Listing an unfinished home is like selling unhemmed pants

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In the mind of a buyer, there is a huge difference between buying a home that is fully finished and one that needs repairs. Compare listing an unfinished home to selling unhemmed pants… neither you can fully enjoy right after you purchase it.

If you were to go to the men’s store to buy a suit and in your mind you see yourself walking out with the suit and wearing it to work the next day. It’s new, it fits great and you want to show it off. Although when you try it on everything is perfect except you need to hem the pants. The employee smiles and says, “no problem, we’ll have these ready for you next week.” That plan to wear it the next day has turned into a disappointment and you tell the employee, “no, I’m looking for something I can wear shortly after I buy it….” Then you walk out of the store and search elsewhere.

Now think of this when buying a home. Buyers are out searching for their perfect home and in their mind they want to move in and enjoy it right after they take possession. Not all buyers have the luxury of waiting for renovations to be finished before moving in. More and more buyers are looking for turn key homes (ones where you can walk right in and enjoy) and don’t have the means, time or budget to improve a home.

As a seller here are 3 things to consider when getting your home ready for the market:

  1. Only a seamstress or someone capable of hemming pants would buy unhemmed pants… and only a carpenter or someone with time and extra cash would buy a home that needs improvements. This cuts down your buyer pool.
  2. Once a buyer finds one thing to repair they are on the hunt for others, all the while calculating (usually exaggerated amounts) how much of a discount they will need to take off the price – no matter how fair of a price you offered.
  3. When you do attempt to finish these renovations, use a professional. More and more I’m getting asked for permits on additions to the property and basement renovations. Save yourself the headache and take the time to find a good contractor.

Understand that partially done renovations are a red flag for most buyers. For one, they have no idea the quality of the job and two they have no idea of how much it will cost to finish the job. You’ll have to make the decision to renovate and get top dollar, or to discount an unfinished home.

If you have more questions on preparing your property for the market feel free to contact me.

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