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There are three schools of thought on this topic. One is to do nothing, cross your fingers, and see what you get. In areas where the real estate market is hot, many home sellers opt for this solution, because they think buyers are so desperate that they’ll make an offer anyway. And while you may get an offer, you’ll definitely leave a lot of money on the table in the process.

The second school is to recognize that some items need to be replaced or repaired, and offer buyers a credit for those items as part of the deal. You’ve saved yourself the work, but not the money. This option can actually be worse than the first one, because you don’t know how much you would have gotten without offering the credit. Again, you’ll eventually get an offer, but you’re missing out on getting the best price for your house.

If getting the best price for your house is important to you, the only option is to take care of repairs and do the work to make your house shine (or have it done for you). Here’s why: When you sell your home with obvious repairs left undone or a credit as part of the offer, you’re sending a message to buyers that your home has not been well maintained. Now this may or may not be true, but that’s the message that’s sent. And that will drag down the value of your home to those making an offer.

If you go to the effort to make the fixes yourself, you send the message that your home is well maintained. And (this is big) you also upgrade the value of those items you just replaced because they’re new…New carpet, New roof, New hot water heater… “New” has a value to buyers—that’s why new homes cost more than resale.

Putting your own sweat equity into repairs, taking advantage of zero percent financing at the big box home improvement stores, and utilizing a handyman for certain repairs will help keep your costs in check. Be smart about how you make repairs, and be careful not to over-improve. Your efforts could result in getting thousands more for your home. Compare your time against the reward and you’ll see it’s time well spent.


Feb. 17th, 2006 09:47 pm (UTC)
I'm no expert on this subject, but being in the market as a first time buyer, it's really nice to walk through a nice shiny house with a clean Truth in Housing list. This rarely happens though. EVERY older home we looked at has problems - be it electrial, lead pipes, etc..
How much work is needed in your home? Some people (like my fiance) would LOVE to purchase a home in a prime area that needs some TLC. Just *how much* TLC makes a huge difference. (However, the homes that need TLC are usually in crappy areas) Not everyone is a handyman. Are you in a hurry to sell? Have you checked out zillow.com? You can get a nice idea of other homes appraisals in your area.
Feb. 17th, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC)
Appraisal based on other homes in the area comes in at over $300,000. That doesn't take into account the condition of the home. I have updated electrical, plumbing, and a brand new boiler. The only old plumbing is in the wet wall in the bathrooms, everything else is new copper.

The needs are a new front porch and the associated siding on the front, a stainless steel chimney liner, and railings on the front porch steps. Of those, the chimney liner is the one that makes me all wibbly because it means scaffolding and ladders and I'm not built for that kind of thing.

The roof is probably gonna need new shingles within the next three years. That's another not-for-me project, though if I decide to keep the house I may bump up the second story to a full-height one.
Feb. 17th, 2006 10:47 pm (UTC)
I can only imagine how much the value went up since you originally purchsed it. It goes without saying of course make $ regardless.

If decide to do those repairs, keep in mind Scott is a roofer. He's a pro with a ladder.
Feb. 17th, 2006 10:54 pm (UTC)
Does he freelance?
Feb. 18th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
Sure. If you ever want to meet him for a consultation, just email me.

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