Maximizing ROI & Selling Your Home | How to Home Podcast #002

Maximizing ROI & Selling Your Home | HTH002

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Transcript

Aaron:
00:00
Welcome
to the How To Home Podcast presented by FilterBuy. I’m your host, Aaron Massey,
a DIY home improvement enthusiast and full-time content creator running
Mrfixitdiy.com. Alongside me is my co-host, Tracy Pendergast, a home and
lifestyle blogger operating her website, Heytracy.com. Each week we’ll cover
the real world ups and downs of owning a home, answer your questions and if we
don’t have the answer, we’ll talk to some experts to help you get the most out
of your remodel, repair and home improvement projects. Without further ado,
let’s start the show. My name is Aaron Massey and welcome back to another
episode of the How To Home Podcast. As always, I’m joined by my co-host, Tracy
Pendergast and our guest today is Eileen Lanza who is a real estate agent as
part of Keller Williams here in Los Angeles with over 15 years of residential
real estate experience. Thank you so much for being here, we are very happy and
looking forward to all the information that you can share with us and the
audience.
Eileen:
01:01
Happy
to be here, thank you.
Aaron:
01:02
On
today’s episode, we’re are going to talk about the ways to maximize the return
on your investment when it comes to doing some renovations on your home and
some tips for what to expect if you’re deciding to maybe list your home for
sale in the next couple of years. We’re going to talk about those things today,
but before we get into that, I just wanted to remind the audience that if you
guys want to call in and leave us a voicemail, you can do so at any time. We
can try our best to incorporate your questions into the show, so please call us
at 978-709-1040. You can leave us a voicemail about any range of DIY or home
improvement topic and we also, before we dive too deep into things, we want to
thank our founding sponsor of the show which is FilterBuy. FilterBuy is a
leading manufacturer of HVAC filters right here in the US. They manufacture
everything here locally in the US and they’re a family-owned business.
Tracy:
01:56
Not
only do you save 5% when you subscribe but all orders ship free within 24
hours. Boom.
Aaron:
02:03
They’re
really easy, super easy to sign-up. You just go to Filterbuy.com, you can input
your air filter sizes which you can find on your furnace depending on the
system that you have and you can set how frequently you want them delivered so
you never have to remember to change your filter or go set a reminder. They
just show up to your door when you should replace them, you can swap them right
in and they’ll show up on whatever frequency you want. I’ve signed up for it
myself and they show up every three months, so I can just change them out.
Eileen, give us a little bit of your background, how did you get into real
estate and tell us a little bit of all things Eileen.
Eileen:
02:37
My
husband and I were buying investment properties outside of California and I
felt myself not knowing if I could trust the realtor. We were using fax back
then and they would fax tons of contracts. I said to my husband, “I’m
going to take some classes, so if we continue to buy property, I’m going to
know what we’re doing even though they’re in different states.” I started
taking classes, absolutely fell in love with it and so I’ve been doing that
since about 2003.
Tracy:
03:07
I
pulled some quick facts and we’re going to see if you agree with all of these.
Eileen:
03:10
Okay.
Tracy:
03:12
According
to Offerpad.com, the seven projects that get the most bang for your buck are
refreshing interior paint, kitchen and bathroom remodels, updated attic
insulation, the removal of popcorn ceilings, updated lighting, upgraded
landscaping and updated plumbing. Then one more fact we have is this, according
to Remodeling Magazine’s report, the average recoup costs for remodeling
projects was less than 60%. For the most part, they found that the less
expensive projects generally have a higher return on investment and then more
expensive projects tend to cost more with less return.
Aaron:
03:51
How
do you feel about that? Do you agree with those?
Eileen:
03:53
Most
of them, not all of them. For me, the popcorn ceiling is not that important and
the insulation. At least here in our part of the country.
Aaron:
04:02
You
don’t feel like those play that big of a role in buyer’s minds?
Eileen:
04:06
I
don’t, I don’t. In fact, the insulation really doesn’t come up unless the
inspector happens to mention it in the sit down.
Tracy:
04:13
Then
in terms of spending more time on less expensive projects that just give a
quick facelift, would you agree that that’s … ?
Eileen:
04:21
A
better idea?
Tracy:
04:22
Mm-hmm
(affirmative).
Eileen:
04:23
Absolutely,
yes and less time.
Aaron:
04:25
Obviously,
there’s a lot involve in buying and selling homes. As a DIY guy, I bought my
first home about, I guess, four years ago now and it was a total fixer upper
and the realtor that I was dealing with at the time, she just kept telling me
how thankful she was she found me as a buyer because I’m this handy kind of
hands-on guy.
Aaron:
04:47
She’s
like, “This house was not ready for sale and you came along and we’re willing
to overlook a lot of things.” Now, I’m kicking myself for having done that
but right now, what I’m trying to do is … I don’t know if we’re going to be
there forever so the work that I’m doing, I want to make sure I’m maximizing
the return on the investment that I’m putting in.
Aaron:
05:08
Like
making sure I’m spending the money to target the areas that we can recoup down
the road and I’m just not sure what those best areas are. I thought we would
talk a little bit about that today and then should we want to sell a home or
should somebody want to sell a home, some of the things you need to consider
and how to put yourself in the best position to sell.
Eileen:
05:28
It
depends on a timeline. These tips are going to be someone who’s probably less
than a year out. The number one thing you can do is paint. It’s very
inexpensive, you can do it yourself, you can hire. Fresh paint throughout a
house, I see it all the time, it changes the whole vibe of the home. If you
only had to do one thing, I would do fresh paint.
Eileen:
05:52
Make
sure the house is clean, spotless, even if it’s you or a professional crew. I
don’t think it would be more than $250 to get a couple of people in there for
two days. Fresh and clean, and declutter which also is de-personalizing. You’re
probably moving anyway so clean out those closets, take down those photos, put
them in storage, preferably off site.
Eileen:
06:14
Longer
term, kitchens and baths are huge to buyers and I would say number one would be
kitchen. If there’s anything you can do, depending on your budget, to freshen
up the kitchen, that’s where I would put my money even if it was painting
cabinets. I’ve seen a lot of dated wood, ’80s, ’90s cabinets. If you freshen
those up, I think you’d see a return immediately.
Tracy:
06:38
You’re
touching on dated cabinets a bit, what are your thoughts when you’re remodeling
a home about doing things that are more on trend. Can they actually hurt you
when you go to sell the house?
Eileen:
06:51
If
they’re too trendy, they can hurt. When a buyer comes into a property, they’ll
usually have an immediate reaction to that trend, yes or no. My daughter asked
me this morning what I meant by trend. A French door is classic, so you’re
probably not going to … You probably will be okay with that French door. If
it’s too trendy, too personal, it could be something as silly as a cabinet door
that’s in the shape of a lightning bolt. You should stay classic with finishes.
Too trendy, yes, it could hurt you. Absolutely.
Aaron:
07:24
Going
back to your point on paint. From my experience, my father was a real estate
broker for a number of years, we always would paint things, pretty much when
we’re going to sell, like various shades of white to brighten up the space, I
guess.
Eileen:
07:40
It’s
still happening.
Aaron:
07:41
Still
happening?
Eileen:
07:42
It’s
still happening, yes.
Aaron:
07:44
Is
the thought behind that that you want more of a neutral palette so that people
can come in and see what they … ?
Eileen:
07:50
Yes,
they want to picture themselves there. Same with de-personalizing, they want to
come in. Because if they are going to paint, paint is not expensive for the new
buyer either so if they want that yellow kitchen or dark accent wall, they’re
not worried about spending that once they close. Fresh, in the white family,
absolutely.
Tracy:
08:10
That’s
why I love white subway tile too. When we were looking at homes, I was so drawn
to the homes with the white subway tile in the kitchen and the bathroom.
Because, again, it’s a blank slate and you can imagine all of your things in
that space.
Eileen:
08:22
Did
you do it? Did you use it?
Tracy:
08:24
Yes,
I did. We did use it and we’re about to use it again. So far we have paint, we
have clean up, de-personalize.
Aaron:
08:33
What
about the exterior paint? Do you find that … ?
Eileen:
08:36
Sure.
It depends on your budget, so that could be anywhere from $3,000 to $1,500. It
depends. A little shortcut would be power washing and you could do that in a
day for probably under $800 with a professional. If you can’t paint, I’ve had
sellers …
Aaron:
08:51
Yeah,
so as long as the paint’s in a decent shape? Not peeling or stuff like that?
Eileen:
08:53
Yes.
Tracy:
08:53
[crosstalk
00:08:53] would probably just fall off my house if we power washed it right
now.
Eileen:
08:56
Right
now?
Tracy:
08:56
I
swear. Oh man.
Eileen:
08:58
Then
address the landscaping. We mentioned outside, landscaping curb appeal is huge.
I’ve hosted opens where cars slow down when they see the sign and based on curb
appeal, they’ll keep going or come in. Landscaping doesn’t have to be expensive
if you start early enough.
Aaron:
09:15
Those
are more urgent types of things if you’re looking to sell maybe in the next
couple year or two. Longer term, you would say kitchens and the bathroom?
Eileen:
09:25
Kitchens.
Kitchens and baths and then in our neck of the woods, an indoor outdoor feel to
the yard to entertaining. Maybe that is popping French doors that makes sense
in the back of the house, of maybe a bedroom, preferably a family room. Indoor
outdoor feel is important to today’s buyers.
Tracy:
09:44
How
important are windows and doors?
Eileen:
09:47
Classic
doors, French doors, it depends on the style of the home. Windows can make it
feel dated. Some of my windows in my house are the jalousie, the louvre windows
and they make my Spanish home feel very dated. Windows can be very expensive
when done right, so I’m neutral on it because a buyer can sell that later in
their own way.
Aaron:
10:11
I
don’t know necessarily that if you put in new windows per se, are you going to
get that money back because they are expensive and if you’re adding a bunch of
them around the house, are you really going to be able to offset that cost.
Maybe if you’re doing it in stages, I think, overtime.
Eileen:
10:28
Which
is what I did.
Aaron:
10:29
Yeah,
you could do that but if you’re trying to like, “Okay, I’m going to list
this house next year and I need 25 new windows and I’m expecting that cost to
return.”
Eileen:
10:38
You
might not get it back.
Aaron:
10:39
I
don’t know. Yeah, I don’t think you would get that back.
Eileen:
10:42
When
you do do your windows and doors and floors, don’t go cheap. I walk in and see
Pergo or just fake floors and I just want to walk right back out.
Aaron:
10:50
What
would you recommend for people, at least in this area, just are people
interested in hardwood mostly?
Eileen:
10:57
Hardwood
and if it’s the original hardwood and if it’s in the budget for the seller, I
would have them refinish it. If there’s carpet, which there often is, people
installed it in the ’60s and ’70s, you may have saved the original hardwood
underneath. You’ve protected it for years. Pull up the carpet and let buyers
see there’s hardwoods under, whether or not you finish it is up to you as the
seller but at least they know the hardwoods are there. I’ll take hardwoods all
day over any new Pergo, fake wood flooring.
Tracy:
11:27
Would
you say those tiles that look like wood are a trend that maybe … ?
Eileen:
11:33
They
are.
Tracy:
11:34
Okay.
Eileen:
11:35
I
don’t like them.
Aaron:
11:36
No?
Eileen:
11:36
No.
They might work in certain kitchens. I don’t like them but I’d rather have the
original floors if possible or just spend the money there.
Aaron:
11:44
Yeah.
Speaking of floors, when I remodeled our master bedroom, I found the original
hardwoods underneath. I had asked the previous seller if there was hardwood
underneath and he said no. I pulled it up and it wasn’t … Technically, I
guess, it’s not hardwood, it’s Doug Fir but it’s Doug Fir tongue and grove subfloor
from the ’30s which …
Eileen:
12:09
Was
when it was built?
Aaron:
12:10
Which
is when it was built so it’s the original subfloor. I refinished it. Somebody
had painted it …
Eileen:
12:15
It’s
probably beautiful now.
Aaron:
12:15
Yeah.
Somebody had painted the floor and then they had carpet on top of that and I
just refinished it, re-stained it and I love it. It’s got a lot of character.
It’s a little soft, it’s Doug Fir which is a softer wood so it can scratch up a
little bit but because it’s old and because it’s dated and the house is
rusticky anyway. It’s got a good character feel so I really like it.
Eileen:
12:34
I
keep a screwdriver in my car so if I can, I’ll go to a closet and pull up a
little corner to see what’s … I’m surprised they didn’t know there was wood
under there.
Aaron:
12:42
Yeah.
Well, I think because he had pulled up an area and there was a piece of plywood
under a section of the floor.
Eileen:
12:48
He
just assumed the rest.
Aaron:
12:49
Yeah.
I think he just assumed.
Eileen:
12:50
A
bonus for you.
Aaron:
12:50
I
know, because I thought I was going to peel up the carpet and have to buy some
kind of flooring to put down and fortunately, I didn’t have to do it.
Tracy:
12:58
We
just have carpet on top of a concrete slab for half of our downstairs.
Eileen:
13:02
Did
you put the carpet in?
Tracy:
13:03
No,
no. It’s about rolled up and thrown in the dumpster in about two weeks. I’ve
never been so excited.
Eileen:
13:10
You
could also finish the concrete. Might be cool and put some fur rugs down. I
like that look.
Tracy:
13:16
That
would be cool. On average, we’ve talked about all these things that you could
do. On average, what would you say a normal, a typical homeowner spends to get
their house ready to sell?
Eileen:
13:25
Right
off the bat, I would say between $5,000 and $10,000. I’ve surveyed a few
realtors this week and we’re right in line. It might be a Southern California
thing but up to $10,000, getting it ready.
Aaron:
13:39
Included
in that would be the little repairs maybe that need to go on around the house?
The paint, the cleaning.
Eileen:
13:46
For
sure and speaking of the little repairs, it is important to take care of those.
That might be light bulbs, cleaning your AC filters, hinges. If the buyer sees
that you’re taking care of those, they assume you’re taking care of the rest of
the house. For very little money, I would absolutely fix those. A new trend I’m
seeing also is sellers doing a pre-inspection. For $300 to $700, they may get a
pre-inspection, they know the bad news, they have the report and then they can
go through and address any of those small fixers. Bringing a handyman to
address them and/or give that report to the future buyers and let them know
what’s wrong with the house. Not keep it a secret.
Tracy:
14:29
That’s
a great idea especially when you’re … Sorry, when you’re buying a house and
it’s contingent on you selling so you’re in that time crunch.
Eileen:
14:36
You’ll
know.
Tracy:
14:37
That’s
great.
Eileen:
14:38
You’ll
know what’s wrong. The seller may say, “As is and here’s the report.”
You can still do your own inspection but it takes away some of the anxiety and
buyers ask for less credits if they upfront what’s wrong with the house.
Aaron:
14:51
For
those maybe not familiar, pre-inspection is just a regular home inspection but
instead of the seller maybe paying for the inspection … Sorry, the buyer
paying for the inspection, the seller pays for it.
Eileen:
15:02
Yes.
Most people will do it, they’ll listen to my advice. Sometimes I’ll have an
older person who doesn’t want to know, just no.
Aaron:
15:09
Yeah.
Well, I never really even thought of that but then I could also see a buyer
maybe coming in and being like, “Okay.” Maybe this was a friend of yours
so if some people may want to do another inspection of their own and bringing
their own people.
Eileen:
15:20
I
encourage them to. Absolutely, bring in a contractor or another inspector and
compare the two reports. Disclose, disclose, the seller should tell all.
Tracy:
15:30
What
are the hardest types of homes to sell for you? What are issues that … ?
Eileen:
15:36
We
can go back to location, so if it’s on a busy corner or a busy street or next
to a gas station or train tracks or a business and sometimes a school. They’re
a little bit harder and you have to price it accordingly.
Aaron:
15:51
I
think nationally, we’re in a bit of a seller’s market, right? At least,
locally.
Eileen:
15:54
I
think we’re coming out of that.
Aaron:
15:56
Coming
out of it?
Eileen:
15:56
Yes.
Aaron:
15:57
How
do you package homes in a enticing way to sell in a market that maybe isn’t as
favorable?
Eileen:
16:05
Back
to the basics: clean, declutter, if you can afford staging and there are
different levels of staging, I would stage the house and price it correctly.
Maybe even under price it slightly to get more buyers interested. It’s
important to come out strong right away, first impressions. I would not
overprice it, I would try to be better than all the competition and I would
look at the competition with your realtor. Like I will take sellers out to see
… It’s so concrete, “Come with me on open houses, I’ll show you these
four houses that compare to your house and why yours is better or worse.”
Pricing it correctly will help you sell it faster.
Tracy:
16:48
There
are obviously a lot of expenses that are adding up, that can be overwhelming to
people that are trying to sell their home maybe because it’s a financial
situation. Something I know a lot of people are doing now, they’re staging and
then also professional photos, having someone come in and get professional
photos of your house. Do you think that’s another expense that is important?
Eileen:
17:13
That’s
an expense I take on as the realtor. It is one of the most important factors in
marketing the home and unfortunately, probably a quarter of our realtors still
take iPhone photos. It’s not fair. I can get a decent photographer between $200
and $300. That’s money well spent to make your home look great. Slightly
edited, we don’t get … We’re not removing phone lines and fake backgrounds,
we’re not allowed to do that but that’s where I put my money first as a realtor
and I pay for that. The seller doesn’t have to.
Aaron:
17:51
Let’s
talk about, you mentioned staging a few times. What are we talking about when
we’re talking about staging?
Eileen:
17:57
I
have different levels of staging. If you were to move out and hire a stager,
say a three bedroom, three bath home, it can be anywhere from $10,000 to
$20,000. There are a lot of stagers. There’s a lot more competition now and
prices have gone down over the years for staging.
Eileen:
18:12
You
could work with what you have, so maybe you’ve moved out but you’ve left your beds
and your nightstands. I would walk through the house and tell them what would
work and not work. That would cut your staging budget down as a seller, so you
could do it for a little bit less.
Eileen:
18:28
I,
as a realtor, bring in another realtor friend, we go through the house. If you
have almost no budget, we’ll go through the house together with a clipboard,
make a checklist for what you can do for very little money. It’s like the
seller staging and sometimes it’s bedding and towels and curtains and plants so
it really depends but I always see … Whatever you spend, I believe you’ll get
your return back.
Aaron:
18:53
What
if I want to sell my house but in order to buy a new house, I have to sell this
house so I’m still living in the home. How can I go about that? How can I sell
and stage it but not having moved out?
Eileen:
19:09
Selling
and buying at the same time are already tricky. I would just have them
declutter and maybe take half their stuff off. There are storage bins, those
storage trucks, they’ll take them away, so pull half the stuff out. Still keep
it clean. It’s doable, you won’t get the same as if you’d move out I believe
but it’s done all the time, all around.
Tracy:
19:30
It’s
what we did. It’s hard.
Eileen:
19:31
Yeah,
you just do what you can. It’s really hard and I try to work with the sellers
and their schedule. If there’s children and pets, you just make it happen and
keep the opens on Sundays so you’re getting it ready right before the open and
maybe Wednesdays and Fridays will have a showing. It’s hard but it’s doable.
Aaron:
19:49
I
can imagine the pets thing is another angle, like pet smells and …
Eileen:
19:54
Yes,
you have to be very careful. I sometimes forget about that, but smell is
important. If I go in and it smells like smoke or trash or weed, pets,
anything, it’s a big turn off and sometimes you don’t know right away why you
don’t like the house and you leave and you’re like, “Oh, it was the pet
smell.” Be careful.
Aaron:
20:14
Is
there a home that you can think of off the top of your head or a property that
maybe you got approached to sell in the past that was just like, “This is
going to be hard one for me.”?
Eileen:
20:28
I’d
have to say no because if it’s priced right, it will go. Especially in our
area, so it’s all about pricing.
Aaron:
20:35
Have
you ever had a homeowner who was just really not responsive to your suggestion
as far as what something should be priced?
Eileen:
20:46
All
the time. It’s always worth more than their comps. We call them comps,
comparables. All the time. In that case, I may take the listing and show them
after and tell them, “After two or three weeks, we’re going to need a
price adjustment.” Sometimes you have to let the listing go if they’re not
going to listen to you.
Tracy:
21:06
It’s
probably hard in this situation like your house, Aaron, where you’ve put in so
much hard work where if someone comes in and tells you what it’s worth it,
you’re like, “Oh no.”
Aaron:
21:16
Well,
yes and no. In a way, like for me, I know like there’s no way I’m going to get
back what I’m putting into it because if I tried to equate my time in terms of
the sweat, blood, sweat and tears that have gone into it and the equity and all
that type of stuff. If I tried to look at it from that perspective, I would
never be able to price it to sell in my opinion but …
Eileen:
21:42
Depends
on the market too.
Aaron:
21:43
Yeah
and I think I’m very … I have the ability to disconnect from that and I’m
just like, “It is what it is.”
Eileen:
21:49
That’s
good, that helps when you’re not emotional.
Aaron:
21:51
I’m
just trying to get it to the point right now where I can walk through it and be
like not just stare at every little thing that still needs to be done. We don’t
have any plans at the moment to sell the house, so we’re going to be there for
a little while. I’m just trying to get it to the point where we’re comfortable
in it and also thinking about should we want to sell it down the road. I don’t
want to put all these money into something I know I’m not going to get back.
Eileen:
22:15
You
could also keep it as a rental.
Tracy:
22:18
Yeah,
I was just going to ask you about that.
Eileen:
22:18
Big
picture.
Aaron:
22:19
Yeah.
Eileen:
22:19
You
could.
Aaron:
22:20
Yeah,
but then you have to have too much money to buy something else which I don’t
have.
Eileen:
22:24
Yet.
Aaron:
22:25
Yet,
yeah.
Tracy:
22:27
For
someone like Aaron or me too where we’re not sure if it’s going to be our
forever home or maybe it’s up in the air. What things do you suggest you don’t
do to a house that you might potentially sell? Which trends or which upgrades
do you think are probably not a great idea?
Eileen:
22:48
Maybe
something that’s personal. Maybe you’ve picked a crazy tile that reminded you
of your honeymoon, something too personal where it’s going to be harder for someone
to undo later. I would put my time and energy maybe in expanding the house if
possible. I mean, that’s a huge budget but adding a bed and bath.
Aaron:
23:12
I
know on HGTV and DIY networks, a lot of shows now, everything is open concept
and modern. There’s a lot of work involved in changing certainly in older homes
because the open concept feel wasn’t really a thing. There are rooms dedicated
for specific things and so I go back and forth on that a lot, between the way I
look at my kitchen … I haven’t done my kitchen yet and it’s straight from the
’80s was the last time it was touched. It’s very dated. It’s going to be my
next big project I think and based on what you’re saying, maybe it should’ve
been an earlier project because of the return on the investment side of things.
I keep waffling between the idea of opening it up to the dining room and the
living room or just leaving it as it is and just updating it.
Tracy:
24:02
I’m
so scared to hear this answer.
Aaron:
24:04
I
know because you’re going to go through the same thing.
Tracy:
24:06
We’re
about to knock out a wall.
Eileen:
24:08
Open
concept has been pretty popular for the last five or six years? I think it’s a
trend that’s going to die out in the next two or three. I like my rooms. I
don’t why but I like rooms. I am okay with opening a kitchen to the dining
especially if you have small children and you want to put in that breakfast bar
and you see them while you’re cooking. I’m okay with the kitchen to dining room
but I feel like, and this is really just me, in three or four years, we’re
going to go back to rooms. Sorry.
Tracy:
24:40
That’s
what we’re doing. That’s what we’re doing so that’s okay. I actually just read
an article recently that was saying that the whole open concept trend is really
a reflection of how we’re working as a society right now with our children and
the helicopter parenting of always having to keep an eye and not giving
freedom. It’s funny because one of my big reasons was I could be cooking or
doing whatever I needed to do and be able to see the kids in the backyard and I
was like, “It is a good point.” It could …
Eileen:
25:13
I’m
not a helicopter parent so I want my daughter in another room, doing her
homework and if I have to go in there to help her, I will. I think maybe a
modified version but younger millennials do want open. They come in and they
knock on the wall to see if it’s load bearing, to see if they can knock it out.
Me personally, I just … I like my rooms.
Aaron:
25:35
For
the record, that’s not how you determine if it’s load bearing or not.
Eileen:
25:38
You
don’t? That’s what they all do.
Aaron:
25:40
You’re
welcome to knock on the wall.
Tracy:
25:41
I’ll
put a glass.
Eileen:
25:42
I’ll
call you.
Aaron:
25:42
Hello,
are load bearing?
Eileen:
25:44
They
do, they go boom, boom, boom right across.
Aaron:
25:46
Yeah,
okay. Well, good luck with that. If it sounds empty, it’s just because it’s
empty. It’s not because it’s not load bearing. Is there anything, I guess, any
sure fire things that will 100% get you your return back if you’re investing in
something? Kitchens, 99% of the time, would you say?
Eileen:
26:06
Yes.
Aaron:
26:06
New
appliances type thing?
Eileen:
26:08
Yeah,
new appliance, matching appliance. Even if it’s, like at the start of the show,
even if even we’re talking about painting cabinets, just to freshen it up.
Definitely address the light if it’s in your budget and that could be, again,
popping in a French door, it could be a skylight, I think solar tubes are dated
but bringing light into certain parts of the house …
Aaron:
26:31
Natural
lighting.
Eileen:
26:32
If
you can and I think recess lighting is overdone personally. Sold a couple of
houses where the recess light was every three feet, I don’t get it so maybe
four in a room. Buyers do look for a light-filled home when I take them out, so
if you can address that.
Aaron:
26:51
I
think that goes back to the neutral paint palette, right? It’s about bright,
it’s about bright and inviting versus dark and dingy. That makes sense
[crosstalk 00:27:02].
Eileen:
27:02
Dark
and dingy sounds dirty.
Aaron:
27:04
Yeah,
it sounds dirty.
Tracy:
27:05
Absolutely.
Eileen:
27:06
Bright
and light sounds clean. Fresh.
Aaron:
27:08
I
know people go back and forth. Some people like, don’t like a lot of overhead
lighting. I personally do. I prefer to have more light that I can dim. As
opposed to … I have to have lamps on everywhere.
Tracy:
27:23
You
have to go like this to see if your meat’s cooked. That’s what I have to do.
Aaron:
27:26
I
recently stayed in an Airbnb type of place that is relatively new, high
ceilings and the whole thing. It was pretty nice but I was like, “Where
are the lights?” I’m looking around for light switches and there’s no
overhead light and I was like, “This is crazy.” At night, it’s like
these bulbs you know? They were like, “This is what you’re putting
off,” and I’m like, “I can’t see anything.” It’s driving me
nuts.
Eileen:
27:51
We
do find them in the Craftsman and the Spanish, the 1920s or earlier, we do find
that a lot. I think you would and could add lighting in that situation, just
don’t overdo it.
Aaron:
28:02
Yeah.
Our house is very much like that. Like I said, it was from the ’30s so there
was not a lot of overhead lighting. Just mostly ceiling fans that had been
added after the fact so one central light.
Eileen:
28:15
Is
is also a light?
Aaron:
28:15
It
is a light, yeah. That was the main light in most of the bedrooms. I have two
switches in most of the bedrooms now where it’s like one is the ceiling fan
light in the center of the room and the ceiling fan and then I also have, which
you hate, recess lighting.
Eileen:
28:32
I
like some.
Aaron:
28:33
Yeah.
I put them mostly … I tend to target the corners where it fills onto the walls
and bounces through the room but it’s not like …
Eileen:
28:42
You
still have your center light anyway.
Aaron:
28:43
You
still have the center light if you want a little less light, plus the fan so
Eileen:
28:47
I
love sconces. Do you like sconces?
Aaron:
28:48
I
have some wall sconces in the hallway of my house which is the worst. Talking
about the solar tubes that you mentioned before, I’ve actually considered
putting a few down this hallway because it follows the ridge line of my home
and bedrooms on both sides so there’s zero natural light in there. It’s ugly at
night, it’s dark and I’ve been trying to consider ways to punch it up without
putting recess lighting all the way down. I considered maybe putting a couple
… Because even during the day it’s really dark.
Tracy:
29:23
For
listeners that might not know, the solar tubes are the skylights that go all
the way up.
Aaron:
29:28
They
go up through the attic, there’s a reflective tube that goes up through your
attic and on the top is a dome. Instead of a big skylight that’s rectangle,
it’s more of like a bubble dome that goes on and it’s a smaller footprint than
a big skylight. The light captures in through the bubble dome, it bounces down
through the reflective coated tube and then spills out. They have them now with
built-in LEDs as well, so that during the day, you can have natural light and
then at night, you can flip a switch and turn them on like normal lights. A lot
of them are actually solar … Those ones are solar-powered so during the day,
they can be powered.
Eileen:
30:10
That’s
great. That’s your next project, maybe.
Aaron:
30:12
I
don’t know. I keep going back and forth on it because it does … I mean, you
got to drill a hole in your roof and then also, depending on where they go, you
lose that attic access to get through there because you have the tube going
through. It’s something to consider as options but, like you’re saying, if you
think that they’re going to be …
Eileen:
30:31
Add
value?
Aaron:
30:33
Yeah,
if they’re not going to add value, then maybe you shouldn’t. Also, if they’re
going to make the space feel dated, then maybe you shouldn’t. I think, for me,
the benefits might outweigh the detractions because I just think there maybe a
better option than trying to put in the recess lighting down the center.
Tracy:
30:53
I
actually always wonder about the actual solar panels as well because obviously,
they’re very efficient. They serve a great purpose but they’re not super
attractive. Buyers can take them down.
Eileen:
31:04
Try
to hide them sometimes.
Tracy:
31:04
You
put them on the back of the house?
Eileen:
31:07
Yeah,
if you can. Right now, buyers don’t care whether it’s got solar or not. I think
they will soon.
Aaron:
31:15
For
me I’m like, “I would 100% want that,” but I think it’s buyer
specific. I really don’t care about what the roof looks like. If it’s
offsetting my energy costs, but that’s my personal preference I suppose. For me
I’m like, “Yeah, if I’m going to lower my energy bills by having solar on
the roof, absolutely.” I think California is now having a mandate that new
constructed homes have to have it.
Eileen:
31:42
Yes
and they have solar roofing materials too. I’d be interested in that. I have a
Spanish home …
Aaron:
31:47
Yeah,
Tesla has solar roofs.
Eileen:
31:49
Next
time I have to do a roof, I would look into that.
Aaron:
31:52
Looking
at selling a home in the future, what are the factors that come into play when
pricing? I know a lot of that falls on your plate to then dictate that back to
the seller.
Eileen:
32:06
Sure.
When I meet with the seller, I bring comps which are comparable homes within,
hopefully, a quarter square mile and similar sized homes because that’s how a
bank appraiser will look at it. Maybe within 20% up or down. If you have 2,000
square feet, I try to keep it as close to your type home.
Eileen:
32:26
I
will sit down with the seller and go through comps and if they want, I will
show them their competition so they can come out with me, I caravan houses on
Tuesdays, I go to open houses on Sundays. If they want, we’ll go look at the
other houses and I will say, “This is why this house is worth more or less
than yours.”
Eileen:
32:45
I’ll
give them a range. If we’re down to the price range and we’re about to put it
on the market, I will ask six to eight realtors to come take a survey and I’ll
open the house for an hour and give them three or four questions about the
house so that we can narrow down the price.
Eileen:
33:05
This
is six or eight realtors who potentially have buyers. Between all of us, if
we’re local and we know the inventory, and we should, I can narrow down a price
with the seller and then I try to slightly underprice it to get more buyers in
there. That’s my strategy.
Aaron:
33:22
Sounds
like you should get little backdoor meeting going on with all the realtors and
drive the price up, like the mafia. Like, “Hey, this is what we’re
charging now.”
Eileen:
33:31
If
the buyer won’t pay it … Yeah.
Aaron:
33:33
It’s
LA, people will pay anything. If you had five things that a seller could do to
sell their house fast, what would those be?
Eileen:
33:42
Clean,
paint, you can do it yourself, you can hire. Declutter, so maybe that goes with
cleaning. I would address the landscaping and the curb appeal and the lighting.
Aaron:
33:52
The
staging or no? Would be that sixth?
Eileen:
33:53
That
would be sixth.
Tracy:
33:56
Decluttering,
staging.
Eileen:
33:57
That’d
be sixth, yeah.
Aaron:
33:59
You
say the average person should consider maybe bending anywhere from $5,000 to
$1,500 to cover those bases?
Eileen:
34:06
Yes
and it depends where you live because real estate’s local. Yeah, you should
hopefully have some kind of small budget and I do think if you follow these, I
think you’ll get your money back and sell faster because it’s stressful. You
want to be done quickly.
Aaron:
34:20
Because
otherwise, you’re going to take … You’re probably going to take that hit on
the listing price, right? At least probably if you’re not addressing those
things.
Eileen:
34:26
You
will.
Aaron:
34:27
You’ll
take, at least, a $500 to $1,500 hit when the seller comes [crosstalk
00:34:31].
Eileen:
34:31
Or
it’ll sit longer and if you’re buying a house, you might have two mortgages.
It’s not fun.
Tracy:
34:36
Time
is money. What is the absolute most inexpensive outdoor curb appeal upgrade
people can do in your opinion?
Eileen:
34:45
Really
inexpensive, just two really colorful, beautiful pots at the front door.
Tracy:
34:49
Okay.
Frame up the entrance.
Eileen:
34:52
Frame
up the entrance and it helps the photos pop.
Aaron:
34:55
I’ve
heard that painting the front door is a big thing.
Eileen:
34:59
Sure.
You could do some fun colors because it’s just paint, so if they don’t like the
red you’ve picked, they can change it the day after they close.
Aaron:
35:07
Hopefully,
unless they paint over a really nice wood door and that makes me cry.
Eileen:
35:11
That
would be a crime. No, no, no, no, no
Aaron:
35:13
I’ve
seen it.
Eileen:
35:13
No.
Aaron:
35:15
A
lot of homeowners, a lot of DIY people tend to do a lot of interior improvement
and do stuff … Or “improvements”, I air quote without permits,
without … They’re just doing stuff themselves. Does that inhibit ability to
sell versus get going through the necessary permits?
Eileen:
35:33
Short
answer is no. Should they? Yes, they should get a permit. It costs more, it
takes longer, more than half of the properties in the area I sell have
unpermitted space and we just tell the buyer, “Take it or leave it. We’ll
go and try to pull permits. If it’s not there, do you want it? We’ll move
forward and if it scares you, you’re out.” They usually move forward.
Aaron:
35:54
I
have, in the back of my home, there’s this L-shaped covered patio, I guess,
kind of what it is. It’s an addition, was not permitted. In terms of addition
though you can’t … If it’s not permitted, you can’t include that in the
selling price for the square footage?
Eileen:
36:12
Right.
Aaron:
36:13
My
home, technically, is like around 3,000 square feet with that thing but in
terms of the purchase price or the selling price of it, it’s only 2,700, right?
Eileen:
36:23
As
a realtor, I’d go with the 2,700 and then in my marketing or in my agent
private notes or conversations I have with other realtors, I would let them
know about that bonus space.
Aaron:
36:34
It’s
a bonus space?
Eileen:
36:34
Bonus,
yes. Is it enclosed?
Aaron:
36:37
It
is enclosed, yeah.
Eileen:
36:38
It’s
great and buyers want it.
Aaron:
36:39
Now,
it’s technically a condition space as well because I have a mini-split unit up
there so it has this condition. For example, if I spend a ton of money out
there updating it, that’s not a good return on investment because that can’t be
equated as part of …
Eileen:
37:00
Right.
An appraiser, a bank appraiser won’t give it the full 100%.
Aaron:
37:04
Now,
if I go in and say I did do a ton of work, could I get that added? Is there a
way that I could add that square footage?
Eileen:
37:14
You
could go …
Aaron:
37:16
Like
remodel and permit it?
Eileen:
37:17
Yes
and then you could … They add it.
Aaron:
37:19
Then
it would be technically …
Eileen:
37:20
Then
your taxes might be higher.
Aaron:
37:22
Right
because they would re-assess based on the square footage.
Eileen:
37:25
If
you’re living there and you need the space, do it for you and your family. I’m
not always worrying about the future buyer.
Aaron:
37:32
No,
that makes total sense and I mean that’s where we’re at. For me, I’m addressing
the things that are important to me and to my family and to make sure that
we’re happy while we’re here. A little bit also sub-planning, I guess, down the
road. I’m keeping a little bit more classic country vibe to it as opposed to
going ultra modern with the remodel because for one, I don’t feel like it fits
the area. For me, if I’m doing work certainly on the outside, I like to try and
take into account what other homes are in the area and what materials those
homes use and all that stuff so that it fits the neighborhood as oppose to
making this thing that really stands out.
Eileen:
38:12
It’ll
take longer to sell if you do that.
Aaron:
38:14
It’ll
take longer to sell if you make it stand out?
Eileen:
38:17
Yeah.
Aaron:
38:17
That’s
an interesting tip because having a home that fits the area that it’s in makes
more sense and using the materials that are … I’m not crazy about just
traditional brick overall, but in my backyard, I just did this remodel recently
and I made … Because brick is so widely used in the neighborhood, I chose to
go with these brick column as opposed to maybe one of the more contemporary
stacked stone look.
Eileen:
38:46
Do
you go into other homes in your neighborhood?
Aaron:
38:48
We
did a lot when …
Eileen:
38:50
When
you were shopping?
Aaron:
38:50
When
we were shopping because my wife knew she wanted to be in that area.
Eileen:
38:54
You
should go now too and see what’s happening.
Tracy:
38:56
In
our community, almost all the houses have the same floor plan within the area.
We like to go try to hunt down our original floor plan because we’re so
confused about what’s going on in our house. We’ve slowly pieced together what
exactly is going on.
Aaron:
39:12
Yeah,
I mean that works certainly in certain subdivisions and stuff where one builder
built a bunch of homes. You can piece it back together. It’s fun to mess around
with that kind of thing and figure out what the house used to be like …
Eileen:
39:26
Right,
I’d love to go back on the day it was built.
Aaron:
39:27
Yeah,
just roll it back.
Tracy:
39:27
Absolutely,
that would be so cool. Or to see old pictures.
Aaron:
39:33
Yeah.
Tracy:
39:34
Ours
is so confusing.
Aaron:
39:35
You
have a downloadable seller’s guide.
Eileen:
39:39
I
do, on my website.
Aaron:
39:40
On
your website, so we’ll make sure to link to that in the show notes so people
can check it out. It’s got a ton of great information. A lot of the things that
we’ve talked about, the painting, staging …
Eileen:
39:50
Sure
and I update it as the market changes too.
Aaron:
39:52
Yeah
and of course, it’s … I think there’s a lot of information that people can
use nationally. It’s not just an LA-specific thing. Yeah, maybe some of it
might be tailored specifically to, but I think by and large, it’s very
comprehensive of a national sales approach.
Eileen:
40:10
I
think so.
Aaron:
40:11
Again,
we’ll be sure to link that in the show notes. As far as resell value goes in
terms of your bathrooms, do you recommend that people go in and do full on
remodels of their bathrooms like change out tiles or anything like that. Do you
think that money comes back or do you think they should just clean it?
Eileen:
40:29
If
they have the budget, I would consider tile. In my 1924 house, it would be a
can of worms so if I pulled out the bath and the shower, I don’t know what I’m
going to find in the subfloor, insulation, plumbing.
Aaron:
40:43
That’s
a big issue, right? Because at least in LA, you are obligated to disclose
anything you find. If you open the walls up and you find that the subfloor is rotten,
you have to address that or you have to disclose that it’s not because you know
now.
Eileen:
41:00
You
know so you disclose everything. I had a seller once and it turned into a
$100,000 job because then something burst and started leaking to the ground
floor and they couldn’t move for an additional year so …
Tracy:
41:14
Maybe
a reglaze.
Eileen:
41:16
Reglazes
would be great. Those are $300. Grout cleaning, maybe bleach, I’m not sure but
cleaning fresh like you went to a nice hotel and you don’t want to be grossed
out by anything you see in someone’s bathroom. Pull out toiletries, show space
like you would in your closets. Classic. Not too trendy.
Tracy:
41:35
White,
white, white, white.
Eileen:
41:36
I
do see a lot of the higher end homes have staging with white couches. It’s okay
to have fun too with a splash of color or plants or pots or a cool piece of art
especially, again my photography background, I want that in my photos too. I
want to get more buyers in there so you don’t have to play it too safe. With
the white box, throw a huge colorful painting up as well.
Tracy:
42:01
We
… Sorry.
Aaron:
42:02
That’s
fine, totally fine as a staging and stuff but with kids, nope. [crosstalk
00:42:08].
Eileen:
42:08
You
pretend you don’t have kids in your [crosstalk 00:42:12].
Aaron:
42:12
Yeah,
it’s great for a photo.
Tracy:
42:13
I
don’t like white furniture. I like neutral walls and then I can just put fun
stuff on them and change them.
Eileen:
42:17
Then
change them out.
Tracy:
42:18
Yeah.
You talked a little bit about a pre-inspection, so with plumbing, would you say
plumbing isn’t a huge deal unless you get that pre-inspection and noticed an
issue? Otherwise, would you just … ?
Eileen:
42:29
As
a seller, it could be a really big expense. If I do a pre-inspection, at least
I know what I’m selling so I can let them know if there’s copper or galvanized
or maybe … Sewer is a different inspection but maybe the condition of my
sewer. It’s just information and you can just disclose it. If I, hopefully,
have multiple offers, maybe the set of buyers that doesn’t care about the
plumbing is my right set of buyers. Just information.
Tracy:
42:59
Our
huge expense, moving into our last home, was grounding the outlets. We had to
do all new electrical and that was .. .
Eileen:
43:07
You
knew that going in?
Tracy:
43:09
We
did. We didn’t know exactly how much it was going to be and it was … We
basically did that first thing when we moved in and that was our project for
the first six months.
Eileen:
43:19
That’s
not fun.
Tracy:
43:19
No.
Eileen:
43:20
Foundations
are a big issue here too.
Aaron:
43:22
Yeah.
Eileen:
43:22
You
could do.
Aaron:
43:23
That’s
a huge issue and I had a home inspection when we first moved in and the guy
said, “Your home is in great shape. The foundation is in fantastic shape.
There’s a couple little cracks here and there that I would suggest you fix,
blah, blah, blah.” This is all in the actual sit down with him after he
went through and inspected it. Then he sent off a quote for the work that it
needed and the two did not match.
Eileen:
43:53
What
he said and what he showed?
Aaron:
43:54
Yeah.
What he showed in terms of the quote was like thousands and thousands and thousands
of dollars of repairs and I hit him up and I said, “Wait a second, you
said that it was in great shape.” “Well, it is in great shape for the
age of the home and it’s very good but I would recommend this and this and this
and this and this and this and this.”
Eileen:
44:09
He’s
covering his butt.
Aaron:
44:09
I
was like, “Okay.” Then I asked the seller and I said, “Can you
meet me a little bit in the middle on this?”
Eileen:
44:19
Did
they?
Aaron:
44:19
“I’m
okay to look over this, I’m okay to overlook this, can we just fix a couple of
these cracks and things and pin these things?” Yeah, they did fortunately.
Eileen:
44:27
That’s
great, you could also get a second and third opinion.
Aaron:
44:30
Yeah.
I did climb under there myself and having a little bit of a background, I was
like, “Okay, I know what they’re talking about. These things I can
overlook,” and some of it was just simple work that’s because of the
house, it’s on a raised foundation but it’s not … It doesn’t have a basement.
Most of the homes out here don’t and so it just has a crawl space and some of
it was money just to keep the soil away from the wood piers or wood columns
that are holding up, just for termite stuff and …
Eileen:
45:00
Did
you actually do the work because I have some buyers who get the credit and
don’t do the work?
Aaron:
45:04
Yes,
the work was done prior to us moving in. They covered the part that I was
concerned about and I said, “Okay, can you address these things?” and
then as part of our final walk through, that work was completed.
Eileen:
45:17
Is
your house bolted for earthquake?
Aaron:
45:19
Yes,
yes.
Eileen:
45:21
Okay.
That’s considered an upgrade here.
Aaron:
45:22
It
is?
Eileen:
45:22
Yeah.
Aaron:
45:24
I
thought it was …
Eileen:
45:25
Nope.
Mandatory?
Aaron:
45:26
Mandatory.
Eileen:
45:27
No,
it’s an upgrade.
Aaron:
45:28
Like
strapping your water tank and stuff.
Eileen:
45:29
That’s
mandatory.
Aaron:
45:31
There’s
a lot of things in LA, I think, that certainly from a … I’m from Upstate New
York originally so a lot of the stuff is completely different as far as the
earthquake things go and the shut offs on the gas valves and all the stuff
that’s mandatory here that maybe the rest of the country isn’t, but everywhere
has its own rules and things but I think it’s always great to consult. If you
are considering selling your home, people can certainly go find a local realtor
and then discuss …
Eileen:
46:01
Yeah,
just have a conversation. Even if you’re a year out, at least you can make a
priority list on where you want to spend your money, what repairs you want to
do and what you don’t want to do.
Aaron:
46:11
Things
do change overtime so there’s always the timeless things like we’re talking
about but two years from now …
Eileen:
46:18
A
new trend.
Aaron:
46:19
A
new trend might come along …
Eileen:
46:20
The
rooms are back.
Aaron:
46:21
A
realtor might tell you … Yeah. Close that room off.
Tracy:
46:24
Put
that wall back up.
Aaron:
46:25
Everybody
really wants that wall back up, put that wall back up. Eileen, thank you so
much for being here. I think I’ve learned a ton about …
Eileen:
46:31
Pleasure,
this is fun. Thank you.
Tracy:
46:31
You’re
so knowledgeable, thank you so much.
Eileen:
46:34
Thank
you, I love it.
Aaron:
46:35
We’ll
make sure to link to your seller’s guide in the show notes.
Eileen:
46:39
Great.
It’s on my website, there’s a big blue button and I’m on Instagram as well.
Aaron:
46:43
Yeah,
where can people find you on … ?
Eileen:
46:44
It’s
Eileen Lanza Real Estate on Instagram and I do stories … Hopefully, we’re all
familiar with stories, every Tuesday and sometimes on Sundays. I’ll actually
take you trough six or eight properties. It’s fun.
Tracy:
46:58
It
sounds fun.
Eileen:
46:58
Yeah,
different areas of LA.
Aaron:
47:00
Awesome.
Well, thank you so much for being here. We will, like I said, we’ll link to
that seller’s guide in our show notes. If you guys want to follow us on social
media, we’ll make sure to put the links to that in the show notes as well. We
want to thank FilterBuy as always for being the founding partner of the How To
Home Podcast. Again, if you guys want to call in and leave us some voicemails,
you can do so at 978-709-1040 and we will do our best to incorporate those into
the show. Anything else you want to add, Tracy, before we sign off for today?
Tracy:
47:33
No,
just show some love on our podcast. Like, share, tell your friends about it.
Aaron:
47:38
Yeah,
anybody considering selling a home, send this to them so they can get the best
information about maximizing ROI and tips to sell. Thank you guys so much for
watching or listening. If you did like this episode, please rate us on your
various podcast apps, hit the like button or whatever as Tracy said and
consider subscribing and following us on the next episode. Thank you guys so
much for watching and listening and we’ll see you next time. The How To Home
Podcast is brought to you by FilterBuy.com, your one stop direct-to-consumer
replacement air filter brand and is produced in collaboration by Mast Media
Group, LLC and Intelligent Arts and Artists. The show is executive produced by
George Ruiz and Aaron Massey.

Show Notes

LET’S CHAT!

You can always call and leave your questions and comments on our voicemail!

978-709-1040

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2MC3Hdc

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2WqVfSp

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2RRyYij

Youtube: http://bit.ly/2SifqTH

Visit our website at howtohome.com

EILEEN’S TOP PRE-SALE UPGRADES:

–      Fresh paint!

–      Clean/ de-clutter/ de-personalize. Smell is important.

–      Kitchen

–      Bath

–      Curb appeal (power washing, landscaping, front door)

–      Address the light (French doors, sky lights etc.)

EXTRA TIPS:

–      White and fresh! Prospective buyers love a blank slate.

–      Indoor/Outdoor feel. Think French doors to a porch or patio!

–      Consider a pre-inspection and knock out those needs.

–      Price correctly

–      Stage your home

–      Eileen provides her clients with professional photos of their homes. Get you an agent like Eileen.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO FORK OUT ON THESE UPGRADES:

$5-$10K

Time to hit Coinstar!

AARON MENTIONED:

Solar Tubes: https://thd.co/2WrGVcj

TRACY MENTIONED:

Open Floor Concept: A Helicoptering Idea?

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

Knocking on the wall does not a structural engineer make. “Hello, are you load-bearing?”

EILEEN, EILEEN, EILEEN!

Website: Eileenlanza.com

Seller’s guide: https://eileenlanza.com/download-your-free-l-a-sellers-guide/

The Gram: https://www.instagram.com/eileenlanzarealestate/

This podcast is sponsored by Filterbuy, a leading manufacturer of HVAC filters that ship direct from their factory to homes and businesses across the country. American made, quality products

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