Readying your home for sale doesn’t need to cost a fortune |

Readying your home for sale doesn’t need to cost a fortune

Susan Wood
Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily Tribune The bathroom was just one of the many rooms that South Lake Tahoe resident Patrick Murphy remodeled before putting his home up for sale.

It appears the way to a house buyer’s heart is through the stomach.

According to South Shore agents, kitchens and bathrooms top the list of areas of home improvement, as buyers prepare their investment cathedrals for showing.

“You hit the nail on the head. It’s because of how much time is spent there,” Coldwell Banker broker Klaus Utecht said, adding that late spring and early summer may be “the best time to put the house on the market because you can’t inspect it in the winter.”

That’s what Patrick Murphy has in mind, listing his Pinter Avenue home with McCall Realty for $376,000.

Murphy remodeled his kitchen and bathrooms and painted and rotated the furnace to meet codes.

“It would be discouraging that we put all this time and effort into this house and move away,” he said, considering a move to Oregon.

With such a seller’s market, Tahoe real estate agents and brokers say homeowners would be surprised by how far improvements will go to make a difference in the value of their homes.

“If you’re thinking of putting your house on the market, you don’t need to spend a lot,” Coldwell Banker agent Madeleine Gutierrez said. “You don’t need to put a new roof on.”

First impressions go a long way.

“Have a fresh look at that exterior, then once inside, make it clean, light and bright. You don’t need a lot of new appliances. And by all means, declutter,” agent Deb Howard said. “Getting that yard ready for that drive-by is a critical piece of the equation.”

Century 21 agent Barbara Childs agreed.

“People need to look at curb appeal,” she said.

Childs highly recommends sellers simply clean up their yards and be creative. Many sellers seeking to spruce up their kitchens may want to open up the space between the room where meals are prepared and the living area. Installing kitchen counter islands are also popular.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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