One of the most important discussions I have with my seller clients is how to maximize their property’s positioning in a very crowded marketplace. Given the level of inventory we currently have, it is of paramount importance that we strategize ways to rise above the noise and gain the attention of agents and their buyer clients.
And, yes, while proper pricing is very important, it is by no means the only way to garner much needed attention. One can very effectively utilize home improvement/repair projects to one’s advantage, by freshening and invigorating a property without great cost.
Which home improvement/repair projects make the most financial and market positioning sense in the current real estate landscape? In fact, which projects yield the highest return on investment (ROI)?
Several years ago, the highest return on investment for home improvements included adding on a wood deck, doing a mid- to high-end siding replacement, as well as kitchen and bath remodels. In today’s market, such improvements may not result in a higher resale value; investing heavily in such home improvements, therefore, may not be prudent. Further, many of today’s sellers simply are not in a position to invest the funds required for such extensive projects.
There are other less expensive and more creative opportunities for making your home stand out, show well, and foster an atmosphere and feel that attract buyers’ attention.
We begin by objectively focusing on the attributes of the property (both positive and negative) and determine which of those attributes to highlight and which to correct. For example, let’s say a home has a lovely deck and view, but the exterior paint in that area of the home is chipping and peeling. Suffice to say, buyers will be very attracted to the deck and view, but their experience will be highly compromised by the unattractive paint.
Maximize the deck space with plants, flowers, and other decorative accessories. These do not have to be expensive! Invest the nominal amount to do the exterior painting in this area (sand and prime yourself – or do the entire job yourself to save even more). Now, one of the focal points of the home is shown in its best light, and buyers will linger on the inviting deck.
De-clutter. This is a huge impact at no cost. Look at every room, closet, drawer, nook, and cranny in your house with a critical eye. If you don’t use it, either give it away or throw it out. Resist the urge to keep it “just in case.” If you truly can’t bear to part with it, put it in storage. A de-cluttered space is inviting, looks roomier, and enables the buyer to focus on the house (rather than be distracted or even annoyed by too much clutter). A side benefit of this process is an enormous, cathartic shift in your energy. Trust me, you’ll feel it (and so will buyers).
Clean. Again, this home improvement has a giant return on the investment (work you can easily do yourself at no cost). Sound almost ridiculous to mention? Consider this: I have had buyer clients turn right around and walk out of a home that was not clean. Their rationale? If the homeowners cannot keep their house clean, it follows that it is highly likely they do not maintain other aspects of the home. Remember: often you only have one chance to make a great impression. Get out the buckets, rags, and brooms, and get to it!
Tend to Your Landscaping. Keep the grass mowed and the lawn edged. Weed your flower beds (or consider adding one in front of the home). Adding just a few flowers will give the front of your home some nice color (a little goes a long way). Freshen all the mulch. Rake/blow leaves in the fall and keep your gutters cleaned out. The visual impact of each of these improvements cannot be overstated.
As competition for buyers’ attention is fierce, it is most prudent to find each and every way you can make your property appealing. Choose the simple and low cost methods suggested here and enjoy the rewards. See you at the closing table!