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Friday, May 20, 2011

Improvements for Saleability

When thinking of make improvements to your home, be very thoughtful as to where you are spending your money as well as time and energy.

If you are prepping your home for sale or know that you will not be in a home for more than a few years, it is important to understand what really adds value (money you may be able to recoup) and improvements that are necessary to make to ensure a quicker sale at a better price.

Many people make the mistake of spending money on their homes that they think will allow them to raise the potential list price. However, maintenance issues that come with every house such as exterior paint, roofs, driveway repair, and electric or plumbing issues that need to be resolved don't necessarily allow a homeowner to ask for more money with selling their. These items are called deferred maintenance. Buyers, especially today expect these things to be taken care of by the previous owner. They are not generally looked at as adding value but more as enhancing the overall saleability of the house.

Without maintaining the property, a seller is facing the lack of serious buyers, "low-ball" offers, or minimal prospective buyers willing to even view the property.

That aside there are improvements to be made that can allow a seller to add value to their property. Taking down wall paper and freshly painting rooms is not costly but makes any home more appealing. Ripping up old carpet and exposing hardwood floors is a huge plus. If the floors need to be refinished, it is recommended to spend some money doing this task and finishing the job with shoe moldings. Gleaming hardwood floors make the house look fresh and clean.

Outdated kitchens and baths are a huge sticking point with buyers. Remodeling these rooms does add value but you never get 100% return on your investment. In a kitchen it may be wise to choose parts of the kitchen that can be changed such as a new floor and back splash but leaving the cabinetry as is or perhaps painting it and adding new hardware.

Bathrooms are extremely costly to remodel. While a new bathroom will add value and will be very appealing to buyers, it may be risky to spend a lot of money to update a bathroom. This is a choice to be made very carefully perhaps with the help of a Realtor.

A seller has to ask themselves where is the best place to spend their money to improve saleability. Often times the answer is by taking care of deferred maintenance issues which can result in receiving a purchase offer closer to your asking price in a quicker amount of time.

Spending time and money to "clean up" the home and property is the most effective way to add value. Putting in all new windows- again, while attractive to buyers - will not give you a good return on investment.

In a real estate market where values are falling and there is an over abundance of homes on the market, sellers must be very conscientious of how to make their property stand out and increase traffic. It is extremely difficult in this market to get an offer. The goal is to get an offer from a buyer who really wants the property and is willing to pay a good price for the listing.

It is hard to sell any property as the homeowner because of the memories, time spent taking care of the home, and making improvements that you believe add value and should be appealing to potential buyers. Once the house hits the market many sellers are finding themselves disappointed by the reaction of buyers.

It is important to try and not be discouraged. Patience is key in a slow market. Listen to the advisement of your Realtor. Retain the feedback, and if there is something a seller can do once buyers have viewed the property consult with your Realtor as to whether it is necessary to make any changes to appease buyers.

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