Profile picture for hepkatmama

as is or renovate?

we are preparing to sell our house. we intend to replace the fence and front door to improve curb appeal.

however the interior hasn't been renovated since the house was built in the 70's. i am wondering if we should invest in interior renovation or just sell the house "as is."

i question this because the zillow value is more than what we bought the house for. i know the property values have gone up in our neighborhood due to local development.

i have been advised both ways. some people say buyers prefer to do their own renovations and the property value is a bigger indicator of pricing than the age of the appliances.

what do you think?
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November 01 2007 - US
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Replies (21)

Profile picture for Winifred
What exactly do you mean? How about big ticket items, have they been updated? For example, HVAC, Roof, Windows and I'm sure there are a few more, but I can't think of them. A renovated kitchen would be nice if it is well done.

For us those are the important ones, cosmetic stuff we can do.
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November 01 2007
I think if you gave us more info on where you are...we could give better advice. In some markets you may need to do some things to make your house SALEABLE. I am not talking a full out reno but....most areas the market is just about standing still as prices drop. If you really want to sell you can do 2 things....fix it or price it accordingly and that means well under comps due to the work that is required. Neither one will gauruntee a sale.
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November 01 2007
Profile picture for Winifred
Carrie is right about the pricing.
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November 01 2007
Profile picture for Alan May
Pay no attention to the zillow value.... it's meaningless...

there are no renovations that you could do, where you would receive 100% of the expense you spend back in the purchase price...

you'd be lucky to recover 60-85% of it back... so I don't see the value in renovating... OTHER than the fact that it would probably help you sell... but not at full-recovery price.
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November 01 2007
Profile picture for sunnyview
I would generally agree with Carrie R. and Elv!s (long live the King). However, I would do cheap things that are basically labor only like ugly wallpaper stripping, paint touch up, carpet cleaning, wall washing or even repainting strongly colored walls. As for other things, I would stick to those items that will be offensive to most buyers. Harvest gold appliances and avacado green carpet come to mind. These things can make a house look more in need of basic repair then it really is. If one item in a room like a light fixture or bathroom countertop for example is dating the whole room, swap it. You will definitely see your $100 back from your buyer for those types of well chosen items.

The best thing you can do by far is to make a pick list for every room of simple repair or items to be well cleaned. If it sparkles, more will be forgiven. Cleaning is free.
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November 01 2007
sunnyview has it right. The items he suggested are not expensive and will make a difference on perception. Still doesnt garauntee a sale.
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November 01 2007
Profile picture for hepkatmama
wow, you guys give good advice. let me answer some of your questions.

i live in a northern suburb of dallas. lived in the house for about 6 years. in that time we replaced the hvac, reinforced the roof, got rid of the termites and added a swingset.

i definitely intend to replace the fence before putting the house on the market (only obvious termite damage on the property). i'm also intending to replace the front door with something decorative with a little glasswork.

my real question is should i draw the line at inside/outside renovation. inside is an expensive new ball of wax. i love the suggestions from sunnyview.

i can do labor intensive. like replacing torn linoleum. it makes me happy that the little things i've done all along like neutral walls and light fixtures make a difference. I'll just make a plan to fix myself the slightly damaged storm window in back, couple of missing screens, carpet cleaning & repainting.

but elv!s makes good points about investment return because that is an issue for a girl saving up for the big switch to full time student/single mommy.

the inside laundry list makes my brain hurt. kitchen cabinets, harvest gold appliances, chip on master bathtub porcelain, bare pipe in fireplace instead of logs, lost remote to garage door (also in harvest gold).

stripping old wallpaper is not an option because they didn't mud the sheetrock when it was built! as a matter of fact they didn't finish out the garage either. no tape & bed or mud.

it has a great floorplan though. open kitchen great for entertaining. great yard with old trees. fabulous school district and neighborhood. excellent distance from major freeways that were just finished as well as a block from mass transit. good bones.
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November 01 2007
Profile picture for Winifred
You might be better off lowering the price to take the work into account. If it has good bones and a great price someone will see the diamond in the rough. But this is a very tough market and it looks like it is only going to get worse. :(
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November 01 2007
Profile picture for Alan May
>>lost remote to garage door <<

this is an easy fix... you can go to any HomeDepot (or other "homeowner hell"), and buy a replacement universal remote that will function in it's place.
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November 01 2007
Profile picture for hepkatmama
ooo. elv!s you seem like a practical fellow... i'll add that to my list!

i think if i take care of the outside as planned and put some money into cleaning up the inside with the floors & paint and such that i can put it out there as is & let the new buyer take care of creating the kitchen that they see for themselves.

the kitchen really is the worst... 1978 cul de sac delux.

ironically, this thread makes me feel like the house really is better now than how i found it. i think someone new will find potential with it too.

thanx everybody!
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November 01 2007
Profile picture for sunnyview
I think you are on the right track hepkatmama. I would accentuate the positive and do the easy fix items yourself like you planned. Kitchen remodels are expensive and often do not recoup the costs involved.

As for the wallpaper, you might look around for a product that allows you to paint over it. I would only do this if it is really off putting like some of those 1970's yellow and orange tulip wallpaper over a plaid background I have been exposed to on occasion. Yuck!

You might be able to touch up the master tub chip yourself with a couple coats of thick high gloss paint made for metal. It will not be a durable as a total refinishing process, but is much cheaper and should hold up a while.

Best of luck in your switch to full time student. I am sure you will do great :)
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November 01 2007
hepkat,

you could always post some pictures for more advice ;)
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November 01 2007
Profile picture for hepkatmama
so what is a reasonable downgrade for an ugly kitchen in my market?

how much does that one room effect the value of your house?

i kinda like the ugly wallpaper. silver with bamboo and diamond accent mirrors. even in a big metroplex like this, i met a girl who grew up in my house. she brought a picture to me of herself and her twin sitting in the kitchen and at the fireplace. the fireplace has lost their logs in between owners but that wallpaper is still the same!!
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November 01 2007
oh my....

I would paint the cabinets a nice clean white and definately paint that wallpaper if at all possible. The 70's hasnt really caught on yet as far as coming back in. I mean...for most people. I realize some people might think "retro" but really....I just dont know what to say.
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November 01 2007
Profile picture for robin398
You need to consider the renovation expenses, also taking into account the stress of selling a property and deciding if a renovation is an option. If you cannot renovate then move. One of the best reasons to move is that you cannot renovate your house to tailor to your needs. Aspects that cannot be changed are location, more space for parking if your zoning department does not allow that, sewer and gas lines if you live in a rural place and anything else that you want that does not fit in with availability or zoning ordinances. You should move if the renovation expenses are too high. You need to think about how much it costs to renovate. Not every renovation will increase the property value. Keep in mind, that the more money you spend on renovations then the less value you add to your home in relation to how much money you have spent. If you spend $300,000 on renovations it might only increase your property value by $150,000. Renovations can be messy and you never know what to expect. If you don't think you can handle contractors walking around your home or service interruptions or any other obstacles associated with renovations then think about moving. If the house you presently live in cannot be modified to what you want for an affordable price or you do not want to deal with renovating then move. It is your decision to renovate or move.
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November 01 2007
Robin,

She was asking if she should fix it up to sell or not fix it up and price in lower.
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November 01 2007
*it*
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November 01 2007
Profile picture for hepkatmama
I see where you are coming from Robin.

Maybe the question I am left with is:

how much does a kitchen renovation improve the value of the house?
are new appliances & cabinets worth the investment I make as a return on the sale?

i've done all the little things. the location is amazing for a family. electricity, plumbing and all that are great. it just has a terrible kitchen.

and i wonder if it is worth the expense of renovating the kitchen if i'm just going to resell it in a few months.
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November 02 2007
Profile picture for robin398
Thanks hepkatmama. Renovating a kitchen is probably the most cost effective upgrade that can add value to your house. Although it can be expensive to remodel your kitchen, once it is done then you can see how it will raise the quality of life and value of your property. If you are going to remodel your kitchen right before you sell then you should spend about 10- 15 % of the value of your property. As I said, your remodeled kitchen will improve the quality of life. The kitchen renovation can be expensive and the first estimate can be overwhelming. When you think about it when you put in new cabinets this could also lead to new appliances, floors, plumbing, countertops and electrical systems so the renovation make not seem very costly but there are a lot of things to consider. You have many choices with your renovation and there are ways to keep expenses down without having to sacrifice quality so don't be cheap in remodeling your new kitchen.
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November 02 2007
Profile picture for sunnyview
Personally, I would not remodel the kitchen, but here are some links to look at for a more objective opinion.

This is from 2005, but it gives you the cost vs return upon sale of a new high end kitchen similar to what Robin recommended.

http://www.remodelingmagazine.com/content/CvsV/CostvsValue.asp?articleID=211765§ionID=173

This one includes the option of a less expenive kitchen facelift with maybe painting exisiting cabinets, replacing appliances with solid, but mid range choices and replacing the countertops with a formica or thinner solid surface man made option.

http://homegarden.move.com/HomeGarden/HomeImprovement/Remodeling/RemodelSmarts/ROI.asp?poe=homestore

See what you think. Add that remodel cost on top of your potential asking price and see if you are still in the middle of your price range for your area in homes that have recently sold or are under contract now. It is a dicey proposition to go high end on a kitchen that you will never use yourself without really being vigilant about the cost. Realtors love to sell new kitchens, but you have to make sure that it will pay off for you in the end with a higher sales price or a making a sale in a tight market. Take a look at your comps and see what you are up against in your area and keep your long term goals in mind. If you want, you can always post photos and ask for specific advice or general costs to replacing specific parts of your kitchen for a freshen it up without doing the whole thing.
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November 02 2007
Profile picture for Mtmozart
Why not just put in granite counter tops, some stainless steel appliances and paint all the woodwork beige.

No just joking. If just seen one too many "flips"

I would have an honest friend or even your realtor walk though and point out obvious objectionable things. Don't take it personally and you will find many small things that can be done. When we live in a house we get used to the smells and stains that others see right away. Often they are inexpensive to remedy.
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November 02 2007
 
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