Sometimes a bunch of negatives are overwhelming when you have to see them all together. This is something I learned when I bought a fixer upper house that was worn out, out-dated, and in disrepair. I was broke back then, so I had to live with it for a couple of years. Man, that was rough. I remember thinking that the carpet wouldn’t look so bad if the walls weren’t so bad, and how together they really make the light fixture unbearable. I guess that is when it first hit me how 2 or more negatives seem to compound their effects when viewed in the same room.
This is something that has really helped me out in real estate. Let’s face it, very few houses are totally updated showplaces. Just about any house has something old and/or worn out. My current house, even though we have done a lot to it, still needs new carpet upstairs and our green laminate counter top needs to join the rest of 1998 in the landfill. When we bought the place, it was all original, which meant not only that once trendy green counter top, but also a green vinyl floor. I can’t believe I am telling you all this, but what the heck, the kitchen also had wall paper with fruit on it that one of my friends said looked like something Willy Wonka would make.
While the counter top is still around, the wall paper has been replaced with fresh paint and the green vinyl is now Brazilian Cherry. It looks so much different that you hardly notice the counter top is still green, when you use to feel like you were in Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. It is still a negative, but less of one now when viewed without the others negatives.
I’ve got a listing in my pipeline that I have been working on for a little bit. In general, it just feels like a rental grade property. It has a nice floor plan and all, but just doesn’t feel like something that a buyer will fall in love with. Like I have always said, a seller has more power in the deal if the house comes across as something special. The market is currently flooded with “Average” houses. This house already has some pluses that could easily be over looked. It has a couple of nice ceiling fans and brushed nickel fixtures……Things that I bet most buyers wouldn’t even remember after leaving the house if we didn’t do anything to it. So, what is the plan? We have just had the place painted. Now the whole house is a nice warm beige. That will unify the space to a buyer. Buyers like to see all the rooms the same color. You have to remember that buyers are going from room to room in a 20 minute window. They like it all to be consistent. The next step is going to be to replace the vinyl flooring in the baths and kitchen. Then we’ll clean the existing carpet and stage it.
Now, when a buyer comes in this place, they will see fresh paint on all the walls and ceiling, clean floors, and new vinyl in the kitchen and baths. They will also probably now notice the ceiling fans and nickel fixtures. See, the goal is to make it the best house any buyer can get in that price range. After all, as long as there is one buyer out there, you know they’ll pick the best one.