Ideas to consider when budget and maximizing your investment are key

So you want to sell your home or rental property?  These six features top first-time homebuyers’ wish lists and are the top seller focus areas to consider.

  1. Backyard Living  – We’re so lucky living in Northern California where the weather is wonderful for a good portion of the year!  I’m from Sacramento, but I’ve lived in Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Italy, and the East Coast where temperatures, rain, humidity and biting insects can spoil your outdoor get-away. focal-point Even if your backyard looks like a vacant lot with dead grass because of the drought and the fact that maybe the home was a rental, think about a seating area.  A couple of chairs and a small table, even an umbrella and a pot of flowers can make buyers imagine themselves enjoying their own private outdoor sanctuary.  Understand that sight lines from the inside to the outside are part of the home buying experience so make it look clean and inviting.  Create a focal point with a colorful pot that can be seen from the house.
  2. Kitchens Sell Homes – Depending on the price range and your budget, it’s not going to make sense to gut your kitchen and design an all-out HGTV remodel , but there are refresh and lower budget ideas to help you make an impression on home buyers. Stainless appliances, updated surfaces, and storage are important to a large swath of buyers.  If it’s in the budget to replace the countertops with stone paired with a subway tile, that’s always a good option.  Sometimes that isn’t in the budget though.  Staining oak cabinets an espresso color or even painting them white can be a smart update.  If that’s too much work, simply using a product to renew the luster to oak cabinets and adding new hardware may be just the trick.painted-cabinets
  3. New flooring Adds Value – Solid surfaces like vinyl and laminate that look like wood are great choices to update common living areas and create a great impression on buyers.  If that’s not in the budget, replace the carpet so it smells fresh and looks brand new.
  4. New Paint Makes a Strong Impression – Take a fresh look at the color schema in your home.  Designer colors like red are trendy and bold and may be cutting edge but they can turn off a large segment of buyers.  Homes with bright non-neutral colors often sit on the market longer than those with a more neutral color palette.  I’ve taken buyers through houses where a bright color of any sort makes them comment that they don’t like it.  Despite my assurances that painting is an easy fix, they have a negative impression.  Go with neutrals and opt for a single color throughout to make the home appear larger.neutral-paint
  5. Bathrooms Matter – Double sinks, new toilets, new flooring, and finishes are important – brushed nickel outsells chrome by wide margins.  Replacing the mirror and lighting may be the perfect focus areas to refresh the bathroom.
  6. Deep Clean, De-Clutter, and Repair for Results – Even if you can’t afford anything else, cleaning inside and out is going to make a huge difference.  Hire a housecleaner or just get down and dirty and clean top to bottom removing cobwebs, dusting, fixing broken items, replacing burned out lightbulbs, arranging items in cabinets because Buyers will look!  Neat and tidy from the initial walk up to the house through every door and even in the garage and side yard makes an impression that the home has been well cared for.  This step is a must-do no matter what!  Buyers discount properties that aren’t clean and are in disrepair and that usually amounts to much more than what it would take to clean and repair it.  De-cluttering is also essential. Clear off counters and remove excess furniture – the object should be to create the concept of space.  Consider a recently sold home in the first time homebuyer price range.  The elderly Seller with some mobility issues wasn’t able to repair small items and the house was crowded with inherited furniture.  While the house in repaired and decluttered condition should have sold at just over $300k, the offers and comments from buyers discounted the house for the work they perceived needed to be done.decluttered

Little things can make a huge impact!  Ask your Agent for advice and stick to a budget.  Not all updates and repairs are going to net you the most money in a sale.  Focusing on the top seller focus areas will make the biggest bang for the buck.