Friday, October 1, 2021

To Fix or not to Fix

Many sellers have homes that need some TLC. Maybe the carpets are worn or the interior paint is due for a refresh. It is tempting to sell the house as is in a market as hot as this one. But there remains the notion that fixing the carpet and paint might yield more in the final price than the cost of the work. This is probably true. 

With a vacant property the decision is a bit easier as these types of work are more easily completed without ones personal belongings all over. But the contractor market right now is tighter than the housing market. Getting qualified people to fix stuff is hard and as such more expensive than usual. My experience over the years has been that entry level buyers of small single family homes are more likely to buy a light cosmetic fixer than say condo buyers. Although some condo buyers intend to tear out all that dated stuff if the condo is more than 10 years old anyway, the bulk of condo owners are looking for the less demanding home ownership experience. 

I have a light cosmetic fixer condo listed right now in the Village at Columbia Shores. This is a wonderful building right along the Columbia River. The seller is letting it go as is. I'll be monitoring the agent remarks and comments to see if I will advise my client to hire out for a fresh paint and flooring. I have always been of a mindset to let the market tell me what it wants, rather than trying the Nostradamus approach whereby I try to conjure up a vision of the future as if I know what the thousands of local buyers are looking for at this very moment. Even after more than two decades experience, I simply don't carry that much hubris. I have said it over and over again, "the market is cold hearted, and it doesn't care about your feelings." It will buy what it wants, and reject what it does not.

That said, patience can be a seller's best friend. Not all sellers have the luxury of time, those that do can wait for the buyer ideally suited to their home. That buyer is out there, we just are not sure when they will arrive. A buyer looking to tear out all the flooring and repaint the home to their personal taste may prefer a slightly less expensive cosmo-fixer since they are remodeling anyway.

For the seller looking for the quick sale, fresh neutral paint will almost always pay for itself at the closing table.

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