Kitchen Before and After

‘Why do I need to make changes to my East Bay home before putting it on the market? It’s always seemed fine to me’

Ah, the great debate over what to fix, change and improve before putting a home on the market. The agent’s recommendations can seem endless. Many sellers still believe they shouldn’t have to do those things or not nearly to the level of what their agent is suggesting.

Surely, a buyer is going to come in and do what they want anyway. “Why do I need to give them new appliances and countertops in the kitchen or even new flooring?” “Why do I need to look for any repairs that may be needed? Everything in this house works fine”

When you have lived in a house for five, ten or twenty years, you tend to accept everything as it is. Certainly it feels comfortable to you and you haven’t felt the need to update to today’s standards, even assuming you know that styles have changed since you moved in. The problem is that as a seller, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. If you start off on the market on the wrong foot, you’ll have a very difficult time capturing buyers who would’ve been interested in your home had you done the necessary prep recommended by your agent.

Failing to properly prepare your home for sale may suggest to potential buyers that your home isn’t maintained and is in need of a lot of repairs. Anything they can see makes them wonder what else may be seriously wrong that they can’t see. All this gives a poor overall impression and it will cause buyers to eliminate it or make a low ball offer. Even if the improvements or repairs are not major ones, a couple of thousand dollars — or even a few hundred dollars — spent could net a much stronger offer price because you can’t assume buyers and their agents have a realistic grasp of the costs involved to fix up the house.

Buyers will always estimate top prices for repairs and improvements, yet things like painting and repairs such as caulking, grouting or replacing a carpet can be taken care of surprisingly cheaply if you know where to look. Even just deep cleaning and washing the windows can make a home seem more desirable.

Many sellers still want to offer a credit or deal with any issues after the house is on the market, but this can never be recommended if you want to sell for a decent price in a reasanable time. They think that the buyers may not like the look of the improvements because it won’t be to their taste, but I promise you that they will like an updated kitchen or bathroom much better than the one that hasn’t changed in 20 years. The secret is to keep things fairly neutral so they have good general appeal.

Interest and attention is always at its peak when a property first hits the market. Therefore, a poor first impression will not generate the excitement and motivation for buyers to run over to see the house and make an offer.

When you list your home for sale, your agent should ideally walk through your home with their stager, who should be able to provide advice and recommendations on what improvements to make in order of importance. Then your agent should be able to introduce you to relevant approved contractors who are experienced in such matters. Remember that while you may sell a home just once or twice in your liketie, we deal with these situations every week. We know what ittakes to get your home sold quickly and for top price, while getting you the best return on your dollars spent in any repairs and improvements.

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