Updates before a sale


Dear David,                                                                                                               

I’ve lived in my mid-century home for 30 years. I’d like to sell it soon. The roof and furnace are showing their age, is it a good idea to replace them before going to market? – UNSURE

DEAR UNSURE: Every successful journey starts with a plan, and the level of foresight you’re showing by considering these updates before the sale puts you on the right track.

As a buyer walks through a property, they’re keeping a mental checklist of what the house needs and will plan their budget accordingly. I consider big-ticket items like a roof or furnace to be household fundamentals. These major purchases are important to buyers, but they’re not a lot of fun to budget for. When you gather your friends around the table for a dinner party, it typically won’t be to rave about your fancy new furnace. While vitally important, fundamentals tend to be less splashy than a stylish new kitchen or bathroom.

While it’s rare to see a house without a functional kitchen, the same can’t be said for a leaky roof or an unreliable furnace. Some fundamentals are needed to make a house livable, and it’s a good idea to address these before you go to market. By taking care of your furnace and roof, buyers can come through your home and focus on “feel good” renovations like granite counters or wood floors, instead of wondering whether they’ll be able to move in safely.

But before going full steam ahead with updates, let’s talk about your budget. As much as a conscientious homeowner may want to install a lifetime roof with a 50-year warranty or a maximum efficiency state-of-the-art furnace, most buyers won’t fully appreciate these extra investments. Installing the “best of the best” is great if you’re thinking of this as your forever home, but in all my years of real estate, I’ve never had a buyer suggest offering $30 thousand extra for a home because it had a steel roof. From a buyer’s perspective, new is new no matter what the quality. You’re unlikely to recoup the extra cost of a roof that’s expected to last until the newlywed buyers have grandkids.

As for the furnace, expect that anything new you buy today is going to be high efficiency. Rather than purchasing a top-of-the-line model, I suggest you shop in the mid-range and consider investing in a new air conditioner at the same time, if your existing air conditioner is of the same vintage. Again, from a buyer’s perspective, having two new appliances instead of just one packs a bigger punch when it comes to your home’s resume.

PRO TIP: While we’re on the topic of fundamentals, and given the age of your home, you might want to take a quick peek at your electrical panel. This is a good time to update your electrical panel from fuses to breakers, if you haven’t done so already. With the growing popularity of EVs (electric vehicles), you might even consider upgrading your 100-amp panel to 125 or even 200-amp service, if available. EVs are part of the future, but many homes don’t have enough room in their electrical panel to accommodate one in the driveway. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.