How to Get an Extra Hundred Thousand Dollars when Selling a Southern California Home

Sell It For More!  How to Maximize the Selling Price of a Home


What makes one property sell fast for $100,000 above the comparable nearby recently sold prices while another home sits on the market for a long time, and then sells for a paltry $30,000 below the comparables?  To help prospective home sellers avoid common mistakes and receive as much money as possible from a home sale, let’s compare and contrast two recent transactions. One performed way above all expectations while the other sold for far less than expected. #homeprice

Let’s start with the loser of the two.  An SB Grand live-work loft in Downtown’s Historic Core across from Pershing square offered an excellent opportunity to sell a fixer for top dollar, but the seller did not take advantage of all of the opportunities.  The loft did suffer from a lack of natural light and no views, but had a great open space, industrial character, high ceilings, private balcony and was a great canvas that could have conveyed one stunning pad. The unit was instead presented as a dumbed-down man cave only used by the seller for sleeping and work at home.  The unit was plain, with little or no thought put into beautifying it.  The owner was offered the opportunity to have the loft unit professionally fixed up by a top-notch interior decorator, beautifying it and masking all of the flaws for less than $2,500.  But, the owner declined to have the loft beautified, and instead believed that he could instead simply change a few things, a new rug, clean up a bit, and move some furniture around.  It was not nearly enough. #homevalue

The unit was only partially decluttered. There was still clutter in the main area, more in the kitchen and bath.  Personal items were visible everywhere.  A wardrobe cabinet was bursting open with a massive number of shirts protruding, giving the indication that the unit lacked sufficient storage.  Family photos and personal objects gave the impression that the seller was not ready to sell. They clearly communicated reality.

The unit needed dozens of items to be beautified and rectified.  The listing agent did bring in some string lights and flowers to turn the dismally dark light well into a somewhat of a romantic setting, he showed it to 50 prospective buyers, and even brought in 4 offers, including a cash offer.  The offers were all well below the seller’s desired selling price, and below the price of recently sold lofts in the building.

A stunning interior could have made some buyers forget that there was no view. A well-decorated space could have attracted the eye to the interior.  An OMG stunning ceiling lamp and brilliant sconces could have made buyers forget that there is not enough natural light.  The seller failed to take most of the steps available to increase the attractiveness and value. If the seller had invested just $2,500 to beautify, spruce up, decorate, brighten up and boost the unit to the “WOW” luxury loft that it should have been, the seller would have gained approximately $30,000 more. An opportunity lost.

And The Winner Is

As we can easily tell from the first story, beauty and attractiveness have a lot to do with these two properties. Making up for faults is the other big factor.  The loser mentioned above had big issues with that needed to be dramatically addressed.  The seller of a luckier house two hours away in Palm Springs had plenty of faults and many details that required attention, and they got the attention they required.

While the successful Movie Colony neighborhood home and the Downtown loser loft were in different areas, and suffered from different problems, they both had things in common.  Both areas attract more single buyers and investors and fewer permanent families with children.  Both areas are sought after by AirBNB investors, and both properties have swimming pools and substantial tourism.  They both had defects that needed to be remedied, covered up or made up for.  The Palm Springs house ended up selling for well over $100,000 above the comps, and surpassed expectations because the seller invested the time and a modest amount of money to make the home into the attractive stunner that attracted top dollar from buyers.

Artist interior decorator Brother Andy gives his rundown on how he helped the seller to get $100,000 more:  Curb appeal is just the beginning. A house must also have interior home appeal, as well as back yard appeal.

How to get more money from a home sale
How to get more money from a home sale

When asked how he helped sell the home for $685,000 in a neighborhood that recently sells for around $500,000, Andy started of by giving lot of credit to the real estate agent’s beautiful presentation packaging that honed in on a specific type of client.  Everything was presented in a way that was geared to a lifestyle.  Even the marketing materials, the pictures and paper quality was tangible with expensive flyers that conveyed superior quality.

Of course the superior presentation must be all about a superior product.  The house was adorned with candles, showings accompanied by music, freshly baked cookies, and high-end Starbucks coffee.  Andy made sure everything was decluttered to make it look like as much space as possible. He left nothing indicating problems.  Everything was in its place, all clutter and personal effects completely removed or hidden so that there was indication of a storage issue or lack of closet space. No trash cans were visible —  No indication of effort or dirt. It looked like there was no need for an owner to ever do any yard work or housework. Andy made it look like a resort: towels out by the pool, a barbecue could be easily started at any second. The home was geared for pleasure, easy for anyone to enjoy  —  No indicator of any problem.  Andy even hides the soap because soap is a mental indicator of the possibility of dirt and toil. He put away everything instead of leaving things out.  Andy acts as the eyes and ears of the buyer, informing the seller of what turns buyers off and on. No garden hoses are to be seen.  The home looks like a fantasy.  Buyers offer more money.

After the home sold for so much, the seller said she could not have done it by herself because she needed an objective eye. Sellers can be emotional about the home and its details.  Andy the interior designer was looking factually at what was happening.  Andy knows that attracting extra money comes from going above and beyond, with fresh cut flowers and all the rest.

The successful home seems like it is right out of a magazine.  Think Martha Stuart.  All of Southern California has lots of nice places, but only a few like Disneyland.  The less successful sellers, the cheaper selling home sellers are largely just getting by with the obvious.  The successful home seller had the right idea when she wanted someone to fall in love with house. Prospective home buyers can look at 10 houses in a day. They will remember the one that is above and beyond.

The successful seller respected the Spanish revivalist architecture and stayed true.  She did not try to impose another style on top. The furniture placement was not for the seller’s use, but instead balanced for the buyer’s eye. Nobody is looking into the back end of a couch when the front door is opened.  The furniture is optimized for traffic flow, scale, color and texture.

Andy says it’s also about knowing what looks cheap and what looks high end.  In the back yard, the outdoor table is set up fully with 8 place settings. Every day the seller and Andy dusted, wiped off silverware, glasses and dishes. This was done daily for weeks until the home sold for top dollar. They invested the time hosing the ground and everything off to make it wet, fresh and clean.  A perfectly profitable home sale is not necessarily a piece of cake.  The seller and Andy spent sometimes 15 hours a day for up to 6 weeks.

Most sellers don’t go the extra mile. They leave the toilet wand in view, make buyers think about cleaning. The buyer subconsciously thinks of shit!  Dirty toilets and having to clean it!  Buyers are not going to pay much for that crap.

The stand-out sellers know that buyers in Movie Colony and Downtown Los Angeles both are not interested in mowing lawns.  The successful seller documented her gardener, maid, window cleaner, all services listed to be handed over along with the keys.

The laws of attraction were all implemented to garner top dollar for the house. The staging and maintenance were just one part.  The law of attraction was used to begin with years ago to find the worst house on block — torn up. The seller removed all of the Home Depot crap and the seller fixed up house the way it was designed to be seen.  The seller knew that she needed to dress up the house pretty enough to look like a million to ensure that she could get $685,000.

The disenchanted DTLA loft seller tried to get by with the basics, while the desert champion seller was going for the gold.  Their disparate results were in the cards from the beginning.

Here are 6 ways to improve the final sale price of a home, provided by the interior designer artist:

Aggressive Real Estate Staging Can Garner High Financial Rewards
By Brother Andy

Sellers may realize their property could use “a little help” and will accept the suggestion from a helpful agent to “stage” what the client is offering as part of an over-all marketing plan. In the whirl-wind LA and Palm Springs real estate markets, full of ever-changing trends, determining a potential buyer profile exactly and what they are looking for specifically can be difficult to access. An out-right investment in staging can be a gamble which can pay-off many times over — if done right. The goal is to aid the potential buyer’s imagination of owning the property, direct attention to what the buyer’s dollar is actually purchasing, and present the property’s valuable best qualities by matching marketing strategies to the potential buyer’s expectation.

Here is a great example of an insightful, sophisticated seller who risked an assertive “eye candy” staging strategy to justify a higher price, more than the flat, unexciting square footage comps might initially indicate. The seller succeeded at getting full asking price that included contents, within a week on the market, by building upon proven staging/marketing/advertising techniques. Here is what the seller did right:

1. Reality Check
The seller, at first hesitant to place the property for sale at all, started by analyzing the surrounding area (historic Movie Colony East in Palm Springs, California), the architectural style of her house (a 1930’s Spanish-Revivalist “cottage”), and the environment’s “vacation/tourist lifestyle” (plus AirBnBs, the recent changes in International economics such as the Canadian dollar exchange, County regulations on selling properties, up-to-the-minute MLS comps, demographics, how many property improvements were made, sought lawyer/financial advice, etc.). Creating a list of the “property detriments”, such as smaller square footage size in comparison to comps and a frustrating lack of closets, easily dictated staging — what to emphasize, what to compensate for, and what to ignore in the marketing presentation. The seller began with the hard-hitting, black-and-white, bottom-line business aspects of the property before working backwards toward the heart-tugging “pretty flourishes”, thus saving time, money and foreseeable hassles.

2. Hired Professionals
The seller found a talented, experienced photographer, knowledgeable in real estate, who captured outstanding images of the property both during the day and in the evening. The results were a limited number presentation of warm, inviting, homey pictures of a manicured, well-cared-for treasure.

No run-of-the-mill grainy one-sheet Staples fliers with cheesy head-shots of the agents here. This seller’s printed brochure was impressive: artistic, high-quality, detailed, calendar-sized on slick stock worthy of a magazine spread, even worthy of framing. Charm equals cash. Sexy sells.

The seller was open to hard-to-hear, blunt input from a trusted expert — meaning Brother Andy. The seller needed a fresh view point with a sensitive nose (Any odd odors?) to confirm and/or question whether the message of who the seller was talking to (the buyer), what the seller was saying (this property is chalk-full of character for a particular client to fall in love with), and what the seller wanted the buyer to do (fall in love…then accept the terms of the offer…ASAP). You have one chance to make a first impression and I was happy to supply my reactions as a mirror to what potential buyers might think. A good staging plan doesn’t place flashy furnishings and frou-frou flowers randomly, but address “the why” behind the decision-making process and the psychological “feelings” evoked by the space.

The smart seller also hired a professional cleaning crew who made every surface impeccably clean. The gardener worked conscientiously on the yard as well — not a rock, leaf or flower out of place.

An old garage turned into a lovely casita
An old garage turned into a lovely casita

3. A Buyer Beauty
In the “Vacation Second Home” market milieu, this seller wisely concentrated on a “one-stop shopping” approach by offering the furnishings (down to the silverware, towels, bedding, art, etc.), aimed at busy women with families and gay men, both of whom appreciate the value of a finished “designer house”.

Printed materials and staging emphasized the property’s “fun” elements (the bar-b-q, fireplaces, pool, televisions, etc.), even placing tea servings on lawn furniture. The purposes of the “fun” aspects were as clearly defined as “living room”, “Master bedroom”, and so on, were.

The “Marketing An Alternative” plan in a neighborhood of “boxy, impersonal Modernist Ranch style” older homes was structured around the “vintage charm” uniqueness of the house. This was done with antiques, candles, wood burning in the fireplaces, all lights turned on, curtains opened, TVs on, books, flowers, hand towels, and tables set with brightly-colored hand-painted china as though a party were happening. This refined tact also inevitably “alternative marketed” the property for a buyer seeking a retirement home, a rental property, or an equity-building investment. Coming onto the property, one could not help but want to sit down, sit back, relax, and picture a future of owning the place — even if you weren’t in the market for buying.

4. “When” Is As Important As “Where”
The old adage in real estate is: location, location, location. That may be Rule #1 but few sellers consider the importance of “when” optimal buying can occur. The time of year is vital to results when selling a property deemed a “vacation destination”. This seller consciously listed the property on the MLS when the Palm Springs weather wasn’t insufferably hot or rainy or cold, and the plants were the greenest of the year.

The light-and-bright, “cheery” property was ready during the Holiday season when many buyers, programmed to shop for almost anything and everything, are easily influenced by “family and friends gatherings” and have a limited time to find a retreat for the summer season. Most sellers aren’t interested in selling/moving during the Holidays, which cuts down competition. Many upper-middle class buyers need to buy property before January 1 for tax purposes. This seller took advantage of the “de-cluttered luxury hotel” veneer of the property precisely when her potential buyer would likely be staying at a “de-cluttered luxury hotel”.

The right touch turns ugly and cheap into beautiful and valuable

5. No Guts, No Glory
This savvy seller didn’t listen to those who tried to dissuade her due to what others saw as obvious risks by not “playing it safe”. In a business primarily selling “space”, the seller chose another route — charm and love. Instead of doing what everyone else did and getting the same results, this seller gave no reason not to buy by pushing the boundaries of tradition real estate business and going the extra mile. The seller’s “educated guess” — instinct — proved right.

6. Sincerity Sells
Buyers can smell a contrived hard-sell a mile away. Over-selling is just as much a “turn off” as underselling, making buyers suspicious “something is wrong” from too much “show”. Buyers can also sense when a seller loves the property and wants them to love it to. The seller, in this case, was confident about the value of the property because the seller was once the buyer of that very property.

Get a free quote for home interior design by artist Brother Andy. Fill out the online form:

Which of these costly homeseller mistakes will you make when you sell your Southern California home?  

Greater Los Angeles Area – A new report has just been released which reveals 7 costly mistakes that most homeowners make when selling their home, and a 9 Step System that can help you sell your home fast and for the most amount of money.
This industry report shows clearly how the traditional ways of selling homes have become increasingly less and less effective in today’s market. The fact of the matter is that fully three quarters of homesellers don’t get what they want for their homes and become disillusioned and – worse – financially disadvantaged when they put their homes on the market.
As this report uncovers, most homesellers make 7 deadly mistakes that cost them literally thousands of dollars. The good news is that each and every one of these mistakes is entirely preventable. In answer to this issue, industry insiders have prepared a free special report entitled “The 9 Step System to Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar”.
To order a FREE Special Report, visit or to hear a brief recorded message about how to order your FREE copy of this report call toll-free 1-844-837-3308 and enter 1000. You can call any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Get your free special report NOW to find out how you can get the most money for your home.

This report is courtesy of Corey Chambers Realty Source Inc BRE01889449. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract.


An old shed of a garage turned into valuable real estate

Copyright © This free information provided courtesy L.A. Loft Blog and with information provided by Corey Chambers, Realty Source Inc, BRE#01889449 We are not associated with the homeowner’s association or developer. For more information, contact (213) 880-9910 or visit  Licensed in California. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Properties subject to prior sale or rental. This is not a solicitation if buyer or seller is already under contract with another broker.