Everyone knows it is a buyer's market. The news, the number of homes on the market, the number of foreclosures -- they all speak to what a tough real estate market the country is currently facing. Agents get it; sellers get it. However, homes will sell in any market. Regardless of the market, all sellers want:
- To get their home sold.
- To sell for the most money.
- To sell quickly.
- To sell with the least headaches.
What sellers don't want:
- To hear their agent complain about the market.
- To hear about the other homes their agent has sold.
- To hear about the awards their agent has received.
To sell in any market (but especially in a buyer's market), agents need:
- Experience and knowledge of the local market to make the right recommendations for preparing the home for sale and more importantly pricing the home.
- Control of expectations to keep sellers from getting frustrated.
- Skillful marketing methods to generate activity on listings.
- The ability to find qualified buyers.
- Negotiation skills to get sellers what they want.
- Problem solving abilities to get past the hurdles to settlement.
What is our advice to sellers?
Buyers today want value. They are looking for a deal. They want a house that is really done well without the need for a lot of updating, or they want a house that is deeply discounted in price. Some buyers want both.
But even a house that is updated and meticulous can only command market value, so over-improving a house just to sell it will not yield the full return on investment.
Sellers will get the biggest bang for their buck with the simpler cosmetic improvements such as fresh paint and new carpeting. Taking down old wallpaper is a huge task, but is also money well spent.
According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual survey of Cost vs. Value, a kitchen remodel will only command about 63 percent to 68 percent of the investment at resale, with the smaller scale remodels fairing closer to the 68 percent. Based on this data and what we see daily in our market, we would never suggest to a seller to remodel their kitchen and bathrooms to sell. There are much smaller improvements that can be made to ensure a speedy sale.
For example, replacing older Formica countertops with granite or replacing the appliances may be just the touch the kitchen needs to prepare it for sale (and well worth the $3,000 to $5,ooo investment). Try sanding and painting kitchen cabinets before replacing them. Replacing a damaged bathroom sink or simply updating a bathroom with a new medicine chest and faucets could do the trick.
A new front door and new garage doors have the highest ROI's nationally at 102 percent and 84 percent, and they are the least expensive projects cited by the Cost vs. Value report, with both under $1,500. The highest returns are the improvements that affect the exterior appearance of the home and improvements that better utilize the living space.
When selling, we think the best return on investment will come from:
- Decluttering (Less is more.)
- Thorough cleaning (Scrub, scrub, scrub.)
- Fresh paint and carpeting (No wallpaper, please.)
- Smart staging (Let a professional eye make recommendations, keeping cost versus value in mind.)
- Curb appeal (Ttrim, manicure, plant, mulch, weed, paint, decorate ...)
- Repairs (If it is broken, fix it.)
So our advice for any seller who is considering mid to major improvements to make the house more saleable is to strongly weigh the benefit of what they are considering. However, if a seller is unsure of their resolve to move, they should only consider the improvements that they would be happy with if they were going to stay in the house.
And who knows? Once that kitchen is done, a seller just might decide to stay put.
What Sellers Want and Our Advice to Them originally appeared in the Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch.
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.
What Sellers Want and Our Advice to Them - Copyright © 2011, The Scott LoperTeam, All rights reserved.