Every now and then we hear about the property that is sitting that no one wants. The explanation is simple: it is overpriced for its current condition! Sellers sometimes have unrealistic expectations of what their home is worth. Often these expectations are based on what they “heard” the neighbors’ home sold for. What they do not realize is that the neighbors’ home had extensive updates completed that allowed it to command top selling price! So be realistic and compare apples to apples!
There was one property that was built in Bridgewater Forrest – as an investment by 2 private individuals. They refused to take any advice from me or their Realtor (they “knew” what they were doing)! They used the absolute bare bones for materials including paint – they left 2 coats of primer in white on the walls, they refused to paint to save costs! The property had a nice layout but still looked horrible when other new show homes were painted in the modern color schemes and staged! This house looked so plain – walls, ceiling, everything was the same ugly white. They tried to dress the house up with staging after a number of months when the property wouldn’t sell – but staging cannot hide poor quality! They only staged for a few weeks for open houses and marketing photos and then continued to show the property vacant. Staging will enhance a good job and make it that much nicer but it cannot hide low grade materials. They used the most basic linoleum on the flooring and basic carpet when most builders were using ceramic tile and hardwood flooring. Just no comparison between the properties! The countertops were basic laminate top when competing homes had quartz or granite or even high end laminate- then the seller insisted on asking the same price as the show homes of comparable size with top grade materials. They had bottom line white appliances when other builders were using nice stainless steel….You cannot give buyers something that much below the standard of what they are seeing in other properties and still expect to get the same top price. It was no surprise the house wasn’t getting any interest! The other builders spent considerably more on materials for a nicer finished product – it only stands to reason that their property should command a higher price! There are times to cut costs and there are times when you have to spend some money to make some money!!! There wasn’t much the Realtor or I could do when the owner refused to adjust the price, paint at least a few walls for some life, or give us something we could work with to make this home more appealing. They mismanaged their budget and went low end on high impact high return areas! Sad reality was that any savings they may have enjoyed were quickly eaten up in holding costs as the property continued to sit month after month with no buyer and no price adjustment and a mortgage and holdings costs and interest costs eating their profit margin up.
When working with a Stager/Decorator we are trained to work with a budget. We also have extensive experience with various renovation projects and the products that we’ve seen/used over the years. This provides us a much wider selection criteria to work with the budget and still achieve the look we want! There are ways to cut those costs and still give people a nice product that is what they expect to see. Paint is cheap! Use a nice current neutral color! Many linoleum patterns look very much like ceramic tile. You can use a similar linoleum product that may be only pennies more costly but will LOOK like real tile and have twice the impact in the finished product! Rather than the most basic laminate countertop, there are countless patterns now that look just like granite! You have to inspect closely to realize that it’s not – it LOOKS fabulous and again may cost a little bit more than the bare bones basic but will have twice the impact! Finally there is some top quality engineered laminate flooring that looks just like hardwood. It looks fantastic and it’s more durable! Designers know what areas to spend on for high impact and which you can cut back costs on to maintain that budget! When you’re in a competitive market – you have to give the buyer what they expect to see and something that is comparable to what they are seeing in other properties!
So if you plan on selling your home and want that best price – you have to make sure your home is comparable to the homes in your neighbourhood that are commanding that top selling price. The fact that you have similar square footage, or similar house age will never be enough to ensure you get the same price! If the home selling for $500,000 has top of the line renovations, you cannot expect to get the same price for your home just because you live next door (but haven’t done anything to your home for 20 years!) Blaming your Realtor because they cannot get you the price you want will never solve anything and is simply misdirected frustration. Anyone can promise you anything to get your listing. It’s the Realtors who are honest with you and set realistic expectations that are the stars in the industry! The selling price and how quickly your home sells is always based on what condition your home is currently in and what (if anything) you are prepared to do to increase its selling advantage in the marketplace! And yes, … sometimes it takes a little time and effort to make money – but remember your neighbour already invested their time and money and that’s why they were able to command the selling price they did!