23 Watt Ave., San Rafael

23 Watt Ave., San Rafael

Site Conditions

  • Home needed a refresh to be competitive, but the executor didn’t want to spend anything
  • Pandemic-era project with a family of relatives living in the property
  • Persuaded the executor to invest about $13,000 to improve marketability

Results of Our Work

  • On bid date, one offer, sold for $1.45 million ($175,000 over asking price)
  • 500% ROI on resurfacing budget of $13,400, work completed in four business days
  • Home was staged using tenant’s furniture

Making the Most of a Small Resurfacing Budget

The family needed to sell the property, which was rented by relatives and their two small children during Covid.

The budget for resurfacing was zero. But Craig’s comprehensive assessment of the home and 45 photos documenting the details was persuasive. He showed strong reasons to invest $13,000 in cosmetic fixes.

The pool was a plus for buyer appeal but was diminished by the neighbors’ view directly into the space. Also, the surface was lifting off the pool’s deck creating a magnet for stubbed toes and tripping. Any buyer would be uneasy, but especially families with little ones.

We had to tip the scale by inexpensively adjusting hazards and unsightly aspects of the home to give buyers a positive perception.  

Still, the elder executor was reluctant to put any money into the house. His family members who lived in the home understood Craig’s recommendation that a few fixes would bump up the estate’s ROI.

Exterior (before)​​​​​​​ An otherwise wonderful appearance blotted by some dead, browning hedges. The elder was upset when we suggested they be removed. Instead, he wanted to paint or stain the landscaping!

Exterior (after)​​​​​​​ We got the fountain working to provide wonderful white noise and planted affordable replacements for the failing box hedge. 

Kitchen (before)​​​​​​​ The yellow wall color made the kitchen cabinetry look dated.

Kitchen (after)​​​​​​​ By merely painting sections of the wall white, the kitchen had a fresh, acceptable appearance.

Outdoor Space (before)​​​​​​​ A dry-rotted, crumbling pergola lurked outside the French doors, along the back of the house. It distracted from the otherwise beautiful yard and pool.

Outdoor Space (after)​​​​​​​ We removed the pergola and painted the rear surface of the house, making for a much fresher, more inviting outdoor space.

Light Fixtures (before)​​​​​​​ To meet budget restrictions, we replaced selected light fixtures like this chandelier that was a mismatch for the rest of the decor.

Light Fixtures (after)​​​​​​​ A pretty, modern chandelier that sets the right tone for the rest of our modernizing.

Bathroom (before)​​​​​​​ We recommended painting out the yellow walls and going for a fresh, modern look. 

Bathroom (after)​​​​​​​ Brighter, cleaner and expected by current buyers.

Bedroom (before)​​​​​​​ Not bad, but we prefer a more contemporary color instead of the yellow walls.

Bedroom (after)​​​​​​​ We went with cool gray walls in the rear bedrooms and staged with multiple beds to suggest space for children. It says, “This is a modern home you can live in today.”

Backyard (before)​​​​​​​ No trees offered privacy along the rear of the property.

Backyard (after)​​​​​​​ Fresh paint, a view desk and a nice seating area convinced buyers this perch was worth the effort. Buyer response was overwhelmingly positive.

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