Renovate or leave as is?

Asked by bradbergling, Chicago, IL Sat Aug 30, 2014

I am currently trying to sell my house, as life changes and so do living situations. I was planning on staying at my current house for a long time, so I have many additions which means the 2nd floor of my bungalow is 90% new: electrical, plumbing, additional bathroom, hardwood floors, drywall and insulation, recessed lighting.... it's new.

The first floor was primarily untouched except for new plumbing lines (which nobody can see). Should I spend money on trying to renovate anything to make it look more "modern" - but I don't want to spend a fortune for a whole kitchen remodel, or leave it as is. There's absolutely nothing wrong, just seems like a waste for me to renovate some if someone else has plans they want to take out.

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Eugene Dean, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Fri Nov 21, 2014
I don't know what kind of shape your kitchen is in, but it is usually a good idea to do some renovations. You might not recover the entire cost, but it will probably make your home sell faster. Sometimes that is more important than maximizing profit.
1 vote
Diana Hellman, Agent, Larchmont, NY
Fri Sep 26, 2014
There is no doubt that updating kitchens and bathrooms will only be a positive with respect to selling quicker and will prove more desirable when compared to others in the same price range. However renovations are just part of the equation. The price needs to be appropriate, based on other homes that have sold within the past year, the location play an important variable. There are many ways to renovate so I would suggest getting a local realtor to give you some answers to your questions, and get a local contractor, who can talk numbers to you.
1 vote
Deborah Benn, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sat Sep 6, 2014
I suggest having a real estate broker come thru to access the house! Kitchens are big ticket items for buyers. However, they can be costly to renovate. I'll be happy to come on by for a no obligation consultation!
1 vote
Terry McCarl…, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Fri Sep 5, 2014
Have a real estate agent meet with you to discuss this. None of us answering questions here can see the property so difficult to give you solid advice.
1 vote
Mike Opyd, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri Sep 5, 2014
I would have an agent come through and assess what the property looks like. Might just need a few small cheap touches to get it into a better selling situation. Its amazing how far a new coat of paint will go.
1 vote
Accurate Ins…, Other Pro, Chicago, IL
Sat Aug 30, 2014
I typically recommend clients don't remodel a kitchen unless they are going to spend major money and do it right. A half ass kitchen remodel doesn't do much good to make buyers interested in your house. Kitchens tend to be very personal. Unless you have designer concepts its not worth it. I can't count how many times buyers have complained about so-so kitchen remodels and stated they will have to do it over.
If you are looking to spend some money on making your house sell better, take care of all the little things that turn buyers off. Buyers go through a mental checklist during and after looking at a house. All those little things can add up and keep a buyer from making an offer. That 15 year old water tank, the door thats difficult to open/close; the broken window, the ugly tub grout, the dripping faucet, etc.
The more little things a buyer never has to think about can get you an offer. The more little things a buyer never has to think about can help them see that new kitchen they will want.
Also consider updating major systems as feasible. 20 year old furnace; replace it instead of the kitchen, AC the same.
Another important factor to keep in mind, if you house is decent enough and priced right it will likely sell fairly quickly. Houses that are clean, don't smell, aren't next to a gas station and are priced right don't tend to sit on the market. If yours is sitting I suggest you think about what the issues might be.
1 vote
I think it all depends on the buyer. There are some buyers that would like to renovate the kitchen themselves so that they get what they want. Others don't want to renovate because they don't have the money or skill. It just depends on your target market.
Flag Mon Feb 23, 2015
Sparrow1, Home Buyer, Sunnyvale, CA
Thu Jun 11, 2015
None of us can give you perfect advice as we haven't seen your house/ property. You can have a real estate agent meet with you to discuss this
0 votes
djennifer009, , Salt Lake City, UT
Wed Jun 10, 2015
It sounds like the house is doing well without an expensive kitchen remodel. There are ways to update your first floor that aren't as much money. Try painting the walls neutral colors and replacing the carpets. That alone should modernize the space, which will help it sell.
0 votes
Jackson Will…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Fri May 29, 2015
You aaren't alone with your dillema. I just sold the first house I bought because my wife and I bought a plot of land and had a house built. when we were moving we weren't sure if we should remodel or not though. Unlike you there were things that weren't very operational. Naturally we fixed those things, but we actually did end up doing a basic kitchen remodel. We essentially just upgraded the appliances and put in new cabinets. It's completely fine to just do something like that, but talking to your relator will really help you to decide what your best option is. I would suggest starting there.
0 votes
garypuntman, , Los Angeles, CA
Thu May 21, 2015
I think it would be beneficial to do some renovations. A kitchen renovation can especially add some value to your home. It would be worthwhile. It will also add a lot more appeal to your home.…
0 votes
CJ Baker, Agent, Downers Grove, IL
Mon Feb 16, 2015
It's hard to say without seeing your kitchen, however, I wouldn't remodel the entire kitchen. Making some basic renovations such as installing granite counter tops, replacing cabinet handles, and replacing the faucet with something modern is always smart.
0 votes
Nora Moore, Home Buyer, American Fork, UT
Wed Jan 28, 2015
Having a remodeled kitchen is a big selling point for a lot of people. It depends on the condition of your kitchen right now. It might be a good idea to do a few upgrades so that the kitchen matches the remodeling that has been done upstairs. Maybe you should talk to your realtor first, though. They would have a better idea of the needs and demands in the housing market in your area.
0 votes
Judi Monday,…, Agent, Green Valley, AZ
Fri Nov 21, 2014
Speak with a few agents in your area and have them run comps for you both with the house as-is and with the first floor renovated. With that information in hand you can made an informed decision whether the offset in value is worth the investment it would take to get it there.
0 votes
John Meyers, Agent, Park Ridge, IL
Mon Sep 15, 2014
Homes that show well and are priced right will move. -- If your property is outdated, can a nice paint job make it look presentable?

You are correct. If you look at any home improvement stats, you will get 80 to 90% back out from the cost of your enhancement. If someone is going to update the kitchen anyway but the appliances and plumbing still work, you should just leave as is.

Hope that helps. Good luck!
0 votes
I think leaving it as is would be fine as long as you could get the kind of buyer that was looking to remodel it anyway. Though remodeling it might make it more appealing to other potential buyers. I guess in the end it is up to you as the seller to pick which kind of buyer you want to appeal to.
Flag Thu Oct 30, 2014
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Sat Sep 6, 2014
Renovate it. And do a good job, too. It doesn't have to cost a fortune.

It's an absolute fallacy--a complete myth--that you should leave something that needs work because someone else may want to do it differently. If you do that, then every single person through will think: "What a dump."

True story: I rehabbed a townhouse a couple of years ago. Put in new lighting, new tile flooring, new stainless steel appliances, new granite countertop. This was in a somewhat upscale area, but definitely middle-class. Sold the property in 4 days for nearly full asking price. The buyers moved in and IMMEDIATELY redid the kitchen. Ripped all the new appliances out. Replaced the flooring and cabinets. I'm not sure about the granite countertops, but I suspect they replaced them, too.

Now: Would they have bought the place with the older kitchen? Probably. But likely they paid full price (and no seller concessions, either) because they knew it was a good value and if they didn't buy quickly, someone else would. And we built the new kitchen's price into the sales price, so it didn't cost us a penny to rehab that kitchen. If we'd kept the old kitchen, the property would have attracted far less interest.

Bottom line: Fix it up.

Hope that helps.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Fri Sep 5, 2014
This is the perfect time for my kitchen remodel story(sadly true). A seller in your identical situation decided to redo their entire kitchen at a cost of $40,000 before selling their home. Both buyer and seller were very happy and the transaction closed as scheduled. As the story continues, the new owner didn't like the choices the seller made when they remodeled the kitchen and did another remodel that met their tastes and needs.

The lesson here is that you can do a lot to improve things by investing modestly. Whatever you decide to do remember it's very difficult to predict what the next owner's needs will be....

Just keeping it real!

0 votes
It's ironic.
The same buyer will not buy a house with an outdated kitchen but will apply their fingerprint by tearing out a brand new one.

Of course we know the reasons.
Like you always do, you keep it real.
Flag Fri Sep 5, 2014
Shaunta Gray, Agent, Schererville, IN
Thu Sep 4, 2014
This is the common question a home owner will face prior to placing their property into the market. If the costs to renovate justify an increase in sales price that is greater than the cost to renovate...then do it...otherwise leave it as is. I suggest you to find a local Realtor who can give you a market analysis of your home in its present condition and location, suggest on what improvements need to be done, and what it would do to the sales price.
0 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Sun Aug 31, 2014
The first question you must answer for yourself is, "is the floor plan obsolete?"
That means is the house configured with shotgun bedrooms?

Is the kitchen enclosed?
Y - bad
N- good

Is the house compartmentalized?
y- Bad
N- good

Is this a four bedroom home with a one car garage?
Yes - bad
N - good
If the house is obsolete, you need to price accordingly.
If the house in 'functionally' contemporary, investment, as dictated by community value trends, can prove profitable.

To get the best price you MUST wow the buyer at the curb, and/or at the entry, and/or in the kitchen.
If you have not done so buy the time they reach the kitchen, you have no alternative but to wow them with the 'deal' of a lifetime!
Have a chat with your real estate professional. They help sell dozens of homes every year. Their feet are firmly planted in THOUSANDS of homes every year. They KNOW what a buyer is willing to PAY for. Follow their direction.
0 votes
Jim Olive, Agent, Key West, FL
Sun Aug 31, 2014
Mark's advice is excellent...however....some cheap fixes in a dated kitchen can be very worthwhile. New counters and appliances really spruce it up and make a splash without spending a ton of money. Best of luck...
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sun Aug 31, 2014
Someone else might have plans to make some changes on what you have already done. Human nature being what it is, I think you can pretty much expect that.
When it comes to getting a property ready for sale, however, offers will be stronger and likely higher for a house that is in the best of condition, with the upgrades that buyers are looking for and expect when they place a high offer.
If the house obviously needs upgrades, the buyers will consider those costs before making offers.
0 votes
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