This is advice I sent this morning to a potential seller of a 1970s-built home. He asked whether I thought pricing would increase in the next few months.

My response:

I wouldn’t be too optimistic about prices increasing – if it happens, consider it icing on the cake.

The sales price will be a direct reflection of the number and quality of the improvements made.  Buyers will be happy to deduct off the price the money you don’t spend – but it’s usually 2x for the inconvenience.

You should list for $X, and see what the market says in the first 1-2 weeks. We’ll know everything by then.

If we’re going to list for retail anyway, should we spend nothing, and take our chances?  No, because of the 2x factor, and losing those buyers who only want turn-key, or close.  Fix as much as you can in order to expand the buyer pool.

This market is tough on engineers because you’re used to facts and certainty.  You want to organize those in a way that predicts the outcome. But the biggest variable is what your neighbors do in the interim – and even if I survey dozens of them today, things change quickly and 2-3 months from now they could present a whole new set of challenges.

Yesterday I was talking about mortgage rates getting close to 4%, and boom, this morning we get hit with a ‘monster’ jobs report that’s going to cause mortgage rates to climb 1/4% in one day.

Spend as much as you are comfortable with, and I’ll do the rest to sell your home for top dollar!

Homes sell in a 5% to 10% range compared to those nearby, and the final sales prices is determined by location, condition, and who is selling them.

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Jim the Realtor
Jim is a long-time local realtor who comments daily here on his blog, which began in September, 2005. Stick around!

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