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Ask McEnearney: Do I need to renovate in order to sell?

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Peter Crouch of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Peter at 703-244-4024 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: Do I need to renovate in order to sell?

Answer: Home Sellers are bombarded these days with offers to buy their homes, ways to renovate to get the highest offer, and how to obtain the absolute highest price. It can be confusing, even paralyzing — the answer is a resounding “it depends.”

As in most elements of life, there is a spectrum of possibilities here. Essentially there are three ways to sell a home — it doesn’t have to be perfect.

“As-is, where-is.” This is often when a property has not had many updates or upgrades along the way, and now there is a need to sell. There may not be the funds or desire to undertake any work, and a sense of just wanting to be done with it. This is what the folks sending the postcards are looking for — to purchase a property well under market and “flip” it. They will even take care of contents left behind.

As you would expect, this produces the lowest monetary result for the Sellers. Many of these Buyers are looking to purchase that property for 50-60% of “ARV” — After Renovated Value. Rarely a good deal for the Seller.

Fully Renovated at Top Market Condition. At the other end of the spectrum, the houses which receive the highest prices are the ones fully updated, with all the new and modern features that appeal to today’s Buyers. They are often exquisitely staged, and clearly at the top of their game.

It is one thing, however, to have continually updated one’s property and arrived at this top condition just as it is time to sell. It is another to think of enduring a big remodel just to sell: braving potentially lengthy disruptions, risking supply chain issues, and spending tens of thousands of dollars? Is it worth it? Maybe. Maybe not.

Today there are options to have the renovation work completed by companies who specialize in quick turn-around renovations just before a sale. Some will even front the cost and are paid when the house sells/settles. The McEnearney Advantage features a partnership with such a company, Curbio, and that type of renovation can absolutely be accomplished for a Seller. It works best when the house is empty, but it can also be done around residents. We are happy to help obtain estimates to see if it is right for you. Often, when the dust settles, you can reap very nice returns on the time and money spent. If it is the right approach for you.

In the middle of the spectrum: Clean, Fresh, Nothing Broken. In this approach, a home is decluttered or emptied (depending on whether it is occupied or not), then cleaned, painted, the flooring replaced/refinished, and any items fixed that are worn out or broken.

In many cases, the cost can be fronted and paid at settlement. This not only keeps the preparation time and cost down, it allows the Buyers to put some of their own personal touches into the house after settlement. This approach, in this market, usually yields a price a little below Fully Renovated.

In reality, most houses are prepared for market at a level somewhere between Clean, Fresh, Nothing Broken, and Fully Renovated. Perhaps a powder room near the entrance foyer gets a new pedestal sink, faucet, light and mirror. Or new light fixtures in the kitchen or primary bath. Or new appliances. These relatively minor items can be among the most cost-effective a Seller can undertake.

At McEnearney Associates we believe that preparation for the market, to the extent that works best for our clients, is one of the great values we add. And no, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Pete Crouch is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, which means he is well-versed in all aspects of moving as we age. His own downsize gave him tremendous insights into what is involved, from emotional matters to real estate considerations. Pete is a Board Member of At Home in Alexandria (AHA), our local Senior Village, and was the 2018 National Recipient of the “Outstanding Service Award” by the National Association of Realtors for his work with Senior Moves. Text 703-244-4024 or email [email protected] for a copy of his Downsize Alexandria! Booklet about living more simply in Greater Alexandria.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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