On Sunday I had the opportunity to visit a couple in their 80’s who are long-time friends of mine. They are moving into a senior apartment next January, and they sought my advice about fixing up their home and what to do about all their furniture and other possessions which won’t fit in their new home.
Since this dilemma is shared by many others, I thought I’d share with you the advice I gave to this couple.
Their first question was about what to fix or improve before putting their home on the market. I advised against fixing or repairing anything that isn’t an eyesore. An “eyesore” is anything that draws negative attention during a showing. This could include stained carpeting or a damaged countertop. Concentrate on these eyesores, and don’t make any other improvements unless they are incredibly cost effective — that is, cheap and easy to do. Do not install new countertops or cabinets just because the current ones are plain or out-dated. Unless they’re damaged and might stand out to a buyer during a showing, leave them alone.
They believed their basement slab might need mud-jacking and wanted to know if they should get that done. My recommendation was that they save such known items to serve as post-home-inspection bargaining chips. By leaving the slab unfixed, they have it as something they can agree to (or not) in lieu of doing other things on the buyer’s list of requested repairs.
The next question was what to do about the furniture they can’t take with them. Since this couple will be renting instead of buying and don’t need to sell before moving into their new apartment, I suggested that it might make sense for them to get settled in their new place before putting the home on the market. The furniture they don’t want (and there is lots of it) can be used for staging the home. There will be plenty of time to deal with the remaining furniture once they are securely under contract.
Also, I pointed out that some or all of the furniture might be purchased by the buyer, and they should not hold a garage or estate sale before I can work on making that happen. What I like to do in such a situation is to (1) price the house, as I usually do, to attract multiple bidders, then (2) print out a fair price list for the furnishings and leave it on the kitchen counter for buyers to see. More than once, the competitive nature of a multiple-offer scenario has prompted the winning bidder to purchase everything on the list – even though they might not actually have needed it This can only be accomplished when you get multiple buyers bidding against each other, which means you have to price the house just right and not at some “wished-for” price.
Call me at 303-525-1851 for additional advice tailored to your specific situation.