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Thread: Penalized for being frugal?

  1. #1
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    Penalized for being frugal?

    We have our house on the market. It was built in 1978 and we've been here 32 years. It's a 2200 square foot house in a nice development. Problem is, we have had lots of showings, but no interest so far.

    We were never big wage earners, but we were frugal. Top priorities were getting our kids through college debt free, being debt free ourselves, and retiring early. Mission accomplished.

    We fixed things in the house when they were broken. We have a new roof, driveway, heater, air conditioner, and well. House has been professional painted inside in a neutral color. Every bit of flooring has been replaced over 32 years, but it's worn and needs to be updated.

    We never remodeled our kitchen or bathrooms because we were content with them (a nice colonial Williamsburg look). They still look nice but dated. But millenials want granite countertops, tile floors and stainless steel.

    We priced our house accordingly. We have a good agent, reputable and experienced. If our house had the upgrades, we would have priced it at $30-40,000 more.

    Our house is structurally sound, and just needs cosmetic updates.

    Is no one willing to do that anymore? Do buyers want instant gratification? What if the colors aren't to their taste?

    Just venting here. And maybe looking for encouragement.

  2. #2
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    Most people want move in ready. I prefer homes like yours because I like to remodel to suit my tastes. It sounds like your home is priced too high due to what is needed.

  3. #3
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    I think people in general are busier, and many don't want to spend the time or money to change things in a house- they want move-in-ready. Also, a lot of people don't have any imagination, and can't see possibilities.

    Are there cheaper things you can do to make things look updated? I'm thinking things like painting of cabinets, or new hardware for cabinets? Can you ask your agent for some cheaper ideas of what is popular in your area? It might be worth it to spend, say, 5,000 if you can up the price substantially and/or get more interest in your house and sell it quicker.

  4. #4
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molly View Post
    Is no one willing to do that anymore? Do buyers want instant gratification? What if the colors aren't to their taste?
    No. No one is willing to invest time in a new home. They want it turn-key, and they want it to look like any of the flipped houses you see on HGTV. That's what our realtor told us 10 years ago when we were selling MIL's house (she was also very frugal and never updated it since 1953 when she moved in.)

    We put BIL's house on the market in 2017 (last year at this time), and it had some updates because we renovated the house when when bought it--it was a foreclosure and a rat trap so we had to do something. In the same neighborhood, the EXACT same model house was put up to sale months before our--but it hadn't been updated since it was built in the 70s.

    We got an offer on BIL's house right after the first open house. The other house is still on the market. That's how it goes these days. Millennials are not into home projects.
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    Those are all good suggestions. Maybe replace the flooring also.

  6. #6
    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    I remember when the friend of my family passed in 2012 -he left behind two properties that were in decent condition but had never been updated and had 70's color schemes and 70's appliances. This person's family - also very frugal people to the point of being extreme with it - were stunned that they could not get the top dollar they were thinking they could due to the properties not being updated. One of the properties did not even have a dishwasher and though I've lived for years without one (I've actually got one now but am afraid to use it) I understand that if you want to appeal to a broader base of buyers, you need cosmetic and appliance updates, like it or not.

    Long story short....the family refused the updates and a married gay male couple bought one of the houses cheap and did the updating themselves and I've seen pics of their updates online and wow! The property looks amazing now....night and day difference. But to get back to the main point, yes, people expect cosmetic perfection and modern this that and the other....if you want top dollar. Otherwise there will be an expected price reduction to bring the property into line with what the market overall expects.

    My advice? If updating your property is beyond your income or your interests, stay in one place if possible for as long as you can to avoid these unrealistic capitalistic expectations. I get this is not possible for all people, but if you can pull it off, you can avoid being exposed to this issue. Rob
    Last edited by gimmethesimplelife; 5-18-18 at 6:24pm.

  7. #7
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    Our house is such a small piece of our portfolio and it would require such a substantial amount of expensive cosmetic work that we are just going to enjoy living in it for as long as possible as it is. We will get what we will get for it when it comes time to sell. Luckily, our downtown area has totally gentrified, the empty lots are full of expensive houses, and ours could even be a tear down due to the price of land in our historic area.

  8. #8
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    In our area, staging is the big thing to make things look updated. Is that an option for you?
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  9. #9
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    As I have mentioned here several times, many of our friends are selling their big old Victorian houses this year and moving on.

    Varying degrees of perfection are reccomended by our real estate agent friends. For “top price” that is.

    There seems to be an uncomfortably lean margin between top price/millenial expectation-perfection and flipper buyers. Flippers have got to be able to jam in a new kitchen in existing space/plumbing and a big new garage and maybe paint a bit and still make some money.

    personally, I am like Terry and would rather choose my paint colors and kitchen cabinetry, and on my own schedule. I would be neither a flipper buyer or a expects-perfection buyer.

    But something to consider is that these people who buy houses do not have any money for improvements. Sure they could get some kind of bridge mortgage loan or whatever it is called, but that is complicated and less likely to happen than a plain old comventional mortgage for a perfect house that appraises out.

    I still shake my head about people who discount the most beautiful victorian house in the world because it doesnt have a garage. Well, build one for god’s sake
    i say. DH reminds me that they do not hav$30,000 for a garage and apparently dont have the borrowing power for it,either.

  10. #10
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    We did all the inexpensive updates per our realtor. And we paid a stager as well. We put a ton of money into the important stuff. Rebuilding our chimney, replacing our collapsed well, replacing our aging siding, having the entire interior painted, etc. New roof too. But that is not the flashy stuff.

    We've been in the home for 32 years, it was paid off a long time ago so I will be happy to lower the price. It is way too big for us and we are looking forward to a much smaller home with a lot of plans for travel. I'm ready to move on to the next stage in life. And if that means lowering the price, I'm fine with that.

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