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Seller shocked at what the buyer would do to his former home

Real Estate Agent

A house was sold and escrow closed.  The seller was happy to close the escrow but not happy about the price (is it any wonder in this recessionary market?).  But what made him even more upset was the hint from the new owner that they would totally renovate the house!  Imagine the new Berber carpet that he just put in 6 months before putting his home on market, the newly remodeled granite kitchen and bathrooms, all new light fixtures, etc...  The new owner would rip off the new carpet and replace it with hardwood floors at their taste, which is easier to understand.  But to comprehend why they would remodel the kitchen (granite counters with new maple cabinets) and granite bathrooms is next to impossible. 

Anyways, to get straight to the point - the buyer had negotiated hard to get a steal bargain price.  The seller finally decided to sell (by the way, he still can afford to sell at this low-ball price). But seeing that the buyers throw all his hard work and remodeling money down into drain adds to his insult and regret.  He wished that he had sold his lovingly-cared home to someone who would appreciate what it offers and enjoy living in it.  Other buyers would gratefully move into this beautifully upgraded home without a blink, even if they would prefer different style or materials. 

In today's economy where many families are stretching every dollar, it's just upsetting to think of the tens of thousands of dollars that were wasted.  On the flip side, it's good for the economy when more people spend their way to recovery...

That brings me to the traditional "Hamlet" question - should you spend to remodel before selling, or should you not?  Different people will have different answers, of course.  And different answers will form during different markets.  In a hot market when buyers want the house yesterday, they love what they see and pay a premium for seller's return on investment.  But obviously in today's market when buyers become more and more patient and want that "deal of century", they are not going to pay a dime for seller's hard work and investment.  So, the decision is yours.  Still, the remodeled condition has a intangible benefit - the house gets sold faster if all other things are equal!

If you have any questions about the east bay area (San Ramon, Danville, Fremont, Pleasanton, etc.) real estate market, or if you'd like some expert advice before putting up your house for sale, please feel free to contact me.  As a Certified Distressed Property Expert and Real Estate Broker for over 10 years, I can help you or someone you know explore your OPTIONS if you owe more than your home's worth and don't know what to do.

George Thoma
Kama'aina Mortgage Group Inc.| - Kihei, HI
Mortgage Broker

A very sad story , and I agree ,, this is a waste of money .

Sep 01, 2011 09:17 PM
Doug Bullwinkel
E Mortgage Capital, Inc. NMLS 1416824 - Roseville, CA
Mortgage Loan Officer NMLS #281609

Not only a waste of money, but the time and energy that was wasted dealing with contractors and sub contractors.  Yuk!  All that frustration for nothing.  It probably would have sold for about the same even without the work.

Sep 01, 2011 09:42 PM
Dean Watkins
Douglas Reatly - Associate Broker, CDPE, HRC, ePro - Fort Meade, MD

I agree with George and Doug... A sade waste of money. I can see why the seller would be upset! I always wait to see what the showing feedback is, then pull the listing off temporarliy if we feel it needs some work before wasting the money.

Sep 01, 2011 10:08 PM
Diane Grady
Endless Summer Realty - Saint Augustine, FL

I never put buyer and seller at the same closing table anymore. This is one of the reasons why! The buyer should have had the good grace to keep quiet about what he planned to do. People really just do not think before they speak. I think that you should have your home neat and clean but discourage sellers from putting too much money in other than that because buyers always want to do it their way. Better to offer an incentive or credit toward carpet or countertops and put a bit of money into the curb appeal!

Sep 01, 2011 10:30 PM
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Deborah,

After sale what happens to the home is the new home owners business.

I am guessing that this home is in a good area and the new buyer wanted to live there.

He is free to remodel the home to his taste, expand it, tear it down and start over. That is his business.


Sep 01, 2011 11:29 PM
Deborah D
San Ramon, CA

Thanks George, Doug, Dean, and Phil, for your comments. I agree to all of you - although it's a huge waste of money and energy, it's buyer's choice to do that.  And thanks Diane and Dean for your ideas of dealing with "remodel or no remodel".  Great comments.

Sep 02, 2011 09:59 PM