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Hi, this is Joe Clapper with Sound Finish and I’m here today with Roy VanWinkle with The VanWinkle Team and Keller Williams. Thanks for being here today.

Well I appreciate the opportunity, Andrew.

He’s going to tell us a little bit about how to get your house ready for resale. So Roy, how long have you been a Realtor in the Seattle Market?

Well Andrew my wife and I got licensed in ’88 together and she stayed pretty well active all the way throughout that, so a good long time. It’s always been in the Puget Sound area, really started out in Woodenville**** and migrated north into Snohomish County.

So you’re not really new to this market, then. I always get asked this question, what is it really that values my house or my home for resale? And I pretty much always answer the same thing; it’s the location, it’s the square footage, and then the condition of the home. What would you say about that?

Well I think that condition’s probably a higher priority than, on my list, than it is on yours, to the point that we actually, when we go in to take a listing, and we do three quarters of all of our business done with listing a property, condition is one of the key factors. So even if the location isn’t the best location, the condition outweighs the rest of that. There might be a way for someone to get maximum price even if it’s not in the greatest location. You know when people, buyers, walk into a house they don’t really want to see something that they’ve got to try to imagine all fixed up. They really want to see it ready to be moved into.

That’s really interesting, because you’re the second Realtor to tell me that the condition of the home is really the determining factor in the sale of the home. What would you say to somebody who’s looking at staging their house before putting it on the market? Does that increase the final sale price of the home?

Well I think the market conditions dictate the price, however, the length of time that a house is on the market is going to be a big factor. That’s where condition comes in, and staging, because if it’s staged well, and it’s in great condition, and it’s priced well, it’ll be the one that’s selected by the buyer versus maybe another one. So you could have two houses, similar neighborhood, but one is not in the greatest kitchen, or not as staged, so it’s not as attractive to the buyer—and that one might actually take longer to sell in the marketplace than one that’s not. I have a favorite saying, “Real Estate is not like fine wine, it doesn’t get better in time.” A quick sale is always better than a slow sale.

What are your thoughts on doing a major remodel before listing your home, is it worth the time and effort to go through all of that?

Well I get asked that question a lot. My opinion of that is sometimes people can spend money and not get the return on investment if they do a major remodel. And the reason is that sometimes they don’t always pick the things that are the most important to do, and pick out colors that maybe they would love to have, but not colors that are neutral that maybe the future buyer might like to have. Sometimes that can backfire. We really try to get people to get it staged, cleaned up, ready to go- you know, in the case of cabinet refinishing, that’s a great opportunity to them, to refinish it so that it looks good, but it’s a really cost effective way so that it doesn’t blow the budget and you get a good return on investment. It’s like a can of paint; a really inexpensive thing to do, yet the return on investment on a can of paint is really good if you get a neutral color. You know, major remodels, we don’t really recommend that they do that.

That’s really good advice. What factors do you think really determine the final sale price of a home?

Well first it’s the market; the market dictates what prices will be. A lot of people go, ‘Well, I’ve got an assessed value,’ or ‘I’ve got an appraised value.’ None of those values are the value that the market is going to bear. So, what really dictates the price is how other homes that are of like size, finish, location; how they have sold. That’s really how that works. Now, again, if the home is in great condition, will it bring top dollar inside that market? Yes, and if it is in great condition and in a great location, and staged, will it bring top dollar and bring it quickly? Yeah. So there’s things that sellers can do to get their home ready for sale. And this is a hot market; all those things are really important to do.

So what would you say to a homeowner who is looking at using our services before listing their home?

Well, as you know, we’ve used your services and it’s amazing at how the cabinets look once they’re done. It just makes the kitchen pop. And that’s what’s important. Again, that’s a room to be focused on, along with bathrooms, and the more you can focus on that room and make it clean and neat and look good, it might not give you a higher sales price, but it’s going to give you a shorter market time and you’re going to have a happier buyer.

What would be your advice to someone who is selling their home in the Puget Sound market?

Well I think there’s different customs in different states. I’m pretty familiar with the Arizona market- we’ve gone and bought and sold houses down there and had a house down there for a number of years as well as living up here. So I think there’s different customs but beyond that I think it all still works back to the same thing: What is it the market will bear, what is the condition of the home, how does it look, how is it staged, does it feel good when a buyer walks into it, I think those are the universal things that fit no matter what market you’re in.

Well thank you Roy for coming out today and helping us do this video, and help people get their house ready for resale.

Well I appreciate the opportunity and I think that this’d be a good video for people to watch and help them get ready to sell their house.


Contact Information:

Roy VanWinkle

Joe Clapper