You know how every January you “start that diet” you’ve managed to put off the rest of the year… or pledge allegiance to a new exercise regime? In real estate, it’s kinda the same thing when spring and summer roll around. Especially if you go on vacay and drive-thru quaint neighborhoods. You see yourself in a new house & a new environment. The same way you want to reinvigorate yourself in the new year, many of us want a fresh start in a new home and while the kids are out of school becomes the perfect time to say it’s now or never.
But then you wake up from the daydream and realize: holy crap, I gotta SELL my house before we’re movin’ on up like TVs “the Jeffersons” (a 1975-1985 sitcom for you younguns).
And that’s the part that bursts the bubble, the task seems overwhelming. Choosing the RIGHT REALTOR®, getting your current house market-ready and going through your stuff—that’s the part that derails many from selling. Hank and I so case in point. We owned (and lived in I might add) TWO Parkland homes for 11 years AT THE SAME TIME. We are the poster children for PROCRASTINATION. I reconciled it by thinking: well many people own second homes, ours were just three minutes apart off Holmberg Road. Try going “home,” to get your swimsuit if you forget it when your other home is in North Carolina.
But in truth, NEITHER of us could even think of sifting through our “stuff.” When we ran our magazine company we didn’t have enough hours in the day (or so we thought). When you tell the world you retired, now what’s the excuse?
When Hurricane Matthew literally blew us into the “other” home we had only visited (it had impact glass) we just never left, and keeping the “old house” became almost embarrassing after two years. One night after a Cooper’s Hawk wine tasting, our defenses down, we just said: we sell the “old” house by the end of summer.
Now, we had to do it. What we learned, how happy we are that we FINALLY got it done, and how incredibly liberating editing down our stuff was, changed our world. We live in a house that suits our new life and the fresh start provided a mental LIFE-boost that’s hard to articulate. Finally getting out from under that mountain of stuff—some of it we hadn’t used or even seen in a decade was so freeing. Here’s the best of what worked for us, combined with what the experts suggested. And understanding that we didn’t have to make every repair, upgrade or fix everything our old house needed was the route that worked out for us and made it work.
Traditionally most people want the most money they can get out of their home. But sometimes thinking about undertaking so many projects is what becomes so daunting. So before putting your home on the market, find a trusted REALTOR® who can show you what your home is really worth in ITS CURRENT CONDITION. THIS IS HARD for many people, but it’s critical. Then you can discuss whether the upgrades are worth the effort or taking a realistic price for your home AS-IS might be the right route for you.
What you think, as opposed to what the experts can accurately SHOW you, makes a difference and can save hours of wasted time, money and effort. If you’ve upgraded your home while living there all along may make it worth making the few fixes now to get you top dollar. Doing that is surprisingly easy & it can make a substantial difference in an asking price jump.
Living in our slice of paradise: Parkland, Coral Springs, or Coconut Creek, we know how extremely desirable these communities are and we benefit by market value already being at a premium. However, (and no one is judging here) take an UNBIASED look at your home AND PROPERTY. If your home hasn’t been upgraded, if it lacks curb appeal (your cousin’s beat-up boat sits in your front yard, or the furniture you were gonna recover sits faded and unloved on your porch), or it needs numerous OBVIOUS repairs, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t really price it right.
Buyers are not stupid, they too have access to the “comps” for your neighborhood and those comps guide BOTH buyers and sellers. REALISTICALLY pricing your home when first listed can be a game-changer. In our case, in the first 24 hours we had 18 calls and SEVEN showings and the 3rd “looker” put in an offer. Within 2 weeks we had 4 back up offers and our AS-IS house had one offer over asking.
Priced too high, no one would have looked at it. There’s a house in our neighborhood now that are priced way too high because the homeowner feels THEIR HOUSE is special. Barely has it had any traffic? They eventually will come to the price reduction realization, but at what cost? Wasted time, extra stress not to mention carrying costs. And this is not the fault of your REALTOR®. Pricing it correctly out of the gate is the secret to a quick successful transaction. For us, fixing everything was what had stopped us from selling multiple times. We ended up attracting buyers who wanted to make a home entirely theirs. Knock out walls, put in the kitchen of their dreams, (not mine) and they were looking for the location and the bones of a house that was once great that THEY could redo.
On the flip side if your home has had the upgrading all along, just doing thoughtful “rehab” with the advice of your REALTOR® can certainly garner you more. Then it is so worth “tszujing” it up, moving clutter out and committing a little money to do repairs right. We can’t stress enough: consulting with a reputable, knowledgeable REALTOR®, seeing what it’s worth now, un “tszujed” and what it could be worth with some tweaks, letting them guide u thru evaluating the cost vs. reward and if it doesn’t make sense sell it as we did: AS IS. But the golden rule: YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. There is no cake and eat it too.
Trust us when we tell you that your REALTOR® wants to tell you how to increase your home’s value so that they can get more money for your house. You walk away with more, they do and the buyer gets a beautiful, move-in-ready home. But SOMETIMES it just makes sense to remove the clutter, repair the obvious and sell AS-IS and a good REALTOR® will objectively help you weigh those options against costs and time and help you make the best decision for your family.
Here are some of the top tips we gleaned for how to have a successful transaction:
Drive down your street as if you are a potential home buyer. If you don’t, your buyer will. See which properties look best? Which look worst and ask yourself why some look so much better? Is it they have clean roofs, fresh paint, or well-manicured yards? As a potential buyer comes to your house they’ll pass by your neighbors. At the very least, remove clutter, debris, and eye-sores even if you are selling AS-IS. A scary property does not inspire multiple bids. Buy a few colorful potted plants and prepare to spend a little time and money to make that all-important first impression… it so matters.
They DON’T have to be costly. Dumb things like does your doorbell work? Is the welcome mat tattered? Are there dead plants lining your pathway. Even selling AS-IS, a clean, welcome entryway to your home helps people imagine WHAT THEY CAN DO. Perhaps your home really does need a new roof or some landscaping. These items are costly, but they will significantly increase the value of your home and that is what you need to weigh before selling. Will these improvements increase your home’s value enough to warrant doing it or should you just bite the bullet and go the AS-IS route and let the new owner choose the roof AND landscaping they’d prefer. A trusted REALTOR® can be an invaluable asset to bounce these what-ifs off of.
We’ve all heard it ad nauseam: The kitchen is the heart of any home and a HUGE selling point. It’s also a great place to start when looking to increase a home’s value. If your fridge is still harvesting gold & your kitchen cabinets, flooring, and counters are from the ’70s, everyone will KNOW your house needs an update. Potential buyers may be put off by knowing they have to invest time and money in a new kitchen. Others, like in our case, we’re thrilled that they could put in the kitchen they always wanted. Not the upgrades YOU LIKE. Weighing the costs vs. the gains with the right REALTOR® is the game-changer. YOU may love dark cherry wood, I love crisp white. If you are choosing the upgrade route, letting a professional guide you to making things as neutral as possible so anyone can see themselves there as opposed to you spending $40k and I fly out the door because I hate dark wood no matter how new, is worth consideration.
The dirtiest word in the English language in my book. I love my stuff. Not so much parting with it. Everything is a memory. But I learned my stuff appeals to me, not necessarily you. That collection of Café Du Monde mugs spread all over my counters may make me think of a crazy good time when we were newlyweds on vacation and you may see: GARAGE SALE! Prospective buyers need to be able to imagine their belongings in your house. They can’t if all they see is “stuff” everywhere. Even if you scoop it into tubs (to edit in when you get to your new house), rent a storage unit to house it, or the dreaded, “Get rid of stuff you don’t need” mantra, pack it up and get it outta there! When selling a home the old adage: less is more as it applies to stuff is on the money whether selling for top dollar or AS-IS. And in the long run, it is so worth the effort.
Although you may not care about lowering the price of your house if the inspection turns up things that need to be fixed, you could also lose the sale over it. Potential buyers may decide that your house is a “lemon” if too many items need fixing unless it’s an AS-IS sale. Stop the drips, replace the electrical outlets, and get rid of the squeaking doors. Call in a professional for an estimate if you cannot do the repairs yourself. Your REALTOR® can probably recommend reliable professionals to help you get the job done right. Even though we sold “AS IS” we absolutely made the obvious minor stuff that if not done would just turn off too many buyers. Like a simple light switch not working or a toilet leaking.
Although people don’t spend as much time in the bathroom as the kitchen, (well Hank might), everyone wants a bathroom that’s clean and appealing. It may be as simple as just removing all your products, tools and giving it a good top to bottom cleaning, changing out the rug, shower curtain and adding fresh-smelling new towels and a candle. Or, you may need to invest in new lighting, mirrors, cabinets, or countertops. Again, a trusted, professional experienced LOCAL REALTOR®’s advice is golden here.
If your interior walls are strange colors, many different colors in each room, faded or marked up with your kid’s “drawings,” you do need to invest in a new coat of paint. An easy and inexpensive task worth twice the cost– especially if you are a do-it-yourselfer.
Dirty, buckled or worn carpets alert your prospective buyers that the carpet might be beyond repair. They will automatically envision $$ to replace the flooring and will generally take off more value than what you could completely replace it for yourself. Making sure your flooring is clean and in good repair is one of the best tips for getting a home to sell.
If undertaking the “facelift” is more than you bargained for, selling AS-IS might be the direction for you. Clearly a clean, neat, orderly house in good repair will get you more money. Disorganization, clutter, broken stuff, outdoor debris, and missing roof tiles will make it harder to sell your home. Correct pricing is the key to selling your home and selling it quickly or having it sit and languish. There is a high and a low in the real estate market and your home’s condition within that range will dictate the correct pricing. A good REALTOR® will show you comparables IN YOUR AREA and will compare the condition of your property to the others to help you navigate the process to decide what course is the best. Being fair and realistic is what made the difference for us. We sold to the most wonderful family and because we were kind to them, they were so kind to us. It was two families working to help each other. YES, we took less than what we might have, but not having the aggravation of supervising major repairs made it doable for us.
We still have our Café Du Monde mugs—but in our new house, they are in the garage with the rest of the treasures, and while you STILL can’t fit any car in any of the FOUR garages, I’m happy my memories are there and that with the right advice our AS-IS home sold in 24 hours.
To learn how to increase home value of your house, get great professional advice on how to PRICE it realistically, and weigh YOUR selling options, please contact the team at Great Florida Homes at (954) 695-SOLD. We are here to help you sell your existing home or buy a new home.
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