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Lipstick on a Pig? Why Workmanship Matters

July 24th 2015

Preparing your home for sale in the London market is serious business and the preparation of your home should be an investment that yields a meaningful return! There is a famous saying that you can "put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig". Many homes prepare for market hoping that a quick show of smoke and mirrors will distract buyers from the neglect or lack of maintenance that is really waiting for them. Today's buyers are educated and quick to the draw pointing our bad attempts to fool them in their valuation of a property.

Some sellers have virtually no work to do to go to market because they continue to maintain their property and regularly update to stay current so their finishes continue to be popular. Many others have well maintained homes but their finishes are no longer desirable to the generation of shoppers moving into their neighbourhoods. These unpopular finishes hold very little value to today's buyers as they see the same cost to gut a badly neglected kitchen as an outdated kitchen. 'Functional Obsolescence' A reduction in the usefulness or desirability of an object because of an outdated design feature, usually one that cannot be easily changed. Buyers are assessing the EFFECTIVE AGE of your property when they tour it and assigning a price based on that assessment. EFFECTIVE AGE is the age a home feels and behaves compared to the age it really is. This assessment covers cosmetics/mechanicals and structural items. A home with a younger effective age will sell faster and for far more money than the project-heavy home next door even if they are both 25 years old. When we prepare for market we try to eliminate the projects...or at minimum the "sense" of projects- we try to get current quickly! Poor paint jobs/cutting-in, bad trim work, messy caulking, uneven flooring/tile jobs, new carpet with lousy underpad, hardwood or flooring that's not lined up or cut too short...these are some of the "distractions that devalue" that I see most often. People understand the importance of updating to look current when "hitting the market" but forget to "hit the mark" usually through bad workmanship. If updates and fix-ups are not done with professional quality workmanship they are a huge turn off for buyers. "House flippers" will pay a low number and do the work themselves so you won't recover anything from them by doing the work. "Turn-key shoppers" will see the same number of projects as if you had done nothing because bad work = no work in their perception. Simple updates can help you maximize the dollars that offers bring in but only if they are done well. If you are not a painter and don't have a steady hand hire a painter - ask your friends or ask your realtor for some good reliable trades people. if you have never caulked a tub or sink...don't start now! Caulking, painting and especially drywall mudding/sanding are art forms...not kidding! People who are skilled in these areas have the patience of Job, are detail oriented and take pride in perfection. Pay attention to the details. If you want to cut costs save on the tile itself or find carpet remnants but don't skimp on the workmanship and when it comes to carpet don't skimp on the under-pad! Buying property in London is an "experiential process" involving all of a buyer's senses AND their analytical skills. Procuring an offer usually happens when both of those areas are satisfied. Bad workmanship is a jarring emotional distraction that kicks the analytical response into high gear. If it's worth doing at all it's worth doing well.



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