Here’s an inside look at how one real estate team is transforming homes, increasing clients’ wealth and boosting the level of equity in local neighborhoods.

It’s a tale of two markets. Although there are many parts of the country where low property prices limit the extent of preparation for homes being readied for the market, in other regions, extensive property prep is a given. Where much is being paid for homes, much is expected.

In addition to our agents and administrative staff, our team has a “transformations team.” This group is dedicated to taking homes in whatever condition they may be in when the listing docs are signed and transforming them into stunning properties that fetch top dollar.

Although it’s great to produce homes that sizzle, the primary goal is to maximize our client’s wealth by securing the largest possible net financial gain from their sale. As a result of our transformation process, our clients typically net far more from their sale than they thought possible, thereby increasing their wealth.

In addition, it also increases equity in the overall neighborhoods in which our client’s homes are located. Here is an inside look at our 10-step process. 

1. It starts with a signed listing agreement

Once we have a signed contract to sell a home, our crew kicks into gear. To follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and provide peace of mind to our clients, we send all documents via DocuSign to ensure a no-contact process. Once signed, the transformation process begins.

2. A transformations specialist visits the home

Once our listing team receives the signed documents, an appointment is set for one of our transformation specialists to visit in person. Following COVID-19 protocols, they tour the entire property with the goal of producing a written evaluation of the home that includes a proposal for maximizing the property’s potential.

Our proposals only include things we know will actually improve the home’s value. In most cases, we see an exponential return for every dollar invested.

3. Order a full range of inspections

No one likes surprises once in escrow. To uncover potential issues, we order a full range of inspections, including home, termite, roof, and, depending on the findings, additional specialized inspections as required.

Our listing team handles ordering the inspections so clients need not worry about finding qualified inspectors. Once the reports arrive, our team reviews them in depth and provides the seller with written recommendations.

4. Provide written estimates

Our transformation specialist meets with qualified trades personnel in the home to produce written quotes for all recommended upgrades. They compile everything in a transformations proposal and send it to the seller.

The owner maintains the right to do as little or as much of the recommended upgrades as they feel comfortable. If they have a preferred trades person for any aspect of the project, we include them in the process.

5. Prepare a net proceeds sheet

We run a comparative market analysis (CMA) for the home that includes a current “as-is” market value and a proposed price range factoring in our recommendations. We enter these values into a proprietary net proceeds sheet that includes normal closing costs along with the proposed improvements.

The net sheet includes three columns: estimated proceeds as-is, low estimated proceeds with the upgrades included, and high estimated proceeds with the upgrades included, factoring in the potential of multiple offers. Clients can very quickly see the difference between their net gains selling “as-is” and the potential gain in proceeds with improvements factored in.

6. Establish a project timeline

Once the client has agreed to a scope of work, we produce a written timeline. In most cases, it is critical the home get to market as quickly as possible. Once we start the project, the goal is to finish on time and on budget.

7. Establish a funding plan

Some clients can provide the necessary funding for the improvements and prefer to front costs as they go. Where that’s not possible, we provide funding that is repaid out of the sale proceeds at the close of escrow.

We have several funding options available depending on the scope of the project. For smaller projects, the funding has no service fees or interest charges. More extensive projects that include major remodeling (new kitchen or bathrooms) may have finance charges built in.

8. Prepare a project contract

Once there’s agreement on all the details, we prepare a standard contract outlining the scope of work and funding. When we are providing funding, the contract also includes a promissory note and, for larger projects, a deed of trust.

9. Provide comprehensive project management

Once the contract is signed, our transformation specialist oversees every aspect of the entire process. We do not charge an additional fee for this service — it’s built into the commission our team receives for the completed sale.

To begin, all we need is a set of keys. Our clients can carry on with the details of their relocation while we handle the entire transformation process. We provide access to trades, monitor the workflow and ensure the work is done to our exacting standards.

10. Coordinate cleaning

Once the transformation project is completed, the final step is to clean the home. If clients choose, they can do the cleaning themselves, or we can facilitate it for them including deep cleaning, carpets, tile grout, windows, sanitizing and anything else required to make the home sparkle. If clients are unable to produce the level of clean we require, we will send in our cleaning crew at our cost.

While the work is proceeding, our transformations manager is tracking costs to ensure everyone gets paid and, if the funding is being carried, all invoices are compiled into a final statement that’s sent to escrow for repayment at the close.

When the final cleaning is done, the home is handed off to the listing team who then coordinate staging, pictures and all the final details required to get the home on the market.

Our goal throughout the process is to obtain a minimum of $2 return for every $1 invested, and frequently, the returns are substantially higher. Although we understand this process is not for every agent or every market, in our region, homes that have been upgraded reap significantly higher prices and put a substantially higher profit in the seller’s pocket at close.

Our team removes the need for the client to be encumbered by the process, and they love the fact that everything is done for them so they can focus on other things. A turnkey, stress-reducing transformation process; more profit at closing; delighted clients; fantastic reviews — it doesn’t get any better than that.

Carl Medford is the CEO of The Medford Team.

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