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Best Home Improvement Ideas for Good ROI

ROI is an important part of your house‘s value- it’s beneficial to know the things you can do that could improve it the most.

  • Replace your front door. Old front doors can be a source of home energy loss, and they can be eyesores as well. Replace your door for a new steel one that’s painted an attractive color.
  • Install a new garage door. This will make for better curb appeal, as well as good ROI.
  • Replace old windows. These are good investments, especially if you get a brand-name instead of an off-brand; If they need replacing in the future they will still be made by the company.
  • Install new siding. There are different kinds that have varying pros and cons. Vinyl is a good choice- it’s not expensive, it’s durable, and it’s easily installed.
  • Add a deck or patio. Be sure to pick a material that best matches your region’s climate.
  • Add in kitchen upgrades. It’s not always the cheapest renovation, but it brings in good ROI. Updated kitchens are a big selling point for buyers. Stainless steel appliances are a good investment, especially if they’re all the same brand.
  • Turn an attic into a bedroom. You’ll have to check your local building codes first, but renovating an attic into a bedroom is usually a good investment.
  • Remodel your basement. Make sure there’s enough light there (artificial or natural) so that it seems even bigger, and generally has a better ambiance.
  • Replace your roof. Make sure you get the right material.
  • Remodel your bathroom. This generally has better ROI than a bathroom addition.
  • Add a fence. Having a fence is a selling point for some people with dogs and kids. However, you may want to steer clear of chain-link varieties.
  • Add in smart technology. If it’s energy efficient, like a programmable smart thermostat, many people will spend more. Which brings us to the next point.
  • Ensure energy efficiency. Many people will pay more for certifications like Energy Star, since they know these will save them money on utilities over time.
  • Plant trees. Probably not what comes to mind, right? Trees (correctly spaced around your house) save you energy costs, prevents erosion, and makes your home seem more attractive.
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How to Stage Your Home for Maximum Appeal

To sell your home, you need to stage it. Doesn’t it make sense that buyers can picture themselves in a clean attractive space, over a dirty, crowded one?

Stage Your Living/Family Room

  • Use throw pillows and blankets to accentuate the room with color and character.
  • Use the rule of symmetry, with throw pillows.
  • If you’re changing slipcovers, curtains, or whatever else, make the new alternative light and airy.
  • Remove a piece of furniture (or more) if you need to to give the room a bigger, more open feel.
  • Arrange your furniture to have purpose; direct chairs to face each other for ease of conversation.
  • Add lamps for a calm ambiance.
  • Clean up your fireplace and mantel, including the screen if need be.

Stage Your Kitchen

  • Clear the countertops, except for possibly a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers.
  • Wipe away any food, stains, or fingerprints from all surfaces.
  • If needed, re-paint or re-stain your cabinets.
  • Take about half of your food out of the pantry and cabinets. They will feel more spacious. Also, organize the food you do have left.
  • Clean the insides of your cabinets.
  • Take away the refrigerator decorations.
  • Empty trash and move it out of the line of sight.
  • Set each place at the table with attractive place settings, and a pretty center piece such as flowers. You can do this in the dining room as well.
  • Pack up all the dishes, glassware, cookware, and flatware, except one attractive set of each.

Stage Your Bedrooms

  • Hide your valuables away.
  • Make the master as gender-less as possible.
  • Remove some things from each bedroom. Less is better than more.
  • Pack up last season’s clothes to make your closet seem bigger. If you have a bunch of mismatched, eyesore hangers, then take out every other kind except for the most attractive, and only display those.
  • If you have an extra bedroom, you can turn it into a room with another purpose, like an office, crafts room, or rec room.

Stage Your Bathroom

  • Scrub down every surface- especially if there’s grout that looks dingy; if necessary, re-grout any parts.
  • Get streaks off of the mirror, faucets, and hardware
  • Fix anything that needs it, like loose towel racks, leaky faucets, etc.
  • Remove clutter-anything with brand labels on it, or that distracts the eye from the rest of the bathroom.
  • Add in some “spa-like” qualities, like candles, baskets, plants, and more.
  • Spray your bathroom with a scent, or light a candle, beforehand. Sometimes we go “nose-blind” to things that we smell every day.

General

  • If needed, re-paint a wall that’s dark and/or stained.
  • Fill in patches and holes in walls.
  • Wash your windows on the inside and the outside.
  • De-personalize your home; take down family pictures and other personals so that buyers can picture themselves living there.
  • Be sure to create nice curb appeal for your house.
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What Not to Say When You’re Selling Your Home

When you’re selling your home, it’s easy to get caught up in the whole process and forget the most strategic points of conversation to share with buyers.

  • Never claim perfection. To you, your home may seem perfect since you’ve lived in it and have an emotional attachment. However, 99.9% of homes are not completely perfect; there’s always something that can be improved, whether you see it yourself or not. A home inspection is necessary to give you the truth on the matter. You don’t want to end up claiming something that’s not grounded in reality when you’re selling your home.
  • Don’t explain what you wanted to fix or change but didn’t. No one wants to hear about what could be, but what’s actually not. It will only make potential buyers realize what they’re missing, and what they’ll possibly need to spend money on in the future.
  • Don’t explain what you sank a lot of money into. Even if you spent tons of money updating your kitchen or master bathroom for example, that doesn’t mean buyers will be willing to shell out a lot more money for those things you value a lot. Different people put varying amounts of emphasis on what’s important to them. Also, sometimes upgrades are valued less than what was spent on them when they’re factored into the comps.
  • Problem: telling white lies. These will come back to bite you. You will be held liable for anything that wasn’t disclosed, and discovered after the inspection when selling your home.
  • Don’t say how long your home’s been on the market. It’s already available information on home info sheets and online, so don’t be the one to bring it up first. This will just make things awkward, especially if the home has been on the market for a little while.
  • Mistake: not bending for offers’ prices. Be sure to stay realistic about what to expect and accept for offers. If you come off as un-bendable, buyers aren’t going to try and negotiate and compromise with you. Word may get out to other potential buyer about this, leading you to not get any further offers.

 

 

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How to Sell Your Home Quickly

Although the housing market does have a say on the speed in which your house will sell, there are other definite ways you can help sell your home quickly.

  • Price it right: Many agents say that you should price the home slightly under value price, as to stimulate multiple buyers to start bidding on it. This in turn will drive the price back up to where it “should” be or higher. If you overprice you run the risk of no one putting an offer in, therefore keeping the home on the market for a while. Sell it quickly by staying realistic about the price.
  • Offer to finance: Since interest rates are going up, (up .25% as of December, and will continue to rise) this will make homes less affordable for some buyers. If you offer to finance the sale for your buyers, you can set up a monthly payment system with a lower interest rate than the bank’s.
  • Make your house look amazing: Put yourself in buyers’ shoes; would you like to see a house that’s been looked after really well? So would they. The curb appeal is the first thing seen by anyone. Water your plants, mow the yard, weed the flowerbeds, etc. Next, deep-clean your house before you put it on the market so that it looks great from Day 1. De-clutter it, including direct walkways in the house. De-personalize it so that buyers can picture themselves living there. Give each room a purpose if it doesn’t have one already; extra bedroom? Now it’s an office/library. Next, update or fix anything that’s needed, such as touching up paint.
  • Allow your real estate agent to host open houses: Seeing pictures of something is much different then seeing it in person. When potential buyers are allowed to fully get a grasp on the home and see it with their own eyes, it becomes much more “real” to them, and an actual option of being a place they could live.
  • Time: Try and plan to sell according to the seasons best known for houses selling quickly- spring and summer.
  • Highlight your home’s best features: Whether this means visually, the way you talk about it, or both. Also, if there are some unique features that would be popular or a “plus” to buyers, be sure and make those known as well. People generally respond with more urgency when they’re presented with an offer that they feel might not come around again.

 

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How to Know When You’ve Overpriced Your Home’s Asking Price

A difference of a few thousand dollars in your asking price may not seem like a big deal, but it can really have an effect on the selling of your home. Here’s what to know about overpricing your listing price.

  • Pricing your home at or a bit below market value is the sure way to go. Statistics and seasoned Realtors have repeatedly proved that this is the best way to sell your home, and especially in a timely manner. Looking at the comps and your home’s appraisal value is definitely the best way to reach an accurate asking price point. The first few days of putting your house on the market are the most critical to getting noticed; you need to set your price well to fit inside buyers’ search parameters. Usually if you start getting offers within the first few weeks, then the asking price is good.
  • Don’t be scared about pricing your home too low. The market “decides” the right price no matter what; if the house is slightly under-priced, multiple interested buyers will place offers, and in essence bid the price back up. If you don’t care how long it takes to sell your home, then you can price your home higher. Just don’t expect it to sell for at least a few months!
  • If you refuse to negotiate with multiple offers, there may be a problem. Listen to and observe the buyers that come around; those that are both interested and not interested. Get feedback on what they like and don’t like, so that you can take this into account when dealing with your asking price.
  • However, the housing market does still have an affect on speed of sale. Look at how fast the homes like yours in your area and neighborhood sell (and for how much), so that you can get a feel for the right speed. If the inventory of the housing market is low then your home may sell faster, and vice versa (this applies to homes priced at the median level).
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Easy Fixes to Help Sell Your Home

You don’t have to spend a whole lot of money to freshen up your home in order to sell it. There are some easy fixes that can make a world of difference.

  • Check out your curb appeal. Check your gutters to ensure they’re not clogged or loose, mow the yard, trim shrubs, inspect your shutters, & power wash your driveway and/or house if needed
  • Check out your doors; if you need to replace it, then do. You can also replace just hinges and knobs if that’s the better option. Make your front door look extra attractive for a great first impression to potential buyers.
  • Give your house a nice scent on the inside
  • Spot clean/treat anything wrong with your walls, moldings, windowsills, etc.
  • Add fresh paint and/or repaint your trim
  • Check the quality of your floors; your rugs, carpets, & hardwoods
  • Organize everything- your closets, rooms, etc.; anything the buyers will see
  • Improve your window treatments; get rid of dust, stains, etc., or replace them
  • Check your drawer tracks, because you don’t want lopsided drawers
  • Shine your appliances
  • Refinish cabinets; kitchen remodels are very expensive
  • Update your hardware & light fixtures to something classic, yet attractive that pairs well with the rest of the room
  • Install ceiling fans or change them if they’re old
  • Add crown moldings
  • Install hardwoods in your living room
  • OR restore hardwood floors
  • Re-tile your bathroom floors; this has great return on investment
  • Change out your shower curtain to something literally and aesthetically fresh  sell sell sell 
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Tips to Help You Sell Your Home

Sometimes it may be hard to look at your home objectively- like an outsider, someone who doesn’t have time and cherished memories invested in the house. However, anyone viewing your house for the first time will see things about it that you probably don’t. Here are some ways to spruce up your home and to give attention to those things your normally might not.

  • Make your curb appeal appealing: It’s your home’s first impression after all. Trim hedges and bushes, weed your yard, and add flowers. Also, give your front door a fresh coat of paint if needed, and buy a new mailbox if it’s necessary.
  • Clean until it’s spic and span: Both in the obvious and not-so-obvious, overlooked places such as the tops of high surfaces, baseboards, and by wiping down appliances and hardware. Clean your carpets (especially if you have pets), and if you have hardwood flooring underneath, then feel free to remove the carpeting.
  • Be conscientious of smells: You might be “nose-blind” to your home’s normal yet unique smell, but be aware of cooking anything extra aromatic before you know someone will be coming inside your home. Also realize that pets may add their own smell to your home that others may be more aware of than you.
  • Check for scuff marks, stains, discoloration, etc.: Check your walls, moldings, doors, outlets, etc. for these. Paint them or replace them accordingly.
  • Neutral is best: Speaking of painting, stick with neutral colors. If you have any “loud” or generally unappealing-colored walls in your house, you might want to think about repainting them to appeal to the tastes of buyers. Neutrality also applies for decorations; anything that is too eccentric or strange might turn people away.
  • De-clutter: Anything that deflects from all of your home’s nice features is unnecessary to have in sight. This also goes along the lines of having too many personal items around, such as pictures and monogrammed decorations; buyers want to be able to picture themselves living there. Also, get rid of, or put away bulky furniture that takes up too much space. This will make any room look much bigger. It will also improve the natural “flow” of the room, the walking pathways.
  • Organize: Closets are an important thing you should organize. Buyers will want to know how much space they will have to work with. Buy some organizers, dividers, etc.; anything that will save you space and make the closet look better. You can also remove some clothes and put them in storage temporarily, so the closet looks less full and more organized.
  • Natural is key: Let light inside your house as much as you can; natural lighting is better than any other kind. Having more light is also better, so use lamps to light up darker spaces. Another natural element you can use is plants. These can give a breath of fresh air to a room, fill in empty spaces, and make for great decorations.
  • Improve outdoor spaces: Your deck, porch, patio, and any other spaces outside you could spend time in are important. Place some plants around, clean off the grill and outdoor furniture, and clear leaves and debris off.
  • Make your bathrooms really nice: Think of a spa or a nice hotel; roll and stack some washcloths and towels. Add candles, flowers, and coordinating mats, towels, and curtains. Replace your toilet seat, and also lower it. Also, re-grout if need be.
  • Replace hardware for an updated feel: This is an easy, inexpensive task, but it can make a big difference in the general look of the room.
  • Make rooms purposeful: If the buyer can picture a clear use for each room, then it will make them feel more confident about buying. 
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Common Home-Selling Mistakes

There are some common mess-ups that occur during home-selling. Whether these mistakes be emotionally-based, financially-based, or just from lack of knowledge, they can still be nipped in the bud before they occur.

  • Not understanding or improving your home‘s first impression: First, make sure your house looks good from the first appearance- the outside. Trim bushes and shrubs, mow the grass, freshen up the pine straw and mulch, and make sure the paint looks fresh enough. Next, when anyone sees your home, they want to be able to picture themselves living there. Take down the pictures, personalized plaques, and anything that is just too much. Remove any clutter, and be sure and clean and tidy up your house. 
  • Attempting to go the for sale by owner route: since it’s “low-cost” it may seem more tempting to do. However, this is the worst mistake you can make. Real estate agents generally know what they’re doing, and they can help you with the buyers’ end of things, the contracts, real estate jargon, and so much more. The stress, time, and confusion are not worth having in the long run; hire a realtor.
  • Find a qualified agent: Research your agents beforehand. Usually, the ones who know the area and the comps surrounding your house are better qualified. The best ones are also expert negotiators, and will host open houses if you ask them to.
  • Disclose everything: To avoid lawsuits, disclose everything you’re supposed to. Be upfront about the condition of your house; most things would be found in a home inspection anyways.
  • Make a fair, reasonable, price: Know the comps directly surrounding you. These are important for knowing the right price point for your home. If your house is more renovated than the ones around you, don’t set your expectations too high for how much you will make back. 
  • Don’t be too picky with the first offer: Remember that offers are negotiable, so the potential buyer will most likely put theirs in lower than they are actually willing to pay. Another way to make up for a low offer is to request the buyer pay for repairs or closing costs. Listen to your agent as well; they will probably know the right price, and if you’re expecting too much.

Happy home-selling!