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If It’s Just That You Find the Carpet Dated, Why Don’t You Make an Offer?

Feb 27, 2020 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
In this extreme seller’s market, homes are generally flying off the market. But there are some that linger. Why? Because those that linger are generally priced incorrectly and/or in a buyer’s mind “need work.”
Homes that buyers consider “pristine” command a higher dollar in today’s market. They sell in less time too. This tells us that up-to-date décor has become very important to buyers. We can talk about why or how this trend has come to pass, but there is no doubt that most buyers today do not, for whatever reason, want to do what they consider “work,” and they are willing to compensate a seller for it. We know this by seeing the popularity of what is known as a “flip” (which is a home that an investor picks up for less money to resell it after making restorative and decorative improvements).

The term “work” means something different to each of us. I always thought of “work” to mean heavy cosmetic changes or a structural or mechanical kind of thing, but I am finding today that people use the term “work” when they don’t like a paint color, floor choices, or fixtures, or maybe the landscape doesn’t appeal to them. Essentially anything that appears dated or is not a buyer’s style usually falls under the term “work.”

We all have different decorating styles and tastes. What I find wonderful many may find “way out.” A color that I find old and ugly others may find soothing and comforting. A primitive décor might be perfect for some and not others. We see flippers go with the generic neutral trends of the day because they know that sells.
So, what happens when you are selling a home and don’t have time, energy, or the available cash to make changes that might appeal to the target buying community for your home? Your initial inclination is to expect that buyers will look past it in favor of all the positive aspects that your home has to offer.
Many sellers will say that the buyer can always make an offer. But some buyers won’t. Why?   
Part of it might be simply a visual thing. A buyer might not have the ability to see past those pristine but avocado appliances. Another part of it might be that after making a purchase, they won’t have the money to make whatever change they feel is needed and they simply feel they can’t live with it until they can afford to make a change. Maybe they don’t have the time, expertise or energy to make it happen. It could be they’re watching too much HGTV. Or it could be that the market is moving so fast and so high that a buyer might feel they wouldn’t have a chance. They might even recognize that the seller has already taken those needed upgrades into their offering price.

As a seller, how might you overcome the “work” objection to entice an offer? It’s important when listing your home to think about that target buyer and to take that “work” into consideration either in terms of pricing or by making changes. You could think about offering a credit to be applied toward fixing whatever the potential buyer objects to.   

As a buyer, when you love most features of the home, why don’t you make a reasonable offer, taking the “work” into consideration?   

The thing that you think needs to change may not have appeared that way to the seller or the listing agent. Who knows? If the home is presented correctly, they may agree with your assessment.

My point is that if you find that carpet dated, or the lights ugly, why don’t you make an offer taking that into consideration? I’m NOT advocating that you be unrealistic. On the contrary, if you are reasonable, you may just win the home and be able to make the change(s) that will suit your needs.


Submitted by Carol Ann Palmieri (right) of Al and Cal Realty Group, RE/MAX Executive Realty. Palmieri may be reached at 508-494-9061 or [email protected].

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