Accepting the Need for Home Updates to Sell

Jeff met “#7 Sam Seller”* in June 2013 during a listing appointment. “Sam” had hoped to sell his home for $700k because in his opinion that was how much it was worth. Yet, despite the house being in a guard-gated subdivision, backing to a golf course and having a split floor plan, the house was only valued at $650k because the 9-year-old house lacked the updates homebuyers want.

Jeff presented our new business initiative, which was based off the show Property Brothers, where we add trendy finishes and fix deferred maintenance. Even though this was working for current and past clients, “Sam” wasn’t fond of the idea. He didn’t want to do anything because he thought buyers would prefer to make the updates themselves. Jeff explained that today’s buyers will pay more for a move-in ready house and expressed the fact that buyers will pass up a home if it doesn’t come across well in online photos. Unfortunately, “Sam” was not an internet guy and didn’t know how websites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com had changed the real estate industry in the last 10 years. The last time he had purchased a home when there was only one photo posted so you had to go see the home in person to get an idea if it would work. To encourage “Sam” to invest $30k to update the home, Jeff offered a personal guarantee – if the home didn’t sell for at least $700k then Jeff would pay the difference.

Over the next four weeks, “Sam” thought about all the advice from other listing agents who promised unattainable prices while our design team gathered estimates that “Sam” approved of. During this time we did not charge “Sam” for the work done by our design team and we did not make him sign any contracts. Finally, “Sam” agreed to work with us, he liked our confidence and the renovations started! The bathrooms were upgraded, deferred maintenance was fixed, new countertops and flooring installed throughout, plus a fresh coat of paint inside. The total price of updates – $35k.

After everything was done “Sam” thought we could get more for the house and wanted to list at $775k, this price would set a new record. We ended up lowering the list price to $750k and the home sold in 19 days for $735k – 98% within the list price. “Sam” held tight to his belief that buyers will always make the home their owner and ironically the buyer did remove the new flooring and installed something different BUT they can do whatever they want as long as we net the seller Top Dollar.

*To respect the identity of our clients, we have named our clients “Sam Seller” and “Sally Seller” in our Sibbach Design Stories.

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