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7 Tips for Preparing Your Luxury Home for Sale in Napa Valley

Selling a luxury home in Napa Valley requires careful preparation to ensure it receives the attention of the most prospective buyers possible and closes at the highest price possible in any market. In more challenging market times, homes that look and show the best and are ready for a new buyer to move into sell the quickest.  A good luxury agent should guide you through and even manage these items for you.  Here are our tips to help you through the Seller’s Home Preparation process:

  1. Declutter and De-personalize: We always recommend to our sellers that they remove personal items and ensure each room is clean and well-organized. This includes closets, storage areas, and even the garage. Remember, you need to get into the mindset that your home will sell and that you are ultimately making your moving process far easier by de-cluttering and de-personalizing now!
  2. Paint: A fresh coat of paint can go a long way in making a home appear (and smell!) new and ready for a new owner.  Always keep in mind that paint colors should be neutral and that you should avoid bright colors or too many colors in the home.
  3. Upgrade Bathrooms and/or Kitchen. These two items are proven ways to increase the value of your property in the eyes of buyers and are also shown to be the best use of money in terms of return on investment (ROI).
  4. Staging: Your home needs to appear as a model home. Staging can set your home apart from the crowd and in a tight market can make the difference between your home selling quickly or languishing on the market with numerous price reductions.  (See our Bonus Tip below)
  5. Home Inspection: We always recommend to our sellers that they have a home, pest, and depending on the property’s location, well & septic inspections completed to identify any significant issues.  What we are trying to avoid is extensive buyer negotiations and price concessions once the home is under contract. For the Home Inspection, at minimum have all the “Section 1” observations addressed.  Hire a handyman or licensed specialist to take care of any repairs.
  6. Exterior Prep: First impressions can absolutely kill a sale if the home looks dated or aged.  A fresh coat of exterior paint and new landscape and mulch will make a good first impression.  Agents will tell you that if a buyer is not impressed with the exterior of the home, many times they will decide at the curb that they do not even want to go inside!
  7. Professional Photography & Video: Your luxury agent should have relationships with the top photo and videographers in your area.  For a luxury home and property, you need the absolute BEST in the market.  Typically your agent pays for these, so you should insist on the best and require your agent to invest in your property just as you have been investing in its preparation.  We once flew up an architectural photographer from Los Angeles specifically to shoot a very unique property.  The photos were so good that we received many requests to publish the photos and even received unpaid advertising as a result of their quality.

Bonus tip: Staging will absolutely make a home more appealing to buyers and can lead to a faster sale in any market relative to the norm in that market. While many higher-end luxury homes are beautifully furnished, many times this is very specific to the seller and may not appeal to the widest audience possible.  The luxury home buyer market is much smaller than that of the average-priced home, so it’s even more important that a professional stager be engaged.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2021 Profile of Home Staging:

  • 47% of buyer’s agents said home staging impacted most buyers’ view of the home
  • 82% said it made it easier for buyers to visualize the property as a future home. Staging the living room, primary bedroom, and kitchen were found to be particularly important for buyers.  I was once asked by one of my sellers to “see the proof” that staging actually works.  When I shared with them that in nearly every home I’ve listed that was professionally staged, the buyers purchased the staged furniture and accessories as well because the staging created the look and feel.  If that isn’t the best data point to demonstrate the value of staging, I don’t know what is!
  • 23 percent of buyer’s agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1-5 percent, compared to other similar homes on the market that are not staged.
  • Staging the living room was found to be very important for buyers (46 percent), followed by staging the primary bedroom (43 percent), and staging the kitchen (35 percent).

More recently, Virtual Staging has been receiving more attention and press.  In this process, professional images are taken of the property in its existing form and then sent to a virtual staging company whose digital artists render completely new images with walls painted white and contemporary furnishings.  Even though the use of virtual staging is disclosed in the marketing material, I often caution my sellers that prospective buyers may be turned off when viewing your un-staged home after seeing the virtually staged images.

As a luxury home seller in Napa Valley, you may face some challenges, including finding the right buyers for your home and determining the right price for your property. The right preparation of your home could cost multiple thousands of dollars, but don’t let that keep you from these suggestions.  My personal experience shows that they more than pay for themselves with faster sales and higher closing prices.  And remember, finding the right Luxury Agent is key to your success!

If you are ready to sell your luxury home in Napa Valley we would love to talk with you. Contact Arthur Goodrich today at 415.735.8779 to take the first step towards selling your luxury wine country estate.

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