Sellers providing estimates for improvement

popedaApril 21, 2012

Home is for sale. LR has no fp and some perceive the back wall with two windows, TV in between, as "closed in." This is feedback from some on realtors' tour and a comment from a few lookers.

We built the house assuming it was likely our last home, made choices based on our tastes, not resale.

Our realtor took a suggestion and sent it on to us: get estimates of what it would take to add French doors or sliders to LR to provide more light and "openness." The wall supports the LR ceiling, but this room looks out onto a very large covered porch with tongue and groove ceiling and large openings to view the yard, trees,etc. The covered ceiling of the porch does allow less light to room than if it were not there, but we are in very hot climate and porch would be useless without the covering.

Question is, what do you think of providing estimates. My first response was that it would seem to highlight what some see as a defect of the home that would take around 3k to fix, depending on what you used for glass. It could higher. To me that defeats the purpose of several months' work on our home to get it not only show-ready but move-in ready: the feeling we hoped to engender that people would see our home as not needing any repairs,etc.

Have any of you provided estimates for, say, opening up a floorplan or something like that? How did that go?

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Sophie Wheeler

Pics? If doing a 3K project would make the home show much better and get you an offer, I wouldn't bother with "estimates". I'd do the project. People spend more than that on new carpets to get a home ready for sale.

However, the "if only" comments usually don't relate that specifically to the actual home improvement under discussion. What comments like that mean is usually, "If they had Project X done, then I might consider the home at that price or a little cheaper." It usually means that you are overpriced for what you are bringing to the table, not that the home is really lacking Project X. It's an excuse, simply because people have to say something about why they don't care for the house, and no one comes out and says you are overpriced. They'll pick nits.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 10:04AM
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I tend to agree with you--why tell the prospective buyers, "here's a problem, it will cost $X to fix it". YOU like the house as it is--that means many others will also be comfortable with the design, I'd bet.

Providing estimates seems like shooting yourself in the foot, to me. If it were me, the choice would be to either do the work, or just leave things be. In our case? We did drop $4300 to replace our 50+ year old heater, and to install central AC. I think it was a worthwhile investment that probably made a difference to a lot of buyers.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 3:26PM
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We did put in what for us was quite a bit of money in getting on the market; at some point you have to say enough.

Thanks azzalea, we too see it as shooting ourselves in the foot.

Our realtor is confident about the price thus far from showings and realtors' tour,etc.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 6:13PM
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And keep in mind that many things that realtors suggest appeal to some buyers but not others. Some "defects" are universally disliked, but others are subject to buyer's opinion. Some "improvements" you make won't improve the price you'll get because they won't be appreciated by some buyers.

It'd sure be nice if there were firm rules about these things, but since there are so many different tastes, there aren't any firm rules.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 6:58PM
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If I saw that estimate of an improvement, you know what I'd say? "Good idea! My offer is based on you having that done before closing." But I wouldn't RAISE my offer to cover it. And YOU can be the one to deal with the mess!

I would NOT go there if I was a seller.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 12:24AM
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Last year I sold our home which also had a covered deck across the one large window in the family room (which really cut down on the amount of light entering the room); prior to listing I had a SolaTube installed which added a tremendous amount of daylight to the room - cost was less than $1000.00 and if you can DIY then the cost will be even less.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 6:28PM
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Some pictures would be helpful to see if this is really a drawback in the home, or just a puffery of excuses. There might be other tricks to creating a perception of a brighter room that don't involve construction.

What comments like that usually mean isn't so much that your house is objectively deficient, but that your competition offers a brighter and lighter home for the same money and that in comparison yours suffers from the contrast. Which, when you get down to it, is what really matters.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Green, I would have to say that many of our competing homes probably do have a LR with more size, higher ceilings, fp, and a bit more light. We knew that going in, that our LR was not the wow factor. It is not so much about dimness as about wanting the view (which could change drastically if the lot behind us sold)with the lookers who have said the most to our realtor about it.

But those homes also lack some of our pluses at our price point in my opinion.

I was just wondering if anyone had done the estimates thing.

The solatube wouldn't work for us: too much on the ceiling as is with large ceiling fan, recessed lights, crown moulding. I like them, though, and hope to have one if we sell and build again. Even 1k would be a lot to us, esp. at this point after spending a lot to get where we are.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 9:32PM
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I think providing estimates to potential buyers would be a big mistake. It would only focus the buyers in on "the problems", and they would then expect you to fix them. It may also happen that they never viewed them as problems, and were willing to buy the house as-is, but since you provided them with an estimate to fix it - they are now going to ask you to deduct that from the sales price. You're basically advertising that you are willing to give people X ammount off the house.

You need to be careful when you listen to realtor advice or buyer feedback. They are just opinions - and you know the old saying about opinions.

About buyer feedback - when buyers think "this just isn't the house for me" - they sometimes make up any excuse they can. They can complain there is no FP - but if you give them a FP, will they come back and buy it? Probably not.

You just need to make your house as clean and presentable as possible, and fix all the big maintenance issues. I wouldn't worry about any of the renovations you're talking about.

I don't know how long your house has been on the market, but it sounds like you're not getting a sale as fast as you had hoped, and you are starting to think you have to make more improvements before anyone will want it. I know you already know this, but PRICE is the most important factor for a quick sale.

When we sold, we got comps from different realtors, and we studied our active competitors - we priced ourselves lower than them, even though we felt we had the better house, and it DID result in a very fast sale (6 weeks). Buyers nowadays aren't satisfied w/a fair price - they want a bargain. So unfortunately, to get their business, you need to play into their hands a little. Maybe instead of worrying about improvements, you need to look harder at your price?

good luck

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 2:05PM
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When we were selling our home, a potential buyer loved the house but wanted another bedroom. He asked if he could bring in a contractor to give him an estimate to bump out a wall, add a window, closet to make a guest room. This happened before he made an offer on our house.

We didn't have a problem with letting him do this because it would determine whether he would make an offer or not. I would not get an estimate.

We sold our house to someone else.

If someone wanted french doors, additions, new kitchens, etc. that's their business. I would not get estimates for them, but they could bring someone in to get their own.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 12:19AM
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There are very few homes that a potential buyer goes into where they don't say at least once, "I wish that were different", or "If only.....(fill in the blanks)". You can't please everyone. One buyer won't even mention it, yet another will think it sticks out like a sore thumb. I'm in agreement....don't bring it to the potential buyer's attention. It's merely a matter of opinion to the buyer. Not everyone is going to see it as a "flaw".

Words of advice from my late father: If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Chirstmas. LOL

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 9:48AM
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I like the fatherly advice you got, rubyaches.

Yes, if someone is serious about the house, they can bring in all the estimators they want, jane ny.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 2:24PM
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