Replace the carpet or carpet allowance?

jellybenMarch 13, 2007

We are selling soon and the 2 realtors we interviewed both suggested instead of changing the carpe that we just clean it up and offer a carpet allowance if it becomes an issue. It is now most definitely going to become an issue since my 6yo spilled latex paint on it! But I know as a buyer I would rather have a carpet allowance than have the seller put in cheap builder grade carpet just to sell(which is exactly we will do). But I also don't want people to be turned off by the carpet and discount the house. I really don't want to go through the hassle of changing carpet with all our stuff in the home, but we are certainly willing to do it.


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Get an estimate on cleaning it. If not too high, try that first. You may still have to replace it. Remember, a buyer doesn't want the hassle of replacement either! (And may chose to live with builder grade for a while.)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 11:44AM
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replace now. no question in my mind.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 11:49AM
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My son and his fiancee just looked at houses this weekend, one house had horribly stained and dirty carpet. The notation from the realtor said that the carpet was to be replaced with carpet of the buyer's choice on move out of the seller. They had pets and didn't want to replace carpet before they moved out. They had several carpet samples there in the home for the buyers to choose from. You may want to think about doing that, just have samples of carpet on hand for the buyer to choose from in the price range you're willing to pay.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 1:48PM
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how much latex paint? Goo Gone will take out latex paint (though if it's a lot, it might be too hard)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 1:52PM
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talley sue-I tried Goof off and it did take up the paint. I don't know if it is like other stains where they disappear for a while and then resurface.

jeff-my DH thinks like you-just replace it. My concern is we are on such a tight deadline to repair our home from the tree that his us that if we have to replace carpet we might not get the house on the market when we want to.

I am pretty sure the best thing to do is replace it, but oh!! the hassle!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 4:41PM
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I'd vote for offering an allowance. If I were buying, I'd prefer to replace the carpet with hardwood or tile of my own choosing.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 5:08PM
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Well...I think you'll get responses both ways.

Generally, my opinion is contrary to most people's: the higher end the home, then I'd offer the allowance.


It seems to me that when we sold our first condo, it was really priced and targeted at first time home buyers. I'd say 80% of the people that viewed it were in this category. In that circumstance, they tend to have a really tough time envisioning something that isn't there. Also, they often have unrealistic expectations about what condition a used home can be in.

A larger/upper end/more expensive home generally (but not always) appeals to people moving up or having had one real estate experience. These people often gladly and appreciatively welcome a carpet allowance.

Unless you know which group is likely to respond, you won't know what to do until some people look at it. But, if you trust your RE agent's expertise in your area, I'd be inclined to go that way.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 5:24PM
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first-time buyers also aren't often brave enough or experienced enough to think they can tackle the carpet problem.

But....if that's your market, then you could help perhaps by having samples in 6 different colors, and saying that you'd replace after contract but before closing. That might be extra appealing--they get the fun of choosing their own color, but don't have to deal w/ the daunting task of actually having it replaced.

It's a bit of a risk for you, if something falls through after you replace the carpet, but that's part of why you pick the carpet samples--you choose one's you'd have been willing to replace with if you'd had the time. And if that contract falls through, then you can sell it w/ "new carpet!"

if they're experienced enough to say, "oh, just give me the money, I'll add some more $, and buy something even fancier after the close," you're still golden.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 7:29PM
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As a buyer I wouldn't mind a carpet allowance. I personally like hardwood, so it wouldn't matter to me, but for others I think giving them an option to choose their own carpet can give you an upper hand.

good luck~~~

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 5:36PM
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I hate to say it but replace the carpet.

*I'd* rather have a carpet allowance. *You'd* rather have a carpet allowance. Most everyone think they would rather have a carpet allowance, but I believe houses get sold much more by their initial impressions than that carpet allowance. Old carpets are a real turn-off.

When I sold my last house I hated replacing all of the carpet with cheap stuff but I'm convinced it was the right thing to do.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 10:23PM
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We are in the same situation, sell with a carpet allowance or replace before putting the house on the market. Since I really go by sight and smell, we've decided to definitely replace three bedrooms with a neutral, builder's grade carpet. The carpeting in the rest of the house in fairly new snd in very good condition and our den is hardwood. I vote to replace your carpet. A home that smells badly is a huge turn off. Right now I think ours would be a turn off for that very reason.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 3:00AM
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We are in the same position. Our carpet has been shampooed, so it is clean. However, it has several stains and needs to be replaced. We have recently replaced the carpet on the stairs with a custom runner, so that looks great. Also, the entire downstairs is wood. I was surprised that our realtor also suggested we just offer an allowance instead of replacing it. She is also not going to mention the allowance in the description, as that just leaves the first impression of dirty carpets before anyone even sees the house. I think it is crucial that, even if the carpet needs to go, it should be clean.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 6:20AM
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Well, we have just decided to replace. We are having major repairs done(roof work, drywall, paint) and the carpet was looking pretty bad before all that I can't imagine what it will look like when this is all done! Just one more nuisance in a long line fo nuisances we have experienced lately! But I agree that it will make a good first impression. Thanks for the feedback!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 12:26PM
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I'm in the same predicament. I just asked my realtor yesterday what I should do. She said it was my choice, either redo hardwoods or put down builder grade carpet. What is builder grade carpet? Does it look really cheap? Is that what you ask for when shopping for carpet?

I would love to finish the hardwoods but I have severe breathing problems and can't tolerate the dust.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 1:36PM
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Builder's grade carpet is good for the short run and if I were selling an entry level home, I would replace the carpet with builder's grade.

Everytime I have had to replace carpet, beleive me it's not the expensive stuff as I have found that few people check the quality of the carpet and anyway they are all higly pigly about buying new construction that is filled with, you guessed it - builder's grade carpet.

If someone wants the carpet replaced in this house, I would be happy to do that and in fact I am replacing the carpet upstairs in the common area. But I hate it becauee I know the quality is not that nice. If I wanted carpet replaced, I would rather get an allowance and have it all done before I move in. It usually only takes a day to put the stuff in. I don't want builder's grade carpet and I couldn't blame a seller for buying the cheapest stuff they can.

Before I moved into my present home, I had the interior painted and the carpets cleaned and my cleaning lady insisted on cleaning it empty.

It's so much easier to replace carpets or put in wood floors when the house is empty. Every realtor I talked to said not to replace the carpets - and you have to eventually rely on their advice as they are the ones dealing with the buyers and should know how much that matters, or not. I just personally think a worn carpet does not show well. So that's why I am doing it.

Couple today had 5 boys, I bet that white carpet upstairs is about as practical as a frog on a bicycle.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 11:43PM
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We have the same problem. We will be listing our house soon and our carpet is in awful condition. Our son spilled a container filled with warm syrup in a trail to the dining room table. It's about 3 feet long. We cleaned it, but it always re-appears. I had the thought...would insurance cover this? If you have the right type of coverage - I believe it's called replacement value, or something like that, they will replace the carpet if there is a stain. I am going to check into it.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 11:51PM
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I wouldn't bother w/ the insurance. You'll just raise your rates and possibly get the 'stigma' of having made a claim.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 12:40PM
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I hear ya...a few months ago, we were in the exact same place...replace old carpet with new or give allowance...

Our carpet was old and yuckie. No big stains or gross spots, but old, matted and in need of 'new'. I could see it both ways. If I were looking at a home I would gravitate toward those with hardwood floors. So, if I looked at a home with old carpeting I would take it as an 'oportunity' to negotiate a 'flooring allowance'...a win win...

But, in the end and, after much debate, we replaced all the carpeting with new. Our RA told us that you really can not say enough about a buyers 'first impression'. Walking into a home that is fresh, clean, has that 'new smell' and is in 'move in condition', is worth more than just about anything. It gets them in the door and keeps them looking and interested. And, we did not go with the cheap stuff...we went a few grades up and we are glad we did. It feels good when you walk on it and makes a great impression. It's the type of carpet that even if I had my heart set on hardwood, I could live with this for as long as necessary, then replace it room by room with hardwood.

Our home has been on the market for 21 days, we have had several (6?) showings, all positive comments. I would make the same decision again. I think the total cost was about $4,500 but that included a new kitchen floor.

I think it was worth it and I would make the same decision again. It's a real pain to move everything out of each room, but we used that as our time to de-crap. We moved each room and only moved back in what was to stay or what helped 'stage' the room. Everything else went to Goodwill the dump or tag sale pile...but that's for another post...

Good luck with your decision and good luck with the sale of your home.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 1:14PM
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Our insurance is already paying out $55K for our storm damage, and they were originally going to pay to replace the carpet too. They have now decided to just pay to clean it. We might be able to appeal, but in any case we are going to go ahead and replace. It is so liberating not to have to worry about the carpet now-the contractors are tracking an obscene amount of dirt in all the time!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 3:03PM
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Replace it. First impressions are lasting (e.g. if this is how the maintained the carpet, how did they maintain the ______?)

You don't have to replace it with carpet, depending on your target buyer. It might be better to go laminate or even hardwood.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 3:34PM
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chris8796 said it more succinctly than I could; I totally agree. We've sold two houses recently, in 6 days and in 2 wks. I try to present the house as the peak of cleanliness and order; even if the buyers don't have that personal style, many people have that as an aspiration, and if the closets and cabinets and carpet are this clean, why, how could there be anything wrong elsewhere? And indeed we try to make sure that there isn't. If you can avoid any "eewww's!" anywhere you'll have a better chance, I believe.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 3:59PM
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I agree with those who've said first impressions are key to selling. If the carpet is decent enough to show well (isolated stain) that's one thing. I think most people have an imagination and would love to choose their own flooring. However, if the carpet's condition gives the house an overall unkempt, shabby, or even dirty appearance, it's really hard to "fall in love" with the house; and, you can't help but wonder how they maintained the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 4:33PM
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what if we currenty have the carpet torn up. We were going to Stain like we did the kitchen and dining room but then thought about hardwood, then carpet but can't decide so it is just cement.

I'm thinking about laying out some carpet and hardwood samples

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 1:50PM
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I think you'll have better luck selling if you actually have some type of flooring down. New floors won't increase your sales price, but will probably help you to sell faster. Since carpet is less expensive to install than hardwood, I'd install the carpet.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 6:02PM
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I think I'd be attracted by that option. I don't like carpet and the thought of pulling it up and laying hardwood would make me walk. If given the choice, I think I'd be attracted to the house.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 7:27PM
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If you install new carpet prior to putting the house on the market, do you then ask the realtor to have people remove their shoes when they walk through? Or provide little booties/shoe covers at the door? I'd be mad if I put in new carpet and then someone walked through with dirty shoes.

Our kids and their friends take off their shoes when they come inside. (We take ours off too most of the time.) Some kids can be kind of clueless about what they're tracking in from the yard.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 12:41PM
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If I were buying a home, the first improvement I would make is to tear out any carpeting. I have dust allergies and after a day in a carpeted office, I cannot do carpets at home.

so, I would boldly say, I can't buy your house because of the carpets, just as a bargaining chip, but would be inclined to take your house with the allowance than another house with perfect carpets and no allowance.

Best of luck in the sale

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 7:29PM
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As a buyer I would rather have the allowance. Then I can install what I want.

As a seller, I have always replaced the carpet. I agree that it ads to that "new house" smell and look. With the last house we put down paper runners to protect the new carpeting.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 8:33PM
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I had a listing that had old carpet in different colors that just gave a tired, defeated air to the home. Carpet allowance was offered with large sample books lent by a favorite local flooring dealer. 75 showings later, the sellers replaced the carpet with light "builder's beige". Within a week there were three offers, and the home sold to a couple who had been through the first week the home was on the market.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 11:03AM
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Jeff, what does your realtor say? In some homes I think hardwood would be best, in some carpet would be fine and hardwood would be oversell.

Most of the people here are pretty savy and would perfer to pick their own floors but in the real world most people don't have good vision. You need to have some kind of flooring down.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 2:11PM
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Been agonizing over this question for a while. Complicating issue is that we live in a retirement community (Sun City West, AZ) in a very open-plan home with tile floors throught and carpet in the living/dining area off the tile open hallway and in the 2 bedrooms. Tile and carpet are both 17 years old - no doubt carpet has to go but tile is pretty dated too. Younger retirees are moving in or buying for later and seeming to prefer to redo. So we don't want to spend a whole lot when we know that it will all probably be torn out later. However, the general thinking in many of these posts as well as with many realtors is that even a carpet allowance doesn't make up for the bad first impression buyers can get. I'm thinking more and more, as many realtors do, that even if a potential buyer might eventually want to retile almost everything, if the carpet looks good now, the buyer will say "I can easily live with this until..." The carpet allowance sounds good, but most of our buyers are moving from out of state and I think having to deal with carpeting/flooring issues could entail a lot of extra work and even an extra trip or two to get it all done, whereas finding a house that's not absolutely heart's desire but is move-in ready could very well get the sale. Thanks for the posts. We're like the original poster - we have pets and don't want to do anything now but won't be selling for a year or two. Think my focus will be to get the white tile grout deep-cleaned and sealed and do everything we can to keep it in good condition, then replace the carpet when the time comes with somewhat better than builder grade.

For anyone else facing this issue down the road, we're trying to build a savings account just for "fixing the house to sell" so that when the time comes, the money will already be there. I'm getting carpet estimates just to have an idea how much we'll need and calculating what else we might do (replace shiny brass chandeliers, hollywood bathroom lights, etc.) and how much we'd be willing to spend to do it. Think we'll be glad down the road that we did this.

Again, good posts and good day to ask my question about recarpeting that sent me here. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 4:59PM
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We did something similar. Don't pay for expensive carpet. I shopped around and wound up using a place that advertises that they remove the old and install the next day. It was very inexpensive and they did a neat job. They had a choice of 5 which were very cheap. I chose a neutral which looked very nice.

The buyers tore it up and put in hardwood before they moved in. I'm glad I didn't spend a fortune.

We also had old tile in a bathroom where we removed the grout and regrouted. It was a messy job, but made the tile look new and cheaper than retiling.

I think you are making the right choices.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 10:47PM
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