My phone rings constantly with sellers who do not know what they need to know before selling a Sacramento home. They think they know because they watch HGTV, which is not a documentary. Hate to say. It’s a reality show. Not necessarily real. But it’s good entertainment, and sometimes I watch HGTV for its amusement factor, but I would not rely on it. People have all sorts of ideas of what they need to do before selling a Sacramento home. From replacing the carpeting (and I want to scream no, no, no) to painting all of the walls white. Both, not necessarily good options.
I see so much wasted money on fixing up a home before selling. It’s not really the seller’s fault. They are fixing up the home they way they might want to buy a home, and the two are not mutually exclusive. Trends change. Times change. And all real estate is local, btw. Sacramento real estate is different than, say, selling homes in Pasadena or Miami. Yesterday I spoke with potential sellers who are investing in landscaping. They replaced the fence in the back yard and think they should get all of that money back upon resale. They probably won’t. Most of their ideas about preparing the home for sale won’t payoff.
While putting a concentrated effort into improving curb appeal is always a good idea, curb appeal can often be accomplished through good old fashioned sweat equity instead of spending money on landscaping or trees. Trim the bushes back from the windows, trim the trees so you can see the house; mow the lawn, seed dead grass. Plant a few colorful flowers. But don’t dump $20,000 into landscaping in hopes you will get it back.
Most home buyers today want to see granite counters, and granite is relatively cheap. They want clean lines, neutral colors and with few exceptions, white kitchens are not always the best way to go. I would not remodel a kitchen simply because it is white. But if you have a choice between stainless or black appliances over white, pick one of those two options. Install a few hanging pendants. Put in a pre-rinse faucet and redo the floor. Replace the hardware on the cabinets for a fraction of the price of replacing them.
But don’t take all of this verbatim because every home is different. Your best bet is to call an experienced Sacramento Realtor who can give you accurate and up-to-date information on what do to before selling a Sacramento home. But be sure this is the agent with whom you intend to list. Agents don’t work for free. If an agent comes over to your home to help you out, it is because you intend to hire that agent as your listing agent.
Another sign of our slowly recovering real estate market is home staging is making a big comeback in Sacramento, especially among Elk Grove homes. For years, we had so many short sales in the midst of a down real estate market that many sellers did not stage their homes because they didn’t have to, wasn’t needed. How do you know if a home needs to be staged? Because some homes don’t.
First and foremost is how hard will it be to sell that home? Are there other factors about the home that could discourage a buyer from making an offer such as bad condition, horrible location, unreasonable price? It is a home that most buyers don’t want to buy? I also look at the competition. What else will a buyer see when they tour other homes nearby in this same price range. If other homes are staged, yours better be, too.
It’s not really the buyer’s fault that a buyer can’t visualize potential or, more important, feel the emotional tug of a home. Door opens, they walk inside, they immediately know whether they like the home in 3 seconds. The rest of the tour reinforces that original perception. It gets better or it gets worse depending on their first emotion.
Buyers try to “rule out” buying homes just as much as they “rule in” buying homes. Some believe in fate, whether or not you may agree with that premise, a perception of fate might be the buyer’s reality and you go with the flow. Curb appeal hits them first and the interiors second. Third they tend to look for the amenities they have told their agent they want, but they’re not nearly as analytical as sellers might expect. Staging a home helps to overcome barriers.
This is why it’s generally a good idea to make that home as attractive as possible and set the stage to encourage an offer. Just sold today another home in Elk Grove that was on the market for almost 3 weeks without staging at an attractive price point. After home staging, whammo. Two offers. It works like this all of the time. This is not an isolated situation. You’ve gotta remove all of the objections, and one way to do that is to stage the home.