A quick market update on the city of Fullerton. We're at the beginning of June, entering into a summer market. A lot of people don't realize it's a seller's market. We're moving from a hot seller's market to what I'd call still a good seller's market.
As our clients’ advisors and support, we make every effort to guide home sellers toward home improvement projects that will add value to their home and maximize their sales price.
Our latest project property had been a rental for many years and was in dire need of some TLC, and we were faced with some large home improvement chores.
We oversaw every aspect of this renovation project on behalf of our out-of-state seller: new roofing, permitting, landscape clean-up, interior painting, hardwood refinishing and a variety of repairs and updates throughout the home, primarily kitchen and bathrooms
Because this house required some big-ticket fix-it items, our costs turned out to be higher than usual at $28,000, with the final cost for improvements coming in slightly higher than the $25,000 budget we initially estimated.
Half of our budget went to the new roof, which is not a common improvement for most home sellers before selling their home. But the roof on this home was the original 50-plus-year-old wood shake roof. It had to go!
Two other items on our wish list could have used attention, central air conditioning and updated windows. In a perfect world, the home would have already had central air and updated windows making the property more comparable to others in its price range. We advised our seller to skip these projects however, because it would have been difficult to recoup the additional out-of-pocket expense and we wanted to ensure we could maximize resale value for our seller.
Our out-of-state seller was thrilled to see the massive improvements and the higher sales price. She loved how we strategically and logically made the best use of her budget by making repairs and updates that were the most cost effective. Once the home improvement tasks were completed, we turned our attention to developing an effective home staging strategy to ensure the house made a positive impression on prospective homebuyers.
As we’ve noted before, a beautifully staged home can make such a strong impression on would-be homebuyers, they may wind up offering above asking price.
In the end, our home improvement advice and home staging efforts on behalf of this lovely homeowner and house in Fullerton paid off. The house sold for $115,000 more than the sitting tenant had offered the owner.
Home improvement advice and project management, as well as the home staging services, were inclusive and at no additional cost to the seller – just part of what distinguishes Bobbett & Associates from ordinary Realtors® – truly FULL service real estate representation.
At the Redux Realtors our aim is to help our clients make strategic improvements to their homes so they can reap the highest return on their investment once the home hits the market.
With our most recent project, a home with an out-of-state owner that’s been a rental property for the past 15 years, we’ve identified several “strategic” improvements that are necessary and a few of them may be costly.
The biggest item on our list is a new roof. The new roof will cost several thousand dollars, but will also provide a major appearance upgrade. In addition newer roofing technologies such as tiles designed to reflect solar heat can help lower utility costs. A new roof can increase a home’s resale value by as much as $12,000, according to some estimates.
The other item on our list that will be sure to cause a transformation is all the landscaping work we plan to do. The house is currently hidden by overgrown hedges, which may be a deterrent for some buyers. By trimming the landscape, we can better frame the house and make it more inviting to prospective homebuyers. Investments in landscaping can return as much as 20%, according to some estimates.
The outdoor areas are not the only part of this property that will need some TLC, but the interior improvements will have to be made with a conservative budget since such a large chunk of our budget will go toward the new roof. We also plan to refinish the original wood floors, add a new layer of interior paint, install new kitchen cabinet hardware and bring in a professional cleaner. To complete the look and accentuate the home’s many wonderful features, we also plan to stage the home using pieces from our own collection.
Overall, we anticipate this project will require an investment of about $25,000 from the home seller. All together, we expect work to last about three weeks to a month. As-is, the current tenant has offered $525,000 to purchase the house. With our Redux Realtor improvements, we hope to sell north of $625,000.
We look forward to updating everyone once the house is complete.
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!
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.