All things real estate: Making plans to downsize or upgrade


Over the years I have met many homeowners who were contemplating downsizing and the work involved in the process that goes along with it. It can boggle many minds due to what has to be accomplished from deciding who to hire to sell the home, de-cluttering and the preparation as well as any repairs that may have to be considered to optimize the property’s  functionality and appearance to future buyers.

Questions will arise as to when to sell, where to move and what will be needed to feel comfortable within a certain defined budget. There are so many more questions to be asked and decisions to be made that it can be overwhelming for those who haven’t had to deal with so many issues in perhaps 10 to 30-plus years. It’s not as simple as it used to be, especially for those of you who are older when the pressures of moving are bit more challenging than they were in the past.

First things first, you should make a list of the most important items to be addressed. The easiest way is to depend on a seasoned Realtor and invite them over to have a discussion. They have the expertise and know-how as they have been in the business for many years and have been guiding sellers as well as buyers through the arduous and sometimes complicated process to prioritize what are the most critical and crucial things to consider first.

I always tell sellers to view their homes through the eyes of a buyer and walk around with their broker to closely look at the interior and exterior and be as critical as possible to see what items need to be addressed eg. repaired or upgraded within a certain budget. This can be determined after observing what really needs to be done to make their home presentable to purchasers. Big ticket items like renovating a kitchen and bathrooms may not be an easy decision to make because one must decide do I want to sell quickly and not recoup my total investment (usually it is approximately 65 percent) to make the home salable or just sell as is? Is my home a knockdown? But who do I want to attract: end users who will pay me more or developers who because of their costs and profit mindset will not provide the same sale price?

You as the homeowner need the professional advice and opinion of a broker who has been around the block a multitude of times to be able to assist you and weigh the pros and cons of which path to pursue to maximize the monies that you will receive at the closing table. You might ask yourself, would you want to upgrade your home now and enjoy those amenities and improvements for a few years before selling? Also, during this Covid-19 pandemic discuss and set the ground rules with your broker for buyers during showings as they must wear their masks (there have been recent studies that have shown wearing two masks provide added protection for those around you) at all times; gloves, if opening doors or cabinets; and booties or take their shoes off when entering your home to reduce tracking in dirt.

There are so many variables in the mix that relying on your broker to help with your plan and timeline and to listen to other opinions will surely make it less stressful to come to positive and pragmatic decisions leading to logical solutions. Once you have ascertained what needs to be done in your home to prepare it for sale, then the next step (and you can do this simultaneously) is figuring out whether you are staying local, moving to where your children and grandchildren live or relocating somewhere that you always wanted to retire to — maybe an exotic spot like Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic.

Most important are you looking for a smaller home, townhome, gated community/HOA, condo or co-op or possibly a rental, because you are done with being an owner and want to stay more liquid. However, you might be at a stage in your life with a growing family that upgrading to a larger home would be the way to go. How many bedrooms and baths will you need? Are you looking for a mint/diamond move-in condition place that just needs cosmetic repairs, such as painting, or one that may need an experienced contractor to do a full gut renovation?

Obviously a place that needs a full redo could provide you with a better opportunity to negotiate the sales price than one that is in mint condition. This could potentially be the most advantageous route to do the renovation your way and to build in immediate appreciation after all the work is completed. However, you have to decide if you love the upgrades that the current owner has completed and are willing to pay the premium for them. You must be just as discerning as possible in having as clear-cut plan as possible to know what your needs and wants are before proceeding to search out your “next place to call home.”

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has 39 years of experience in the Real Estate industry and has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S). For a “FREE” 15 minute consultation, a value analysis of your home, or to answer any of your questions or concerns he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com Just email or snail mail (regular mail) him with your ideas or suggestions on future columns with your name, email and cell number and he will call or email you back.


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