I really need to get in touch with my feminine side. I know because my wife tells me so. But from “that look of disappointment” that my wife gives me when I say something particularly… un-feminine, I have to say that I have continued to fall short of the perfect guy status in that department. And I’m okay with that. I know it’s one of my numerous failings. Which is only one of the reasons I am so grateful for my wife to be my better half and make me a better man. I rely on her input when it comes to retailing out my properties, too. She can quickly tell me what I need to do to make the house “homey” for a potential buyer. To a rock-star-man like me (cough, cough) with zero feminine side, it’s nothing short of a miracle.
Any female investor reading this probably knows what is coming next. They are rolling their eyes and stifling an exasperated grunt. I’m going to let the guys in on what most women already know: When it comes to buying a house, the guy might make the final decision, but in most cases, if the woman doesn’t like the house, the man ain’t gonna have a chance to weigh in. Closets, counter space, ambiance, color schemes - men just don't get it. Women get it and it makes a difference.
If you are fixing and flipping, you need to create an environment that a woman will love when they walk in and look around. Now before you run out to buy pink and lavender paint, stop. I’ve already made that mistake for you. Yes, colors are important and we’ll get to that in a bit. However, the number one and number two things your house must be are 1) clean and 2) brightly-lit. This is actually easier than most of us neanderthal dudes make it.
Face it. We guys don’t see dirt and stains. Probably because we like to huddle in our dark man-caves and tune out just about everything but food, beer and whatever game is on. But just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean that the dirt and grime aren't there. Or so I’m told repeatedly by my wife. And women see it. Amazingly, most women are like most men in that they really don’t want to clean. Real women don’t dance around their kitchens with a mope and a bucket in sheer delight. Cleaning is work which takes time away from what she likes to do. Which may very well be hunkering down in the man-cave with you, having nachos and beer and watching the game.
There is no woman who wants to move into a dirty house. And if there’s a comparable one down the street that is clean (and there is), you just lost the sale. So hire a good cleaning crew. Scrub the corners and over the doorways and the baseboards and the backs of cupboards and behind the stove and fridge and all those places that get missed. Your property has to shine like a newly minted penny.
Most women also like a well-lit house. Windows and bright light make a place homey and make it feel safe. It’s a mood lifter. A place that is dark is also associated with dirt. It’s dreary. No one chooses to live in a depressing home. If you have a property that is particularly dark, can you add a window in one of the main rooms? How about using a solar-tube to brighten a dark corner? At the very least, put up lighting fixtures and when you show the property turn every light on. There’s a reason Motel 6 tells you they leave the light on for you. A warmly lit house is the emotional equivalent of a home. Light to the eyes is like freshly baked bread to the nose. And scented homes don't hurt with the ladies, either.
The kitchen and bathrooms will sell the property. Bathrooms need to absolutely shine. Counter space is important as is a linen closet. (for you rock stars a linen closet is an extra closet for sheets, towels, and perhaps the extra mop and bucket) Most women put on their make in the bathroom so good lighting there is a must. A rainfall shower head is an inexpensive upgrade that adds a touch of luxury. While most women don’t have many opportunities to soak in a bubble bath, they like the idea that it could happen if the stars were to align properly and their rock star spouse would have the foresight to keep the kids for an hour. Help create that illusion during showings with some pretty soaps, seasonal decorator towels or yes, even some rose petals strewn on the edges of the tub. Sounds dumb? Try it. Then thank me. (Actually, thank my better half.)
In addition to being clean and well-lit, the kitchen needs good workspace, storage and at minimum, all the amenities you would find in comparable houses – dishwasher, microwave, double-sink, garbage disposal. If all the houses in a neighborhood have granite countertops, then yours better have granite in there, too. Men who don’t cook don’t think about the convenience of a pull out faucet (an inexpensive upgrade) or having to go down on your hands and knees to burrow into the back corner of a cabinet to find a pot lid. Put yourself in the position of the person using the room. And if you don’t cook, grab a friend (male or female) who does. Think about the least accessible items in your own kitchen and where they could be stored in this house. Another neat trick is displaying the house with a kitchen gadget that wouldn't normally be left after the home is empty but that shouts cook in here. A cup at a time coffee maker, a bread machine, a set of beautiful copper pans. If you are the touchy feely type go ahead and put a big red bow on the item with a gift tag that says welcome to your new home. It never hurts to think positively.
Only after these woman areas have gained approval, does the rest of the house come under scrutiny. Let’s talk about paint. Color trends change every year. They also vary by area of the country. Study the decorating magazines or hire someone who knows what is “in” before you paint. Too many male investors choose white or beige for their walls. It’s the safe choice. Colorful paints cost the same as plain white and the appeal is measurable. A bathroom with a peach or burgundy wall shouts put your stuff in here and call me home. A bonus room or nursery with a pink or blue wall look ready to move in the crib. A living room with a warm earthy tone appears ready to settle in with the family for a post-Thanksgiving or Christmas feast and enjoy some television.
The majority of investors are men, especially rehabbers. If you’re a rehabber and you aren’t in touch with your feminine side, you need to team up with someone who has a good handle on what women want and like. You don't have to be Mel Gibson in tights and a bra smearing on facial cream to understand what women want. You just have to step into her shoes. Put down the “looks okay to me” attitude and see if it looks okay to a woman. The Not So Rock-Star-Man's Guide to Flipping Real Estate will get your rehab properties sold more quickly. Trust me. And thank my wife.
For more great investing ideas and insight check out my free training videos and visit me at Start Closing Deals.
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