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Realtors: Ten Renovations to Do Before your Clients Move In

May 8, 2009

A space in Carpenteria

One of the joys of my job is working with Realtors and their clients at the time of a home purchase.  Before the sale is complete we offer ideas, advice, and throw scads of creativity and problem solving at the spaces they are considering for their new home.  This can be an incredible help to homeowners who want to buy a house, but are overwhelmed at the idea of working on it, in conjunction with a life change like moving.
Leveraging the time it takes to close escrow, we complete a dream house list– everything my clients would add, change, or update about the property.   Given time (often as little as a week or up to a month) we can make incredible things happen!
Here are my top ten Rapid Renovations that can quickly change how your clients feel about their new home:
1. Refinish Floors– This is important! Trying to refinish floors after moving into a home is messy, costly, and uber-disruptive.  If  floors are in good condition but you are not fond of the stain color, do it before a move!  In most cases, this takes less than a week, and the results will be enjoyed for years to come.
2. Go Tankless Updating a home with a tankless hot water heater can seriously help your morning routine. Tankless water heaters never run out of hot water, and heat (instantly) only what you need.  They can save an average of 60% of water heating costs.  Replacing an aging hot water heater before you have a problem with it can also save you the sorrow and cost of cleanup after a leak.
3. Skim Coat Textured Walls Have ‘accoustic’ walls that scream a bygone era? If there are cracks and textures you don’t like on the walls of a home, skim coating the walls can provide a smooth, new surface for your coat of paint. It’s a big update on a home that has great bones but is showing its’ age- and very messy -this job is only for before you move in.
4. Paint Interior Walls Adding a coat of paint to a home allows homeowners to personalize their space. It can also cover up holes in walls created by art hung by previous owners, and permanently hides the bad color choices of owners past. Disco orange? Avocado green? Hot pink master bedroom? We’ve seen them all… Low and No VOC paints help you avoid the “Paint Headache” upon move in.
5. Change Hardware, Plumbing and Light Fixtures Changing out hardware on cabinetry can completely alter the feeling of a room. Overly stylized knobs and pulls may have suited the previous owner, but this simple update can make a room feel fresh and new. Dated and aging plumbing and light fixtures can be an easy way to make your mark on a home.  I’ve had clients change out toilets so that they were the only people to …err… grace their bathroom.  A licensed plumber and electrician are your friend!
6. Beef Up Crown and Base Moulding Crown and base moulding is like killer shoes and a matching handbag for your room. Skinny little base moulding gives a feeling of a lack of substance to your space.  Adding a thick crown or base moulding can dramatically improve the wow factor in any room. With teeny little painted crown mouldings, and some square base mouldings,  you can often add new ones right over them- less mess.  Viola!
7. Have Closets and Pantry Updated Giving everything a home in your closets? Priceless! Older closets, with a simple bar and shelf, just don’t cut it for the way we live. Closet companies can work wonders to house all of your clothing, clutter, and kitchen goods.  With the right designer, you can often work into their schedule for a fast install. Relationships, people…
8. Wire the House for AV, Security, Sound– While you’ve got painters handy to patch any holes created by your AV guy, it’s a great time to consider the locations of any TV’s, phone jacks, in-wall speaker systems, and security touch pads.  This saves you time and grime after you’ve moved in.
9. Vacuum Vents After several of the above renovations, including skim coating, and floor refinishing, you should seriously consider doing a vent vacuum. The dust that collects inside even well taped vents can stay there for months. Anyone with allergies or dust sensitivity can breathe a little easier with a fast HEPA vacuum on their ductwork.
10. Perform a True Construction Cleaning In conjunction with number 9 above, a true post-construction cleaning job is a must. This should include things like removing stickers from new windows, cleaning out all window sills, baseboards, and door thresholds, extensive bathroom, kitchen, and appliance cleanup, and cleaning out vent covers and washer/dryer.  Every surface can carry stubborn specks of dust that will plague you for months to come.  This is worth every penny!
Have a favorite remodel to add to the list? Please comment below, I’d love to hear from you. Want to do any of these ten renovations on your home? Give me a call!
11 Comments leave one →
  1. michelleminch permalink
    May 8, 2009 2:56 am

    Laurie: Great post. Boy, you’re hitting them out of the park. I often tell home staging clients to change the knobs before they put the house on the market. Simple classic knobs and pulls are like beautiful jewelry for a little black dress. You can dress the cabinets up or down. This post has given me a whole new respect for what you do. Thanks for posting

  2. May 8, 2009 3:08 am

    Laurie – that’s an awesome service to provide for new buyers…I’m going to have to look around Tucson for somebody I can recommend to my clients!

  3. May 8, 2009 3:28 am

    Laurie, Great suggestions! Keep up the good work, probably moving soon and will definately call!

  4. May 8, 2009 6:13 am

    Very Useful Infomation. I hope u don’t mind if i tweet this link. 🙂

  5. May 8, 2009 3:00 pm

    Great post! These are good projects for people who aren’t selling their homes as well!

  6. May 8, 2009 6:44 pm

    Laurie, great post! I’d also add updating stove and cooktop if the old ones are dated and worn.

  7. May 30, 2009 4:33 pm

    Laurie, love the Go Tankless! After travelling through Europe and never ever running out of hot water, I don’t understand why we’re stuck with the humongous water heaters that are dangerous, ugly and costly. Great post!

    • lauriemarch permalink*
      June 2, 2009 5:38 am

      Thanks Irina! Yes, Europe has lead the way with tankless water heating. I personally can’t stand the end of the hot water, and have seen the aftermath of allowing a monster water heater live just a few days too long… Water damage is messy and horrible. It’s a pleasure to see you here!

  8. August 27, 2009 7:43 am

    I like this. I am sending a like to some clients.


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