Let Your Home Sell Itself

Wendy Weir
Published on September 22, 2017

Let Your Home Sell Itself

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“Let Your Home Sell Itself”, what does that mean?  Here are some facts and statistics that will  undoubtedly increase a home’s perceived value.

Even if you are not an impeccable housekeeper – “staging” will give buyers the perception of “impeccable,” and perceptions sell. According to Investopedia, “A consumer’s perceived value of a good or service affects the price he is willing to pay.”

Yet while this tactic has been proven to work, don’t let yourself get caught up the magic of staging. Once your home is prepped for buyer walk through’s, it’s easy to look at your home with fresh eyes and think, “we really should be charging more.”

Because regardless of how nicely you have staged your home, overpricing it will keep it on the market longer. At the end of the day, homeowners don’t determine what their homes are worth, home buyers do. And today’s buyers are savvy. They have researched market values in your neighborhood and a higher-than-market-value price won’t fool anyone. So trust your realtor and appraiser to give you an accurate monetary value for your home.

Now, let’s find a balance between a prepping your home for resale and settling on a fair asking price. Here are some tips to get your home into tip top shape to lure those buyers in, garner some legitimate offers and sell your home!

 

Everything Starts in the Kitchen!

Since the kitchen is the most popular room in a home, pay special attention to how it looks to buyers. Just as you wouldn’t dream of selling a car that’s cluttered with kids’ stuff, fast food wrappers and paperwork…neither should you tolerate everyday living-type clutter in the kitchen. Or any of your rooms, for that matter. So follow these tips for the kitchen, and then apply the process for the rest of your living areas.

1. Clear off the top of the refrigerator, leaving only one decorative item.

2. Remove all fridge magnets and the photos, report cards and child artwork they hold.

3. Clear off the counter tops completely, putting small appliances out of sight and displaying just a few decorative items.

4. Remove the pot rack, it gives buyers the perception that the kitchen lacks storage.

5. Hide the kitchen trash receptacle, fitting it into the pantry or a cupboard.

6. Remove clutter near the kitchen sink – bottles of dish soap, sponges, rags, scrub brushes and more – and organize them neatly underneath in a cupboard.

7. Organize the contents of the refrigerator. Yes, buyers will look, especially if appliances are included in the sale.

8. Rearrange the contents of cupboards and drawers, removing large items that make the spaces appear cramped.

9. Kitchen walls are notoriously grease-stained and splattered so even if it is the same color, a fresh coat will look clean.

 

Make Investments

If your budget allows, it is wise to make investments to the kitchen (and other living areas of your home including the exterior). But let’s start with the appliances since they are the hot buttons common among home buyers. Today’s buyers go gaga over energy-efficient appliances. If you are willing to overhaul the stove/fridge/dishwasher combo…choose a clean, modern design such as the always popular stainless steel. Then consider these other upgrades;

 

10. Updated lighting, both overhead and task. Consider installing LED lights under cabinets or switching out overhead fixtures if they look dated.

11. New faucets on an existing sink in a kitchen or bathroom can change their look completely.

12. Give your cabinets and drawers a face lift just by simply changing the hardware.

13. New rugs and curtains can brighten any living space. Just remember to avoid busy patterns in smaller rooms.

14.Create a focal point with a striking centerpiece for the table or an eye-catching piece of artwork on a wall.

FUN FACT: According to HGTV, studies show that sellers recoup every penny they spend on new appliances.

 

Repairs are Key

Repairs are investments that should be (have to be) made prior to putting your house on the market. Unless you are willing to price it at rock bottom. The reality is that if your home is in need of major repairs, very few lenders will loan a buyer the money to purchase the home. Plus, a recent National Association of Realtors study finds that the majority of today’s “Millennial” buyers neither have the money nor the desire to make repairs after they purchase a home. So which renovations will boost your home’s value the most? Get cracking on these projects to get the most bang for your buck;

15. The obvious minor repairs – dripping faucets, ratty carpet, walls in need of patching – can only help to that goal of impeccable staging.

16. Replacing attic insulation. This project pays for itself – returning 107.7 percent of the cost when the home sells.

17. Ditch the old front door and replace it with a steel one. It will cost about $1,400 (national average) and you’ll recoup 90.7 percent upon the sale of the home.

18. Anything you do to the home that helps save on energy bills will be popular with buyers. The big ‘rage’ is the tank less water heater which gives hot water on command. So you save big $$$ by not continually heating water. This also includes replacing utility-hogging appliances and/or old windows with high-efficiency versions. The Consumer Reports study claims that replacing old windows with “Energy Star certified windows can lower your home’s energy bills by 7 to 15 percent.”

19. In addition to the suggested minor kitchen investments, a remodel can involve replacing the cabinet and drawer fronts and adding new hardware; installing new counter tops; replacing the flooring. The investment cost can be significant, but the homeowner will recoup 80.2 percent of that after the sale.

 

FUN FACT: Consumer Reports finds that millennial homebuyers overwhelmingly want a “modern/updated kitchen.” A mere $5,000 spent on new appliances, countertops, flooring and fresh paint can give you a 3 to 7 percent bump in home value. Keep in mind that any renovations you make to the home will only pay you back, on average, “64.3 cents on the dollar in resale value,” according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value Report.

 

What Does NOT Add Value to Your Home for Resale?

You want to sell your home, but be careful not to go overboard. There are some renovations or additions that a buyer may not see a return on their investment. Here are some items that may, or may not, add to a home’s value:

20. Swimming pools. The National Association of Realtors’ National Center for Real Estate Research claims that “…an in-ground swimming pool adds about 8-11 percent to value” and that “an above ground pool adds no value.” Keep in mind, the value of a pool depends a great deal on where the home is located. Buyers in warm regions tend to put more value on them than those in our country’s cooler areas. For any pool to be considered valuable, it needs to be in good condition. Otherwise, it may actually be considered a deal-breaker.

21. A view. This unequivocally will be objective from buyer to buyer. Whether your home looks out over a forest or a city skyline, the value of the “view” is going to come down to the buyer’s personal preference. However, a Florida State University study found that “a good view adds about 8% to the value of a single-family house.” In addition, a study of sales in a town home development found that buyers paid more for units with a view of the golf course.

23. Extensive professional landscaping. You can build an entire amusement park in your back yard and it won’t bring you big bucks upon resale. If you want to put in a waterfall, coupled with a flowing river dumping into a Coi pond, do it because you enjoy the water feature, not because you’re hoping to recoup the investment. Landscaping choices are a personal preference, and all the hand-crafted bridges and unique pergolas in the world won’t dramatically boost your bottom line.

You’re Ready to Hit the Market!

You’ve renovated, repaired, cleaned, decluttered and staged…now you’re ready to put your home up for sale and rake in the offers! Yes, that’s a ‘lovely’ for sale sign in your front yard and those full-color fliers are attractive. But it takes a lot more to sell a home than an MLS listing, a sign and a lock box.

Potential buyers can, and do, begin their home search from the comfort of their living rooms or offices. Studies show that the photos of a home are overwhelmingly viewed first. Ensure that both the exterior and interior photos of your home are captivating enough that when viewed online, buyers are compelled to want to tour your home. This is especially true in the winter!  Make sure your agent takes ‘fresh, new photos’ when you hit the fall and again when you get your first snowfall. Taken at night, with ‘up-lighting’ it will look amazing! You’ve done all the hard work, now show it off! Without a doubt, in no time, the only sign in your front yard will say “SOLD.”

Of the many questions we field from homeowners thinking of selling their homes, the most frequently asked question is “What’s it worth?” Of course they’re referring to their home’s value, but even after that is determined, the “What’s it worth” questions continue. Following are three of the most common questions about items that may, or may not, add to a home’s value

What’s a view worth?

We typically get this question from a homeowner who just found out that his home with a gorgeous view is worth less than he thought. If two homes are identical and only one of them has a view, it’s a safe bet that the one with the view will be worth more.

How much more? It depends on who you ask. Some real estate professionals claim there is no value in a view, yet others claim that the view may increase the home’s value by up to 15 percent over similar homes that lack one.

Whether the view is of the city skyline, water, open space or a golf course, it is worth something. What’s lacking is a consensus on precisely how much it’s worth.

Will a pool add value to my home?

Oh, this one is popular. Thankfully, it’s easier to answer than questions about the worth of a view.

The National Association of Realtors’ National Center for Real Estate Research claims that “. . .an in-ground swimming pool adds about eight percent to value” and that “an above ground pool adds no value.”

The National Association of Home Builders, however, finds that, of home buyers who expressed a desire for a pool, most said they would be just as happy with a community pool, that they have no maintenance or expense to upkeep.

Again, real estate value comes down to location. The value of a pool depends a great deal on where the home is located. Buyers in warm regions tend to put more value on them than those in our country’s cooler areas. So, yes, a pool adds value to a Phoenix or Las Vegas home but may not add a penny to a similar home in Michigan or Massachusetts where maybe only 5% of buyers want a pool.

In fact, the National Association of Realtors study we mentioned earlier finds that Southwest homeowners with a pool can realize an 11 percent bump in value (unlike the eight percent for homeowners elsewhere).

For any pool to be considered valuable it needs to be in good condition, otherwise, it may actually drag down the home’s value.

Which renovations will boost my home’s value the most?

Keep in mind that any renovations you make to the home will only pay you back, on average, “64.3 cents on the dollar in resale value,” according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value Report.

That said, the projects from which you’ll get the most bang for your buck, according to the report, include:

24. Replacing attic insulation – A contractor air-seals the attic floor to stop air leakage and then adds fiberglass insulation to a thickness equal to R-30 insulation. This project pays for itself, according to the magazine’s report – returning 107.7 percent of the cost when the home sells.

25. Front door replacement – Ditch the old door and replace it with a steel one. It will cost you about $1,400 (national average) and you’ll recoup 90.7 percent upon the sale of the home.

26. Minor kitchen remodel – This project involves replacing the cabinet and drawer fronts and adding new hardware; replacing the appliances with energy-efficient models; installing new laminate counter tops; installing a new sink and faucet; repainting trim, adding wall covering and replacing the flooring. Total cost: $20,830 and the homeowner will recoup 80.2 percent of that after the sale.

Since kitchens are so important to buyers, we dug deeper into this facet of home renovations. Consumer Reports finds that millennial home buyers overwhelmingly want a “modern/updated kitchen” The group goes on to suggest that for a mere $5,000 you can add new appliances, counter tops and flooring and splash some fresh paint on the walls and realize a 3 to 7 percent bump in home value.

Anything you do to the home that helps save on energy bills will be popular with buyers. This includes replacing old windows with high-efficiency versions, replacing utility-hogging appliances and the aforementioned beef-up of the home’s insulation. The Consumer Reports study claims that replacing old windows with “Energy Star certified windows can lower your home’s energy bills by 7 to 15 percent.”

Now THAT is a hot selling point!

Related Articles;

Closing Checklist For Home Sellers via Bill Gassett

3 Things to Scrutinize Before Selling a Home via Lynn Pineda

10 Low Cost Tips to Sell Your Home For Top Dollar via Maria Mastrolonardo

4 Small Changes That Add value to Your home via John Hamilton

 

Wendy Weir Relocation – Real Estate Agent, Relocation Specialist, Birmingham, MI

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