18 May 2015 ~ 0 Comments

The HGTV Effect

I recently met with a friend and past client who was tasked with helping an aging relative sell her condo as she prepares for the next stage of her life in an assisted living facility. Emotions usually run high; as inevitable as these next steps can be, it’s never an easy transition.

Over the past few years, I’ve handled four to five of these sales per year and you may have even seen my video listings of these properties. They are the ones where typically, the house or condos decor is from a different era, and almost always the home has been very well maintained and cared for.

Whenever I am brought in for a consultation, one area of discussion is what should be done or what absolutely needs to be done to enhance a property’s marketability and eventual selling price.

Without going into detailed reasoning, all I will say is what needs to be done (or should be done) varies greatly from property to property as well as neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

Without a doubt, HGTV and their programming have had a huge influence and impact on setting consumer expectations on topics such as staging, de-cluttering and upgrades and home improvements. However, it’s crucial to be aware that this isn’t always in the seller’s best interest from a bottom line perspective.

Buyers today are often called out for lacking ‘vision’ or being able to see through the ‘clutter’ or personalization of a home. Yet time and time again, I have consulted my seller’s clients to take an approach that best reflects their desires, and leave the task of finding the right buyer to me.

This is often met with relief and sometimes, even joy. It seems that these days, with everybody being an expert in selling real estate, what we are seeing more and more is older sellers being told to upgrade the countertops to stone, rip up the carpet and refinish the floors, move out their existing furniture and ‘stage’ with more modern pieces.

This is ridiculous! Costs are being driven up on the seller’s behalf, and unless you can clearly justify the return, often the added expense and hassle isn’t worth it to the bottom line for the seller. Also, what gets lost in this process is the transition period for a seller who has spent the better part of their life in this home! It’s difficult enough coping with a move at this age; adding additional stress through upgrades and staging is hardly sensible.

This year I helped a seller who has lived in her home for 43 years. Last year, there were two where the sellers had been there for 64 years and 53 years. In all cases, due to both a strong sellers market, as well as doing the correct things to position their homes for sale, we have achieved amazing sale prices that have exceeded ALL of the sellers’ expectations involved.

The take away is this: when selling your home or condo, every property is different. Make sure the efforts put into selling your property for the most money and in a timely fashion are approached with an open mind. If someone is presenting only one option on how to do this, perhaps it’s time to interview other agents. Ultimately, go with what feels the most comfortable to you, and what you feel will best suit your situation.

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