I’ve been at this for a long time. I’ve sold a lot of houses. In a good market. In a bad market. In Lexington. Outside of Lexington. In neighborhoods. In the country.
Want to know the houses that are the absolute hardest to sell?
The ones that are partially updated.
You would think that a buyer would view a house that has some parts really nice to be a big bonus. They don’t. The nice part of the house just makes the rest of the house look worse to a buyer. Too much contrast between the nice and the average bits of the house.
Who comes to see these houses?
- The buyer who sees the nice new stuff in the pictures. They get excited but almost always say that the rest of the house needs too much work.
- The buyer who see the part of the house that needs updated. They get excited because they want to renovate the rest of the house, but not give any credit for the work that has been done……meaning they want it for free.
- All the other buyers who come mainly because it meets some or all of their search criteria. They don’t buy it because they say it needs too much work.
What you have to do with a house like this is try to make the non-updated bits look as good as possible. You want to minimize that contrast. You don’t want the buyer to walk in one room and be unhappy, then walk in the next and fall in love, then walk in the next and be unhappy. The goal is to make them at least feel neutral, then love, then neutral as they walk through the house. Less contrast is good.
You also have to really emphasis the other features of the house, hoping that the right buyer will see all the other pluses and feel like they can live with the house like it is or take on the updating. If the house is the best bargain in the neighborhood, walking distance to trendy places, has a park nearby, a desirable school district, is the most square footage for the money…..whatever the house excels at, and all houses have something unique, that is what you want to emphasize. Anybody looking for one or more of those unique features is usually the one who buys the house. Why? Because they don’t have as many choices