Susan Alvarez, Real Estate Pro in Longmont, CO

Your seller's home looks bland, uninspired. How do you prefer to break it to them they need to spend some money?

Asked by Susan Alvarez, Longmont, CO Sat Jun 16, 2012

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Hi BoulderSuZ, I am from Boulder too, now living as a Realtor in Lexington KY. I think that pictures say a thousand words. Can you access some before and after pictures of other transformations? Also, show them some tips on what can be done with little money like cleaning until everything sparkles! My wife often gets them to paint because for the money invested it is the best dollar for dollar. Choose popular colors like Sherwin Williams "Blonde" or "Macadamia". In Boulder you should get thousands more by investing a little.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 16, 2012
Honesty is the best policy in all that we do. But I'll also add that we must be very tactful in our verbiage to our clients. Very often a client is not willing or - - especially with this economy - - is not able to allocate any fund$ towards sprucing up their home to make it look less "bland" and "uninspired." And, oftentimes, a buyer with style and foresight will prefer a bland home as they don't want to pay for someone else's inspiration that they don't like.

Actually, I find it more difficult to tell a homeowner that their home is dirty and cluttered.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 16, 2012
The most important thing is to tell them the truth. Once they know, then they can make an informed decision on whether or not to make any changes. Ultimately, it depends on how motivated they are to sell the house. Even a bland uninspired house will sell quickly if it is priced right.

For houses that need help, I use this "Have you ever traded in or sold a car?" "Before you put it up for sale or brought it to the dealership did you get it washed and cleaned up?" "Why?" Selling a house is similar, you want to get the most money

Some agents hire a staging company to come in and break the news. Confidence is the key - stagers are very confidant with what needs to be done.

If they have too much stuff, you could indicate that thye are going to have to pack it up anyway. Might as well start now...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 16, 2012
Why do they need to spend money? I read a wonderful book a few years back called "Move your stuff and change your life". It was about Feng Shui, which I am not a real proponent of, but it suggested very inexpensive ways to move what you have and then add a little bit here and there to give the house a fresh feel, a different feel and a 'flow'. It advocates certain colors in certain areas, lots of reds and warm sunny yellows. I followed the advice and people immediately began to comment on the change. "Did you do something different?" "It 'feels' different in here, better somehow" and "everything seems to just flow better, it feels better somehow, can't put my finger on it, though."

Now if I was able to get those results, with just a few dollars spent at the five and ten cent store, how much more can your clients accomplish if that is their intention?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 16, 2012
In a market that suddenly woke up this past winter, sellers might become less concerned about fixes because buyers are becoming less choosey as homes gets snatched off the market. But, that don't worry about it attitude won't get the seller the best price.

If you can invest a few thousand in paint and come away with multiple offers, then that's the smart play - isn't it?

Some good advice from Dave Janis: If you are uncomfortable breaking some news, invite a professional stager to assess what needs to be done. Then let the stager give the seller the unwelcome news.

If you see something that is an obvious repair, I think you need to speak up and let them know about the roof or some stained drywall that detracts from an otherwise beautiful home.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 23, 2012
Sellers can be quite shocked that their home needs some work prior to being listed, but a polite conversation can save them both time and money. It is necessary to have that conversation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 22, 2012
Is the direct approach the best?

When a buyer has the makings of a nice home, it's a shame for it to just sit there in its mediocrity. I thought I had a home that sparkled until I put it on the market (during a time when I wasn't an agent). The agent showed up with some top soil and some flowers to put in the ground. We spent that morning before the open house adding these splashes of color to the garden. I had to agree, the addition was the perfect touch. It cost the agent a few dollars. She made money on the sale and our next purchase. Smart girl!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 22, 2012
Gently and respectfully. It's a hard thing to do, but a necessary thing. Our job is to sell their home, period. If there are a few uncomfortable conversations, so be it.

Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 17, 2012
Try to smile...and usually, smart buyers want a clean vanilla shell. That means clean white walls. Cleaning and de-cluttering is the best strategy. Smart buyers will want to make their own changes.
Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 16, 2012
I have found that a direct and honest approach is always the best. Almost always they take it in the spirit in which it was given and are willing to make the necessary changes to get it sold.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 16, 2012
Using the 'Which home would you buy?" presentation usually gets the expected response. In essence, for the cost of a little paint, your home will sell your neighbor's home. Creating appealing dimension does not necessarily mean repainting the entire house.

You are going to pay for a paint job, whole sale up front are marked up retail at the closing. Or even worse, you will still own the home when the smoke detector batteries need replacing, again.

After all, your seller has or will be buying another home. Ask then what their evaluation process is and apply this to their home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 16, 2012
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