Can we get top dollar? Is your home used up or kept up?

Real Estate Agent with ExecuHome Realty 636336 (since 1991)

Every home seller wants us to get Top Dollar for their home. We understand.

I was showing homes in the $400-$500k range yesterday, and two of the homes back-to-back made the point exactly. Both were 12-years old.

The first was clearly "used up." It appeared that the owner bought it new, lived in it for 12-years without so much as a minor touch-up along the way. They put it on the market with crayon marks and deep scratches on the walls, carpet needing stretching, and paint faded and discolored. 

The second was clearly "kept up." This awesome property was immaculate, and looked like it was kept up every day. Matter of fact, the owner was cleaning the storm door as we arrived a couple minutes early. Every room, every surface, every detail looked like a builder model home at the start of the development. A pleasure to show!

The homes were priced the same. Guess which one gets sold for top dollar in it's first 10-days on the market?

So, sellers, tell me: Is your home kept up or used up?


Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Robert L. Brown 08/04/2012 07:55 AM
  2. Cheryl Ritchie 08/04/2012 04:59 PM
  3. Valerie Zinger 08/04/2012 09:48 PM
  4. C. Lloyd McKenzie 08/05/2012 04:11 PM
Home Selling
Advice for Sellers
selling condition

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Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

This is something we have to stress over and over again.  Sometimes it may be good to have the prospective sellers view the competition so they can see for themselves.

Aug 04, 2012 08:33 AM #12
Reuben Fine
Fill-In-The-Blanks PDF Flyer Templates - Rossmoor, CA
Great point! Appearance, first impressions, are vital; especially in this economy. A little TLC goes a long ways. Investment in a fresh coat of paint and possibly a basic exterior power wash can significantly improve your odds of getting top dollar.
Aug 04, 2012 09:39 AM #13
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Curt, what a great analogy! It's so true and many people think their home should get top dollar regardless of condition just because of where it is, or just because - you name it!


Aug 04, 2012 10:17 AM #14
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville

As a follow up to Lenn's comment, sometimes the bling is not as good as the money spent well on the systems. Easier and cheaper to replace a kitchen than a roof, ac and heating system and windows.

Aug 04, 2012 10:23 AM #15
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

I love your post, Curt. I have too often made the comment after viewing a home that the owner had lived there and “used the home up”. What a great learning experience for your client to be able to compare two similar homes that have been through the opposites of care and upkeep over their lifetime.

Aug 04, 2012 11:59 AM #16
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Curt - A good portion of buyers want homes that are in good condition and ready to go. Otherwise, they're typically looking for a fixer upper/deal.
Aug 04, 2012 12:58 PM #17
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Appearance does matter.  Buyers want homes that are in good condition and look great.  They don't want to see a poorly maintained home.

Aug 04, 2012 03:40 PM #18
Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

Love your headline. So true. It's the owner and caretaker, not the builder! I see this more than frequently.

Aug 04, 2012 04:53 PM #19
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

I love that phrase "used up or kept up." I just showed a home that's over 50 years old and you would never know it. It's been kept up and updated over the years, and my buyer fell in love with it.  

Aug 04, 2012 06:03 PM #20
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Curt, what a clever post!  If only all homes were "kept up versus used up!"

Aug 04, 2012 07:23 PM #21
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thanks for the post with good advice for sellers. I love the title.

Aug 04, 2012 09:32 PM #22
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer


Excellent point.  I had not thought of a house as being used up but, with your explanation, I see how it certainly has had a best before date.  

Aug 04, 2012 09:47 PM #23
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Curt,

I had not heard those two phrases used before.

It makes a quick visual that is powerful


Aug 04, 2012 10:02 PM #24
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224
Curt..congrats on a well deserved feature...and for coining a term that I'm sure many will be using..."used up"!
Aug 04, 2012 10:03 PM #25
Robert Rucker III
Fairbanks, AK

Hello Curt,

Congratulations on your post being featured. Though I keep it up pretty good, your post has actually inspired me to do even more work on my own home.:) Great post. Thanks for sharing.

Aug 04, 2012 10:39 PM #26
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Curt, not hard or difficult to see which one the buyer's chose. Upkeep is important if you want to sell at the top of the market.

Aug 04, 2012 11:18 PM #27
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Rockledge, FL
... a small office, delivering big service!

Great post. Going to link back to this one. Love the kept up or used up approach.

Aug 04, 2012 11:30 PM #28
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Great post that all potential sellers should read.  Having your home listed isn't fun, but if you are going to list, you need to present it well.  

Aug 04, 2012 11:33 PM #29
Charlie Dresen
Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty - Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro

Great points for all the sellers out there.  Potential buyers do notice the little things.

Aug 05, 2012 07:53 AM #30
C. Lloyd McKenzie
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, New Mexico Properties - Albuquerque, NM
Living Albuquerque

Good Evening Curt:

What an excellent point you made in this blog.  I also like the fact that it was short and to the point

Aug 05, 2012 04:05 PM #31
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Curt Hess

Luxury Home Consultant, Team Leader & CEO
How Much is My Home Worth?
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