A Tale of Two Listings
 had the opportunity to work with 2 different clients over the past few months and was very surprised at how both experiences turned out. Actually I was not surprised: I was thrilled at the outcome for one of my clients.

Seller A: I met the sellers in the fall and we worked out a plan to introduce the home to the market after the Christmas holidays. I walked through the home and gave a list of items that would help their home sell for a bit more money and with a shorter marketing time. Staging was discussed, de-cluttering rooms, doing some basic painting and organizing the laundry room. These were the items that the seller could do on their own… I also suggested  having a contractor in to do some drywall in the basement and install some lighting and new flooring. This improvement would cost about $4 – 5,000 as we felt the appearance of the lower level would hamper the sale.

In late January, I toured the home and was pleasantly surprised by the look. The Sellers had done not only everything on the list, they had come up with some of their own ideas to improve the look of the home. I listed the home for $15,000 more than we discussed in the fall. After  having  professional pictures taken and introducing the home to MLS on a Thursday, it sold the following Monday in multiple offers for $15,000 more than listed. A bit of hard work and a $5,000 investment returned $30,000 more than we discussed when we chatted in October!

Seller B:  I listed this home for sale and started a “checklist” of items for the seller to complete that would do two things: Increase the value of the home and to cause the home to sell in a timely manner. The recommendations were not expensive: Pack up items that caused the rooms to look  cluttered (I offered to hire some people to help with this task) have the home staged, remove some furniture to the basement (which was empty) to allow the rooms on the main floor to appear larger, and to have the carpets professionally cleaned. Other items were to complete partially finished work allowing the buyers to see the home finished. The seller decided to pack up items on their own which took 3 weeks. Less than 25% of what I suggested was completed.

Once the home was on the market the comments from the showings and open house attendees were about items left on the checklist that were NOT completed. The home appeared cluttered and one room had so many items in it the prospective buyers had to “tip-toe” around the room once inside. The home sat for sale frustrating the seller and came off the market not sold. While we were on the market, a home in the neighborhood, in a similar price range, sold for full price after 22 days of marketing.

In today’s marketplace homes in good areas sell, or do not sell, for some very basic reasons. I have learned, having sold homes for 28 years locally, that buyers today are looking for homes that look like “model homes.” Homes that sell are ones that are uncluttered and have some staging completed prior to going on the market. Homes that have  current paint colors, updated flooring, kitchen counters, bathrooms and have the appearance that once moved into, the buyer would just have to apply their own personal touches. Some of the “push-back” we get is that a homeowner does not want to upgrade the look of their home in case the buyer does not like the new colors. Homes that have dated flooring, décor and even small things like door knobs as opposed to lever handles tend to be valued lower. A buyer walking into a home that needs updating typically takes more off the market value price than it would have cost the seller to update. The lesson learned, from these two totally different experiences, is that homes that are staged and have fresh neutral décor have better odds to sell for more money and faster than homes that a buyer walks into and feels like they have a lot of work to do.

*  All photos are STOCK photos and are not either of the listing in this article.  

In the end, it is the buyer that starts the process of a home being sold. If a home does not sparkle… in many cases, the process starts – on someone else’s property.

If you interested in selling and are curious how doing some minor changes can increase the price of your home give me a call or send me email. Can I guarantee you will get $15,000 more than asking? Well, past performance is no guarantee of future success – but it does give you the sense this stuff works!

I look forward to hearing from you.