How Important is it to do Improvement/Repair Work Before my Home is Marketed?

For those sellers who want to maximize their potential gain in selling their home, it is important to combine the key findings of the structural pest and home inspection reports with their Realtor’s honest assessment of what he/she thinks the “hot spots” are in the home.

Has the kitchen been recently updated or does it look old and tired? Are the counter tops still ceramic tile? Are the refrigerator, stove & oven and dishwasher a color not in vogue with what buyers want?

What about the master bathroom? Is it something from the last century? When was the last time the home was painted both inside and out? Have the hardwood floors been refinished recently? What about the carpeting? If the stairs are carpeted, are there dark areas where the carpeting meets the baseboard? The buyers of today are not keen on buying a home that looks
like their parent’s home.

This is where a Realtor’s input is invaluable. No, there is no perfect home, but the buyers who will offer the most for your home are willing to pay top dollar for the home that is in “turn-key” condition. “Turn-key” means you turn the front door key and you walk into a home that is completely up-to-date with minimal deferred maintenance.

You can tell when you see a home that has been well-maintained by the condition of the systems of the home (e.g. roof, electrical, plumbing, heating, foundation and drainage). The kitchen and master bath have been updated, the interior and exterior painted with contemporary colors, the hardwood floors refinished and/or new carpeting has been installed.

How much does all of this cost to do? It depends on the condition of the home. The euphemism for a home that has been let go is “deferred maintenance”. If Section One (active infestation and dry rot damage) of the structural pest report is more than $10,000, this may be an indication of a home that has been let go and may need significant structural repairs.

On the other hand, if the structural pest report is under $10,000 and the home inspection report indicates the systems are in good repair, it may be cosmetic updating is all that is needed. To cosmetically update the kitchen, master bath, paint, refinish the floors and/or install new carpeting, the cost could be $50,000 to $75,000. For Realtors who have their “goto”
tradespeople who do this type of work, some of these tradespeople may accept payment out of escrow proceeds.

Published by Michael Thompson

I am a seasoned residential real estate professional with over 36 years of expertise in the Oakland Hills real estate market. Over the past three-plus decades, Michael has helped hundreds of buyers and sellers successfully buy and sell their homes. Many of these same clients (and now their kids!) have come back to Michael to help them with additional home purchases. With his extensive real estate background, Michael offers his clients a level of knowledge, experience and insight that gives them a competitive advantage in buying their next home or selling their present one. With a passion for sailing on San Francisco Bay, Michael and his wife Julie Ann Poppi currently are in the process of finishing the restoration of their 1981 Islander 36 sailboat.

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