Should You Update Your Home or Sell It “As-Is”?

Abby Husbands
Published on September 18, 2018

Should You Update Your Home or Sell It “As-Is”?

It is still a seller’s market in Austin, Texas. Do you really need to update your kitchen and your master bath if you’re putting your home on the market or can you sell it “as-is”? Well, sit back as I discussed both options now.

Hey y’all, Abby Husbands here. I’m a realtor in Austin, Texas and one of the questions that I’m asked a lot is “Do I have to remodel my home in order to put it on the market?” My professional opinion in this hot Austin market where it’s still a seller’s market is no, you do not have to update your home in order for it to sell quickly. The number one thing that you do need to do is price it accordingly.

If there are homes in your neighborhood that are selling, say for $400,000, but they have been updated and remodeled, you cannot list your house for the same price as the remodeled homes. What I typically do is take my subject property and I look at the homes in the neighborhood and see what condition they’re in and we price it apples to apples. So for instance, I have a client that was interested in selling her house in the Villages of Western Oaks in South Austin. All of those homes around her with the exception of maybe a two, were well maintained like hers and not updated. They were maintained & well-loved, but they did not have updated kitchen and bathroom remodels. Why are these home selling so fast? Well, it’s easy. There are so many buyers out there that are open to resale homes, but they want to go in and remodeled the kitchen and the bathrooms and even paint the whole house themselves.

I have seen it multiple times where clients will remodel their kitchens, update their bathrooms, and then the next owner comes in and guts those freshly remodeled kitchen and bathrooms because the current style was not to their liking. Not everybody wants to pay for your remodel and not everybody has your same taste, so that is something to keep in mind. It’s also a lot of money that you are probably not going to recoup. An appraiser looks at a home and if the master bath and the kitchen are updated or remodeled, they will give you a third to a half of the construction cost. So if you spent $30,000 on a kitchen remodel the appraiser is only going to give you $10K-$15K for that remodel. So the rule of thumb, especially in Austin, is if you’re going to remodel your kitchen for $30,000 or $40,000, you need to stay in that house for at least five years to get your money back.

Now when I say as is, I don’t mean your house is falling down around you. I mean, it has to be somewhat maintained, well-loved in order for it to sell quickly. There are things like, making sure that your HVAC system has been properly serviced, that your water heater is not on its last leg, that you don’t need a new roof, that your home will pass an inspection. Specifically, if a first-time home buyer that’s using an FHA loan or VA loan, there are things to consider. Make sure that your house is not a dump, but if it is price it accordingly.

There are things that I do suggest you do, whether you’re going to do updating or if you’re just going to try to sell your house in the current state. 1. Have it professionally cleaned, including the windows inside and out. That makes a huge difference. 2. If you have old carpet that is stained, replace your carpet. That’s relatively inexpensive. There are companies in Austin that will come in and replace your flooring and you can pay them at closing with the proceeds from your sale. 3. Fresh paint. Paint does wonders, especially if you have outdated colors in your house or if you have bright colors that may not, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, that may not appeal to your average buyer. Go in and invest the money to have your house repainted because that will also take care of any smells, particularly if you have animals. 4. Minor things like fix any broken window latches, doorknobs or fences, gates, anything minor. But yes, absolutely prep your home to put on the market, but in my opinion, it’s not necessary to remodel your kitchen or your bathrooms in order for your home to sell quickly.

Thanks for checking out my blog & vlog!

I’m a full-time Realtor®️ with a background in design & construction & I love all things real estate related. I’m lucky enough to live & work in Austin, TX. Check out more of my website & shoot me a message if you need help buying, selling, relocating, or investing in Austin real estate. 

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