Don’t spend a dime until you talk to an agent
If you’ve made the decision to list your Charlotte property that’s great. Now please don’t spend a dime on renovations until you talk to an agent.
You may be a great DIYer and have ideas about what to improve, but a real estate agent understands all the nuances of a market. They can tell you improvements worth doing or if you should do anything at all.
An agent will give you an honest assessment about the condition of your home. There’s no sugar coating the realities of your property – whether that be worn out carpet or outdated bathrooms. Every buyer wants a move-in ready home. But few homes are really move-in ready. If you’ve lived in your property a short time or 20 years, there’s going to be normal wear. If you’ve made any updates, those might be beneficial. It depends on when they were done and how well they were done.
So, is it worth it to replace flooring, paint every room, update light fixtures or replace countertops? The quick answer is maybe. It’s going to depend on your budget for renovations and what the expected return would be on that renovation investment. Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott have an iteration of their show Buying and Selling. In this show, they help homeowners renovate quickly to get top dollar for their property, which they can then use to purchase a new home. The Scott brothers focus mostly on rooms that sell houses like kitchens and bathrooms. On average, the ask for $15,000 to $25,000 for updates. While they are typically able to make a return on that investment, that’s a sizable amount of money. Drew and Scott probably aren’t going to come to your house and advise you and work with you. But a great agent can tell you what’s worth doing. They can look at comps in your area and the condition of those homes. They also know what specific improvements mean the most to buyers.
You need to consult an agent first then decide what to do. If you don’t, you may have thrown money away. Recently, I heard a story of a property going on the market in a very popular neighborhood. This is an area that many in the Charlotte area want to live in, but finding certain properties under $500,000 is sometimes hard. The homeowner had live in the property for 25 years and had no updated much along the way. A few weeks before deciding to put the property on the market, the homeowner spent thousands of dollars on perceived upgrades without input from an expert.
The updates included new light fixtures and fresh paint, which are typically always good moves. But the rest of the upgrades were putting in new linoleum in the bathrooms and a dark countertop in a small kitchen. Most agents would have cautioned against both of these upgrades. First, for the area and the expected buyer, linoleum is a no-go. It would just be torn out immediately for tile so that was a waste of money. The countertops do look better, but make the space seem smaller. By not updating the kitchen floor or cabinets, the countertops look out of place.
Because properties in this area are few and far between, the homeowner may have been better off doing nothing. The rest of the property wasn’t updated. No new bathroom countertops or tiled showers. Carpet still covers all the other areas. Popcorn ceilings are still there. A buyer is really going to come into this and think full gut to modernize the space. Thus, whatever money spent on the minor updates is unlikely to get the homeowner a better asking price.
Every property is unique. There are many factors that can impact how quick a property sales. That’s why when you decide to list your Charlotte property, contact a REALTOR® first before you do even the smallest upgrade. Together, you can decide what’s worth doing, or if you should do anything.
If you’d like more information on listing your Charlotte property, check out our Home Selling Guide!