When selling a home, even tiny fixes can have a big impact. Here are 10 of the best low- (or no-) cost home improvement fixes to make your house stand above the competition:
1. Address the Heart of the Home
In real estate, the kitchen is a main selling feature and can be a make or break deal for potential home buyers. If a new kitchen just isn’t in the cards, consider replacing smaller ticket items and de-cluttering. Low- and no-cost fixes for the kitchen include:
- New cabinet hardware
- New faucets
- Installing a new backsplash
- Storing countertop appliances to create more work space
- Replacing dark valances with lighter fabric or removing them altogether
2. Update Switch Plate Covers
Switch plate and outlet covers are brittle, and can crack and yellow over time, resulting in a home that, no matter how well updated, still looks dated. New outlets and covers can be replaced in a snap for generally under five dollars, making it one of the lowest cost updates available. Consider flat switches that create a modern, streamlined silhouette and stick to white for a timeless look.
3. Beautify the Bathroom
An updated bathroom comes only second to kitchens in a buyer’s list of must-haves, so showing them a clean and uncluttered bathroom will score points with any potential buyer.
New flooring can give an otherwise tired bathroom a much needed facelift and create a newer looking bathroom overall. Coordinating linens, a new shower curtain, and thoroughly cleaned grout can top off this easy home improvement investment.
4. Address Storage
Storage is always a concern for buyers. Installing low-cost closet organizers to your existing space will increase storage and organization in your home. Add storage baskets to hide clutter and you will have beautiful storage spaces that will make any buyer envious.
5. Deep Clean for a Good Return
If your home contains wall to wall carpeting, clean carpets can make a world of difference to a buyer. Cleaning carpets can easily be completed in a weekend with a rental cleaning machine, and it creates a noticeably clean, odor free environment for buyers to tour.
6. Boost Curb Appeal
Nothing boosts curb appeal like a tidy yard. Trim and edge walkways, weed gardens, and trim shrubs for maximum impact. If you have a porch, consider potted, seasonal plants to bring the look together.
7. Improve the First Impression
As buyers approach your home, first impressions matter. Ensuring your entryway is clean and inviting with something as simple as a new mailbox or updated house numbers will make buyers feel welcome. Clean windows and doors for extra impact.
8. Add a Coat of Paint
Freshening up your living space with neutral colors will invite buyers to imagine their belongings in your home and will cover up any nicks, scratches, or dents your wall incurred over years of daily living.
9. Update Lighting
While not the lowest cost solution on our list, you will find that a new light fixture or two really breathes new life into key living spaces. If your budget is tight, look to kitchen, dining, and living rooms for the most bang for your buck.
10. Add Some Decor Pizzazz
Finally, a fresh look can be completed with nothing more than some colorful fabric. Inexpensive pillows and throws in a coordinating palette through your home will create a unified look that will have buyers hooked.
Lastly, don’t plan to tackle a home project DIY style until you read 5 Things You Need to Know Before DIY-ing A Home Improvement Project!
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
Thinking of selling your condo? Whether you live in the condo or own it as an investment property, if you’re ready to sell your home, it’s time to talk to a qualified real estate agent in your area. By evaluating several criteria, including regional markets, time of year, features of your condo unit, as well as your specific needs as the seller, he or she can create a customized marketing plan for your condo. Here are five important topics to discuss with your real estate agent if you want to sell your home:
1. Best Time of Year to Sell Your Condo
The specifics of your area do more to determine the best time to put your home on the market than whether you’re selling a condo or a house. While the conventional wisdom is that spring is the best time for selling a home, this belief simply doesn’t ring true in every locale. In recent years the historic patterns have eased, and in some cases, totally disappeared. Still, different parts of the country have periods when sellers can be more aggressive with their pricing. And your real estate agent may suggest a distinct timing strategy for condominium sales, especially if your condo is in a resort destination.
2. Open House Strategy and How to De-Clutter
A condo that shows well will sell faster and bring a higher price. Small cosmetic touch-ups can make a big difference. Buyers often suspect that more serious problems may exist if they notice the need for minor repairs. If you want to sell your home, it’s important to make sure your condo is clean, tidy and free of personal clutter. Clear sinks and counters of dishes and toiletries. Neatly stack office supplies and organize storage areas. Replace dim light bulbs and clean windows. Even though your garden area may be commonly owned, do your best to create curb appeal by cleaning front steps and porches, and clearing lawns of toys or equipment.
3. Features to Accentuate
One of the best features to accentuate when selling a condo is the lifestyle of ease that comes with condominium ownership. Many buyers are looking for the hassle-free living experience that they can’t find with a single-family detached house. Another important attribute of any condo is the amenities of the association, which can include a hot tub, fitness center, owner’s lounge, covered parking and even concierge services. If you’re considering selling your condo, take the time to walk through it methodically with your real estate agent. Together you can point out which features of the actual condo unit should be accentuated. Does your unit have a wonderful view? Perhaps the location of your condominium is unique and desirable. Your real estate agent can help accentuate these features in sales and marketing materials.
4. Desired Price and Bottom Line Price
When setting the home price for your condo, it’s important to identify your desired price and your bottom line price. By assessing recent condo sale and listing statistics in your area, your real estate agent and a licensed appraiser can estimate your house value and recommend an appropriate target price range. Working with your agent, you can set an initial asking price, as well the absolute lowest home price you would comfortably accept. One advantage of selling a condo is that by assessing the prices of other units in your association that have recently sold or are currently listed, your real estate agent and the appraiser can determine a very accurate house value.
When selling your condo, you may be obligated to disclose problems that could affect the property’s value or desirability, as well as to disclose HOA minutes and costs of common insurance and utilities. In most states, it is illegal to fraudulently conceal major physical defects in your property, such as a water heater that leaks severely. And many states now require sellers to take a proactive role by making written disclosures on the condition of the condo unit. Ask your real estate agent for the particular laws of your state.
After reading this article, read more tips on selling a home and make sure you get the best value on your property on Coldwell Banker’s Seller Resources.
Source: CB Blue Matter Blog
So you’ve prepped your home cosmetically for sale in every imaginable way – fresh paint, a deep cleaning, new landscaping, decluttered closets and even organized the garage! Your house looks better then it ever has and you are ready to hit the market! Before you proceed with the “For Sale” sign in the ground, there are several key pieces of information that you should consider gathering that today’s savvy buyers are going to want to know.
Do you have a copy of a current survey on your home? Have this document available and provide to your listing agent so they can include in the information about your home. Buyers want to know about property lines, easements, conservation buffers, if there is room for a pool, if the property line extends to the water behind your home, etc. Having a survey to provide upfront will help to eliminate these types of concerns vs. waiting until a property is under contract.
If you’ve made any changes that would affect your property such as adding a pool or fence since you took ownership and are not shown on your current survey, it’s important to advise the buyer. A new survey will usually need to be ordered prior to closing in this scenario. If you don’t have one from when you purchased the home, try contacting the title company or attorney’s office that handled the closing of the property. Depending on how long ago that was, they may be able to retrieve from their archives.
2. Floorplan or Appraisal Sketch
Buyers often need to know room dimensions as it helps with determining furniture placement and to ensure how what they have will fit (or have to be reconfigured) in the new space. As any real estate agent can attest, many hours have been spent measuring spaces while looking at a home and comparing that against the existing buyer’s furniture dimensions. I’ve encountered entire home searches that revolved around a great room accommodating an entertainment center and the garage size so a motorcycle could fit in addition to the cars!
An appraisal is helpful as it can confirm the exact square footage of a home vs. relying on tax records which may not be accurate. We’ve all heard stories where the appraisal showed the actual square footage that was smaller than what was initially represented in a listing sheet. Having an appraisal will help to ensure that does not happen. You should have received a copy of the appraisal if you obtained a mortgage loan from your lender or if you refinanced. If you don’t have either, consider having a floorplan drawn up or home measured by an appraiser when prepping your home for sale. Your agent can assist with resources to this effect.
3. Utility Bills
Buyers want to get an idea of what they can expect the heating and cooling bills to be in a home. Review your bills over the last one to two years to get an average in the various seasons, or call your local utility provider as they can often provide you with information on the high, average and low costs. This information can be very beneficial when a buyer sits down to number crunch their total costs of owning a home. If you had an unusually high or low bill, provide some explanation to accompany the numbers.
4. Termite Bond
In many markets where termites are alive and well, it is common place for homes to have some sort of protection plan in place which is also known as a bond. In Florida, where I live and work, this is a primary concern and often one of the first questions buyers and their agents want to know. Prior to listing your home, obtain a copy of your termite bond policy from the provider, know exactly what type of bond you have – repair or treatment bond and up to what dollar amount of coverage is it good for. Also know how long the bond is in effect, when it is up for renewal and what the renewal fee is, if there is a transfer fee and what does it provide protection for – not all bonds provide protection against all different types of termites.
5. Pest Control
If you maintain any type of pest control on your property, compile information as to who the provider is, what you have done, how much you pay and how often does the company come out to treat the property. A copy of your service agreement is helpful in this instance.
Buyers especially want to know who a seller uses for their homeowners insurance and how much they pay. This is particularly the case in higher risk areas (where there are hurricanes, floods, fires, etc.) With homeowners insurance potentially more difficult to obtain in some areas, going through the existing seller’s insurance company can help streamline the process, particularly on an older home.
7. Product Manuals and Warranty Documents
Now is the time to gather the various product manuals for all items that will be staying in the home such as appliances, water heater, heating and cooling system, ceiling fans, pool equipment, etc. If your home came with any warranties, be sure to include these for the new owner as well. Putting all of these in one large envelope makes it easy for everything to be readily accessible in one place for the new buyer.
8. Service Providers
Compile a list of all service providers/vendors and their contact information who you have used on your home – lawn service, pool service, A/C company, etc. While a new buyer may or may not choose to use these services, they will certainly appreciate having resources available to them and may elect to initially use them as they make the transition to living in your home.
9. Covenants and Restrictions, Neighborhood Rules and Information
This is key critical information for a new owner to have on hand. A contract may likely hinge on the buyer’s review of this information, so easiest to have it available ahead of time. If you don’t have these, contact your neighborhood’s association president or management company for assistance in obtaining a copy. Many of these documents are matters of public record and are available by going online to the appropriate municipality’s website.
Work with your agent to create an informational package or binder that you can provide to prospective purchasers that come through the home with the information mentioned above. Gathering this information before you put your home on the market will save time and make the process that more efficient once you find a buyer. It may even help your home to sell faster as all of this information is available upfront, eliminating the need for guesswork and waiting on answers while another property could possibly come on the market to grab the buyer’s attention. You want to help keep the buyer focused on your home, so make it easy for them to buy by giving them what they want. Happy selling! You can read more home seller tips here.
Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog
Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals weigh in on what you need to know when navigating the real estate process.
If you plan on selling your home next year and want to get the highest price possible, you should put it on the market at the beginning of the spring selling season. There tends to be less competition at that time, so homes listed in early spring will typically sell faster and closer to their list price than those listed later in the year.
You’re probably thinking that spring is many months away, and you have plenty of time to get your house ready to sell. But spring comes early in real estate and home sales start heating up in February, right after the Super Bowl.
So, really, you have only about three and a half months to get ready.
Most people drastically underestimate the amount of work involved in preparing a home for sale. Don’t be one of them.
Home Sale Prep List
Here’s a list of things you can do NOW, to make sure your home puts its best foot forward when the spring market rolls around.
- If the leaves are still on the trees, take photos of the exterior of your house now. Your house will look so much better than it will in January or February when the photographer shows up to take listing photos. One caveat: make sure there are no Halloween or other seasonal decorations in your photos.
- Make a schedule. Set February 1 as your go-to-market date and work backwards from there, listing all of the things that will need to be done to get your home ready for sale. Then put them on your calendar and start knocking them out.
- Have a pre-listing inspection done on your house. This is the same kind of inspection that your buyers will have done once their offer is accepted. It will cost you between $400 and $600 but it is well worth it. It will identify everything that needs fixing, and then you can take the time to get multiple bids and schedule the work.You will be shocked at how long the inspector’s list of needed repairs is, but it’s better to find out about them in advance and get them taken care of than to have your buyers hold your home sale hostage over the inspection credits they want.
- Have your real estate agent or home stager walk through the house with you and point out low cost updates or changes that you can make to maximize your home’s appeal. This could include rearranging or editing the furniture, applying a fresh coat of paint, removing wall-to-wall carpeting, or updating cabinet hardware or light fixtures.
- Get rid of the clutter! Undoubtedly you will have lots of stuff that needs to be packed away, donated, or disposed of, and dealing with it can be very time-consuming. Plan to tackle one room (and its closet) each weekend. Sort everything into four piles: give away, throw away, sell, and keep. Be ruthless. If you have trouble letting go of things or you find it all too overwhelming, line up an organizer to help you.
If you have been keeping china, glassware, or furniture to pass on to your adult children, ask them if they even want it. Chances are they don’t, so now is the time to sell it or donate it.
Selling your home is a big undertaking. Doing these five things now will get you well on your way to a successful home sale and help you maintain your sanity in the process.
This is SO IMPORTANT for you to know as a Buyer or Seller so that you can strategize your plan of action wisely and accurately. Of course, your agent can easily explain this to you, but you need to understand it! Make no mistake, if you don’t pay attention to the difference in these two markets, you may not enjoy the results of the transaction.
What you need to know when buying or selling a home.
One important thing to remember about the property market is that it’s always in a state of change. Sometimes the market is favorable to buyers and sometimes it’s favorable to sellers. But don’t worry, a knowledgeable agent can guide you in the sale or purchase of your next home, no matter what type of market you’re facing.
What is a Seller’s Market?
A seller’s market is simply a property market that benefits you as a seller. In a seller’s market, there’s a scarcity of properties, which can drive up the price of homes, especially in desirable locations.
Sellers can depend on real estate experts to know what the market is doing, but here are some signs of a seller’s market:
– Low inventory when compared to previous months and/or years
– Homes are selling faster
– Less than six months of inventory on the market
– More homes are selling
– Median sales prices are growing
– Less information in real estate ads; just the bare details
– “For Sale” signs don’t stay up long before being replaced with “pending” or “sold”
What is a Buyer’s Market?
A buyer’s market is the opposite of the seller’s market. If you’re buying at this time you’ll be spoiled for choice as the supply of homes on the market exceeds the number of buyers, giving you the chance to score a fantastic deal.
A sharp agent will quickly be able to tell you where the market lies, but here are some signs of a buyer’s market:
– Inventory that is high when compared to previous months and/or years
– Homes are selling more slowly
– More than six months in inventory on the market
– Sales prices are shrinking
– Fewer sales are taking place
– Real estate ads are growing in size, giving more details and/or images
– “For Sale” signs are staying longer, meaning the days on the market are longer too
How Do I Figure out the Months of Inventory in a Market?
1. Look for the total number of active listings for the month prior to the current one
2. Look for the total number of sold or closed transactions for the same time frame
3. Divide the total number of listings by the number of sales. This figure represents the number of months of inventory there are.
For example, let’s say there were 6,500 listings in one month’s time. During that same time, there were 1,500 properties that were sold. Divide 1,500 into 6,500 and you arrive at 4.3 months of inventory, meaning that this is a seller’s market.
While a savvy real estate agent is the best resource for this information, other resources include real estate listing websites and/or your local real estate association.
Do All Markets Follow the Same Cycles?
Markets are always in a state of flux. At its core, people are the driving force behind the real estate market.
For example, as more people move into a location, the more need there is for housing. If the number of properties in the area cannot support the number of people moving in, prices of existing homes will likely rise until more homes can be built.
This constant change to the supply and demand in a market is how markets shift back and forth from being more favorable for either buyers or sellers.
Can I Buy in a Seller’s Market?
Absolutely, but it’s not going to be a walk in the park. You’ll need determination, knowledge, and most importantly, someone on your side who knows the market inside and out.
Something to consider – you don’t know the seller’s true reasons for wanting to sell. Maybe there’s a divorce pending or another baby on the way and they need more space fast. Whatever is going on with the seller, a savvy agent will spot opportunities to help you and the seller arrive at a mutually agreeable solution.
One key reason it’s vital to engage an agent in a seller’s market is for their negotiating skills. While it’s important to always negotiate, a seller’s market calls for serious help to ensure that you don’t pay more than you need to.
Should I Wait to Sell?
It depends. Is it mandatory that you sell right now or could you wait until it’s a seller’s market again?
Consult with an agent to get his opinion about your chances of getting what you need or want for the sale of your home. He just might have some options you may not have considered that will help you get out from under your home and get on with your life.
Don’t be afraid to sell or buy if you think the market isn’t in your favor. The real estate market can be highly varied, so trust your agent to help you get the best possible results, no matter what the market looks like.
Source: CB Blue Matter
Right now we are in a Seller’s Market here in Solano County. Oftentimes that means multiple offers over list price. It can be a frustrating and exhausting process. Read on for strategic tips!
It’s possible to win a bidding war without paying a cent more than you budgeted for.
Know what you can really afford
As far as emotional purchases go, buying a home ranks right up there with choosing a wedding dress — only the financial stakes are much higher. Unless you know ahead of time exactly how much house you can afford, you could easily be sucked into spending too much. Your lender or financial adviser can help you determine that number. Then it’s time to play ball.
“Submit your best and final offer early,” says Skyler Irvine, senior partner at Myriad Real Estate Group in Phoenix, AZ. “If $1,000 keeps you from pulling into the driveway of your dream home just because you wanted to play hardball, then you might regret this more than you can imagine.” But the flip side is also true. “If you get outbid because someone offered more than you were comfortable with spending, then you didn’t lose anything and made a smart financial decision.”
Here’s a real-life strategy from a client of Naples, FL, agent Gordon Campbell on how to submit the best offer in a “best and final” situation without going too high: “They simply added a clause stating that they would pay $1,000 more than the next ‘best and final’ capped at the original price as seen in the MLS.” The outcome? “They got the property for slightly more than the other bidder.”
Talk with the listing agent
You can put in an offer, but unless your agent makes the effort to speak with the listing agent, your offer, in a multiple offer scenario, will probably not stand out. Gary Hughes, a Virginia real estate agent, recently received 13 offers for a property he listed. “Twelve were just emailed, and the buyers’ agents did not speak to me,” he says. But one agent called and had the lender follow up. “The lender and the buyer’s agent were able to address a concern in a way that assured me it would get to settlement. It wasn’t the highest offer, but it was close. Those conversations made all the difference.”
Propose a shorter closing
It’s always beneficial to find the seller’s motivation for selling (if you can). Let’s say they just accepted a new job in another part of the country. This seller is probably highly motivated to sell quickly. “If you can close the deal in two or three weeks, you may win over the higher offer that comes with a six-week closing period,” says Eric Bowlin, a real estate investor.
But just how do you go about closing faster? Here’s one way: “Tighten up your inspection time frame so sellers know that they can get through to a closing date quicker,” says William Golightly, a Florida agent.
Buyers can also be preapproved, or even better, get a conditional approval, from their lender. Going through the mortgage process first allows you to close just as fast as all-cash buyers do.
Rent the house back to the sellers
Some sellers aren’t interested in a short closing at all. In fact, the opposite could be true. Sellers who don’t have to sell quickly but who are just making a change, such as downsizing or upsizing, might want a long closing or some sort of flexible deal to give them time to find their new home. “Being able to rent back the property to the seller for a few months while they solidify their next purchase can go a long way into not needing to overbid on the property,” says Aaron Norris, a California real estate investor with The Norris Group.
Submit an as is offer
The fewer conditions you put on negotiating the house price, the more attractive you look to sellers. Consider offering to buy the house as-is. Miami Beach, FL, agent Jill Hertzberg says, “You can opt out of conducting inspections.” But since this is an extremely risky proposition, Hertzberg suggests instead of waiving the inspection altogether, decrease the inspection period to two days maximum. Lilia Biberman, a Boca Raton, FL, agent says to only waive the inspection “if you have a firm grasp of all the possible defects a property may possess and the costs associated with remedying those defects.” Also, if you’ll be paying in cash, you don’t need a financing contingency, which protects buyers who don’t secure financing in time.
Source: Trulia Blog