I am planning to put my townhouse in the cloisters on the market. Should I forgo Reno and lower price?

Asked by Fourcuts, Lake Forest, IL Fri Mar 1, 2013

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Maureen Dwyer, Agent, Ashburn, VA
Fri Mar 1, 2013
If you think like a buyer, this is what they want: beautifully updated home at a competitive price - with no competition. Who is your buyer? Most buyers, especially those with young families, don't want the hassle of renovation, they haven't the time or the energy. However, how much does need to be done? Is this a property more suitable for the investor to renovate or will something cosmetic do the trick while still pricing competitively? You do want traffic so photos with wallpaper or no photos of kitchen and bath are sure signs they would be turnoffs. Without more information such as seeing the property it's truly hard to advise. Please get a Realtor on your side. There's no charge for opinions, comparable pricing, etc.
0 votes
Wayne Johnson, Agent, WA,
Sat Mar 2, 2013
That's a great question and depends on many factors. It is a very competitive market for buyer right now and there are some who will be willing to do their own renovations for the chance to purchase a home at a lower price. However, most buyers prefer to purchase a home where the work has already been done. In your case, it depends on how extensive the renovations are that are needed and how much you are willing to spend. I would welcome the opportunity to look at your home in The Cloisters and give you my opinion and discuss some options. I own in Georgetown myself and know the area very well. If you are interested, please send me an email at wayej@kw.com or feel free to call me at 202-494-0714. I would be glad to help in any way I can.

Kind regards,
Wayne Johnson
Keller Williams Capital Properties
1918 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 2009
2 votes
Kelly Putz, Agent, Fairfax, VA
Sat Mar 2, 2013
It depends on your situation. If you need to move quickly and don't mind losing a potential $100,000, then list it as it sits.

A typical renovation is around $30-$50K and will increase the value of your home in that area $100-$150K, possibly more. It will also bring you a quicker sale. Homebuyers who move quickly want a house they can move into right away. Buyers looking for fixer-uppers shop around a lot more before pulling the trigger.
1 vote
Great insight thank you
Flag Sat Mar 2, 2013
Melissa Bark…, Agent, Washington, DC
Sat Mar 2, 2013

There are a variety of factors that should be considered before deciding which route to go. I would highly recommend you talk to an agent, let them see the house and give you some comps on how to best price the property and if undertaking a renovation is with your time and has a return on the money needed for the renovation. Another factor is how much money are you looking to get out of this property? In the Clositers, a number of the properties have been renovated and updated, but not all of them. Currently there is one property active, listed at $1,475,000 and two that are under contract listed at $1,299,000 and $2,000.000. The one that is current active and the one under contract have been updated.

Please let me know if you would like more information.

1 vote
Kay Abell, Agent, McLean, VA
Fri Mar 1, 2013
Difficult to try to give you food for thought with so little info -- is this property your primary residence or an investment property?? -- which response could change so many factors -- especially tax wise. How long ago did yiu purchase this property? Housing inventory is currently scarce, creating a sellers advantage.... Pending your asking price, parking availability, condition, and if it is a rental, vacant, or owner occupied ... You may not need to renovate. Also, have you the energy to seek out the best renovation options and the time to await its completion? Maybe you can test the market first. -- get rid of clutter everywhere in the dwelling and get it squeaky clean with as much light filtering in where possible. My very first house purchase was in nearby Burleith... This is a lovely and interesting area of GTN.i My DC & Md. Licenses are in GTN, my Va. License in McLean. Good luck to you.
1 vote
Geneene Green, Agent, Arlington, VA
Fri Mar 1, 2013
Well...the quick answer to your question is...it depends. Each option has its benefits; however, a compromise between the two may ultimately be your best bet.

If your home is definitely in need of upgrades, spending the money on reno makes sense. If you are considering any major renovations, have your real estate agent provide you with a detailed market analysis and assessment, this will give you a better sense of what the “norm” is (number of bathrooms, types of kitchens, average age of homes, etc) and help you understand how your home stacks up against others on the market in your community. If necessary, take the plunge and do any needed upgrades. However, please be careful not too go overboard, and end up being too pricey for your neighborhood.

Instead of making upgrades, you may choose to list your home at a lower price. Sometimes, you might not be able to recoup your remodeling costs when it comes time to sell your home. Furthermore, if you’re worried about your house sitting on the market longer than you want it to, you may be better off forgoing any renovations and concentrate on listing your home at a more competitive price. This doesn’t mean you'll have to UNDERprice your home. You just need to price it well--that is, according to what the current market will bear and according to the current value of your home in its current condition. Again, your real estate agent can help you in this area.

The smart thing for you to do may be a combination of minor remodeling/cosmetic upgrades and lowering your list price. Making smaller upgrades to your house—to bring it in line with similar houses in your area—is usually a good idea if there’s a wide discrepancy between your home and other homes. Also, you should always do minor cosmetic upgrades such as painting, carpet cleaning, and landscaping before putting your house on the market. In terms of your list price, make sure you list your home at a fair and competitive price—whether or not you make any renovations.

Hope this helped answer your question! Should you need any additional assistance or if you would like me to show you what your home is currently worth by doing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), please feel free to contact me.

All the best to you,

Geneene M. Green, REALTOR®
Keller Williams Capital Properties
direct: 202.255.6545
office: 202.243.7700
fax: 202.548.2900
801 D Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
1 vote
George Ecker…, Agent, Washington, DC
Thu May 1, 2014
Let's try a comparison specific to the Cloisters.

I see 14 sales in the Cloisters since 2013.

9 of the sales appear to be renovated homes, and the remaining 5 looked to be in more original condition.

Average sale price of the unrenovated homes, $1,255,000 - selling for an average of 2.34% under asking price.

Average Sale price of the renovated homes, $1,425,061 - selling for an average of 3.33% under asking.

Market norm for the community, renovated.
Difference between renovated and unrenovated homes, almost $170K.


The averages listed above for the renovated unit includes one unit that sold for over $2M, and was the ONLY home that sold in that price range, being a unique model, 25% larger than the competition.

When you remove that listing from the equation, the eight renovated units that remain yield an average sale price of $1,331,319.

5 unrenovated home sales - average $1,255,000 2.34% under asking
8 renovated home sales - average $1,331,319 2.81% under asking

The cost of renovations could easily approach the $80,000 price differential.

In any case, the decisions need to be based on the specifics for your community.

Hope this helps.
0 votes
Justin Paulh…, Agent, Washington, DC
Thu Mar 13, 2014
Hey Fourcuts!

Thanks for your post. I notice that you're in Lake Forest, IL. That makes renovation a bit more difficult given your distance. If this has been a investment property, it might be worthwhile to sell the property in its current state. You should consult with a realtor to assess the property in its existing state...THEN decide next steps.

If there are minor cosmetic changes, it might prove worthy to make those change. More substantive changes might not be worth it. Depending on when you purchases the place, there might be more equity than you think...and it could be a win-win to sell in it's current state. There are still a number of buyers in the area that can't afford DC's higher price tags, and are looking for a unit that requires a little work.

It looks like there's been a lot of realtor commentary, but if there's anything further I can do to assist, feel free to email me at jtnpaulhamus@gmail.com.

Our firm is full-service and offers a variety of design and constructive services in addition to representing buyers and sellers in the DC, VA, and MD area. For more information on the company..visit msqrealty.com.

Best of luck Fourcuts!

0 votes
George Ecker…, Agent, Washington, DC
Thu Mar 13, 2014
Dear Fourcuts:

There are definitely occasions when your strategy of foregoing renovation, and pricing accordingly make sense.

The best time to renovate is just after you purchase the property. You have the economic value of the renovations and the unquantifiable value of their enjoyment, both.

Renovating now, you have the cost of keeping the unit off the market in addition to the renovation costs.

The renovations that buyers respond to best are personal, tasteful, obvious labors of love.

Renovations done at the end, in a hurry, just to sell, tend to be generic, unimaginative, under-funded, half-baked and half-done jobs. Buyers look at them as something to be torn out and re-done. Why pay for something the buyer might just want to tear out?

Your strategy of marketing in the present condition and pricing realistically may well be correct.

(By renovation, I am talking about a major renovation, of course, not a paint-job, minor repairs, and replacing an out-dated appliance. Giving your property a hair-cut and a shoe-shine always pays off).

Hard to say more without seeing the property.
0 votes
Margaret Hei…, Agent, Georgetown, TX
Tue Mar 11, 2014
Good afternoon Fourcuts: As a long time resident of Georgetown and fulltime realtor with Long and Foster, I will be happy to discuss your property and its potential with you. Best, Margaret 202-812-2750 or margaret.heimbold@longandfoster.com
0 votes
Deborah Hrou…, Agent, Washington, DC
Sun Mar 3, 2013
In the price range of properties in The Cloisters, buyer expectations are high. If you are reluctant to fully renovate the house ...updating the kitchen, bathrooms, knocking down walls...you might consider more minor improvements...painting, replacing worn carpeting,..and staging the property. Happy to give you specific advice.

Deborah Hrouda
L&F...Foxhall Office
3201 New Mexico Ave
Washington, DC 20016
0 votes
Kelly Putz, Agent, Fairfax, VA
Sun Mar 3, 2013
Hi Fourcuts,

Thanks for the reply to my earlier response. By the way, if you don't want to do the reno and prefer to sell quickly, I have an investor who really wants to buy in that neighborhood. They are cash buyers and can close in 30 days or less.

Contact me at 703-961-8663 or kelly.putz@gmail.com and put Cloisters in the subject line.

0 votes
Miekeba Jones, Agent, Silver Spring, MD
Fri Mar 1, 2013
Hi Fourcuts, updates are always nice. Consult a local Realtor about the costs and return. You do not want to add so much that it overprices everyone in the neighbor hood. May I help you with your Georgetown home? contact me at miekeba@heymannrealty.com

Miekeba Jones
Heymann Realty, LLC
direct 240.715.8284
office 301.439.1180
0 votes
Lanre Folayan, Agent, Washington, DC
Fri Mar 1, 2013
Hello Fourcuts,

Before I can answer your question,please email me your address to DChomesforsale@gmail.com so I can do a free market value analysis on your home. Then I will be able to tell you if you should sell or rent your townhouse.

Thank you very much. Have a great weekend.
Web Reference:  http://www.GetDCSold.com
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