Renovation Staging

If you're selling a home that you have inherited, or one that needs updating and some home maintenance, you have several options.

If you're in a hurry to sell and don't mind taking a hit on price, it's easy to find an investor to take it off your hands - just look for a "we pay cash for homes" or similar sign on a light post.  The trouble with selling to an investor is that they make their money at the time of purchase, by paying the lowest possible price.  But many do pay cash and can arrange a quick deal, which can be a plus in certain scenarios.

Another option is to put it on the market as an "as is" sale.  The buyer can (and should!) perform home inspections to see what condition the house is in, but the seller is stating up front that they are not going to pay for repairs or offer a cash credit.  That will not, however, stop many buyers from trying to get something addressed.  In addition, many buyers are turned off at the prospect of paying for inspections only to find out there are defects they can't ask the seller to address.  As a result, buyers of "as is" sales are enticed by a lower price, and are frequently the investors spoken of above.

Sellers also talk about offering a cash credit for various problem areas - bad carpeting and wallpaper removal come to mind.  The problem with a credit is that you need to entice the buyer to make the offer in the first place before they can take advantage of the credit, and since the majority of buyers can't visualize how the home could look, it's better to just make the changes and let them see the beautiful results.

Another alternative is doing some work prior to putting the home on the market.  Depending on what it looks like, this could be as simple as pulling up dated carpeting to display the hardwood flooring underneath and stripping some wallpaper, or the issues could be much more complex and would require hard work and/or money to address.

The kitchen shown above is in a home that had lovely curb appeal but hadn't seen many updates over the years, especially in the all-important kitchen and bathrooms.  The sellers needed a quick sale for top dollar to help with their new home purchase in a much more expensive part of the country.

The property was referred to me by two individuals who knew the seller well, one of whom is an appraiser with general contracting experience.  He was able to provide the seller with an appraisal to show the property's worth in its current condition, as well as what it would be worth with various renovations performed.  With judicious selection of products and contractor service, we were able to remodel the kitchen to how it looks above, renovate the bathrooms, repaint, and add current mirrors and light fixtures.  

By the time we were done, the sellers had moved, so we professionally staged the home.  All three people who saw the home made offers; it sold quickly, and our clients were able to profit from the funds spent, not only from the purchase price, but from the carrying cost savings from a quick sale.

It worked so well that the appraiser and I are creating a "renovation staging" model and have another project currently underway to renovate a 104-year-old former beauty in the city to bring out all the charm of a "century house" with the addition of modern amenities.  (That home is pictured below; watch this space for more before and after pictures as this renovation takes place.)

A renovation staging approach will not work for every property or seller scenario, but it is another option that may be worthy of consideration.