You need to sell your house fast in Mission Viejo, California, which will require finding a buyer who can manage the median home values of $900,000 common to Orange County and feels passionately about the community’s sweeping views and walking trails.
Personally, perhaps you’re tired of commuting and crave the food scene and faster pace of San Diego or Los Angeles. Or maybe you long to experience the four distinct seasons again on the East Coast.
Some sellers in Mission Viejo are content to stay in the master-planned community but simply need to move up to a larger home likely to be found in areas like Santa Margarita Parkway.
Whatever your moving motivations, your current Mission Viejo home likely has a lot going for it based on its location alone. People want to live near the coast in a safe, family-friendly community — and Mission Viejo fits the bill.
To catch the eye of these Mission Viejo house hunters, this seller’s guide covers how to make strategic updates, appeal to remote workers coming from nearby cities, and highlight your home’s differentiating features in a city of rather homogenous housing stock.
Update the bathrooms in your Mission Viejo home
The great majority of Mission Viejo homes – 82% according to Neighborhood Scout – were built from 1970 to 1999. This condensed construction timeline is part of the nature of being a master-planned community.
Many Mission Viejo homes are missing the modern features that make today’s buyers happy, especially in the bathrooms.
If you have a modest renovation budget of $3,000 to $4,000, upgrade the bathrooms to add the features that Mission Viejo buyers want.
For example, many of the city’s tract homes built in the 1980s have particleboard vanities, which do not hold up well over time, says Zen Ziejewski, a top Mission Viejo real estate agent who sells homes faster than 65% of other agents in the area.
Spend just $1,500 to replace it with a new vanity to instantly upgrade the room. Be sure to install a dual sink vanity if space allows in the primary bathroom since they are ranked as the number one bathroom upgrade today’s homebuyers seek.
In addition to upgrading the vanity, it may be worth it to:
- Upgrade and modernize the tile floor.
- Restore dingy grout lines with a grout renewal colorant.
- Trade out a contractor-grade mirror for a modern version.
- Acid wash the shower and floor tile to get it sparkling clean.
Have some budget left over? Tackle these areas.
Beyond refreshing the bathrooms, prioritize upgrading these areas of your Mission Viejo home for resale:
- Upgrade flooring to wood laminate throughout the rest of the house. Ziejewski does not usually recommend hardwood flooring because Mission Viejo sellers don’t get the return on their investment.
- Add new lighting fixtures in key rooms such as the kitchen, dining room, living room, main bedroom, and home office.
- Replace the kitchen countertop if it looks worn or dated. Today’s buyers prefer quartz instead of granite.
“For a more masculine countertop, I would go for something that mimics a Carrara marble, and for a more feminine look I would pick the material that’s within your budget that mimics Calacatta gold marble,” advises Taylor Sassa, a designer and home stager with Vesta Home.
If budget forces you to choose between painting and new countertops, repaint the kitchen cabinets and install new hardware for a fresh look, Sassa adds.
“We’re doing some rehab for our clients before putting the houses on the market and we’re seeing them get $100,000 more,” Ziejewski says. Typical kitchen remodeling projects usually cost between $13,000 and $38,000 so it’s easy in this market for you as a seller to recoup your costs.
Bidding wars among buyers continue in the Mission Viejo area, so sellers should not be afraid of over-renovating if they can keep the final sales price under $1 million.
Make the interior light and bright
In addition, you should remedy dark interiors, which are an inherent part of the design style prevalent in older homes common to Mission Viejo. Ziejewski tells his sellers to first remove any window coverings and curtains in rooms in which privacy is not an issue, such as rooms that open to a backyard view. Completing this task instantly brightens an interior space.
Next, paint rooms a fresh, light color such as White Dove by Benjamin Moore, advises Sassa, because this shade of white complements the wood in older Mission Viejo homes.
Cornforth White by Farrow & Ball nicely accents as a cabinet color with its touch of gray. Similarly, go for light colors in your overall design choices. Choose white-washed laminate wood flooring for a beachy style or light gray for a modern touch. These two upgrades alone ensure a higher selling price in Mission Viejo, adds Ziejewski.
There are other minor upgrades you can quickly do that make a big impact. Install a sky tube, or solar tube, in a dark hallway or bathroom. It is an inexpensive and welcome upgrade in darker Mission Viejo houses. Scrape and repaint any popcorn ceilings, and install dimmable recessed LED light fixtures to add an instant sense of brightness and liveliness.
Hire a home inspector to pinpoint issues
Consider spending the money on a home inspection before you ever list your Mission Viejo property. It can increase the level of trust, transparency, and upfront bargaining power with the buyer, says Rick Davenport, a home inspector with Pillar to Post, who both lives and works in Mission Viejo. “You either fix issues before the house goes on the market, or you can alert the buyer that you are aware and have factored that repair into the price,” Davenport notes.
Find out if you have aluminum wiring
Since a majority of the homes in Mission Viejo are 30-50 years old, some have aluminum wiring, which causes buyers to be skittish because of the higher fire risk, says Davenport.
“It varies by house,” he says, “but there are receptacles and breakers specifically designed for aluminum wiring which help alleviate the issue. Plus, an inspection lets you know if there has been a partial fix, which happens sometimes as things are upgraded or replaced during the course of the house’s history.”
Real estate experts and professional electricians weigh in about the options to upgrade, repair, or simply disclose aluminum wiring to potential buyers.
Leave the HVAC be
Don’t worry too much about the HVAC system just because it is an older unit. Davenport says he has seen systems work perfectly well that are 40-plus years old. With Mission Viejo’s temperate climate, the AC and heat only run about one month each per year, so the units last much longer than in other parts of the country.
Bring the house up to code with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
The easiest and most affordable item to fix or replace — no home inspection needed — is to add or test smoke detectors in each bedroom and in the hallway on each level of the house. The same goes for a carbon monoxide detector, which California law requires in every residence.
Get your Mission Viejo house in front of millennials
“Over 60% of our homebuyers are first-time buyers, and the majority of those are millennials ages 28 to 40,” says Ziejewski. The takeaway lesson is this: If you have a starter home in Mission Viejo in the $750,000 to $900,00 price range, work with your agent to advertise it where millennials hang out on social media – that means Facebook and Instagram.
Focus on size and price, not location
In Mission Viejo, entry-level detached homes that are in the $750,000 to $900,000 price range and average about 1,500 square feet sell the fastest, Ziejewski says. Since millennials are most interested in buying starter homes like this, ask your real estate agent to play up the size and price point of your house to potential buyers if it falls into this starter category. These features are more important than location in a particular neighborhood in Mission Viejo, which overall is 60% safer than other U.S. cities, according to Neighborhood Scout.
Reach Irvine and Los Angeles buyers
People who work remotely from a home office also are choosing to relocate to Mission Viejo. Since remote workers can log in from anywhere, they are increasingly interested in relocating near the coast where the humidity is low, the amenities of the nation’s first master-planned community are plentiful, and the average temperature all year round is 67 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mission Viejo is less than a 20-minute drive to Irvine, so it is a perfect commuter city for people who work for one of the many Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Irvine such as Masimo, Ingram Micro, or Blizzard Entertainment.
Mission Viejo is an ideal home for those who work remotely and only commute one or two days per week to a Los Angeles job. It is only an hour’s drive and allows commuters to escape heavy LA traffic most days.
Your agent should market your home in these two cities via social media to help sell it faster. Ask the agent to play up the house’s proximity to larger cities while emphasizing the amenities of Mission Viejo’s planned master community filled with public parks and golf courses.
Stage your home, taking cues from California
Do you have a low renovation budget? Maximize the selling potential by staging your home. Grab onto the light and bright feel today’s buyers search for by asking your staging professional to decorate your home in the popular California Cool style that uses natural colors and crisp whites.
With minimal renovations, a buyer can see the vision of what the house can be when it is appropriately staged with the right furniture and home décor, says Sassa. Staging provides a jumping-off point for buyers. It’s a smart investment for sellers with a small renovation budget since a well-stage home sells 20% faster.
Work with a top Mission Viejo real estate agent
Choose a local agent who has sold lots of houses like yours in Mission Viejo because the city has its own flair that only a local will know. Don’t know where to find a local agent, much less one who is a top seller? Find the right real estate agent in Mission Viejo with a service from HomeLight that lists each agent’s performance history. It’s a good way to narrow down the list of more than 7,500 agents in the area. Top agents sell a home in Mission Viejo an average of 32 days faster than other sales agents.
The right agent will know how to speed the sale of your house and get you the highest sales price possible by suggesting how to modernize a dated starter home and knowing how to reach buyers in their 30s and 40s.
No funds for updates? Request a cash offer from an Orange County investor
If your Mission Viejo home needs a ton of updates that you don’t have the budget for, you can pursue an alternative sale route. House-buying companies and local investors in the area will seek out homes that could make good flips or rentals. Mission Viejo’s reputation for being low crime and having great schools means homes in the area are generally viewed as a strong investment.
Buyers acting as investors usually pay with cash and prefer to buy off-market, which can expedite the sale timeline. Cash buyers also may be more flexible with sellers on inspection items because they have the capital to fix the issues themselves. HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform, for example, will provide a full cash offer for homes in almost any condition. If you’re in a huge hurry to sell your Mission Viejo home and don’t have the timeline for renovations, requesting a cash offer may be an option worth exploring.
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