No excuses. If your carpet looks worn, replace it if you want to sell your house faster for a better price.
From the Denver Post:
When I arrived at the house, the vandals were still there. Every drawer and cupboard had been emptied of its contents, and sweaty men were lifting heavy things and swearing.
I had come straight from work wearing a skirt and heels, overdressed for the circumstances, carrying a bag of Chinese takeout, which was wholly inadequate given the situation.
I looked past the fray and saw my friend D.C. on the other side of the house. He was wearing a look of resigned tolerance and fading good humor — commendable considering his house was being ransacked. Only one person was to blame for this mess.
She was holding the bag.
At the heart of the mayhem was D.C.’s 15-plus-year-old carpet, which I said he should replace before he put his house on the market.
Hey, he asked me what he should do to get his home market-ready. So I told him.
Now, amidst the sweating and swearing and commotion, I flashed back to the conversation that had brought us to this moment.
“Are you sure I need to replace the carpet?” D.C. had asked, hoping for a way out.
“Without a doubt,” I said.
“What if we just cleaned it?”
I shook my head and pointed to the indelible traffic patterns.
“But I’d have to move all the furniture.”
“Oh, that’s nothing.” I waved my hand dismissively. “Carpet installers move furniture every day. Goes with the territory.”
“Why don’t I just give the new buyers a carpet allowance and let them pick what they want?”
“That’s lazy talk. If you want to sell your house quickly and for the best price, you need to show it in its best light. Period. And that means no 15-year-old carpet.”
“But what if the buyers don’t like the color I pick, or want hardwood?”
“No woman — and I’m sorry, mostly women decide which home to buy — already juggling the 550 logistical items involved in moving, including figuring out where her furniture will go and where the schools are, wants to add ‘get new carpet’ to her to-do list.
“She sees a home with new carpet and thinks, ‘Phew, one less thing to worry about.’ “
He ran this past his real estate agent, Wendy. She, being an astute reader of home sellers, saw that D.C. would rather donate an eye than replace his carpet. So she gave lukewarm support to the carpet-allowance idea.
“Wendy says I can give a carpet allowance,” he said.
“Wendy wants the listing,” I said.
“OK,” he conceded. The next day, before he could change his mind, I was back with carpet samples.
And this was how I found myself on the threshold of chaos, overdressed, holding the bag, doubting my convictions.
After a 10-hour installation, the sweaty tattooed men left, and I helped D.C. put the house back together. The next day I came by, walking softly in case he wasn’t speaking to me.
The carpet looked fantastic.
“That was brutal,” he said, “but I’m glad we did that. It does looks a lot better.”
7 tips for carpet buyers
Unless your carpet is in great shape — and be honest, it’s probably not — do everyone a favor and replace it. Here are 7 things to keep in mind.
1. Conquer your resistance. Yes, I know it’s a pain. You have to pick the carpet, which trips a migraine; pay for a home improvement you won’t be around to enjoy and may not recoup (but you will); and move all the furniture. Tough. Suck it up. Nobody wants to move in onto your old carpet.
2. Don’t wing it. Do not, I repeat, do not, pick your carpet color in the store. Bring several swatches home to test drive the color. I don’t care if you’re Ralph Lauren (and you’re not), you cannot pick a color out of context.
3. Stay neutral. This is no time to get creative and pick some wild-hair carpet color. Pick a light, neutral color that goes with your walls, which are also light and neutral because you’re selling, right?
4. Expect to pay for furniture moving. On top of the cost of carpet, pad and installation, DC paid $45 per room for furniture moving, both moving it out and moving it back in. It didn’t include the piano, which the installers wouldn’t touch. So he hired a piano mover to lift the upright up and out while the carpet went down.
5. There’s no need for top of the line. Here’s a resale secret: Lower-end carpet, when new, looks almost as fabulous, if not as fabulous, as more expensive carpet. The difference is durability. It will look older faster. (This is also a good thing to know if you’re replacing carpet and you don’t know whether you’ll stay or go.)
6. Get what’s in stock. When picking samples to test drive, ask the salesperson to show you less expensive lines (sometimes called builder grade) that are immediately available. Once you have momentum, you won’t want to wait three weeks for carpet to ship.
7. Brace yourself for upheaval and remember that it’s all worth it. The fewer knocks a buyer can have against the price of your house, the more you’ll get for it — and you’ll get it faster.