Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Will a FaceLift Help Sell a House?

Will a FaceLift Help Sell a House?

There is a house one street over from me.  It first went up for sale in July 2005.  I remember this because that's when my husband and I were looking at houses because the seller on the house we were buying was trying to back out and we needed a backup place just in case. 

The house, shown here, was very plain and not what we were looking for.  We wanted one of the "WOW" houses in the neighborhood, not one of the ones that neighbors wished weren't next to theirs.

The house was built in 2000, so in 2005, it was barely 5 years old so the house wasn't outdated.  It still met with typical standards at that time.  It was just a plain house that didn't offer anything out of the usual for the price they were offering, which at that time, was too high $459,900.

After being on the market for a couple of years, it finally went into foreclosure as the sellers had already moved and bought another house and were tired of messing with this one, so they let it go.  Even under foreclosure, it wouldn't sell... it finally went to an Auction and sold in December 2007 for $273,000.  Yes, that's over 2 years later.

Of course it had to be an investor who actually ended up buying it because at this point, owner occupied people are probably freaking out about what could be wrong with it since no one else wanted to buy it.  The investors figured a nice facelift of the house was in order. 

The house now looks like this, to the left. To me, just driving by, it looks like a completely different house.  All they did was take the plain, white limestone and put a darker color limestone, but also spread it futrher across the front of the house.  This made the pink brick look less intrusive.  Changing out the ugly fushia door to a brown door along with the brown shutters also make the house look more inviting. Sprucing up the Landscaping also helped.  Now, instead of looking like a basic "A" frame house, it has character.

Are these changes that I could have done if I wanted to?  Yes.  Are these changes that I wanted to cordinate and deal with while living in the house? No.  Are these changes that a typical buyer can picture as they're thinking about buying a house where the outside just isn't as appealing as they wish it were?  Maybe, but highly unlikely.

So, it was originally priced at $459,900 two years ago, which was grossly overpriced for the neighborhood to begin with.  It was sold for $273,000 just a couple of months ago.  Can you guess what the asking price is now??

Nah, I won't make you place guesses and then come back and check.  I'll tell you... It was listed for $419,900 on January 30 and had a price adjustment on February 23 to $399,900. It's been listed for 42 days, and is now priced correctly, but will it sell?  Is there a stigma on this house which will make it sit and sit?  Will the facelift show people the true house that it was meant to be? What do you think?

Comment balloon 9 commentsDonna Harris • March 11 2008 10:28AM


The house looks awesome.  I am not sure about your market, but in mine a house like that for the current listing price would be a great deal.



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Posted by Kim Ray (BHGRE Metrobrokers) about 11 years ago

Curb appeal is worth the effort! At lease in most markets. The "Face Lift" sure made a big difference and the ball park pricing should help marketing efforts.

Hopefully for the seller and neighboring property owners it will sell soon and remove any stigma it created by being on the market so long

Posted by Harold "Hal" Place (A1 Connection Realty, Inc.) about 11 years ago
All homes, when correctly priced sell. However, this home's value is affected by the long cumulative days on market. I believe this places a stigma on the property. I believe it will sell...but at 8-10% LESS than market value. I don't know your market, so I cannot estimate what that price will be. It would be interesting if you share the sales price when it occurs...along with your estimate of value were it not stigmatized. (Today I get the idea that you thing $399K is market, but the longer it sits, the greater the chance that market value will change in some way.)
Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Kim, It's not a "great" price, but it was at $273k when the investor bought it.  By the way, in accordance with Active Rain etiquet for blog comments, can you please remove your business card graphic.  I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

Hal, Yes, the neighbors would surely love to see this house finally sell.

Vickie, Our overall market sells at about 98% of asking price.  To think this house would sell at 8-10% below market value is not realistic thinking, even with the "stigma".  I think it'll sell somewhere around $379k which would be at 95%, but that's also at $94 sqft when the average in the neighborhood is about $97-103 sqft.  I'll definetely post when I see a sales price.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 11 years ago

It is a good face lift not dramatic but good. Sometimes in addition to a face lift a house just may need some new photos taken of it at different angles or a different time of day. If my listing has been on the market for a while and the look of the shrubbery has changed, I will go and retake the photos. The last thing I want is for that first buyer impression of the house to be "Boy, this house has been on the market for a while"

Posted by Jill Wente, Realtor, CRS, MCNE, CHMS (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Gary Greene) about 11 years ago
The house looks great but I don't think the seller will make the profit they are looking for.
Posted by David Slavin, CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier (Keller Williams Premier) about 11 years ago

Jill, I agree.  I've gotten listings where I pulled up the previous pictures to see what they were, and so many times, it's amazing to see that me and the other agent had completely different ideas on what views would make better pictures.

David, I don't think so either...

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 11 years ago
Donna, it looks like a totally different house!  And I think you are right about few buyers having the imagination to get beyond a Plain Jane look.
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 11 years ago
Patricia, Even I don't want to do something like that, which is why we passed on it 2 years ago... and I have imagination!!
Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 11 years ago