Mike, Home Owner in Coatesville, PA

sell as is or renovate before selling?

Asked by Mike, Coatesville, PA Wed Jun 12, 2013

we want to sell a brick twin in Pottstown. Our beautiful house has been rented for a couple of years and the tenants didn't take very good care. We wonder if we should sell the house in renovated conditions or if we sell it as is. It might be that the new owner wants to select his own carpet and decide on the wall paper or colors. Does anyone have any experience if it is worth while to do the improvements before selling?

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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Wed Dec 17, 2014

That's a no-brainer.

You're right: The owner will want his own carpet, wallpaper, and colors. They all do.


You clean up and fix up the house so it doesn't look like a dump. If it absolutely needs new carpets, put in new carpets. I'm sure it needs paint. And so on.

Most of your prospects won't come into a fixed-up house and say, "Oh, golly gee, I wish it looked like a dump." Now, real estate INVESTORS will. There's nothing worse for an investor than looking at a home that's already been "fixed up" with granite and stainless steel. It shows that the seller wants (and expects) top dollar.

But that's not your situation. The people considering buying your home won't have much imagination. They'll see what's there, not what the potential might be. So you make sure that what's there is attractive and appealing. If they still want new carpet or paint, let them put it in.

True story: I've renovated a 2 bedroom manufactured home (sales price $13,000) and a nice townhouse (sales price $600,000). In both cases, the buyers came in, ripped out some of the improvements, and put their own stuff in. But if we'd have left the properties in as-in condition, the sales prices would have been about $9,000 and $435,000. I had 4 people put down deposits on the manufactured home, and the townhouse sold in 6 days.

Certainly check with your Realtor on where you'll get the most bang for your buck. That'll depend on where you are, what the house is like, and what your buyers expect. But, without a doubt, renovate.

Hope that helps.
1 vote
Jackie R, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Wed Sep 28, 2016
I recommend you just sell it as is - a "fixer upper." Doing renovations is a waste of time. The cost won't be in public records. Buyers will see the last public recorded sale price, not the $100 you poured into renovations. I would let the next owner worry about that!With that said, make sure you understand what closing costs are before you even begin (http://www.hauseit.com/closing-costs-nyc/) .. for example if it's a co-op you'll have to pay over 10% in closing costs .. make sure you can stomach that before you make a move. There are other ways of course to lower the broker fees (i.e. flat fee RLS, FSBO etc) .. but that's another story ...
0 votes
Zach Thalman, , Midwest, WY
Wed Dec 17, 2014
I think that this is an issue that real estate agents can help with. This is why I stick with a real estate agent because I like to get that sort of advice. I think getting advice from the professionals helps me out a lot more than just figuring out things by myself. http://3500listingfee.com/
0 votes
Cory Trevor, Home Buyer, Aberdeen, OH
Wed Dec 17, 2014
I think it depends on your area and the condition of your home. It might be difficult to recover the entire cost of a major renovation. It would definitely help your home sell faster, though. I would get some estimates from contractors. Then, you can decide which renovations are appropriate for your budget and situation.

0 votes
Donna and Joe…, Agent, Southampton, PA
Sun Jun 30, 2013
The short answer....it depends. Have a trusted local realtor tour and give you an opinion of value as-is and with minor cosmetic improvements. Call my home office 267-684-6514. Donna
0 votes
Wayne Fenste…, Agent, Harleysville, PA
Sat Jun 22, 2013
If you decide to make some updates - paint, etc - please be sure to have it done correctly. If a buyer sees a less-than-professional finishing, they might think there are maintenance issues hidden from view.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Wed Jun 12, 2013
There is a third option for consideration:

1. Sell "AS IS"

2. Renovate prior to selling

3. Do a minimal repair, clean up, paint, organize, etc. campaign eliminating big ticket expenses
but doing enough to allow the home to make a statement on its own.

The third option should/could be things that a "weekend warrior" or "midnight cowboy" could tackle during some free time. Making a big difference doesn't have to cost a fortune.

Good luck,

0 votes
Jennifer Dav…, Agent, Pottstown, PA
Wed Jun 12, 2013
Hi Mike. We are most familiar with Pottstown. If you are considering renovating do it very cost effectively. Do not over improve. Things like granite countertops will not get you return on your money. If you are willing to price aggressively selling as-is is also an option. Keep in mind that Pottstown is very saturated with homes for sale right now, especially twins. If your home stands out from the rest by either condition or price, you stand a good chance of selling. If you would like me to meet you at the property and give you my professional opinion I would be happy to. We manage several homes in Pottstown and our local family office has been in business for over 20 years.

Jennifer Davidheiser
The Real Estate Professionals, Inc
0 votes
Jackie Beard…, Agent, Naperville, IL
Wed Jun 12, 2013
Hi Mike that is a really good question and one that is important to ask. I have done this over and over again for sellers and they are always grateful for the advice as they find themselves in a situation the same as yours.

The most inexpensive way to improve your home is with paint. I have a color that is the best and works with all homes. Feel free to contact me if interested in using it.

Also, if the carpet is in decent enough condition to be professionally cleaned that should be fine. If it is really bad I would suggest replacing it if you can. I work with a company that allows for a 'buy now pay in 12 months with zero interest' which is ideal for someone like you.

You said you had a beautiful house so I would suggest making it beautiful again for potential buyers by doing these simple things. Find an agent who has experience and credentials with staging who can help to best assist you with this. They can also advise you on how to avoid 'over improving' for your area. I just listed a home that was basically rehabbed because the former tenants had trashed it. It is unfortunate and I am sorry it happened to you. Don't worry it doesn't take much to make a BIG difference with condition. Good luck!
0 votes
Edith Karoli…, Agent, Winnetka, IL
Wed Jun 12, 2013
It really all depends on the current condition of the property, how it shows on photos and when the
buyers visit, and more than that how it compares in price and condition to similar properties currently on the market. The price has to be enticing to the buyers to make the changes themselves...

Also the decision will depend on what needs doing and how much it will cost you.
If it is just carpet cleaning and painting (careful chose some interesting, en vogue, yet likeable colors)
window cleaning and may be a new stove it may just be worth doing it, if more is involved and much
higher cost, may be not so financially worthwhile.

You need to connect with a good Realtor in your area, and get a good market evaluation, what you
can price it for, what it will sell for, what has sold that is similar and what is currently competing with yours cuss what should be fixed, painted or and the cost and with the help of your Realtor you will be able to make the right decision.

Also a property that is well priced and shows well on photos, clean and nice, will sell definitely faster!

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 Brokerage, 30 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, Illinois 60093
Check out my website at htttp://tinyurl.com/YourRealtor4Life
0 votes
Kimberly Col…, Agent, Limerick, PA
Wed Jun 12, 2013
I would need to see the property and then run comps for you in order to give you the best advice.
Feel free to contact me and we can set up a time so I can view the property.
Best regards,

Kimberly Collins, Realtor, ABR, GREEN, SFR
Keller Williams Agent Leadership Council for 2011, 2012 & 2013
PA License # RS303924

"A Refreshing Real Estate Experience"

Keller Williams Realty Group
Cell: 610-476-7519
Office: 610-792-5900 Ext 8177
Fax: 610-792-8131
Email: kimberly.collins@kw.com

Each Keller Williams Realty office is independently owned and operated.
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The Real Estate Law requires that we as Real Estate Agents provide you with a written consumer notice that describes the various business relationship choices that you may have with a real estate licensee. Since we are discussing real estate without you having the benefit of the Consumer Notice, I have the duty to advise you that any information you give me at this time is not considered to be confidential, and any information you give me will not be considered confidential unless and until you and I enter into a business relationship. At our first meeting we will provide you with a written consumer notice which explains those business relationships and our corresponding duties to you.
0 votes
Edmund Choi, Agent, Paoli, PA
Wed Jun 12, 2013
Depends on your budget and time. If you don't recondition and sell AS-IS, you will definitely sell at a discount to par. Before committing, make sure you understand the current market conditions of your Pottstown neighborhood so you can properly assess the ROI of your potential investment of time and money. I've had clients go down both paths.
0 votes
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Wed Jun 12, 2013
If the house is an "affordable, entry level house", then you shouldn't put too much into it.
But if it higher class, it would be worth it; just don't do a cheap job!
0 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Wed Jun 12, 2013
I have generally found that cosmetic fixes like paint & carpet pay for themselves and then some. People think they can see past these items, but most can't. Even those that may be able to see past them, may not have the additional cash or time to make the changes and if they do, want to receive a substantial discount for their trouble.
Ask your local Realtors what they think before you decide. Look at the competition in your price range to see how they stack up to you home.
0 votes
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