Selling your home “as is” versus updating for maximum profit on the sale
When you or your parents have been in a home for many years and are getting ready to downsize or move to a senior living-type community, the question is: do you sell the house “as is”, or do you think about updating the home prior to selling it. The goal is simply to sell quickly at the highest price by giving buyers fewer reasons to say no.However, you also don’t want to over-improve the house within the neighborhood, as the final price might not reflect the full value of those improvements.
Rarely will a house do better “as is” than with judicious improvements. Most buyers do not want to have to make major repairs/improvements before they move in. Your REALTOR® can be a great resource to help you figure out what to do, how not to over-improve, and direct you to people who can get the job done quickly and with quality.
Here is what generally really counts as a plus:
Nothing says “tired” faster than an exterior that is characterized by dirty siding and patios, shutters and front door that need painting and landscaping that is overgrown or messy. This is the initial impression that the potential buyer will have of the home, so power washing the siding and patio to remove mold and dirt, painting and shutters and front door (and if bad enough, the entire house), and cleaning up the landscaping will go a long way to setting a positive attitude toward a purchase.
Buyers want fresh interiors, so the first place to start is fresh paint in light, contemporary, neutral colors. Get rid of popcorn ceilings – they are a huge turnoff, and if you are going to paint anyway, it can be part of the preparation the painters make.
No one wants someone else’s dirt – sounds like a harsh statement, but any carpeting collects dirt, even if you clean it regularly, it never comes completely clean. Worn or old flooring of any kind should be replaced, so that the house feels “move in” ready. This might include new carpeting, wood or engineered flooring or laminates.
Kitchen and baths are the most important places to invest strategically. While every buyer would love to have a completely new kitchen with fabulous, brand new appliances, it probably isn’t necessary. Ask your Realtor what updates have been done to other homes in the neighborhood or in comparable homes and let that be your guide: have they replaced Formica with a solid surface like granite, or other composites? Have they replaced or updated cabinets through painting or resurfacing the cabinets or replacing the doors. Have sinks and plumbing fixtures been updated?
Hardware can make a huge difference in the updated feel of the home. Replacing old chrome or shiny brass hardware and fixtures makes a big difference and hardware is usually not a large investment. Local improvement stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot have extensive selections.
Similarly, crown moulding can also dress up a house and not cost much to install. This needs to happen prior to painting.
You want the house to have lots of light, so you may need to replace old florescent fixtures in the kitchen and bath with recessed LED lighting on a dimmer switch. Drapes and old mini-blinds should be removed, and where appropriate, you may want to replace the blinds with 2” faux wood blinds for privacy.
What is critically important is not to over-improve the house, as you won’t get the full value of your improvements. Ask your Realtor to give you an estimate of price if you did these improvements and then look at the cost to determine what you can do without reducing the amount that you will net from the sale.
If a potential buyer wants to make their own improvements but would like to include the cost in their mortgage, some mortgage companies, like Movement Mortgage here in Fort Mill, have mortgages that will include the costs of all the improvements that are planned and completed by a licensed contractor. They require that a certified appraiser make an estimate of what the house would be worth with the planned improvements, and then the mortgage is based on some percentage of the total.
Contact Anne, a Senior Real Estate Specialist, today!