I recently got asked the question, “Should I finish my partially finished home before I sell or not?” A similar question comes from home owners who have a lot of deferred maintenance and they want to know which of all the items they should concentrate on. This can be a difficult question depending upon the property. Some brokers won’t take the listing until all of the items are completed. They come to the property with pen and pad in hand and create a lengthy “to-do” list for the seller. They try to convince the seller to open their wallet until the list is all checked off. The flip side is the broker who understands that you can sell anything, in any condition….depending on the price. That begs the question “Is the money worth it when doing repairs?” The National Association of Realtors® publishes a comprehensive list of common upgrades and calculates whether or not a seller is likely to get their money back if they invest in such repairs. Some guarantee a return and most won’t. So the answer to the first question may be more complicated than just telling a seller to fix or finish it all before listing a property for sale.
Once upon a time, an experience broker called me and told me that a property I had listed could not be listed for sale or sold because it did not have permits. She was serious and brash in that unsolicited assertion. She had turned down the listing when she found out the seller had built the small cabin on acreage without first obtaining permission from the county. I responded by saying that any property could be sold in whatever condition it was in, so long as the seller disclosed any material facts. The property received a full price offer and closed within a few weeks of that conversation.
My advice to anyone who has questions about the condition of their home is that, yes….condition does matter, but be careful how you spend the money if you want a full return on your money. If the home is in a price category that is likely to attract FHA or VA buyers, then it would be wise to concentrate on things that matter to those lenders such as, peeling paint, handrails on decks and stairs, wood to earth contact, L&I inspections on Manufactured Homes, and the list goes on.