Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Adding Value to Luxury Listings

Today's New York Times had an amusing but informative article today about things people have done to raise the prices on their properties. Perhaps the most extreme example was a seller who regrouted the bathroom tile and added $100,000 to the estimated value of the listing, on the theory that cracked and dirty grouting would tend to make buyers think that they would need to do a major bathroom renovation. Another broker told of a client who changed the kitchen cabinets and repainted, thereby getting an offer $100,000 higher than the broker had anticipated.

Most of the examples involved big dollars, but obvious pointers: Get rid of the clutter. Clean the rugs. If you are a landlord, put in new appliances. Replace towels and bath mats with fluffy new ones. Improve the lighting. We all know these things, but it's sometimes hard to think objectively about a place we've lived, especially when the expense incurred will benefit the new owner and not ourselves. It's worth doing things that improve either curb appeal or the initial impact during a showing. Last week's Times real estate section even talked about a new trend of using pets (well behaved and freshly groomed) to make open houses more homey. Who knows? Fido might even replace the tried-and-true cookie baking, to fill the home with a delicious aroma.

The best story, however, was the last example in the article. One broker tells her clients to go out and buy 25 pairs of expensive designer shoes, which will pay for themselves in a higher sales price, as "people want to step into your life". Isn't that like the closet envy scene in the first Sex and the City movie? Well, if it works, what woman wouldn't want two dozen new pairs of great shoes?