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Westside Boutique Realtors Stress Improving Homes Before Flipping

Valnes Bell Realtors share photos and feedback from recently remodeled homes in Brentwood and Pacific Palisades.

Flipping a house can be stressful yet rewarding in any market, and for an affluent area like the Westside, upscale remodeling efforts are coming back with a vengence, according to this recent Los Angeles Times story.

Recently revamped boutique real estate company Valnes Bell Realtors, based on the Westside, has been focusing on several homes in Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica. Broker Stacey Valnes shared the company's experience with Patch.

Valnes Bell just completed work on a five-bedroom, five-bath home on Bonhill Road in Brentwood, a quaint two-bedroom, one-bath cottage retreat on Marquette Avenue in Palisades, and a four-bedroom, 4.5-bath home situated on Swarthmore Avenue.

"Our specialty here is not full-out remodeling," Valnes said. "We focus on low cost ways to bring out your home's fullest potential to maximize the biggest sale we can get for our sellers."

Many older Westside homes have outdated appliances, worn furniture, drab paint jobs, carpets that haven't been updated since the disco era, deteriorated structures like decks and doors, and many other small items that, when added up, lessen the overall value of your home, Valnes added.

"This is what we do best—we breathe life into a home and give it that new facelift it longs for," he said. "Our sellers walk away thrilled and we find a buyer [for] that perfect, updated home they always wanted."

One recent Brentwood home was "screaming for a makeover," Valnes said, after its owner tried to sell it three times with no success.

From the outside, they sanded down and exposed the natural wood elements, to showcase the home's true characteristics and painted it a modern bone white with a gun metal gray trim. Inside, they painted wall-to-wall to brighten up the internal space, redid all the carpeting, re-buffed the original wood floors and changed the tacky linoleum in the kitchen and bathrooms. They also replaced all ceiling fans with new light fixtures throughout, changed every single fixture from knobs to switches, and landscaped. Valnes Bell also made all necessary repairs and inspections prior to listing it.

"In the end, we formally staged the house and it looked amazing," Valnes said. "After our makeover it got multiple offers and sold with no problem."

Spending money on remodeling is the top concern for many Westside homeowners looking to sell and many homeowners feeling overburdened by the whole process, Valnes said.

"It's a hard process for some people, this is their home after all," she said. "Sometimes a seller will request a paint color or carpet that they love during a makeover that just doesn't suit the house or fit in the modern approach of the makeover. This is where we ask them to trust our experience in choosing the right elements. This is not about the house and its value to buyers—not their memories associated with the house."

Adding that the trend now is now to improve homes before selling, Valnes said Valnes Bell Realtors aims to stay a leader in the area's boutique real estate market.

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