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‘Dated Homes’ No Longer a Deal Killer?

Potential sellers may not need their home in showroom condition. A dearth of for-sale homes has convinced many buyers to reconsider homes they might have once rejected.

NEW YORK TIMES – The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many Americans to rethink their home and priorities, nudging some of them to leave city abodes in favor of the suburbs and more space.

With a limited number of homes for sale, however, many sellers are fielding competitive offers and seeing bidding wars. As a result, buyers hoping to move quickly may make greater compromises in their preferences than they were just a few months ago.

“Sellers are realizing the sudden new demand – it’s like catching lightning in a bottle,” says Jaime Sneddon, a broker with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in New Canaan, Conn.

The New York Times recently called out five trends stemming from the coronavirus pandemic that are changing suburban real estate, notably that some buyers may be getting less picky when faced with limited housing choices. Move-in ready homes are still in high demand, but buyers may not be as quick to dismiss listings that need a little more TLC – at least not as quick as they were before the pandemic.

“Younger buyers have really not wanted to take on renovation projects, so if a house wasn’t move-in ready, it would take longer to sell and would sell at a discount,” says Jeffrey Otteau, president of the Otteau Group. “It still has an effect on the selling price of a home, but the need for work is no longer an impediment to sale.”

For many buyers, a house that needs some kind of work represents a tradeoff. But they may now be willing to accept a dated kitchen or bath in order to get something else on their wish list, like a swimming pool, according to Cyd Hamer, a real estate professional in William Pitt Sotheby’s Westport office in New York.

Ann Hance, an associate broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Manhasset, N.Y., says she listed a dated three-bedroom colonial for $1.599 million on June 12. “It’s a house that needs work,” she acknowledges. “It’s got a great backyard and nicely scaled rooms, but it needs updating.”

Hance says she received seven offers that weekend and the home is set to close for “substantially more than the list price – and it’s all cash … This wasn’t the case in 2019.”

Source: “5 Ways the Coronavirus Has Changed Suburban Real Estate,” The New York Times (July 17, 2020)

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