Checklist to Follow Before You List Your House on the Market
Wood floors are a hot item today, but preferences over the years have changed. Some buyers may prefer original hardwood floors, but there are many popular choices today. The final movement away from hardwood happened when installing hardwood floors became too expensive.
Plywood was easier to obtain and faster to install. Plus choices in carpeting were plenty. It’s still relatively inexpensive to install carpeting. If your home has hardwood floors, that’s what buyers want, and it would pay to have the carpeting removed and the floors refinished. If your sub-floor is plywood, then replace the carpeting with light tan. Neutral carpeting is your best bet for resale.
Painting ceilings & walls
Buyers spend more time than you would think staring at ceilings. They are looking for signs of a leaky roof, but what you don’t want them to see are stains from grease or smoke and ceiling cracks. Ditto for walls. Nothing says freshness like new paint, and it’s the most cost effective improvement. Use fiberglass tape on large cracks, cover with joint compound and sand. Paint a neutral color such as light tan – think of coffee with cream.
It’s not that all buyers hate wallpaper. They hate your wallpaper – because it’s your personal choice, not theirs. And they hate all dated wallpaper. Get rid of it. The easiest way is to steam it off by using an inexpensive wallpaper remover steamer.
Even if your wood paneling is not real wood but composite, you can paint it. Dated paneling must go. Older wood paneling such as walnut, mahogany, cedar and pine, it’s all gone out of style. Paint it a neutral and soft color after priming it.
Popcorn ceilings often are see in older homes, and may contain asbestos and cause health hazards. Time to remove it. It’s not expensive but it is time consuming to remove. Aside from being a safety concern, most buyers don’t want popcorn ceilings.
Appliances and cabinets are typically the most expensive items to replace in a kitchen. If you don’t have to replace them, you’ll save a ton of money. However, if your cabinets are dated and beat-up, your house might not sell if the cabinets aren’t replaced.
Before going the extreme route of renovations, try to improve rather than replace. Most buyers aren’t going to pay top dollar because you just put in a chef’s stove, travertine floors and a brand new glass refrigerator.
Cabinets: Resurfacing the cabinets is always the least expensive of all other options. Resurfacing includes adding a thin veneer to the surface of the cabinets. You will need to replace the hardware. However, if your cabinets are outdated, chances are the hardware was too.
Counter tops, sinks & faucets: Granite counters are not always necessary, but they definitely are appreciated; so are new faucets and brand new sinks. More importantly, make sure that those sinks are working properly, including the water pressure.
New floors, fixtures and lights really pay off when it comes to selling a house, as they are a top selling point for a buyer. Consider spending money in these rooms.
However, just as you don’t want your house to be the nicest one on the block, you also don’t want one specific room to be the most expensive looking room in the house rather than putting your entire budget into a guest bedroom.
It is easier to sell a house that is attractive to potential buyers, which means that you spend a little time and money on cosmetics. This is partly just a matter of making sure it is clean, the yard is neat, the driveway is swept, bushes pruned, and so on. Easily-fixed structural defects, like a loose shingle, should be fixed. It is a widely accepted fact that homes with furniture in them look larger. If, however, you are moving to another residence and plan to take your furnishings with you, arrange things so that you show the house before you move out of it.
Every house has defects, some obvious and others hidden. Both types will affect the price a buyer is willing to pay. It is a mistake to think that a potential buyer will assume that the only defects that exist are those that are visible. Serious buyers will most likely invest in an inspection by a firm that specializes in such services. Buyers that don’t retain an inspector will probably assume the worst about the unseen condition of the house.
There aren’t many buyers who will pay a price based on the assumption that everything they can’t see must be OK. Pricing the house on that assumption is a good way to keep it on the market unsold indefinitely. While you continue to pay for utilities, taxes and insurance, the condition of the house worsens and your Realtor loses interest in trying to sell it.
There are two circumstances that favor fix-up before sale. One is where there is a large variance in the cost of the fix-up, and a potential buyer is likely to over-estimate the cost.
In the case of a septic system, for example, the cost depends on the condition of the soil, and if the seller knows that the condition is favorable and the cost low, it makes sense to fix it before sale. By making the repairs before sale while setting a correspondingly higher price, a buyer is in effect financing the improvement in the mortgage. If a buyer with limited cash had to make the improvements after purchase, the financing costs would be substantially higher.
Sellers should undoubtedly order their own inspections, because if a house has significant defects, the smart seller will order her own inspection. And, in some cases, solicit estimates of the cost of required fix-ups. This will help in deciding whether the best arrangement is pre-sale fix-up, sale as is, or some combination of the two. Not to mention that a seller-ordered inspection will tend to equalize the negotiating power of the two parties.
When it comes to real estate, the ideal time to sell your home often falls in the spring months. After all, many people hunker down during the winter months or are too busy with the holidays to think about purchasing a new home. But listing your house for sale around the holidays has its benefits. You will be dealing with serious buyers who are ready to pull the trigger.
Studies have shown that homes listed during the holidays can sell faster than homes in the spring can, and they can also command more money. In the spring, inventory usually picks up, but during the holidays, the options are more limited, meaning a homeowner can ask for more money.
Anyone who is shopping for a new home around during the holidays are more than likely going to be serious buyer. This is because people who aren’t serious about purchasing a home quickly, are not spending Christmas Eve looking at a house, they will be with their friends and family. Chances are, the buyer will not be wasting your time for kicks especially if you want to sell your house.
Homeowners who put their home up during winter have a great advantage. They can give their home the “homey” vibe that appeals so much to buyers. They can put lights up, have a fire lit, and have the home smelling of pine needles. Homebuyers are also more likely to be emotional during winter months, which will add a little to impulsivity.
It is usually at the end of the year when a person is notified they will be getting a job transfer. These people need homes fast so that they can begin the new year with a place to live. During Christmas, for example neighborhoods are decorated with lights. Read more at We Buy Houses Corpus.
If a home closes on Christmas Eve, a homebuyer can deduct the mortgage interest, property taxes and interest costs of the loan. The tax deductions can be significant and could prompt a home buyer to move during the holidays.
Buying a house is an exciting time. It is easy to get wrapped up in the aesthetics of the home and forget the actual purpose of it; to have a safe, habitable place to live for years to come. Here are some common mistakes that home buyers make that you should try your best to avoid.
Many homebuyers, particularly first-time homebuyers, fall into the trap of falling in love with the very first house that they see. You need to at least look at three more houses in the area to get an idea of what the comparables are in that price range. You want your real estate agent to show you homes comparable to what you saw. At the end of the day, re-evaluate. Be sure to hire a home inspector to thoroughly check out a house you are interested in purchasing.
5. Buying a Home Without a Professional Inspection
There are a lot of things a home inspection can reveal about a property that are not visible to the naked eye. Be sure to hire someone who comes with a good referral basis, who’s been in the business a while and knows what to look for. Look up the American Society of Home Inspectors and get a list of qualified home inspectors in your area. Once you find an inspector, insist that they compile a written report, complete with photos. Photographs are important because there are areas a home inspector will go that you might not look at.
Overlooking the Extra and Hidden Costs
Buying a home is not just about the money that you spend upfront; it’s about all the rest of the money you have to spend beyond that. Find out what the property taxes are, what your water bill might be and what a standard electric bill is in that home, especially if you have electric heat instead of gas heat. You also need to factor in furnishings. It will help you to realize what you have been missing and what you need in your next home. Make a list of those needs and then ask your agent to start shopping based on those needs. On average, Americans live in a house for about nine years. Remember, you can always trade up a few times before you find the ultimate home.
Setting Too High of a Sale Price
As a seller, it’s really important to do your research. To come up with your sale price, look up what comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for. Figure out what the going price is and try to put yours right in the middle of that, unless you have something extra-special to offer. It’s always better to price a home that way than to start too high and have to reduce. Once you reduce, it always looks like something is wrong with the home.
Failing to Showcase Your Home and Making Small Cosmetic Changes
When you are selling your house, you have to really look at it objectively and think about it from the viewpoint of the house hunter. Make minor enhancements to the house and maybe hire a professional stager to come and arrange your furniture. Staging is about decorating your house for the buyers’ taste, not yours. A great place to start is with the front of the home and the main entryway. Home staging is designed to increase the potential selling price and reduce the amount of time the house stays on the market.
Many people wonder what it is like to be a real estate agent. They also wonder how it feels to work as one and I can tell you that it is a demanding but still interesting job. For a real estate agent, every day is a new experience, and there are no same days.
Talking with buyers is just one of many activities that are done by real estate agents, and that activity is one of the most satisfying out of them all. Seeing happy clients that found a house they wanted is something that will fill you with energy and finding that house for them is even better. But, as I said working with clients is only one activity done by real estate agents, and there are others that are not as interesting as it, responsibilities that fall under administrative group of tasks like:
– Keeping up with all local and regional market activities and following all news about real estate – Research of all kinds of listings and reviews of real estates – Paperwork like real estate documents, agreements and so on – Coordination and planning of all kinds of appointments, with clients and other entities, open houses… – Marketing and advertising of property a real estate agent is working with – Emails, phone calls, social media, websites and blogs
Real estate agent doesn’t just sell real estate, real estate agent sells himself. You must look good, talk naturally and be friendly with everyone including random people who might become your clients in the future, especially if you want to. You must constantly work on meeting new people, figuring out who is a potential client and in general, you must be approachable to anyone you meet.
Working with clients is generally separated in working with buyers and working with sellers. Each of these two activities has their own work that must be done properly.
If you work with sellers you will have to:
– Meet with them and get familiar that is required – Take photos of the property to show what it has to offer (you can hire a professional photographer but that will cost, so you should be able to take high-quality photos by yourself)
When it comes to working with buyers your task will be to:
– Get to know them and their wishes when it comes to purchase – Plan property showings (which includes individual visits and open houses) – Show a property that fits wishes of the buyer and tell them everything you found out about that property. – Demonstrate your skills in negotiation by making offers to the seller or the agent that represents them.