Difficult to decide whether to refurbish

  • Preparing to sell: your house should be clean, tidy and painted

(Photograph supplied)

Dear Heather,

When my mother passed, I inherited her house. It is an old house but has some lovely traditional features such as hardwood floors, brick fireplace, lovely porch.

Naturally, I have some sentimental attachment to the property and would love to see it go to a young family, however it needs work and I have limited funds.

Does it make sense to do anything with the property? Will I get my money back or should I sell as is?

To Invest or Not to Invest?

Dear To Invest ...,

You’ve actually raised several different points here, all very relevant to your situation.

1. I would love to see the house go to a young family.

I think we all form a sentimental attachment to properties where we have spent large amounts of time with loved ones, and that bring back happy memories.

However, if you are selling your property publicly, it is against the human rights act to discriminate on who buys it based on gender, race or age. Of course, you may sell it privately to “a friend of the family” but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the best price.

Some funny things come into play here. Usually, whoever buys the property is instinctively suited to it and, once it is sold, you realise that you are only parting with the bricks and mortar, not your memories. A good idea to help ease the difficulty of separation is to take lots of photos and create a memory book.

2. It needs work and I have limited funds, should I do anything with it?

Yes. You should make sure these three magic items are seen to. Typically, apart from size and location, this is what affects the property’s value: clean, tidy and painted.

The exterior and interior of the property should be clean and tidy and completely free of any debris, trash or unwanted items or belongings. They do not add value for anyone else. Grounds should be mown and flower beds weeded, shrubs and hedges trimmed.

The interior should be painted a light, neutral colour; the roof should be clean and painted and the exterior should also be painted, if possible.

If you change the colour of the exterior it may require many coats of paint (particularly if it is constructed of Bermuda stone), and that can add extra expense. However, you can also save money by painting it the same shade or one shade darker.

3. Will I get my money back if I do the work?

If you do the above, you will definitely get a better price. If you start investing in new plumbing, electrics, kitchens and bathrooms, probably not so much. People like to put their own stamp on personal spaces and there is not much point in doing electrical and plumbing work if the new owners come in and knock out walls and add bathrooms, a pool and move the kitchen to a completely different location (it happens).

I hope this helps and remember, have a good sales agent come out and take a look at the property so that they can guide you towards getting the best price possible and, keep the work within your budget.

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for 30 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Read this article on Facebook: Ask Heather Real Estate