Carpet and Paint – Do Now, or Lower Price

Don Reedy April 7, 2010

This room needs some help

Real Estate Selling Secrets

What do you do when you want to sell your home for the best price you can get, but you just hate to spend the money it will take to upgrade or repair some of the rooms in your home that are slightly old, boring or simply awful?

This room needs some help.  Bad carpet.  Walls look okay, but the carpet and walls don’t match.  The curtains look old, and certainly outdated.  And look at the room itself.  Does it look decorated, or simply like a room with stuff in it?

So the question is, do it now, or let it slide?

The buyer is just going to change the color anyway…..

Don’t be fooled by this old and mostly wrong home selling adage.  Buyers are not looking for repair work when they buy a home.  Sure, they’re going to want to put their own stamp on the home, decorate to their style, and paint as suits their tastes.  But studies have shown time and time again that buyers look at homes much like they look at all the rest of their lives.  First appearances, it seems, are truly important, especially to a home buyer.

Look at your home through the eyes of the buyer.  They’ve just come from another similarly priced home in a similar neighborhood.  They are looking for just the right place to put down roots and make a life of their own.  Your home is dirty, or perhaps just unkept, and maybe a little dated.  It’s not as if you’ve done anything wrong.  It’s your home.  You can live the way you want, with the carpet you want, with the dust you want, and the tedium you want.

Just don’t expect the buyer to be happy with it, however.  They are simply going to move awkwardly from the room that needs some work, through every other room, never forgetting or forgiving what they saw when they first came in.  You must paint and carpet if needed NOW, or leave not only money on the table, but perhaps more importantly, the very opportunity to get an offer from a prospective buyer.

 We’ll just lower the price??

Other than not clearing out the clutter and cleaning up as best you can, lowering the price instead of making the home marketable is simply bad idea #2, and is simply another old adage waiting to be dispelled.

Although I could go on about why the above is true, I’ll stick with the one thing I’ve seen hundreds of times with clients of my own.  Your home will be on a list of multiple others that will have already been looked at on the internet (pictures and data), and then compared side by side when the Realtor and the client get into the car.  Once the buyers have seen nicer homes, nicer because they have fresh paint, new carpets and perhaps new window coverings, price never becomes an issue.  The purchase price of a home is so much higher than any of the costs that might be incurred in making repairs or cleaning up, that the buyer will never include them in their decision making process.  They are not paying $3000 less, but rather in their minds (and even this is rare) are perhaps paying $10 a month less.  Clean wins over cost every single time.

Clean your home.   Paint if it needs it.  Remove all the clutter.  Carpets clean or replaced.  Garage emptied of everything you can.  Be clean effective, and you will reap the rewards of a quicker and better priced purchase from happier buyers.

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