Getting your home ready to sell two years in advance may seem like premature planning. So when an older couple with a flat in Presidio Heights called for advice on what they needed to do in order to sell in 2013, I questioned whether they really needed my help right now. But after seeing their place and visiting with them, it made perfect sense for us to come up with a punch list so they could address the necessary work over time.
My major recommendation, which relieved them a great deal, was to defer just about all the home preparations until they were ready to sell. When the time comes, it will be easier to get everything done at once. They can even hire a staging/design team to come in and take care of things like paint, floor refinishing and replacing older hardware and light fixtures with more contemporary designs.
I also think they’ll be able to avoid a full staging and just do a partial one— they already have some strong pieces like a good sofa and coffee table to anchor the living room, and a lovely, stylish master bedroom set.
My most expensive recommendation was a replacement of their kitchen countertops and back splash. Right now, both are finished in a large beige tile with dark grout– a look that went out around 1982. The same design company handling the paint and staging will also be able to take care of this item when the time comes. The cost will be worth it—the kitchen is already beautifully laid out with an island and breakfast area, and their cabinetry design and quality has held up well over time. Ideally the new countertops will persuade a buyer that the kitchen is more than serviceable and not something they would have to remodel immediately after purchase.
The second bathroom will also need an updated vanity and counter. This is an easier job and something the owners want to do anyway. I recommended keeping the counter and cabinetry choices neutral and making sure they compliment the lovely grey floor tile they already had installed. They also have an older tub and tile surround, but I recommended against replacement. It’s an expensive fix that’s probably not worth the cost. A new buyer will probably want new tile anyway and will be able to make their own choices around this relatively straightforward item.
They will also need to replace worn tired carpets. Again, this is something they plan on doing sooner than later. When they are ready, I asked them to call me so I could make recommendatinos on what kind of carpet will hold up well over the next two years, as well as what shades will offer the most flexibility when choices are made around paint color and floor finishings.
Finally, we talked about changing out appliances. This is another item that can be taken care of just prior to marketing, but in the event they need to replace the refrigerator or dishwasher before then, I suggested they bite the bullet and go with stainless steel. Older appliances always seem to catch a buyer up and create the impression that the whole kitchen needs work, when simple updates can do the trick instead.
I finished my email by adding some links to a couple of staging firms I like who have some before and after photos on their website. The pictures offer a good sense of how paint color and other small changes affect the impression a prospective buyer has of a home. Not that this couple needs to do much– their home already has ‘great bones’ and the changes we discussed are relatively small. These efforts however, will deliver some stunning results. And they have such a fabulous home to work with already!
Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local Advice to San Francisco Buyers, Sellers and Owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call or email at 415-577-0809 or email at [email protected] www.ceceblase.com