For so many of us, our home is our biggest asset. So when selling a home in Mar Vista, we need to do everything we can to make sure that we are as prepared as possible for what could be the biggest financial transaction of our lives. What follows are some simple, effective and, relative to the amount of money at stake, inexpensive steps to maximize the results of this potential once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Before you roll up your sleeves, you should know that these steps are most necessary when your home is being sold to someone who is looking to move in. If your home is a bit of a fixer upper and it seems likely that it will be sold to a developer, it won’t be as important to spruce it up. The trust is that many developers will make purchases without ever doing an inspection, since they’ll pretty much be demolishing and rebuilding the house from scratch. If you are selling to a developer, all you need to do is contact your local Mar Vista realtor George Chung, and know and he’ll make sure that you only work with developers who are easy to deal with and have a great reputation.
For example, an all too common maneuver used by developers George will NOT recommend, is to renegotiate the price once it’s in escrow. George’s success as not just a Mar Vista and Los Angeles realtor, but one who also serves Culver City and Marina del Rey, means that he has dealt with over 50 of the top developers on L.A.’s westside. He will make sure to protect you from anyone who tries to get away with any shenanigans when you are selling your home. If you are selling a home that is move-in ready, or close to it, it’s important to follow these crucial steps to make the most of the sale, particularly since the house will typically sell for more money than if it’s a fixer upper.
First things first: until we perfect teleportation, the first thing that people will see when they arrive at your home is the outside. It’s very important to make sure everything is neat and tidy. Fences, walkways, railings, windows and window coverings should look, and ideally be, well maintained. Landscaping is key as well. Don’t worry if you have a little crab grass – just water dutifully, within Mar Vista watering guidelines of course, to help your yard stay nice and green. Once we’re inside, we need to keep potential buyers impressed.
Keep in mind that since buyers are often looking for their dream home, imperfections will really stand out. This doesn’t mean you need to go bananas; just make things appear nice and in their place, as well as remember that the perfect buyer may not have the same tastes as you. Start with the clutter – make sure that there is nothing on the floor except furniture. Now is the time to really take advantage of that garage, just don’t let it appear too full or disorganized. If you have nowhere to put something that is still in good working order, there are several worthy charities that you can donate to. Many of them will even come pick up your donations. Once you’ve removed the clutter, take a deep breath to relax… and detect any unpleasant aromas.
Since pet, tobacco and musty smells are all turn offs, they have to go. A few words about our four legged family members: they are indeed family and a big part of what makes a house a home. We know that no one is as cute or cuddly as your cat, dog or ferret. However, just like human children, if not bathed often, pets can get smelly. Take special care to make it seem as though your pets are not just the most adorable, but also the best behaved and most gentle on their surroundings. Having carpets properly cleaned, furniture freshened, and the walls cleaned with soap will help remove a lot of unpleasant odors which can turn off a potential buyer.
If you didn’t grab them during your clutter hunt, take down family photos from the walls and the mantle, as well as anything that could have been won at a carnival. Having photos of your family on display will subconsciously affect the potential buyer into not viewing the property as their home, and chintzy decorations are not what’s on the market. No moose heads, dart boards or black light posters should be anywhere near your walls, unless the house you’re selling is a fraternity house. And even then, it’s best to take them down.
Floors tend to make a big impression, so let’s make it a positive one. If you have hardwood floors, you’ll want to refinish them, or give them a good once-over with nice hardwood oil. If you have older carpeting, you’ll want to replace your carpet, or at least shampoo it. It just takes a few hours and there are several places to rent a shampoo machine nearby (click here for a great hardware store in Mar Vista). Once the floors, walls and smells are handled, it’s time to start painting. The inside first, then the outside. New paint on the inside should be somewhat neutral in color, and enhance your home’s natural light. But when painting the exterior of your home, use modern colors instead of earth tones.
When you’re done with the painting, it’s time to get the toolbox out and fix anything that isn’t working. Door handles should open and close easily. Shades and sliding doors should operate smoothly. Lightbulbs should turn on. Faucets shouldn’t leak, and the water pressure should make people want to hop in the shower.
Because Mar Vista homes are so desirable, you won’t have to do much more than these basics to meet or exceed your list price. But there are certain types of homes that will require a little extra when selling. If you have a pool, for example, it should be recently cleaned and have all damage repaired. If you live on a hill and have a lovely view, definitely replace broken windows and wash them all – inside and out. If it’s a corner house, buyers will see two sides from the street, so exterior painting will be a bigger factor. There are so many more, so please don’t hesitate to ask about how to best prepare any of the unique features of your home to hit the market.
One big question George has been asked many times throughout his 40-plus year career as a well respected Mar Vista realtor is ‘should we remodel?’ That is a great question to consider when selling a home. As a rule, it’s usually not worth the time, aggravation or expense right before putting a home on the market. If you are thinking of selling your home in a few years and are going to have a bit of time to enjoy some of the improvements, it might be worth the undertaking. But remember, contrast can kill you. It’s important that any remodeling doesn’t make any other part of the house look even more out of date than it would if it hadn’t remodeled in the first place. The last thing you want is to do a fantastic job modernizing your kitchen, only to make the rest of the house you’re selling look like it belongs in a very special episode of The Brady Bunch. Remodeling some rooms is fine, but if you’re planning on selling the home in the relatively near future, make sure that the renovation enhances the look, not to mention the value, of the entire home.
A few examples of upgrades that will further enhance your home’s appeal would be replacing carpeting with hard wood or laminate flooring, as well as installing new light fixtures. You definitely do these on your own to keep costs down, and just as important from the buyers’ point of view, they won’t jump out as things that will be a hassle to maintain. Staging is important, but it’s much more effective once you’ve taken all of the steps above. Keep it simple, clean and modern. If you’re already looking for a new home, pay close attention to the issues or features that immediately stand out when you visit an open house, and see how your house would stand up to the same scrutiny. Once you’re at the point of staging, though, there are a couple of steps that you can take to give yourself an advantage before the offers start to come in. Buyers will often ask for a credit or discount after a property inspection has been completed, which makes perfect sense. But you can be at a disadvantage if you wait for their home inspection, and rely on their estimates for repairs. So be proactive – have your own inspection performed, get your own estimates for potential repairs and, while you’re at it, get a sewer video as well. This way, you’ll have plenty of warning if there is a real issue that needs to be addressed. Better still, no one will be able to inflate repair estimates as a way to negotiate.
These are just a few of the steps to take when getting your home ready for sale in Mar Vista, or anywhere else, really. As stressful as this process can get, keep in mind that we’re always here to lend a hand. No matter the layout, features and amenities of your home, George Chung Realtors will be able to provide practical and worthwhile strategies to make the most of bringing it to market. Call today, at (310) 391-6346, or visit the website.