Paging the realtors - help me overcome a negative feature.

I’m selling my house. Virtually all the prospective buyers have said that they don’t like the steps going down to my house.

Picture here.

According to the local realtors / estate agents, the problem is simply that there are so many steps going down. Not the condition, which is good - I’ve had the steps redone. Given that I live on the side of a hill, steps have to be expected.

So how do I overcome this issue?

Realtor here.

Replace the steps with a ramp? Elevator? Escalator? Blindfold prospective buyers until they get inside? :slight_smile:

Seriously, I can see ways of making the steps more gentle (less direct, like left, then right, if you have the space), but how are you going to reduce the number wiithout making the vertical distance between each greater? You can’t wipe out the hill, can you?

Maybe the problem isn’t the steps at all, but the austerity and lack of landscaping? It looks like you have the makings of a great hanging gardens concept which would grace your entrance. Maybe texture or stain the steps or replace the railing with something more decorative?

Can you make your front entrance on some other side?

Maybe buyers are worried about drainage? Do you have that situation covered?

Taking a second look at the pic, I see you have two parallel stairs. How about removing one of the two, say the top half of one and the bottom half of the other. Then you could make a big landing in the middle to connect the two halves and obtain the “left/right” style I mentioned earlier. The big landing might include some large flowerpots or small trees growing thru holes in the deck.

Might not address the number of steps, but I think it would be more appealing. Not on the short list of low cost, however – I’d say landscaping and railing replacement would give you the most bang for the least buck.

Another idea, similar to the stain/texturing, would be facing the concrete with brick veneer. People seem to dislike exposed, unadorned concrete, but take a shine to brick or colors. Done right, this could be a very attractive entrance. As it is, I find it rather bland.

Good luck, and hopefully others have better ideas than I.

The steps are shared with the house next door - I’m the end of the terrace, and you’re looking from the corner of the front garden towards the steps - so wholescale remodelling is not on. My front door is just off to the bottom right, not quite in line with the steps.

There’s no problem with drainage: there’s a garden gate in the corner.

Hmm… paint it black, perhaps?

Good thought. Is it too early to plant a couple of trees? This is the west side of the house.

The steps sound like they are a fact of life for your gaff - however, that handrail really doesn’t look nice, in fact the steps would look a lot better without it. I guess this is not an option as it sounds like it is shared, and potential old-timer buyers would probably appreciate it anyhow. Just painting it white would see a big improvement I think.

Does ‘side of a hill’ imply a view? THen steps are the price that has to be paid :slight_smile:

I don’t know if this is practical, but instead of a stairway down to the 1st floor, what about a bridge to the second.

The stairs look nasty.

Put in a pergola and some lattice work sides. It makes the walkway a more personal scaled place to be. You don’t see a gigantic long stair that looks like a nasty fall waiting to happen. A natural brown would be great for a full length one. Put in at least a small one in the middle maybe with a seat. White or brown would be good for that one. Here are some links, but none are exactly what I would use. Use one with an interesting design, don’t get a plain one.

There are many things that can be done to concrete to make it more interesting. Besides veneers like faux (or real) brick, concrete can be textured and/or stained a wide variety of colors and patterns. You may be thinking “wild-ass purple” when I say color, but most are more subtle shades. Some textures simulate stone, even rough-cut limestone, and only an expert can tell the difference. Invite an expert to give you some ideas – you may be amazed at the possibilities, and yes, I think they would make it possible to sell you house for much more. It’s all about curb appeal.

I second the idea to replace the railing, but don’t remove it entirely; in fact, put in a railing on both sides of the stairs. How about decorative wrought iron? You need a railing for safety, older people, and some codes might require it. Enhance and celebrate it rather than apologize for it.

Ice 'em down and park a luge at the top.

What city are you in? Do you have to deal with ice and snow?

Not a realtor but…

First thing you should do is rent a power washer and blast the stairs clean. They look dirty and unmaintained. Do the brick while you’re at it.

If you want to keep the wood railing, replace the older pieces so it doesn’t look so patchwork. Otherwise, I’d replace it with something more attractive or maybe paint it (depends on how it owudl go with the house tho’).

Can you landscape? I’m unclear on how much discretion you have. More plants would make the entrance more inviting and add curb appeal.

Potential buyer here (not really, but I’m not a realtor). Please make the stairs look more inviting, whether through an arbor of some kind, a concrete veneer or some curb appeal landscaping.
For me, it’s the stark contrast between the bare grass and the concrete that is meh. (and grass on a slope is so hard to maintain. It’d be much easier to have a few terraced garden plots with ground cover, perennials and low shrubs.)

Is that a parking lot at the top of the stairs? I’d much rather look out my front window onto some lush landscaping rather than a lot full of rusted out chevy chevettes. Once the prospective buyer descends the steps, turn them around and point out the appeal of the garden.

But first you have to make it a garden. I migth even try installing a recirculating wall fountain on that brick wall, that spills out into a vessel in the ground.

If that sounds like too much work then how about a trellis?

And I second or third the idea of railing improvement. That thing looks like a bunch of two-by-fours nailed together :slight_smile:

That railing looks awful. Honestly, who replaces four pieces out of six? If I were going into a home seeing that first I would ask myself, “What else did they skimp on?”

My father does this, he replaced an entire 18 year old bathroom except for the toilet and vanity. Mind you, he replaced the vanity counter, not the vanity and now the toilet is a different color from the sink. Horrific.

Don’t do something half-assed. Half-assed always looks half-assed.

ETA And the posts look rusted. That’s a piss poor entrance, you’ve alienated buyers before they even get into the place.

Not all real estate agents are Realtors, a registered trademark owned by the National Association of Realtors.

Quartz is in the UK where they’re not called ‘realtors’ at all: they’re called estate agents. I would imagine he’s merely being culturally sensitive for US eyes.

In my opinion, replace the handrail, and rebrand the stairs as a feature of the house that is “bijou and secluded, perfect for criminals on the lam or celebs just out of rehab”.

Correct, but all Realtors[sup]TM[/sup] are required to be state-licensed sales agents, at least in the USA.

Because joining the local Board of Realtors confers so many advantages on an agent, like access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), a legal hotline, forms, and social functions, most agents join. The exceptions are typically those who practice very part-time (or not at all) and can’t justify the expense, or those who limit their practice to only one real estate development and see little advantage to the MLS.

So it’s not far from reality to call agents Realtors even tho it’s not 100% correct. I don’t bother correcting people who make that assumption. Except on SDMB, of course, where accuracy is next to godliness.

IANARealtor, but I am the daughter of one. I’m also a cheapskate and may one day be a homeowner. To top off my credentials, I am a home improvement show addict.

IMHO, you have to do something, and obviously you want to do as little (financially and work-wise) as you can to make it more attractive.

First step, as it’s easiest and cheapest, is to paint that banister. Get it all the same color, and we won’t notice it’s been repaired piecemeal. I actually kind of like the jagged, modern lines of it, but if the rest of the home is more traditional, you’re going to have to change the shape of it as well. A person who likes the modern look of that banister won’t like a traditional house, and a person who likes a traditional house won’t like the modern banister. The “feel” of the house starts with the front, before the house itself is even entered.

The easy quick and relatively cheap way to soften the lines of the banister would be to add a bottom rail and verticals like these or even wooden spindles. It will make it look safer, sturdier and more intentional.

Once you’ve got a safer looking banister, look to landscaping. The cheapest landscaping is container gardening, and stairs look great with containers of plants on each level. Something like this is gorgeous. The advantage here is that you could, if you’re willing, dig into the ground next to the stairs and have rather tall planters that put the plants up at stair level without taking up stair width to do it. And you can take the plants out of the chimney flue liners and bring them with you when you move, if you like. Of course there are also planters available for sale at garden centers and flea markets.

The final and most expensive way to improve would be to steal a note from your neighbor - I *vastly *prefer his terraced gardens to your awkward grassy slope. I look at his, I think, “Ooh! I could put herbs in that level and wildflowers up top, or maybe home grown tomatoes!” while I look at the foreground and I go, “Ugh. How on earth do they even mow that? I’m going to have to buy a lawnmower and it’s going to be a pain in the ass to get it up there. Looks like it’s such a pain for them - look, there’s a bunch of grassy mulch left because someone waited too long to mow. It’s obviously a job that gets put off as long as possible.”

And paint the support posts–we can see the rust from America!

I agree. Here’s another example, which could be carried down the entire length. Oo, something like this would be gorgeous.

I’d also terrace the sides, and plant flowers, as WhyNot suggests. And if you can’t terrace it, at least do something resembling this, which would be much nicer than that lawn with the piles of clippings laying on it.

Good luck!