I previously wrote that home sellers need to “sell the sizzle,” which means that they need to feature the items in their home that catch a buyer’s eye such as remodeled kitchens and baths, sparkling hardwood flooring, and trendy paint colors. Of course this is the beginning of a cat and mouse game because home buyers need to do just the opposite and “buy the steak.”
What is steak? It’s the meat of the home. Obviously, when you go to the butcher and buy a cut of steak, you want a piece that matches your tastes whether that is a melt-in-your-mouth buttery smooth texture or big harmonious flavors (apologies to the vegetarians). What you are not going to buy from the butcher is the sizzling sound the steak will make on your grill or the rich aromas that will dissipate quickly. The meaty parts of the house are those things that are not particularly flashy but create a stable and secure home… and usually cost a lot of money. These are the items such as the roof, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical.
The amateur eye of a home buyer knows what a good kitchen or bath looks like, but that same eye may not be experienced with mechanicals. Also, beautiful tiles, granite, and rich hardwoods stir the heart and create awe. The same cannot often be said for architectural shingles or a circuit breaker.
When it comes to being a home buyer, the steak is much more important than the sizzle. Replacing carpet or changing the paint is much easier and less expensive than new windows or a new roof. So when you enter the real estate market and put your home up for sale – sell the sizzle, but when you go to buy – buy the steak.
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