Realtor Redux: Owner impressed, proud of major transformation at amenity-rich La Habra home

We’re back at the amenity-rich home in the cul-de-sac, and it’s hard to believe this is even the same house!

Located in La Habra, this house had been occupied by the owner for 38 years. That’s a lot of memories, but also a lot of wear-and-tear on the carpets.

New carpets were on the top of our list with this Realtor Redux. We had new carpeting installed in the living / dining room and in the upstairs save for the master bedroom where the carpets were only 2 years old. While we were at work upstairs, we also removed the wall paper in the upstairs bedrooms and brushed on a fresh coat of paint to brighten the space.

We had hoped to stick to a budget of $3,000, which proved to be a tough budget to keep. In the end, we spent about $4,500 on our Realtor Redux. But when the owner saw her refreshed home, we could tell she was truly impressed by our work and appreciative of the improvements. The transformation here was truly an amazing one, and the owner said she felt great pride in being able to present her home to in a fresh light.

When we first toured the house, we figured it could list as-is for about $680,000. And we thought with $3,000 in improvements, we’d be able to list the home for $699,000. In the end, we spent a little more and got a little more in return.

The property was listed for a range price of $699,800 to $719,800 and closed at $705,000. In other words, the $4,500 we invested returned about $20,500 more than if we had listed the property without the improvements. The owner was happy with the sale. The buyers were happy with their brand new home. And, of course, we are thrilled to have helped make it happen.

Check back again soon for the scoop on our next project. It’s looking like there’s a home in Fullerton that could use the Realtor Redux touch!

Do photos on your real estate listing show your house or condo in the best light?

As real estate agents in Fullerton, we spend quite a bit of time scouring photos on the CRMLS. We like to share our favorite photos each week in our “Upcoming Open Houses” feature.

Occasionally, photos we come across leave us feeling a bit perplexed. Sometimes the photos are blurry or focused so closely on an object in the house, such as a vase of flowers, that they lack a greater context. Other times the there’s so much clutter in the photos or the house is vacant and lacks a human touch.

Looking over photos this week got us thinking about some of the more common mistakes we see when it comes to real estate photography. Strong photos and smart décor are becoming increasingly important in terms of real estate marketing, especially because more and more homebuyers are first turning to photo galleries on the Internet before they ever ask to speak with an agent or tour an open house.

So without further ado, here are some of our pet peeves when it comes to real estate marketing and photography:

Real estate photos show empty house

We understand that sometimes a homeowner may need to move out before she is able to sell her condo or house. Often times, though, the owner will pack up all of her worldly possessions leaving behind an empty shell of a house. Sometimes even the refrigerator has been removed from the premises so photos of the kitchen are marred by a gaping appliance hole.

At minimum, it’s a good idea to style the living room and one of the bedrooms. Images used to market the home on various websites should highlight those rooms that are furnished and downplay any vacant rooms. Remember the goal of the photos on your online real estate listing should be to entice would-be homebuyers to tour your home. It’s much easier to forgive a vacant house in person than online.

If it’s not practical to leave some of your personal furniture behind to stage your home, consider hiring a real estate agent or firm that specializes in home staging techniques.

Personal items, clutter visible in real estate photos

We’ve come across a number of listings that showcase the homeowner’s unique personality and lifestyle in the photos: kitschy wall décor, kitchen counters overloaded with appliances, an excessive number of religious items, rooms bursting with children’s toys. There is a time and a place to broadcast the lovely qualities that make each of us unique, and real estate photos is not that place.

Selling your home is about highlighting the features that make your house attractive. It can be hard especially for long-time owners to de-clutter their spaces but it makes a huge difference in terms of selling for the highest price as well as time spent on market.

Once you get to the point where you are thinking about selling your house, consider any steps you’ll need to take to get the house is selling order. Your real estate agent should be able to help you determine which items to display and which ones to give away or place in storage.

Photos are blurry

In this digital age of photography, there is no excuse for blurry photos. Also in this category are listings where the photos are turned sideways or upside-down. Any quirks about the photos on your listing will distract prospective homebuyers and possibly turn them off to the idea of touring your house or submitting an offer.

And while we’re on this topic of quality real estate photography, invest in professional real estate photos. It may seem like a waste of resources when you have a perfectly good smart phone, but studies continue to show that strong real estate photography yields better results for sellers in terms of time spent on market and selling price. One study even showed homes with strong photography listed in the $400k to $499k range sold for more than $11,000 extra compared to comparable listings with lesser quality photos.

A professional real estate photographer does so much more than stage photos, too. Editing software allows him to touch up photos – manipulating color saturation to make photos pop, cropping photos to highlight key features and more.

Photos are too close, lack context

Occasionally we come across listings that will feature extreme close up photos that don’t seem to contribute to the story of the house. It’s one thing to get in close to show the detail of a granite counter top such as if it accompanies a couple other photos of the entire kitchen.

We’re talking about listings where there’s a photo of a solitary window or a frame that focus on the vase on a coffee table with an angled view to the kitchen doorway. We love art and artistic expression, but when it comes to selling real estate we think it’s more effective to share photos that offer a complete picture of why someone should buy the house.

Basically when it comes to real estate photography, we should all take a page from the glossy magazines. They offer the idea of a home and lifestyle in a tastefully designed abode and make it easy for their viewers to see themselves living in those photos (homes). We believe in taking a similar approach at Redux Realtors.

Fullerton Realtor explains 'range pricing' benefits, disadvantages

If you’ve toured any open houses lately, perhaps you’ve noticed some of the houses for sale list a price range as opposed to a firm number. This is a fairly common practice in the North Orange County real estate market.

Sometimes Realtors and real estate agents will “range” their listings by as much as $100,000 depending on the property’s price point.

Here at Redux Realtors we’ve found that for home sellers there are many advantages to range pricing, particularly when a home’s value falls in the high $500,000 to low $600,000 range. Primarily, range listing ensures your property will receive more online exposure than it would if the property was listed at a firm number.

For example, let’s say we had a listing with a price point around $629,000. If someone were to do an online search for real estate and set a filter for properties up to $600,000, then our listing firmly priced at $629,000 would not appear in the search results. On the other hand, if we give that listing a price range of $599,000 to $629,000, the property will appear in that real estate search for homes up to $600,000.

Increased web exposure for your property is not the only advantage a range pricing strategy offers. This pricing strategy often helps home sellers feel more comfortable with the process of assessing their home’s value and placing it on the market. The higher end of the range might represent what the seller hopes to sell for while the lower end of the range might be more in line with fair market value.

Listing a home at a price range also opens a door for home sellers to receive multiple offers at varying price points, which brings us to one possible disadvantage to the range pricing strategy. Some potential homebuyers might see the price range and attempt to low ball their offer.

While we certainly wouldn’t discourage any would-be buyer from submitting an offer, even if it’s on the lower end of the price range, we always tell homebuyers that if the market demands a higher price, this fact will come to light and they may lose out on a prime property by not submitting a more competitive offer. A seller may also choose to counter a homebuyer’s low ball offer to a higher number.

We used a range pricing strategy in our latest Realtor Redux project in Fullerton, with fantastic results. Market comparables indicated to us that the home was worth about $700,000, but our sellers felt the home might have been worth a bit more. We chose to list the house for a price range of $699,000 to $719,000 and within days the house was sold at $705,000. The sellers felt they received a fair price, and we squeezed out more proceeds from the sale. A win-win!

Range pricing is a relatively common practice in North Orange County and can be an effective strategy for maximizing your return from a home sale. We’ve found that range pricing increases online exposure for each property we list. Home sellers feel comfortable with range pricing because it helps to reconcile what one might hope to get from a home sale versus what might be considered fair market value, and it opens a door to multiple offers. While some potential homebuyers might submit low-ball offers, ultimately the market will dictate the appropriate sale price.

At Redux Realtors we’ve helped countless homeowners prep their homes for the market and list them using effective marketing strategies like range pricing. Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in learning how we can help you sell your home for top dollar.

Realtor Redux: An amenity-rich home needs a little freshening up

Realtor Redux: An amenity-rich home needs a little freshening up

Our job as Redux Realtors is to make every home we sell look extraordinary. We offer our home sellers advice on how to make their homes show their best to prospective buyers.

In our latest Realtor Redux project, we are working with a long time homeowner who now wants to move to the beach to be closer to family. Having lived in the home for 38 years, the move will be exciting but bittersweet.

We want to help this owner freshen up the home by giving it a more modern feeling. We will be working with of a budget of around $3,000 and must choose wisely on which features to update to ensure costs don’t grow too high while achieving maximum impact.

The home sits on a cul-de-sac in an HOA community that features a swimming pool, greenbelts and nearby walking trails. With award-winning schools also in near proximity, this property offers lots in terms of amenities.

Situated on an elevated lot, the new owners will enjoy peek-a-boo views of trees and city lights. Inside the house boasts impressive vaulted ceilings.

But the carpeting is worn and in need of replacement. The wall paper makes the interior look a bit tired. These will be the main areas we focus on in this Realtor Redux project.

As-is we estimate the house could list at no more than $680,000. But with a budget of less than $3,000 and our few choice improvements, we expect to be able to list this home for $699,000. If all goes according to budget the up-front investment will return an extra $16,000 on the sale.

Check back soon for an update on our progress!

Home staging, real estate photography effective marketing tools for homeowners

Home staging, real estate photography effective marketing tools for homeowners

Selling a home in Orange County, or anywhere, you probably have a primary goal in mind. Sell the home for as much as you can in as little time possible.

Professional home staging and strong photography are two real estate marketing strategies that can help you achieve this goal.

Homeowners can go one of several routes in selling their home. For example, they can hire a real estate agent to guide them through the process. Or they can hire someone like Redux Realtors who does all that AND can advise on home staging, design and marketing.

Home staging expertise

Homes that are full of clutter or personal effects don’t show very well to prospective homebuyers. Neither do … let’s say “unique” color palettes or interior design styles.

The Los Angeles Times recently had a story about a high-end home in Beverly Hills that sat on the market for months. Finally, the homeowner brought in an expert who removed the clutter and personal effects, repainted in neutral colors and added some modern furnishings to complement the funkier pieces. The house went on to sell for $300,000 above list price, or $5.5 million.

Home staging is more than just arranging furniture. It requires an attention to detail and fashionable taste. And let’s face it, not everyone who’s selling their house possesses these two qualities. Even for those who do have a knack for home design, it still takes a lot of time. And time is a luxury for most people in Orange County.

That’s where someone like Redux Realtors comes in. We take average homes and make them extraordinary. By advising on things like color palette, the selection and arrangement of furniture as well as landscaping and curb appeal, we’ve helped dozens of clients sell their homes faster and often times for more money.

Strong real estate photography

In a separate article the Los Angeles Times wrote about a real estate photography study that Redfin did a few years back. Did you know a house priced in the $400,000 to $499,999 can fetch as much as $11,200 more just because the pictures included in the online listing are professionally done?

A beautifully decorated and landscaped home may show great in person, but keep in mind an increasing number of people search for homes online before they ever tour them in person. And when they see a listing with great pictures online, they get excited to tour the house because it looks really cool.

That opens them up more to the prospect of buying the home, especially if the person feels the house has all the right features.

We have relationships with excellent real estate photographers who capture your home in the best possible light. The right lighting and composition really makes a photo pop and make a strong first impression on a would-be homebuyer.

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Realtor / Equal Housing