Author Topic: Pre-Listing Upgrades  (Read 4688 times)

katstache92

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Pre-Listing Upgrades
« on: April 24, 2015, 11:45:25 AM »
I am about to list my former home for sale.  The realtor suggested I update the closet doors from the ugly old metal doors to new white composite doors.  These closet doors are spread throughout the house in the main entry, the hall closet upstairs, and both bedrooms.  In general the house is all white, I never got around to painting anything, and pretty basic.  The closet doors are definitely dated, I just don't know if I'll get the money back out of them.

This is approximately what the old doors look like, but against a bright white wall and they are probably even more of a gross color, plus they have really ugly handles.


New doors


I am guessing we'll list the home for right around $90k and I'm hoping it will sell for somewhere around $85k.  I can buy the materials (doors, paint, transition strips) for around $500.  The plan would be for me to install them (I'm sure there will be a "Help me I've never installed anything like this before" post in the DIY section if I go forward with this.)

The question is - does this seem like a reasonable thing to update?  Does it make sense to spend this money?  Do you think this will allow for a faster sale or higher final sale price?

I know there is no real way to answer most of these questions, but I can't seem to make up my mind and I could use some additional perspective.  I'm also a little intimidated by the DIY portion of this so I think it's clouding the "think like a buyer," portion of my brain. Thanks!

NumberCruncher

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2015, 12:02:53 PM »
This will depend on your area, but my understanding is that most home improvements do not get a good return on investment. See posts like this: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2012/10/25/renovations-that-yield-the-best-return-on-investment Usually you'll get some of your money back, but not all (every situation is different, though).

What it can do is make your home easier to sell. I'm not going to pay more for your house because of updated closet doors, but I might choose your house instead of your neighbor's house because it looks nicer.

If it's more of a buyer's market, I'd spring for the new doors. If it's more of a seller's market, it probably doesn't make much difference. Since you're thinking it will sell for under asking, the new closet doors will probably speed up the timeline for selling. And, since time is money, you may get your money back. :)

CommonCents

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2015, 12:36:52 PM »
Can you just repaint and put new handles on instead?  I don't think you'll get $500 back, but a $50 investment might be worth it.

GizmoTX

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2015, 12:38:21 PM »
We bought our first house when it was about 6 months old; the sellers got transferred. They anxiously told us that they were going to install window coverings everywhere. Our reaction was "please, don't" -- it wasn't going to change our offer. They did it anyway. Guess what we removed after we moved in. On the other hand, they pulled a cabinet off a wall, which they weren't supposed to do, leaving us with obvious repair work.

See how other homes in your area & price stack up to yours. Cleanliness, absence of clutter, & well maintained are much more important than cosmetic changes, IMO.

Lis

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2015, 01:36:08 PM »
Can you just repaint and put new handles on instead?  I don't think you'll get $500 back, but a $50 investment might be worth it.

This. The picture may be misleading, but your current doors don't look like they're in bad shape. Paint them bright white and switch out the handles. The way they are now might detract from the room, but a fresh coat of paint might make everything better. I can't imagine anyone turning down buying a house or offering significantly less because they didn't like the closet doors. Focus your energy elsewhere.

Drifterrider

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2015, 05:41:02 AM »
  The closet doors are definitely dated, I just don't know if I'll get the money back out of them.

Probably not but it might sell quicker.  Can you clean them and make them look better?  How about white louvered doors (Lowe's, Home Depot)?  They are not as cheap as a few cans of spray paint.

Just a suggestion:  I put in new kitchen cabinets.  I wanted white but didn't want to pay the upcharge (shaker style).  I painted them with Rustoleum appliance paint (white).  Dries to a hard (easy to clean) finish and is bright white.  Now, it did take me 20 cans @%5 each but I got the look I wanted.

Warning.  Don't use this paint inside (the fumes are murder).

So, clean them first.  If that doesn't get the results you want price out buying new white versus painting them yourselves.  (Your time has value too).

Don't go overboard.  These touches are window dressing not money makers. (generally).

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2015, 05:43:10 AM »
Replacing a bifold door like that is very easy if you have a standard size and two people.

katstache92

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2015, 06:44:54 AM »
Thanks for all of the feedback!

I kind of like the idea of painting the existing doors, however the 2 minutes I spent researching "painting louvered doors" leads me to believe that I will pull my hair out trying to get these doors to look acceptable.  If I do decide to paint them I'll plan on using spray paint.  Will I need to remove the old paint somehow?  The picture of the old doors is something I pulled off google, my doors are similar but not identical.

Right now my gut is saying list it as is and if the response is not good, then install new doors.  But then the house will have been on the market for a while and I don't want to shoot myself in the foot.

It seems like more of a seller's market and there is a limited supply of condo's in the area.  However, this house doesn't have a garage but it will probably be listed for 30-40k less than other condos.

couronne

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2015, 03:08:38 PM »
I sold my townhouse last October. At the time, there were 4-5 for sale with the exact same layout. Before I sold, I staged and upgraded all the doors in my house. The person who bought it was about to put in an offer on another place (with the same layout) and changed his mind after seeing mine. I agree with what the others have said---you probably won't get more money for your place, but it could help it sell faster. Good luck!

mooreprop

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2015, 02:36:45 PM »
I disagree with the other responses.  I have been amazed at how much more money people will pay for a house in my area if it looks new.  We have been replacing all trim and doors in the 50 year old ranch houses that we are buying.  People will pay approximately $10,000 more for houses with all new flooring, doors, and trim that costs far less than $10,000 plus they sell faster.

 I try to replicate what successful flippers do - it works.  They all replace the doors and trim.  In my area, I just got an offer 6 hours after listing the house while a similar house without the new doors and trim has been sitting on the market for 6 months.  So in conclusion, I think it will definitely sell faster and very well may bring more money if you want to go all out and replace the trim and the doors throughout the house.

CommonCents

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2015, 03:00:55 PM »
The OP is not talking about fixing all of the flooring, trim and doors through (which if hired out would cost the $10k more you estimate you'd get from).  The OP is talking about fixing just one door - and a closet door at that, not say, French doors to the outside - for $500.  I don't see that as good value myself.

(And the flippers also pay attention to what properties are particularly undervalued because of their appearance.  They don't buy up every property that looks bad.)

katstache92

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2015, 07:58:02 AM »
Replacing trim is definitely not in my current scope of work.  I am just looking at the closet doors (4 different closets, 6 doors total.)  The other options that are available are either well above what I am guessing I'll list for or in a worse neighborhood.  So there isn't much competition and nothing in this particular HOA has been up for sale in 3 years.

It's a pretty basic house, the only things that haven't been replaced/upgraded to "basic" are the closet doors.

Unfortunately the HOA has to replace decks over the next several years so the capital contribution will increase temporarily to pay for it.  Now that I know about it, I have to include it on the forms, which is disappointing.

SUP

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2015, 04:14:56 AM »
The studies and articles online about repairs and upgrades and the return you get are misleading. Many times it doesn't increase your return but your house sells faster than others. Which is money in your pocket. In most recent studies the front door is one of the top things you can do that will get the return. We get the same affect by cleaning the entry way or painting the door and trim if needed.

I personally wouldn't touch your closet doors. It seems easy, and if that is the issue to the buyer they will see it as easy. Their realtor will say "oh you can upgrade those easily" or have them ask you too. But you should look at your kitchen, carpet, paint, and front door before messing with the closet doors. But the comments above are true about NEW. People love new. When we want to sell a house that we have been renting we stress the word NEW. Like new carpet, new paint, new whatev. People are generally lazy and want it move in ready. The buyers looking for a project are fewer than ever before.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2015, 05:39:27 AM »
It's amazing how helpless some buyers are, though. When we were last looking we were at a popular open house and one visitor said "But, I don't like yellow paint."

katstache92

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2015, 07:04:35 AM »
That's a good point about the front door - I should definitely re-paint it.  Think I can use regular paint or do I need to get something special?

Fun story for the day...  I was going to have a plumber come out to replace the flapper valve on a toilet.  The guy has done some work for me before and has charged, what I would consider, fair prices.  This toilet is in the basement and I have it shut off because it runs constantly.  So, I figured before I list it I should fix the problems that I know exist that clearly won't make it through inspection.

He wanted to charge me $165 for a total tank rebuild.  I knew I was being wimpy by not doing it by myself, but I figured it'd be $50 and done.  I cancelled our appointment.  I can buy an entirely new toilet for under $100... although that is not installed.  Still, at this point, there is no way he is doing this job.  I guess I'll brave the spiders (eek!!!) and try to do it myself.

I'm also waiting on a quote from an electrician who needs to figure out what to do about the dryer outlet.  I swapped washers and dryers between the two houses so I could keep the set I want (HE, front load) with me.  However, the plugs didn't match and there's some issue with 30 amps and 50 amps.  So hopefully that won't be too awful.  And this is all before a buyer even takes a look at the place.

SUP

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2015, 07:34:04 AM »
That's a good point about the front door - I should definitely re-paint it.  Think I can use regular paint or do I need to get something special?

Fun story for the day...  I was going to have a plumber come out to replace the flapper valve on a toilet.  The guy has done some work for me before and has charged, what I would consider, fair prices.  This toilet is in the basement and I have it shut off because it runs constantly.  So, I figured before I list it I should fix the problems that I know exist that clearly won't make it through inspection.

He wanted to charge me $165 for a total tank rebuild.  I knew I was being wimpy by not doing it by myself, but I figured it'd be $50 and done.  I cancelled our appointment.  I can buy an entirely new toilet for under $100... although that is not installed.  Still, at this point, there is no way he is doing this job.  I guess I'll brave the spiders (eek!!!) and try to do it myself.

I'm also waiting on a quote from an electrician who needs to figure out what to do about the dryer outlet.  I swapped washers and dryers between the two houses so I could keep the set I want (HE, front load) with me.  However, the plugs didn't match and there's some issue with 30 amps and 50 amps.  So hopefully that won't be too awful.  And this is all before a buyer even takes a look at the place.

Depends if it is wood or metal. Take a pic of the door and anybody at the paint supplier will know the right stuff. Cheap to do and actually makes a big difference. Curb appeal pays off.

katstache92

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2015, 08:28:20 AM »
Thanks!  I'll do that tonight along with final touches on cleaning and some other minor touch up work.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2015, 08:48:21 AM »
Replacing the flapper valve is a 15 minute job.

supomglol

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2015, 09:14:04 AM »
I have this exact doors in my home.  I repainted them using a high-pressure low-volume sprayer I bought from Amazon for about 70 bucks (in conjuction with my air compressor).  I used off-the-shelf non-glossy white paint from Home Depot.  I went with the small 1pt cans of rustolium.  I didn't bother priming, and they were in a similar color-condition to yours. 

They turned out absolutely amazing, total cost was less than $200 for all 5 sets of quad-doors that you had pictures.  Very durrable and vibrant when done right. 

katstache92

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Re: Pre-Listing Upgrades
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2015, 08:45:05 AM »
Replaced the flapper last night (technically my Dad did, but I've now seen what it looks like and how it works so I can handle it next time) for $3.95+pizza.  We also figured out how to handle the dryer plug issue. Almost done!