Adding the WOW factor?

Asked by Jim, Atlanta, GA Wed Apr 9, 2008

I have been told by many realtors who have seen our home, thatit shows nice. But there is no WOW factor. This is an older 3 /2 in a nice neighborhood of other similar homes. The kitchen and baths were completed guted about 10 years ago, so they are much nicer then many in the neighborhood. But they are not the stainless steel and jacuzzi tub rooms they have in the brand new homes. So, how do you add a little pop without a complete redo?

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Lee Taylor, Agent, Decatur, GA
Wed Apr 9, 2008
How do you look online? Send us a link.

How is your online traffic?

How many showings have you had in the first 4 weeks on the market?

How much written feedback did you receive vs. total showings?

Let us know the answers and the vague feedback may be easier to diagnose.
1 vote
Sally English, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Fri Jan 18, 2013
One of the easiest solutions is "do it yourself" designer wall paint Check out the Ralph Lauren color panels.
0 votes
Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Sat Jun 16, 2012
Hey JIm,

Get out you work clothes and get to work. There are a few things you can do to bring new life into an older home. First of all brag about the age of your home. Older homes are built much better than new homes. They are solid! They were built by Americans using good old material made right here in the USA, and of highest quality. That being said here we go:

1. Paint your interior white or off white. Too many colors may not appeal to buyers
2. Change the faucets in your kitchen and bath. Use a nickle , rubbed bronze,or stainless steel finish
3. Change the hanldes and knobs on all cabinets and drawers in the kitch and bath, make sure the finish on the handles and knobs is the same as the faucets
4. If your home is older it may have wood floors, if it does pull up the carpet, have your wood floors buffed and polished. You will need to hire a professional for this job. Buyers love wood floors and if you have wood floors your wood floors are better than anything they can buy these days. why not show them off?
4. Paint the trim of your house, and change the house numbers. Stay away from brass numbers go with a rubbed bronze.
5.Clear off your kitchen counters, try not to have anything other than a coffee pot on the counter
6. Make your home shine. Clean it from top to bottom, clear out the garage.
7. Put new bed spreads on the beds, and change the curtains. Something shear would be nice.
8. Cleanand polish the finish on your appliances, even though they are not stainless, they still can shine!

Best of Luck to You.
Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes
Sally English, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Wed Feb 10, 2010
From my blog:

ADVICE TO HELP YOUR HOME SELL QUICKLY: With the number of homes on the market outnumbering buyers, your home will need to be in tip-top condition to compete. The challenge is to guarantee you make the list for a buyer’s consideration, and stay on that list for as long a possible.

Your Home Needs To Be A Survivor

One of our daughters enjoys watching the reality TV show “Survivor.” As you may know, the premise of the show is to send a group of 16 participants to a deserted island, then throw a series of obstacles, challenges, and competitions at the group to see who can “survive.” Participants are systematically eliminated from the competition over a period of about 39 days. The last person to be eliminated, the “Survivor,” wins a check for one million dollars.

During the competition participants have to figure out how to manipulate their position in the community so that they don’t get voted off the island in that week’s episode. The motto of survivor is “Out Wit, Out Last, Out Play”. That’s not a bad motto for home sellers to adapt.

Outwit Your Competition

Home sellers can outwit the competition by thinking like a buyer. Take a walk around your property, looking for anything around your home that would deter a buyer as they consider your home for purchase. Is the landscaping overgrown and out of control? Does the front door and entrance offer an appealing introduction to your home? Are there odors in your home from pets, bathroom mildew, garbage disposals, etc.? Do you have roof leaks or dampness in the basement?

Any one of these seemingly minor issues would provide a buyer with an excuse to mark your home off the list. Should a buyer find any of these problems in your home, you will be eliminated from the running. Meanwhile, the competition will stay in the game.

Repair Defects Before Putting Your Home On The Market

If you find a defect during your walk around the property, get it repaired before you put the home on the market. By thinking like a buyer and looking at your home with a fresh and objective eye for defects, you can out wit the competition and place your home on the “survivor” list. Now, you need to figure out how to “Out Last” the competition.

Outlast the Competition

How can you place yourself in position to be the sole survivor on a buyer’s short list of homes to consider for purchase? At this stage of the competition, you need to move from overcoming defects in your home to creating positive attributes that will place your home a notch above the competition.
1.Create some curb appeal by planting some colorful annuals in your flower beds and pots.
2.Put out a birdfeeder to make your back yard look like a nature habitat.
3.Place an attractive mat at the front door.
4.And, while you are at it, consider adding a fresh coat of paint to the front door.
5.Wash all your windows, inside and out.
6.Remove window screens and store them in the garage or basement.
7.Place bright bulbs in every light socket.
8.Take this opportunity to eliminate clutter from your home. Your home will actually look larger if you reduce the amount of furniture and other “stuff” lying around.
9.Rent a storage unit if space is short.
10.Replace the shower curtain, hang fresh towels in the bathroom, and replace the lid on the toilet for a “renovated” look.
11.Remove everything from the kitchen counter, clean the oven and clean out the cabinets.
12.Treat the laundry room in a similar fashion. Remove all laundry from the laundry room on a regular basis.
13.Fresh flowers on the countertop and fresh smells in the house will go a long way towards creating a positive impression of your home.
Your home-selling competition may not go to the trouble of creating this positive experience, so they are likely to get voted off the list of houses to be considered while you remain in the race. Finally, you need to “Out Play” the competition.

Outplay the Competition

Outplaying the competition may require spending a little money. By spending a little cash to spruce up your home before you put it on the market, you can almost certainly put cash back in your pocket through the sale of your home.

My favorite projects are

1.painting (inside or out depending on your needs), 2.removing outdated wallpaper,
3.installing inexpensive fans in bedrooms,
4.installing new electrical switch and outlet covers
5.replacing worn kitchen countertops.
6.refinishing hardwood floors in older homes. carpet in select rooms
8.a couple of new light fixtures
Your home probably doesn’t need all these projects. But, tackling just one or two of these projects may help you outlast the competition.
0 votes
Dolly Poston…, , Attica, IN
Thu Apr 10, 2008
Hi Jim! Thanks for asking! My recommendation would be that you make an appointment with your Realtor to view other properties with the same 3/2 you have that are near yours or that would come up when a search is done of the mls. You need to think outside of the box as to "what do I do to mine to make it more appealing to the buyers viewing it" and see just what is out there. WHY are these other homes selling and mine is not...? Find out.

If you do not have a Realtor, get one and BE HONEST. I have no problem taking people to view properties for this reason. Besides, someday you or one of your friends or family will need a good Realtor....who are you going to call then....hopefully me. Make sense?

Now, once you have seen the differences look at what is cost prohibitive to you. Make sure you do not do a renovation that you will not see your return on. Again, if you do not have a Realtor, get one. He or she should be able to make recommendations to you based on what is going on in the Atlanta market that will enhance your appeal. Don't feel bad asking questions...if you do not sell you will be Realtor shopping....and that, Realtor shopping, is another entire topic!

Hey, best of luck to you!
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0 votes
Lise Desorme…, , Atlanta, GA
Thu Apr 10, 2008
Here is an answer I hope you feel is right for you.

In 2007 Homegain surveyed 1000 professional real estate agents and 3 bed/2ba home examples to complete the survey. When a seller spent $5,000 to $8,000 in home improvement and staging (If you live in the property get it de-Cluttered/de-Personalized if vacant get it professionally staged with furnishings) the return on investment was 150%.

Your money will be well spent Jim and you will see a return, this is a fact. You can ask for the highest possible price when you put the WOW factor in a home for sale. In this market I suggest you do all you can to make your property the one that will sell quickly.

I own a professional staging company here in Atlanta and all of our seemingly impossible to sell properties are selling quickly (weeks to a few short months) after staged.

Good luck with decision. Hope this helps.
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0 votes
Natascha Katz, Agent, Alpharetta, GA
Wed Apr 9, 2008
If you do not want to do a complete redo, just have home very clean, neatly painted, maintained very well, curb side appeal top notch and last but not least with no WOW factor and in this market, price it right. A well priced home will many times attract a buyer without a wow factor. Do not worry about not getting top dollar because you are not having to invest more money into it by putting a wow factor and you should more than make up that difference with the purchase of your next home.
Just price it right to start with! This way you do not waste time or buyers because the most viewings are usually within the first 6-8 week period.
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0 votes
Tman, , 30642
Wed Apr 9, 2008

Get to the very light section of the paint department of you're favorite store and do the interior in light, white and right ...

We just back from Augusta (and you live in Atlanta) you can't get anymore WOW than Augusta ..

$1,500 in landscaping can do some amazing things, and it certainly can bring the buyers ... I've also seen it bring an extra $10,000 at sale time - right now, just worry about the buyers...

0 votes
Robert Greer…, Agent, Desert Hot Springs, CA
Wed Apr 9, 2008
Cheapest answer? Paint! Take a good look at the homes that are selling in your area. See if copying those winning color schemes will work with your house. Also, be sure to simplify each and every room. If you ever have a potential buyer stop to look at those family photos on the hearth you'll realize that your buyer has forgotten to pay attention to your home.
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June Lizotte,…, , Portland, OR
Wed Apr 9, 2008
In addition to the other good answers I'll add that Color and style in your staging will make any
10-year-old-remodel step up a notch. Are you showing it vacant; if so some nice staging with a few choice pieces should help? If not, are your rooms tidy, organized and not too cluttered? Your price needs to be looked at as well; are you ' The House To Buy ' in your neighborhood? That's your goal.
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Joshua Jarvis, Agent, Duluth, GA
Wed Apr 9, 2008

Lee's answer is perfect. It's impossible to tell you what you might want to do without knowing the facts.

The fact is, I can look at a properly marketed home and it's statistics and tell you what's wrong nine times out of 10.

Hint: WOW usually means, "I cannot believe I can buy this home at THIS price."

Good Luck! Don't do a redo without consulting a professional Realtor!
0 votes
Nita Haynes, , Orangeburg, SC
Wed Apr 9, 2008
Now that it is Spring, making the curb appeal irresistible is a must! Plant bright, beautiful flowers in both the front and back yards. Bring this appeal right on inside. Use fresh cut flowers in those rooms to add a little cheer and use accessories in the baths that correlate with those colors.
Pricing is essential...if your pice is affordable, then it will sell!!!
0 votes
Bee Nguyen, , Atlanta, GA
Wed Apr 9, 2008

If you feel that adding stainless steel appliances will help, I would suggest going to the Sears scratch & dent in Tucker--great deals with minor cosmetic flaws or Brandsmart (a little overwhelming, but good prices). Buyers these days expect stainless steel as a standard. All of the advice below is helpful and true...ultimately make sure your house is clean and priced correctly. Perhaps, offer an incentive that will help you stand out from the other similiar houses in the neighborhood. A broker bonus that would encourage agents to show your house over the other houses in the neighborhood?

Good luck!
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Leanne Smith, , 95247
Wed Apr 9, 2008
JIm, the agents here have giving you some fantastic advice!!! I would only like to add that after you have put the wow factor into your home, sit down with your agent again and go over neighborhood comps. be sure that you are priced below your competition! you want your house to be price so that you are ahead of the others.... not behind, because with or without the wow factor if you aren't priced right it will be tough to sell!
Good luck!
agent Leanne
0 votes
Kathy Seger &…, Agent, Roswell, GA
Wed Apr 9, 2008
Jim, You have some great answers here. We suggest to all our sellers to do the following...

1. put our a new door mat with a little color
2. fresh flowers, get 2 mixed bouquet from the grocery and divide for several rooms
3. new plush towels in baths
4. new master bed room linens - bag set with decorative pillows
5. remove all personal photos & knick knacks
6. if you do not like it anymore remove it

As a way to keep cost down, we suggest shopping Tuesday Mornings, Stein Mart, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, etc.

Best of luck with the sale of your home!
0 votes
Peggy Hatley,…, , Cartersville, GA
Wed Apr 9, 2008
Hello Jim,
This should be fairly easy. I have a design background and effectfully use it in my real estate business along with my husbands building business. Paint is the fastest and most cost effective way to take a boring room and make it pop. It may require changing out some bed linens or draperys to. But all this can be done for a reasonable price. You need to determine what and how much you can spend, $500.00 to a $1,000.00. Can you do the work your self and do a really good job at it or will it need to be hired out. The paint color or colors used should be determined by the size of the room and the amount of light coming into the room along with what type room it is (kitchen, bath bedroom). Remove excess items and make the rooms feel larger. Make sure the colors are natural and pleasing visit the paint stores and see what is new and being used today. Take a trip to Macy's or Stein Mart and look at the bedroom displays. Pick out a new bedding and chose the less of the colors in the bedding for wall color. If you have hardwoods in the living room and have a nice patterned rug on the floor, look at the rug and choose a color from the rug that will work on the walls. DO make sure that there is a flow thru out the whole house by that I mean repeat colors into each room. What you use as a main color in one room should be taken into the next but used less and vis versa. Pick up some magizines and really look at the rooms on display. I would be happy to give you some help if you would email me pictures of your home, each room and the FMLS number on the listing. I can see the interior pictures there if there are some. My email is I am finding in todays market people are not wanting to do the work themselves. I am doing a complete redo on a 20 year old home now because the feedback was they loved the home and floorplan but wanted new granite tops ect. They did not want to mess with it.
Hope this will help you. Peggy Hatley
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Dave Gordon, , Dahlonega, GA
Wed Apr 9, 2008

I would agree with what Judy said and add that "shine" is important. When you walk into a house with a client it needs to be bright and uncluttered. I might even say sparse. The shine is the floors, the counter tops, the appliances, the bathroom, etc. If you have wood floors - polish them to a high gloss and remove the area rugs; if you have tile, do the same. Polish all of your appliances, countertops, bathtubs, sinks, wood cabinets, etc. There are several products out there that can "rejuvenate" worn wood, tile, laminated counters, etc. If you have carpet - get it cleaned; if you have cloth covered sofas and chairs and they are older - clean them. Paint the walls a neutral color. Eliminate all odors. Paint or steam clean the garage floor. No hint of mildew, pets, cigerettes (I quit smoking so long ago I have even forgotten how to spell it), etc.
Curb appeal can not be overstated. It is the first impression when you drive up that will set the tone for the viewing. It is as important as that first look when the front door is opened. Clear out the flower beds, pressure wash the driveway and sidewalks (porches and decks also), and add next straw or bark chips. Again, bright and clean!
It may be more of a case of expenses, but the greater expense may be your time in lieu of your money.
It simply comes down to accentuating the positives and minimizing the detractors. Does the house stand out from the competition? Walk outside and look; walk in the front door , look, and think about what you see. How does it make you feel? Make it shine and it will make you fell great!
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Judy Wittenb…, Agent, Suwanee, GA
Wed Apr 9, 2008
If you cannot do the things to update your home, it could take longer to sell and you will need to price it accordingly, especially if the other houses you are competing with have been updated. You also want to make sure it is spotless, staged by a professional, and shows like a model home. The carpets must be clean and the walls freshly painted. Curb appeal is huge also. With so much inventory on the market now, it is critical to have your house stand out....the WOW you are looking for. Going to model homes in your area can give you some good ideas. Ask your Realtor to take you into the other houses in your neighborhood that are for sale so you know your competition. And once you have it on the market, make sure your Realtor is giving it maximum exposure on the internet with enhanced and featured listings on all of the major websites. I hope that is helpful. Judy Wittenberg, Prudential Georgia Realty.
0 votes
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