“Needs Work”

I am confident that during the course of a home or property search that at some point or another a potential buyer has stumbled across the term “needs work” within a property description. Or how about in conversation asking one friend who might also be searching for a home how a certain home looked in their opinion? “Oh, it needs a lot of work.”

When looking to buy a home, you may come across this a lot. These listings descriptions might say “home as is,” or “home needs work,” or something along those lines. A listing agent might get feedback from the potential buyers to give to the seller comments about how they thought the home needed too much work. Well, what exactly does that mean? If you give it some thought, the terms “too much work” or “needs work” is basically going to be entirely different from person to person.

My idea of a house “needing work” could mean that I think it needs new carpets. Someone else’s idea of a home that “needs work” might mean that the house needs all new electrical updates and a new roof. So, if I use the term “needs work,” it is going to be only my definition of what that “work” is going to be or how much updating is necessary. It’s all subjective and based on any given person’s comfort level. Myself for instance, I am by no means a blue-collar, hands on kind of person. I can’t even screw in a light bulb or hang a straight picture, but to someone else, all these things might not be viewed as “work.” To some, these kinds of tasks might possibly come easily. To someone else, they may enjoy “fixing up” and find it fun to pull out carpets and change the wall colors and fixtures, they wouldn’t bat an eye at painting or updating the kitchen cabinets. For others like myself, however, these things can be daunting tasks and avoidable at all costs.

So when you see the term “needs work” or are using it to describe a home you’ve seen, keep this in mind. The use of that phrase as an over arcing description of a property can be misleading because, as we can see, ultimately it’s up to that final buyer what their belief and understanding of what “too much work” may be. The old adage “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is said so much because, guess what, it’s very true.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.