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5 Inexpensive Home Updates to Complete before Listing Your Home

by Lisa Johnson Sevajian

 

There is no perfect formula for selling your home efficiently, but by following these five tips prior to listing you can increase your chances to close quickly at a higher price.

1.) Update your old garage door(s). Garage doors seem like a non-issue, but many times they make up a significant percentage of the front of a home. Because of this, they are one of the first things that buyers notice when they pull in the drive way. Replacing, or even just painting, these central fixtures will do wonders when it comes to instantly impressing perspective buyers and standing apart from your competition. The market has changed drastically since many of us purchased our homes here in town. I frequently hear buyers say that they have taken a house off their list because of the lack of curb appeal. This issue is especially important to people on busier streets, corner lots, or near a neighborhood eyesore.

2.) Replace old windows. Outdated windows age a home significantly, and you can often upgrade standard windows to vinyl for a reasonable $300 per window. The average home has 8 windows, so this upgrade doesn’t cost nearly as much as you might think and it will make a huge difference to the value perceived by prospective buyers. Key point to remember is that when buyers view a home they love, if they see it has older windows, they consider it a time consuming and costly headache. First time buyers have never replaced windows and often dramatically overestimate the cost to cure this issue. By replacing pre-listing you an actually save money. A well priced, move-in condition home will sell for far more than one with windows in need of repair.

3.) Assess your floors . If you have hardwood flooring, it’s worth the investment to have them refinished considering buyers put an extremely high value on them; you’ll get the most bang for your buck if they are refurbished. Carpets should be shampooed and replaced if they are stained or look worn. You don’t need to spend large amounts of money on the highest grade or most modern name but something inexpensive and neutral will certainly bring you a return on the investment. Even the smell of new carpet will make buyers set your home apart from the comparables.

4.) Paint the trim. If you can’t afford the daunting task of painting your entire house, painting just the trim will still make a big difference when it comes to curb appeal. Painting the whole house can be expensive, time consuming, and delayed by weather conditions; painting just the trim will give your home a fresher look. Interior trim is equally as important.

5.) Update fixtures. Keep an eye out for sales at home improvement stores and replace outdated lighting, plumbing and hardware fixtures. Simple replacing lighting fixtures and knobs in the bathroom or kitchen can update the entire look of the room. You can find many modern brand name fixtures online on contractor supply websites by just searching for terms like sale faucets, sale plumbing fixtures etc.


By Lisa Johnson Sevajian

 

Homeowners Recoup More with Exterior Replacement Projects

by National Association of Realtors


As part of the 2010-11 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORS® recently rated exterior replacement projects among the most cost-effective home improvement projects, demonstrating that curb appeal remains one of the most important aspects of a home at resale time.

  

“This year’s Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report highlights the importance of exterior projects, which not only provide the most value, but are also among the least expensive improvements for a home,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Since resale value can vary by region, it’s smart for homeowners to work with a REALTOR® through the remodeling and improvement process; they can provide insight into projects in their neighborhoods that will recoup the most when the owners are ready to sell.” 

Nine of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects. The steel entry door replacement remained the project that returned the most money, with an estimated 102.1% of cost recouped upon resale; it is also the only project in this year’s report that is expected to return more than the cost. The midrange garage door replacement, a new addition to the report this year, is expected to recoup 83.9% of costs. Both projects are small investments that cost little more than $1,200 each, on average. REALTORS® identified these two replacements as projects that can significantly improve a home’s curb appeal.

“Curb appeal remains king—it’s the first thing potential buyers notice when looking for a home, and it also demonstrates pride of ownership,” said Phipps.

The 2010-11 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 80 markets across the country. Data are grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the 13th consecutive year that the report, which is produced by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood, LLC, was completed in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine.

REALTORS® provided their insight into local markets and buyer home preferences within those markets. Overall, REALTORS® estimated that homeowners would recoup an average of 60% of their investment in 35 different improvement projects, down from an average of 63.8% last year. Remodeling projects, particularly higher cost upscale projects, have been losing resale value in recent years because of weak economic conditions.

According to the report, replacement projects usually outperform remodel and addition projects in resale value because they are among the least expensive and contribute to curb appeal. Various types of siding and window replacement projects were expected to return more than 70% of costs.

Upscale fiber-cement siding replacement was judged by REALTORS® as the most cost effective among siding projects, recouping 80% of costs. Among the window replacement projects covered, upscale vinyl window replacements were expected to recoup the most, 72.6% upon resale. Another exterior project, a wood deck addition, tied with a minor kitchen remodel for the fourth most profitable project recouping an estimated 72.8% of costs.

The top interior projects for resale value included an attic bedroom and a basement remodel. Both add living space without extending the footprint of the house. An attic bedroom addition costs more than $51,000 and recoups an estimated 72.2% nationally upon resale; a basement remodel costs more than $64,000 and recoups an estimated 70%. Improvement projects that are expected to return the least are a midrange home office remodel, recouping an estimated 45.8%; a backup power generator, recouping 48.5%; and a sunroom addition, recouping 48.6% of costs.

“It’s important to remember that the resale value of a particular improvement project depends on several factors,” said Phipps. “Things such as the home’s overall condition, availability and condition of surrounding properties, location and the regional economic climate contribute to an estimated resale value. That’s why it is imperative to work with a REALTOR® who can provide insight and guidance into local market conditions whether you’re buying, selling or improving a home.”

Selling a home with a Well or Septic

by Above Grade Home Inspections

 

Listing and selling homes in a challenging market is hard enough, don't leave key inspection items open to interpretation. There are many "unknown" factors when dealing with wells and septic systems. The following items should eliminate many questions and pitfalls that occur during a home inspection.

 

#1 Certify the distance between the well and septic components - By far the most important item on this list! I can't count the number of times I have arrived on an inspection to find out the distance between the well and septic leaching field is less than 100 feet apart. This is an immediate disqualifier for several mortgage types. Above Grade Home Inspections uses high frequency technology and video equipment to locate and mark out all the system components. We can provide the homeowner and the prospective buyer with a distance certification and map. We also flag all the system components for easy location.

#2 Shock, aka, chlorinate the well - It is very important to periodically shock the well, especially after the recent winter and heavy rains. Large volumes of surface and ground water are entering our wells. In some cases carrying harmful bacteria that can be easily treated. One failed potability test typically results in 15 extra phone calls. Many times the prospective buyer wants a full water treatment system installed for a simple failed water test! In most cases, a simple well shocking and proper testing procedures results in a positive outcome with unnecessary aggravation.

#3 Pump the septic tank - Is there an inspection that goes by when the buyer doesn't ask the age old question..."when was the last septic pumping?" You guessed it NO. Why not have the answer before they ask? If the system hasn't been pumped and cleaned in over 3 years, chances are the buyer is going to ask the seller for it to be done. A recently pumped system will make the prospective buyer feel more confident.

#4 Locate and flag the well location - Ever try to find a 6" well cap in 2 feet of snow? Under leaves? Hidden in landscape? In can tell you first hand it’s not an easy task. In a perfect world the well head is sticking out of the ground and easily visible. In some cases older well heads and pressure tanks are located in well pits underneath the ground. These areas need to be uncovered and accessible for inspection. Don't wait for inspection day to inform the buyer you don't know where the well is located. Locate the well, mark it with a stake and flag, and leave a map on the table. Any information about the pump and well equipment should also be supplied.

#5 Perform a water test - Supplying a prospective buyer with a passing water test is a smart decision. After proper shocking procedures have been completed a water test should be performed. The average cost is $25 at a local water lab. This will allow the seller to deal with any water contamination issues ahead of time. It is always easier to deal with issues upfront then to involve attorneys, buyer’s agents, family members, etc.

#6 Conduct a full septic evaluation - In most cases homeowners don't evaluate septic systems until there is an issue. Big Mistake! If any type of septic issue arises on an inspection it’s almost always a kiss of death. Over the years the costs of septic repairs has been over- inflated by the internet and TV advertising. A simple fix can turn into a $10,000 credit by the prospective buyer. A recent septic evaluation and a clean bill of health will speak volumes.

#7 Maintain water treatment equipment- Got a water softener? Fill it with salt. Have a whole house filter on the water main? Change it. Does the home have a chlorine system to deal with sulfur? Fill in with chemicals. You get the picture! I fail to understand why the new buyer has to smell the foul smell of sulfur water throughout the house when there is a system. Or hard water deposits on the plumbing supply equipment when there is a softener. Simple maintenance is easy and inexpensive. Simply changing filters and wiping down the systems will give the treatment equipment the look of a properly maintained system.

#8 Locate and flag septic system components - Buyers want to know where the septic system components are located. This is an issue that doesn't go away. More specifically the location of the tank, the distribution boxes, and the leaching fields. Many deals have fallen through because the buyer thought they could add a pool or a garage only to find out the septic fields were located in the same exact area. A simple map won’t do. Mark out and flag the components for easy identification by the buyer, inspector, and appraiser.

#9 Create an information folder - Collect as much information about your systems as possible and create a folder for the inspection day. Items to include: Brochures on installed equipment, chemical and treatment specifications, recent upgrades or maintenance logs etc. Buyers will be very leery if the seller can’t provide maintenance information. Providing information will make the inspector’s job much easier and give the buyer a greater sense of confidence.

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3

Contact Information

Photo of Laurel Sweeney Real Estate
Laurel Sweeney
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nutshell Realty
1209 State Route 213, PO Box 452
High Falls NY 12440
Office: 845-687-2200
Toll Free 877-468-5783
Fax: 845-687-4162

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