Like me you are probably a little bit excited and a little bit nervous about the slight up tick in the economy. The Real Estate Agents are foaming at the mouth and their phones are starting to ring again. We have seen homes starting to sell in the Ormond Beach, Port Orange and Palm Coast areas much faster than they have in the past few years. Something is happening and it is a positive thing for homeowners and service companies who help them prepare for a big move.
Yesterday we were called out to give our recommendations for a homeowner who is going to put his home on the market in Ormond Beach. He had hired someone inside to take care of patching small holes in the walls, rearranging furniture and properly staging the home for an agent to list it. He stood with me at the street looking back at the front of his house and said, “Where should I spend my money?”
Understand Your Buyer’s Wants or Needs
After asking him about why he bought the house 10 years ago, we discovered that the main reason someone would want to buy his particular house is because he lived on the river. The next big reason was because it was a custom built home with 4,000 square feet under the roof. This is plenty of room to raise a big family and the bedrooms are laid out in a way that is conducive to each child having their own bedroom. The last big draw was the pool area with an outdoor kitchen area. The deck was built with pavers and newly coated pool.
First Impressions Go a Long Way
As we walked and talked, naturally the driveway led us to the front entrance, where he had a circle drive that dropped you right near the front walk. We chatted about the first impression a potential buyer was going to have as they approached the house. He agreed that he didn’t want them to have an immediate bad taste in their mouth as they drove in. I told him that the great thing about Clear Advantage and the pressure washing industry today is that our equipment is the most advanced, letting us clean bigger areas better and more efficiently. So, he was pleased to know that pressure washing the driveway and sidewalk was going to be a great bang for his buck.
We walked up to the front entrance area. Here we noticed the typical ailments, like dirt daubers and wasp nests. After a few jokes about how mud daubers are just the dirty cousins of the more intimidating wasp, we composed ourselves and agreed that this area is usually the dirtiest and would be where the buyer felt invited in. He wanted it pressure washed and wanted the nests knocked down and hand scrubbed so there were no remnant stains. I assured him that this is our standard procedure for areas like this.
Follow the Path of the Buyer
Stepping inside, the A/C was cold and gathered our thoughts as we continued to try and think like the buyer. What path would the buyer make in deciding to purchase? He had done a lot of great touch up work inside and the place looked great. However, one of the bigger selling points of the house were the 3 sets of French doors that opened out to the back deck of pavers. As we looked, it was obvious the buyer’s view would be hampered by the hand prints and dust on the inside of the doors and windows, along with the hard water stains on the outside. It would be nice for the prospective buyer to look out and not see the doors, but only see the deck, the pool and the well maintained back yard. I started making notes and walked out back.
Look Up and Look Down
Walking out onto the pavers, it was clear they had been let go and the sealant that had once protected them and brought out their natural color was completely worn off in most sun-laden sections. He was most embarrassed about this part of the house. They used the outdoor kitchen a lot with their kids and family friends, but had neglected its maintenance over the years. After looking at the pavers with a more critical eye, we noticed there were small areas where the pavers were starting to sink and were loose. As I made notes, I reassured him that we have cleaned, sanded and sealed many decks with pavers. This would not be a difficult project for our team and we could make them look new again, along with securing down the loose pavers and resetting the sinking pavers. His spirits were lifted as we stood in the back yard looking at the back of the house.
I took him through an exercise that our estimators do when conducting an inspection. We looked up and down each area of the backside of his home, looking for things that are out of place and things that create problems. We noticed his gutters were full from the pine trees dropping their needles and the fascia, soffits and eaves were very dirty. All of this together drew your eye naturally to the roof which was dirty as well. As I walked him through what it would take for us to pressure clean his house and clean out the gutters, I mentioned he might be able to save some money by not doing the roof cleaning right now. I explained that if your eye isn’t directly drawn to the roof you can get away with not cleaning it for the purpose of selling your home. His roof was not very dirty to start, so this would not be a piece advice that applies to every home.
Highest Priority First
We had the chance to look at every part of his property at this point except for the most important area, his wood dock. When thinking back about why he bought the house 10 years ago, the dock and access to the river was his highest point of interest. So we walked down 800 feet of wooden catwalk, over the beautiful Florida marsh land, out to a small boat dock. He admitted to not doing any work on it since he had bought the house and realized as we talked that he needed to invest in bringing it back to life. This way the buyer would be impressed from their first impression to the last. They would be able to see themselves in that home and make an offer.
I gave him a list of our recommendations with the cost next to each one and we stood inside thinking through it. He said, “From the past, I know you guys do good work and I think the first impression is very important to selling my house, so let’s set it up for next week.”
The best part of this story will come when he gets a contract. And we will do our best on this project, like every window cleaning, pressure washing or pool service project, so he will call us to take care of the home he moves to in Port Orange.
If you need one of our estimators to come out and give you an expert opinion in pressure washing, window cleaning or pool service to prepare for your move, please call us directly or email us here.
Check out pictures of our work on our Facebook page here.