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Friday, September 23, 2011

5 Steps to Sell an 'Ugly House'.

I am sure you have seen the handmade signs on the side of the road:
'2 bed- 2 bath cheap house, $90K call 955-UGLY.'

For the purposes of this article, let's define an 'ugly house.'  For most of us these days it is probably a house that needs some kind of aesthetic work done if you want to sell it profitably or at all. The work required could be at many different levels from architectural elements, functionality, space planning, interior finishes, custom millwork, appliance selections, landscaping, cleanliness, clutter, etc. They can all play a part of 'ugly.'

With all the design, remodel and real estate shows on TV everyone has become more educated about renovating their homes, buying homes or flipping homes.....or have they? On TV they make it look so easy!  

On the show 'Flipping Out' (my favorite) you can see some of the trials and tribulations that designer Jeff Lewis goes through trying to get things done. 


And he does this for a living in front of an audience!   By the way, what are his design credentials anyway? ...sorry, off track. It's easy to get some ideas off these shows but it is a whole other story to try and execute it in your particular home. Every home is different and has different parameters than the show you see on TV - scale, natural lighting, utility locations and code requirements to name a few.
  
So you want to buy or you have a client with an 'ugly house' ...what should you really do to make a profitable sale? Here are 5 steps I recommend to be successful.
  
1. I would suggest you get a professional designer to give you a free consultation on some ideas that will help the house out of 'ugly.' This can be as easy as changing wall colors to adding some new walls to better define a space or removing some walls to open a space. It's called a 'Designer's Eye' for a reason....we can see things how they will be, instead of how they are. Simply put, get a professional.
  
2. Set a budget and implement the designer's renovation suggestions within that budget. Be sure to at least repair anything that is broken or not functioning. Get written estimates for all the repairs and renovations and then make decisions with your designer and realtor on those that will most affect your success in selling the home. Make your home stand out from the rest in that price range.

3. Remove as much clutter out of the house as you can. You want prospects to see as much of the walls, floors and ceilings as possible. The scale of furniture and accessories is important in helping the spaces look larger and having a prospect envision them living there. Your designer can really help you here.

4. Get the house cleaned. I mean super clean! Clean the windows, walls, rugs, floors, mirrors and anywhere else where dirt reigns supreme. The smelly carpets should be out by now and that fresh coat of paint will give the home a new feeling when your clients walk in!
  
5. After you've made designer improvements, offer a good deal.  Buyers are very knowledgeable these days of home prices in their area.  Make sure you are priced competitively, but be sure you are educating them on the advantages of your particular home. The designer's improvements will be evident when they walk in the home.