It seems the days of buying a house that’s a bit dated and fixing it up are over. If you have a good enough job to enable you to buy a house at today’s prices, chances are you may not have time (or skills) to fix that house yourself. And in the current hot jobs market, where no one is desperate for work, finding people to fix things is hard! And backed-up supply chains have everyone scared of waiting months for tile, or years for a building permit. Interest rates are still low, and it’s easier for a buyer to borrow an extra $100k to buy something that’s all fixed up than to come up with cash to pay for repairs and upgrades. If a house needs so much as a coat of paint, buyers just don’t want to deal with it.
So what’s a seller to do? If your house has some peeling and chipping, and maybe needs a new roof or kitchen, you have to make some decisions. If you hire someone to remodel your place, it’s still hard to decide how to remodel it. Should you put in the latest, best, and most stylish, betting you’ll reap the rewards for that investment, or do you go for a little cleanup and set the bar at “good enough”? Do you hire an architect and a licensed General Contractor, waiting for months for availability and permits, and paying top dollar, or do you hire a skilled handyman and take a few calculated risks? Or do you hire a floor person, a cabinet person, a roof person, etc., and devote your life to your new profession as a general contractor?
Enter the concierge/valet programs that are suddenly popping up all over. They will agree to do the repairs before you sell, and take a payment out of the proceeds of the sale. They will even work with you to make choices, manage the project, and get it done quickly. However, they will also cost a bit more. The increased cost might be worth it, for the convenience, and for not having to fund the work up front yourself, and the costs can be used to offset a taxable gain on the sale of your property.
If you can fund the most needed repairs and make the place look livable, you should do that, and I will help you make those choices in the way I think will have the best return. If you can’t afford to fund the repairs yourself, consider a valet service. But if at all possible, try to avoid the third option, which is to do nothing and expect the buyers to happily flock and compete for your fixer, because they probably won’t, and it will sit on the market as buyers decide it’s more work than they can handle. Unless of course, the house is so far gone that you’re selling it for land value, in which case you probably shouldn’t bother putting a new kitchen in a tear-down.