Vini, Home Seller in Kennett Square, PA

put $$ into fixing house or lower price

Asked by Vini, Kennett Square, PA Sat Dec 29, 2007

Is it better to put $30k into fixing my house (new paint, decent landscaping, etc) and adding this to the price or to do nothing and sell at a lower price? Thank you for your response(s) and best wishes for the new year!

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Some of your investment will not return dollars, but will encourage buyers to visit and make an offer. Paint is inexpensive and the exterior and curb appeal are very important.

Many buyers will do drive bys and determine their interest in making an appt based upon their impressions from the exterior. A tidy yard, with toys and garbage can neatly tucked aside is important. Clean, mulch, trim and manicure your yard. Sweep the sidewalks and porch. Planters and urns at the front door is an inviting touch. These things should not cost a lot.

Painting and cleaning can do wonders. New knobs, hardware on cabinets, light switch covers, are inexpensive touches. New grates on a stovetop can freshed up the appearance of a stove.

Expensive investments are likely to help sell your property but not bring a dollar for dollar return.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 26, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
If you are fixing, paint, new carpets and some landsscaping will turn the house into a great home. But this may not be your main concern. Have a realtor come through your home to tell you what they feel needs to be done to sell the home. What price are you looking to list your home? I wouldn't put the 30k into any home today. Your return on investment will be less than half. I would reccomnd doing the minimal and lowering your price. You will save time and money this way.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 26, 2008
Hi Vini:

I was quoted in the Dec. 23rd, Philadelphia Inquirer Real Estate Article: "It's outside that counts" (link to the entire article below). There are many good suggestions and opinions the article, humbly, I present mine:

"I think the biggest thing I'm seeing with buyers in this market is the less 'pain' they have to deal with when purchasing a home, the better," Badalamenti said. "Chance favors the ready-to-move-in home.

"I honestly believe many sellers would help their situation if they work on the basic stuff: removing any and all wallpaper, painting the home in neutral tones, refinishing existing hardwood flooring, replacing wall-to-wall carpeting with neutral carpet, and moderate landscaping," he said.

"If a buyer walks into a home in this market and feels they have to do a major overhaul to the kitchen and/or bathrooms, they usually utter one word," Badalamenti said. "Next!"
End of my quote

The article also provides a chart showing a reasonable expectation of return on investment; Alan Heavens does a super job here.

Lastly, if you are not going to spend the $$, then by all means, consider lowering the price below what the market will bear, lest your home sit on the market.

Best of Luck,
John B.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 12, 2008

Good question here. The homes that are selling are the ones that are showing well and priced well. Putting 30K into having the home show well and increasing the price by 30K does not compute. It just brings the property up to average and shows well i.e. if other homes have decent landscaping and paint it brings them at par. If the home is missing this then it is a take away. In my humble opinion it is best to have the property show as best as possible and price it aggressively to it sells. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 12, 2008
Pam Winterba…, Real Estate Pro in San Ramon, CA
In this market, with the amount of inventory we have, I tell my clients that by putting money into fixing there house, they can reasonably expect to be a more attractive option, but can't expect to get more for the house. In other words, if you put 20,000 into a 400,000 house, it may make it the first 400,000 house to sell, but it won't make it a 420,000 house. I do however believe that new paint and some nice landscaping (and decluttering) is most definitely worth it, but wouldn't cost nearly $30K.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 12, 2008
In the current market, buyers have high expectations and most want a house that is move in ready. With so much inventory to choose from, they can afford to be choosy. 30K sounds like alot for just cosmetic fixes. If your house needs alot of updating/maintenance, it is probably deterring a significant number of buyers. You will likely get a quicker sale (and better offer) by doing some work up front.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 12, 2008
Hello Vini,
It is all about the pool of potential buyers. You want to be in the biggest pool of buyers. Most but certainly not all buyers want a nice house, ready to throw the suitcase in a closet and go to work the next day. Fixing it does have the potential down side of not getting as much back as you spent but it should speed up the sale. If you look at the average return on investment as mentioned in a previous answer, you would see that nothing in the greater Philadelphia area returns what was spent but in other areas you would get even more than you spent. It is a survey based on "something" but I am not sure I completely trust it. Curb appeal is very important. If you can't get them in the house, you can't sell them the house. Kitchens and baths are the most important inside features, clean and functional over opulent. Adding things like decks or finishing the basement is surely a money looser. New paint is a winner and flooring would not hurt. Anything that you know anyone buying the home would do immediately should be done. In this day with the cost of heating, good well sealed windows and doors are items payed attention to. Keep in mind price is just as important. In our Chester County market, the ability to be under $250K is nice, the cheaper the better. The pool of buyers grows with every dollar lower the price is. It is a balance that you must figure out. How much to spend to make it how nice and keep it as low as possible. If you are in a higher price bracket, you will have more competition and you have to be cheapest, nicest or some blend of the 2 so you are the best value overall. If you are not, you will just be helping everyone elses house sell when they compare it to yours. good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 2, 2008
Generally it's not a dollar to dollar scenario. Usually, you'll see more return from the updates than the dollar amount you put in. With that said, it's very important you invest smartly. Go view your active competition. If they all have updated kitchens and baths, take that into consideration. Look at these homes as objectively as possibe, and think about how your home competes.

Most sellers are concerned with investing in cosmetic updates because they don't want to waste money on changes the buyer won't want. In my experience, it's better to paint and let the buyers repaint. You'll still get a higher return on your investment.

At the very least, a freash coat of paint, a thorough cleaning, and updated light fixtures go a long way, and are very cost effective!

Best of luck with your sale!!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 29, 2007
Hello Vini,
Best wishes to you also!
First, to give an accurate opinion on your situation, I would need some more info. How much is your house currently listed for? What are the other houses in your area selling for and what is the condition?
Please contact me with this answers and I will glady advise you on how to max out your profit.
If you do chose the route of fixing up your house you need to decide what to fix in order to maximize your profit. The National Association of Realtors just published a cost to value report which I will gladly send you. In essence you are better off spending your money for repairs to enhance the curp appeal of your home as you would see the most return on investment (landscaping, siding, windows, etc)
I hope this helps you. Feel free to contact me at if you would like that article.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 29, 2007
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