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Old 12-15-2015, 08:43 AM   #41
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I am in the camp of "it depends". If it is in a desirable area and there aren't many comps, you can probably sell it with minimal work.

When my grandmother died, we sold the house that my father/aunt grew up in - my grandmother lived in it for 43 years. I didn't think it would ever sell. This was in 2001, and the carpets and kitchen were probably from the 70s. But it was a relatively inexpensive house in a town with lots of new McMansions, and a younger couple bought it as is for much more than we ever expected.

On the flip side, I live in a townhouse community with 100 similar or identical units, and there are always at least a few for sale. When we go to sell, we will definitely do some sprucing up, because if buyers don't like ours, then can buy the one down the street instead.
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:46 AM   #42
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It's just a special example of how the model of commissions on real estate is perverse in general. I find it hard to see how it takes twice as much work to sell a house valued at $600,000 vs a house valued at $300,000, but the realtor collects twice as much anyway. They collect more all because the person who worked and saved to afford the more expensive house has a more valuable asset. The higher pay is not really a result of any special effort of the realtor.
I've sold houses in the higher end of the range locally and have seen some realtors do more. Most recently, our realtor brought in a professional stager and a photographer at her own expense. The stager didn't actually bring in new stuff (I bet they do for the really expensive sales), but made a ton of great suggestions for removing some furniture, rearranging what was left, "editing" the books on the bookshelves and putting in some of our interesting bowls, vases, etc. The photographer took a lot of time and used tripods and a high-end camera. Her pictures were beautiful. We never saw a bill for any of that. When I sold in NJ, the realtor first held an open house for realtors only, bringing in munchies from a caterer. She did it to publicize the house and also to get feedback on the pricing.

I'm sure that the extra expenses didn't eat up the additional commission, but in both cases we got extra services.
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Old 12-15-2015, 09:56 AM   #43
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When we sold MILs townhouse, we wanted to repaint and change the curtains and floors. Realtor said no, let her try to sell it as is. Turned out she was right. Full price offer in 3 weeks.
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Old 12-15-2015, 12:27 PM   #44
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We sold our home of 20+ years this summer. It was in a very hot market with great schools. We had remodeled the kitchen in 1998 and the rest of the house in 2008. When we did so we were not planning to move, so we had "overimproved."

We took our realtor's advice on almost everything and were very happy with the results. She was a real go-getter and a top performer over her career who knew our area very well. We did not know her before hiring her.

First we did the three D's: de-clutter, de-personalize and deep clean. We took down stained drapery leaving the window bare and removed furniture, arranging the rest the way a family with young kids would be likely to want it. Removed 90% of the books. We did not hire a stager but did spend about $700 on accessories, pillows and things to make everything look current. Both DH and I worked our butts off for about 3 weeks getting the house ready to show.

We got a thorough home inspection and addressed everything on his list before going to market; probably about 5K due to having to tear up the patio to fix a sewer pipe with tree branches growing through it.

Our realtor paid for a great photographer and had both a broker's tour and a neighbors' open house before the weekend open houses.

The result was a dozen offers after the first weekend. Obviously that was in large part due to the market, but we did better than other houses in our immediate neighborhood due to the condition of the house. We also set our asking price based on comps and not on what we spent on improvements. Our realtor was superb in negotiations.

In summary, have your house looking its best so that prospective buyers know you cared about it. Hire a great realtor and price the home based on comps, not what you think it should be worth; in all likelihood you would overvalue it due to emotional factors. Then let the realtor do the rest. Good luck!
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Old 12-16-2015, 01:23 PM   #45
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Thanks all. I definitely plan to remove clutter and extra furniture that just eats space. Also to do a deep clean, paint and possibly upgrade some hardware on cabinets. We have hardwoods throughout the main floor, but have carpet covering hardwood in the living and dining rooms. I would like to remove the carpet and have the hardwood refinished, but DH just wants to have carpet cleaned. I will defer to our realtor on that one ;-) Not many houses for sale in the area now, but I love going to open houses and looking at homes for sale online, so will definitely be aware of comps in the area. Ours is an older home in a desirable area, so I'll let you all know how this goes.
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Old 12-16-2015, 02:04 PM   #46
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One thing I don't get. Most experts say you do not recoup the cost of most renovations, with kitchen and bath getting a higher percentage recoup but not over 100% recoup. Given that any increase in the sales price is also just more money for the realtor, aren't the realtors operating with an inherent conflict of interest? Why not tell the home seller to spend their money in hopes of making more? Whether the home seller recoups their investment in those upgrades or not, any increase in sales price goes to the realtor!


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I know once the home is listed the realtor might not recommend you start any projects. The potential buyers will give your realtor feedback so you know what people like/dislike.

It all depends on the buyers, but curb appeal matters, clean good smelling open and bright spaces help show a home. At the end of the day, the listing price and comparables will likely dictate the selling price.
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Old 12-17-2015, 08:02 AM   #47
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Don't clean the carpet if you are contemplating replacing. Get the realtor involved. We spent money cleaning carpets and now it is looking more like we'll replace...
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Old 12-17-2015, 07:23 PM   #48
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We have our previous summer house in a desirable area on the market. Not much competition, but prices there are high and people don't have to buy unless they like it. It was shown to buyers, but they said it wasn't special and appeared dated. We knew it was, but preferred to live in it for the 10 weeks a year we were there rather than spend time fixing it up.


So, based on feedback and advice from our agent we are repainting the entire interior (exterior has always been well maintained-a necessity or it starts to rot). We are also refinishing the hardwood floors to a darker, more modern color, adding crown molding through the entire first floor, replacing all the brass window and door hardware and most hanging light fixtures with brushed nickel, and replacing all the kitchen appliances with upper middle grade brands. $50K investment is better than taking a $100K price cut, which would be the minimum needed. Will be fresh for spring/summer buyers. Asking price is around $2.4 million, so not a huge percentage of that.
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Old 12-19-2015, 12:23 PM   #49
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I read somewhere that realtors selling their own houses wait longer for a good offer than their customers do, and get higher offers on comparable properties when they are their own. They have an incentive to get your house sold ASAP so they can bank the commission and move on to the next sale.
I also read a study like that, after all a 3% selling commission is nearly the same on selling a 300,000 house at full price or 90% of full price.

Sure the homeowner decides, but is depending upon the "professional" advice and is therefore vulnerable to sell lower.
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Old 12-19-2015, 01:50 PM   #50
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The problem with remodeling to sell is everyone has different taste . I have been looking for a new house for about four months and I have seen so many bad kitchen re do's .
First, where I live almost anything in the central city will sell and sell quickly and for a top-end price. The key is that our location has become very desirable since so many young people want to live car-less. To my thinking almost all the traditional SFH around here will never work out investment-wise. They are old, with much deferred maintenance and basic problems like unsafe wiring, old iron water pipes, etc.

I know an old blind guy who sold a condo in this area and moved to some sort of place designed for older people maybe 10 miles or so from ground zero of Seattle CBD. Within 6 months he was back, this time getting an apartment so his eventual executors would have an easier time. This guy blows my mind, he goes confidently about the streets,has coffee out, etc. He just hated the outer neighborhoods. He is 87 years old, and long time divorced.

I do think there is much to be said in favor of renting in a well managed building over owning, but sometimes it will be more expensive than owning. It all depends on sales prices when you are looking for a long term place to live.

A question for you Moemg- why are you moving from that very beautiful home in a beautiful place?

Ha
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Old 12-19-2015, 02:03 PM   #51
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A question for you Moemg- why are you moving from that very beautiful home in a beautiful place?

Ha
Thanks Ha . The house is just getting too big for us & too much to upkeep . We will be downsizing from 3800 sq. feet to 1800 square feet .
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Old 12-19-2015, 06:15 PM   #52
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Thanks Ha . The house is just getting too big for us & too much to upkeep . We will be downsizing from 3800 sq. feet to 1800 square feet .
Understand Moe. Life is for living, not maintaining real estate.

Ha
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Old 12-20-2015, 06:13 AM   #53
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Our VERY modest (1500 sq ft) home is also in a desirable area of a desirable residential town much as you described as well as being easy access about 300 yards to the ocean. The house is solid, clean, in good repair, and comfortable for our needs and over the past 30+ years I have done all the upgrades myself for our comfort. It was the first house built on the street in 1955. There are only about 3 other houses in our neighborhood that haven't been torn down and replaced with 4000 to 6000 sq ft new homes.

When I do consider selling I will hire cleaning services to deep clean inside and outside then only if needed will I paint in neutral color. Right now I could probably get $500k due to the location and lot size. Someone will either buy and do their own updating or (more than likely) tear it down and build a McMansion. Either way I will not waste my money or time. The ROI on most upgrades are typically less than 75% depending on what is being done.

Cheers!
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