Here’s a home staging tip from a professional home stager: Get your home ready to sell. Home buyers in the Los Angeles real estate market want a house that is move in ready.
Home buyers don’t want an allowance to repair the roof, replace the carpet, redo the kitchen or repaint. Allowances are for teenagers. They want a well priced home, in a decent location, that they can move right in to without spending another dime.
Its a big fallacy that home buyers want to choose their own carpet or paint colors. If you choose a nice, neutral color carpet and nice neutral color wall paint (both things the best home stagers can help you with) most home buyers will see your home as more desirable because it is move-in-ready. They’ll be thrilled they don’t have to worry about picking out carpet and having it installed or find a painter who has time in their schedule. If your home stager can’t help you with this, then you are working with the wrong home stager.
Most home buyers are maxing out their home purchasing budget by making an offer on the nicest home they can possibly afford. They don’t have extra money to paint, install new carpet or retile the bathroom. They want to move in as soon as escrow closes, not after they have to make a lot of repairs to make their new home livable.
This Los Angeles condo was on the market for 6 months with no offers. After it was remodeled, it went into escrow the first week it was put back on the market for considerably higher than it’s original list price.
Here’s what happens when you offer a $5,000 allowance for repairing the roof that should have been replaced 5 years ago:
- The buyer thinks “What else didn’t they repair that they should have?”
- The buyer thinks “What structure got damaged by the leaky roof?”
- The buyer thinks “Is it really going to cost only $5,000 to repair the roof?”
- The buyer thinks “How much time will it take me to get bids, hire a roofing company & get the work done?”
- The buyer thinks “What happens if (fill in the disaster: it rains, the contractor absconds with the deposit, a worker falls off the roof)?”
- The buyer thinks “The seller must be desperate since the house isn’t in good shape.”
Here’s what happens next:
The buyer accepts your offer of $5,000 to repair the roof, and then also knocks off another 10% because they think the house is not in good condition or you are desperate…
The buyer rejects your house and moves on to the house down the street that is move in ready.
Here’s what happens when you offer a $3,000 allowance for new carpet:
- The buyer thinks “Will $3,000 really cover new carpet for the whole house?”
- The buyer thinks “I’m not from around here. Where do I buy new carpet?”
- The buyer thinks “That house down the street already has new carpet. Why should I take on the added stress of shopping for & installing new carpet?”
Here’s what happens next:
The buyer accepts your offer of $3,000 to buy new carpet, and then also knocks off another 10% because they think your allowance won’t cover all the costs …
The buyer rejects your house and moves on to the house down the street that is move in ready and already has new carpet installed.
By not repairing and updating your home before you put it on the market, you are asking home buyers to assume risk and additional expenses. You add more stress and uncertainty to the situation. Many home buyers are already investing every penny they can get their hands on in order to purchase a home. They are unable or unwilling to purchase a home that will require repairs before they can move in. Additionally, the condition of your home may effect the appraisal causing the buyer’s lender to refuse the loan.
Want to get a Los Angeles home sold? Price it right, hire the best full service Realtor you can find, hire a professional home stager and make sure it is in move-in ready condition.
This post was originally written December 2010. It has been updated to reflect current market conditions.