Home Buying in Oregon City>Question Details

Patw, Both Buyer and Seller in Oregon City, OR

I am looking to sell in a year. my home is 2400 sq ft built in 2001. What upgrades are bringing the best ROI?

Asked by Patw, Oregon City, OR Thu Aug 6, 2009

I'm thinking granite countertops but are they worth it? Also don't have AC will it hinder my selling? Pat

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Pat, It's been some time since you posted your question. I am wondering what changes you decided to make. I also want to encourage you that it's a good time to be getting ready to get your home listed. If you wait the full year since your question in August, you'll be at the end of the high season for selling. Not only will you lose potential spring time buyers, you will pass the time when a buyer could benefit from the first time home buyer tax credit.

June Lizotte Real Estate
Providing REAL Service
Web Reference: http://www.junelizotte.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 21, 2010
I wouldn't recommend updating to granite unless your countertops look really outdated. Statistically, kitchen and bath remodels have the best ROI. Personally, I would recommend having a Realtor come out, we could give you much better advice if we saw the home first hand.

Best of Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 8, 2009
Pat... As per my previous post, don't worry about the a/c unless your neighborhood market is driven by upper end homes with a/c. Ronda is in east Texas where it's hot and humid much of the year. The summertime average high temp there is in the mid 90s. By contrast, the summertime average high temp here in Oregon City is in the upper 70s (a difference of about 15 degrees). While we had a few days of hot weather (like we do most summers), most summer days are pleasant--even without a/c. And, as I mentioned before, most homes around here don't have a/c.

(For the out-of-staters who only see the NW weather when it makes the national news, the high temp here yesterday was 69, and the high temp here today was 68.)

All my best,

Craig Loughridge
Web Reference: http://www.bybryson.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 7, 2009
Oregon and Washington state both hit 100-plus degrees this Summer, and it made the national news. So, yes - not having A/C can have an impact on your sale. Check with an agent in your area as you get within six months of putting your home on the market. If you are in buyer's market conditions at the time you list, the amenities you added (like granite, if you do add it) aren't going to be worth as much to your bottom-line, although amenities like granite do open up your home for consideration by more buyers who find those cosmetic enhancements more to their liking. I've never had a client buy a home for the countertops. Kitchen or bath upgrades are good, if you don't over-upgrade and have time to recover the cost. If under a year, I would keep upgrading to a minimum. Location and floorplan absolutely rule when it comes to that final 3 homes for consideration of purchase.

Condition is a huge factor on why homes don't sell. Walk your home inside and with the eye of a buyer. What chores need to be done? Does the house need painted? Landscaping freshened up? Are the windows clean inside and out? Anything broken? If you can get off one hand with the to-do list, you aren't likely to make the final cut on the buyer's tour. Focus your energies on getting the house ready.

In a buyer's market, your home needs to be unique. What is that one thing that your home has that others don't? If you can't answer that, you need to come up with something that gives your home presence and staying-power in the minds of the buyer (in a good way). You have to stand above the crowd.

Finally, position yourself properly. Don't just look at your neighborhood comps. You aren't really competing for most buyers with your neighbors. Look at your area sale comps, too. The closest comparable sale may be miles away, but they are usually within a page or two of any online site - which is the easiest way to preview the area and find out the best positioning for your home. If in doubt, set up a preview tour with the agent you are considering to list the home, and tour the areas closest comparable active listings. You don't get a second chance at a first impression.

Have a blessed day!

Ronda Allen - Realtor, Life Coach, and Certified Purchasing Manager
CEO of comingsoonhomes.com
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - The Keith Dobbs Team (2009 Mid-Year #3 RE/MAX Team in N. Texas)
Web Reference: http://www.keithdobbs.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 7, 2009
Many real estate agents hire home stagers for their clients to meet and strategize with regarding what upgrades, repairs and staging should be done to get the most bang for the buck. I agree with Craig that most upgrades will not necessarily bring you a 100% ROI, but many times I see it is the difference between getting a house sold or staying on the market for month after month.

I was working today at a $1.3m+ home that does not have granite in the kitchen. Do I think it may be a hindrance to obtaining a top offer - yes. If the home was in the $250,000 range - probably not as critical.

The power of the right paint color can make your home feel newer and contemporary. The ROI far exceeds the expense. I wouldn't paint a "bright" neutral color - but a warm neutral. Over 40% of paint purchased doesn't meet buyers expectations - it's hard to get the right color from a tiny chip. Get a paint color consultation from a local painter or stager who can provide large samples. The right paint color is the coordinator of your homes appeal!

Craig and Phil have given you some good general ideas, but without seeing your home, neighborhood and competition it's impossible to give you specific and effective recommendations. If you have those cheap brass light fixtures outside your garage and door that's one I can guarantee is worth changing out! Contact a trusted real estate professional and get some specific ideas -- planning ahead is a smart thing to do and makes preparing to sell easy!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 6, 2009
All the previous answers are great. I would also suggest that you have the home staged before you put it on the market. Regardless of how clean, neutral, upgraded your home is, if it has a lot of furniture and lots of personal pictures, etc, plus lots of "stuff" a buyer will not be able to easily see themselves living in the home.

Best of Luck

Jean Pritchard
Amerivest Realty of Portland

New Construction Specialist
Relocation Specialist
Accredited Home Staging Specialist
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 6, 2009
Hi Pat,

If you're selling within a year, substantial updating is not a good idea. Unless you provide all of your own labor, you will not recoup the cost you put into the job. According to the most recent annual survey by "Remodeling Magazine," even the most cost-effective home projects recoup only about 80% of the their purchase price when the home is resold.

Because your home is less than 10 years old, I am assuming it's in reasonably good condition. Just make sure the home is clean inside and out. The grounds should be well-manicured, fences & gates in good condition, the gutters and roof clean. Re-paint interior walls with bright, neutral colors. Have the carpets professionally cleaned. If flooring has excessive wear, consider replacement. If carpets have damage from a pet or from smoking, replace both the carpet and pad.

Whether you should specifically do granite counters and a/c depends a lot on what you have in your house already, and what condition it's in. If kitchen and baths are in good condition, and of average finish, I wouldn't upgrade. If you need to replace a counter because it has significant damage or wear, you may want to consider granite. The material is very popular these days. It's incredibly attractive, and is easy to install, clean and maintain.

As for a/c, most homes in Oregon City and Clackamas County don't have it. Even most newer homes don't have it. I wouldn't worry about it unless it's a common thing to have in your neighborhood. If you live in an upscale area, where all the other homes have a/c, you should probably consider it. Otherwise, don't worry about it. Even with all the heat we've been having this summer, most people don't think about running their a/c but about 5-10 days per year.

I have a list with additional tips that I can e-mail you, but it's too long to provide the whole list here. Please contact me by e-mail or phone if you want me to send you the list.

Best of Luck,

Craig Loughridge
Web Reference: http://www.bybryson.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 6, 2009
New tile/stone countertops are desirable, but granite is overrated, I believe.

AC is desirable, but not a deal killer as long as the HVAC system is capable of allowing the owner to add AC. I'd get an estimate for that work, just in case.

Generally speaking, having not seen your home, kitchen and bathroom upgrades return the most on investment.

Still, what is the condition of your home? It's only 8 years old, so hopefully the exterior paint is fine. Interior paint: Is it all or mostly all one color (or one color with a trim color)? That helps sell. Homes with strong, different colors in each room are harder to market.

How is the carpet? Might be worth putting in new carpet. Even less expensive NEW carpet looks great.

How are the gutters? Get them clean while it is dry outside.

Contact me for a free personal evaluation, NO strings attached.


Phillip Anderson
New Portland Home
(503) 789-8701 Direct
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 6, 2009
Kitchens and Bathrooms give you the most bang for your buck. Granite is appealing to buyers but color is a factor.

A/C units will not hinder a sale except if you have hot water heat. I would put the money into the kitchen.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 6, 2009
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