Top 10 Tips to Sell Your Home on Kauai

The differences between real estate on Kauai and the mainland hit home with a recent article from about Top 10 Projects that Add Home Value.  Two of their Top 10 don’t really apply in Hawaii; 1) Add Insulation, and 2) Finish the Basement.

The overall #1  Upgrade to add value is Remove Clutter and Clean!
3250 Kalihiwai Rd #B, listed for $5,975,000 / Photos

For a local version…
Susie’s Top 10 Tips to Add Value and Sell Your Kauai Home:

  1. Clean and Declutter.  Whether it’s a multi-million dollar estate, or a short sale – it’s equally important.  Your property is being interviewed by buyers at every showing.  Just like the commercial where the stain on her shirt talks during the interview, buyers miss the architecture and remember the oddest things…usually personal things or negative things like cat hair and dirt.  Your home gets 5 seconds to make a good first impression.
  2. Power Wash.  This really falls under #1, but it’s so important to power wash the driveway, lanai’s, and outside of the house.  Living here, we get used to the red dirt.  When selling, buyers see the house as not cared for, creating a very negative first impression.
  3. Landscaping.  You don’t have to spend $100K on expensive landscaping.  In fact, a friend does wonders with cuttings from the green waste at the dump. Just as with interior staging, you want your grounds to create a sense of place.  Artistic color groupings with a few rocks can work wonders!
  4. Repair and Clean Gutters.  Water dripping from the eaves at a showing is a sure way to kill a buyers’ interest.  On Kauai, I’ve seen plants growing from the gutters and the roofs. 
  5. Outdoor Lighting.  This fits in with the landscaping.  However, one or two sets of solar outdoor lights will cost you about $100 and potentially add thousands to your sales price.
  6. Bathroom Upgrades.  Unfortunately, tile work screams “dated” faster than anything.  If you have the budget to do interior upgrades, bathrooms are generally small. New tile and fixtures have a big impact. 
  7. Kitchen Upgrades.  If you can only do one thing, buy new appliances.  Not the most expensive models, but new makes a big difference.  If you’re going to do a remodel on a budget, don’t put in granite tile counters.  It’s better to re-tile the floors, replace appliances and leave the counter tops as they are. (Buyers hate the grout!) See how the inexpensive bathroom and kitchen upgrades make a big difference in my short sale listing at
  8. Organize Garage / Carport.  With smaller square footage, and no basements – storage on Kauai is a challenge.  Make sure your garage appears spacious and your storage is neat and organized.  Plastic containers from WalMart or KMart work wonders.  It’s also a good way to keep the house decluttered during showings.  With kids, I suggest getting one for each room.  When there’s a showing, throw the everyday toys, etc. into a plastic bin and put it in the closet or garage.
  9. Stage your Home.  I offer free consultation to my clients, or can refer you to an interior design specialist.  First, depersonalize!  Think of your house as a “model home.”  Comfy and warm, but neutral.  Buyers need to imagine and feel it as their home.  Also, each area needs to “tell a story.”  We can work with what you have, and sort out what goes to storage, and what can be used.  A few neutral art pieces and beautiful tropicals go a long way.
    Staging and landscaping upgrades brought positive buyer attention to my recent luxury ocean view listing.  In escrow within 30 days, and scheduled to close this month.
  10. Maintain your home during the listing and showings.  This is really, really important.  If you’re off island, please budget for at least a monthly clean-out, regular pest treatment and yard maintenance.  Nothing is worse than walking through spider webs, stepping over dead roaches or walking through an overgrown lawn.  Remember, your house is being interviewed with each and every showing, and drive-by curb appeal is important!

For more information about how to sell your home in today’s market, please know I’m here to help.  I offer a free market update and consultation, including staging advise and services.  Contact me today, or let’s meet on Facebook.

About Susanna "Susie" Kunkel, RA

With a belief that life is too short to not follow your dreams, Susie and her daughter became new Kauai residents in less than 4 months after visiting for the first time in 2000. She brings a wealth of information from her background in administrative, contract and paralegal work in a variety of industries including technology, investment banking, biotech and estate planning. As a Realtor, Susies's tenacious and technical approach have earned her a large group of extremely loyal clients. Susanna is a steadfast believer in "The Golden Rule", and applies it to her approach as a Realtor. "Each client and each property are unique, so it's important to me to listen intently to what my clients' goals are, and to make sure I go above and beyond to help meet them."
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