Learning to Look Through New Eyes
In this “solocast” episode of the Real Estate Investing for Professional Men and Women podcast, I help you understand what you should be looking for when visually inspecting a property, going from the curb or driveway around the exterior of the home and then into the interior rooms.
The secret to gauging a property’s appeal lies in looking at it from the perspective of a potential buyer. The typical home buyer is a middle-income family with a couple of children, and this “average buyer” information is useful to know when you’re looking at a property. Try to view it from the mindset of a small family who would be considering buying the home from you, and this will help you focus on the pros and cons of the property as well as help you determine where to sink your upgrade funds.
Once you’ve gone through the process of finding leads, the next step is to tour the property. That’s what this episode is all about. I hope you find the information I have to share helpful the next time you’re trying to decide if a property is appealing enough to buy!
Judging a Book by Its Cover
The very first thing any prospective buyer will see is the “curb appeal” of the property. That means the front lawn, driveway, front exterior of the house (including roof), fence, etc. Take a look at these areas of the property as you first arrive. Is the driveway terribly cracked or in need of resurfacing? Is the yard overgrown? Does the roof appear to need repair? Does the exterior appear fresh, modern and welcoming?
Once you’ve gotten your “first glance” at the home, take the time to walk around the outside. Look for damaged windows, screens and shutters, features like sheds, swingsets and children’s play sets, a swimming pool in need of updating, things of that nature. If exterior features like a shed are present but in poor repair, consider removing it entirely. Having no feature at all is better than leaving one that looks run-down. If it’s in great repair, however, keep it! As you’re looking around, remember to consider it from the perspective of the typical family and what they would see when touring the property.
Affordable Upgrades that Pay for Themselves
Inside the home is a similar situation. Each room has certain expected features you’ll want to look for. Check the appliances (if present) and see how modern and well-maintained they are. Look at the floor plan, and imagine you and your family using that floor plan every day. If the kitchen cabinets are cheap, consider replacing them entirely. If they are good quality but dated, freshening them up with new paint and new pulls and hinges can bring them back to life.
In the bedrooms, you want to look for lighting and ceiling fans, and you might consider replacing them as necessary. In the bathroom, consider replacing the toilet and updating the sink. These are all relatively inexpensive upgrades that make a huge difference in the visual impact of the room. By refreshing and updating the little things throughout the home, you can dramatically increase its appeal and make it much faster to sell, without sinking a ton of money into it. The secret is to always look at everything from the end occupant’s point of view. You might be surprised at what you notice that you didn’t see before.
Want to hear more? Listen to this podcast here.