Get Your Home Ready To Sell: Home Buyers Want A Move In Ready House

Home Stager with Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA

Los Angeles kitchen before remodeling for selling

Home buyers in the Los Angeles real estate market want a house that is move in ready.

Home buyers don't want an allowance to repair the roof, replace the carpet or repaint. Allowances are for teenagers. They want a well priced home, in a decent location, that they can move right in to without spending another dime.

Its a big fallacy that home buyers want to choose their own carpet or paint colors. If you choose a nice, neutral color carpet and nice neutral color wall paint (both things the best home stagers can help you with) most home buyers will see your home as more desirable because it is move-in-ready. They'll be thrilled they don't have to worry about picking out carpet and having it installed or find a painter who has time in their schedule. If your home stager can't help you with this, then you are working with the wrong home stager.

Most home buyers are maxing out their home purchasing budget by making an offer on the nicest home they can possibly afford. They don't have extra money to paint, install new carpet or retile the bathroom. They want to move in as soon as escrow closes, not after they have to make a lot of repairs to make their new home livable. Los Angeles kitchen after remodeling to sell Here's what happens when you offer a $5,000 allowance for repairing the roof that should have been replaced 5 years ago:

  1. The buyer thinks "What else didn't they repair that they should have?"
  2. The buyer thinks "What structure got damaged by the leaky roof?"
  3. The buyer thinks "Is it really going to cost only $5,000 to repair the roof?"
  4. The buyer thinks "How much time will it take me to get bids, hire a roofing company & get the work done?"
  5. The buyer thinks "What happens if (fill in the disaster: it rains, the contractor absconds with the deposit, a worker falls off the roof)?"
  6. The buyer thinks "The seller must be desperate since the house isn't in good shape."

Here's what happens next: The buyer accepts your offer of $5,000 to repair the roof, and then also knocks off another 10% because they think the house is not in good condition or you are desperate...


The buyer rejects your house and moves on to the house down the street that is move in ready.

Here's what happens when you offer a $3,000 allowance for new carpet:

  1. The buyer thinks "Will $3,000 really cover new carpet for the whole house?"
  2. The buyer thinks "I'm not from around here. Where do I buy new carpet?"
  3. The buyer thinks "That house down the street already has new carpet. Why should I take on the added stress of shopping for & installing new carpet?"

Here's what happens next:

The buyer accepts your offer of $3,000 to buy new carpet, and then also knocks off another 10% because they think your allowance won't cover all the costs ...


The buyer rejects your house and moves on to the house down the street that is move in ready and already has new carpet installed.

By not repairing and updating your home before you put it on the market, you are asking home buyers to assume risk and additional expenses. You add more stress and uncertainty to the situation. Many home buyers are already investing every penny they can get their hands on in order to purchase a home. They are unable or unwilling to purchase a home that will require repairs before they can move in.

Additionally, the condition of your home may effect the appraisal causing the buyer's lender to refuse the loan.

Want to get a Los Angeles home sold? Price it right, hire the best full service Realtor you can find, hire a professional home stager and make sure it is in move-in ready condition.

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Los Angeles Real Estate Staging

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Michelle has staged thousands of Los Angeles homes, many of which have sold with multiple offers, above listing price.

She works with home sellers, listing agent, builders, flippers and asset managers to prepare homes for sale throughout Los Angeles and North Orange County.

Moving Mountains Design provides vacant home staging, color consultations, corporate and executive relocations,  and interior design. We also stage model homes, REOs, foreclosures and auction properties for real estate investors and asset managers. Builders hire us to stage their models or to help move inventory when sales slow down.

For more information about our Los Angeles home staging services, contact Michelle at (626)385-8852 or by email.

Click here to see our Los Angeles home staging portfolio

Click here to go to our Los Angeles home staging blog

Click here for more information about home staging in Los Angeles and how we can help sell your home faster and for the best price

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Re-Blogged 7 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Linda Thompson 12/18/2010 08:26 AM
  2. Josette Skilling 12/19/2010 05:39 AM
  3. Vivian Gilbert 12/19/2010 12:40 PM
  4. Tamara Elliott-Deering 12/19/2010 11:45 PM
  5. Gabe Sanders 12/20/2010 01:07 AM
  6. Nancy Tallman 12/20/2010 12:39 PM
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Karen Steed
Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton - Tallapoosa, GA
Associate Broker Haralson Realty
This reminds me of a seller I had who put in new carpet in the bedrooms and fresh paint throughout. The paint came from the "oops" section, and every room was a different color. The carpet was all remnants, and each room had a different color and type. So even though everything was new and fresh, it missed the mark.
Dec 19, 2010 01:03 PM #53
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Debbie: Feel free to use it.

Thanks, Kelly.

Joan: Feel free to reblog it :o)

Karen: Sound like a reality TV show "When good clients go bad". He (or she) only read part of the memo, apparently.

Dec 19, 2010 01:20 PM #54
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Very good points. We're living in a time of people wanting instant gratification, so buying and waiting for the work to be done isn't so attractive.

Dec 19, 2010 04:49 PM #55
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Michelle - wonderful post.  Just one point from the seller's perspective, sometimes the reason the repairs aren't done is because the seller is short on cash to make those repairs.  What a balance!

Dec 20, 2010 12:23 AM #56
Jeannine Willis
Keller Williams Realty - Weymouth, MA

thank you for so eloquently stating what I have known inside my head but never could put in words. I stress to sellers that the first impression is the strongest and that having a ready-to-move-in house is priceless.

I'm going to bookmark this post for future reference!

Dec 20, 2010 03:01 AM #57
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Marte: That's true. Also buyers just don't have the money with higher downpayment requirements and all.

Penny: I think many home sellers could find some money if they really wanted to. They may not be able to complete all the repairs, but there are many they could do themselves if they tried.

Jeannine: I'm glad I could help!

Dec 20, 2010 04:18 AM #58
Robert Courtney
Lihue, HI
Century 21 All Islands, RA, CDPE, MCRE, CIAS

Michelle - Just watched a Christmas movie over the weekend that involved a person becoming homeless.  She made a friend that had experience in mortgages that had been laid off.  Circumstances led to her getting her Realtor license living in a home that was up for sale, furnishing it with items from a rental company and it became her first sale.  Buyers offered list price for the house plus an additional amount to keep the house furnishings!!  Your post puts some reality to what buyers are looking for.  Merry Christmas!

Dec 20, 2010 06:49 AM #59
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Michelle- congrats on the feature and you did a perfect job of showing exactly why carpet or any other allowances just won't work in today's market! 

Dec 20, 2010 07:59 AM #60
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Bob: Put that movie in my Christmas stocking! What a great story. Thanks for sharing it.

Kathy: I'm always surprised when I hear the allowance line. I hope sellers will see that its in their best interest to make their home as pretty as can be before listing.

Dec 20, 2010 01:07 PM #61
Patricia Ebrahimi
SHOW SMART! HOME STAGING & Color Consultant - Rockville, MD
Home Staging the Washington DC Area from Rockville MD

Hi Michelle, Congratulatins on a terrific featured post.  Great points eloquently put.  I'm sure many will reblog this one.  It's so appropriate to conversations REA's need to have with sellers.  Also love your "Allowances are for teenagers" and Kathy Nielsen's "we want to give the buyers every reason to buy and not a single reason not to."  Allowances are so passe and especially in this age of massive foreclosure numbers, lots of inventory, record low interest rates, it just makes no sense to put a property on the market other than in tip top shape and a professional home staging consultation is the most cost-effective way to get there.

Dec 20, 2010 02:35 PM #62
Sharon Sein
Sein Organizing Solutions & Home Staging - Feasterville Trevose, PA

Michelle, you have hit the nail on the head. I've had this conversation with so many sellers. They seem to think that making an allowance is so much better than investing in "selling" their home. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard "I don't want to put any more money/work into this place." Urrgg!

Dec 21, 2010 01:05 AM #63
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Pat: It doesn't make sense to put a home on the market that hasn't been properly prepared, but people do it anyway. Happy Holidays, Pat.

Sharon: A large part of what we do is to help homeowners prepare their homes for sale. If they reject that help, there's not much we can do. I share your frustration.

Dec 21, 2010 02:32 AM #64
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

This is good information. Sellers right now need to do everything up front to make their house stand out. Most people just can't visualize how it will look and move on to the next house.

Dec 21, 2010 11:49 AM #65
Jan Stevens
Coldwell Banker Pittsburgh - Cranberry Township, PA

So true. I have learned this the hard way over the years, and try to pass it along to sellers! Thanks.

Dec 22, 2010 07:50 AM #66
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Tigard.

Jan: I think any one who works in real estate encounters this frequently.

Dec 22, 2010 08:00 AM #67
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Allowances give a negative impression before the prospective seller walks in the door! Great post Michelle!! Getting excited to see you in Vegas!! 

Dec 22, 2010 03:24 PM #68
Jan Laurie
JL Residential Styling & Staging - Nanaimo, BC

Your case is very well stated. Putting ourselves in the mind of the prospective buyer is a worthwhile exercise. 

I agree with people wanting move in ready, no fuss - no muss.

As you say, buyers often want the house they've purchased to look the same when they move is because they recognize the way a professional stager has analyzed the traffic flow, and presented each room with balance and appeal. The staging not only represents the best features of the house but also creates the appeal of a place you can't wait to live!


Dec 24, 2010 07:09 AM #69
Margaret C. Taylor
Century 21 New Millennium MD - Mechanicsville, MD
St Marys/Calvert/Charles MD Real Estate Agent

Thanks Michelle excellent educational presentation for the Seller.  If Mr Buyer can't buy a new house he wants something that looks new. Encouraging the Seller to think like a Buyer can give them a different perspective.  Margaret C.

Dec 26, 2010 03:26 PM #70
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Cathy: That's very true. Allowances inform buyers that you are admitting in advance that your home is less than it should be.

Jan: Very true. I often have home buyers wanting to purchase the home as staged.

Margaret: We all want the best our money can buy. Most people will choose a lesser house in excellent condition than a bigger home that needs work.

Dec 27, 2010 05:35 AM #71
Jo Potvin
Design To Market LLC - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati - Design To Market

Great true!  Allowances are a thing of the past.  If the seller works with a good stager they can put the allowance to better use and make a huge impact on the salability of the home!

Feb 20, 2011 03:42 PM #72
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Michelle Minch

Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA
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