Sheltered in place, sellers and agents turn to DIY

Do-it-yourself home improvement projects can boost home values and pride of ownership, and with more time on their hands, homeowners and agents alike are running to the hardware store. 

According to this April 28 article in Forbes, a recent report shows visits to Home Depot and Lowe’s increased by 7.4 percent and 9.6 percent compared to last year’s March visits. 

Compass agent Dana Green recommends home improvement projects to sellers looking to maximize sales price. “Sellers can create a home improvement list (by year) of what they have done to their home. Write a seller love letter. What do you love about your home? What makes it special?” Green told Forbes. 

Wondering where to begin? Agent Eric Altree suggests staying within your comfort zone.

“Keep it simple,” Altree said. “There’s nothing worse than attempting a project with the best intentions and making things worse or more stressful. This is advice coming from someone who can be challenged by simply changing light bulbs.”

With two teenagers and a large white Labrador at home, Altree remarks that temporarily displacing pets and children might be those most challenging aspect of decluttering for your DIY project. 

Shana Rohde Lynch reminds us not to underestimate the high impact of decluttering and minimizing, citing that it’s her team’s first suggestion in early meetings with sellers, particularly those who are unable to move out of their home. During shelter-in-place, this represents a significant portion of sellers. 

“For those sellers partially staging or editing to ready their home for market, we explain the importance of removing personal items and completely minimizing spaces,” Rohde Lynch said. 

Although some sellers worry about making the space too bland, Rohde Lynch insists that removing ornate and stylized/personal items helps buyers imagine the property as their home. 

“We want the buyer to envision themselves in the home,” Rohde Lynch said. “When they take away the personal items and clear the personal spaces, the buyer can now imagine.”

Over the past seven weeks of mandatory shelter-in-place, many sellers were forced to hold off from listing their homes. With more time for preparation, and stagers and organizers unable to enter occupied homes, sellers took matters into their own hands, and according to Rohde Lynch and other Compass peers, they enjoyed doing it.