Home Selling in Oakland>Question Details

Andrea, Home Seller in Oakland, CA

I need to sell my house. What should I change or not change to sell it fast? I am thinking of granite tile

Asked by Andrea, Oakland, CA Mon Jul 28, 2008

for basement livingroom, replace windows, brick pavers for my whole 1500 sqft backyard on the lake, buying some fancy furniture, replace bathroom faucets for very expensive ones, etc.

Help the community by answering this question:


To put what Meena and Nicole said a little more strongly, you do not typically recoup the cost of MOST improvements. Also, some things sellers consider improvements are really "maintenance". If your windows are loose and drafty or broken, replacing them is not an improvement - it's maintenance you should already have done. First and foremost, your proprty should be priced as an excellent value. Next, it should be CLEAN and NEAT. After that, see what your Realtor says. Best of luck!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 28, 2008
Hi Andrea,

I agree with Nicole that you should discuss this with the realtor you choose, since you may not be able to get more than you end up spending on all these improvements. Your realtor can look at the condition of the house and give you advice on what improvements are necessary to get the home sold.

Your goal should be to price the home right since buyers are looking for the best priced homes in the market. These are the homes that are selling fast. Sellers make improvements of a certain amount and want to increase the price of the home 10 times the amount they spend on the improvements, so please be careful before you spend too much money

Meena Gujral
Help-U-Sell Achievers Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 28, 2008
It will be tough to get back what you put in! The best recourse for "selling it fast" is to reduce the price. If people think they are getting a good deal, they will snatch it up.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 25, 2014
When we bought the house we're living in now, the seller had replaced the windows, but he really did a bad job doing it. It was done so poorly that it became more of a liability than an asset. Sometimes a hastily done upgrade can be worse than not doing anything at all.

We eventually replaced all the windows he "upgraded" after we bought the home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 25, 2014
Hello Andrea:
There is sound advice here.

Sounds like you have a very nice property. I'll echo one piece of advice: Price your home to sell. Then turn your attention to any small repairs. I tell clients not to invest a lot. Offer an allowance to have faucets and windows replaced.

A stager can give you some very good advice. It has not become an automatic in my market in Longmont, Colorado, but I am willing to get the competition is fierce in Oakland.

Any staging project begins with

1) de-clutter
2) cleaning
3) small repairs
4) storing personal pictures
5) storing furniture

Google the word de-clutter if you're unsure. Generally, it means storing books and other items to give bookshelves a less lived-in look. Cleaning means cleaning until the home is immaculately clean. Stove tops, windows and cabinets should be spotless. Use furniture polish or Murphy's Oil to bring out the brilliance in woods. Fix doors or any assembly that has come apart. Store any family pictures. And move extra chairs and furniture that detract from the main focus of a room. Rooms should flow. A staged room looks staged - not lived in. For clues, tour other homes and even stop by a new home sales office.

Best of luck!

PML of Longmont
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 16, 2011
If you haven't checked this out yet, you may be interested to see the Cost vs Value from Remodeling Magazine online. http://costvalue.remodelingmagazine.com/sanfrancisco.html

This should give you some kind of guidelilne on which remodeling jobs will pay off the most.

Instead of buying fancy furniture, you should get a professional home stager to guide you on what you can do with what you have, or maybe she/he will bring in the things to present your home in the best possible light.

You mentioned a lake --- Lake Merritt? Wow! That alone is a big draw.

Replacing bathroom fixtures is always a good upgrade --- but don't think that the good ones are always expensive. If you go to Design Expo, you may want to get a consultant to help you choose and coordinate what works for your house. You don't have to break the bank to prepare your home for sale. Go ahead and engage a realtor who can assist you and provide guidance on how you can prioritize your projects to get the best value for the buck.

When selling a house, think of the three "C's": CLEAN, de-CLUTTER, and COLOR (neutral, please),

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 10, 2008
Hi Andrea:

By now, you probablly have already found a Realtor to help you and well on your way to stage your house? At least, I hope so, because the time is slipping away.

I think the number one thing, whether you spend a lot of money or not (preferably NOT), is to make sure your house looks immacualte. Does not have to be fancy but immaculate, attractive and looks like somebody actually cared and love the property.

For basement, you want to make sure it looks light and bright - add some lightning,etc (difficult to do, but basement is hard to make it cheerful and inviting). Broken, tired things can be replaced to change the look of a place without spending a lot of money.

Then take the money you saved to lower the price.

However, if you are in a very upscale neighborhood and everybody else has granite, SS appliances, double pane windows, etc. unless you can price the house really low, you might have to bite the bullet and do some work there.

Bright, colorful potted plants or flowers inside and out help also.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 8, 2008
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Marin County, CA
Please no granite. Please.
I have been looking for some time now (waiting for a house I love while saving for a down payment).
I too do not want to pay for someone else's "improvements". If I see granite countertops, I add in what it would cost to take them out and replace.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 8, 2008
I agree with Slewfoot. As a buyer, I'm not gong to pay more for upgrades that you put in. AND if I don't like your upgrades, I'm going to deduct money from my offer so I can replace them.
SO, I'd say freshen up your home with new paint, declutter, landscape (clean it up), and price it REAL well so a buyer would be tempted to put in an offer and get off the fence. In other words, price is under market.
On the other hand, if your home is a million dollar home, those upgrades may pay off, as those buyers don't really care about the price as much, I think. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 29, 2008
As someone who's actually looking for a place, I say lower the price. That's the only thing that really matters. I can paint the walls and place the exact tiles and stuff I want myself, thank you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 29, 2008

The level of changes you make will really depend on the location of your home, and of course your budget. Bathrooms and kitchens are typically rooms that can help sell a home.

Often times little changes can make a big difference. For example in your kitchen painting cabinets, changing the hardware and updating the countertops can make a huge impact on the kitchen and you will not spend vast sums of money.

Do not under estimate de cluttering your space. Clearing your home of personal items as well as thinning out the amount of things in your home will help highlight the homes square footage and help to show a neutral backdrop where buyers can envision themselves living in the home.

As how to show you home in the best light possible, I would suggest hiring a stager. Staging services can vary from helping to remodel, suggest paint colors and adding furniture to helping you use the items you already own and finding a new way to arrange them.

In the current market do not underestimate reports. I would suggest having a complete home inspection and pest report completed for your home before you consider making any major changes. If there are any items of concern you may want to address those items. I find that in this market buyers are looking more closely at the overall condition of the home, and not just how it looks.

Definitely look at your budget to determine how much you have to work with. I would then suggest having report completed to check out the overall condition of your home. Then look to see what cosmetic changes you can make the will help provide the biggest impact for the least amount of money.

Also I want to reiterate that you do need to evaluate the level of changes based on your location. What other homes in your area are currently on the market? What kind of condition are they in? You of course want to stand out from the other homes for a quick sale, but you do not want to over improve for the neighborhood as well.

If you would like recommendations for pest control companies, home inspectors and stagers I can email you some information. Also let me know if you would like a list of homes that are currently for sale in your area.

Warm Regards,

Lisa Cartolano
Alain Pinel Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 29, 2008
I work extensively with buyers.and these are the things they all seem to want.
Granite counter tops, hardwood floors and Stainless Appliances. If you do anything do those three!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 28, 2008
Before you do anything, you should have a REALTOR/and or stager come by to discuss your investments. Not all improvements return on investment and you should be wary about overspending. Paint color is the best "fix" for a tired home.


Best regards,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 28, 2008
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