After hitting a plateau for a while, housing prices in Los Angeles are showing an increase this fall. If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, now is the time to put its best foot forward to get the best price.
The first exposure your home will have to potential buyers is through pictures and videos. It’s important to have it in tip-top shape the moment it goes online.
Here are five things you can do to impress prospective buyers.
1. Make sure the exterior is perfect
The first thing a prospect will see in photos or in person will be the exterior of your home from the street. Curb appeal is critical.
- Keep the yard immaculate: mowed, edged, trimmed, and pruned. Today’s buyers want an attractive yard, but they want it to be low maintenance. They want a grass type that is drought resistant. Native plants that require little water are also a plus.
- Freshen the paint. If the outside of your house is weather faded or chipped, give it a new coat. Fresh colored mulch in flower beds provides a little visual “pop." Potted plants tastefully arranged at an entrance provide a homey touch.
- Replace the outdated front door. Market tests show your door has a remarkable impact on buyers. A new stylish one will give you a return on the money you spend. The same is true of garage doors, especially if they face the street.
2. All systems must be ‘go’
Buyers expect a home’s major systems to be in good working order. A poor inspection report can kill a sale, so check these:
3. Kitchens and baths
Outdated kitchens and baths are an instant turnoff. Updating or remodeling these rooms can make your property sell quicker and bring a high return on your investment. Necessary updates may include:
- Fixtures (sinks, toilets, faucets, etc.).
These improvements are on the outer limits of most people’s DIY skills, so look to a professional such as Pearl Remodeling to get it done right.
4. Spiff up the interior
Clean thoroughly, add a fresh coat of paint, and look for any minor upgrades you can make.
- For paint, go with a neutral color such as a subtle gray, tan, or off-white. Prospective buyers may not share your taste in bold colors or patterns.
- Wallplates, switches, and outlets get dirty and dull over time, and replacing them is inexpensive. Everybody has a cellphone now, so replace electrical outlets with ones that have a USB charging port. Any “smart” improvement you make will especially appeal to millennials, who are now the majority of homebuyers.
- Don’t replace old carpet with new. Carpet is out of style and buyers prefer a hard surface. If you have good wood flooring, have it cleaned or refurbished. If not, consider adding it or going with an easy-to-install “floating floor.”
5. Outdoor living space grows in importance
Buyers in all demographics now place emphasis on a home’s outdoor living area. If yours is a barebones and drab deck or patio, consider making upgrades.
- Clean, stain, and seal your deck.
- Bare concrete slab is not appealing in a patio. Consider an overlay with stone or tile.
- An attractive covering over part or all of your outdoor space is a plus. It’s a good idea to hire a pro like Pearl Remodeling for a major project like this.
- Make the space inviting with furnishings, rugs, and potted plants.
When your home is ready for the market, have it staged. This means having a professional put a critical eye on it, “declutter” it of unnecessary personal items and arrange furnishings for maximum appeal. Your broker can recommend a good pro. Also, have it professionally photographed and videographed. A first impression either online or in-person can make or break a deal.
Jocelyn Ramirez has been a home stager for more than 10 years. She writes about staging and other issues that help both home buyers and sellers meet in the real estate marketplace.