A Mountain home owner called me recently. She and her husband owned an income property in Crestline. They decided to sell it last year and it sat on the market like a cold potato. Not producing income and not selling! She was very discouraged and asked me to list the property.
We met at the house for my pre-listing inspection. I was surprised one of my colleagues did not advise her better on how to get the property ready for sale, no wonder it did not sell. It looked like a dirty old rental, and I told her so. She said, you are right it’s ugly! We walked the house together and made a plan on how to improve the look and not break the bank. A month later she called me and said she was ready for the listing photos. The house was transformed. I recommend raising the listing price by $15,000 and I was able to sell it in less than 90 days.
Here is a list of some of the things she did and some ideas on what you can do if you are getting ready to sell your Crestline rental.
The first thing is clean the house. It may be a job for both Mr. and Mrs. Clean. If you are not up to the task you may want to I have the house professionally cleaned. Unless your home buyer is a savvy investor, they are not going to buy a dirty house. It must be clean. I have seen dirty rentals discounted by as much as $20,000 because the house looks bad. A good though cleaning is worth the money in gold. Not only will it look more inviting to buyers, the house will smell better too. Take the time to have the windows clean too. Buyers like a bright home. You may find that some walls only require a good washing rather than a new paint job.
For walls with holes from former pictures or chipped paint I recommend prepping and paint in a light neutral paint. The advantage of painting is I can advertise it “just painted.” If the wood work is nicked up, which is very common, a bottle of Old English is a great scratch cover up; especially on kitchen cabinets and stair railings.
Next, decide if it is worth it to install new rental grade flooring. Buyers are funny about flooring. Your buyer may not keep what you install for long, but they are not going to buy a home with dirty or stained carpet either. Even if you offer a carpet credit, they prefer seeing a newer style. Plus old carpet often has pet odors. A rental grade flooring installed cost around $12 a yard.
Once you are satisfied with the interior, inspect the exterior, especially the front. Make sure it looks inviting. Buyers are critiquing your home before they get out of the car. More than once, the buyers have said, “I don’t even need to get out of the car. I am not buying this home.” You may decide the trim needs to be touched up as well as the deck. The hand rails weather the worst. A few well placed potted plants may be the final touch you need. My seller brought up drought resistant succulents since the house was vacant and she was not available to water often.
Statewide sales are down 12 percent from this time last year. It may be because the weather has been so disagreeable, or because the interest rates and prices have increased which shrinks the buyer pool. So if you are planning to sell this year it is especially important to make the house look its best so you can beat the competition.
Please call me if you would like more information on getting your Crestline rental ready for sale. I work hard to sell my listings in 120 days or less.
Your neighborhood Realtor,
CA BRE #01240715