Formica and cheap cabinets also lower home values…
One piece of advice for home sellers looking to get the highest price possible — rip out that old carpet.
Opendoor provides sellers an instant offer on their homes, and then turns around and sells them. Since this fall, it has studied hundreds of local properties and is honing its sense of what does and doesn’t appeal to buyers.
Having carpet as the primary flooring type is the top detractor from a home’s value in metro Denver, knocking $10,800 off the price on average, according to Opendoor.
Having Formica or tile kitchen counters, which are considered outdated, deducts $4,800 from the average home price, and low-quality cabinetry shaves off $2,900.
And there are some things a seller can’t change. Being on a busy street reduces a home’s value by $6,000 on average and being near big powerlines knocks $2,200 off the sales price.
“With Denver among the most expensive housing markets that Opendoor operates in, we find that local buyers generally tend to expect a higher degree of upgraded features given how much money they’re outlaying on a home,” said P.J. O’Neil, who oversees the Denver market for Opendoor.
Higher prices mean higher expectations, which is why buyers are less tolerant of wall-to-wall carpet, dated kitchen countertops and low-quality cabinetry, he said.
“In a true four-season climate such as ours, a wide expanse of carpet can be particularly unappealing when you’re trying to keep slush and mud out of your home for five months of the year,” O’Neil said.
While Denver buyers may take a dimmer view of carpet, and discount more when they find it, abundant carpeting makes the top-five list of detractors in nearly all of the 20 or so markets where Opendoor operates.
Not that long ago, sellers could tell buyers in metro Denver take it or leave, especially for lower-priced homes in short supply. Buyers, just happy to have found something, would deal with the features they didn’t like.
But as the supply of homes on the market rises, buyers are starting to get choosier and push back. That means they may increasingly say pass on homes on busy streets and near powerlines and demand bigger discounts for outdated interiors.
“We expect prospective buyers will become less willing to budge on these types of features as the Denver housing market becomes more balanced,” O’Neil said.
But sellers must also address whether interior improvements will pay off. In the case of cabinets, that is unlikely, while countertops could go either way. But the discount for carpeting is so high, it could be worth doing something different, at least in high-traffic areas.
If Opendoor is correct, putting in fresh carpet won’t be the right answer. Fewer buyers crave the feel of synthetic fibers between their toes.