Houses can age gracefully—like people or fine wines—but only if they’ve been well maintained over the years. When you’re ready to sell, the wear and tear on the rooms not to mention any issues with behind-the-scenes mechanical systems can extend the time on the market and reduce final sale price. In 2017 the average time on the market for homes over $5 million in Greenwich was more than 300 days. “This is a challenging real estate market,” says Leslie McElwreath of Sotheby’s Homes. “Buyers are very particular and don’t want to do any work on the properties they’re looking at. Their preference is for new construction or things that look brand new, everything from neutral colors on the walls to freshly redone floors.” While realtors have been staging houses for decades, a new service from Dibico, a construction and home maintenance firm, is like staging on steroids. “We created the House Lift for clients who are selling and want to maximize the value by having the house brought back to life and made to look fresh and new,” says Julio DiBiase, president of Dibico. The idea is not only to fix cosmetic concerns and update the look, but also to vet all of the systems to ensure that everything is in good working order.
Dibico’s House Lift team will go over the house with a fine-tooth comb, following a detailed checklist, inspecting everything, and making repairs and updates as needed. Julio says this comprehensive approach is key to getting a good return on investment, rather than, say, sprucing up a single room.
“Touching up a kitchen but leaving the rest of the house the same is almost magnifying the problem, shining a light on other wear and tear,” he explains. To determine how effective the House Lift could be in aiding a sale, Dibico hired an independent assessor to determine the value of a ten-year-old, 15,000-square-foot Georgian before and after a House Lift. Following the work, which typically takes four to six weeks, the house received multiple cash offers within three weeks and sold for 20 percent higher than the pre-House-Lift appraised value. Return on investment: 900 percent.
Following a House Lift, the seller gets a printed road map detailing the house’s condition, like a CarFax for the home, to share with potential buyers. Says Leslie, “Presenting a property in this condition was the ultimate strategy, and it really paid off.” dibicoinc.com
Removing the carpeting and refinishing the wood gives the staircase a more sophisticated look.
Drapes and blinds were removed to add light and create a more expansive look.
Walls baseboards, moldings and paneling were painted; beige walls are now a contemporary gray.
HOUSE LIFT HIGHLIGHTS
- A full home maintenance inspection and report on any repairs needed
- Prep, caulk and paint all painted surfaces (walls, trims and ceilings)
- Resurface, screen and reseal floors as needed.
- Touch up and paint all cabinetry as needed
- Ensure fixtures, hardware, windows, etc., are all working and in good condition
- Clean and repair grout on tile and counter tops
- Power-wash all exterior stone steps, walks and patio surfaces
COST: $13 to $18 per sq. ft.
A fresh coat enlivened the kitchen cabinets and walls.
The re-stained island and table update this center eating space.
A power cleaning made surfaces and tiles look new. Buffing, polishing and a screen coating revived the hardwood floors.
All images are contributed.