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When you decide to sell your existing home in hopes of finding another suitable home, there are other decisions you must make as well.
I have listed some important guidelines for any homeowner.
1. Cost Does Not Equal Value: If you have just finished off a basement or bonus room and spent $12,000, this improvement doesn’t necessarily add an equal amount to the value of your home. Another example is adding a pool to your property. The pool adds to your enjoyment and pleasure, but will not necessarily add to the value. To some buyers, this would be a “turn off” or a “turn down”, because of perceived maintenance and work involved in maintaining a pool. This principle is part of the standards of practice for appraisers when they practice their craft.
2. Put Your Money Where the Buyers Will See It: Examples of good return on improvements might be repainting the interior and exterior, especially the entrance and front door. If you have a front porch, make sure it sparkles! Don’t expect to get a good return on new insulation and wiring, which are necessary to do, but considered routine maintenance.
3. Don’t over improve! The addition of a fifth bedroom to a house in a subdivision of 3-4 bedroom homes may not give you the return you would like. Conversely, adding a second bathroom to a one-bathroom house will more than pay off in value received. Use typical improvements for your area as a guide.
4. Most quality improvements cause a property to sell quicker but not necessarily for more money. There is a “cost” of waiting for your house to sell, such as ongoing mortgage payments, utilities, or maintenance that will not add to your value or to your net. It has been a proven fact that the faster a home sells, the more money the seller puts in their pocket at the closing.
5. If you are repainting stay away from bold colors or extremely dark colors. Use off-white or cream colors for the exterior trim, and use bright white semi-gloss for the trim in the interior. You are not redecorating for yourself, but for the potential buyers.
6. Cleanliness will help sell any house for more money! Hire professionals to do the “hard” cleaning jobs, and even have them return each week while the home is on the market to keep up. You are competing with the brand new homes in the marketplace, and these are all cleaned weekly to attract buyers. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms to keep clean. Enlist your family members to clean after themselves and keep the home in “showing” condition all the time. Make sure you brighten up your interior with the maximum light bulb size recommended for the fixture. You want the buyers to be able to “see” the house as they would have it. Don’t use heavy air fresheners or plug-ins, because it will overpower the prospective buyers, so all they remember is the “smell”.
7. Make sure the grounds, shrubs and trees and lawn are trimmed on a regular basis. If you are not living in the home at the time, hire a lawn service and a maid service to take care of your home while you are gone. Don’t allow old newspapers to accumulate in the front walk, or let door hanger advertisements pile up; it doesn’t look good and is an invitation to burglars driving through the neighborhood.
8. If you have mildew and spots on your driveway or home, use a pressure washer to remove it. Even if you have to hire someone to do this, it will improve your exterior and make everything look brighter from the street and will help reduce questions buyers tend to ask about the condition of items that look suspect for replacement.
These suggestions are but a few that we have listed in our Home Seller’s Book that is available through our office, please call (334) 551-0225 for your free seller’s or buyer’s handbooks.