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Ask Us: To Remodel The Bathroom, Or Not

Where readers ask, and we (the community) try to answer:

Hi Alex,

A friend turned me on to your sfnewsletter, which is first rate, as is theFrontSteps. I eagerly await the upcoming pocketlistings.net.

I could use your help. There could possibly be a listing in it for you. My dilemma is whether to put my one-bedroom SF condo up for sale as is, or remodel the bathroom first, since it is rather outdated.

The question is: in these uncertain times, would I have a better chance of selling at a lower price without changing the bath, or would I have a better chance of selling with the remodeled bath while also recouping some of the money spent on the upgrade?

In your recent experience, are buyers in SF more likely to want a place that’s move-in ready, or are they willing to put in some work for a bargain?

Of course, I realize you may not be able to answer this question without seeing the condo, in which case I would be happy to show it to you at your earliest convenience. At the same time, it would be helpful to get an appraisal.

I would appreciate any information that you can provide.

Thank you,
[reader]

First of all, thanks for contacting me. In my experience for 1br condo buyers, they are looking to move right in. That said, “dated” is a very relative term. What you think is dated might be perfectly fine for someone else. How is the kitchen? That’s the biggie!

Ideally, I’d like to come take a look. It will definitely sell more quickly with updated bathroom and kitchen, and you’d likely recoup the costs. On the other hand, if you don’t do anything and price a little bit lower than most other comparables it could sell quickly too. There are buyers out there for all types of property, but generally the 1br buyer doesn’t have a lot of extra $$ to undergo a remodel.

I hope this all helps. Let me know when I can come take a look. Your location will have a lot to do with it too. If you’re in Pacific Heights, Noe, Cole, Presidio Heights, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, etc., that will certainly be easier sell than if you’re in the Excelsior or Daly City.

Thanks for getting in touch. We hope to have PocketListings live to the public very soon.

Sincerely,
alex
p.s. Who is the friend that turned you on to sfnewsletter so that I may thank them?


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alexclark

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3 thoughts on “Ask Us: To Remodel The Bathroom, Or Not”

  • Dede

    April 20, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    My 2 cents: Most buyers like turn key. And in a down market, there’s a flight to quality. The best properties sell first and at better prices. So I’d be more inclined to do the renovation.

    You have to look at how the renovation would shorten your carry/sales cycle. If the renovation costs less than the assumed saved carry, then do the renovation, because you should come out ahead. What you’re trying to do is make an educated decision. Get educated and make a decision and live with it.

    Deals that get done are turn key at the right price or discounted deals that require work at the right price. The middle waiits.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Reply
  • eddy

    April 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    You can do a lot for little if you micro-manage the process and really shop for deals. I’d say do it, but do it low cost / highest quality.

    Reply
  • Harold

    July 7, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Micro-management + no real experience = time delays. Time delays = wasted money. Do some research, don’t over-researach, be clear about your goals and expectations, hire professionals – design and construction, thoughtfully plan the job, get out of the way and let them get the job done for you = best results.

    Reply

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