Should I put in new carpet and paint before I sell my house?
When selling the house should you do paint and carpet? Today we are going to tackle one of the most common questions. When selling my home should I paint and carpet before I sell my house?
There are two myths I want to address. The first myth comes from some agents who will say no, let the new home buyer pick out what they want and let them make it their home. Just price the house 3500 cheaper which is what it will cost.
That there is a myth. And a bad one at that. I have probably shown over 3,000 houses in the last decade. Sure it seems half of those were with the one couple who saw every house in the east valley before they finally picked one, but let’s please not remind me of them.
Showing so many houses I have seen the reaction of home buyers when they walk into houses. Besides the curb appeal, carpet and paint are often the first two things that people notice in a house. If the carpet is worn and the paint is aged, the first impression for the home buyer is, what else is wrong and what am I going to have to do for work.
If the first impression is fresh paint and nice carpet, the home screams I am nice, make me your home. Having a clean and tidy home with a fresh clean smell of paint and carpet says the Seller cares and made their home ready to sell.
Most buyers cannot see past the work that needs to be done. Even those who think they want to do work, when the option is between a house that they ‘can’ do work to vs. a house where they ‘need’ to do work, they are always willing to pay more for the move in ready house.
The other thing buyers will see is the money. Let’s say you have a 2,000 square foot home where about half the floors are carpet and the whole things need work. You can go to Home Depot and buy very basic padding and neutral carpet plus have the inside of your home professionally painted and it may cost you about $3500. A good rule of thumb is a buyer is going to double that price. They see the money they need to spend, automatically assume it will be more than it could be and factor in the time and hassle, and that $3500 likely becomes 6-7-8,000 in their mind.
First impressions are everything. I had a client who was relocating from Michigan and they were coming in for a weekend to look at houses. They said they were fine with houses that needed work. I pulled up a list of about 20-25 houses that we were going to see in the two days they were here looking.
Day one we looked at something like a dozen houses. They were very critical of many of the houses. they had given me a narrow price range and I had pulled up a bunch of houses in that range. I actually pulled in more houses that needed work than not. The reason is when you are buying a house that needs work, in theory, you should be getting more house for your dollar.
After an exhausting day, I realized what they thought they wanted and what they actually wanted was two things. The next day I put together a list of houses that were move-in ready. They were much happier with the houses that we saw. I realized by listening to their feedback that what they thought they wanted and what they really wanted were two different things. Most people want move-in ready houses.
The second myth is from the skeptical people who say the agent just wants to get more money because they make more money if it sells. So, of course, they want you to do upgrades.
First when you look at the numbers that are just silly. But, let’s say for a minute that is 100% true. Let’s go worst case scenario and you have a bad agent who wants to sell the house for 10,000 more than if you didn’t do paint and carpet. So just to pick a round number they will make $300 more than if you didn’t do it. Now you spend $3500 on the upgrades so your agent can make an extra $300. Now, you sell the house for $10,000 more than if you didn’t do the upgrades. So no the questions are, is the $6,000 more you put in your pocket worth it? These, of course, are estimated numbers and you cannot guarantee you will get a certain amount more by doing paint and carpets. But I can assure you it will make a difference.
So then the question is what about nicer floors. Should you spend more money and put in nice tile or wood? I would say it depends on the house and the neighborhood and price point. But for the vast majority of houses, new paint and the inexpensive carpet is going to go a long way and give you a nice return.
So when someone asks “Should I put in new carpet and paint” the answer for most is yes.