Why do some properties sell more quickly than others?  Is there a secret sauce?  I’m no realtor, but I grew up with one, my mom, Gloria.  The story below happens to be one of her listings that she sold in 48 hours!  Welcome Gloria to the  blog.

This is a case study for realtors and homeowners who want to get it right the first time.  There is only one first impression, right?  But, if you don’t get it right the first time, there is still hope!  (discussed in an upcoming post).  Presenting the property at its best from the beginning is THE winning strategy.

Midwest Suburban Home located in St. Louis, MO

Background:  The Facts

The home is 22 years old (built in 1995) and in a suburban neighborhood in the midwest.  It’s approximately 3,164 sq feet and went on the market in May 2016 for $500,000.  The property received multiple offers and was under contract within 48 hours for nearly the asking price.  $8,000 was invested in prepping the house for it’s market debut.  The frameless shower stall was the largest expense at $5,000 (including labor).  Most of the updates were done by the homeowners which saved on labor costs.

Frameless surround was installed plus updated nickle light fixtures and faucets replaced dated gold.

A Year Prior:  Prep work

  • Painted the exterior of the home to freshen up the siding and shutters.
  • Painted the entire interior of the home a neutral color.  The kitchen was a beautiful red, but that would not appeal to everyone.
  • The kitchen was painted neutral and new light fixtures, faucets and knobs were added in an oil rubbed bronze finish.   Note:  the stainless steel appliances were installed in early 2000s, part of a previous update.

    Kitchen recipe for success: Fresh, neutral paint + oil rubbed bronze finishes + granite + stainless steel appliances = buyer appeal!

  • The Master Bathroom, the most important bathroom of the home, needed to be updated to compete with newer model homes which were popping up everywhere!  The brass fixtures were removed and replaced with nickel finishings-from the knobs on the cabinet, light fixtures and faucets. The existing shower was updated with frameless stall in nickel as well as the shower head .  Framed mirrors replaced older plate glass ones.  Onyx countertops were added to both sinks.
  • Foyer:  The buyer’s first impression aside from the exterior.  The stairway was carpeted and in need of replacing.  The carpet was removed highlighting the hardwood steps giving a more modern and expensive look.  All brass light fixtures were replaced with oil rubbed bronze-including the foyer and dining room chandelier.

The entry is one of the first impressions of a home-besides the exterior-it should shine!

Three months prior:  Finishing Touches

  • A stager came to the home and recommended decluttering the space as well as modernizing it with newer decor.  “We lived in the home for 15 years and had trouble distinguishing our personal items from what a buyer would consider clutter,” the homeowner said.   “The stager also helped us modernize the home to appeal to what would likely be a young family moving in.  We put antique and traditional furniture in storage and replaced it with more modern accessories.
  • The house went on the market in May.  This means that the yard needed to be in impeccable condition.  Luckily, the irises in the back were in full bloom and the front yard was freshly mulched and shrubs were trimmed.
  • Hack:  The doorknobs (not the hinges) and fireplace grate were spray painted oil rubbed bronze.  As opposed to buying new, this saved money.


Add a hibiscus tree and an outdoor rug to make your deck feel well-maintained and fresh.

Gloria’s final thoughts:  “It sold quickly.  We received multiple offers on the home.  There was much prep work that  was done before hand, but it meant fewer carrying costs with less time on the market and an almost full price offer.”  This example follows the NAR statistic that when a home seller spends 1-3% of the value of their home on preparing it to sell, they reap 8-10% in average price value.

Thanks, Mom for contributing to the blog!