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Real Estate UPGRADERS, GUTTERS and SCRAPERS….There is a Difference

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or so goes the old adage. In the real estate business, it is in the eyes of the Seller and the Buyer. Being realistic (objective) about the condition and desirability of a property can be very difficult, especially when emotions come into play. No matter what the view of the people involved, there are some factors that need to be considered from everyone’s standpoint.

1. What is the actual condition of the property?
2. What is the planned use of the property?
3. What are the allowed uses of the property?

Each situation will be unique and will require analysis by all parties. However, following are some ideas about property conditions that are worth thinking about. These are labels that are not applicable in all cases, but might help in seeing what the Seller and Buyer are seeing, or not seeing. Three loose terms that can be used to describe the overall condition of a less than new property: Upgraders, Gutters, and Scrapers.

UPGRADERS – These properties are livable as they are. Everything works and would provide a comfortable home. It may be dated, but it is clean and would allow normal daily life. It might look better with granite and stainless, but, as nice as that might be for some owners, the Formica or tile counters and the avocado green fridge suffice. The new owners can choose to upgrade or not to as their desire and finances dictate or allow. We have a lot of 1970 and 1980 era properties in North Lake Tahoe being sold by the original owners who have diligently cared for their homes and are now selling them. These are probably UPGRADER’S.

GUTTERS – The bones are good. The house is structurally sound. There may be water damage, neglect, abuse, deferred or no maintenance. The house is not really livable. There might be major comfort or safety issues. Rehabilitation might require as much as tearing out wall coverings, floors, ceilings, kitchens and baths. There might be new plumbing or electrical systems needed. BUT…..the new owners see the potential for bringing the property back to the original state or changing it to their plan using the skeleton as a basis.

SCRAPERS – This means the building(s) are taken down to ground level and the foundations filled or removed. There are usually two reasons for considering a building to be a scraper: age and condition or positioning of the building on the property and/or use of the property to the greatest esthetic benefit (this is usually very subjective). It is not unusual to find houses that are livable razed to allow for new construction. This is especially true in areas where land availability is limited or is in a very expensive, desirable location such as shoreline property.

We become so used to working with new, state of the art properties in developer communities that it is sometimes easy to forget that resale homes come in all states of condition, repair and desirability. My advice is to take a good look at the home. Where does it fall for the majority of buyers? Where does the seller see it? Seeing the possible answers will help us position our approach whether listing or selling.