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Category Archive: ‘Remodel Projects’

Coat of Nicotine

I was going through some old photos last night!

Back in the day, Mike Anthony and I bought a duplex in the College Area.  The lady in the back house had been there for 20+ years, and was a serious smoker.  We don’t think she ever opened a window – the nicotine on the walls was thick enough that we could scrape it off with a knife.

After we scrubbed it down, my brother Dave and his friend came over to paint with a rented spray rig – and it took three coats to cover it.

He and I had a dispute over him spilling some paint on the hardwood floors, and ended up in a fist fight in the backyard!





cadillac seville

The last photo is of my all-time favorite, the triple-black 1979 Cadillac Seville.

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in About the author, Jim's Take on the Market, Remodel Projects | 5 comments

10% Range in Values

2015-06-11 17.54.08

Is there an easy answer to how much sellers should spend on repairs, to sell?

You see me on various jobs talking about projects undertaken by sellers – and the scope of the project are almost always related to the house’s age.  You want to bring houses up to speed, but items that are dated and hard to change (eight-foot ceilings, split-level, bad yard, etc.) make it a real challenge.

Where do you start, and where do you stop?

Work it backwards.  Those who live in a super-custom area (RSF, Del Mar, La Jolla, etc. where values can vary widely from lot to lot), have a wider range.

But those who live in tract neighborhoods can expect home values to range roughly 10% between the fixers and the cream-puffs.  The newer the tract, the easier it is to predict where you are in the range, because the improvements are more likely to be similar.

If your house is mostly original, buyers will expect to pay a minimum of 10% less than the comps that have been fully remodeled or have other positives (view, big yard, one-story).

If you can find a way to spend less than 10% to get your house from fixer to full retail, then do it.  Your renovated look could spur a bidding war, and/or provide additional benefits later like easier repair-list, easier appraisal, and less chance of fallout.

If the cost of needed improvements exceed 10% of your current value, then just sell it as a fixer, and have your price do the work – list for 10% under the renovated comps.

There are other variables – a bad agent can cost you 2% to 3%, and a great one can add 2% to 3%.  Quality contractors at reasonable prices make a substantial difference, and timing is everything!

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Remodel Projects, Tips, Advice & Links | 3 comments

Zillow Killer

toaster oven

Our local MLS company Sandicor has recognized that there might be an audience out there on the intertubes, and has released a new version of their consumer-friendly MLS website to compete with Zillow and Trulia:

My new secret-agent ID number is 5arexoa, if you want to use it when they ask you to enter your agent’s number.  If we win a toaster oven or something, I’ll split it with you!

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in Remodel Projects | 1 comment