This is one of THE most commonly asked questions that I get from my sellers. Most of the time I try to dissect projects into the following 2 categories: must do & could do. As you could imagine, the “must do” projects absolutely need to get done in order to sell the home. Things such as: broken windows, termite infested wood, gas or electric issues, damaged roofs, etc. Basically, things that are so deteriorated or will cause the home to be deemed as a danger to someone’s health are definitely projects that you will want to repair. Not only will it help you sell your home faster and at a higher price, but from a lender’s perspective, they may not even consider loaning money on a home that is in extreme havoc. If you are a handy man, then you can probably get many of these projects done at a very inexpensive rate. However, the majority of the population is not as handy as they think and end up hiring professionals to do these projects. The best advice I can give you with these types of projects is that you’ll want to get quotes and shop around. Also, sometimes you’ll get discounts if the services cross over. For instance, the plumber may also be a licensed electrician.
The “could do” items are things such as: painting walls, redoing kitchen counters, landscaping, installing new carpet, etc. This category contains projects that would be attractive to potential buyers, and could definitely help you market and sell the home faster and at a better price, but do not have to be done. Often times, this is where you will find the “allowances” for such projects a great negotiating tool for the buyer’s agent. For instance, you find a home you like and it is listed at $235k. You LOVE the layout of the house, the school district, the neighborhood, commute distance to your job, all of the things money can’t buy. IF those things are all there, but the carpet needs to be replaced, the walls need to be painted, the lawn needs maintenance, please look past these things. They can be fixed. Work with your agent to tally up the costs of what it would take to fix these things and put in an offer less that dollar amount with an explanation to the listing agent of how you came up with that dollar amount.
From a seller’s perspective, you’ll want to take into consideration that a potential buyer will want to ask for these allowances if you do not provide them. So, please keep that in mind when you determine the selling price of the house as well as what you will realistically net from the sale.
From a buyer’s perspective, negotiate everything you can with valid reason. Your buyer’s agent should be looking out for the majority of these things. If they’re not, fire them and call me!