Are you a real estate agent? Need Advice

<p>I know that some of the CC posters are real estate agents an am looking for advice. We’re moving this year and I am in the process of getting our house ready to be put on the market (probablu mid-June). I’ve budgeted a few thousand $$$ to spruce it up. The house is in a great neighborhood and has many quality features. But, it <em>is</em> 14 years old and needs to be updated.</p>

<p>In terms of the layout, it’s quite up-to-date: large open spaces, large kitchen, huge great room with massive windows looking out into the surrounding woods, excellent master suite with a killer master bath. Very solid and high-quality (for 14 years ago).</p>

<p>Here are my plans (besides all of the usual painting/sprucing up):</p>

<li><p>Replacing the kitchen countertops (now laminate) with slab granite. It’s lots of countertop (70 sq ft), but I’ve got a quote for $3100 from a reputable local company that does lots of these jobs. I’ll save some money by doing some of the work myself (removing existing top and doing the backsplash myself).</p></li>
<li><p>I’m replacing the carpet. After 14 years with lots of animals, it’s a mess. Besides, as we’ve lived there, we’ve replaced most of the carpeted floors with hardwood and tiles. Now, only the stairs, a hallway and 2 bedrooms have carpet, so that should be not a big budget hit.</p></li>
<li><p>Sprucing up the landscaping (most of the property is natural woods, but we’ve let more go “natural” than we should have right around the house. A lot of that will be my manual labor.</p></li>
<li><p>Replacing the brass lights and numbers on the exterior with new ones just for a little extra ooomph and sparkle.</p></li>

<p>The big, big question is the roof. It would blow my budget to replace the roof, but since we’ve moved in, the roof that was REQUIRED then is now BANNED because of fire danger (especially after the big Hayman Fire in Colorado that got with 8 miles of us and had our neighboorhood in a voluntary evacuation status). What someone suggested is that we get the roof certified for 5 or 10 more years (minimal cost). But I’m afraid that having the old roof would be a real roadblock to selling.</p>

<p>Any ideas? What do you think about this idea of spending this amount getting the house ready? I think it’s necessary in our neighborhood to kind of “complete” the quality construction and bring it up to 2006.</p>

<p>$3100. is amazingly low for your counterwork.</p>

<p>Digi, a couple of thoughts: </p>

<p>The price for the granite counters is very good. One reason that I'd be inclined to let the company do the actual installation is the "oops!" factor on something that expensive...they mess up, they have to eat it and make it right. You mess up....</p>

<p>If the current roof is now banned, I would expand my budget if at all possible and replace unless housing supply is very tight where you are. In a competitive marketplace, I think that would be used against you. You might lose more in sales price if you didn't replace the roof than the cost of replacing the roof. There almost certainly would be <em>some</em> effect on sales price. </p>

<p>If the amount of housing inventory is very low where you are, please disregard.</p>

<p>Dig: sounds like you have a shake roof that suposedly can be "recertified" through chemical treatment. You need to check that. Our house used to have one but when I asked the fire departments about having it treated I was told that they do not feel such treatments are really effective for fireproofing the roof. So you may be spending money on a procedure that a buyer won't think much of.</p>

<p>You may have to give an allowance off the price to represent some of the cost of a new roof (especially if the new owner will not be required to replace the roof). Unfortunately, as you've probably already learned, putting on a new roof doesn't increase the value of the house for sales purposes.</p>

<p>I would replace the roof- but get a nice basic formica instead of granite
Some people don't like granite and would prefer to do their own updating. I think the roof is much more important and can also add just as much style to your house- BTW before they get out of the car.</p>

<p>Have you considered the cost of replacing the sink? Granite looks so much better with an undermount sink. I'd also consider Cambria or any of the quartz surfaces although I'm not sure they are any less $ than granite. Cambria doesn't have that rock hard , glass breaking feel that granite has. There is a particular light colored honed cambria that looks just like limestone - quite striking.</p>

<p>DoS, putting on a new roof might not increase the sales price, but in the circumstances Digi cited, not doing so could reduce the sales price...same net effect.</p>

<p>There are some nice granite alternatives under various brand names. </p>

<p>EK, in my marketplace Formica would be the kiss of death, viewed as something to ripped out and replaced. I like tile myself but even that's viewed askance, with a plurality preferring Corian or the like at a minimum.</p>

<p>well I was thinking some type of laminate and formica was only thing I could think of- I like tile too- but my main thought was that I have seen houses that dropped out of consideration because of "improvements" that the buyers thought would make it more desirable- but that weren't to my taste.
Thats why I thought of formica- because if the countertop absolutely has to be replaced- it isn't so expensive that the buyers can't rip it out and put in what they want.
granted I am not a real estate agent- just opinionated :)</p>

<p>digmedia - Good luck selling the house. It sounds lovely and your proposed improvements make sense. I don't think you can go wrong upgrading the kitchen counters to granite or a similar material. </p>

<p>I had to smile, though, at your "old" 14-year-old house. Mine was built in 1931. I love it, but the traditional floor plan is not very functional.</p>

<p>I returned the book to the library, but "Freakonimics" lists words that are used in descriptions of high end houses and words used to describe lower cost (if you're really interested, you can get the book). "Granite" indicates a high end house (in my own reading, I'd add stainless steel appliances, wood floors, central air conditioning, central vac and in ground sprinklers as things that attract buyers - at least make them feel like the house is completely up to date.) Full disclosure: we're living with the white formica countertops and "Youngstown" metal 50's sink (some would say it's now back in vogue) that were in the house when we bought it in 1989. If you're wondering why, read any of those threads about ways to save for tuition. I have to get my 'granite' vicariously, through reading/looking at pictures.</p>

<p>Agree that you could do "stone" (quartz, Silestone and other brands) and gain the same benefit as granite. But I don't think you could do it any cheaper. Your quote is very good.</p>

<p>Agree that formica - or even tile - will not benefit you and may hurt you.</p>

<p>My take on the roof is that it is difficult even for a real estate broker(such as moi) to advise without "local knowledge." This situation must be arising fairly often in your area and a local broker can advise the best way to handle. In addition to the option of replacing, there are often options of offering a credit toward replacement (local realtors would know whether buyers are typically expecting Sellers to bear the full cost or partial cost); disclosing so that buyers are aware that you have "discounted" the replacement cost into your price etc.</p>

<p>The local brokerage community will also be able to address TheDad's very valid point as to tightness of inventory in your area and DoS's similarly valid point that you might waste money on a re-certification, etc.</p>

<p>My question: why wait until June? You will probably have more competiton in June...</p>

<p>Talked to hubby who is a realtor and double checked my comments before sending them.</p>

<p>So much depends on your specific market, even your particular neighborhood. Granite adds a visual impact and says " we've taken efforts to stay modern." </p>

<p>An aging roof, however, can suggest imminent cost for replacement to the buyer. What type of roofing do most of your neighbors have? How does it look visually? Will you roof pass an inspection? Would replacing the roof with a dimensional product (composite slates or shakes look-a-likes) that are fire proof/resistance have an impact on a buyer's insurance rate, or even their chance of getting insurance? How long do houses sit on the market in your area? Would an older shake roof subtantailly delay market time? How quickly do you need to sell? These are just some of the questions you should explore.</p>

<p>A few other items. I assume you will repaint interior and ensure exterior is at least touched-up. How about your light fixtures (interior and exterior)? Do they reflect a dated or passe look (often, just replacing these can spiff-up a house)? How does the grout in your tiled areas look (home improvement stores sell a great product for cleaning existing grout)?</p>

<p>Suggestion: Ask a local realtor :) And if you are moving to Florida, I know this really nice realtor (he, he). Good luck!</p>

I grinned at the same thing you did......14 yrs old!! my home was also built in 1931.....and I am worried about my plaster ceilings...... I think they are starting to get tired......we have been here since '84 and we have done a lot of changes......but, I don't have a mud room nor the kind of closets, nor the attached garage.......but, I have a million dollar view of Portland Headlight so, I try not to hate the house cause I love the view.<br>
"tumbled" granite is big up isn't shiny...... you may want to watch Flip this House or another show on HGTV where they bring in the experts to freshen up a house.....prior to selling....biggest thing is to remove clutter.....they suggest big Rubbermaid boxes for each room and you fill them up with the clutter...put them in the closet for "safekeeping" prior to the move......</p>

<p>coats of fresh paint, mulch, pumpkin or garlic smells in the kitchen during open houses...... you could also have a higher price on the sale of the house to include a roof do all the work lining up the contractor....making choices etc.....and then either they agree to buy with the higher price and you make the roof happen....or you sell it for less and they take the roof as is?? Roofs around here are often done in a couple of it is not too burdensome......</p>

<p>How much would it cost to replace your roof? Do you have an estimate? Would the current roof pass inspection as is? It's shocking that a 14-year-old house should need a new roof because the town changed the laws. </p>

<p>What is the 10-year roof certification? I myself would rather go with that, and then when you have a very interested buyer, if there is whining about the roof, drop your price a little (which you may have to do anyway, depending on the market).</p>

<p>I have been reading that granite was a thing of the 90's, and many people do not care for the extremely high gloss and hard look. We are replacing our countertops with SILESTONE, which is a composite of quartz, resins and dyes. It has all the qualities and strength of granite, but the porosity is removed by crushing and re-forming the quartz. It does not stain, needs no treatment or maintenance, and comes in a huge variety of colors.</p>

<p>If you decide not to do your roof, you may want to consider getting a stainless steel oven/stove, microwave and dishwasher instead. Really makes an impact.</p>

<p>Too bad that you are doing all these wonderful improvements and won't be staying to enjoy them.</p>

<p>Granite or a good composite is the way to go. Your price looks great.</p>

<p>My house is nearly 140 years old. The newest thing in it is the kitchen, which we renovated....14 years ago! Oy.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the advice. Several agents here have told me that even the word "granite" implies a higher-end house (like LHofD said) and that it's something that their buyers are looking for. We picked out something very neutral for the top. The price includes installation and several people have asked me for cards. After they order the granite, they will call us in to see in in the big slab form (vs. the smaller sample) and if we don't like it, they'll let us change - no questions asked.</p>

<p>I do not NEED to replace the roof. My neighbor just got estimates for redoing his roof, so I'll check with him. One of my concerns is not just the selling price, but how long it will be on the market. Housing here seems fickle. Some properties go very quickly, but my neighbor - who has a BEAUTIFUL home that's well maintained - finally took their house off the market after a year. I thought it was well priced, but who kows why one house appeals so much and others that look like equal values to me don't sell at all.</p>

<p>Several years ago, we redid our basement (called a walkout, but really open on three sides) and used Corian countertops for the small kitchen down there and for the bathroom. We like that look even better than granite.</p>

<p>But someone above had a great idea that I did not think about. Our house is not air conditioned (we live at 7500 feet above sea level). But when we did our furnace, we had everything set up for central AC. The freon lines are run, the power is in place. All we need is just the compressor. That might add appeal as well.</p>

<p>Also a good idea about the lighting.</p>

<p>Anyway, thanks.</p>


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<p>A buyer falls in love with what they can see and touch. Granite is a good one. New carpet and paint are also good investments. Professionally designed feature landscaping is also a good investment. (You can keep it to one or two beds).</p>

<p>A roof is a Building Inspection item. It's not worth replacing unless it becomes an item of contention.</p>

<p>A better way to spend you money would be to buy some smart new drapes and/or furniture that you can take with you.</p>

<p>An interior decorator came in before we sold our last house. We had five offers on the new Brunshwig and Fils drapes but I HAD to take them with me. Woudln't you know, the 9' length does not fit my current 11' ceilings. Sigh.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>