Selling your home? Here’s how to get top dollar |

Selling your home? Here’s how to get top dollar

Even in a hot market such as Summit County, it’s remains essential to properly prepare your home before it hits the market

By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by Nelson Walley Real Estate
Nelson Walley Real Estate uses technology that can erase the furniture out of a room and virtually impose new furniture into the room. The team can then print large posters of these virtually staged rooms so potential buyers can visualize various layouts during a showing.
More about Nelson Walley Real Estate

Nelson Walley Real Estate is the leading luxury boutique brokerage in Summit County.

For more information, visit, call 970-368-4448, or email

Spring and summer are typically when buyers return as local real estate inventory increases,  which means now is the time for potential sellers to consider what needs to be done to their properties over the next few months before they publicly list their home for sale. 

In a hot sellers’ market such as present-day Summit, Eagle, and Grand Counties, some homeowners might decide to forego any major repairs, renovations, or staging efforts because they assume their homes will sell themselves very quickly. 

Debbie Nelson and Ned Walley, the owner/brokers at Nelson Walley Real Estate, say such a strategy will end up costing sellers a lot of money come closing time. 

“We might not be worrying about getting a home sold in the today’s market, and in a normal balanced market we’d focus our efforts on trying to make our client’s property the prettiest on the stage to ensure we win the beauty contest, but in our current market all of our efforts are more about every little trick we can think of to help get our clients the most money possible,” Nelson said. 

Walley added, “these types of Sellers typically leave a large amount of money on the table. They don’t do the volume of transactions we do, and they don’t notice trends as they’re occuring like we do, so they can’t capitalize on the swift fluctuations in our market”.

The difference in price can be significant, too — Walley mentioned two recent sellers where Nelson Walley Real Estate achieved more than a 15% premium compared to what the sellers were expecting to earn. 

Here are some of the ways Nelson and Walley help their sellers get top dollar. 

Plan ahead 

If you’re not planning on listing your home until the summer, make an appointment with Nelson Walley Real Estate now in order to generate a list of things to take care of. They’ll provide a report with their best suggestions with the ultimate goal of getting the highest possible sale price for the home. 

The list could include minor renovations, such as replacing a countertop in the bathroom or carpet and paint throughout the home. Nelson Walley provides their estimate for how much those upgrades could equate to in a sale price. 

“We’re advice-givers, and our clients are the decision-makers,” Walley said. “If you do X, we can get Y price.”

With real estate values increasing so much throughout Summit County, you have to work with people on the front lines of real estate deals for this expert advice and guidance, Walley said. 

“Working with experienced people will put more money in your pocket,” he said. 

Pay attention to maintenance 

Putting in the effort to stage your home, even in Summit County’s hot sellers’ market, often leads to a higher sales price. Nelson Walley Real Estate offers a team of experts to advise sellers about maintenance, furniture, decor and other staging details.

Rather than wait for the buyer’s inspector to come in and point out everything that’s wrong with the home, Nelson and Walley often recommend that sellers get an inspection to generate a list of handyman projects that can button up the home. 

Window seals are often compromised in Summit County homes, which leads to fogginess and gives the home a grungy look, Walley said. 

“And you’re going to be asked to replace those anyway during a buyer’s inspection, so we try to anticipate anything that might come up in the inspection and get those things fixed in advance,” he said. 

Ashley Gionfriddo, the home staging specialist at Nelson Walley Real Estate, said it’s also important to address small maintenance items such as replacing light bulbs, touching up paint or fixing small cracks in the bathroom.

“When you walk up to the home, you want that first impression to be that it’s well maintained and cared for — you only have one chance to make a good first impression,” Gionfriddo said. 

Declutter and neutralize 

Interior decor — everything from furniture to artwork to colors — is subjective. You don’t want a bright red wall or quirky piece of art to turn a buyer off. 

Walley said sellers should take their individual personalities out of the home so a potential buyer can imagine that home with their own personal touches. 

Gionfriddo, who worked as an interior decorator before joining Nelson Walley, often gives sellers a prioritized list of ways to declutter and neutralize the home. That includes taking down personal photographs, and removing anything that you know you’ll want to take with you to your next home. 

Staging a home

When a home is completely empty, Nelson Walley Real Estate will bring in furniture and other staging items to help fluff things up in a modern yet neural way. There’s also the option to virtually stage a home in listing photos. 

Nelson said they use technology that can erase the furniture out of a room and virtually impose new furniture into the room. Nelson Walley prints large posters of the virtually staged rooms so buyers can visualize various options when they’re at the showing. 

“I had one seller who had a room set up as a guest suite, but we created three different scenarios for that room to help buyers visualize the potential,” Nelson said. 

Staging also includes little things, such as the welcome mat at the front door or replacing an exterior light. 

“While gardening in Summit County doesn’t really start until Father’s Day, buy some big pots with pretty flowers for outside — those will stand out,” Nelson said. 

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.