Uncategorized January 12, 2024

Unlocking Hidden Value

How we achieved top dollar selling a distressed probate.

While speaking with a fiduciary the other day, she raised an interesting question, “Why is it that fixer homes that are too nice to tear down or flip have fallen out of favor?”

There are several reasons why fixers are a less attractive purchase to current buyers:

·    New city ordinances with tighter restrictions on the size a home can be expanded to.

·    With construction and purchase costs rising, many home buyers don’t have the additional funds to fix up a home.

·    Many older homes don’t offer the functionality that home buyer’s are looking for and some such defects are either uncurable (ceiling
height, floor plan, room size) or don’t make cost sense.

·    Home buyers who are busy with their careers don’t have the time or are willing to take on the inconvenience that comes with remodeling.

·    Many people don’t have the vision or confidence to invest in such a costly project when they are unable to foresee the finished project.

Land in the greater LA area is still a very desirable commodity. Developers continue to be active in the current market and frequently out-compete “owner-users” (who are offering a higher price) by offering all-cash, no contingencies, and very short escrows; terms that most owner-users can’t offer.

For those reasons, the “fixer home” may have fallen out of favor with a large sector of the buyer pool, however we at Kessler Williams have taken a deep dive into our tool kit with the goal of reinventing the marketing and selling of such properties and it has brought some great success stories.

Here’s a summary of the steps we took to prepare our probate listing at 11706 Montana Ave. #311 such that it would come on the market with the best chance of selling for the highest price and with the most favorable terms for the Seller.

Here’s what we did to get top dollar. . .

CLEAN OUT AND CLEAN UP We arranged for the removal of all personal property and had the unit professionally cleaned.

PREPARATION FOR MARKET We strategically removed some of the fixtures that we believed would negatively impact first impressions when prospective buyers first discovered the property online.
STRATEGIC MARKETING – We crafted the description of the property to emphasize its best features, with special attention to features that the penthouse possessed that are hard to find in most other properties (ex. side by side parking). We also noted features in the description that might go unnoticed.

HANDS ON REPRESENTATION – We made it a point to be present for all showings. We do not relegate these important opportunities to assistants, nor do we refer agents to lock boxes. During showings we made sure to point out the “less obvious” benefits described in the description (ex. we would open windows and point out the cross breezes, unique to the corner unit). We also made sure to point out the benefits of the property’s location.

VIRTUAL RENOVATION AND STAGING – Because staging was not practical for this listing, we opted for virtually staged photos of all the rooms and loaded the photos on the internet. The virtually staged photos gave prospective buyers an opportunity to envision how lovely this fixer penthouse could look after remodeling. The virtual staging also helped convey the impressive scale of the rooms.


Virtual staging was a huge success! The images generated loads of buyer requests to tour the property, but we took it one step further. We displayed blown-up versions of the virtually staged photos, in the appropriate rooms of the property.  The poster-sized photos were an additional tool that helped buyers envision the home’s full potential when touring the penthouse.

THE RESULT – Our combined marketing efforts generated interest in the subject property that was formidable. We received a total of 9 viable offers. This heightened interest created excitement and led to competitive bidding and the home ultimately sold for $1,080,000. $82,000 (8.2%) over the list price of $998,000 and surpassing Zillow’s market valuation! (see below)