Homes in Coastal RI March 10, 2021

Should You Renovate Your Home Before You List It?

Jamestown, RI MLS # 1276741.  Offered by Jack Teeden & Nicole Carstensen, Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty

Clients often put off listing their home until they make some improvements they believe will add to the value and fetch a higher selling price.  Usually, this is a misguided notion that actually decreases the seller’s profit.

Before you undertake any work on a property you intend to sell, first consider:

Less is more.  My first piece of advice to all sellers before we photograph and market their home is to purge.  Most homes don’t “show well” because there is too much stuff – in the rooms, on the walls, on the shelves, in the closets.  Eventually, the house will be empty when you move, so take the time before you list to scale down, thoroughly clean and make simple repairs.  Once you minimized, you’ll have a much better sense of how your home will show to prospective buyers.

Taste is subjective.  When homes are dated – especially kitchens and bathrooms – there is a temptation to update.  When sellers talk themselves into renovating these rooms, they naturally gravitate towards their own taste and what they think buyers want.  In 99.9% of cases, buyers don’t share the seller’s tastes.  They’re likely to tear out the improvements, and they certainly don’t want to pay for something that they’re going to get rid of, even if they have to live with it until they do.  A savvy buyer will usually see past the current conditions and have their own ideas about how they want to live in the space.

Consider offering an allowance instead.  It’s okay to acknowledge that your home may be in need of some improvements and upgrades – prospective buyers will recognize this once they see the property in person and will appreciate your honesty.  Aside from the items that will turn up in an inspection (which need to be addressed separately), consider listing some of the cosmetic upgrades and offering an allowance to prospective buyers.  Replacing carpeting, appliances and cabinets can be easily quantified, and the buyers will likely appreciate the opportunity to spend as they like.  This can be proactively marketed when you list the house or used to negotiate once you have an interested buyer.

If you and your agent think your home needs some refreshing (or if you are selling it empty), you might consider staging.

Michael Mosca is a real estate agent with Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

Michael specializes in properties in coastal RI and he is a member of Our Trusted Network of Sotheby’s International Realty agents around the U.S. and across the globe