Remodel the house or sell as is?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by disynut, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. disynut

    disynut DIS Veteran

    Jun 4, 2000
    I am looking at selling my Dad's house. He passed away in December--my brother was going to buy it, but now has decided we need to sell it:headache:. I am the executrix, so I am trying to decide what to do. The house is in good shape on the outside--would be a good starter home for a small family. It has three small bedrooms, one bathroom, front living room, family room, kitchen(small), sunroom and basement(partially finished). There is also a nice detached garage. The inside is what I'm not sure what to do with. The carpet and linoleum in the kitchen is in bad shape, but the bathroom is in really bad shape. I don't know whether to go ahead and rip out the bath and put in stock items and leave the rest or just sell the house "as is" and sell it as a fixer-upper. With the market as it is I don't want to go in and spend 15-20000 and then it set unsold. I know how it is with homes(we've done remodeling in the house we're in twice and the house we lived in before we gutted and remodeled before we moved in), once you start remodeling one thing, it leads to another, and while you're doing it, you might as well do this, and so on. Or at least that's the way we tend to do it:). What do you all think.....redo the bathroom and leave the other rooms or just clean everything as best I can and sell it as is?

    THanks for any advice--things like this tend to be emotional for me and I would like an "outside" opinion.
  2. hffmnheidi

    hffmnheidi Mouseketeer

    Mar 31, 2010
    I would do basic costmetic work with the floors, paint, new fixtures, and a good cleaning. Make sure you stage the house too, in order to draw in more offers.
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  4. JJsmama

    JJsmama WDW addict

    Oct 28, 2003
    I would put it on the market as is for a few months and then see what happens. If the viewing comments are "It needs way too much work!" then you should consider investing in the renovation. The comments may be
    "Look! A nice house we can actually afford!"

    Start by getting the house ready without the renovation. Get rid of ALL the JUNK! Get rid of all the personal clutter. Air it out! Open the windows, wash the drapery, steam clean the carpets. If there is wallpaper, take it down yourself on a weekend and repaint in nice, neutral colors. Buyers hate wallpaper. Also, what is under the carpet? Is it possible there is hard wood? If so, take up the carpet yourself and restore the floors.

    My husband and I did these things to our first home. It was a couple's home for 50 years and they had not done anything to update it. We ended up moving after one year and made a big profit just from these changes. It too, needed new bathrooms, but because of the other changes we had made, the buyer was not overwhelmed with 'too much other work."

    Those things alone can make a big difference. Also, watch HGTV shows like "Sell this House" for more tips.
  5. luvthatdisney

    luvthatdisney I wish I was in Cali!!!

    Apr 22, 2000

    I could have wrote your post! My father passed away 1 year ago (actually one year ago tomorrow :hug:). It has been a long year as we decided to remodel his house. His house is very small 3 bed, 1 bath, 980 sf. We just put it on the market last month, yes it took us 10 months to complete it :scared1:

    We did everything ourselves (except the flooring and new furnace) so we are really burnt out on it. I wish my Dad could have lived to see it, he was very tight with his money and would only let us make simple repairs. It looks great now and is totally new. Only thing we did not do was replace the AC as we are out of money (as far as the house goes) ;)

    At the time of his death, the housing market was awful. Nothing in our area was selling. So we took the chance that if we remodel the market might be rebounding and we might have a better chance of selling it. Right now, if I could sell it and get all of the money we spent on it (15K) back that would be good with me. We have had some lookers, but no contracts. The house is move in ready. Just had to cut the grass over there today!

    Mostly I am getting tired of making his house payment and ours. We had thought about renting, but we are not landlord material and with his mortgage (he had refi'd for 15 years so his payment is kind of high for the house) so the rent would have to be too high for the area just to cover the house payment and taxes.

    I know it is not an easy decision. Good luck! :hippie:
  6. Good Morning Dewdrop

    Good Morning Dewdrop Have Courage & Be Kind

    Sep 17, 2009
    I'm with JJsMama - declutter and clean up and put it out on the market as is. You never know!

    We bought our first house in 1995 for $55K - it was a beautiful old Victorian in CT that hadn't been remodeled since sometime in the 70's. Layers of brown and orange carpet(yes on top of each other!), outdated kitchen, 3 bedrooms, one old bathroom and oh the paneling - everywhere! Needed a new roof immediately and it's exterior was peeling paint - pink with blue trim. Sold it 10 years later at a very nice profit.

    Anyway it was a house we could afford and we took it and the challenge on and never regretted it. So try to sell it as it is and save yourself the trouble (and expense) of remodeling it - you might find a young couple that will love that house and make it their own.
  7. libraryfreak

    libraryfreak Mouseketeer

    Mar 16, 2010
    Like the others have said, I'd do some cleaning and painting but wouldn't put much money into it. Rent a carpet cleaner, you'd be surprised what it will do. Stage the home too.

    I remember reading on this board that if a house is vacant you need to let the insurance company know. You'll pay extra, but otherwise if something happens you may not be covered.

    I'm sorry about your dad. Hugs to you and your family.
  8. PlutoPony

    PlutoPony DIS Veteran

    Jun 5, 2004
    Have you talked to any realtors yet about listing the house? If not, why not find the one you want to sell this house and get their opinion about it. We dissers don't know the housing market in your area and it's tough to make a decision about whether to put $ into the house without knowing the competition.

    Good luck
  9. laurafergie

    laurafergie DIS Veteran

    Mar 1, 2008
    I deal with this quite a bit with my mother's business. In fact, my DH is in the middle of trying to "fix" a heir's mess of her dear late father's home. (He's a contractor) We just had this very conversation about the home he is working in.

    If the home is older and has substandard mechanical, plumbing and wiring - You are better off:

    Removing all contents
    Cleaning up the yard
    Give the house a super good cleaning
    Clean carpets
    Maybe paint, Maybe not - as that can get quite expensive.

    Sell the house as is.

    Consider auctioning your home. Find a local auctioneer that specializes in real estate. He will be honest with you and let you know if your home will sell at auction, as he will not want to waste his time. The upside to this, you will get your money in 30 days or closing, the downside, you may not get top dollar. But safe guards can be put into place that you will get a minimum that is agreed to.

    The main problem with renovating an older home that belonged to a family member:

    Folks tend to focus on the cosmetic issues of the home and spend a fortune painting, new carpets, new cabinets in the kitchen, new toilet - you get the idea - and do not consider that the mechanical, plumbing and electrical are out of date.

    Just because the house looks new, does not mean it is renovated, and you will not sell your home at your "renovated" asking price. Cosmetic "flipping" is gone in today's market.

    HENCE - the bottom line. Unless you are willing to go the mile - clean the place up and sell as is.

    Sorry - this was so long. :)
  10. PaulaSue

    PaulaSue <font color=purple>I have a purple car too and lov

    Aug 20, 2004
    I would sell as is. Who has the time to remodle or the money to tie up in it and poss not get it back out. IMO
  11. Sadie22

    Sadie22 DIS Veteran

    Feb 16, 2010
    Make appointments with several real estate agents to go through the house with you. Really pay attention to what each of them says. Hopefully you can get recommendations on which realtors to meet with through friends. You're not going to sign a listing right off, you need honest advice from those who have experience in the local market and can help you get the property sold.

    The agents may just advise a really good cleaning and staging of the house to get it sold. They may advise providing a repair or decorating allowance as a negotiating tool. If any repairs or upgrades before listing for sale are advised, they can tell you what materials they advise, and may be able to put you in touch with contractors to get the work done reasonably.

    Around here, if you haven't lived in a house you pretty much sell it as is anyway. A homeowners warranty policy on the appliances and HVAC may help you sell.

    My parents' was not in the best condition when they could no longer live there. The mechanical, plumbing, and electrical were not up to date. There was only one bathroom when most people expected two.

    We arranged for someone to keep the grass cut and keep an eye on the property. Most of the furniture was cleared out leaving just a few items to provide seating, a lot of scrubbing done, and otherwise minor fix-ups of less than $1,000. On the advice of the agent we got estimates on some work to provide to potential buyers but did not pay to have the work done. My agent was someone I knew had the experience I lacked and I felt comfortable being totally honest with regarding the financial situation.

    After a month with no offers we lowered the price slightly and then actually got more than one offer in the poor market.
  12. disykat

    disykat DIS Veteran

    Jun 5, 2000
    As is. Just remember to price it accordingly! The first home we bought sat on the market for over a YEAR (in a good market at the time) because the heirs selling it were only looking at the bones of a good house and not seeing that a buyer would have to spend to modernize. Take the money you would spend fixing it up OFF the price and see what happens. IMO, in this market many buyers are LOOKING for things they can do a little work on and have immediate value.
  13. gandycat

    gandycat Mouseketeer

    Dec 2, 2009
    I'd also suggest having a realtor come in and give an opinion. They will know the market in your area and give you good advice about what to do. We had a similar situation with my FIL's house, it had renters living there for 10 years and was a mess. Even the cosmetic stuff (painting, cleaning, fixing some plaster, pulling out carpet, minor repairs) took a couple of months to do ourselves and was a ton of work and a ton of stress and cost quite a bit. We basically took the realtors advice and did what she thought would sell the house quickly. Even if we would have gotten more $$ from remodeling, I can't imagine the stress it would have caused, for me not worth it.

    Good luck! It's a hard thing to deal with, I hope it all goes well for you.
  14. Nette

    Nette DIS Veteran

    May 8, 2003
    I'm in almost the same place. Dad died in November, and left me the Executrix.

    The house is pretty small at 967 sq ft. 3 bdrm, 1 bath. Thankfully the mortgage has been paid off for years. Unfortunately there is no insurance on the place and I'm not sure how easy it will be to get it insured... I'm too afraid not to insure it though.

    Paint and carpet are just NASTY. They're both at least 20 years old and he was a smoker.

    Bathroom has no running water except the toilet now that we've fixed it. Shower stall has one side ripped out because we had to cap the plumbing temporarily because it leaked so badly that he had the water shut off outside except when he needed to flush. Drywall in the bathroom is peeling and bowed. Pretty much the whole bathroom needs to be gutted and rebuilt.:sick:

    Kitchen has no running water either.

    Backyard is completely overgrown and we had to have a tree removed because it was about to fall on the house. Roof must be replaced.

    Right now the focus is to get the stuff OUT of the house.

    However, the house has good bones and seems to be structurally sound. What we plan on doing - after we hire an inspector to check for huge issues like plumbing/electrical or foundation issues - is replacing the bathroom, sprucing up the kitchen with new hardware on the cabinets and new carpet/paint throughout. We know that we'll probably have to replace the roof (which shouldn't be TOO expensive since it's tiny and simple) and the HVAC. There is currently no heat or A/C in the house. We're also trying to take control of the overgrowth in the back.

    I have estimated that I can get most of this done for about $15-20K. And that should give us about a $45K return... The house if it were in decent condition would probably be listed at around $105K based on comparable sales in the area... Sold as is, I MIGHT get $50K according to one realtor... who hasn't seen it and is pressuring me to list it, so I will probably seek another realtor to help me out.

    What's really disgusting is that the tax appraisal is set at $130K... NO WAY NO HOW is it worth that. What a ripoff.
  15. dfchelbay

    dfchelbay DIS Veteran

    Sep 7, 2008
    Maybe you could post a few pictures of the problem areas and we could tell you whether it's worth it to put a little money into the repairs, or better to just sell as is. We could be your first "lookers" at the property. Maybe that will give you a better idea of what potential buyers might say about the house if it's on the market.

    I'm sure there are a few "home improvement" people on the Budget Board that could tell you things like, get the peel and stick vinyl tiles for $.99 each at Lowes and cover that linoleum in the kitchen, or buy a $100 carpet remnant for the livingroom, etc.:thumbsup2
  16. disynut

    disynut DIS Veteran

    Jun 4, 2000
    Thank you all so much for the replies. I was working in there today and I think I am up right now because of all the dust/old smoke I inhaled and I was only in there about 45 minutes. I am close to being finished with removing the personal contents--there is still the furniture--ugh. Don't know how I will handle that--guess I'll have to hire it out. Posting the pictures sounds like a pretty good idea--I may do that. The whole house would need so much work, but if I knew I could get a return on it, I would hire it out. But I'm afraid that's where the problem comes in--sweat equity is just that, your own sweat. My husband and I presently put in all of our sweat in our full time jobs, family, and our own home.:)

    The worst room, is much like Nette's--there is running water in the house, but the toilet doesn't work and the tub/shower is just nasty. Bad, bad, bad. Some kind of crud all around the faucet and to be honest I just haven't looked at it that hard--it's plain scary. There is a new sunroom(replaced because of the huge ice storm we had last year) and the detached garage is a handyman's dream. But I'm kind of afraid that if we have a spanking new bathroom, the rest of the house will look that much worse, and so we go in and replace the yucky floors with wood laminate or something, so then we need to paint the walls, so then we need to raise the price to get some return, and then we've just priced ourselves out of the market. He bought the house for 53,000 in 1998. I think that was before the "boom"--or was it? I don't know that we reallly had one here anyway. I'm wondering if I could just sell it as is for that price. What do you all think? I can't remember yesterday, much less 1998.

    Thanks for everyone's advice and for listening to my saga, and I am going to be talking to a real estate agent.
  17. jlima

    jlima Beep Beep!

    Nov 1, 2000
    When my FIL went into assisted living, DH had to clean out his place and sell it. I thought we could get away with just painting & replacing carpet. He had lived in the condo for about 20 years. There were original carpets and curtains. For the last few years he never cleaned anything or even vacuumed the floor. The kitchen had one of those ovens with the overhead microwave all in one unit - very flashy in 1983 but run down in 2004. And DH found 10 year old frozen food in the kitchen. :eek: Just yuck all the way around. Only paint and carpet would barely scratch the surface.

    After consulting with the real estate agent (who live in the condo unit below him and was the former HOA president), she thought we could get X (which was the last comparable sale) if sold as is; and fixed up we might get X + $40K. We were pretty sure it would sell, because the community had a good school district that people climbed all over themselves to get into. We ended up spending $12K :scared: on paint, carpet, tile, grout staining (because the kitchen was so dark), new kitchen appliances, light fixtures, one toilet and vertical blinds. We even got rid of a non-working trash compactor and had a new cabinet door made for the space. But EVERYTHING was low end from Home Depot. Our contractor got a stove, dishwasher and microwave for $700 for all three. The stove was so low end it didn't even have a clock. But it was better, cleaner and brighter that what was there before. And we had 4 offers in 11 days. :thumbsup2 DH and I HATED the idea of spending that much on the place. For us, it paid off.

    OP, you have my very best wishes that everything works out for you in the best way.
  18. SandrA9810

    SandrA9810 DIS Veteran

    Jul 24, 2005
    I'd suggest getting new fixtures for the kitchen and bathroom. Easy to do yourself, and cheap enough to make something look good again.

    Most older homes already have hard wood floors underneath. And I'd suggest ripping the carpet out just to get rid of the smoke smell. You could be there forever with carpet cleaners. And just painting the walls isn't going to rid of the smell. Sounds like it needs a few good days of leaving the windows open. And major scrub down

    Has your state done the tax rebate for energy appliances yet?? Here in florida it's starting on the 16th. You'll get the rebate, and the rebate for recycling the old appliances, and it's one less worry for a new buyer. Check into the AC unit and the fridge.

    I'm helping my aunt look into buying a new home. And it's one of those things of, there'll be a little left over for fixing up, but not remodeling the whole place. So having new appliances will outweigh the bad bathroom. Or that new bathroom will outweigh having to buy a new fridge.

    I'd say sell it as is if anything needs to get done with electrical, plumbing, or roof. And rip out anything old and crummy (like carpeting). The less demo the new owner has to do, the sooner they can get to remodeling. And there's no sense in painting walls if half the walls are going to come down to replace the electrical and plumbing.
  19. Evi

    Evi DIS Veteran

    Oct 11, 2007
    I'd do only major rehabbing things that must and need to get done. For touch ups I'd do some basics in the bath you could rehab it cheaply but keep it simple and clean if you do change out the tub and put in tile go with white subway tile if you go with a liner keep it white and clean. If you update sink and toilet do the same even if you do them cheaply think on the level that whoever moves in will want a nice clean bathroom they can use until they can rehab it to there liking. Do not go overboard on fixtures if you change them keep them simple and energy efficient (low flow faucets, energy efficient lighting fixtures) I say no to staging but that's me I'll be honest I hated a lot of the staged houses we saw when we went house shopping. They didn't decorate to my taste and sometimes I felt like rooms were too small for the furniture in them etc. I found it very distracting. Better to have the house really clean and curtains windows open get fresh air in and bright get as much sunlight in as you can if its a chilly day turn the heat on before people come in so the house is warm. Do a little landscaping if the house needs it out front. Sweep up and pick up any stuff that shouldn't be around. Look for where you can improve with minimal cost because you don't really want to put much money in the house. Like if you honestly need a coat of paint do it just keep the colors clean and light. If you need to spackle a few places do it before you paint. Do the floors need to be changed or could you have them refinished? just stuff to think about.

    personally when we purchased our home there were things I would have rather been able to upgrade to my liking vs what the previous owner did. Example they carpeted the basement when they finished it so now we ripped it out to put down tile. But that was personal it was probably way cheaper to carpet and it looked good and didn't stop us from buying.
  20. luvthatdisney

    luvthatdisney I wish I was in Cali!!!

    Apr 22, 2000
    Nettie~ As my pp stated, we did remodel my dad's house and just like your mine was a heavy smoker. With the tar/nicotine issues (real bad) and other disrepair we would have gotten next to nothing for the house. The only people interested would have been flippers or those wanting rental property. We would have gotten less than he owed. The mortgage on the house is at $36K and we are now asking $80K after our remodel. Probably would have only gotten $40k or less for it if we just cleaned and painted.

    Just to add we tried Kilz for the tar/nicotine removal, but it did nothing. It just bled back through. We had to purchase Zinzer which was more expensive and you had to wear a repirator to apply it, but it did the job. I think we bought about 15 cans of that stuff to do a 980 sf house. It ran about $26 a can.

    OP it really depends on the condition of the house, if it needs major work you might come out better doing at least some of it in the hopes a buyer might want to finish what you started, but when flippers come into the picture, they will not offer much as they want to make alot on the sell. In essence, we became the flipper and I hope we can net about 37K on the house. We only put $12K in it. That was a total remodel (roof, carpet, furnace, tile, sinks, windows, siding, doors, paint/primer, stained deck, and many other things) but we did most of it ourselves. DH is good at that stuff!

    Good luck to you, I know it is a hard decision. :hug:

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