There isn’t a buyer client I meet who hasn’t watched HGTV. And, that’s a good thing!
Last week while waiting for my daughter’s dental appointment to finish, I got sucked into watching an exciting HGTV show called Flip or Flop.
Okay, maybe exciting is a little much for a TV show, but, as a real estate agent, I often see the potential when looking at older homes around Vienna. Homes that aren’t tear downs but can, or could, be remodeled to appeal to today’s smaller-is-better home buyer.
Before the highly addictive HGTV entered our lives, most of us real estate junkies eagerly awaited episodes of This Old House on PBS. Watching Tom Silva confidently discuss a renovation project and then execute the renovation was must-see TV for me.
Tom would transport me back to my summer jobs in Boston when I helped my future brother-in-law renovate old buildings in the South End. It was the late 1970s and old buildings just off Tremont Street could be purchased for $20,000 (not a typo). That’s a story for another day.
Today, HGTV has helped real estate consumers see the potential in mid-century homes. Always hoping to capture the original concept of the architecture.
But the greatest impact in the real estate business, as a Realtor, is that home sellers are on notice that they must up their game to get top dollar.
We now live in an HGTV influenced world where home buyers expect to see three homes and then pick one to buy. Homes where they see updated baths with subway tiles, updated kitchens with plenty of counters, and a special “me” space inside or out in the yard.
The reality is that only 50% of the sellers grasp any of these concepts, and will spend the time and energy to prep/stage/remodel before selling.
To be as basic as possible, the strategy is to increase perceived value. Swapping out faucets isn’t valuable… but opening up a wall exposing the kitchen is valuable.
What I found interesting watching Flip or Flop was the reality of possibly “doing it wrong” and then winding up with an expensive disaster. Remodeling or renovation is difficult and certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes time, planning, and money.
For typical home sellers, planning can be as easy as stepping back and viewing your home like a home buyer would. Best yet, that research can start with looking at open houses or with an online home search.
The sad truth for home buyers is that not every home seller cares about the HGTV mindset. And these homeowners need the most help.
There are sellers who convince their desperate agents that people won’t care about the mess and will see the potential. But savvy HGTV watchers know they are making an incorrect assumption especially when buyers see a messy home after seeing one following the HGTV game plan.
In the long run, homeowners who catch even a few episodes of HGTV programing will likely have a competitive edge over the competition. They will “net” more money and typically have to endure fewer months of gut wrenching anxiety waiting for an offer.
Although I can’t bring in HGTV, I guide my seller clients to prepare for today’s savvy buyer with a smart strategy to spend resources effectively to maximize the perceived value of their homes. Selling your home in 2016 and meeting the expectations requires a lot more effort that just watching the tube, it is important to take action early.
But I confess: Watching TV can be helpful even when it is obviously contrived, binge watched, real estate drama.