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Should "WE" Fix Before Listing or Just Sell As-Is?

Gina Hillis

Gina Hillis, Broker  with Hillis Group Realty, is a well-established and highly experienced real estate professional with a strong reputation for...

Gina Hillis, Broker  with Hillis Group Realty, is a well-established and highly experienced real estate professional with a strong reputation for...

Sep 14 10 minutes read

Credit Garry Hillis

June 2019

If you're thinking of selling your home, this is probably a question you're are asking yourself - and real estate agents. There is no hard and fast answer; the route you go will depend on numerous factors; the most important of which are: 

1. the current condition of your home, 

2. the strength of the market in your area, 

3. the potential net dollars to be made,  (both with and without)  

4. understanding the meaning of fixes as opposed to updating and remodelling.

5. the cost vs added value of both.

 Then, ask yourself these following questions, which will clearly help you decide. 

Consider your Buyer?

Who are they? Where are they coming from? 

Understanding demographics is your representative's job, so hiring an Agent that gets it is critical.

The words "family home in great original condition" might actually be a selling point for some Buyers who perceive they're getting a deal. Buyers who are specifically looking for something they can put their stamp on, or who just can't afford to buy something turnkey. Therefore understanding who is likely your Buyer is more important today than ever before.  

"In any marketing, knowing the demographic buyer persona of your potential Buyer guarantees results. It's in every piece of your marketing message. "In today's world of digital marketing of the property,  it's critically the online virtual presentation is focused on transparent value,"  "Prospective home-buyers know that any solid family home in the original condition even when cluttered will sell.  However, they most likely are not coming out to view the property. Therefore something needs to draw them to want to physically take a look. Remember- Its 99% mobile device. 

PRO TIP #1 - Your online presentation must be powerful on every mobile device. Open quickly, (3 seconds or less), all messages and property highlights need to adjust and fit within the screen of your Buyers device.

Sometimes at a lower price point is needed rather than a remodelled feature. However with the proper accessories to enhance the online presentation is proving to be as effective as a professionally staged home.  Further, because you have a smart 10-15-year-old kitchen, doesn't mean you need to reduce or accept a lower offer, because of today's buyer's perception of acceptable. 

Instead, emphasize the home's key features and potential. Its always about finding the right Buyer for your home. You only need one Buyer, qualified to purchase your property.  Reinforcing the message about the neighbourhood and lifestyle benefits often will be a stronger message. Rather than justifying the asking price or discussing what the property is missing.  This has been proven to be more effective than spending thousands on a kitchen or bathroom remodel.  In marketing its called the scarcity message. 

So ask your agent and yourself, is your home a scarcity? 

If your home needs A LOT of work and you can't, or don't want to, put the time, money, and effort into getting it in top condition, targeting handy DIY Buyers is a great marketing strategy.  The home will be priced somewhat lower, or even under listed to attract more offers. Perhaps even to create a bidding war.  Regardless of the strategy and plan, ensure you and your Agent are on the same page with the message and who the target audience for your home is.

Get an honest assessment - and be able to hear it

If you've lived in your home for quite some time and/or haven't kept up with updates and repairs, your real estate agent's assessment of its condition and the recommendations he or she makes to get it market-ready may be eye-opening. This advice may also make you angry. Remember it's not personal. Try to listen and keep an open mind, even if you feel offended. In the end, you share the same goal, which is to get your home sold for the best and highest Net dollar value possible. 

Be realistic on your asking price

"Finding out your home's value isn't as simple as subtracting the cost of repairs from your home. "Besides who determines the value and/or cost of a remodel? What one Buyer perceives as the cost of an update could be 50% different than another Buyer. You also need to factor in ‘aggravation costs. "In other words, turnkey homes often sell at a premium to traditional Buyers because they don't have to do any work. But this does not mean you as the seller need to be subsiding a Buyers taste for a kitchen remodel. 

As for your asking price, try and consider the market timing, seasonality of the market and the currently listed property in your area. Looking at the sold properties are one measurement but does not determine your exact selling value. You are selling and marketing to a Buyer and want the highest and best value. It will come down to a Buyers choice of currently available properties, (your competition). 

PRO TIP #2 -  Just because other properties are for sale (at the same time you are) does not mean they are true competitors.  Know your unique features and lifestyle benefits.  Why the design of your home and layout is so special and why you loved the home for so many years. This has nothing to do with generational, it's about what you value. Share your experience in the home and area.

Choose your updates wisely

If your home needs some sprucing up, you're likely going to have to incentivize Buyers to dig in and get their hands dirty." It may be that fixing only an area within your home makes the most sense. In presenting you with comparables, your real estate agent should be able to show you other properties in your area in varying conditions (depending on the number of active listings or recently sold homes near you). Remember this gives you an "indicator" and some idea of how much you'd have to put into your property to get the same dollar. Then simply adjust the value by percentages. But remember, it goes both ways. your property might have an inferior kitchen to a comparable, but your property might have a superior location. 

Words of Wisdom

A $60,000 kitchen renovation may not be in the budget or even return the added $60,000.00. However a new backsplash, granite counter top and fresh appliances, including a newer under-mount sink that provides impact needed. However, if the doors on your cabinet are falling off, and the drawers do not slide properly you might need to rethink the idea totally. 

There are smaller updates you can do to your kitchen to make it look fresh (and, you can use the same principles in other important areas, like bathrooms). XXXXXXXXX link has a great list of updates you can make for under $3,000, including hanging a pendant that "illuminates the sink area" and swapping out a tired sink for a "farmhouse under-mount sink (that) adds character to space." Also, think about painting cabinets and installing new hardware, and, if you're up to the task, adding an eye-catching backsplash. Rember that glass tiling is a big winner and easy to install.  

Make necessary repairs

Today's homebuyers don't expect perfection, but sometimes their offers will be based on the condition of your home.  Your home should be less about you and more about eliminating the negatives. What a negative? 

Paint goes a long way. Fixing leaky plumbing or dripping faucets, replacing stained toilet bowls. Replacing rusty chipped sinks goes a long way to reduce the overall negative impact a buyer feelings. Painting a basement concrete workshop floor and showing the space organized also leaves an impression of calm. 

In recent surveys by the National Association of Realtor, showed 40% of Buyers today will eliminate the home before they open and enter the home. This indicates the curb appear counts for a lot of the impression. Therefore it needs to be top notch.  An additional 35% of buyers will eliminate a property once inside the front door before they take their shoes off. 

Therefore if the first impression and the entrance are From this point, every impression and thought in a Buyers mind focus' on supporting their first impressions.

Have your Agent stand across the street from your property and look at your curb appeal. Experience what a buyer experiences and be honest with yourself. Try and put the hat on of your Buyer. 

Remember that it's not about you or what you like or think. Is your Agent being honest? If your Agent is afraid that you might get offended; you have a problem before you get started. Ask yourself if the Agent is going to invest in strong marketing and presentation online. Putting a price on a property so that it sells quickly, requires little effort and investment is not leveraging the most out of your property. Talk to a few agents in your market place and look for the Agent you feel will best represent you and your property. 

If you are thinking about making a move, or just interested in more resources,  try our blog library for more in-depth knowledge and educational based short reads.



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