Saturday, January 16, 2010

First Impressions Pay Dividends - The Value of Home Improvements Pt 2

In the annual survey, NAR (National Association of REALTORS) attempted to provide a gauge for what return sellers might expect to recoup after doing home improvements.  In other words, if you spend $100 for the improvement, will it increase the value of your home $100, or more, or less - THAT is the question.

Wondering what the one exception is?  (Drumroll, please....) Replacement of a front door!

This reinforces another piece of advice I give to clients – first impressions count, and in this case, it seems they pay dividends. 

In fact, I tell seller clients that 30% of the buying decision is made prior to arriving at the property, as they’ve usually seen pictures, have a clue about the area and know the price before they’ve considered looking at your property – they are 30% sold. Then, they make an appointment or maybe just do a “drive by” – this accounts for another 20%. Here, they are taking into consideration more intimate geographical decisions – your neighbors, the street, the outside of the home – all together referred to as curb appeal. A front door replacement has some affect in this calculation, too…. Although they haven’t touched anything or gotten an up close look, so it is still minimal.

Here it comes, they get out of their car. They imagine coming home to this place… do they like what they see? They stand for awhile at the front, waiting on someone to open the door. How much trouble do they have getting inside? Does the lock fall off the door? Does it unlock? Does the door look good? There is a lot of time spent here, and thus, the front door replacement would have an impact.  I also urge sellers to consider other details a buyer might notice if they were standing at the front door - cob webs, windows/screens, porch furniture and condition, cleanliness of siding, any adornment on the door or near the door - like flowers, wreaths, flags.... these all impact what the buyer thinks about who lives in the home, and how they care for it.  Worn door mats will cost you money on your sale - replace it or get rid of it all together.

From the front entry, another 25% of the buying decision is made. That means, if they enter you home with a positive impression they are 75% sold. What can they see from the front entry? In staging and marketing, there is a great deal of time spent on how to make this critical impression.

Once inside they place their furniture, figure out where they will sleep, entertain, if their furniture will fit… and all this together only accounts for 25% of the buying decision, but they must be 98% sold before they will put together an offer. As a seller, understanding this process is critical. Usually the first and last 20% a seller can not affect-they can not change the location of their property, they can not change the configuration of the home. They can price right and stage right – and that is the difference between sold and for sale, and where listening to a qualified sales consultant comes into play.

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