It doesn’t matter how perfect your home is—if your listing photos don’t stand out, potential buyers won’t come by to take a look. In our series “Lessons From Listing Photos,” we dissect the smart updates sellers have made to their homes, and how their listing pics highlight the home’s best assets.
Homes built in the 1960s have a certain charm that just doesn’t exist in houses built today. But a ’60s home built by Joseph Eichler is an even rarer gem because of its clean lines and iconic midcentury modern architecture. Even if it’s in a state of disrepair, finding a deal on a bona fide Eichler is like finding buried gold.
However, renovating an antiquated Eichler, like this one in Castro Valley, CA, can be a massive undertaking. When flippers purchased the five-bed, two-bath home in early 2019 for $860,000, it was in desperate need of a complete overhaul. So they quickly restored it to its sleek former glory. And a few months later, the home went under contract for $1.3 million.That’s a fast-paced flip with a whole lot of payoff!
So how did they do it—and how can you make it happen with your own home? We asked our experts what the sellers did right.
The entryway before and after the renovation is so drastically different, it’s almost as if you’re walking into a whole new house. Not only have the wall color and materials changed, but the outdoors has quite literally made its way inside with a planter cut right out of the floor—something you don’t see everyday, even in California.
“Removing the aggressively turquoise paint and outdated hot tub to create this picturesque atrium is the stuff true #housegoals are made of,” says Paul Trudel-Payne, founder and creative director of Casa Creative Consulting and Design. “Nothing is more welcoming than a beautiful entry that brings the outdoors inside.”
Interior designer Levi Austin of Levi Austin Design says this transitional space is a high point of the overall property.
“The modern concrete flooring and warm wood ceilings give this elegance and sophistication,” he says.
Before: Living room
After: Living room
The living room was a mess of textures and styles that didn’t quite fit together, but all those problems were solved during the renovation—without any major changes to the footprint of the house.
According to Austin, you have to look up to see the biggest changes.
“This renovation highlights the architecture of the house,” he says. “The warm wood ceilings contrast with the white beams, creating a stunning sense of grandeur in this modern open-living concept.”
Most buyers see the kitchen as the heart of the home, so having one that’s both functional and gorgeous is important. And very few things do a better job at making a home look dated than glass blocks; unfortunately these were a highlight of the former kitchen. The sellers tackled the eyesore by removing them, and gave the rest of the kitchen a top-to-bottom makeover that our experts approve of.
“A bright, white kitchen is always a showstopper,” says Trudel-Payne. “Adding the wood paneling on the ceiling with recessed lighting and removing those dated glass panels really updated this space.”
According to Austin, the sellers completed this major kitchen renovation in a wallet-friendly way by not changing the layout.
“Keeping the same footprint keeps the plumbing and electrical costs to a minimum.” he explains. “The kitchen was brought into the present decade with clean cabinetry, upgraded appliances, and sparking countertops.”
Before: Wet bar
After: Wet bar
Wet bars may seem like a dated concept, but when done right they do an excellent job of providing an extension of the kitchen, an extra workspace—and even a place to mix the perfect cocktail.
This renovation tied the wet bar area to the kitchen by using the same cabinets and countertops. The same wood plank ceiling also runs throughout the house. The wall that’s visible in the before photo was also knocked down to open up the room.
According to Trudel-Payne, the smartest choice was the simple color palette.
“It brightens the space and was easily the most cost-effective detail that instantly updated the entire home,” he says.
Nothing about the original bathroom was pleasing to the eye, but amid the broken cabinetry, dated tiles, and faux gold fixtures was a diamond in the rough just waiting for its chance to shine: the sauna.
“When your bathroom comes with a sauna, simple, timeless updates are all you need,” says Austin. “Again, keeping the same footprint keeps hard costs to a minimum.”
The renovations to this room included a new vanity, mirrors, faucets, and hardware.
“The wood sauna finally gets its time in the spotlight with this strategically white bathroom color palette,” says Trudel-Payne. “It’s luxe, rich, and superclean.”