How much 'cosmetic' work is needed to sell townhouse?

linnea56May 5, 2009

We have a 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse to sell in our own city. It has been rented out for over 10 years to an elderly couple. It got rather dingy and dumpy while they were there. It was so full of furniture you could not see the walls. It was always been hard to rent and we have decided to sell it. Second child is starting college and cash infusion would be welcome.

In the current market, how much "cosmetic" work is needed to sell a townhouse? Other units of same size are selling for ~ $195,000, which is a drop of about 15,000 from 2 years ago. I donÂt know how good those are inside. Structurally everything is sound and the appliances are good to new. New furnace and hot water heater. I have watched "Designed to sell" a lot but they seem to be able to work miracles with their "standard" $2000 budget (and free skilled labor) that we will not be able to do. We donÂt want to sink a lot of money into it that we wonÂt recoup. I filled an entire page of notes with "issues" that are small by themselves but altogether are a big pain.

All the carpeting will have to be replaced. We installed new carpeting about 5 years ago but it is essentially destroyed. We will patch walls and paint too. Some of the walls will need a LOT of Kilz. (I could swear they were using a Barbeque indoors.) It has a cathedral ceiling so we will have to hire someone rather than do it ourselves. Those 2 upgrades alone will be more than $2000.

Is it better to leave the things that canÂt easily be fixed and expect to knock a certain amount off the price? Below are the issues that are not easy or cheap to fix:

The finish is melted off of the cabinets above the stove. I will see if I can find new doors but I rather doubt I can match them (medium brown builderÂs oak). The bathroom and some of the kitchen cabinets, plus all the oak medicine cabinets, have water damage and/or wear that exposes the raw wood.

Cultured marble countertop in master bath is worn and has tiny cracks in the sink. Can those be refinished? Full wall mirror has water damage along the bottom edge, going up maybe 2 ½ inches into the mirror in one part. I could cover that up with molding if I knew what to do with the big clips that hold the mirror to the wall.

Thanks for your advice!

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Go look at open houses of townhouses that will be your competition. Once you have toured a few, you will know how much sweat equity you should put into the place to have it sell quickly. After you put in the labor to bring it up to those levels, price it below the lowest price of the other townhouses on the market.

You can refinish the cabinet doors in the kitchen yourself... unless the wood is warped. If the cabinet doors in the bathroom are showing water damage, sealing the doors with primer and painting may help. Painting the walls and new carpeting will go a long way towards "restoring" the place.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 1:45PM
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You can remove the mirror or check out for frames. They are designed to fit over clips and are easy to put up.

Remove one of the other cabinet doors to take with you to see if you can match the damaged ones. If the style of the doors over the stove is slightly different it might not be that noticable if the color matches.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 7:09PM
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Let's say the total costs to get it even with the competition is $10,000...
If you elect not to do anything, you will have to price it at least $20,000 in order to get the Buyers to bite at it.
So, knowing this, you can determine if it is wiser for you to spend $10,000 in order to sell at about $195000, or sell as is and reduce the price to $175000.
These are fairly random #s, but you get the point.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 4:41PM
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