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RealVitalize: Goodbye Stress, Hello Earnings

Homes are flying off the market just as quickly as they are listed, but sellers can still miss out on getting top dollar if they decide not to upgrade – or upgrade poorly. Additionally, from upgrades to inspection and moving costs, the entire process can be overwhelming for the seller. Coldwell Banker recently commissioned a survey, conducted by The Harris Poll, exploring the difficulties of the home selling and buying process as well as the challenges around home renovations during those processes.

The survey found:

  • 89% who have sold their homes in the past three years reported that they made upgrades before selling.
  • Over a quarter (28%) of those who have renovated their homes in the past three years were unsure how to get the most out of their improvements.
  • Gen Zers and Millennials were more likely to say they struggled to find the money to make updates (34% and 31%) compared to Gen Xers and Boomers (14% and 4%).
  • One in five homeowners (21%) said that they plan to sell their current home in the next 12 months.

Thankfully Coldwell Banker affiliated real estate agents can help sellers get the best value for their homes with RealVitalize, a program that allows home sellers to make improvements and repairs with no upfront costs. With more than 20 years of real estate experience, Rose Sklar of Coldwell Banker Realty is an expert at using RealVitalize to help her clients maximize their sale price. Below, we share some of her best tips for anyone hoping to take advantage of the program.

TIP #1 – Advise your clients: Talk to your agent first.

Americans of all generations are taking advantage of making upgrades to get more bang for their buck – 89% who have sold their homes in the past three years reported that they made upgrades before selling. However, 28% said they had the money to make updates before listing but struggled to understand the best updates to make to get the most return on investment.

Here’s where Rose and RealVitalize come in. With two decades of real estate knowledge, she has insight into the must-haves in renovation and upgrades because she sees what sells the fastest and what doesn’t. She follows the latest design trends to coach her clients on what buyers want – updated landscaping, minimalist furniture, modern cabinet knobs (“Spend some $$ here!” she says) and the most neutral wall colors. Then she’s able to help them take advantage of RealVitalize and the program’s network of home professionals to make those upgrades.

“I come into my clients’ homes before listing, and they tell me they just had fresh painting done. However, it’s often the wrong color – sometimes an ‘off’ cream that’s actually mustard, or a bright color that only they like. I always advise them – wait until your real estate agent weighs in before you start making updates,” counsels Rose.

Clients upgrading their homes is great – but only if they make the right upgrades. Utilizing the power of before and after photos, Rose and her team demonstrate the strength and potential that the RealVitalize program holds.

TIP #2: Inspect before you list.

Rose always recommends doing an inspection prior to listing. Fixing issues before potential buyers even walk through the door saves yourself and the client much added stress, those “what-if’s” and the possibility of the buyer asking for a price reduction when problems inevitably pop up.

Pre-inspections can also lessen the disconnect between the seller’s list of must-dos and the must-haves of potential homebuyers. According to our survey, features that would be must-haves for Americans if they were looking to buy a home include kitchen upgrades (45%), bathroom upgrades (44%) and updated HVAC, plumbing and electrical (43%). RealVitalize can help with updates – and convincing clients to perform a pre-inspection is easy when they understand the money doesn’t come out of pocket for these repairs.

TIP #3: Less Is More!

“Less is more!” says Rose, noting that home sellers often have trouble parting with beloved belongings. She understands their attachment, however, and shows empathy when working with these clients. However, when she shows them before and after pictures, that’s when they really start to understand how much more they could make if they use RealVitalize to pay for storage, hire moving and packing crews and bring in staging services.

While moving and storing items is stressful – according to our survey, among those who sold a home in the last three years, three fifths (61%) say it is at least somewhat stressful to move and store items – as Rose says, “It’s about helping clients realize: You can do this with RealVitalize.”

TIP #4: Sitting stale? RealVitalize.

Rose does her best to convince all her clients to use the RealVitalize program, whether they have big or small updates to make. “Gentle encouragement” is what she calls it.

Some clients can take more convincing, which is why Rose sometimes has to resort to a two-stage model in her encouragement approach. Stage 1 is listing without any upgrades and listing the house as-is. If the house sits stale on the market – which it almost always does, she notes – then she tells her client it’s time to move to stage 2. During the second stage, upgrades are made and new photos are taken. Once the house is relisted, she says she often sees the home close in record time.

Every client won’t understand right away the importance of renovations – but when RealVitalize is added to the picture, it makes agents’ jobs easier.

Goodbye Stress, Hello Earnings

From the first step out of the car, up the walkway to the front door, Rose knows that first impressions matter to potential buyers. The good news is, gone are the days of wondering what upgrades to make. Coldwell Banker affiliated agents guide sellers from start to finish – and when sellers use RealVitalize, high earnings, less stress and quick turnaround are almost guaranteed. A clean kitchen, a freshly painted door and killer landscaping can set potential buyers up for a wonderful walkthrough, potentially leading to a done deal at the end of the showing.

If you’re interested in the RealVitalize program you should reach out to a Coldwell Banker affiliated agent.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Coldwell Banker between June 22-24, 2021, among 2,037 adults ages 18+, among whom 1335 are homeowners and 432 sold a home in the past 3 years. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be -calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Deanna Gorecki at dgorecki@gscommunications.com.

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