Case Study: Regency Station
Planning and preparing for the sale of a luxury home in Fairfax Station because the owners were building a new retirement home in Colorado. The home was on a very private street located within walking distance of a 600-acre wooded park with a large lake. The home had updates and featured an attractive swimming pool.
When the owner contacted me in October, she already had a contract on a home under construction in Colorado with an estimated delivery date of March or April. Ideally, she wanted to have the home here either closed or under contract to close so she could move only once.
A goal was to highlight the pool
During the Covid-19 period, homes with pools became highly sought after as people shied away from busy club pools and saw the health and fitness benefits of swimming.
The plan was to put the home on the market early in the “spring market”, but that also meant the pool would be shown covered for the winter missing the beauty of the landscaped setting.
Determining where work was needed
The home had been a family home for twenty years, so it was a priority to start organizing items to move and determining what could be donated.
Before and After photos
The photos are intended to demonstrate that significant work was done by the owner and by contractors. The finished work improved the marketability to a broad audience of home buyers who would appreciate the location, interior updates, extensive landscaping, pool, and natural beauty of the property.
The owner had lived in this home raising children for over twenty years, and it was time to move to Colorado. This home and community were built by Stanley Martin Homes when they were a local, family-run business building in small subdivisions. Stanley Martin was well known for building luxury homes, and also delivering a well-landscaped community with a variety of larger caliper trees, Virginia stone walls, and instant neighborhood curb appeal. Stanley Martin Homes was acquired in 2017.
Significant Marketing Updates
- Updated luxury owner’s bath
- Large customized owner’s walk-in closet
- Remodeled kitchen
- Screened in porch
- Stone patio
- Landscaping walls front and back
- Hardwood floors
- Newer Pella windows (2012)
- Two updated HVAC systems
- New pool pump
- Newer Roof (2016)
- Newer driveway
- Inground irrigation system
- 9′ ceilings
- Open floor plan
- Public Water and Sewer
- Excellent neighborhood curb appeal
This home is a Virginia brick-front colonial set back deep from the street. The interior architectural design was ahead of its time as it is more modern or “open-concept” than competitors in the early 2000s. Overall, the home sits on a beautifully treed lot which is almost 3/4 acre and backs to tall woods.
Areas to Address
- Track the delivery schedule of the new home so the owner makes one move – A to B
- Donate useful items rather than move them to Colorado
- Do not disrupt the owner’s “Last Christmas” in the house
- Have professional photos of the pool taken in October before the pool is closed down for the season
- Replace certain light fixtures such as the unique dining room fixture
- Have the basement carpet cleaned or replaced
- Replace pool pump
Plan of Action
My plan was to help put together a list of specific action items for the owner to complete over time because she had a full-time job.
The high-priority item was to schedule one of my professional photographers to take some exterior shots before the leaves fell off the trees or the guy came to close the pool. The photographer’s first visit was canceled because it was overcast and raining. Exterior photos included the pool, the large Virginia stone patio, stone walls, the screened-in porch, and some front exterior shots.
The attractive pool photos were taken in October and used in the listing when it went live in March.
Also in the Fall, the pool pump was replaced.
Prior to Christmas, I encouraged the owner to have her adult children claim any furniture so they could plan to move it out of the house.
The owner donated a lot of furniture and books, and was able to sell some items online using Facebook Marketplace and similar neighborhood sites.
After much furniture was removed, I had some of the professional photos digitally staged so buyers looking online could visualize the purpose of the room. The included the home office on the main level, the basement recreation room, and an upstairs bedroom.
The basement fitness room was staged with additional yoga mats, colored free weights, along with large exercise balls.
The kitchen cabinets were organized to highlight the high end cabinetry, and appliances removed from the countertops. Burned out under-cabinet lighting and range hood bulbs were ordered and replaced.
A collector of art, the owner had an electrician replace the artistic dining room light fixture with a modern chandelier from Lowes.
From the first meeting to the closing was 7 months in coordination with the delivery of the new house in Colorado so the owner only had to move once and avoid storage costs.
Planning the exterior photos and work on the pool pump was a priority to complete before winter arrived.
The owner and daughter did live in the property when it was for sale, although they were away most of the first week allowing agents easy scheduling. Existing furniture and beautiful artwork on the walls were used and empty spaces were professionally staged with virtual furniture.
The home was built by a higher-end, local builder but it had been updated significantly over 25 years. These updates were valued by buyers and the home sold almost 19% over the list price in a very competitive spring market. This sale set a record high for the neighborhood.
The professional photos and 3-D Matterport virtual tour were viewed over 100,000 times based on data from digital platforms like Zillow, Redfin, and Sothebys.com. All of these sites receive content from Bright MLS, therefore the property description needs to be interesting and provide insight or specific area/lifestyle information.
Consumers continue to actively use real estate apps to alert them to new listings and immediately examine each online photo available including Google Maps examining locations of grocery stores, recreation areas, schools, and commute times to work. Highlighted in this listing was Burke Lake Park which covers over 600 acres in Fairfax County, has a lake with boat rentals, a golf course, and a kids’ train that runs along the lake.
The marketing also specifically highlighted the pool and yard. Although agents historically looked negatively upon pools because it limited the buyer pool, our research has shown that today’s buyers are eager to find an inground pool like this one. And with real estate apps allowing targeted alerts, making sure an attractive description of the pool not only alerted buyers, but artificial intelligence (AI) also picks up and profiles this across social media platforms.
I did hold the house open myself to really sell the benefits and answer questions. The weather cooperated with a mild, sunny day allowing over 50 people to view the property during the open house.
This home was priced higher than comparables nearby based on market activity at that moment in time, and the final sales price was 118.9% of the list price. This sale set a record high in the neighborhood.