This post was supposed to be dedicated to make-ready projects (as in the work required to make a home ready to be listed for sale) but the “what-ifs” have been on my clients’ minds lately and if I’m being honest, mine as well.
Due to my background in real estate and speculative new home construction, I love the challenge of preparing a home to be listed for sale and crossing items off a punch list at rapid speed. It’s a little facelift for the house and feels very rewarding when prospective buyers compliment the changes or a sale occurs faster than expected. This project segment has been steadily growing within my business and ranges from straightforward (freshening up the paint with more updated colors) to the complex (solving long-standing water issues and their subsequent repairs, replacing cracked floor tiles or damaged wood planks, completing unfinished DIY projects, etc). We start by touring the home with the owners and their realtor to draft a wish list of everything they would like (or feel they need) to repair. A detailed estimate is prepared so that they may choose which jobs to proceed with. Once the work begins, it’s common for the homeowners to add on additional work as they are delighted by the changes they see in a short amount of time. I also come prepared with a list of my suggested items that are standard in most homes – small things that might be overlooked by homeowners but can make a big impression on buyers. When making selections for make-ready projects, we tend to stick to popular (but never bland!) colors or finishes. This is not to say that we chose very basic or what I call “offensive neutrals” but rather current shades with personality. Sherwin-Williams was kind enough to provide me with a fan deck of the 50 most popular colors and I was thrilled to use it for the first time during a make-ready consultation this week.
Here are some photos from a recently completed listing, which sold within days. Great family moving onwards and upwards and very focused on doing what was needed to obtain a quick sale.
The “what-ifs” in these cases are relegated to the market and buyer’s response to our selections, which is more straightforward than trying to accommodate personal taste. The “what-ifs” become more difficult for owners staying in their homes and trying to determine whether a project is feasible from a financial, practical, or cosmetic vantage. What if I don’t like it? What if my partner doesn’t like it? What if the kids ruin it? What if it doesn’t look good? What if I get tired of it? And my most dreaded…what if it affects future resale? As a home builder, I survived a pattern of build, move, list, sell, repeat for close to ten years. On average, we moved every eleven months. Finally, with three children under the age of six in tow, I’d had enough. Our residence had to be showroom pretty at all times and resale was the one and only consideration when making selections, creating layouts, or crafting design features. While it was enjoyable to always live in a beautiful house, the cycle was exhausting and I tired quickly of living in other people’s dream homes. Afraid to choose anything that could negatively affect a future sale, or including options that I didn’t want because I hoped it was something that someone else would (dark hardwood with small children, I’m looking at you) became overwhelming. Now, when I’m meeting with a client and the conversation inevitably turns to the dreaded question above, we talk about timeframes, likelihood of an upcoming sale, and possible future fixes. Paint color is an easy one; converting a laundry room BACK to a bedroom presents more of a challenge. I will say that based on my previous life experience, I always encourage clients to choose what they like, regardless of market trends. It’s your house and you not only have to live in it, you should love living in it as well. An additional benefit of slightly unconventional choices can be the appeal they present to a market saturated with builder beige and other “safe” choices.
This custom master bath remodel was a significant factor in the quick sale of this pretty home.
In construction and in life, when presented with any decision it’s tempting to consider the myriad of ways it can go wrong. This can be prudent, especially when the stakes are high. But not deciding is a decision too. And those decisions that do go right? You’ll never forget them.
photo credit: Bumble via Instagram