My Old Jeans are like Your Old House

What do my old jeans and your old house have in common? For anyone to want to buy them, they’ll need some work! And “old” has nothing to do with age — I’ve seen 2-year-old houses that look like they’ve been lived in for 20 years!

To all of you sellers who have put money into fixing up your house to put it on the market and are now having to reduce your price — you didn’t waste your money! You may not make back what you put into it, but you may be one of the few to actually sell your house!

Anything sellers can do to repair, update and neutralize puts you in a better position to sell your house. Period. In a sea of “average”, whatever you do to make your house stand out (okay, in a positive way, please!) will help your house be the one that sells.

Forget making it sell for more than anyone else’s. In this market, the one that sells is way ahead of the crowd. If you are doing the improvements, repairs and neutralizing to get a better price, you’re likely to be disappointed. If you’re doing it to get the house to sell, you’ve got the right idea!

The only houses that are selling today for higher than average prices are those houses that are truly above-average themselves. A new counter-top in a kitchen that has a harvest-gold refrigerator and 10-year old stove and dishwasher does not make for an above-average kitchen. An above-average kitchen is one that has been thoughtfully and tastefully updated from top to bottom. One that looks as if there were a plan in mind, rather than the buckshot approach to updating.

An updated kitchen in an otherwise dated and shabby house will not bring top dollar, either. At least three-quarters of the house has to shine for it to be above average and the kitchen and baths had better be included in the updates.

For most sellers, it isn’t cost-effective to remodel or revamp the whole house, so you’ll have to price it to reflect the condition. And believe me, what is comfortable for you to live in is not what buyers want to buy. They were probably comfortable in their old home as well.

My oldest jeans are my most comfortable, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting to buy them, in their current condition, at any price! A lot of work would have to go into those jeans to make them attractive to anyone else. I either have to fix them up or forget selling them.

It’s the same with your house.

© 2007 Susan Pruden.

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