Updated December 1, 2021
Through the years I have had hundreds of thousands if not millions of views on my property videos and one of the the first thing people think is that they could never have their home looking like they do in my videos. But guess what? Nobody (almost nobody) has their home looking like a model home daily. I know we don’t. We have kids, pets and all the stuff we accumulate through the years. It’s called life. It’s how most of us live.
But when selling your home, you want it to look at it’s best because you never get a second chance to make a first impression. However, it should not cost you an arm and a leg, it should not have you needing to get a second mortgage out on your home.
The following are what I have found to be some of the best and least expensive things you can do to your home that are the most impactful. These are things that will not cost you much and will give you the best possible chance of selling your home at the highest possible price.
Before we start, take a deep breathe. It is not rocket science, you can do this.
We all have stuff, things you accumulate through the years that are lying around the house or that you think you really need. But nothing can make a buyer feel more claustrophobic then a house full of stuff and things that get in the way of walking through the home.
When getting rid of things, I always say anything you will not be using for the next 30-60 days you need to store. Get a pod or storage facility and start packing your things and moving them. Garages are also many times used to store the excess items and it is not a bad thing. Just remember to pack and stack neatly and always away from all walls with at least two feet of clearance so that inspectors can do their job.
As you can see from the above image, that home needed de-cluttering and paint in a big way. The sellers had bought another home and we had to have their home ready within seven days. We were able to do that and in turn I was able to negotiate an offer for them that was more than $200,000 above their asking price. Had we not de-cluttered, painted and staged the home, it would have never happened.
When it comes to staging your home, it will do wonders for how your home will look both in photos and in person. We like to see things that look and feel good and staging of your home cannot be overvalued. Buyers spend more time viewing and visualizing how they will use your property space when there is tasteful staging done on your home.
Staging is not cheap however, it can cost up to $5,000 or more. But I believe that a good agent should pay for that service so it should not cost you any money to properly and beautifully stage your home. This is why you should choose your agent wisely and ask them as part of the interview process if they will be paying for the staging of your home.
One of the best returns on your investment is a good paint job in the interior and exterior of your home, if it is needed. I put this very high on the list of the best bang for your buck because a nice paint job will work wonders on how your home looks.
My favorite color is Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. It is a beautiful color with just the perfect amount of grey and beige that goes with just about anything. If you are painting a room that does not have a lot of natural light go with 50% Revere Pewter. But if the room has a lot of natural lighting you can go with 75-100% of the color. For trim and ceilings I really like White Dove or Simply White, also colors by Benjamin Moore.
The most popular flooring right now is engineered wood that come in either light browns, greys, or a combination of both. It is a great investment but many times can cost up to $10,000 or more. Will it give you back dollar per dollar of what you spend? Maybe, maybe not. But what it will do is enhance overall the look and feel of your home when it is freshly painted and has new flooring.
But many times you don’t need new flooring. As you can see in the image above, this home looked like it needed new carpet which was going to cost about $7,500. But instead, I recommended that we stretch the carpet and then get it shampooed. The total cost was less than $1,000 and it looked fabulous.
Tell you what… I cannot even begin to tell you how much some mulch has turned a completely neglected yard with weeds and no curb appeal into an absolute gem for less than $500.
New landscaping is not cheap, it really isn’t. But you don’t always need to re-landscape. Maybe all you need to do is pull the weeds, clean things up and plant a few plants and flowers. Then surround it by fresh mulch, and it will just pop. And if you want it to pop even more, go with darker colors of mahogany and dark browns. Avoid the orange colors if possible.
Here (see picture above) is a previous listing of mine that did not have much landscaping done in the front yard. The sellers were busy with work and just did not have much time to put into the front yard. What many would think is a $5,000 job cost us only a few hundred dollars in weed removal, a few plants and dark mulch.
Take a look at the above 3 images. When I met the sellers they had a back yard with very little other then some garden beds, a pathway, stairs and numerous pots with and without plants along with clutter that needed to be hauled. I walked through it a couple of times and put my creative design thinking hat on. A week and $2,700 later the back yard was magnificent and a focal point of the home, and a reason as to why it sold as high as it did.
Getting your home ready does not have to break the bank. You can in fact be very creative with minimal cost to get you a maximum result that ends up in maximum dollars for you. I know, I do it all the time.
Choosing the right local agent
“Value is not paying less, value is getting a lot more than what you paid for.“
Last, but certainly not least, choosing the right agent will make all the difference in the world and is just as important as all of the above. The right agent will guide you through the process, arrange bids, estimates and help you every step of the way. That agent should have an extensive list of resources for just about anything that you and your home could possibly need.
The right agent will also have a powerful marketing and action plan that will showcase everything you have done to get your home ready.
Short (1.5 minutes) video on a 7 day makeover
Today’s home buyers want to see everything about your home on their devices before they make the trip to physically see your home. 92% of home buyers do their home search on the Internet while only 1% of buyers find their home on print media and newspapers. That is a staggering number that you cannot ignore and your home has to appeal to the masses the second it goes “live.”
- Click here to view an example of how top agents are marketing their properties for today’s online buyers with custom property websites that feature video, 3D virtual tours, floor-plans, professional photos and more
Think about it… Why do all of the above and not give it a powerful marketing plan that includes professional photos, a 3D virtual tour, floor-plans, video and it’s own property website? You have taken the time to get your home looking great, you need to show it off!
I believe that the above suggestions are what can be described as value. They give you a tremendous return on your investment. Value is not paying less, value is getting a lot more than what you paid for.
As always, happy selling and happy buying!
REALTOR® since 1986
DRE # 00921165
Keller Williams Realty
831-252-3959 Direct Line
ABOUT ROB: Robert Aldana is a 35+ year licensed real estate veteran with Keller Williams Realty, and also a long-term resident and homeowner in Scotts Valley.
Robert is the agent chosen by more Scotts Valley area home sellers and buyers than any agent or team, and has been awarded the Santa Cruz Sentinel Readers Choice Award as the Best REALTOR® in Scotts Valley for four straight years. Robert is also the ALL-TIME leading real estate agent in Scotts Valley sales, and most recommended agent in the NextDoor online community.
Read the over 60 “Five Star” reviews at www.robertaldana.com/testimonials