necessary” column.

“You definitely want to do the necessary home repairs and get your home in working condition, because that is how you can sell your home for the most money possible,” Bonner says.

Your home doesn’t need to be polished to perfection, but you should save your money for projects that may give you the desired return on your investment.