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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!

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