Renovate vs. Sell Your Home in Philadelphia

two men remodeling a kitchen

If you’re a homeowner in Philadelphia, you may have been spending more time at home since the COVID-19 pandemic. You also may have been looking around your home and realizing that you may want more square footage, a home office, a bigger backyard, or a more modern kitchen. These are common improvements that might not seem like a large challenge, but can become a huge hassle if not dealt with properly.

Keep reading to learn more about whether to renovate vs sell as is for properties in Philadelphia. In this blog, we’ll discuss the difference between renovating your property or selling it as is to find your dream home.

What are the Challenges in Renovating a Property?

When deciding whether to renovate vs sell as is, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges of renovating a property. Firstly, you’ll need to ensure the renovations will add value to the property or achieve a good ROI (return on investment) when selling in the future.

Otherwise, the renovations will chew through your savings without any long-term reward. Before deciding whether to renovate, consider getting an offer on your property from a local real estate company. This will ensure the renovations are financially viable.

Secondly, you’ll need to ensure you run the renovations properly. For example, you’ll need to find a good, trustworthy contractor and get the right permits for the project. Keep reading to learn more about the potential pitfalls to avoid when hiring a contractor and getting permits.

Finding a Trustworthy Contractor

a man and woman contractor on a building site discussing a project

As a homeowner in Philadelphia, it can be overwhelming to find a trusted general contractor, plumber, electrician, or any skilled laborer who can perform the work you need to remodel your home. Whether you find a contractor online, through someone you know, or via another advertising avenue, picking the wrong person for the job can be extremely problematic.

A bad contractor can leave you waiting months or years for a finished project. It can also cost you heavily. But even working with a good contractor can still take a long time before renovations become a reality. Many contractors are spread thin with multiple projects going on, or might prioritize another project before yours.

As an example, we bought a house in Brewerytown and got completely shafted by a contractor. This can lead to frustration and, in some cases, scrapping the project entirely. Additionally, if you have to fire a contractor, you’ll need to start from square one. This is an even bigger challenge as many contractors don’t want to clean up someone else’s mess.

Because of these potential complications, you not only need a reputable contractor, but one that’s clear about potential costs and timelines from day one. If they’re using a platform like Joist landscape estimate software to illustrate all this for you unambiguously, it’s a good sign. 

Obtaining Construction Permits

a man on a building site holding a permit plan

The next step in this process is obtaining a permit (or permits if you have multiple projects). If you live in Philadelphia, you‘ll need to apply for permits via the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I). This department’s motto is “Building a safer city by enforcing building-related codes through inspections, licensing, permitting, and demolitions.”

What this means for you as a homeowner is: a lot of headaches. Philly L&I can pose a major roadblock for homeowners who are intent on making changes to their property. Plus, the department is often fielding dozens of calls, making it incredibly hard to get through to speak with someone. Once you do get through, you might have difficulty getting consistent answers.

Trusting what you are told over the phone can be problematic. It’s important to keep your own records of the conversations via a permitted recording of the call or by asking for the information to be sent via email. Make sure you also get the name and title of who you are speaking with in case there is a dispute later during the construction.

Some examples of projects that might need a permit include: 

Projects like a kitchen remodel might require multiple permits in order to get both electrical and plumbing work done. In theory, you could have a carpenter or contractor come in and get a building permit, then have to get a plumbing permit AND an electrical permit. The time, money, and headaches associated with this process could be astronomical.

Here’s a video from the owner of a construction company in California that details more about the process of obtaining permits:

This video offers a great illustration of the different obstacles there are to obtaining permits – and the fact that some contractors are not willing to follow the permits at all! Mr. Rodriguez also discusses the need for architectural drawings which is just another layer added to getting a project done. Although this video is from California, the content is very relevant and similar to the process of obtaining permits in Philadelphia.

For more information on permits and when they are needed specifically in the city of Philadelphia, read about which permits you need at the City of Philadelphia Licenses and Inspection. Here you’ll find information on each kind of permit pertaining to the specific project you might be thinking about doing in your home.

Which is Better: Renovate vs Sell As Is?

Selling your property is the fastest way to find your dream home. Renovating can help you create a home you love, but it can be costly and time-consuming. If you need space or your dream home fast, then a remodel is unlikely to be a good idea. Selling can be significantly quicker and more convenient. It can even be more cost-effective.

Remember, when selling your property, it’s best to use an experienced real estate company that knows the current market. At Brotherly Love Real Estate, we can ensure you’re making the best decision when it comes to renovating vs selling as is.

We can help sell your house in four simple steps:

  1. Tell us about your property– Call us at (215-769-9875) or complete our online form to give us details about your home 
  2. We’ll call you to arrange a viewing – We’ll follow up with you to set a time to see the house and answer any questions you may have 
  3. Receive your offer – We’ll make you a fair offer to buy your house as is, with no repairs needed, no permits, no contractors, and no closing costs
  4. Set your move-out date You pick the date and we’ll work around your schedule to make things happen

When you weigh up whether to renovate vs sell as is and see what’s involved in renovating a property in Philadelphia, you might come to the conclusion that selling is the right choice. Brotherly Love Real Estate is here to make that process easy for you – whether you are in North Philly, Brewerytown, University City, Fishtown, or any other neighborhood in Philly.

Give us a call or reach out to us through the online form to see how we can help. Keep in mind, we are willing to buy as is, which means you skip all the aggravation involved with painters, plumbers, electricians, contractors, and, most importantly, permits!