Real Estate 101 for Sellers

Times change and home trends come and go, but some elements stand the test of time. Bobbi-Jo explains.

Realtor Bobbi-Jo Girroir wants her clients to have the ultimate real estate experience. For some, that means a quick transaction; for others, it boils down to dollars. But for the majority of her clients, Bobbi-Jo’s experience and compassion leads to much more. One lender, impressed by Bobbi-Jo’s demeanor, patience, and customer service, has sent referrals that led to 19 additional transactions.

Homeowners who are thinking long-term can make choices now that will pay dividends when the time comes to sell. Bobbi-Jo shares her best advice:

WSLS: Many homeowners are redirecting their vacation funds into home improvement. What are the best projects to undertake?

BJG: The biggest draws are specific areas for a dedicated office or zen space. Bright spaces are appealing: can you add on a sunroom? Everyone wants the outside in, even in winter. Make your yard your oasis: invest in vinyl fencing or have a landscaper create privacy and add accents, such as a fire pit or water feature that you can enjoy during the nice weather and yet still provides beauty in the winter. Homes with pools, Jacuzzis, kitchens, pergolas, and gardens are currently selling for exponentially more.

WSLS: With all the available home improvement programs and instructional videos, people try to complete projects independently. What is appropriate for homeowners to attempt, and what projects should a professional do?

BJG: Any structural change needs professional guidance. Additionally, homeowners should never tackle projects that have to be approved by building code, such as new electrical work or plumbing.

If a fence has been added, make sure the installation company adhered to property lines. Recently, a company installed a beautiful vinyl fence that was over my seller’s boundary. My legal team had to find the proper people to sign off and approve that the fence be left with an encroachment allowance for the life of the fence; it took my seller hours to coordinate the sign off. There are so many items to investigate prior to listing a home that it’s imperative to have a team. I have assembled a collection of pros who can address and resolve these random issues in a timely and amicable manner.   

WSLS: If a homeowner is ready to sell soon, what are the critical items to address?

BJG: Call me to get a game plan. If you have six months, you have time to landscape, paint, and increase your curb appeal. My photographer can showcase the landscape in the most positive light. Hiring a home inspector ahead of time identifies problems: you then have time to prepare, get quotes, repair items vs. paying last-minute contractor pricing or worse yet, over-crediting a buyer for items that could have cost you 30 percent less to address.

Things you can do independently are geared toward neutralizing the majority of the home. If neutralizing isn’t completed, the potential buyers see a “to do list.” Replace the worn carpets with a low Berber or introduce some hardwood. Deep-clean hardwoods with a light refinish; make sure they are gleaming. Give the bathrooms mini-updates: vanity replacements are cost effective and new fixtures for bathrooms are inexpensive and completely modernize those areas.

Bobbi-Jo has been helping clients buy and sell property since 2005. She recently obtained the first Luxury Home Specialist accreditation in Western Mass from the National Association of Realtors.

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