As agents, we all have to deal with the dated listings. As buyers, we’ve all seen them.
When speaking with homeowners, sometimes a little subtraction might help them see the light!
Me: Your home is in beautiful condition. How many things have you updated since you bought it in 1983?
Seller: Everything was top of the line when we bought it, and we’ve taken care of everything over the years. There’s been no need to change anything – everything works just fine!
Me: I’m not going to disagree – this home is in wonderful shape! But to be realistic, some of the home’s elements, which are 28 years old, are a bit dated. Kitchen cabinets, counters and floors – bathroom finishes and colors, and other design features just don’t resonate with today’s buyers.
Seller: Harrumph. Young people today are just so picky! Bob and I loved everything about this house when we bought it!
Me: Let me put it another way. When you bought this house in 1983, everything was perfect, right? But how would you have felt if you had walked into this house in 1983 – and it had kitchens, baths and other design choices from 1955? That was 28 years before your house was new – the same time difference from 1983 to now.
Here’s where the seller (hopefully) starts seeing the light. No one in 1983 wanted a 1955 kitchen. So now it makes a little more sense that people aren’t going to be knocking your doors down for a 1983 kitchen. Even if it’s in immaculate condition.
As we age, time does go by more quickly. We didn’t believe that when we were young and our grandmother told us that – but those of us that have passed the half century mark knows that it’s true.
So to middle age and senior clients, items that are two or three decades old may not seem particularly old. I’m sitting at a desk that I purchased new in 1989. It was so modern then! Birch and chrome with Euro-style drawer pulls. I loved it then. And it still suits me fine. Luckily, it’s in a room that no one sees. But I get it. People in their 20s and 30s must look at this desk and say, “Wow – people sure had a weird sense of style back in the ‘80s!”
And that’s the last thing you want them to say when they are trying to buy your home!
Here’s a general rule of thumb for my area. I’m not going to say the numbers are correct, but I’ve heard them enough from buyers to know that it’s a common perception. And perception often trumps fact.
When seeing a dated kitchen: “Wow, that’s going to cost us $40,000!” And when seeing the dated bath, “There goes another $15,000!”
Now those numbers may be close – or not. But as sellers, do you want potential buyers whacking those kinds of numbers off of your asking price?
So when putting your home on the market – please do a little subtraction. Subtract the age of your kitchens and baths from the year that they were new. That will help put things in perspective!
And if you don’t want your buyers to be subtracting the cost of a remodeled kitchen or bath off of your asking price, do some minor upgrading before trying to sell your home! $5,000 worth of cabinet fronts and counters may save you from a $40,000 price hit down the road!
Richard Strahm is an award winning Realtor specializing in the North Penn areas of Montgomery County -- Lansdale, Upper Gwynedd, North Wales, Towamencin, Hatfield -- and beyond! Visit him at www.NorthPennAndBeyond.com or call today at 215-853-2624 for a free and private consultation about all of your real estate needs.
Realtor, ABR, CRS, PSA, SFR, SRS, SRES
415 North Broad Street
Lansdale, PA 19446
Direct: (215) 853-2624
Office: (215) 647-0700
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