April 2012

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I had a fellow real estate investor ask my husband and I to come out and take a look at his recent rehab work on a flip sell home that he was trying to sell.  He was having a tough time getting folks to stop by, much less take a look at it and hopefully make an offer on the home.  He could not figure out why the house wasn’t moving on the market (and this was during the frenzied buying period before the big bubble burst in real estate occurred in 2008).  It had sat on the market for a little over 6 months now.  The “quiet costs” were eating away at his profit margin like a cannabis monster.

When we arrived and got our initial impression of the home we were amazed that the obvious hadn’t even occurred to him.  His curb appeal was severely lacking.  The lawn was almost a foot tall and un-edged.  He had cleared away a lot of over growth to the point of being militant, making the house look like the owners could barely afford to keep the home.  It was completely devoid of color and texture from flowering plants and shrubs.  It wasn’t inviting to say the least.

The exterior of the house was in great shape with new paint and all cleaned.  But that was the extent of it when it came to the outside.

Like I advised him before, you cannot skip the curb appeal.  It means not only keeping your yard in shape and cleaned, it means making it interesting enough to entice potential buyers.  It is what gets them in the door to check out what the inside has to offer.

Once inside, you have roughly 5-10 minutes to impress your buyer into making a decision to purchase the home.

Well, this investor did everything right on the inside.  The home was cleaned, updated, and had the latest marketing colors to entice folks into buying the home.  We found nothing wrong there.

But his inability to stay on top of the landscaping or at least, lawn mowing and edging cost him a lot of money during that waiting period.  As soon as he got a lawn mowing crew out there to do a weekly upkeep of the front and back yard, along with hiring a college grad in landscaping to set up his garden borders and to plant a tree in the correct place, the place sold before the tree had enough time to settle in its 2 week rooting period.  That $1500 to $2000 oversight cost him $10,000 in holding costs.

Never underestimate the little things that can make a big difference.