Archive for January, 2014

10 Ways to Turn Off a Potential Home Buyer

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014


If you have decided to sell your home, the last thing you want to do is not to have it in its best shape for anyone who comes to take a look at it. Home sales are a competitive field, and no matter how great you think your house is, you are doing yourself a disservice by not making it as presentable to potential buyers as possible. For that reason, you should do everything in your power to avoid anything that may turn off someone who comes to look at your home.

Here are 10 surefire ways to turn off a potential home buyer that you want to avoid at all costs:

1. Keeping a Dirty Home. I know it seems like people should be able to look past dirt, knowing that they will keep a cleaner house than you do. But that isn’t how the human mind works. When a buyer comes to look at your home, it should always be spotless. That means hiring professionals to clean the carpet, scrub the dirt and grime from your bathrooms and kitchen, and simply just making the place shine.

2. An Unkempt Yard. One of the keys to selling your home is creating a “love at first sight” scenario. If your potential buyer gets out of their car and immediately has a great feeling before even setting foot inside, then you are already ahead of the game. That’s why you should keep your hedges trimmed, your grass watered, and your kids’ toys in the garage.

3. Popcorn Ceilings – that squisky stuff on your ceilings:  Many of us grew up with these types of ceilings in our homes. But nowadays, they make a house look incredibly dated. That’s why you should have your local contractor come out and get rid of them, which can make a major difference in the amount of buyers you will attract.

4. Odd or Bad Smells. Raise your hand if you want to live in a smelly house? None of you? Yeah, I thought so. When a buyer comes to look at your home, make sure it smells nice (or doesn’t smell at all). Even if you tell them the bad smell is temporary, most people won’t want to chance it.

5. Old Fixtures and Hardware. If you have old fixtures in your kitchen and bathroom, I think it’s a good idea to replace them before you start showing your home. Changing out the knobs on your kitchen cabinets won’t cost you a ton, but it can be the difference between a sale and a pass.

6. Too Much Clutter. When you put your house up for sale, one of the first things you should do is pack away some of the knick-knacks and other personal items that may be cluttering your home. The more of that stuff that’s lying around and taking up space, the harder it will be for a potential homeowner to picture themselves there.

7. ‘Hawking’ Around the Buyer. To me, a person’s home is a very personal subject. Because of this, it is to the seller’s benefit to let a potential home buyer look through the home at their own speed. Let them imagine themselves living there. Don’t hang around and knock them out of that fantasy!

8. Old Appliances. Outdated appliances can really hurt your ability to sell your home. Nobody wants to move into their new house only to have things start breaking on them. It may be a good idea for you to replace these appliances before putting your house on the market.

9. Carpeting. This is another home item that can make your house look incredibly dated, especially if the carpet is in every room. If your home is carpeted, you may want to talk to a reputable flooring contractor about replacing it. In my opinion, your best bet would be to rip it out and lay a hardwood floor, which everyone seems to love these days.

10. Misrepresenting Your Home. Simply put, you should not lie on your real estate listing. And when I say lie, that includes Photoshopping pictures of your home to make everything look larger. There is nothing that angers a buyer more than taking time to look at a home they thought they were interested in only to find out it’s nothing like the listing.

To speak to a reputable Los Angeles contractor who can help you get your home ready for sale so you can avoid turning off buyers, please give me a call at (213) 232-4783 or contact me here.

Can’t I Just Skip the Permit?

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014


So, it’s time for your next home remodeling project. Maybe it’s a roof replacement. Or a whole new kitchen. Or even a brand new room being added on to your home. As a contractor in these situations, I sometimes hear the homeowner say things like “Can’t we just skip the permit” To this, I always respond with an absolute “no.” Yes, I know a permit can sometimes delay the job while waiting for your municipality to approve it. Yes, I understand that permits are not free. I even realize that inspectors are not always easy to deal with. These things don’t benefit me as the contractor either. Yet, I still won’t do jobs that require a permit without one. And you as the homeowner should not want your remodeling job done without a permit either. Here are 4 reasons why:

1. Contractors who do unpermitted work may be less reputable. When you are having any type of remodeling work done to your home, the most important thing you need to do is hire a reputable contractor. And one of the ways to tell if that contractor is reputable is by finding out if they will permit the job. In order for them to pull a permit, a contractor needs to have the appropriate licenses and insurance. Therefore, at least you know your municipality approves them if they are able to permit your job.

2. Inspectors are there for a reason. Yes, inspectors can sometimes be a pain in the neck. But they are also there to ensure that your contractor has done the work the right way. To me, that is a very valuable thing for a homeowner to have. It also makes me feel good as a contractor to know that someone is there to catch the rare mistake so I can correct it right away.

3. Getting caught is a big problem. Simply put, the penalties you might face when getting caught doing work without a permit should be enough to make you want to permit your job. As a contractor, I certainly do not want to face the possible fines I could incur. As the homeowner, you could also face fines. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. You also may be forced to have whatever improvements have been done so far demolished. Ironically, this demolition will probably have to be permitted as well. Then, you still will have to get the permit you should have had in the first place in order to restart your job. Now that’s pain in the neck and the wallet!

4. Non-permitted work could affect a future home sale. This is one that I bet a lot of homeowners don’t know about. You may have a job done without a permit, think you got away with it for years, and still get caught. That’s because if a realtor or inspector notices unpermitted work during the sale of your home, the whole sale could be put in jeopardy! You may be able to go back and have a permit pulled, the job inspected, and the permit closed in some cases. But in other situations you could be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

If those reasons don’t convince you that you need to be sure to have your contractor pull the appropriate permits on your home remodeling job, I don’t know what will.

To talk to a reputable Los Angeles contractor about any remodeling you are thinking of doing to your home, please give me a call at (213) 232-4783 or contact me here.