I hope you are enjoying our Effective Home Staging Tip Series. Today let’s talk about what upgrades are expected in your neighborhood and within your price range.
This part of the process, will draw from your real estate agent’s knowledge of the neighborhood and a little sleuthing on your part. Don’t worry, it’s fun! If you’re anything like me and millions of other homeowners around the globe, you’ve been drawn to open houses in your neighborhood from time to time. Why? Because you’re curious about what your neighbor’s house looks like and what price they’re selling their house for. If you haven’t done that lately, get out there this weekend and take a peek and see what you find.
Are you in an older neighborhood where many of the homes have been remodeled to some extent over time, but yours has not? Pay particularly close attention to the kitchen and bathrooms as these are the two spaces that seller’s place the most value on. What is the condition of your home’s roof, windows, paint, and exterior landscaping? These are important things from a buyer’s perspective. If the roof needs replacing, the windows are the aluminum single-pane style rather than an upgraded vinyl double-pane, the landscaping needs resurrecting and a fresh coat of paint is long overdue, sellers are just calculating all the work that needs to be done and how much it’s going to “cost” them. As time and budget permits, you will always fair better taking care of these items in advance rather than offering a credit at the close of escrow.
Are you in a newer home within a tract home development where every other house looks the same from the outside? If so, what does your house offer that the others do not? Did you opt for upgrades during the construction of the home or is it a bare bones builder’s special? Are you competing with a builder who is still trying to sell units? All of these factors need to be taken into consideration. Keep in mind if you’re competing with a builder, many of them are throwing upgrades at buyers right now to entice them to buy, so if your house offers white tile countertops, vinyl flooring and cheap lighting, it’s time to hit the home improvement warehouse. Upgrade your countertops, especially in the kitchen. There are inexpensive solid surface options available these days and add ceramic tile floors. Larger tile sizes are more impressive than 6″ or 8″ sizes. I would recommend 12″ minimum, 18″ or even 22″ if you have larger rooms. There are really nice light fixtures available for very little cost, but would make a dramatic difference in the perceived value of your home. If you’re sticking with the stock builder Hollywood strip lighting, your buyers will not be impressed.
Stay tuned for #5 in our Effective Home Staging Tips Series where you will learn how to prioritize projects and hire the right vendors.