Debbie has excellent thoughts on the age old question for sellers that are either on the market or entertaining marketing their home regarding flooring. Her thoughts take all budget levels into account with her ideas. Enjoy her blog!
Leveraging your hardwood floors to help sell your house
In Westchester County, hardwood flooring is the preferred flooring type, especially for the main level of the home. If you have hardwood floors (rather than carpet), your house will generally sell for a higher value and sell faster. Any real estate agent will confirm this...after all, this is what buyers are looking for.
I work with a lot of real estate agents, stagers, home sellers and home buyers. And, the preference is consistent. And, it's especially apparent when I'm working with new home buyers...they are almost always ripping up carpet and refinishing the hardwood underneath, as well as adding hardwood to rooms where it is missing.
It is rare for carpet to remain in place with a new home buyer...they will almost always rip it up....either refinish the wood underneath, replace it with wood, or if it is a bedroom, some will replace it with new carpet. If a room has been "lived" in, it the carpet will be removed VERY quickly. The new owners are concerned about the germs, smells/odors from previous owners, not to mention that they rarely have the same taste in carpet style or color. There are usually furniture indentations and areas where the carpet is either stained, or discolored from light (and it becomes very apparent after the sellers' furniture has been moved out).
So, when a buyer sees carpet, they see a lower value and higher costs that they will need to pay to replace it. This can reduce the offer on your home as well as increase time on market.
So, if you are selling your home, what should you do/what shouldn't you do with your flooring?
These are some general recommendations. Every house/community is different, as is the ability to spend to fix up your home. I recommend that you consult your real estate agent and/or stager for advice. I understand that when you are selling your house, you want to spend the least amount of money for the highest return. So, in that context, here are my recommendations:
1. If you have hardwood underneath the carpet, rip up the carpet and refinish the hardwood. This is often one of the smartest investments you can make to sell your house. It will make a HUGE difference and is well worth the investment. It will make your home look nicer, often it will make it look larger and it will improve the value. If funding is limited or if this is too inconvenient to do, then consider refinishing the wood for some of the areas/rooms to at least show that you have hardwood and what it looks like.
Do not replace with new carpet. This will cost you more and will be less appealing to home buyers in Westchester.
2. If you have hardwood that is badly scratched up, sand and refinish it. If your hardwod is not in good condition, it will usually be worth it to sand and refinish it. This will make your hardwood look good as new and show your home at its best. Alternatively, if you don't refinish the floors, your house won't show as well + the new owners will need to refinish the floors...and they will factor this cost into the purchase price. (And, in my area, refinishing hardwood is not terribly expensive, and most people think it costs more than it does...so you can either give them an allowance, allow them to guestimate the cost (which will be higher) or pay for it upfront. I'd recommend (when you can), to refinish it before your house goes on the market...since you will pay for it one way or another, and it makes sense (in my opinion), to refinish them and have your house look its best so it wil sell faster.
Should you add hardwood floors to your home, if you are selling it?
Well this depends on your neighborhood and how your house compares to others in the area. Usually, hardwood will improve the value of your home and can often be worth it. But, there are also cases, especially in lower end neighborhoods or apartments where you may "over improve" your home and may not be able to recoup the investment (e.g. if your target is not going to spend more than a certain amount to buy your home give the area, schools, stage of life, etc). In general, in Westchester county, in mid to higher end homes, you will usually get back your investment, and then some. But, I would advise you to consult your real estate agent and/or home stager to get their opinion.
Of course this decision also depends on your budget and how much you can invest to prepare your house for the market. Also bear in mind that hardwood flooring is a capital improvement, so investing in hardwood floors can be a tax benefit as well when you sell your house (it could reduce your capital gains pending on your purchase and selling price.
What color should you refinish your hardwood floors if you are selling your home?
This does depend on the style of the house, but generally when most people in my area are looking to sell their homes, I usually recommend going natural (the lightest option) as this is a) very neutral, b) makes your space look larger and c) generally costs less than doing a stain. However, there are exceptions to this. First, in some older homes, light just doesn't look right for the style. In those homes often a mid tone brown (e.g provincial, special walnut, medium brown) just looks better and it's what buyers would expect in that type of home. Also, if your floors are really old/beaten up and/or have some water stains, you may need to select a darker stain to cover the imperfections. Whatever color you are doing, I would try to avoid stains w/ red tones as these are polarizing - some customers love, others hate. Brown tones or natural is more neutral and widely appealing, and that's what you want when you are selling your home.
If your budget is limited while selling your home, I would recommend the following:
- If you can't afford to do "everything," you may want to pay a professional to refinish the floors while you paint the walls and save money here.
- If you can't refinish all the floors, consider doing some of them so that buyers can see what the floors look like.
- If you can't afford to pay anyone to refinish the floors, at least rip up the carpets so that buyers can see there is wood underneath. (You can even do this yourself for free...and you've already reduced the costs that the buyer needs to invest later.
Other useful articles if you are selling your home:
- What types of flooring provide the best ROI, if you're selling your home?
- Hardwood flooring - 5 reasons it's so popular in Westchester County
- I have hardwood underneath my carpet - should I refinish the hardwood or recarpet?
Hardwood Flooring - Carpet - Tile/Natural Stone - Laminate - Refinish Hardwood - Backsplashes
Debbie Gartner, Owner
"The Flooring Girl"
Call us for a free estimate 914-937-2950.
"We bring the store to your door."
Mark Loewenberg PA
Keller Williams REALTOR®
Live MLS Search!
Mobile Property Search App For Apple & Android
Luxury Home Search