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Fixes made with the buyer in mind

New appliances, carpet and flowers help to make their home stand out from the crowd.

June 22, 2008|Marni Jameson | Special to The Times

Kathy and Jim Mocharski put their 10-year-old Rancho Bernardo home on the market in March knowing the competition would be stiff.

"A lot of new homes are going in around us," Kathy Mocharski said. "To compete, we had to give our home the current styles and upgrades that buyers could get in a new house."

Besides a thorough spring cleaning, they followed their instincts and the advice of their real estate agent and sunk close to $16,000 into the 2,500-square-foot house to get it market ready.

Granted, some of the upgrades were overdue, like the new carpet they would have put in even if they weren't selling, but the other improvements were primarily to snag a buyer.

Here's what they did:

* Replaced the 10-year-old white kitchen appliances with stainless-steel appliances for $4,000.

* Replaced the cottage-white balusters on the staircase with wrought-iron ones at a cost of $1,800.

* Tore out the 3-inch flat baseboards and put in 5-inch baseboards for $1,600.

* Replaced the worn-out beige pile carpet with cut-and-loop sculptured carpeting in a richer shade of brown and traded the old office carpet for wood laminate flooring for $8,000.

* Repainted the faded red front door a deeper, high-gloss red and painted the eaves for $200.

* Loaded the frontyard with flowers for $200.

The house, priced at $759,000, remains for sale, though the Mocharskis have had two offers -- not bad in this market. One offer was contingent on another home sale, so they refused it. The other they accepted, but after two weeks the deal fell through when one of the buyers got sick. Still, Mocharski is confident they stand out from the competition. "We're getting lots of action."

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