With lots of people trying to sell their homes today, there’s excellent opportunity for the professional remodeler to create a new avenue of business. Help your customers make the changes that count.

Remodelers have a great grasp of both local costs and what new buyers want in their homes. Plus, REMODELING’s annual Cost vs. Value Report is one of the best sales tools to acquaint the owner with what will pay off.

Here are some more remodeling considerations when the primary goal is to sell the house.

Dick Kawalek

Think Like a Flipper and Salesman

Remind clients that if they’re interested in selling, they have to forget their own wish list and look at the house from a buyer’s point of view.

We all may disparage opportunists who buy homes cheap, do a quick fix, and flip the house into a resale. But those guys really do get houses sold. Think like a used-car salesman: “What do I have to do to get people to buy this car?” The cars on the dealer’s lot are always clean, with no visible defects and possibly with a new paint job. The same principles apply to used houses for sale.

Curb Appeal

As a builder, you can instantly spot the defects on a house when you drive up. So can many buyers, and if you can’t get them out of their car, there won’t be a sale. But often the homeowner has lived with the leaning mailbox and broken steps for so long that he or she doesn’t see it as a problem. This is where your insight can come to the rescue.

Use your builder’s eye to spot defects and bring them to the seller’s attention. Potential home buyers quickly fixate on the hanging gutters and broken shingles as a reason to drive on.

Don’t forget the landscaping, since it’s so important to the overall street view and it’s inexpensive for the impact. Link up with a local landscaper and make his or her work part of your contract or just form a working relationship where the landscaper’s efforts will complement your own. Someone looking to sell their house would be grateful for the one-stop shopping on the necessary improvements.

Fix the Major Problem

Some homes have a major problem that keeps buyers away in droves. If the front door is broken, that’s a major problem. If there’s no dining room, that’s a major problem. No garage door opener, major problem. Isolate the single most obvious issue with the house and fix it. The rest is in the details. Don’t let the buyer have an excuse to check this house off their list.

Small New Details

Create the impression that the home has been carefully maintained. A few inexpensive touches, such as a new front door lamp and a classy house number plate, can create the impression of loving attention. Outdated light fixtures and front doors are some of the easiest but most noticeable upgrades. Add formal trim around the entry and front windows for an inexpensive immediate upgrade.

Cautious and Conservative

Above all, be an advocate for the owners. Don’t let them proceed with a foolish revision when the money can be better spent elsewhere on the house. A clean, bright house, emptied of clutter and with freshly painted walls is important to buyer expectations. Your construction business can provide services for all this and more. Your judgment will help the owner make the sale.

Finally, leave plenty of business cards at the home so the new owner can find you for further upgrades.

—Dick Kawalek, a registered architect for more than 30 years, is founder of Kawalek Architects, in Cleveland; rck@rktekt.com.