Prepping my condo for sale. Debating how much I should invest in "staging" and upgrades. Aside from upgrading appliances, what else should

Asked by Ib, 94568 Mon Jun 13, 2011

be must do?

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Sunil Sethi, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Jun 13, 2011
It should be clean, and ready to occupy.

If you need to paint, make sure you don't paint it white. No one wants to buy a place that looks like a hospital. Choose a comfortable neutral color. Every REALTOR has their favorite go to market color scheme.

Also behave like a buyer again (like when you bought it), and whatever looks dated or non-functioning in the home is a candidate for repair/repalcement. Again talk to your REALTOR for references on where and what to buy and whom to use to get the work done.

Pretty homes that are ready to move in, sell at a premium and faster.

Too many first time buyers can't see past the problems and they generally don't have cash leftover to do the repairs.

Good luck on your sale.

-Sunil Sethi
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1 vote
the market is very short on inventory right now and sellers are benefiting. You don't have to do as much prepping to sell a home today, but taking care of problems and making it attractive brings in more offers and does help sell your home at a new high price.
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David Burnham, , Washington, DC
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Fresh paint and declutter are things that are a must do. I would also look into making sure the windows are clean and any general maintenance items are taken care of. If your carpets are worn, you may want to look into replacing some of them, or at least putting area rugs on top.

You may also consider hiring a professional cleaner right before putting the condo on the market. There are a lot of little things that you might not even realized are dirty, but your buyers will find them.

You can really add a lot of value for very little money with some of these small things.
1 vote
Patricia Des…, Agent, Colchester, VT
Thu Apr 14, 2016
AMPLIFY LIGHT: Many condos are interior units with limited light. A fresh coat of paint throughout goes a long way to amplifying existing light. If it's a small space, I would recommend using one neutral light paint color or paint it a classic white (e.g. Sherwin-Williams Alabaster). Be a bit more adventurous in powder rooms and add a splash of color with pillows and throws. Bounce light from windows by placing mirrors on the wall adjacent to the light source. Stainless steel appliances go a long way in making a kitchen feel updated...even if other parts of the kitchen are dated.
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Ali Qureshi, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Tue Jan 14, 2014
I am sure by now you would have sold your condo and had a great experience. I always advice sellers to think like buyers. Buyers want to get a feel of the home and instantly they imagine if they were living in that property. A staged house fills that gap and enables buyers to picture themselves in the house. So, I highly recommend to consider staging as a great selling tool but at the same time don't go over board as well.
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Patty Balla…, Agent, Danville, CA
Tue Sep 18, 2012
Curb appeal 1st then de clutter, clean, paint and stage.
Make it look like a model. the way you live in a home and sell a home are two totally different beasts!
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Jerry Cibuls…, Agent, Southold, NY
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Keep the decor simple and clean. You want the condo to have a fresh and clean presentation.
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John Arendsen, Agent, Leucadia, CA
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Fresh paint, sod in the the front and back yard, a few pieces of furniture and some artwork on the walls in every room tends to get my attention. A home shows better if it looks lived in.
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Bob Georgiou, Agent, Danville, CA
Mon Jun 13, 2011

There is no rule of thumb here. It depend is the best answer. For example if your home was buit in 1968 and it has the original kitchen and bath spending 5k in appliances isnt going to buy very much in additional market value since the new buyer is going to have to gut everything anyhow. Depending on the size of your home that brand new 4 burner stainless stove is going to be replaced with a gourment unti and will have no value at all to any buyer. Most agents are willing to do walkthourghs with you ino order to start to build a relationship with you. This may be the adviseable approach.
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Kevin Dielis…, Agent, Danville, CA
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Dear IB,

Really hard to say without looking. My advice is to contact a local expert agent to come over and look at your condo. Staging is VERY important to create the right look and wow factor. The condo market is especially tough right now in Dublin. Appliances, carpet, paint are all important, but again, need to be looked at. A good stager should be able to do a job for about $500-1000, assuming you have decent furniture. You are welcome to contact me. I live and work in Dublin and have 31 years of experience. I do this kind of consulting work all the time. No cost, no obligation. Good advice from a local experience is priceless.

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CJ Brasiel, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Great post written by Suzanne on RIS Media a while back. The link for the PDF below but here is the excerpt.

According to the HomeGain survey, the top five home improvements that Realtors recommend to
home sellers based on cost and return on investment (from highest to lowest ROI) are:

1. Cleaning and de-cluttering ($200 cost / $1,700 price increase / 872% ROI)
2. Home staging ($300 cost / $1,780 price increase / 586% ROI)
3. Lightening and brightening ($230 cost / $1,300 price increase / 572% ROI)
4. Landscaping ($320 cost / $1,500 price increase / 473% ROI)
5. Repairing plumbing ($385 cost / $1,250 price increase / 327% ROI)
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Moxley Team, Agent, pleasanton, CA
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Very important is the presentation of your home and staging is one of many. Paint, carpeting, cleaning and smelling good! Don't overlook lighting and cleaning windows too! Buyers also can tell a lot about the home from recent improvements like the upgrading so don't skimp on the quality there. Purchase good name brand, but not too high end on appliances. Overall, marketing is key. Make sure you have an agent who not only knows how to advertise, but also market your home. Make sure they have an excellent internet presence. Check references too!
Best of luck.
If you have questions, you can ask us.

Moxley Team
Alain Pinel Realtors
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Kent Hu, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Interior paint and carpet steam cleaning would be first things to do. Get a local market export/realtor to help you.... really depends on market, such as dublin ranch villages sometimes it might not necessary to invest for upgrades or staging if you doing de-cluttering, packing already... I have many reliable resources if you need any help.. Kent
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Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Depends on several factors:

Obviously, the higher-end the property, the more you should invest in preparation and marketing. For example, we had a million-dollar condo listing overlooking the lake --- THAT required staging to the hilt to highlight the fabulous views and amenities. It received multiple offers and went pending in a week's time.

If you're in an area where you are competing with several distressed (foreclosures, short sales) condos and you're selling as a regular sale, you have a built-in advantage provided you price it right.

Is the condo complex an older community? How many units were upgraded/remodeled? You wouldn't want to over-improve to the extent that you're going to need a higher price to recover some of your expenses.

Bottom line: concentrate on the three "C's" --- clutter, clean, color.

Paint is the least expensive way to refresh your condo.

If you have fairly decent carpet, you could consider getting it professionally cleaned (or if that's impossible,look into replacing it). If you're a smoker or you had pets --- all the more that you should get it replaced since odors linger.

Simplify, simplify , simplify. Pare down your stuff to 50% of what you have. Remove all personal items (photos, religious icons, etc). Pack away or give away as much stuff as you can. LESS IS MORE

If your appliances are truly beat down or broken --- go to Airport Appliances to get a selection of inexpensive replacements.

An experienced realtor can help walk you through the condo and point out things you can do to present your place in the best possible light. can scout your neighborhood -- when there is an open house, or there is a broker's tour (your realtor can tell you), see what your competition is doing, or get some ideas from staged properties.

How may I help?
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Vickie Nagy, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Hello lb,

You've got some great advice here. I'm a home staging/real estate professional. I took the home staging classes so that I could help people like you sell fast and at the best possible price.

One of the cheapest things you can do to get your home ready to sell is make it s-p-a-r-k-l-i-n-g clean. I mean Q-tip clean. It should smell clean as well. The decluttering should include depersonalization as well. Take down the family photos, etc.

Consider asking your real estate professional to recommend a home stager to help you get your home ready to sell.

All the best,
Vickie Nagy, Broker Associate, CA DRE#01363932
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Gerard Carney, Agent, Spring Hill, FL
Mon Jun 13, 2011
Fresh paint is a must, as far as appliances, if they are less than 6 years old they are fine. Make sure they match. Window treatments can be a seller and need not be expensive. Condos look best when not cluttered so better to have less than more! Staging need only be as needed which is to say make what you have look nice, make it neat and clean and the rest will sell itself!
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