Updated: Apr 10, 2021
In the current market conditions, where buyers are commonly making non-conditioned offers based on a single 20 minute visit to the property, now more than ever the name of the game is first impressions. This has greatly increased the importance of the property’s presentation to the viewer, which has by implication raised the bar for pre-marketing preparations.
Typically, a budget of anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000 will be invested to address glaring deferred maintenance items and to do a “Pre-Marketing Makeover” to improve the impact of the home on prospective purchasers.
Take for an example the most recent listing that my team has brought to market—a mid-century beach house at 118 Marina in the Rio Del Mar Flats. The seller was in the process of moving back East and wanted to get our opinion on what we would recommend doing to get the property ready for the market.
As we surveyed the 20 years or so of accumulated clutter and deferred maintenance which created a cozy but well-lived-in environment, replete with the aroma of pets and cigarettes, my internal response was “Everything!”, but of course that wasn’t what came out of my mouth.
In order to cultivate a mutually respectful and productive relationship, it helps to work from where the client is, recognizing that quite often in our own homes we live by a different standard than exists for the properties we bring to market.
Over time, we gradually brought her around to allowing our team to remove roughly 90% of the contents of the home to replace them with contemporary pieces provided by our favorite stager, who also gave recommendations on interior and exterior paint color schemes and suitable fixtures and appliances to replace the somewhat outdated collection that was there.
Repairs were made, light switches and outlets were replaced with contemporary décor models, the roof was re-coated and the failing deck was torn out and replaced with a new decking system that is awaiting a final sign-off from the County, which is to be delivered prior to closing escrow.
When we had started out, the comps were indicating that roughly $30,000 in preparations would increase the value from somewhere in the mid-$700’s to more in the mid-$800’s. But over the course of the 4 months it took to complete the project, we saw the market take the value significantly higher, and with some added upgrades the house was looking even better than we had anticipated.
We posted home on MLS last Friday for $995,000, and based on the number of threats we are getting for pre-emptive offers, it is apparent that we are headed for a sale at least a few hundred thousand dollars above the asking price. And in the end, that promises to make all the extra time, money and effort spent well worth it.