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Sellers Want Realtors to Suggest Renovation Projects

What updates will make buyers swoon and perhaps offer more money? What updates waste money because buyers don’t really care? Sellers view Realtors as the experts.

CHICAGO – Homeowners realize the value of home renovations to boost resale value, but they’re often unclear about the process.

Nearly one-third of Americans who sold their homes in the past three years said they found the pre-selling renovation process stressful. They struggled to understand how to finance updates and identify the best return-on-investment updates, according to a survey commissioned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate of more than 2,000 U.S. adults.

Homeowners are looking to real estate agents for help. Recent sellers said an important factor in choosing a real estate agent was the ability to help them decide which renovations to make to help sell at or above listing price (28%). Also, 27% were drawn to agents who had a network of home renovation professionals who could help them improve the home’s value. To finance projects, 21% looked for an agent who could educate them on how to get money. Almost nine out of 10 recent home sellers (89%) said they made upgrades before selling.

Rose Sklar, a real estate professional with Coldwell Banker Realty, says she wasn’t surprised to see that number so high, but she finds that often sellers are making “the wrong updates like choosing unpopular paint colors – all because they update before speaking with a real estate agent.”

Coldwell Banker launched a program last year, RealVitalize. It works in select markets to help real estate agents help sellers with renovations before listing, such as painting, curb appeal enhancements, cleaning, staging and handyman services. Sellers have no upfront costs or interest charges for RealVitalize presale renovations.

Other brokerages and firms have similar programs. The renovation costs are included in closing costs, so sellers don’t have to prepay for the updates.

Compass Concierge, for example, rolled out such a service in 2018 to pay for presale renovations. Curbio, an independent resale renovation company that launched in 2017, offers services available to sellers only through a real estate agent. Unlike other presale renovation programs, which farm out home improvements to third-party contractors, Curbio performs all renovation projects – from selecting building materials and hiring subcontractors to overseeing installation and ensuring the quality of the work – and provides a one-year warranty.

Source: Coldwell Banker Real Estate

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