Selling Your Silicon Valley Home? Make Sure Your Front Door Gives a Great First Impression!

Twelve Silicon Valley Doors, shown as black & white (photos by Mary Pope-Handy)

Thinking of selling your Silicon Valley home?  When your house or condo is for sale, curb appeal is crucial because if buyers don’t like what they see on the outside, they will not bother to see what’s on the inside!

It’s hackneyed but true:  “You never get a second chance to make a first impression“.

This is no where more true than with front doors! Staging begins on the front porch.

In my real estate practice, I usually see at least 10 or 15 San Jose, Los Gatos or Saratoga area homes per week – usually many more than that too.  A good, clean front door with nice paint or varnish, no dust, clear glass and sparkling hardware gives a good welcome to your home’s visitors, whether they are coming as prospective buyers or simply as guests.  Amazingly, though, not every home seller gets this basic principle quite right. Very often, front doors are dusty, dirty, in need of paint or perhaps even in need of replacement.

And we’re just scratching the surface!

Exterior home doors found all over Silicon Valley

A home’s front door sends a message. What message does yours give off? Photos by Mary Pope-Handy

Here (to the right) are some doors I’ve encountered in my work as a Silicon Valley Realtor. What do you think of each of these?

Some homes have a “security screen door” in front of the regular front door, which is mostly obscured.  What message does this kind of strong grill give?  If it’s the only one on the street, it might imply that one person nearby has concerns about safety. But if there are several doors like this on the same street or nearby, it can give buyers concerns about the safety of the area.

The black door with the white trim in the center is a typical or average San Jose or Santa Clara County door.  It has a painted exterior and a fan light window on top, which allows some light into the home.  It’s a little more inviting than something without any windows, but there’s no cover for rain or an inviting front porch, either.  This type of door is not super expensive, but it does come across as at least fine, if not “good”.

Some of these doors are not the front door. I once viewed a listing which had access through a scratched up door facing the backyard, and when I shared the photo several people asked if it was a short sale or bank owned property. To everyone’s amazement, no, it’s a “regular sale!”  This kind of introduction to the property, is anything but regular and left far from a good first impression!  It is a discredit to the agent and the seller to put a home on the market with such a terrible first exposure to a property.
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Getting a fumigation? You may want security with that.

Security guards used to be required on site when a home was fumigated in California, but that has not been the case since the 90s.  Seems that some clever bad guys have decided, in Southern California, that this makes a home “easy pickings” (apparently gas masks are not that hard to come by).  Sadly, crime often comes in waves and ideas catch on, so it would be wise for us to be prepared to have this happen here.  The solution is simple: bring back paid security, or stay on site yourself (rent or borrow a motor home, camper etc.)

Check out the news video from Los Angeles’ KABC TV station and see if you don’t agree that having someone there with watchful eyes isn’t a good idea.

 

 

 

 

Fumigation needed? Be aware of burglary risk!

This morning I read an Action Line column in the San Jose Mercury News which got my attention: a house was burglarized during a fumigation and many valuable items were lost. “The burglar tore through the tent and took some very valuable and deeply sentimental items, important documents, and our Social Security cards as well as a lot of credit cards.”  This surprised me as the structure was full of poison.  Apparently with gas masks donned, the thieves had no fear and helped themselves to the unguarded goodies within.

I wondered if this was a fluke or if it was a growing trend.  After all, the economy has been rough for years. Perhaps criminals all over California and the U.S. as a whole have had to get creative and take more risks.  So I went to Google to see what kind of response I’d get with a search for “burglary during fumigation“.  Indeed, it’s a nationwide problem of theft during tenting for termites and this incident in Silicon Valley does not appear to be an oddity, but rather part of a growing trend.

Until a few years ago, perhaps 10 or 15 years ago, security guards were required to be on hand when a property was fumigated.  I don’t recall when or why this changed, but today guards are not routinely on site for fumigations in the San Jose area – at least not to my knowledge.

What to do?  It is a real pain to live in a townhouse, house or other home and have it tented.  You not only need to move out for a few days, but also you must generally move out all food (some exceptions).  Many people also want to clear out bedding and other goods, including valuables.  But most folks won’t completely empty a house and then move right back in again. That’s costly in terms of time and money.  Even in a vacant house, some items could still be stolen such as thermostats, potted plants in the back yard, and light fixtures.  (That happened to one of my clients in Cambrian a number of years ago.)

The presence of a security guard is likely your best bet for improving the odds that your property won’t be targeted by thieves.  Your fumigator or pest control company can probably suggest a reliable firm with trustworthy employees who have all the necessary requirements (licensed, bonded, insured?).  If your property is vacant (between owners or tenants), you may not feel that this cost is warranted and be willing to take your chances.  But if you fumigate your home and it’s got valuables within, I would suggest investigating some security.  It’s not a secret when a building is fumigated, and apparently too many bad guys consider it “open season” on your possessions.

Related reading on termites and pest control issues:

Would You Recognize Signs of Subterranean Termites If You Saw Them?

How often should you get a termite inspection?

“The house was ‘termited’ four years ago. Do we need to do it again?” – Question of the Day!