Spring Clean Your Real Estate Business

Unless you’ve been living under a rock—or a pile of clothes from the eighties—you’ve noticed decluttering gospel is everywhere. You can thank (or blame) home organizing superstar and best-selling author Marie Kondo, whose Netflix reality show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” preaches that people can improve their lives by getting rid of all the things they own that don’t “spark joy.”

Naturally, some folks find the decluttering craze annoying, but real estate practitioners know the value of reducing clutter, especially when selling a house. “A lot of home buyers simply can’t see through a cluttered home,” says Nancy Newquist-Nolan, SRES, with Coldwell Banker in Santa Barbara, Calif., who specializes in helping people downsize. “They just can’t visualize themselves living in a seller’s house if it’s a total mess.”

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Presale Renovations Take Off

A couple in Cambridge, Mass., were looking to sell a two-bedroom condo. The property had been rented out to three college students and needed work if the sellers were going to get top dollar for it, says Carol Kelly, a Compass real estate agent based in Cambridge.

“[The couple] didn’t want to reach into their own pocket to pay for the renovations,” Kelly says. “They didn’t want the stress of investing their own money into the property.”

So Kelly recommended Compass Concierge, a service the brokerage rolled out in 2018 to pay for presale renovations. Sellers pay back the money using the proceeds of their sale. Compass put $17,000 worth of improvements into the Cambridge condo, installing new flooring, painting the kitchen cabinets, and power-washing the house. It paid off: The condo, which was listed at $589,000, sold for $640,000, enabling the sellers to repay Compass and eke out bigger gains from their investment.

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