Here’s how to help clients avoid making bad home improvements.

As a real estate agent, you’ll often be asked about renovations and home upgrades. Here’s a step-by-step process you can follow to help your client reach their home improvement goals.

When a client reaches out to you, you first want to figure out the purpose of their renovation. They may be looking to improve the home for themselves, or they may want to maximize its value. Often, someone’s personal tastes and style preferences won’t exactly net them the most market value when they try to sell. If their goal is to sell, be frank about their choices and give them an idea of what’s trending in the current market. You may need to do some research about comparable homes and what upgrades they had. 

If you feel like your client is perhaps over-improving their home, you should advise them that if they spend more than the neighborhood’s homes typically sell for, they may not get their investment back. If they plan to sell soon, they should shoot for a medium-level quality for their neighborhood. 

“Often, someone’s personal tastes and style preferences won’t exactly net them the most market when they try to sell.”

After you provide some helpful advice, clients may ask you for contractor referrals. Be somewhat cautious when doing this—you can give them your recommendations, but make sure to provide other options as well. Doing so helps reduce your liability. Also, make it clear that these contractors are not specifically yours; you may have a great working relationship with them, but they are not your employees. When you start saying, “My contractors,” clients may believe they’re part of your business. When that contractor is too busy to help the client, the client could be upset with us. I usually give clients a few different options that range in the level of value and oversight required, and they can make the decision about which they’d prefer. 

Timing is another factor in home improvements, especially today. For example, some clients want to renovate a bathroom and then list two weeks later, and that’s nearly impossible. Materials are taking anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to get where they need to be. Let them know the kind of time frame they’re realistically looking at, and make sure they begin planning early. You should also take a look at their design before they actually begin renovating; otherwise, the client could end up with something that nobody will want. Give them advice on why certain things may not work well, and provide suggestions of what may work better.

If you have any questions or would like more information about helping clients, feel free to reach out to me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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