What Should I Do to Get My Midtown Home Ready for Sale?

By on 12 October, 2011 in Real Estate, Sandra Nickel with 0 Comments

Immaculate homes sell in Midtown

That’s a question we hear all the time here at the Hat Team. And unfortunately, the answer we must give today — the one sellers-to-be really don’t want to hear — is everything! Thirty years ago when I entered the real estate profession, most Midtown homebuyers were couples. And it was not at all unusual for one of the family — typically the woman — to spend days at home. And even if both spouses were employed, one of their jobs was pretty menial and not very demanding.

It was a rarity for a single man — and rarer still, a single woman — to buy a home in Midtown. And when they did, they generally gravitated to the few condos and townhomes that had been developed in Old Cloverdale, McGehee Estates and Hillwood.

What a difference 10 years has made in Midtown

As recently as 10 years ago, the average home in Midtown sold for somewhere between $75,000-150,000. At the high end of the range, the homes were nice … really nice. And closer to the bottom of the range, the homes needed some TLC and their new owners usually had the time to provide it. Today, 40 percent of the Hat Team’s buyer clients are unmarried. And virtually all of the home buying couples are dual income earners. Life for them has become fast-paced and complicated. Like all of us, they are “working overtime” to keep their jobs and stay out of their employers’ “dissatisfaction radar.”

And as a result, the market for homes needing the least little bit of work has narrowed … and narrowed … and narrowed. Today that market is virtually non-existent.

It’s either top dollar or ten cents on the dollar!

Midtown buyers today — whether they want a turn-of-the-last-century bungalow or cottage in Cloverdale-Idlewild, Old Cloverdale or the Garden District or a mid-century modern or more traditional rancher in Forest Park or Vaughan Meadows — want a turn-key property. And they are willing and able to pay for it!

Whereas the average home sale in Midtown 25 years ago was $75-150,000, today it’s more like $200-250,000. Homes that are done to the nines sell quickly and pretty darned close to full price. In part, it’s because buyers don’t have time for fixing up. And I also attribute a lot of it to what I call “the HGTV effect.” Buyers have come to expect just-redone dazzling floors and carpets, granite countertops and designer lighting. On the other hand, homes that need work languish on the market. About the only buyer segment willing to do work today is investors. And they don’t want to pay more than ten cents on the dollar!

So … if you think you might be selling fairly soon, get busy today and get your home in tippy-top shape. That’s what it takes to get a good price for your home and a “sold” sign in your yard!

Sandra Nickel has been listing and selling residential real estate for over 29 years, most with an intense focus on Montgomery’s Midtown neighborhoods. Sandra serves on the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, the Cloverdale Business Coalition, Historic Southview, the Volunteer and Information Center, Landmarks Foundation and her own neighborhood Garden District Preservation Association.


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