A Homeowner's Dilemma: To Love or To List?
By Larry Schwingel / June 1, 2018
A home in a great location within a quality school district, friendly neighbors, and a short commute to work is utopia. But there comes a time when homeowners needs to decide when its time to love or list their home.
If you're a homeowner that wants to move into a more upscale neighborhood, or doesn't want to spend thousands on renovations for more space, listing is a no-brainer. If you love it, remodeling is the smartest choice. But, before knocking down any walls, first think about space requirements and the types of changes needed to make a home more livable. The end result may not be a "dream home," but a definite step up from what you're accustomed to. And, if space is not an issue, minor renovations work wonders.
"The urge to remodel hits about every 6 to 10 years," said Bobbi Mechler, founder of the Mechler Group, realtors of luxury homes in Parkland and Coral Springs. "My advice is to go classic, not trendy, and to avoid bold colors. Homes with a classic look sell better than ones with a trendy, dated look."
It's all about money, so the first decision is how much can be budgeted, including a few thousand dollars for any overages. A fear of blowing the budget--and work not living up to expectations--is the biggest stress factor when renovating. Am I overextended? How long will it take? Am I willing to have my home look like a war zone? Will I be happy with the outcome? If there is any anxiety at all, consider smaller projects rather than major renovations.
Remodeling costs vary depending on square footage, so it's hard to pinpoint "average" cost, but Mechler offered this: "To do the floors, kitchen, and a bathroom on a 3,000-square-foot home is easily $20-$30,000. Smaller homes can be done for under that amount, but upgrades to larger homes can be anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000."
Housewire Magazine reported that 40 percent home sales in the U.S. were from May through August, but South Florida isn't on that time frame. "It's all about locale here, so the peak selling period for condos on the beach is September and October, while inland family communities list their homes no earlier than mid-February or mid-April at the latest," Mechler said. "Most homes won't sell immediately, so timing can be a real balancing act."
When listing, most realtors use marketing resources including presentations on social media and pay a fee for premium placements on Web sites such as Zillow and Realtor.com. "My responsibility is to keep clients informed and aware of what's in the market, and what's needed to reach their goals," Mechler said. "Constant communications and honesty is a must." She said many clients want to "try high" but it's the wrong strategy. The home should be listed at the price its actually worth. According to Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, "a house priced right sells in about half the time of one that is overpriced."
Make no mistake, moving is hard, and renovations have its own unique set of problems. Whether you love it or list it, the bottom line is budget, comfort level, and long-term vision.
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