A New Trend in Homebuying...
Is Condition Becoming More Important than Location?
The real estate mantra of Location, Location, Location still holds true and we believe always will. But we have seen a trend lately with homebuyers which tells us that condition is becoming increasingly important to buyers. Homes that need updating and repairs are sitting on the market longer and selling at far greater discounts than comparable homes in better condition. The disparity seems greater than ever.
And sadly, more homes seem to need significant updating and repairs.
When you consider the economy, many people have less discretionary income as the cost of everything has soared. Plus it seems like more homes on the market have condition issues brought on by deferred maintenance and lack of consumer confidence. Many people don't have the money to spend on maintaining their homes, and others who do have the money may hesitate to spend it.
Buyers have become increasingly sensitive to the cost of everything these days and know that making major repairs and renovations to a home can cost a small fortune. Saavy buyers know that sellers do not recoup the full cost of improvements made during their ownership (who hasn't scanned a Cost vs. Value report?). Buyers want the home they buy to be move-in ready and nicely updated, so they don't have to do it themselves.
BUT, for many people, a home is their single largest investment. Do not neglect it. Homeowners are wise to keep up with the maintenance on their home. Fix problems while they are small and before they become bigger and more costly.
PLUS, many buyers today are using FHA, VA and USDA financing in which the appraisers for the mortgage company will require certain repairs to be completed prior to settlement. For example, peeling exterior paint must be scraped and painted for FHA loans. Peeling paint looks terrible and will cause a buyer to offer less for a house. Keeping up with those repairs will allow a seller to get more for their house.
We had this exact situation recently where a seller was complaining that he would have listed and sold the house for more money if he knew he had to do the exterior painting work required by our buyer's mortgage company. (Didn't your list agent tell you that was a likely outcome?)
We understand, home improvements are expensive. Can you believe?
Painting by professional painters seems to run about $800 - $1,000 per room. Even for the do-it-yourselfers, with a gallon of Benjamin Moore paint costing $55, it could be a couple hundred bucks just for the materials to paint one room.
It seems like you can't get an electrician or a plumber to set foot in your house without dropping $100 - $150 minimum for the service call.
One bag of Scott's Turf Builder costs $40. Reseeding a whole yard can cost a couple hundred dollars in materials and if you don't do it properly, all that money could get washed away - literally.
One levered interior door handle set costs $80; when you replace all the knobs in a home, you could be looking at a dozen or so handles. ($1,000 for door handles?)
A handyman will charge $4,000 - $5,000 to relocate a laundry room to a 2nd floor hallway closet.
Keep things simple. Landscaping should be simple enough to avoid the overgrown look and managed to keep roots from uplifting sidewalks or foundation. Select maintenance free materials when doing home repairs/improvements.
Take good care of what you have. Keep your home clean and polished, especially carpets, wood floors, kitchen cabinets, and bathroom tiles. Protect high traffic/use areas from stains and damage. Keep up with exterior caulking around windows and interior caulking in bathrooms. Change the filters on your HVAC system and have the systems serviced annually.
Buy quality. Quality materials are worth the money; they look good and perform well for years down the road.
Know your limitations. Anything that you can do yourself is great. But, hire professionals for improvements/repairs that are beyond your capabilities. Nothing is worse than poor craftsmanship and finishing work from an obvious DIY job.
Contact Scott Loper, Associate Broker, Realtor®, RE/MAX Realty Group at 215-513-1333 for help buying or selling a home in Lansdale, Harleysville, Hatfield, Souderton, Skippack, Collegeville, North Wales and the surrounding areas of Montgomery County of Pennsylvania. To Search for Homes For Sale in Montgomery County Click Here.
Homeowners: Fix It NOW! Deferred Maintenance will COST You When You are Ready to Sell - Copyright © 2011, The Scott Loper Team, All rights reserved.
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The Scott Loper Team
Scott & Lisa Loper