Something interesting happened a month or so ago that I wanted to share. Now, this scenario ended up working out well for my buyer client, but, a bit of word to the wise-home prep on a sale matters, and this is a real world example.
During the first showing of the home, there was an American Ninja Warrior obstacle course of taped up boxes throughout the basement and first floor. The stove top was covered in dried up food. A window in one of the main floor bedrooms had a dark black sheet-like drape over the window to create a perpetual nighttime effect for the baby who slept there- with no light fixture to turn on. Adults looking at homes to buy don’t appreciate that effect.
This home was a cute one in a highly desirable neighborhood, but the showings did not get any better. The second showing was on one of Denver’s hottest summer days. After tripping on a sippy cup left in the hallway, we made our way upstairs to the master bedroom. There were three fans on full blast shoved in the open windows- a futile attempt at trying to cool the place down. Right then and there, an offer price came to mind. We went under contract for about that amount.
Fast forward, we’re now under contract, third visit: tenants had moved out. The home was almost spotless, cleaned professionally. No sippy cups, no boxes, no dried food on the stove top, no fans in the window (yet, still super hot). Know what my buyer and I were thinking? No brainer. Had they gotten the tenants out, cleaned the place, fixed the AC, refinished the rough floors, they could have gotten at least 25K more for the place! Lucky us.
Aside from decluttering, there is definitely more to the presentation of a home. According to Inman (a leader in real estate news and commentary), these are the projects you should prioritize that will bring the most value and return on investment to your home.
- Take care of the non-sexy items
By these I mean structural and mechanical- the inner workings of the home. These are the big ticket items. When looking at properties on the MLS, it always gives peace of mind and boosts confidence in the seller when it lists, “New water heater, new AC, new roof…” And, as my buyer and I experienced, the hot master bedroom on the upper floor jaded the deal. FHA and VA loans will require a new roof pre-close if it is damaged and these types of defects can affect insurability of the home. If you can’t afford these fixes before you go on the market, then there are work- arounds in the form of concessions or closing credits which your realtor can share.
- Here’s an easy one: landscaping!
This makes so much sense. Trim tree limbs, freshen up the mulch, mow- this shows pride in ownership and allows the buyer to either envision themselves piddling around in the yard and showing off their green thumb or doing virtually nothing in the yard since it already looks so nice. Either way, well maintained and manicured landscaping appeals to all buyers.
Think re-grouting, caulking, maybe spruce up the hardware a bit. When you open the shower, it should look clean, not moldy. Again, the buyer needs to picture themselves in the space and if all they can do is grimace, then that’s a strike against the seller- these will add up and eventually affect the offer price.
Either updated or refinished, flooring is huge. One of the first things my client noticed was how beat up the floors were, as well as the baseboards. Invest in the flooring- it will make the home show so much better if they are on trend, current and fresh. This is one that yields a hefty return on investment.
- Interior Cosmetics
Often times not caught on the first showing, dings in the doors, scratches on the appliances, chips in paint, etc. will inevitably reveal themselves on the second showing. A fresh coat of paint speaks volumes as well as updated hardware on doors, maybe even a new light fixture or two. The switches seem minor but make a difference- make sure they are clean, and up to date. When you reach to turn on a ceiling fan and the knob comes off, it leaves a lasting impression (and not in a good way).
Undoubtedly the most important room in the house. This is where the action happens. Without spending thousands renovating your entire kitchen, think about countertops, painting cabinets, replacing hardware, changing out a sink, updating appliances, and/or putting a new backsplash in with edgy tilework. People really care about kitchens- it is the main gathering place in a home.
Curb appeal. It’s the first impression that you make on a potential buyer. If they like the general style of the home and the way it sits but then they get closer and see paint chipping off the front porch railing, strike one. Siding that’s loose- their mind goes to deferred maintenance and questions start to swirl: what other things did these sellers neglect? The pride of ownership does not show.
When you’re thinking about getting your home ready to sell, think about these items. Not only could you get more for your home, it will likely sell faster. If you need help creating the value in your home that you know is there, or are simply looking for a Realtor to be on your side during this process, contact me today! I would love to help you sell your home fast!