‘Dated Homes’ No Longer a Deal Killer?

July 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many residents to rethink their home and priorities, nudging some residents to leave city abodes in favor of the suburbs and more space. With a limited number of homes for sale, many sellers are fielding competitive offers and bidding wars as some Americans look to relocate. And those looking to move quickly may be willing to make greater compromises in their preferences than they were just a few months ago.

“Sellers are realizing the sudden new demand—it’s like catching lightning in a bottle,” Jaime Sneddon, a broker with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in New Canaan, Conn., told The New York Times.

The New York Times recently called out five trends from the coronavirus pandemic that are changing suburban real estate, and spotlighting the trend that some buyers may be getting less picky under such limited housing choices.

Move-in ready homes are still high in demand, but buyers may not be so quick to dismiss those that need a little more TLC as they may have done so in the past.

“Younger buyers have really not wanted to take on renovation projects, so if a house wasn’t move-in ready, it would take longer to sell and would sell at a discount,” Jeffrey Otteau, president of the Otteau Group, told The New York Times. “It sill has an effect on the selling price of a home, but the need for work is no longer an impediment to sale.”

There may be a tradeoff that more buyers may be willing to make, such as accepting a dated kitchen or bath in order to get something else on their wish list like a swimming pool, Cyd Hamer, a real estate professional in William Pitt Sotheby’s Westport office, told The New York Times.

Ann Hance, an associate broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Manhasset, N.Y., says she listed on June 12 a a dated three-bedroom colonial for $1.599 million. “It’s a house that needs work,” she acknowledges. “It’s got a great backyard and nicely scaled rooms, but it needs updating.” She says she received seven offers that weekend and the home is set to close for “substantially more than the list price and it’s all cash.” “This wasn’t the case in 2019,” she adds.

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