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Real Estate Market Tidbits: Cost of deferred maintenance part two

In part one of my deferred maintenance series we learned that buyers in the mid- to upper-tier market are not willing to pay top dollar for a home that has any type of deferred maintenance – even something that may seem as simple to change as replacing the shingles on the roof. In part two I’ll explain what you need to do to eliminate this factor from your home sale.

Let’s start easy with paint. Your red accent wall, wallpaper or bold wainscoting may appeal to you, but it won’t to everyone. So take it out of the equation entirely by having anything that isn’t neutral made so, touch up any walls with any signs of wear and tear and freshen trim work so buyers see nothing but fresh, neutral paint and not added work.

With the easy bit out of the way I’ll talk about the more laborious projects. Please note that doesn’t always mean expensive.

One home I’ve had listed sat on the market for far longer than it should have. This home was full of wonderful attributes including a spa-like backyard complete with swimming pool and hot tub. However, showing after showing buyers provided the same feedback: nice house. Needs work. These words are death to a potential sale.

What they were referring to was the cost of repaving the driveway – it left a lasting first impression, and not in a good way. They also saw the need for new windows and replacing the kitchen cabinets. In my experience a buyer doesn’t know the true cost of such repairs or renovations. Their lack of experience in this area often escalates the true cost to somewhere around two or three times the actual cost of the repairs.

So what should the seller have done?

Removed those objections.

They could have resurfaced the driveway so it didn’t look so bad, an endeavor that isn’t overly pricey. They should have also fixed what needed to be repaired on the windows because while they were older, they certainly didn’t need to be replaced. Fixing those broken seals on a few windows would have taken away the $50,000 impression that every window in the home needed to be replaced. And they should have updated the kitchen. The bottom line is kitchens sell and they are the room that offers the greatest return on investment.

Hindsight is, of course, 20/20 and had these changes been made from the outset the sellers wouldn’t have gone through multiple brokerages, price decreases and months on the market.

Buyers in our market are exacting and demanding and are not going to pay top dollar and then have to incur huge expense to make the home current or repair roofs, windows, doors and replace flooring and kitchens after the fact.  Put simply, they don’t want to be double-dipping!

Once again, I’ll reiterate how important it is to hire the professionals who will tell you what your home needs in order to sell for the highest value. You will be happy you did when your house sells quicker and for more money.

In the third and final part of this series I’ll go into further detail about why it’s so important in our market particularly to remove any deferred maintenance from the sale of your home.

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