Warren County Ohio Real Estate News and Observations: Why Should The Buyer Be The Only One To Enjoy Your Updated Home?

Why Should The Buyer Be The Only One To Enjoy Your Updated Home?

RemodelingWhy Should The Buyer Be The Only One To Enjoy Your Updated Home?

Yesterday we posted about our feelings on brass in your home if you're trying to sell.  For most buyers, brass is an indication of an outdated home.  SOME buyers can't see past the superficial and will scratch a brass home right off their list.

What we commonly see is home sellers making an effort to update their home JUST PRIOR to going on the market.  Which is fine, it's important to have your home optimized for the buyers, but why wait until you're ready to sell?  Why not enjoy your changes personally?

There's quite a few advantages to updating your home in a gradual process rather than a blitz just prior to going on the market!

  • YOU get to enjoy the changes!  Financially MOST changes don't pay for themselves.  Some do a pretty good job of it, but still, wouldn't it be nice to get that difference made up in personal use?  That fire pit in the back yard, that super pulsating shower head, just the aesthetic look of the changes?  All yours to enjoy for more than just the time you're on the market to sell IF you don't wait to update.
  • You can spread out the impact on your budget.  We've personally remodeled much of our home.  Example, custom tile bathrooms for the master and the guest.  It wasn't cheap, but the transformation was amazing.  We know they're going to be real WOW factors when someday we decide to sell our own home.  But by virtue of spreading out the work, both were paid for in cash.  No home equity loans that add to the balance needed to sell our home if the need should suddenly arise.  P.S.  Need a great tile guy?  Carlo at Europamerican Tile in Centerville!
  • You can limit the disruption to your life.   Imagine if we'd tried to do both bathrooms in our home simultaneously!  We'd have needed a port-a-potty in the front yard, or would have needed to move to a hotel for a couple of weeks.  Spreading out the projects allows you to set the schedule.
  • You can SAVE money.  If you're not on a specific deadline, you can shop and wait for sales, find that bargain faucet, light fixtures, etc.  PressureYou might also find a time frame when that service professional might be a bit more negotiable in their rates.
  • You reduce your stress.  That's right.  That helter-skelter trying to get everything done so you can beat the spring rush of getting on the market?  If you've been updating your home all along, prepping your home might be as simple as decluttering and touching up some paint!  Piece o' cake!

Now there are more reasons why updating your home before you're ready to sell makes sense, but this covered some of the major hitters.  Go ahead, make the changes now.  Just make sure your changes will stand the test of time!  The avocado green and brass people didn't expect their choices to fall out of favor did they? :)

And if you need advice on what changes to make, EVEN if you don't plan on selling soon, we'd be happy to consult with you now.  You get to enjoy the changes now, and we get the privilege of having an easier to sell home when you ARE ready!  (And we know that you may enjoy the changes so much you may NEVER sell!)

Serving Warren County's residential real estate needs,

Liz and Bill aka BLiz

Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418

MailTo:  LizSpear@Go-Concepts.com

Search Homes:  Http://WarrenCountyOhioRealEstate.com

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Comment balloon 102 commentsLiz and Bill Spear • December 16 2011 08:26AM


Gosh, serial featured star blogger, now I know why you constantly get GOLD STARS. You deserve it. Suggested, suggested, suggested!!!

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Frisco TX Real Estate Co.) over 6 years ago

Good morning BLIZ,

I echo Loreena..suggested..suggested! I tell clients in my community all the time and now they are calling me years in advance of selling to ask what updates they should do so they get to enjoy them before selling.

Posted by Dorie Dillard, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) over 6 years ago

BLiz- Can't stress this enough.  For all the reasons you mentioned, homeowners need to consider taking stock of their home while they're living in it and address updates or changes they want to make then.  So often I hear "I don't want to put any money in my house when I'm not even going to be there to enjoy it."  

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 6 years ago

Loreena, Thanks!  <blushing>  We try to get the best posts out there everytime we sit down at the keyboard.  Our personal philosophy has been to make the changes and enjoy them.  The original owners would barely recognize the place by now :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Dorie, We LOVE when someone wants to consult with us early.  We get a MUCH more marketable product when they're ready, and they don't have to rearrange their entire life trying to get the home ready in four weeks or less....or worse yet, coming on the market while not totally ready.

Kathy, Exactly!  Spend the money, enjoy the changes, sell later.  The sellers are WAY better off with this path.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

You guys are on fire lately, (well you always are)!  Suggested.  I remember when we put real wood floors in our house, my husband was like, let's wait until we sell and I was like, no way, I want to enjoy them!  Update now, enjoy the updates and make it more financially senseable.  Not only that, no rushing around trying to make someone else happy!  Did I say suggested?

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) over 6 years ago

Absolutely spot-on BLiz.  If you are going to be updating anyway, do it so you can enjoy the new fixtures, appliances, paint, etc.  Also suggested.


Posted by Anita Clark, Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA (ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055) over 6 years ago

Now come on, I just know that the avocado green is coming back!  LOL. 

Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) over 6 years ago

Brenda, Those red oak floors we did years ago have been one of the best things we've ever done for our home.  Now they'll need refinished before we sell (scratches and dents come with living), but with pets they've been SO much better than the original carpet.  We still have some major projects to do over the next few years....the quicker the housing market recovers the quicker we'll get them done :)

Anita, Remodeling is the next best thing to having a new home.  After taking our advice for spiffing up their homes, we've had some would be sellers seriously rethink whether they want to move after all....and we're perfectly fine with that :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Paula, And it just may!  You know how the kids have found all that rock from our youth and love it?  Who knows, maybe those colors will come back too! :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

I think avocado green has been put to rest, but love these suggestions!

Posted by Roger D. Mucci, Lets shake things up at your home today! (Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092) over 6 years ago

Bliz that is ringing in my ears as even I am trying to decide on what to do at my own house.  When sellers try to update all at once (just prior to listing), it becomes an ominous task that is usually accompanied by excuses as to why the potential buyer should see the BIGGGGGG picture (which translates to:  the buyer can just swap out the green shag carpet for the carpet of their choice.................once they've purchased the home.

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) over 6 years ago

Roger, We just never know for sure, but I'd say we can be about 99.99% sure it will never have the favor it once had.

Charita, And what we've had happen is the "I'll take care of that right after it's on the market", and 6 months later it's still not done and it's STILL hurting us with the buyers.  Buyers aren't generally interested in what they CAN do.  They want it already done or they're going to the next house on the list to see.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Good morning Liz and Bill. Bravo. I liked your post yesterday and love this one. I couldn't agree more. Why not treat yourself as well as you can. Terrific post: suggested.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 6 years ago

BLiz....I agree....but of course still have some brass fixtures (but some have been replaced!).  It's a win win - you get to enjoy it and when it comes time to sell you are not updating all at once.

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) over 6 years ago

Sheila, Figured might as well expand on the theme today :)  Thanks!

Christine, No home is perfect, I know there are several items I'd place in the "have to" category before I'd consider selling ours, but at least we wouldn't need to be in a rush.  Relatively easy things for a professional to fix (e.g. my drywall repair skills are SEVERELY lacking!) :)   Bill

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

This is exactly what I tell to my clients and friends. In fact one of my friends installed the granite counters under my influence ;~) She knows that she will sell in a couple of years and the buyers are looking for the granite counters in the neighborhood anyway. Why not install it now and enjoy plus the kitchen is where she spends the most of her time. Also updated for sale home in harder to let go... I will re-blog.

Posted by Anna Dovger, Home Staging -The Woodlands, TX (Add Value Home Staging LLC, 281-704-6607) over 6 years ago

Anna, Exactly!  Liz has made it clear we'll have a kitchen facelift at some point, and WELL before we get to our selling point.  If you're going to spend thousands of dollars on work, why not get some personal enjoyment out of it?  Thanks for the reblog!

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Bliz - Great advice and as a home stager I've had more customers say they should have cleaned up, decluttered and painted years before they put their home on the market so they could have enjoyed their makeover. They just don't realize how a little work and a couple hundred dollars can make all the difference in the world! It won't be long before we that gold star! Suggested! 

Posted by Kristine Ginsberg, NJ Home Stager (Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC) over 6 years ago

BLiz Suggested!  Yesterdays post was quiet impressive today's is over the top!  

Posted by John McCormack, AlbuquerqueHomes.com, Albuquerque Homes Realty (Albuquerque Homes Realty * www.AlbuquerqueHomes.com) over 6 years ago

Kristine, We've heard that regret often.  Especially in tight times when moving often isn't an option, make the place you're in the best it can be (without overimproving of course).  A little here and a little there can pay enormous dividends in comfort and enjoyability.

John, We keep trying to get better and provide useful info :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

I couldn't agree more with you guys on this topic. Make the changes and enjoy them while you still live there. Then when you're ready to sell, the upgrades/ updating is done and your home becomes more palatable to perspective buyers.

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) over 6 years ago

Bliz - Couldn't agree with you more. I am enjoying my beautiful new hardwood floors in my kitchen and living room right now! Next project will be the kitchen counters.

Posted by Judy Jennings, Broker - The Lanterns at Warren Woods - Ashland MA (The Green Company) over 6 years ago

I agree completely. I've seen too many folks install new carpet right before they sell, just to see the new owner rip it up and install hardwood. Upgrade to enjoy, fix and clean (and possibly stage) to sell.

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA (Safe Haven Realty) over 6 years ago

I never understood the concept of making your house beautiful for someone else.  Why do people not use the good china and linens for themselves and not for company or new owners.  It's like getting your husband in shape for the new wife.

Posted by Liz Wallace, Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N (Century 21 Sherlock Homes) over 6 years ago

On another note, floors needing new or a rug and the work done prior to sale the buyer will enjoy. But the seller never did. All part of getting the home ready to market. Sometimes have to rein in the seller who always planned to do this, this and this and to remind them it's okay. Don't. You won't get back the money for those expenditures but maybe always thought you would get to it some day. Some sellers want to complete the dream any way, even though they are leaving.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 6 years ago

Great post! I totally agree. Upgrade your home for yourself and clean and stage to sell...

Posted by Robert McAdams, Connecticut Shoreline Real Estate (Page Taft ~ Christie's International Real Estate) over 6 years ago

With interest rates so low, why not take advantage of a low rate home equity line of credit?

Posted by Ira Bodenstein, NMLS#: 445143 (PNC Mortgage) over 6 years ago

Everytime I suggest that a seller update their house they always say 'I should have done it sooner, it looks great'. Why wait? I just don't get it. And for all the old farts out there BRASS IS DEAD. I did a post about this way over a year ago & there were agents that said they didn't know it was out. Duhhhh, follow the trends folks.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 6 years ago

There actually is a color called "Retro Avocado" that is part of a Tuscan palette.  I painted a small wall in my kitchen with it and it looks gorgeous with the dark Craftsman woodwork. The younger people in my life really love it which makes me think they are tiring of plain and neutral.  Unfortunately for those of you who have been holding off on the redecorating, it is not exactly the same as the avocado from the 70's! (much more saturated and warm) It is so hard to predict what buyers will want in a few years, why not create what you love and hope for the best? If it doesn't sell, at least you will be stuck in a home you love! :)

Posted by Valerie Baker, Spokane Realtor (Exit Real Estate Professionals) over 6 years ago

An excellent post. Problem is, most home owners don't think about these things till it's time to sell.

Posted by Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial) over 6 years ago

Craig, If the changes are made early and done right, it's a short hop from living in it to being ready to market it.  We like the low stress approach for our clients.

Judy, Kitchen will definitely make our list.  Now whether that or finish basement first is still TBD :)

Cynthia, There is no predicting the next owner's taste, but what we have seen if the carpet is something really objectionable, getting rid of it may be the way to go, even if you won't get much use of the new stuff and even though the next owner may change it again.

Liz, Cracking up with your analogy about prepping the husband!  It is similar isn't it? :)

Andy, There's definitely a point of over-improving or making the wrong improvements.  If we're shooting for top dollar, changing the carpet out might still be a smart investment just from a marketability standpoint.  But the rest of the stars need to be aligned too or it doesn't accomplish what was intended.

Robert, Life's so much easier, and with today's economy, who knows when they may need to move faster than planned?

Ira, We're just debt adverse for that.  If values are appreciating, maybe it's a safe strategy, but if you've got the cash, why risk putting yourself in an underwater position if the market heads down?

Lyn, About the only time we've seen not updating work is when someone older with the exact same tastes bought the house.  It's a real longshot to bet on though!

Valerie, Everything cycles back around to some degree doesn't it? And there may be a niche market for the "hip" who will want shaded appliances similar to the old colors.  However, around Cincinnati, that niche would be REALLY small!

Donald, All too often true!  We love going for an interview to list and finding out the seller has already been on top of the updating and got the home primo condition for selling.  THANK YOU!!! :)


Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago


Once when I was updating my own home to sell... I was wondering the exacvt same thing ... why didn't we do this so that WE could enjoy it!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 6 years ago

Richard, This philosophy is a side benefit of being in real estate.  Watch enough people scurry and then express regret at not doing it sooner so they could enjoy it....you learn a couple of things.  Not making the same mistake here :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Well said. Since we've moved in we've spent X amount updating and making this place ours. I wanna enjoy these upgrades NOW. I don't care too much that I may have overimproved. I'm enjoying the atmosphere... we're worth it!

Great feature!!

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) over 6 years ago

BLiz, it's amazing. Every time I go to list a house they ask "should I put in a deck or cement patio?" I always reply the same "Yes, 3 or 4 years ago so you could have enjoyed it!"

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) over 6 years ago

Great point, which I've often wondered about myself.  I saw a family member do this when they wanted to sell.  Their home looked so much nicer and I bet if they did all the fix-ups and enjoyed them they might not have wanted to sell . . .oh, wait . . .that's not good ... LOL

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 6 years ago

I was typing a comment on this post this morning before I went to the office when my computer re-started to install updates.  I guess I missed the message that said "will restart in ten minutes" oops

I have asked Donald for new kitchen hardware for Christmas.  Slowly I am replacing brass in this house.  I think light fixtures in the Master Bath for my birhtday.   I love my house, but it is showing its age.  And I keep updating little things at a time so I won't have to move. :)

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 6 years ago

When I sold my first home, I changed the garage door right before closing. I then vowed to never do that again. Next time and always I prefer to enjoy the use of the garage door I pay for.

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) over 6 years ago

Greg, Sometimes I suspect we're overimproving, but then I figure we're getting at least a decade of enjoyment out of it, and who knows what tomorrow holds for any of us?  We work too hard to not enjoy some things in life.

Eric, Seriously.  Speaking of which, we added a huge patio in the last year!  Loving it!

Carla, In some ways I'm okay with that.  If the only reason they want to move is they don't like their home, then they may not be really motivated sellers.  Fix it and stay, or then realize you truly want to be gone.

Tammy, A project at a time and you're continually living in a "new" place.  Every time our family visits we've got something new we can point to :)

Melissa, Definitely the thing to do!  Why put up with something you can fix and enjoy?

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago


We love this suggestion.  I hate when I have to make suggestions for improvements for putting a home up for sale that the sellers will do and never enjoy.  

We even continue to make improvements to our executive rental homes that we own and property manage for others.  A better property leases faster and for more money attracting a higher quality tenant, as well as will sell better if we put them on the market.

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 6 years ago

Michelle, That's a great strategy for your rentals!  We've found the same thing with resales.....prime condition and priced right and it will move WAY faster than the others.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Hi Liz and Bill! This advice just makes sense. When you have to do all of the updates at one time, the price can be prohibitive. Better to do the update a little here and a little there. Very well-deserved featured post!

Posted by Rose King, Friendswood / Pearland / Houston Bay Area (UTR, Texas Realtors) over 6 years ago

Thanks Rose!  Spreading it out makes it happen.  If we had to do everything at once, not just cost, but the total disruption of our lives would be more than we'd want to deal with.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Figured I should make another comment since I'm here again for some reason :)                                

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) over 6 years ago

Hi Bill, 

You are so right.. it's funny that we've had sellers do things like paint even after the contract...they did not want the buyers to see their dirty wall. 

Posted by Don Barrett (Integrity Real Estate Services) over 6 years ago

Bill, I've had this thought but have never voiced it.  Great post.  I love it when new topics come up on AR instead of the same 0 same 0.

Posted by 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) over 6 years ago

Bill, great spam....2! I mean great post about.....um, will go read......Ok, great post about keeping up with home maintenance projects and all those little "buff and fluff" things that make a house shine for listing.


Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) over 6 years ago

Blitz, great post I agree on just about everything except Brass...I think brass will make a come back soon.

Posted by Carlotta Remong (Berkshire Hathaway HS N.E. Prime Properties) over 6 years ago

Eric, Hola again! :)

Don & Judi, We've had similar.  Sellers wanting the place spotless when they move out so they're not embarassed....then others we're lucky if they take everything they're supposed to!   And every now and then an original thought strikes us for a topic :)

Leslie, Definitely important to keep up on the buff and fluff aspect of home maintenance!  Makes for happier sellers in the long run :)

Carlotta, Small world!  Liz and I lived in Newport back in 1985-86 during my Navy days!  Brass is still "in" in the Navy, maybe it's influencing Newport :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Getting rid of my beautiful brass ceiling fans would mean I would have to change all the hardware on the interior doors, my cabinets, etc.  Oh my, my hubby would have a fit.  Guess I'll have to do it slowly.

Posted by Kay Van Kampen, Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate (RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions) over 6 years ago

I need to share this with my husband the builder who often puts off repairs or finishing details till ready to sell. I say let us try it out first!

BTW see my blog for a Holiday message to you.

Posted by Ellen Caruso (Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty) over 6 years ago

Kay, Very, very quietly, switch one thing at a time :)  It'll be months before he figures out exactly what changed!

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Ellen, Why not?  Try it, find out what works or doesn't, THEN implement for the clients :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

I agree 100%.  I waited until I was getting ready to move out of my last place before having new carpeting & tile floors installed and only the new buyer got to enjoy the new flooring.  Lesson learned.

Posted by S. Leanne Paynter ☼ Broward County, FL, Davie, Plantation, Cooper City & Weston Specialist (United Realty Group, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Liz and Bill, as an interior decorator, I feel strongly about what you are saying-a home is to live in and while you are there, why not enjoy it.  Your post addresses all of the key reasons why updating your house within 5 years of selling makes perfect sense.  There will always be something to do to prep for the market.

Posted by Joanna Cohlan, Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes (Fresh Eyes For Your Home) over 6 years ago

I didn't realize that brass was "out", however, why not enjoy that new kitchen a few years before you sell.

Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 6 years ago

Leanne, As long as we don't make the same mistakes twice, we're doing well :)  Enjoy the changes for your current home!

Joanna, Live and enjoy, otherwise what's the point of paying all those mortgage dollars?

Brian, Maybe different region to region, but here, it's been out for quite some time....and according to Mark Twain, nothing happens in Cincinnati until at least 10 years after the rest of the world! :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Liz and Bill ... What a great idea and really very practical.  Update a little as time goes by and spare the hassel of a major event just prior to selling.

Great blog!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR carsonvalleyland.com (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 6 years ago

Lisa, It's our strategy, and our current plan has us at least 7 years out before considering selling.  One piece at a time, we're changing our home to be everything we want it to be. :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

I'm hoping brass is back in style by the time I sell...

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) over 6 years ago

BLiz: You are so right! Bookmarked for a reblog next week! GREAT POST!!

Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR® (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties) over 6 years ago

That subject is always a slippery slope.  I say enjoy it now.

Good post, thanks for sharing it.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) over 6 years ago

This is so true. However, they may want to consult with a REALTOR® prior to making changes. I am working with a buyer right now who made a major kitchen reno last year. Unfortunately, he should have opened the kitchen up to the family room. Everyone who comes to see the house wishes it had an open floor plan. Too late now.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 6 years ago

Hi BLiz--great featured post.  All too often I hear client comment that they wish they had made the changes sooner.  You are so right that with a little planning and smart shopping homeowners can make these updates and then enjoy them before selling.  

Posted by Janet Jones, Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii (Just Your Style Interiors, LLC) over 6 years ago

Finally on my last house I decided to do all the updates about two years before putting it on the market.  I was SO glad that I got to enjoy the new granite bathroom counters, the new wool carpeting, new sinks, and landscape upgrades. When it came time to sell, I felt that I'd really gotten my money's worth!   Most of the staging clients I work with berate themselves for not making the changes sooner!

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging that Sells Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 6 years ago

So true BLiz, one of the recent homes I sold which was a stunning home had old lighting fixtures which they changed & then the wife said I am so sorry we didn't do this a year ago to enjoy it while we lived here...people need to remember that these changes will bring them some pleasure too...great feature!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Then there is the possibility it looks so good after the spruce up the Seller decides to stay....it happened once to me! Spruce as you go!

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) over 6 years ago

Tim, You could take that gamble, but I think it's a long shot! :)

Joni, Thanks!  Always appreciated :)

Anthony, Certain things I think can be safely done most times.  The risk is when the seller does things that are atypical for the price point and then expects full value back.

Tammie, We love it when someone calls us for that consult!  And certainly, opening the kitchen up to the family space would have been a great move!  I'll be surprised if we ever go back to the style where we want the kitchen secluded from the rest of the living space.

Janet, It's a common theme.  WHY didn't I do this before we moved?  Changes made at the end and the sellers see just how much more beautiful the home could have been the entire time!

Maureen, Exactly our point!  You got full use and enjoyment out of your changes, and the buyer still got a newer updated home.  That's the balance point to be happy with the work.

Ginny, Regret seems to be a theme with many sellers.  It's so easy to get caught in the demands of today and not plan for the future.  Setting up a master plan of sorts for what to do to a home, and then following through one item at a time gets you there.

Cheryl, There's certainly that risk, but we'll take our chances :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Bill & Liz - this is an excellent and well deserved posts!  why not enjoy your home while living in it and also be prepared to sell it should an unexpected situation arise.  

Posted by Barbara Hensley, Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas (RE/MAX Properties) over 6 years ago

BLIZ, this is a great way for not having to put out all the money at one time. Then again, by the time I sell those brass fixtures may come back in style again. LOL

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 6 years ago

A very good, sensible idea for homeowners wishing to sell.   If you've got the time, this is a great idea.  Have a great weekend, Bliz!

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 6 years ago

Barbara, And that is the risk with job security/insecurity being what it is.  Most folks are a few paychecks from being in big trouble, and if they had to suddenly get their home on the market, they probably couldn't.  Steady progress over the years alleviates the problem.

Michael, Anything is possible, even brass coming back :)

Mike, We squeeze in a major project or two most years, have a few more of what we consider to be significant projects left to do.  The better the housing market, the quicker we'll get them done :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

This is all brilliant advice.  I've advised my clients to do gradual improvements, usually in the year leading up to the sale.  They get to enjoy the work and it's still basically "new" when the home goes on the market.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Bryan, Many of our changes won't be "new" at time of our sale (whenever that will be), but they're materials that will stand up.  Windows and door trim improvements, custom tile baths in materials that SHOULD stay in style. 

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Bliz...I think most home owners grow immune to the way their home looks to the public - they simply get use to the decor... and that is why it takes a pending listing to jump on the updates. for the record what your saying couldn't be more true...but will people do the work if not under the gun?

Posted by Steve Loynd, 800-926-5653, White Mountains NH ( Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., ) over 6 years ago

Liz and Bill, this reminds me of a client I had whose driveway near the garage had sunk quite a bit over the years...almost 2 inches. Just before I put it on the market, he hired a concrete leveling company to jack it up. When it was done the seller said to me that he didn't know why he had waited so long to do it. For years he would feel that bump when he pulled in and out of his garage and he said it was so nice not to feel that anymore.

Posted by Barb Szabo, CRS, E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes (RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio) over 6 years ago

Great advice! I have a client right now who peaks in every shower and sink to check the fixtures. We have remodeled a lot in our home and have loved the improvements and gone in a manageable manner (so not to be too overwhelmed), and it will pay off when we do decide to sell, but we are enjoying it in the moment!

Posted by Sylvie Stuart, Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta (Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765) over 6 years ago

Avocado green happens to be a very underrated color and its on my list as a must have for 2012

Posted by Bob Davis (Right Move Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Steve, Most folks, probably not.  For us personally, because we're out in the mix so often, we see it and know to act on it for our own home.  The original owners probably wouldn't even recognize it, and we're not even done yet :)

Barb, People are so funny that way.  We know it's wrong, but until someone else might care about it, we might not.

Sylvie, Exactly!  And some things like fixtures (if anyone in the home or family has the skill set) aren't that challenging of a project.  And between brick and mortar stores and the Internet, the vast variety of options is amazing!

Bob, You may be able to corner the market! :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

I did some of this myself when I sold my own home.  We lived for 7 years with an ugly bathroom upstairs.  We had completely remodeled the bathroom on our main floor as guests would use that one.  When we redid the upper level hall bath it turned out fantastic and my son asked me why did we wait so long to do this?  I replied, "It wouldn't have been brand spanking new when we went to sell it."  We enjoyed it for a few months.

Same thing with our kitchen windows, but that was a preference.  We had replaced our other windows in the house, but I was holding on to my charming but non-functional kitchen windows that were all wood with thick wood inserts for the separate screens and storms that fit inside.  Our kitchen looked like a northwoods cottage with those windows, and I loved them.  Although the new windows looked OK (and we upgraded them with mullions to at least keep the theme), and they worked wonderfully (not only could we open them but they were the pop-outs that we could clean inside), I definitely missed my old windows.  Had I not been selling my house those old windows would still be up.

Posted by Judy Orr, SW & Near West Chicago suburbs (HomeSmart Realty Group) over 6 years ago

You are so right!!   My husband and I have done the same with our house.  We are enjoying the upgrades being done one at a time over the past 10 years.  We have sold other homes and did last minute "polish" to the house and wondered why we did not do it previously and enjoy the end result. 

Posted by Melanie Ross, Benicia CA & Vallejo CA Real Estate, 707-319-2828 (Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific) over 6 years ago

Liz and Bill, this is such great advice, and I do wish that I had taken it myself!  I'm hoping to make a move next year, and guess what?  Yes, add a first floor powder room and rebuild the back porch.  Wish I'd done both ages ago!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Liz & Bill:  I love this because there are so many benefits to enhancing your space BEFORE the pressure is on!  I did a kitchen remodel long before my place was listed and enjoyed the new feel and aesthetics.  And, since I'm not much of a cook, the owner's manual that was still in the oven was a bonus at selling time :)

Posted by Carie Shapiro (North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Congarutlations on this back to back feature.  Great post!

Posted by Jennifer Chiongbian, Real Estate Broker - NYC (Specializing in all types of Manhattan apts & townhouses) over 6 years ago

This is great advise. I try to practice what I preach but I lose momentum. What I have isn't great but functional. I don't open that pack to the gills closet often. Why waste a Saturday decluttering the coat closet or cleaning out the attic. Maybe this should be on my New Year's resolution list. Make small changes to upgrade my house regularly.

Thanks for reminding me to keep making small changes regularly.

Posted by Dana Cottingame (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Agree, of course, being a stager who sees this all the time!  I encounter some owners during consults who still aren't willing to swap out old tile, appliances, flooring, or reglaze their blue/pink sinks and tubs and their houses sit on the market a L-O-N-G time. (Those are always the owners whose agents have called me out of desperation, so they're not "on board" or invested in the consult, psychologically or financially.) 

Amy Bly, Great Impressions Home Staging, River Vale, NJ

Posted by Amy Bly over 6 years ago

I agree ... upgrade and enjoy and sell just before the upgrades become obosolete themselves   

Posted by Lehel Szucs, REALTOR of choice (All Seasons Real Estate, Inc.) over 6 years ago

Bliz--great advice!  So many times, sellers can't get their homes on the market in a timely manner.... waiting for materials or workmen can be frustrating, not to mention the cash crunch to do it all at once. And the big bonus is getting to live in it and enjoy the changes! 

If this post hadn't been featured, I'd have recommended it!

Posted by Tamara Perlman (Referral Network Inc.) over 6 years ago

Agreed, agreed, agreed.  I don't understand why homeowners don't make the improvements while they own the house so they can enjoy them.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) over 6 years ago

Judy, There's often that balance between what we want, and what may be best for the home overall.  Then throw in timing for a sale and it really can complicate fast.

Melanie, You've lived both ends of the spectrum, and easy to see which is most enjoyable :)

Pat, And as agents we see this over and over!  Sometimes we don't always learn the lessons we teach :)

Carie, Brand new and unused?  LOL! :)

Jennifer, Back to back days in the Daily Drop may be a record for us :)

Dana, Just keep after it!  You'll hit your goals and love what you've done :)

Amy, Sometimes sellers (and agents) just don't "get it".  We've declined to pursue listings that were badly outdated and then wanted the high end of the range for their home too!  Just NOT going to happen. 

Lehel, And hopefully the upgrade choices don't become obsolete :)

Tamara, Thanks!  It can be a challenge to put everything together and NOT delay the listing process.

Lloyd, Sometimes you just get used to your home and don't realize what the buyers will think when they see it.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Oh yeah, I'm on the re-blog bandwagon!  I think this is great advice, and i'm going to take it personally!

Posted by Melissa Brown, Realtor - South Charlotte NC Homes for Sale (Helen Adams Realty) over 6 years ago

Melissa, Thanks!  We've been doing this ourselves with our own home for years, and still plenty on the project list :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Wonderful post and so very true! Sadly many folks don't see updates to be necessary :-)

Here's to a great 2012!

Posted by Jamie R. Bell, GRI Your Central CT Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Jamie, And every time they don't, we find the home to be that much harder to sell.  Their choice ultimately!

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Being a general contractor/builder before moving to Florida nine years ago we saw a lot of improvements being made. Now with the alarming amount of REO's and short sales I don't see anybody updating unless it's an investor flipping a foreclosure. It's really somewhat sad.

Posted by Winston Heverly, GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA (Winston Realty, Inc.) over 6 years ago

I totally agree!  There is no greater detriment to a property owner than deferred maintenace.

Posted by Kate Akerly, Brooklyn Residential Sales and New Development (Halstead Property) over 6 years ago

Winston, Makes sense, no money to pay the mortgages, no money to fix the home.  If you know you're underwater, putting money into the house is probably futile.  It is a shame.

Mike & Kate, I know whenever we see things not done, it leads to asking what else is also not done that we can't see?

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

Excellent advice.  I've had several clients tell me that they wish they had done the work long ago so that they could have been enjoying the benefits.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 6 years ago

Sharon, It's the way to go.  If you're going to spend 1000's of dollars on your home, why not enjoy the results of your labor for awhile before letting someone else have them?

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago

I have many clients who hire me, or one of my graduates to "stage" their homes long before they plan on selling for exactly this reason.

One couple, for example, knew they had 8 months until their new condo would be ready to move into. I spent the day with them doing a home staging consultation which left them with a 10 page to do list. Over the next 8 months they slowly worked their way through the list.

She called me when she finally sold and said, "I feel like I won the lottery!"

Posted by Debra Gould, The Staging Diva (Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.) over 6 years ago

Debra, That had to be a great feeling!  Preparation leads to success :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 6 years ago