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now Realtors want us to whitewash our lives away

Scorpio

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‘I don’t have the funds or the gusto’: My wife painted our house in Rustic Western — now Realtors want us to whitewash our lives away​

Published: April 16, 2021 at 12:24 p.m. ET
By

Jacob Passy


‘What in the heck am I supposed to believe, realize and trust in selling my house and buying another especially in todays seller’s market?’​

im-326187

A Florida couple redecorated their home to turn it into a Southwestern oasis, like the home picture here. But now they're wondering whether they need to renovate before they list it for sale.​




Dear MarketWatch,
What in the heck am I supposed to believe, realize and trust in selling my house and buying another especially in todays seller’s market?
We need and want to downsize from our current house. My wife painted our house in line with our true essence: Rustic Western. The house is painted and decorated in Southwest colors, not gray like everybody likes and wants.
After all, the influencer/designer experts say to make your home “your own.” A lot of people are farm-housing it today — for us, we stuck with our Rustic Western preference.
Now we want to sell. We got mixed messages from about 8 different Realtors in our area and out of our area. Some have said to re-paint all the walls to neutral colors and change the carpet in a couple of rooms to tile. Upgrade the appliances to stainless steel. Repaint outside as well. Upgrade the landscaping, empty out the house and only have enough furniture in it to show size and scale. And for heaven’s sake — get rid of our personal stuff like family pictures!!!
Then, there are others that tell us to not do anything else to it, the house will sell in this market. Then a couple of others say to just do a few minor maintenance things — cosmetic things — and it will sell. Another said to just move out and sell — as is — period.
Our house is the largest square footage wise in our neighborhood of 62 houses. Plus, we have added features to the house that we know no other houses in our neighborhood has, such as: a circular driveway and an extra bedroom with its own ADA bathroom, fireplace and side entrance to an enclosed porch. It was my mother-in-law’s bedroom, and she lived here 11 years.
‘Our house is the largest square footage wise in our neighborhood of 62 houses. Plus we have added features to the house that we know no other houses in our neighborhood has.’
We think that doing changes — such as replacing carpet and retiling and painting all the walls to neutral (or the ever-popular gray/white scheme) and replacing our current white appliances to stainless — is a waste of our money. Whoever buys this house will most likely not like what we’ve picked and will rip out or replace what we’ve put in.

We did exactly that ourselves when we bought it: Re-painted, changed the carpeting — even though it was newly painted and the carpet was less than 6 months old.
We have a neighbor in the cul-de-sac down from us, whose house is identical to ours except it’s smaller because they have 3 bedrooms where we have 4 — because of the in-law suite. They have lived in that house almost 3 years and they completely re-did the whole house inside to look like that farmhouse look: New plumbing, new electric, and re-landscaped the backyard with paver stones.
Would you believe after all the remodeling our neighbors did, the buyers of their house are re-painting, re-tiling, adding a sprinkler system and adjusting the landscaping?
We think they put about $50,000 to $60,000 into the remodel. They sold the house for cash to a well-off local celebrity for his daughter. We think they broke even or very little profit. Would you believe after all the remodeling our neighbors did, the buyers of their house are re-painting, re-tiling, adding a sprinkler system and adjusting the landscaping?
Now back to my house. We’re in our late-late 60’s, and retired. I don’t have the funds or the gusto to do a large-scale makeover on this house to please other people that may or most likely may not like the makeover we would do to sell it. I do need as much money as I can get out of this to move to the next house.
This is only the second house we’ve owned — so we’re either old-fashioned or out of touch? What’s your opinion? One of the Realtors said to sell a house “as is” kind of implies that there’s something wrong with the house. Is that true? There’s nothing wrong with this house — we’ve maintained it all along.
Besides we’re thinking of hiring our own home inspector just to see if there’s anything we’ve missed. I hope you can respond. I’m beginning to not believe these Realtors. Who’s telling me the truth?
Regards,
Confused and frustrated in Florida


Dear Confused,
I was wondering how you would sign this letter. I was curious whether you lived in Waco or Westchester.
Neither, as it turns out.
Selling a home is an emotional process. This is the place where you made some of your fondest memories. You and your wife poured money, sweat and tears into making it your sanctuary — it reflects the rich life you’ve led together and is a physical manifestation of your partnership.
It’s important that buyers are able to envision living in what was once your home. It’s your job to help make that happen.
So it’s natural to take umbrage with the idea that your preferred aesthetic isn’t many people’s cup of tea. I’d much rather live in an abode like yours than a white-walled, cookie-cutter home that has little personality.
But I’m not everybody.
Little things — a coat of paint, new fixtures in the bathroom, making minor repairs and doing a deep-clean — will help your home to stand out. Larger renovations won’t help a whole lot, unless your home is in bad shape. Very few renovations actually come with a 100% return on investment.
As a seller, you still want to put your best foot forward — even in a market as hot as this one. It’s great that you’ve invested in your home to add features that will certainly be attractive to many buyers.
But it’s important that buyers are able to envision their lives in what was once your home. It’s your job to help make that happen. They want to be able to picture their furniture in the rooms, their pictures on the walls, and their memories being made.
The more people who can picture living their lives out in your home, the more offers you will receive.
Your home likely may sell no matter what — the market is really that hot right now in many parts of the country. But I also assume you want the largest possible return on your investment, and to get that you’ll want your home to fetch as many offers as possible.
That way, you will have more money to put towards the Rustic Western renovation — or, what the hell, Wild Western renovation — of your new home.
That’s why many buyers opt to do smaller renovations before listing their home. Painting your home is a great example of this: Neutral colors like white, beige and gray offer buyers a blank canvas. A fresh coat of paint enables them to more easily picture the life they would build in the home. And research from Zillow Z, -4.80% ZG, -4.96% suggests that the wrong paint color will do the exact opposite — it can actually decrease the price you end up getting for your home.
The more people who can picture living their lives out in your home, the more offers you will receive. And the more offers you receive, the better the chances of seeing a bidding war that will fetch you the best possible deal.

Take it from Zillow’s experience: You don’t need to gut your home completely. “Zillow rarely completes any major upgrade to a home that would dramatically alter its footprint or its value,” the real-estate company said in a recent report detailing the lessons its learned through its iBuyer division that buys and sells homes directly. “Instead, Zillow focuses on the projects that make a home clean, safe and functional for a buyer, repairing items instead of replacing them when possible.”
Go back to the real-estate agents you spoke with and examine their track record — who’s got the most successful sales history? If that person advises you to make some minor cosmetic changes, I’d take them at their word. They’re not making a judgment about your taste. Rather, they’re trying to get you the best price for your home.
It’s just business. It’s not personal. Even if being asked to change your color palette makes you feel that way.

 

Scorpio

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too funny how people think their tastes are appropriate for others,

get over yourselves is the point,

even more irony for me anyway, is they are in Florida, and whining because they did their whole house in desert southwest

uhhh, duh
 

hoarder

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Builders of spec homes know what kind of decor sells best. Look at some new homes for sale and you'll have a pretty good idea.
 

vichris

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Don't touch a damn thing and sell it FSBO. Price it high and they'll still get offers for more than they have it listed for. Use a RE broker who will work for a flat fee to help close the deal.


.
 

Fatrat

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Weird paint schemes don't hold value to the next guy, put a price on it, sell it, and know having a wacky wife has its costs...
 

BackwardsEngineeer

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With rare exception, buyers have little to any vision. They watch home shows 24/7 and still can't see beyond neon greens or that deep mauve in the dining room. Popcorn ceilings and dirty carpet will absolutely send them into convulsions... So I'm emphasizing the quality of construction, upgrades to things that matter and location they are freaking over easily changed or upgraded items..

The other thing is, everyone is a real estate expert. The sellers market has made lifetime professionals out of every and anybody..
 

Voodoo

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With rare exception, buyers have little to any vision. They watch home shows 24/7 and still can't see beyond neon greens or that deep mauve in the dining room. Popcorn ceilings and dirty carpet will absolutely send them into convulsions... So I'm emphasizing the quality of construction, upgrades to things that matter and location they are freaking over easily changed or upgraded items..

The other thing is, everyone is a real estate expert. The sellers market has made lifetime professionals out of every and anybody..

I love fugly carpets because it means i wont have to fight off a raft of morons to buy. Paint is pretty easy and most buyers will paint.

But seriously, if a Realtor tells you this ask them what the difference in sales prices would be. When they give you a dumbfounded look, you have the answer.
 

BackwardsEngineeer

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Latest lender counter move to rapidly increasing prices, is third party verification of appraiser value. This have been an option for a long time but was only used by a few lenders, now it wide is spread and heading toward 100% of all sales..

So you pay for an appraisal, had one this week just over 262k value. The third party soaks the buyer an additional 300 bucks for the bank to ensure value. Problem is they don't physically step foot on the property, they just use comps, which is basically only a qualified zillow comparison. The third party is not required to have an appraiser license they typically are 10 year plus agents with 15 hours of training. In this case, they came up at 246k on the value, which was a fair price six months ago. So now buyer has ordered a second appraiser to actually visit property to determine value.... Buyer now out 550 + 300 + 550, and since they need that 262k for their situation if it doesn't appraise they are out 1400 plus 400 more on their inspection..

This market is brutal on buyers, especially first timers....
 

Goldhedge

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There is a reason they say use NEUTRAL colors.
 

ttazzman

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Very clean...uncluttered...no strong statement pieces that distract the buyers creative juices.....dark room shrinking colors are difficult to overcome...smells are hard to overcome.....at least get them in the front door with a open mind...
 

Spike

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Fire the realtor that tells you to change anything in this market, just put it on the market. The buyers are lucky to find anything to buy.
Raise the price another 50 grand, just because you can. US housing market is nearly 4M homes short of buyer demand.



 

newmisty

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I hold great distain for so called realtors. One of the only groups of people LICENSED to sell something they know less than nothing about.
 

Voodoo

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Latest lender counter move to rapidly increasing prices, is third party verification of appraiser value. This have been an option for a long time but was only used by a few lenders, now it wide is spread and heading toward 100% of all sales..

So you pay for an appraisal, had one this week just over 262k value. The third party soaks the buyer an additional 300 bucks for the bank to ensure value. Problem is they don't physically step foot on the property, they just use comps, which is basically only a qualified zillow comparison. The third party is not required to have an appraiser license they typically are 10 year plus agents with 15 hours of training. In this case, they came up at 246k on the value, which was a fair price six months ago. So now buyer has ordered a second appraiser to actually visit property to determine value.... Buyer now out 550 + 300 + 550, and since they need that 262k for their situation if it doesn't appraise they are out 1400 plus 400 more on their inspection..

This market is brutal on buyers, especially first timers....

First, the buyer should not be paying for the third party That is entirely the banks choice and should be the first check before the appraisal. Heck our MLS gives three AI values on any property. But the appraiser making 350 bucks is not long for the market.
 

Voodoo

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I hold great distain for so called realtors. One of the only groups of people LICENSED to sell something they know less than nothing about.

Try having to pay full boat NAR dues while not being able to take a single buck in commissions. Yeah they can rot. Most agents are decent and stuck in the same system as we are.
 

nickndfl

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My personal real estate brand consisted of the Top 3 choices of suburban locations at reasonable prices. Most of the properties consisted of the primest of fast growth areas.
The market is so fast that there is not enough inventory for sale to make a living for most.

I sold off most property last year to out of town buyers. The local yokels were not savvy enough or did not have the cash to pay full retail for a great location.
 

specsaregood

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Uhm, I happen to like popcorn ceiling. Is that wrong of me?
 

Hystckndle

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1st : Our "True essence"
( I thought figuring that out was a key point of being on the 3rd rock !!??.......ummmm wheresthebeef !!?? )

2nd: " Confused and Frustrated "
( stop....I am going to pee )

LOL....another so called victim of individualism and life.
CONFORM ! ADAPT ! to what Zillow / teevee says so eone can make more fiat with little to no effort...

Annnnnndddddddd.
"I call B.S."
For what reasons !!???

Haystack thinks that the same people who wrote those Letters to Penthouse kind of stuff
have been re incarnated to write this kind of stuff about real estate and investing
and to also call into Dave Ramsey kind of shows...
The only thing better is the " Second Date Update " on the radio show they do every Saturday morning.
:) :) :) :) :)
Good stuff !!
Made my day the OP
 

Ensoniq

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These crazy prices can’t continue - qualified buyers are going to dry up in these conditions

The norm now in NC is cash sale, no contingency, offer more than ask

No point with appraisals the bank won’t loan over appraised value

Earnest money expectation is soaring
 

hoarder

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But seriously, if a Realtor tells you this ask them what the difference in sales prices would be. When they give you a dumbfounded look, you have the answer.
Another reason not to remodel a home is that your remodeling dollar gets 25% of what it did 4 years ago. I would gamble that the buyer who thinks he/she has vision doesn't fully realize this.
 

917601

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Two seasoned real estate people I know told me to not put any money or work into my house sale, just offer a remodeling discount. I plan to do just that....on the other hand two “ realtors” said to put in new carpet, tile and repaint? Huh? Realtors I put in the same class as Filthy, rotten, lawyers.
 

Jarrod32

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Meh. Any buyer is going to paint and change the floors to their own preference, whether you leave it as is or make a change to "neutral" colors. Doesn't matter. Set your asking price $10k over what you otherwise would, when buyers grouse about the paint and the floors, agree to an offer for $10k less to allow for "update costs" for the buyers. Don't put time or money into something that is just going to be changed again right away anyway. Like others have alluded to, you won't get your money back...
 

ttazzman

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remember the realtors dont mind spending your money to help make them money.........in this market a realtor is just a path to get in multi-list

my ex-wife is a realtor i wouldnt trust her to tell the truth even if it was to her benifit
 

hoarder

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With rare exception, buyers have little to any vision.
This is the premise of the OP, and it's legitimate. Most buyers can't envision a ratty house as it would be after remodel. When remodel costs were reasonable, it did often pay to spruce up a dump with new paint and carpet. What is questionable about it is whether the Realtor's advice and judgement is worth anything and whether the dollars pencil out in the end.
 

Scorpio

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as you guys state, there is a lot of commonality to what a realtor will tell a potential,
and it is also true that they have walked many a customer thru a house and listened to their commentary

a guy here, listed his house fsbo, and it is still on the market, hot like everywhere else, newer, etc
not selling and not going contingent.

he isn't getting the benefit of the mls and realtors talking to their clients for showings,

now sure, it should eventually sell, once a buyer finds it
but for now, it sits while others go 'contingent'

plenty here are perfectly capable of handling RE transactions on their own, but for the average person it is something they are not qualified to do, let alone capable. Sure they may want to, but they just cannot appreciate the number of moving parts to the transaction.

with any business, you have a advertising budget. There are sales and marketing costs in order to reach their customers.
As distasteful as it may seem at times, if they drop the ball, or whatever, there is a reason to allow them to do what they do.

Then too, on the sale, it is a factor that must be accounted for on the way out. You buy it and a year later you get a transfer or whatever. Now you have to cover purchase price + realtor and closing to get out of it, or you have a loss.

it is only a few questions that one should ask,

-can the realtor get me market price whereas if I fsbo will it bring less?
-can I perform the process, with banks, with title, with the various details?
-can a sold sign go up faster with a realtor, as time is money

greed and inept realtors are part of the problem.
many realtors aren't full timers, they are housewives or teachers or other. They do it for money only.
that is not who you want.

a person may state, my house went up $100k and the realtor is taking $20k of that...................yes, but the market is paying you $80k to get out
deal, no deal
 

hoarder

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Voodoo

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Zillow has made the MLS pretty useless. Hope the NAR got a good deal to sell the data. I have access to the MLS and still use Zillow for a few things because it just works better. One is searching for Manufactured homes, the Realtors decided they didnt want that showing up anywhere.
 

Voodoo

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as you guys state, there is a lot of commonality to what a realtor will tell a potential,
and it is also true that they have walked many a customer thru a house and listened to their commentary

a guy here, listed his house fsbo, and it is still on the market, hot like everywhere else, newer, etc
not selling and not going contingent.

he isn't getting the benefit of the mls and realtors talking to their clients for showings,

now sure, it should eventually sell, once a buyer finds it
but for now, it sits while others go 'contingent'

plenty here are perfectly capable of handling RE transactions on their own, but for the average person it is something they are not qualified to do, let alone capable. Sure they may want to, but they just cannot appreciate the number of moving parts to the transaction.

with any business, you have a advertising budget. There are sales and marketing costs in order to reach their customers.
As distasteful as it may seem at times, if they drop the ball, or whatever, there is a reason to allow them to do what they do.

Then too, on the sale, it is a factor that must be accounted for on the way out. You buy it and a year later you get a transfer or whatever. Now you have to cover purchase price + realtor and closing to get out of it, or you have a loss.

it is only a few questions that one should ask,

-can the realtor get me market price whereas if I fsbo will it bring less?
-can I perform the process, with banks, with title, with the various details?
-can a sold sign go up faster with a realtor, as time is money

greed and inept realtors are part of the problem.
many realtors aren't full timers, they are housewives or teachers or other. They do it for money only.
that is not who you want.

a person may state, my house went up $100k and the realtor is taking $20k of that...................yes, but the market is paying you $80k to get out
deal, no deal

There is another arguement about whether time on the market is a bad thing. I think the whoie industry is wrong about days on market. If it only took a couple days it was listed too low. conversely if its taking forever they just listed too high. The home isnt majically losing value by being on the MLS.
 

Scorpio

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the realtors aren't using zillow,

they are using alerts from mls,
as for it being useless, not true,

it is a monopoly controlled by the players, and it works for them, and creates barriers to entry

lot of people searching use zillow/realtor.com/etc
once they find something, then they find a realtor for a showing

then the realtor finds it on mls, pulls the data, and schedules it, etc.

many realtors are far too lazy to go in search of across multiple platforms looking for potentials or suckers,

then to mention, the data on zillow et al is always behind the time, and never current

you see it on zillow, try to schedule something, and it is contingent per mls
 

southfork

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Sold real estate for around 20 years in jersery,, 90% of realtors are fucking lying scumbags
 

hoarder

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Sold real estate for around 20 years in jersery,, 90% of realtors are fucking lying scumbags
That's probably unfair to many realtors because Jersey is already about 80% lying scumbags. Go to flyover country and I think you'll find that only about 60% of realtors are lying scumbags.
 

Voodoo

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the realtors aren't using zillow,

they are using alerts from mls,
as for it being useless, not true,

it is a monopoly controlled by the players, and it works for them, and creates barriers to entry

lot of people searching use zillow/realtor.com/etc
once they find something, then they find a realtor for a showing

then the realtor finds it on mls, pulls the data, and schedules it, etc.

many realtors are far too lazy to go in search of across multiple platforms looking for potentials or suckers,

then to mention, the data on zillow et al is always behind the time, and never current

you see it on zillow, try to schedule something, and it is contingent per mls

No of course Realtors will use thr MLS. BUT buyers are using Zillow. The Realtors have cut themselves off at the knee. And more and more agents arent even putting their listings on the MLS, which defeats the whole purpose.
 

Treasure Searcher

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Its a sellers market. You place your price on it. Generally, in the region I live in, the buyer decides their own decor. After they purchase it, they pick out carpets, paint the walls, etc. Whatever color sceme that suits them (generally, the wife as she decorates the nest).

As long as the roof does not leak, AC runs, plumbing does not leak and windows are not broke, purchaser should be happy. I would put extra effort into a tidy yard. Curb appeal. You do not want to look like the house is in the hood.
 

hoarder

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No of course Realtors will use thr MLS. BUT buyers are using Zillow. The Realtors have cut themselves off at the knee. And more and more agents arent even putting their listings on the MLS, which defeats the whole purpose.
Why would a Realtor not put their listing on MLS....to sell it cheap to one of their cronies?
 

Voodoo

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Why would a Realtor not put their listing on MLS....to sell it cheap to one of their cronies?

They hold it back to find their own buyer. That way they get both sides of the commission. Now granted, this is in a small rural community with limited data. They are extra territorial.