Buying or Selling a Home/Selling a home

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Hi Jessica,

 Thank you for being nice enough to answer people's questions.  I am helping my parents sell their home.  I am a painter and have gave much of my free time fixing it up so they could sell it for a higher profit.  Do people make money by fixing up a home, is it worth the effort?  I have done much: Painted the entire exterior, refinished trim, painted.  Just have some things that I am unsure of.   And I'm not sure if I should go any further.  

I definitely want to do more work on their kitchen as it has knotty pine paneling on some of the walls and horrible cabinets.  Removing the paneling would be far too much work, so I was thinking of painting everything.  The cabinet doors are an issue though as they are flat with no uniqueness.  So we were thinking of getting some doors custom made, recessed or something.  I was even thinking of buying some used/ cheaper cabinets and replacing them all together.  Is it worth it?  

Also have a dining room and living room that has some hardwood floors that need some desperate refinishing.  We know someone who won't charge an arm and a leg, but would that be worth it?  

The area they live in is in a good neighborhood, on the outskirts of a very well to do neighborhood on the far southwest side of Chicago.  If they would make money on new cabinet doors/ completely new cabinets/ nice refinished floors then we would spend the money.  But we're unsure, what do you think?  

Thank you!  Much appreciated!

Answer
Hi Jim;
You can definitely sell a home at a higher profit if you are willing to put in some 'Sweat Equity'.  Homes that have fresh paint and newer looks sell faster and at a higher price over the competition.  However, they do not always net the full cost of the repairs, renovations, or redecoration.  Much depends upon the neighborhood, the competition, the age of the home, the design of the home, and whether or not the neighborhood is a sought-after area where homes sell quickly.  Having said that, your willingness to change some of the dated things in the home is going to help the sale especially since you mentioned that it is a good neighborhood near well-to-do neighborhoods.

The flat cabinets might be okay if they are painted and if you get some contemporary hardware on them.  If you look at some of the new looks in kitchens the cabinets do not have much dimension. Clean lines with pretty hardware are more stylish right now. However, that is in a home that has a definite contemporary look throughout.  If the home is dated in other areas, this may not work.  Painting the knotty pine paneling is a good idea.  Using the newest colors such as pale gray, or light gray-green is very popular along with certain blue tones.  Everything seems to have a light grayish cast to the color though. The other mainstay is white.  In fact, white is very popular in all decor. Large pulls on cabinets are quite stylish and mostly in nickel.  A good choice is to go to Home Depot or Lowes and find inexpensive but newer looks to accent the bathrooms and kitchen. You might want to spend some time looking at Houzz.com to see what they are showing in kitchens.  

As for the floors, if they can sparkle and look fresh that will be a a necessity. Depending upon how badly damaged or scratched they are, you might be able to purchase a refinish product that fills scratches and coats the wood making it look brand new.  It doesn't last more than about 6-12 months before it will need redoing, but that might be enough.  However, if the floors are in really bad shape, refinishing is probably the only answer.  There are a few companies that do this without sanding and then of course there are the companies that redo the floors with full sanding and refinishing.  Only you can determine their condition enough to decide which way to go.

Make sure to look at the bathrooms to update them as well. If the tiles are outdated, you might want to try a tile paint to give a new fresh look.  Tile paints work well and seem to last a long time.  Do you have Re-Stores in the area?  Many of my clients find cabinets there at a fraction of the price.  I have had clients tell me that they buy donated furnishings, cabinets, and fixtures then use some of the new types of paints that are on the market to give them a fresh look.  Lighting fixtures with enamel or metal spray paint  can look new and stylish.  Heat registers, vents, and other hardware can also be repainted to look fresh and new.  The idea is to make sure that the potential buyers will see a home that is move-in ready.  Don't spend too much money doing this though.  The quick fix to make everything look fresh is all that is needed.  Most people who are looking at homes think that they will slowly change things regardless of how fresh and new the home looks.  The idea is that they can move right in and feel good about the home while they take on projects to personalize the home slowly.  

I hope that this answer helps.  Best wishes and good luck in the sale.

Jessica Bryan
Managing Broker House to Home Realty Services

Buying or Selling a Home

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Jessica Bryan

Expertise

buying and selling process such as:
General questions from first time buyers
How to market a home
Why choose a REALTOR
How do I find a REALTOR
Should I consider buying or selling without a REALTOR--how much can I save
Should I remodel or move
How much can I expect to gain by fixing up my home before selling
Helpful tips when selling
Helpful tips when buying
finding a good mortgage loan
what is the difference between banks, mortgage bankers, and mortgage brokers
Questions from the general public, people thinking about getting their real estate license, newly licensed.
Fellow professionals who have interests in networking and how to get started
What is a market evaluation and how does it differ from an appraisal what are the different loan programs
services a REALTOR can perform
when to use a lawyer
when to use escrow
what are the regional differences in the buying and selling process
what is the MLS and how does it work
how can the layman access information on the web--listings and other information
These are just a few of the questions. I can suggest that if I am unable to answer a question I will refer the inquiry to a source that can.

Experience

Anyone who is in this business and who dedicates oneself to professionalism has continued to take classes and along with it,additional credentials, awards and honors. I can list a host of them, but my greatest accomplishments happen to be those of getting first time buyers (who didn't think they could afford to buy a home)into a home of their dreams. The look on their faces when I hand over the keys is worth all of the hard work.

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