I went into the real estate business specializing in residential sales in the Land Park, East Sacramento and Curtis Park neighborhoods. These are the neighborhoods I love and I have lived in Land Park for over 30 years. Little did I dream that I would develop a niche to my specialty.
I wish I could say it was a well planned business plan. It wasn’t. It started with a property that I was asked to list about 2 years ago. It was dated, but otherwise a truly charming home. I knew that it would net the sellers much more money if they would be willing to put a little money into it. I had just started using a new stager and asked for her input as to colors. I found a wonderful contractor who could paint, take care of any electrical needs as well as do pest work. Other specialists who could work on hardwood floors, plumbing and cleaning also come into play and are an important part of the process.
First, we needed to determine what needs doing as opposed to completing an all out remodel. Much of the time I need to be respectful of what the owner has loved about their home and assure them that we will keep that “aura”. I have now learned the key elements that should almost always be done in this situation. Fresh interior paint is almost always a given. Dated homes are most quickly identified by the choice in paint colors. The second might be surprising…new light fixtures. Large hardware stores have a great selection without paying a premium price. Floors always have to be considered. This is where it can get expensive, so it is critical to balance the need for new flooring with the cost. Almost without exception, we remove all window treatments unless they are quality shutters. Finally, the house should be thoroughly cleaned and staged well.
This house turned out beautifully. We didn’t remodel a dated kitchen, but the tile was an acceptable color and in good condition. We replaced the range since it was old and well used. We also replaced all of the faucets in the house as well as the light fixtures and cabinet knobs. We pulled up carpeting, exposed the hardwood floors and had them buffed. We painted the entire interior of the home. I planted flowers in the front and back yards. Details do count, so a mirror was replaced in the bathroom and an interior planter had its fake flowers replaced with quality artificial ivy. All in all, we spent about $8000 and in return, sold it for about $20,000 more than we would have if we had done nothing.
A neighbor 2 doors down came to the first open house to see the end product. As it happens, they were about to go through the same process and wanted to see what they needed to do. They were from out of town and it was going to be a logistical nightmare. When I told them I could do it for them and that it was part of the service I offer when I list a property, they were thrilled. I could almost see the relief in their eyes and posture. We went through the same process with the same results.
I am now establishing a reputation that I can help in these types of situations. More often than not, the home is a family home in which the parents have passed away and the children are trying to determine what to do. At one of my open houses, 2 sisters came by. They had heard about what I do and wanted to see the finished results. They told me that they will be putting their parents home on the market fairly soon and had heard about my services. They also wanted to see the end results. I was so pleased when they told me that when the time comes, they will be contacting me to help them.
I have had the good fortune to have prepared and sold 2 more homes in the same way. I am presently working on 2 more. One Land Park home that is in its finishing stages will go on the market in about a week. The other is just being started and will probably take about 3 weeks to complete.
This is such a win-win for me. Many times the seller is a child of the owner and lives out of town. The logistics of preparing to put a home on the market is formidable. I get the opportunity to take that burden from a seller, make the home shine and help the seller maximize their net from the sale of the home. I love the niche that has found me!