Skip to content

What should I do to get my Reston house ready to sell? Maybe not much!

May 11, 2010

Let’s face it, if you want your real estate agent to sell your Reston property for the highest price in the shortest period of time you should spend a ton of money fixing it up right?


Your goal should be to NET the most money for your house including keeping update and remodeling cash in your pocket.

Do not put on a new roof if it is not leaking. I have yet to hear a buyer exclaim “oh what a lovely roof!”

Do not put in replacement windows unless yours look REALLY REALLY BAD. Yes buyers like newer windows but if everything else in your house is great, they won’t care too much. Now if all your neighbors and the other homes for sale that you are competing with have replacement windows you will have to make price concessions…maybe…..this is one area where a good real estate agent can save you far more than than their fee for service.

A good agent knows the strength and/or weakness in the local market….the market in general, and the specific “mini market” that you will be competing in.

When people look for a new home, they look for a specific type and price of property within a school district, zip code or set of similar neighborhoods.

Good agents analyze and are thoughtful

This mini market can actually change daily or certainly weekly in areas where people are mobile and the selling season (spring through fall) is in full swing.

If the market is really tight where you live, meaning there is not much competition for properties in your location, the less you have to do. If there are a ton of homes you are competing with you are going to have to fix your home up more and price it very aggressively.

Let us look at a example. We put a home on the market in Reston last Saturday.

Move to Reston. It is a nice place.

We had an offer on Monday, one on Tuesday and we were under contract by Thursday. This does not often happen in today’s market frankly, but we felt sure that the NUMBERS SAID IT WOULD.

A good Realtor can analyze the market and cut it up into an understandable spread sheet that will show you your competition’s price per square foot and sold price to tax assessed value…do not hire one that cannot do this. We knew that even though Reston has hundreds of town houses, there were only 6 in our price bracket that were truly our competition.

The Center of Reston Town Center

The DAYS on MARKET analysis showed us that if we priced the home correctly, we should have a shot at having it under contract within 12 days. In fact, all of the townhouses we were competing with were on the other side of the Dulles toll road.

Good Reston Realtors know the side our listing was on is preferred by buyers in geometric proportions to the other side all other factors being the same…..

We went to visit almost all the competing homes to see how they compared to ours; our client came along. What homes we couldn’t get in we looked at all the pictures.

We did all of this BEFORE a paint brush was lifted to fix up our listing. Our client wanted to know what had to be done to NET the most money.

We started at: doing nothing (which is sometimes a reasonable option) and gave her a price we thought we could get. She then asked what repairs would get her the most bang for the buck. Since we took her with us to tour the competing homes, she knew exactly where she stood.

In most cases of repair and fix up if you can spend a dollar and get a dollar back, you should be content. In this case, we felt we could net our client $2 for every dollar she spent. (Saying stuff like that puts a lot of pressure on the one giving the advice as you can imagine) So we advised new flooring throughout, complete repaint, new appliances and kitchen counters, vanity and toilet replacement in the baths but not re-tiling, sprucing up the kitchen cabinets with new hardware, and new light fixtures and fans throughout. It had to be done…no question…and it wasn’t done for 500 bucks.

Reston Town Center....lots of eateries!!!

We could have recommended completely redoing the kitchen and baths, but that is SERIOUS $$. Since we knew what our competition was, we knew it was not necessary.

Because we had so much data and took our client to see the competition, the decision was self evident and no persuasion was necessary on our part. We have a smart client who knows what she is looking at and does not engage in speculation and wishful thinking.

Reston's Lake Anne is breaking into springtime

All real estate agents are not the same…they are not a commodity. Do your own homework and find folks who know how to analyze the big picture and your particular mini market.

Also, good agents know the best and most affordable contractors…our flooring guy and painting guy have never been underbid in the last 5 years and no client has complained about their quality.

In every geographic area of our country there are good real estate agents who know all this stuff and more…hire one of those. They can both make and/or save you far more than their fee for service.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: