Last week I was asked the following question by a potential seller:
“Should I replace my carpet before selling my home?”
This is actually a question that I am asked quite often. The answer is, “it depends”. I cannot give a blanket recommendation about whether or not to replace the carpet because it depends on your particular selling situation.
For example, I have seen situations where a flood of buyers came through a house, but none made an offer. The reason cited in the feedback from these buyers was that the carpet was dated and worn, and a musty smell that permeated the home was likely due to the very aged carpet. Additionally, the sellers were competing in a highly competitive market against other newer homes. In this instance, the sellers did replace the carpet and the home sold quickly.
However, I have also seen the alternative—a buyer who replaced the carpet, but it was not enough to ensure a quick sale and it lingered on the market.
I have also seen a buyer replace the carpet, only to have it torn out by the new homeowners who were going to put in hardwood floors.
The key is to look at your competition. If you are competing price and location-wise against other properties which have been updated, then an adjustment should be made. That may be by lowering the price to accommodate for the older carpet, offer a carpet allowance to the buyer, or even possibly installing new carpet.
But before you go down that road, here are two alternatives to consider:
1. If the structure of the carpet looks good (it isn’t loose or has worn patches), consider hiring a cleaning company to do a thorough cleaning. It may take care of the problem.
2. If it doesn’t take care of the problem, you could offer a carpet allowance OR you can offer to replace the carpet when you move out. In this case, you could go to places that sell carpet with a dollar amount in your mind you want to spend and your room measurements. Discuss your situation with the salesperson and pick up a few squares of carpet in a variety of colors or finishes that match your budget. Then have the samples in, say, the living room along with an explanation that you will be replacing the carpet with one of the samples (buyers’ choice). This way, the buyers get exactly what they are looking for and if they choose to replace with hardwoods, the cost or allowance can be included at closing, and the buyers can then pay the difference and get the flooring they really want.