|One of the great challenges to selling a home can be showing all of its space, decor and natural light potential. For example, every home has crowded closets and dead space. Sellers should be aware that areas such as these are easy to spruce-up with a little elbow grease and old-fashioned innovation.
Begin by evaluating your closet/storage space, determine which areas can cut-down in clutter. Go through old clothes, shoes, etc., and get rid of anything that will not be used and in turn create more space. Consider organizing shelves and other areas to make better use of your storage space, including your garage and basement. Also, try to throw out or give away any old furniture that is no longer of use. All of the discarded items can be given to Good Will, Salvation Army or even sold at a yard sale. Although most sellers keep their homes clean and well-decorated, it can be difficult to convince a buyer of a home’s potential when clutter is noticeable. As an agent, it’s my responsibility to offer any tips that will expedite the sale and make the experience more enjoyable for the seller.
Once you’ve eliminated the unwanted items and furniture, begin the ‘renovation’ process. For non-storage spaces that could use a little more decor, consider adding a small bookshelf complemented with a cozy reading chair. Always be sure you’re filtering as much light into your property as possible. Open or replace curtains. For example, light from a window overlooking the backyard offers a room more color, a great view and the illusion of more space.
Always maximize the potential of existing decor; wash old curtains, re-stain old wood casings, anything that refreshes and emphasizes all the potential of the space and decor of the home.
Prospective buyers are often more drawn to homes with features that they don’t have, those with clutter-free closets, open sunny rooms, and cozy little corners. To ensure you’ve realized all of the above characteristics the last step should be to bring in a friend and observe their reaction. Make sure it’s an honest friend, who will offer suggestions as well as notice the improvements. Seeing your own home through someone else’s eyes is a great way to make a home optimally attractive and more sellable to prospective buyers.
Be diligent in your efforts and be sure the renovations improve the aesthetic appeal of the home. All the hard work will be worth the reward of a successful sale.
What’s Your Style?
|Styles of houses vary across the country. From the New England Cape Cod to the Victorians of San Francisco, the choices are almost endless.
Following is a quick guide to help you recognize and use the professional terms for many of the most prevalent house styles:• Cape Cod: This compact story-and-a-half house is small and symmetrical with a central entrance and a steep, gable roof. Brick, wood or aluminum siding are the materials most commonly seen.
• Dutch Colonial: The Dutch Colonial has two or two-and-one-half stories covered by a gambrel roof (having two slopes on each side, with the lower slope steeper than the upper, flatter slope) and eaves that flare outward. This style is traditionally made of brick or shingles.
• Georgian: Popular in New England, the Georgian has a very formal appearance with two or three stories and classic lines. Usually built of red brick, the rectangular house has thin columns alongside the entry, and multi-paned windows above the door and throughout the house. Two large chimneys rise high above the roof at each end.
• New England Colonial: This two-and-one-half story early American style is box-like with a gable roof. The traditional material is narrow clapboard siding with a shingle roof. The small-pane, double-hung windows usually have working wood shutters.
• Pueblo / Santa Fe Style: Popular in the Southwest, these homes are either frame or adobe brick with a stucco exterior. The flat roof has protruding, rounded beams called vigas. One or two story, the homes feature covered/enclosed patios and an abundance of tile.
• Queen Anne / Victorian: Developed from styles originated in Great Britain, these homes are usually two-story frame with large rooms, high ceilings and porches along the front and sometimes sides of the house. Peaked roofs and ornamental wood trim, many times referred to as “gingerbread,” decorate these elaborate homes.
• Ranch: These long, low houses rank among the most popular types in the country. The ranch, which developed from early homes in the West and Southwest, is one-story with a low-pitched roof. The raised ranch, which is also common is the U.S., has two levels, each accessible from the home’s entry foyer, which features staircases to both upper and lower levels.
• Southern Colonial: This large, two-to-three-story frame house is world famous for its large front columns and wide porches.
• Tudor: Modeled after the English country cottage, Tudor styling features trademark dark-wood timbering set against light-colored stucco that highlights the top half of the house and frames the numerous windows. The bottom half of the house is often made of brick.
These are just a few of the many styles of homes available across the country – some are more prominent in different areas than others.
|What home improvements really pay off when the time comes to sell your house?
That’s an important question for any homeowner contemplating moving or remodeling. And the only possible answer is a somewhat complicated one.That answer starts with the fact that really major improvements – room additions, total replacements of kitchens and baths, etc. – rarely pay off fully in the near term. It ends with the fact that small and relatively inexpensive changes can pay off in a big way in making your home attractive to buyers if your decision is to move now.
It’s often the case that the most appropriate major improvements are unlikely to return their full cost if a house is sold within two or three years.
Does that mean that major home improvements are always a bad idea? Absolutely not. It does mean, though, that if your present house falls seriously short of meeting your family’s needs you need to think twice – and think carefully – before deciding to undertake a major renovation. Viewed strictly in investment terms, major improvements rarely make as much sense as selling your present home and buying one that’s carefully selected to provide you with what you want.
Even if you have a special and strong attachment to the house you’re in and feel certain that you could be happy in it for a long time if only it had more bedrooms and baths, for example, there are a few basic rules that you ought to keep in mind.
Probably the most basic rule of all, in this regard, is the one that says you should never – unless you absolutely don’t care at all about eventual resale value – improve a house to the point where its desired sales price would be more than 20 percent higher than the most expensive of the other houses in the immediate neighborhood.
Try to raise the value of your house too high, that is, and surrounding properties will pull it down.
Here are some other rules worth remembering:
The cost of replacing a discolored toilet bowl, making sure all the windows work or getting rid of dead trees and shrubs is trivial compared with adding a bathroom, but such things can have a big and very positive impact on prospective buyers. A good broker can help you decide which expenditures make sense and which don’t, and can save you a lot of money in the process.
Selling Your Home In Winter
|In many parts of the country, selling a home during the winter months can be a challenge. Dreary, cold weather and the end-of-the-year holidays can keep buyers away and heighten fears of your home staying on the market longer than expected.
However, there are a few things you can do to enhance “curb appeal.” And when that happens, buyers will take notice.For example, if your home has been on the market for several months, it’s probably time to change our sales approach. There are several factors that we can review to determine improvements that can be made. We may need to make a reassessment of the sales price, as it may be too high for the current market or, instead, we may opt to create a new or updated marketing plan for your home. Marketing your home goes beyond a few ads in the newspaper and a listing on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Ask me about all the ways in which I will market your home.
When setting the asking price through a comparative marketing analysis, compare similar homes sold in the winter months. Many owners set their asking price too high because of comparisons with sales prices during peak seasons. Always try to compare like properties sold at the same time of year.
Once you’ve settled on an asking price, it’s time to spruce up the interior and exterior of your home. I recommend opening as many curtains as possible to add light and color to rooms. Also, your might try keeping spring and summer pictures of your home out on tables and in clear view. Photos of your front yard flowers or the backyard shade tree in full summer bloom can help swing many buyers in favor of a purchase.
Staying on top of winter maintenance and chores is another sure-fire way of adding value to your home. A neatly shoveled driveway and cleared walkway can add a nice touch. Make sure the furnace is in good working condition and that the room temperature is kept at a comfortable level. Also, check to see that the basement (if there is a basement) is dry and sealed from any drafts.
Take yourself on a tour of your home. Start on one end and work your way through the house. More than likely you’ll see many previously undiscovered cluttered spaces and needed repairs that might turn off potential buyers.
Don’t overload your home with holiday decorations, either. The buyer should have a chance to see you home in its everyday condition.
Remodeling Your Home
|The classic way for homeowners to increase the value of their house is by remodeling existing rooms or adding on to its current plan.
Some choose to build recreation rooms and studies while others add new appliances, fixtures and cabinets to enliven rooms and make their home more attractive to future buyers.But, when should you decide to stop sinking money into a home and buy a bigger place? And how much rehab is too much when it comes time to recovering remodeling costs through a home sale?
For instance, if you’ve just spent $1,000 remodeling your living room and didn’t expand your small bathroom, the chances of increasing the number of interested buyers are slim.
With these concerns in mind, I can offer a few tips for those struggling to add value to their home.
First, always protect the character of your home. Nothing sticks out more than a new addition that is in a completely different architectural style. Be consistent. Recognize your home’s character and stay within its framework.
The most financially rewarding areas to remodel are usually the kitchen and bath. Newly re-done cooking spaces and cabinets can attract more buyers and may command a slightly higher price for the home than a comparable one on the market. Simple repairs that are made to last will bring you the biggest returns upon sale.
Enlarged bathrooms are the most popular attraction for new homebuyers, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Today, the most popular additions for younger buyers are sunken whirlpool baths and showers. But be sure to install modest, solid amenities. It’s easy to quickly over-spend on bathroom fixtures.
Buyers are, by convention, more interested in aboveground living space – not basements, yards and walkways. Swimming pools can be a poor investment if installed for the sole purpose of increasing a home’s value; it’s rare that a pool’s cost will be recovered in a home sale. It can also be a negative feature for potential buyers with very young children.
Replacing worn carpeting, tiles and wood floors can give your home an immediate advantage over similar properties in the area. Updating paint colors in all areas of your home can also prove beneficial.
However, it’s recommended that you use neutral colors, such as gray, beige and off-white when adding new floor and wall coverings. Fewer buyers will then turn away because of differing tastes.
Stay simple with your remodeling and look at your home as though you were the buyer. Chances are that if you find the upstairs bedroom could be brightened by a larger window, potential buyers will probably feel the same.
Don’t go overboard. Concentrate on improving two or three deficiencies in your home. More than likely, the time and money you spend adding quality to your home will be rewarded with greater profit at selling time.
|Fully preparing your home for sale can make considerable difference in the time it takes to sell it. You can help eliminate buyer objections before they arise by making necessary repairs and improvements, some of which are suggested below.
|Your boss has just given you the career opportunity of a lifetime, but the job is in another state.
Soon you discover that moving your family to another city may be one of life’s hardest tasks. The thought of leaving behind old friends and schools for a strange town can be frightening. The biggest challenge of all, however, is to preserve the equity in your housing investment so you will be able to purchase a similar home in the new location.Not to worry. Even in these uncertain times homeowners can sell at very satisfactory prices in a reasonable period of time. The secret? Pay attention to details, utilize marketing savvy and price the home to sell quickly.
The following tips can help you get that “sold” sign up fast.
OFFER THE RIGHT PRICE. Start with a price that is reasonable for your neighborhood and the size of your home. Comparing the price of your home with similar nearby listings is an easy way to be sure you are offering the right price. Comparing the opinions of two independent appraisers will also help you avoid over-pricing.
PAY PART OF THE CLOSING COSTS…usually 3 to 5 percent of the loan amount. This will attract those first-time buyers who are short on cash for down-payment and closing costs. Offering to turn over personal property such as washing machines and dryers, refrigerators and flower boxes can also attract buyers looking for the best deal.
ACCEPT CONTINGENCY AGREEMENTS. Make your sale contingent upon the sale of the buyer’s home. This takes away buyers’ fears of juggling two properties and mortgages at the same time.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CORPORATE RELOCATION TRADE. Be sure that your broker is connected to a relocation network – one capable of bringing in buyers from distant places. And, of course, try to get your employer to provide you with relocation assistance, too.
MAKE YOUR HOME STAND OUT. Fresh paint and flowers can go a long way in impressing buyers. Tend to such details as moving the lawn, fixing stubborn doorknobs and sliding doors, and straightening up the basement. Remember, your home’s appearance on the day it’s shown can make or break a sale.
The bottom line is that sellers should take the time to make their home as attractive as possible. Compiling helpful tips for the buyer about school districts, utility bills and directions to the nearest shopping mall can go a long way in selling your house quickly.
With a little work and an active real estate agent, chances are good that your house will sell fast in today’s buyer’s market.