One of my favorite things to do when listing a property is making the needed adjustments to make a house sell quickly and for top dollar. Sometimes the changes are minor and sometimes they are a bit more complicated.
This past summer I had a listing for a fantastic family. They found me from this blog. They had a great house in a great neighborhood but it was just really bland. When they showed it to me, the husband said he had tiled the laundry room floor. It looked good. Not all DIY tile jobs look good. The bathrooms and counter tops were original (about 15 years old.) I suggested we paint the master bath vanity white and tile the floor in a brick-like pattern. You can use very cheap tile and lay it in a cool pattern and everybody loves it. The kitchen was just super bland, so I asked if the seller would tile the backsplash. All in all, it was less than an $800 investment to add a lot of character. These people had a sandbox they removed in the backyard too. They asked what I thought we should do about it. I said to throw down some mulch, buy a firepit and two plastic lawn chairs. The house had 3 offers the first day on the market….and the one that got it asked that we leave the firepit and lawn chairs (about $65 worth of stuff from Wal-Mart!)
I recently remodeled a whole house. That was a lot of fun. I picked the cabinets, counter top, vanities, all the lighting and flooring. The place looks really awesome. One prospective tenant told me I should have been a designer. I did the house in gray. That is a color that is just now getting trendy around here. It really separates your house from the rest of the boring beiges around here. It is all about making your house stand out to a buyer (or tenant) more than the next one.
I have a new client whose house I will be listing soon. It had been on the market for quite some time before she called me. It is a great house with lots of awesome features, but it has a few things that needed some updating. The first thing I noticed was that the house was very dark. Buyers want to see the house, so I usually tell people to put as high a wattage bulb as they can safely do. The living room furniture was arranged in a way that discouraged buyers from coming into the room. I have noticed that if a room is like that, buyers just stand in the corner and look into the space rather than experiencing it….like a room in a museum with a velvet rope across the doorway. I guess the worst features that buyers would find with this house was that the kitchen cabinets were stained wood and the counter top was butcher block laminate. That is just a lot of wood grain to see. There was an island that had the same counter top. That would have been expensive to replace on the island since you can’t just pull that off the shelf at Lowe’s. So, I told her we should replace the counter top with something in stock at Lowe’s. She just told me it cost her $550 to do that. Since a lot of high end new homes are going for a two tone look, I suggested we keep the island with the butcher block laminate top and paint just those cabinets white. It will give it more of an HGTV feel……like the Property Brothers had been there!
All this is super fun for me. I like to try to come up with ways to turn a negative into a big selling point and doing it as cheaply as I can. It is all about making it easy for a buyer to say “Yes” to your house.
A lot of my clients will call me before they plan to do anything to their house. I often get texts with pictures while a client is at Lowe’s.
I only wish I could do this with my own house. I have never been happy with anything I have picked for my own house. I am starting to ask myself “What would I tell a client if this were their house?”