Sell As or Remodel in Cupertino?

Asked by Ian, Cupertino, CA Mon Sep 3, 2012

I currently own a house very close to Cupertino High School. The house is 1,032 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bath and on a 6,490 sq. ft. lot. It was built in 1955 and has never been renovated. I would say it is a "fixer upper" in its current condition. Does it make sense to spend money renovating the house to try and increase the value, or would it be better to sell it "as is"?

Since the home is older and small compared to the lot size, are buyers likely to tear it down to build a larger house in its place?

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Julie Wyss, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Tue May 6, 2014
In my opinion and without seeing the property, you can make money either way. If you want to take on a major remodel to upgrade the home, which would most likely be at least an 8-12 month project (design, permits, construction, etc), you could sell it and make a decent amount.

But, if you don't want to deal with the hassle a major remodel entails-and it is a time commitment-then you could do some quick and easy things with a minimal amount of investment and sell as is. There are always people looking for fixer uppers. The market is leaning heavily toward sellers right now so odds are you could sell your home fairly quickly and for a decent price.
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Remodeling can be considered a hassle. It can take a long time depending on the level of the project. You are going to need to ask yourself how quickly you want to sell it. If you are looking for sooner, then a remodel might not be right. If you can wait, then a remodel might be in order. The final decision is up to you.
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Lydia Wang, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Wed Sep 12, 2012
Hi Ian,

I have a couple of builders/investors are looking for this type of property, and some buyers are looking for fixer to get remodeled for their own taste and style. if you dont go through the hassle during remodeling, it may save you some energy and money, set it as is. if you are planning to sell it with all the upgrades/remodeling, you can definitely make money out it.
Welcome to Contact me for further questions.
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Igor Reznikov, Agent, Campbell, CA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Hi Ian,

There's a home currently on the market that's very similar to what your home would be if you did some updates and a deep cleaning ... 19433 Phil Ln, Cupertino. The asking price is $798K, so you can watch it and see what it sells for. It'll be the next comparable. Other than condition, the main difference is your home is on a busier st, so you'll have to discount it accordingly.

10721 Johnson Ave, is a recently sold home that is a pretty good comparbale for you (this part of Johnson is still not as busy as Finch). It was not updated, but thoroughly cleaned to be move in ready. It sold for $782K a week ago. Without seeing your home, I would say this is going to be your best bet in order to get the most bang for your buck .. though if Phil ends up selling significantly higher, you can then consider the remodel.

Another good comp is 18815 Tilson Ave that sold a month ago for $730K ... unremodelled and cleaned but not quite as move-in ready as Johnson.

Interestingly enough there haven't been any recent sales of remodeled homes that kept the sqft, so most likely it isn't going to be the best idea.

If you wanted to do a much bigger project that included expansion... a newly built home on 10485 Sterling, 2500 sqft, just sold for almost $1.5mm a month ago.

Let me know if you'd like any additional details, or any help planning the sale.

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Mark Burns, , Cupertino, CA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Sell it. The City of Cupertino will likely approve the property for a 2500sf house and an attached 2 car garage. Let the next person tear down your home (in Rancho) and build a new home. Email me back with your decision. I'll likely be able to find a buyer for your property.

Mark Burns, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Elite - Top 2 % Worldwide
DRE #00896552 Licensed since 1985
Over 600 Homes Sold in Silicon Valley
Cupertino Resident and Cupertino Expert
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Edith Karoli…, Agent, Winnetka, IL
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Well this is a very loaded question, and here is my advice, this is really not the place for YOU to get
the right answer. You will need an area Realtor, who knows the homes currently on the market similar to yours WELL, has to look at your property to see if it can be updated with minimal expense, i.e. if
the changes and upgrades are basically cosmetic MAY BE paint is inexpensive
and bathrooms can be remodeled without removing tubs and sinks and tiles these days
So with that said, it truly depends is your home fully paid, and what do YOU want or need as net to
seller, the local Realtor will be able to show you what other homes look like, what a tear down on
a small property would go for and if anyone would even consider as the house they can build will
be limited in size, and are there other new constructions in the neighorhood.... So many items
to consider that you need that experienced Realtor on your side....

Sometimes just replacing appliances, clean floors, and some paint, can make it an interesting enough home for a buyer, esp. a first time buyer, but given the bones of the home are good
furnace and A/C are working and the roof does not need replacing right away.

So let us know if you do need recommendations of a local Realtor who can assist you in Cupertino
with selling your property, I gladly refer several to you for your needs...

Sincerely yours,
Edith YourRealtor4Life & Chicago and Northern Illinois Expert

Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients, Buyers, Sellers and Investors alike....
And always with a SMILE 
Covering for @Properties the city of Chicago, all N and NW suburbs, the fine homes on the
North Shore, and many of the W and SW suburbs, and with her trusted Partner Agents all of
the US and worldwide properties. Edith speaks French, German, some Spanish and other.....
@Properties, 30 Green Bay Rd, Winnetka, Illinois 60093 ---- or Check out my website at htttp://
get to know me better and learn about my experience, expertise, services available and letters of recommendation of former clients..... Also you can sign up on my site to search for properties in my expanded service area. HAVE THE MOST WONDERFUL DAY :)
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Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Have you decided that you want or need to sell? What is your objective in selling?

There is always a strategy in every real estate market. Some people are not as focused on the net result as they are on the ease and time. Some don't have money needed to renovate. And others want to get as much out of their home as possible.

A free consultation with a Selling Broker will help you to determine which option you are more comfortable using.

As said, buyers are buying and there are buyers shopping in all price and condition.

Have an amazing day!
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Helen Chong, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
Hi Ian:

I just sold a home in Santa Clara that is almost in exact sf and specs as your home...but it's a remodeled home not a fixer. Believe me, we got multiple offers despite the school district is much less desirable compare to where your property is located.

Based on your description, I already have a few clients who are and were looking for this type of homes. However, since you mentioned your home was never been updated since 1955, depends on your budget, then I would say doing a few important things can get you the most dollar out of it. This is when you need a realtor to come and look at your house to determine what these are. As many people are looking for homes in this neighborhood, being outdated vs updated can mean tens of thousands of dollars difference still. However, time is money also. Some homeowners just don't have the time and energy to remodel their homes, so there are also other marketing strategies that can help you bring the most dollar out of your current condition of the property (without any remodeling) and you should definitely use a Realtor who has good experience in marketing to help you sell it at the highest dollar amount with the amount of your work that you are wiling to do.

Your house sounds like a typical house in the neighborhood and most buyers will be happy to own a house on a lot in this size. Unless your house has a lot of structural, foundation, and/or water damage...etc, I highly doubt anyone would want to buy it now to tear it down and rebuild.

I have had great experience in marketing property for my clients to get top dollar. I would be more than happy to show you some of our marketing techniques that make us different from other realtors.
I am sure you can ask any of us to provide you a comparable analysis and show you the value difference between a remodeled and a "fixer" home in your neighborhood!

Good luck!!!
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Felix Hung, Agent, Huntington Beach, CA
Mon Sep 3, 2012

Generally speaking, updating and remodeling your home will net you more money. Have a local Realtor do two CMA's - one with remodeled comparable homes and one with "fixers."

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Nina Daruwal…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
Dear Ian,
The home sqft is small, but you have a decent size question would be, do you have the Funds to re-model and re-build, perhaps expand the home with an additional bedroom and one more bathroom? Do you also have the time and energy to take on a project like that? And yes, it is a time consuming project. Then for the amount of time, money and energy you invest into it, would you get the returns back and some more to make it worth it? All those are questions, and more I have for you.

I would also like to assess the property As-Is, for sale in current condition, and approximately assess it, what its worth would be if you did choose to re-build/re-model the entire home and then Sell with a Bang!
Your personal Time-line also will count on whether you are wanting/needing to sell Now, or a few months later, or Spring of next year is fine..........So many questions...and more....
I just Sold 2 homes Off Portal ave for Cupertino High School.....I live and work at Coldwell Banker in let me know if you would like to meet with me and talk things through.
Wishing you only whats Best for You, Be well and Safe, Regards,
Nina Daruwalla
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Grace Hanamo…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
Hi Ian,

Thanks for your post. While I would love to tell you an answer for this question, there are three distinct neighborhoods where your home can be located (Santa Clara, San Jose, and that section of Cupertino behind Calvert and at the back of the high school). Depending on the condition, layout, sales comparables, relative condition of the other homes for sale in the community, and--most importantly--your financial goals in the sale, you might be better selling now as is or later with renovations. I cannot know the best option for you without seeing your home in person and talking with you about what you need from this property. An answer without this knowledge would not be useful and, more importantly, could be highly misleading to and for you.

Your best bet is to contact a great Realtor for an interview, inspection of the home and advice about the best marketing strategy for your property. You can then use this time to renovate your home with the intention of bringing it on the market later or selling your home now as is. Please note our market is changing even as I write this, so working with a knowledgeable agent becomes even more important for a seller today.

Good luck,
Grace Morioka
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Igor Reznikov, Agent, Campbell, CA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
Hi Ian,

The answer to your question depends on the actual condition of your home... which no realtor will know untill seeing it for themselves.

I'm very familiar with your neighborhood, and over the past few months, homes of similar size and age have been selling from $650K-$765K depending on their condition. Most homes were unremodelled and sold As Is.

If you email me, I can send you the full details of each of these homes with photos, so you could compare them to your own and draw your own conclusions.

If you do decide to sell, you will have absolutely no issues selling As Is, in the current market... and as long as there are no unexpected issues with the home/lot, the sale will be very quick.

I would also be happy to swing by and check out your home and give you all sorts of tips on cheaper fixes/upgrades to help you get the best bang for your buck as a compromise between a full-scale remodel and doing nothing at all.

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Andrea Wince…, Agent, Milpitas, CA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
In today's market that house in Cupertino should sell quickly with multiple offers in its present condition.
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Elena Talis, Broker, Palo Alto, CA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
If you want to live at that address and need access to schools then I would recommend to build.

If this is an investment property and you have experience building, you will end up making more money selling an updated or a new house than the original one. I can help you with cost/benefits analysis.
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Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
This is always a personal decision. The main things I might consider:

Are you able to do any of the work yourself to fix it up? Do you have those skill sets? - If you can cut costs by doing much of the work yourself, and can add to your bottom line for little more than your time - it would make sense to improve the condition.

What are the comps in the area? If your home is worth a LOT more fixed up, than there is room to improve. If the comps for a 1950's Cupertino House are low, it might make more sense to just sell it for less.

Regarding 'as is' - I honestly don't recommend it. Chances are whatever repairs a buyer asks for will be relatively inexpensive...If you go as-is, it'a huge red flag for lots of folks, and you'll take at least a 10% cut in price off the top.

Hope I helped. Best to invite in a couple of different Realtors to add more specifics.
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