“Just Needs Your Cosmetic Touches”

When the home you’re selling is lit by the equivalent of kerosene lamps, you’ve really got no choice: one way or another, you’re going to have to inform prospective Buyers that they’ll need to do extensive updating and/or remodeling (my favorite Realtor euphemism for that: ‘Just Needs Your Cosmetic Touches!”).

However, lots of times it’s not so black-and-white.

When that’s the case, I tread carefully, for the following two reasons.

One. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The Kitchen that was remodelled 15 years ago may be a little tired to one prospective Buyer . . . but a perfect fit for another.

Or, the prospective Buyer has lots of little kids and doesn’t want a home with all the latest bells & whistles; they’d rather have the discount (and the extra space). Which leads to . . .

Two. You don’t know the prospective Buyer’s budget.

I remember showing a home just east of Lake Calhoun to clients who loved the neighborhood, but were stretching to afford it.

The showing was going great until the listing agent showed up (he was meeting other clients), and enthusiastically pointed out where he’d spend $50,000 on dormers to create a view of the lake from the now-dark attic.

There was no way my clients could afford that, and suddenly the home they liked fine the way it was seemed “less than.” Though they didn’t outright say it, I know it would have gnawed at them to own a house with potential they couldn’t realize.

So, they opted for another home more within their budget, that felt complete the way it was.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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