the changes, and in fewer than 60 days the home was under contract for $18,000 more than the previous list price. Too bad the property had to sit on the market for six months during the peak season before he made those changes. That extra time cost him more than $3,000 per month. 3. UNREALISTIC DESIGN DECISIONS This one is a little bit harder to fix, but if you have a home sitting on the mar- ket and you cannot figure out why, an impractical design decision or renovation might be the reason. Sometimes, a home is just not practical when it comes to daily use of an important room, like the bath- room. This may be due to the initial design decisions. Then, you will have to decide if you are going to fix the problem or let it be, but other times the impracticality is due to renovations. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone through a home being renovated and found situations where

This is a beautiful home. Sadly, the exposed wires that didn’t seem like that big of a deal to the investor probably were a big contributor to how long it sat on the market.

3 Listing & Renovation Mistakes CostingYou Time onMarket A REALTOR-INVESTOR CRACKS THE CODE TO SPENDING TOO LONG ON MARKET.



by Lorraine Beato

“updates” had rendered the bathroom, in particular, unusable or awkward. Bathrooms are already small spaces, so you have to think about how a homeown- er will navigate through them. If you cannot open a vanity door completely because the enormous spa tub is in the way, maybe you should let the tub go and just have a large, stand-up shower. A good rule of thumb could be: If the door to a cabinet, cupboard, or room won’t open completely after your renovation, maybe you should make a different decision! See my images at right to illustrate this point. The next time you are ready to put a property on the market, keep these things in mind. You could save yourself a lot of money and get your property sold much more quickly. •


cutting corners, then discovered too late that they cost themselves money be- cause they had to hold the property an extra few weeks or even a few months! Here are three of the most common design mistakes I see costing investors time on market: because most people do not have time to waste and won’t take the time to go see something in person that is not appealing online. Put your best foot forward! If a potential buyer likes what they see online, they will want to see the home in person. Also, if your home has a quirky feature, either embrace and explain it with good pictures and enthusiastic descriptions, or do not show it at all. Don’t just include a 1. DIY LISTING PHOTOGRAPHY Professional photography is crucial

am a full-time Realtor as well as a full-time investor with my

strange, confusing picture with no expla- nation and expect people to understand. 2. CLEAN UP TO YOUR PRICE POINT Sometimes, investors get so caught up in investing that they forget they need to clean up after themselves. This is an espe- cially big issue in homes at higher price points. I recently took over a listing that had been on the market in peak season for six months with another realtor. I walked in, called the investor and explained to them why the home had not sold. I took a video, sent it to him and made recom- mendations: You cannot have a $300,000+ home on the market with wires hanging from the ceiling where there are no light fixtures (see image above), no vent hood, dead bugs, cobwebs, tall grass and no curb appeal! He sent me $1,500 to make

husband. While that particular combi- nation is not for everyone, it definitely works for me. It also means I see things from a different perspective from a lot of investors and many agents and brokers. I know that sometimes a small change costing pennies on the dollar for an investor can make a big difference to a buyer. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I see a property sitting on the market for far too long and eventually selling for a lot less than it should because of a few minor design and listing issues that made the property look less attrac- tive than it really is. All too often, the source of the mistakes is an owner who thought they could save a few bucks by

Notice how the cupboard will not open all the way because it is blocked by the wall in the before image. We replaced the closed cupboard with an open vanity to remove this issue, and the entire bathroom looks larger and brighter even though we did not expand the room’s footprint.

Lorraine Beato is an Atlanta, Georgia, Realtor specializing in single-family residential homes, investment acquisitions, and upscale renovations. She is also a former appraiser. She may be reached at

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