Blog

Apr
28
TOP TEN STEPS for creating a home that buyers will love (and will pay more for)

The real estate market is always changing and it varies from city to city and even neighborhood to neighborhood. Since on average people are only selling a home every 10 years, it's hard to keep up on what's going on right now and how to prepare.



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So, what is happening right now in the Seattle area? There are more buyers than homes for-sale, which is called a seller's market. As the seller, they have the upper hand. They have something special that many other people want.



This is great news, so does that mean sellers don't have to prepare the home because it will sell anyway? Well, not really.



The last thing you want to do in this market is to present your home like a "garage sale"... meaning that there was no effort into getting the home ready. Sometimes we see listings with deferred maintenance, outdated color schemes, oversided furniture, and personal items scattered all over the home. This creates a feeling to buyers that the home is not a premium product and they'll want to "get a good deal".




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On the flipside, you know that feeling when you walk into a high end shop and everything has beautiful lighting and items are displayed in a way where you just have to have it and you don't even care what the price is? When we can get multiple people to find this feeling when walking into your home, this is where the magic is and you'll be pleasantly surprised with the price they're willing to pay when they have to fight for it.



Since we do understand that getting the highest price when selling your home is the goal, it's important to focus on the things that will move your home from garage sale to magic.




Here is our TOP TEN list


(step by step order)


1. MOVE OUT of the home.


I know this seems drastic, but it's the #1 thing you can do so that the rest of the list can fall into place. You know how when you move a couch and underneath you see crumbs, a few missing socks, a baby toy (you don't have a baby), and some candy wrappers? When you move everything out of the home, you'll be surprised all the extra things that you find. Getting in front of this is step 1 and you'll feel so good once it's all packed and moved. This is also a great step emotionally, because it's a mental release of the home, which we have found very satisfying and calming for sellers who are holding onto wonderful memories in the home. It makes the rest of the process much more peaceful.



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2. HOME INSPECTION.


Invest in having a professional home inspector take a look at your home. They'll put together a report of any issues the home may have, and every single home has issues, I promise you. This gives the homeowners a chance to address any issues that could deter a buyer from putting in an offer. Before you think about any cosmetic updates, you need to first address the home's systems. It's like taking care of your physical health before picking out an outfit.



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3. PAINT.


The power of paint! It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to freshen up a home. One color throughout the entire house helps the home keep a nice flow and it will appear larger and with a more open layout - just because of the paint. Don't bother with touch up paint, it never looks the same as a fresh coat. We also recommend a light neutral color like white, ivory, or a light grey. We always recommend a fresh coat of paint on the front door to create a wonderful first impression.



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4. CURB APPEAL.


Stand across the street from your home and take a wide angle look at your house. How does it show? Pretend it's not your house, what does it need? Is there overgrown landscaping? Is the paint chipping? Does the door look old and dingy? Are there any broken seals on the windows creating a fog? Are the steps mossy? Are the plants in the pots dead? Go ahead - and be super critical. This is a buyer's first impression AND it will be the first photo they see. It needs to "wow".



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5. FLOORS.


What is the condition of your floors? How old is the carpet? Since you now have your belongings out of the house, you can take a very good look at the flooring to look for damage. If you had pets in the house, 100% replace the carpet. If the house has been a rental, 100% replace the carpet. Buyers are looking for "turn-key" homes and bad smelly carpet is a huge problem. If the flow of your home's flooring is "patchy", meaning that the flooring changes 3 or more times on one level, it might be time to replace it with one cohesive flooring choice. Like the paint, a cohestive floor will help the home feel larger, and more open - which buyers love!



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6. LIGHT.


Natural light is very important to potential buyers. How do you help your home appear to have more light? Start by removing heavy drapes, curtains, or blinds that are dark, clunky, or damaged. Take a look outside - do you have tall shrubs or trees blocking windows? Now, it's time to consider a lighter paint color, make sure all overhead light has working light bulbs in a warm white, and if it's still not bright enough - bring in more floor and table lamps.



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7. CONSIDER a kitchen or bathroom refresh.


Kitchen & bathrooms have the biggest return on your investment when getting your home ready to sell. However, you don't have a do a complete remodel. Sometimes a few simple refreshes can go a long way - consider projects like refreshing a tub, replacing hardware, changing the mirror & light fixtures, or simply painting existing cabinets.



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8. LIGHT FIXTURES.


I think about light fixtures the same way I think about jewelry. They complete an outfit and can also make an outfit either look dated or modern. So, simply changing out some light fixtures can make your home look current and up to date without a big effort or expense.



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9. DEEP CLEAN / LANDSCAPING.


Now that you have completed steps 1-8, it's time to let the professionals come in and do their thing. HIRE a professional cleaner & landscaper to do the cleaning and refreshing. They always get the extra things that most homeowners miss in their first round. When hiring a cleaner, ask them to do a deep clean including cleaning blinds, behind (and inside) the refrigerator, drawers, and windows. When hiring a landscaper, have them do a basic clean up including fresh multch.



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10. STAGING.


And the icing on the cake - add staging! Staging is very important because it helps the buyer create an emotional connection to the home. Seeing it just like how they would shop at a boutique, we want them to walk in and have an instant sense of "home". When a buyer can image THEIR life and how their life would be improved in this home, they're willing to pay more for it - just like at that fancy boutique.



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CASE STUDY:


The images shown above are from a listing in Magnolia (Seattle) April 2021. The "comps" supported a list price of $925K, however, the final sales price was $1.2M. The homeowner invested $35K into getting the home ready, and they were able to sell it for $275K more than expected!!


The homeowner took advantage of our "Relax-Remodel" concierge service, basically handed us the keys and 3-4 weeks later we finished the projects, did the inspection, made repairs, project managed everything, and listed the home for-sale.


Gerald Overbeck: Realtor


Melissa Overbeck: Stager



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Here are the before/after photos!



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