Category Archives: Staging Tips

Finishing Your Lower Level to Sell Your Home – Part 2

If you didn’t catch Finishing Your Lower Level to Sell Your Home – Part 1″  please click the link to check that out. Along with the new bedroom and bath photos is gives an explanation as to why you may or may not want to finish off your lower level prior to selling.

This post continues to show you the before and after photos of my finished lower level. Besides the added bedroom and bath (on previous post), I was able to add 3 additional living areas. The TV area, the game/eating area, and my favorite…..the cozy fireplace sitting area.

For 20 years this lower level had been a dumping ground to put whatever we didn’t want to deal with at the time (you didn’t see the half of it!) and a place for 1-3 Saint Bernards to come in from the backyard and not have to worry about the mud and dirt.

As with the bedroom and bath, decisions were made on the fact that it is a lower level and will be sold in five years. Luxury Vinyl Planks were put on the floor for durability for us with Saint Bernards but also the the fact it is water proof for a lower level with a sump pump and walk out to a pond.

The flooring was continued throughout the entire space including the bedroom and bath making it one continuous space. The durability and look will be a selling feature as well. The goal was a budget of a lower level but a finished space that doesn’t look like a lower level. 🙂

 

Before and After TV Area (aka my hubby’s area):

 

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Before and After Game/Dining Area (tough to move the big dog; her favorite spot):

 

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The Hearth Area (my spot and personal favorite):

 

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With the cost savings mentioned in the first post due to being my own general contractor, it has been determined that the added bedroom, bath and living areas will increase my selling price at least equal to what we spent; and hopefully it will continue to increase. Plus we get at least five years to enjoy it before we move. Win Win!!

So if you are looking to finish off your lower level to sell your home you need to:

  1. Determine how many years until you sell.
  2. Discuss the added value for the additional square footage with a Realtor that works in your area.
  3. Get bids from all contractors and vendors to determine the total costs.
  4. Research costs on ALL materials such as hardware, paint, trim, faucet, toilet etc. that may not be included in any of the contractor or vendor quotes.

At this point you can begin to make some decisions and move forward if it makes sense. My big caution to you: DO NOT OVER BUILD FOR YOUR AREA AND TIME FRAME. Meaning, there is only so much you can get for your square footage and don’t go all out and with a massive wish list. If you notice, I did not do any built-ins as I was not going to get the return on my investment within the 5 year projected sale date.

It’s a big decision but one we decided to make at this point for us. Be sure to bring in trained and certified professionals to guide you through the process.

 

Finishing Your Lower Level To Sell Your Home – Part 1

This subject is close to my heart because I just went through the process. I also have many clients that wonder about finishing off a lower level or doing a major renovation when pondering an upcoming sale of their home.

Let me first state that it all depends on WHEN you are selling your home. You do not want to complete a lower level or do a major renovation and turn around and sell your home within a year. The chances of you getting your money back are low. There are exceptions to finishing small areas, updating kitchens and such but I am talking a full big renovation or finishing.

Personally we are looking at perhaps selling our home in about five years so we started wondering if it made sense to finish our lower level. This would add a 5th bedroom, a 4th bathroom and three distinct living areas. I did a lot of research and got a lot of bids.

We were starting with only cement floors and the exterior walls insulated. We needed to frame up the rooms, add HVAC, Electrical etc. And purge

 

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Here is what I did….I took on the task of being our own general contractor. I am not a licensed contractor, I became the ‘manager’ of all the trades involved. By doing this I saved more than 50% of the contractor bid prices. THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE AND I AM NOT SAYING CONTRACTORS AREN’T WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD. I just found myself with a lot of time on my hands during Covid and made use of it.

I got bids from all trades and made bargain purchases at outlet centers and big box stores.

So….let’s cut to the chase and show you some ‘after’ photos. I am going to start with the bedroom and bath. You have to wait for the next post to see the really cool stuff. 🙂

 

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I made decisions based on the fact I was selling in five years and that it was a lower level. I did not tile the shower, I purchased a prefab vanity and top, the blinds are not special order and so on. I was strict on my finishing budget so that I love it now for my enjoyment, but also kept in mind the return on investment for sale purposes.

Check in for Part 2 to see the finished living areas and we will determine if I can get my money back in five years.

 

Do I Need to Stage My Home When It’s a Seller’s Market?

I know many people are asking that question and wondering if home staging is needed when inventory is low and homes are selling quickly. The answer may depend a bit but if you don’t stage, may you be leaving some money on the table?  Money on the Table

Let’s say you list your home ‘as is’ and you put the asking price a bit lower so you don’t have to do much of anything. You get an offer within a few weeks, maybe a few thousand below list but overall the percentage is still really good. Ok great!

But now let’s say you bring in a Home Stager, at the very minimum for a Home Staging Consultation, to give you a list of top things to do to get your home in top selling condition. She may suggest some fresh paint, or a couple new light fixtures, some repairs.

Now let’s say you are moving to your new home first and you are wondering if you should list the house empty or stage a couple key rooms with furniture. Will that matter?

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Let’s take a look at an older home I consulted on for a Realtor.  I did recommend some paint, a couple new light fixtures, new vinyl flooring in the kitchen and staging it with fresh modern furniture when they moved out. Here is the email I received from her shortly after is was listed:

 

  • Listed as coming soon 5/8
  • Active listing 5/22
  • 38 showings 5/22, 36 showings 5/23, 10 showings 5/24
  • Received 32 offers!
  • Inspection completed, now pending closing June 30

That’s 84 showings and 32 offers!!! PLUS it sold for $25,100 over list price! Which was over 10% of the list price. Unbelievable!

So yes the market is good. Would the house of sold anyway without staging? Absolutely.  Would the sellers have received 32 offers and sold for $25K over list without staging? We will never know for sure but I don’t think so. Don’t take a chance on leaving money on the table.