Property Brothers: Buying & Selling starsJonathan and Drew Scott know plenty abouthow to survive and thrivein a seller’s market-in whichsellers have the upper hand because buyer demand is high and bidding wars are sparked.
Nobody likes bidding wars when they’re the buyer, but everybody likes them when they’re the seller, says Jonathan. So true, my friend!
In the latest episode, titledA Bidding War of Their Own, clientsSiobhanandDavidsee their seller’s market as a mixed blessing, becausethey want to both sell their current homeand buy another nearby.The couple, who havetwo young daughters, want to move up into a detached home with more space in the same New York City neighborhood, but theylost in the bidding process. So they askthe Scott brothersto help.
Contractor Jonathan promises to help them renovate their home to appeal to buyers. Meanwhile, Drew vows to help them master the cunning craft of winning a new home they’lladore.Here’s how it’s done.
To sell in a seller’s market,don’t renovate too much
Because buyers in a seller’s market are more forgivingthan most, you want to be careful, says Jonathan. You want to do just enough to raise the value of the home, but you don’t want to put more money in than you have to.
Some of the rooms in the family’s small home will be fine with simple cosmetic fixes.
Finish the basement
David, it turns out, is quitehandy and has done quite a bit of work on the house, finishing the basement and adding a bathroom to boot. Jonathan is impressed when he seesthe quality of work David has done.
Finishing the basement and adding a bathroom adds a lot of value, he says.
Don’t get too attached
The drawback of David having done so much work on the house is that he doesn’t want to relinquish renovation control to Jonathan. He’s especially invested in his dark oak staircase, doors, and trim-and he doesn’t want Jonathan to paint any of it. He prefers an authentic look to Jonathan’s plan of making the home look fresher, lighter, and brighter.
He’s fighting for what his own taste is as though he’s staying in the house, Jonathan explains. It’s simple economics: The more people you appeal to, the better price you’re going to get.
In the end, Siobhan persuadesher husband to concede, saying, Maybe you’re too attached. It’s just a building.
Exposebrick to add character
David also shows Jonathan anarea of the house with exposed brick. He suggests Jonathan expose the brickon the stairway wall as well, and Jonathan agrees that it would add character to the home. Maybethey could save money if David didthe workhimself?
He’s all toowilling. Let’s get dirty! Davidsays.
A tiny kitchen island is better than none
This home, like so many in this neighborhood, shares a wall with its neighbor, so it has a long, narrow floor plan. By making the kitchen counters along the walls narrow (only 18 inches wide), Jonathan is able to fit in a smallisland.
Even though it’s not a very big island and it’s pretty narrow, it’s still adding a lot more function, a lot more prep space, and that’s a huge value-add, Jonathansays.
Low furniture makes a room look bigger
The master bedroom is small-and the bed overwhelms the room because it’s so high. Jonathan jokingly asks petite Siobhan if she needs a Sherpa to climb it. He notes that there’s an easy fix to make the room look bigger: a lighter coat of paint, a lower bed, and minimal, low-profile furniture.
To start a bidding war,price your home low
That mightbe contrary to common sense, but Drew advises the couple tolisttheir newly renovated home just under market value.
He explains: Because then people look around at all the comparable-priced homes, and all of a sudden they say, ‘Wow! We get all this?’ They becomevery invested, and a bidding frenzy frequently ensues.
The couple arehoping to get at least $700,000 for their home, but Drew suggests they list it for$680,000. They reluctantly agree-and are so glad they do once buyers see their newly renovated home and swoon. They receive multiple offers and accept the highest, at $750,000.
To buy in a seller’s market, make a’bully offer’
Drew also finds the family a newhome of their dreams, and it’s valued in the high $800,000s, which is actually under their $910,000 budget. But here’s the thing: It’s not on the market yet. The owner plans to list it the very next day. Drew explains that if David and Siobhan make a high-enough offer, or a bully offer, the ownerwon’t have to go to the hassle of listing it, and the couple will get the house without a bidding war.
Drew suggests they come in strong at$950,000.And lo and behold, their offer is accepted. They are thrilled tosee that, in this case, being a bully pays off.
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