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Updating Your Home (#2 of The Big 3)

February 22, 2018 | By Schuyler Williamson

“How do I sell my home for the most money possible?” That’s the question we started this blog series with. I gave my broad answer, “The BIG 3”, and have already discussed pricing in more detail. This post will dive a bit deeper into the task of “updating your home to an acceptable condition."

The condition of your home is extremely important when your listing is in a competitive market. This is especially true if the speed of sale is important to you. If your condition is sub-par, buyers will shop around before saying they like yours the most. Additionally, you will attract the “value buyers” who are looking for a deal. Value buyers will use your home's sub-par condition against you to try and get a lower price for the home. If, however, your house is the only house available on the market in your area, then the condition of the home doesn’t matter. In this scenario, if there are ten active buyers out there, you will get all ten of them to view your home.

The finishes of a home are the first form of condition.

If you intend to price your home comparative to the other homes in the neighborhood, then there is an expectation that the finishes are consistent. If every home on the market has high-end appliances and your listing does not, then you should reduce the price as a result. Otherwise, buyers will view the home and choose to wait or make an offer on another that has the expected finishes. Look at the kitchen, bathrooms, living, and master bedrooms for places to compare finishes.

Repairs and updates on a home are the second form of condition.

Eighty-four percent of homes are reported to be in "good” or “excellent” condition when they are listed for sale
Homes that are in good and excellent condition attract more qualified and serious buyers. Homes that are in average or below-average condition attract more opportunistic buyers and flippers who will try to get a discount on the home purchase. The top three repairs that can get your home to "good" or "excellent" condition are: 1) Electrical (42%), 2) Plumbing (34%), and 3) Roof (33%). The most common interior updates are: 1) Painting, 2) Flooring, and 3) Lighting. The most common exterior updates are: 1) Trimming trees/bushes, 2) Adding/replacing mulch, and 3) Adding new plants.

The third form of condition is the staging of the home.

Homes that are staged have, on average, at least two more showings and sell for 1.7% higher than homes that are not staged.

Staging doesn’t have to be completed by a professional stager, although we recommend it. Only thirty-seven percent of homes staged are done so by a professional stager. Forty-seven percent of staged homes are done by the listing agent and twenty-five percent by the sellers. The key point here is that the home is staged to sell and not to live in. If your home is going to be vacant while it is listed on the market, the top three spots to stage are: 1) living room (30%), 2) kitchen (26%), and 3) master bedroom (18%).

The market will provide feedback if the condition of the home does not match its competition. If your home is visited often by buyers and never generates an offer, then that means the listing’s competition is winning the condition battle. It is likely a value buyer will come along to offer you a low price to buy the home at a discount. To sell the home to a serious buyer, the owner will have to improve the home's condition, or choose to discount the price appropriately. If not, then the seller should be prepared for an extended for-sale period.


The Williamson Group has a great track record of selling homes and would love the opportunity to share with you how we would sell yours for top dollar. Send us an email at Schuyler@wgrouprealestate.com or give us a call at 512-437-1059 anytime!