When we first listed 1006 Central Avenue in East Wilmette for a family member in the summer of 2018, we had a few promising showings. Buyers said they loved the location steps from town and the Metra, but the property simply needed “too much work” to bring it up to today’s standards and justify the asking price. This property appraised at $450,000 in 2017 and the sellers were understandably committed to listing at that price. But, appraisers aren’t always local and depending on what comparable sales they use, their estimates can be inaccurate. In this case, it was clear that the appraiser had not considered the fact that the townhouse was in disrepair having been used as a rental property for decades. It had undergone few improvements and had all original finishes. After four months on the market, we had only received one extremely low offer of $290,000 from someone who wanted to flip the property.
In East Wilmette, townhomes in good condition with similar square footage were selling in the $450,000-$550,000 range, depending on finishes, upgrades, exact location and yard size. Given the age of the home, there was a ton of potential to upgrade while retaining much of the character original to the 1950s. So, we entered an agreement with the sellers to renovate their home and put it back on the market the following spring when demand is always stronger.
We had two options for renovations – 1. do mid-range cosmetic updates and make urgent repairs or 2. complete all necessary repairs, revamp the layout to be more functional, and use high-end finishes to justify a higher price point. Although risky and more expensive, we went with option number two knowing that buyers today are willing to finance a little more for a quality home with little work involved. Plus, given the other townhomes in the area that were last updated 5 to 10 years prior, luxury, modern touches would set us apart from the competition. There was also some pride involved – we don’t cut corners in any aspect of our day-to-day business assisting buyers, sellers, and renters, so why wouldn’t we use the highest standards in creating the product that we usually help sell?