The real estate market is HOT in Lake Chapala. After many, many years of lackluster sales, the Baby Boomers are coming, and they are coming in droves with lots of cash. If you are thinking of selling your Lakeside home, NOW is the time!
But what can you do to get the most value? What are some simple improvements that you can make to help sell it faster and closer to the asking price?
Here are just a few of the easy things that can be done with very little money:
De-clutter! Probably one of the most important steps in selling successfully. Many Lakeside homes are filled with memorabilia from trips abroad and lives lived and although they are important to you, the prospective buyer would like to imagine the space filled with their own personal belongings and memorabilia. Your Realtor can help make improvements in furniture placement and suggest which items to pack away to make the rooms as neutral and spacious feeling as possible.
Clean up! After you de-clutter, it’s time for a deep clean. This applies to both the interior and the exterior of the property. Call one of the excellent house cleaning services and make an appointment to meet them at your home. Get an estimate for a thorough scrub and clean-up. Area rugs should be free of animal hair, washed and refreshed. Nothing is worse than walking into a house that smells bad! In fact there is a saying in real estate: “If it smells, it doesn’t sell”. Toilets, sinks and showers should be cleaned properly and rid of hard water stains using straight white vinegar or acid wash treatments. And don't forget to clean up the garage and organize it neat and tidy! Cleanliness is essential to a successful sale. You would be amazed how many more thousands of dollars an extra clean home can bring, and how many thousands of dollars can be lost on a house that looks dirty and neglected.
Fix the salitre and paint: This is another cost effective and simple action to take to add value and avoid negativity during viewings. Mexicans know how to work with brick and concrete and they are masters at scraping off the bubbling paint that’s caused by moisture and/or too much calcium in the concrete. Fix any stucco cracks, as well, and paint the walls a neutral color. This is an investment of a few hundred dollars that can fetch thousands in return.
Inspect it: This is going the extra mile but why not avoid unpleasant surprises? Your house will undoubtedly be inspected anyway. For roughly $350 you can have an inspection done to tell you what repairs are needed, some of which might jeopardize a deal. This money is well spent, if only for your peace of mind and pride of ownership. Imagine the response of a prospective buyer who sees almost nothing wrong with the house! It’s a huge confidence booster and reassurance, especially to the buyer who is new to the area. Who wants to contemplate moving to a new home and having to start a new life by dealing with contractors and repairmen? Most people want “turn-key” and no headaches for which they are willing to pay a premium. This step can also shorten the buying process, eliminate dickering with the price, and reduce stress and anxiety to all involved.
Tidy up the garden: A nice garden helps form a good impression. Hire an extra gardener if needed, or put your gardener on extra time to make sure the yard is immaculate. Trim large trees and overgrown bushes to open up the outdoor space to allow more light and air. Manicure the gardens and sweep (and wash) the grounds and terraces on a regular basis. If the walls of the property need cleaning, fixing or painting, now is the time to do it.
Roofs: Roofs need attention, too. If the roof is flat, a new protective coating has to be applied every 3-5 years depending on the quality of the material used. If clay tiles, these often become mouldy with green patches showing on the tiles. Strip the tiles, power wash them, dry them, and re-place. An additional step well worth the effort is to dip them in the special, protective lacquer that will make them look shiny and new before being re-installed.
Ceilings: If the roof leaked in the past, there may be visible stains or brick discoloration on a boveda ceiling. Ask your maintenance person to use a very mild acid wash solution to clean up the brick or roll on a product like Sin Salitre and (if necessary) have the roof repaired and re-sealed. Water leaks on roofs or walls can cause huge issues, including all types of mould, some of which can pose serious health concerns. If you are like me, your home is one of your prized investments. Why not protect it to make sure that it increases in value?
Brighten it up: Many Mexican homes are immersed in darkness. Do what you can to brighten the rooms to the maximum. Remove or tie back curtains or shears, trim trees that block the light coming through the windows and maybe even install some (inexpensive) skylights.
Re-surface outside areas: Concrete and labor are relatively inexpensive in Mexico. Broken curbs and large cracks in walkways, around the pool, in and along stairs, can easily be filled. There is no need for your home to look like a war zone and scare off the buyer who otherwise could call it “home” … if only it was a little better maintained …
Refresh exterior paint: Much like the roof, the outside walls need to be sealed and re-painted every 5-7 years – or even more often. This could include the entire house or just near the floors where the salitre has been cleaned off and repaired. The outside concrete sealant and paint ward off moisture, preventing it from penetrating the walls and causing all sorts of problems inside. If the prospective buyer smells mildew at the entrance, he’s likely to run away.
If you are considering listing and selling your property, contact me for a professional opinion of value and suggestions on how you can make the most return on your investment.