Updated: Saturday, April 29, 2017
Three Big Things Homebuyers Are On The Look-Out For
As a seller, you have a lot more control in pleasing buyers than you think. If you start the selling process by learning what buyers really want, you can prepare your home to come as close to their dreams as possible.
Here are the five biggest turn-ons for homebuyers and what you can do to please buyers.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Your home should sell to the buyer from the curb. Thats how important curb appeal is. Your buyer should be so impressed, so charmed, so delighted that they want to leap out of the car and run inside.
How do you create curb appeal? Show attention to detail. Your home has to be prettier, cleaner and in better condition than its neighbors.
Start with sweeping the drive, walkway, and porch or entry of dirt and debris. Get rid of leggy bushes, wilted flowers and broken tree limbs. Plant fresh flowers in the front garden or in containers at the entry.
Power-wash the exterior and hand-wash the windows. Touch up paint around the windows, if needed. Paint the front door a fresh, modern color. Replace the door hardware and porch sconces.
The number one reason why people buy homes is to have more room. Whether theyre moving from an apartment or moving up from the home they have, they want to have plenty of space to do the things they enjoy.
If you have a large home, youre golden, but that doesnt mean youve got it made. You can ruin a buyers first impression with too much clutter, so make sure to keep your home picked up so your buyer can see your homes features clearly and easily.
What if you dont have a lot of space? Plan to do some storing and staging. Rent a storage unit and put away all out of season clothes, toys, and home decorations and accessories. Clean off all tables and countertops so you have only the minimum of things your need to operate your home. Empty closets of anything that is "stored" and move it to the storage unit. The small expense youll pay in storage fees youll more than make back from your buyers offer.
Theres a reason why first-time buyers and singles tend to buy older homes - theyre more affordable than buying new. So unless your buyer is a building contractor, chances are they want a home thats as updated as possible.
You may not be interested in putting in a new kitchen in order to sell your home, but you can do a few things to make buyers happy. Replace the most dated features - countertops, cabinet pulls, or appliances.
Bathrooms are so personal that they can easily turn buyers off. Invest in new towels, bathmats and a shower curtain. Throw out slimey soaps and limp ragged bath sponges. Replace with liquid shower and bath products. You can take all the new stuff with you to the next home.
Painting is expected by buyers, but dont repaint the same colors that you chose 10 years ago. Pick an updated neutral like a warm grey instead of beige. Be sure to choose a color that will complement the architecture and flooring in your home.
Keep in mind that the typical home purchased in 2013 was 1,860 square feet and built in 1996, so homebuyers arent expecting your home to be a mansion, nor do they expect it to be new, but they do expect to see pride of ownership. The more tweaks, updates and repairs that you perform, the more confident your buyers will be that theyre choosing the right home.
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Homeowners: Should You Stay or Should You Go?
Should I stay or should I go. Its not just an anthemic line to a >Its a conundrum. So much so that its even spawned the popular show on HGTV called Love It or List It, where owners of a problem pad fight over whether to remain in their home with the help of a sizable budget and a skilled reno team or move to something else.
"Families evolve, whether through the birth of children, the acquiring of possessions, or an increase in job rewards. That charming little cottage two lovebirds started out in often becomes an overstuffed matchbox with too few bedrooms and too many toys, tools, and tricycles, with people stumbling over one another in the course of daily life," said Money Crashers. "Privacy is nonexistent, noise and tensions regularly escalate, and stress is a frequent guest at the dinner table. The only solution is more room."
So how do you know whether to renovate or move?
CNN Money asked the same question, and has come up with "5 smart fixes" to the stay or go question.
"Happy with where you live but not so hot on your living space? Now might be the perfect time to address your abodes architectural flaws," they said. "With real estate prices on the rise, its safer than it has been in years to invest in your home."
Especially when "remodeling away your houses shortcomings can cost tens of thousands less than trading up to an already remodeled house, which commands a major premium now. In addition, you avoid realtor fees, moving costs, and the inevitable expense of making a new place your own, no matter how turnkey it is."
Here are a few of their "cost-effective solutions to the issues that most commonly force people to move."
1. Doubling the space in your kitchen
If your home was built before the 1980s, chances are your kitchen is small and closed off from the rest of the home. Removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room or kitchen and family room is an easy and affordable way to create "a feeling of spaciousness -- and also clears room for an island or peninsula that can become a key workstation or a place for family and guests to congregate," said CNN Money.
Expect to pay a minimum of 5,000 "to remove the wall and refinish the surrounding floor, ceiling, and walls," and more if you need to add a structural beam or >2. Adding a powder bath on the first floor
Older homes that dont have a bathroom on the main level are not just difficult to sell -- theyre difficult to live in. CNN Money says you can solve this issue by renovating existing space. "You can squeeze a powder room into a space as small as four feet by four feet or even three feet by five feet," they said. "One option is to repurpose a large coat closet, pantry, or under-stairs cubby. Keep in mind that the closer you put the bathroom to existing plumbing, the less it will cost."
Expect to pay a minimum of 10,000 if you use what you have and up to 25,000 if youre building a room from scratch.
3. Turning the master bedroom into a master suite
If your master bedroom is adjacent to another room, you can take over the space. "A lot of people do this when the kids go off to college," said CNN Money.
Remember that lowering the number of bedrooms in your home can also lower your home value, so consider the equation carefully. "You always want to keep your bedroom count on par with the neighborhood," they said. "So, in a four-bedroom house area, dropping to three may not be a good idea. But in a predominantly two-bedroom neighborhood, youd still be way ahead of the Joneses."
Expect the cost to range from 40,000 to 80,000, depending on if you are adding a master bath and exactly how spa-like you intend for it to be.
4. Converting the attic
If youre short of bedrooms, youve probably thought of adding on. But home additions can be very costly. A great solution can be moving into the attic.
"For growing families, the number of bedrooms is often the biggest factor motivating a move to a bigger and more costly home," said CNN Money. "The ideal place to add bedrooms is the square footage you already own up in the attic."
Expect to pay 20,000 and up depending on the space allotted and whether or not you need to add windows or a staircase.
Houzz has some great questions to ask yourself if you are trying to decide between moving or remodeling:"How do you feel about your neighborhood?Is there some intangible quality to your house?Does renovating make economic sense?Does the existing house have good bones?How will the latest zoning restrictions affect the project?For more pointed questions that will help you determine if youre willing to stay, or ready to go, see Houzz.
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The Definitive, No-Fail Way To Pick A Neighborhood Youll Love
Nothing stinks more than finding a home, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, moving yourself your family your pets and all your stuff, and ending up with buyers remorse. Especially if youre >Check the lists
Whether youre looking to move across the country, the state, or the city, moving away can be an overwhelming proposition. Local real estate agents and >Google "Best place to live" and youll have pages of options to sift through. Getting more specific, you can find lists outlining the best cities in which to find a job, raise a family, be a successful millennial, retire, live off the gridand thats just the beginning. The great news is that these websites and news outlets have done a lot of the legwork for you, with data, statistics, and other details that can help you quickly see where you might want to concentrate your search. At the very least, itll provide a good starting point that will allow you to do further research.
Consider the value
There are countless ways to look at the value of an area. But one of the strongest indicators of growth in neighborhoods today is what can be found around it. Like a popular coffee shop. "Call it the Starbucks Effect: Proximity to a local coffee shop has a very real, and positive, effect on home values, new data shows," said Time. "How much faster? Over 17 yearsleading up to 2014, homes adjacent to the local Starbucks almost doubled in value, up by 96. Those further out appreciated by 65 over the same period."
And thats not it. "Houses near Targets experience much higher appreciation, according to anew study from RealtyTrac," said CBS News - as much as a 27 percent price appreciation and average property values of 307,286, or 72 percent higher than homes near Walmart locations."
Whole Foods and Trader Joes also factor in. "A 2015 study by the real estate information company RealtyTrac analyzed this trend," said US News. "The study included 4 million homes located in a ZIP code with either a Whole Foods or Trader Joes location, finding that average property values in a ZIP code with Trader Joes appreciated by about 40 percent since they were purchased, while homes with a Whole Foods in the ZIP code appreciated by nearly 34 percent, which matches the national average increase according to the survey."
Look at the schools
Dont yet have kids, never want them, or have an empty nest? It doesnt matter. Living in a good school district still helps to maintain your property values. "Living near a high-scoring school can increase your homes value by over 200,000, according to theBrookings Institution," saidAOL. "Thats not chump change. There are plenty of attractive advantages that come with proximity to a school, including increased police protection, personal use of school facilities and living in a Drug-Free School Zone."
Make the drive
Commuting is a big deal for everyone, and if you have a limit to how much time you want to spend in the car, it makes sense to drive from any of the neighborhoods you like to work during rush hour and back as a test run. It might just turn out that the drive is so long it allows you to kick several options off your list.
Go to Starbucks
Once you recognize that the neighborhood Starbucks can help stabilize and even raise your property values, go hang out there for a while. Hit the park, one of the popular lunch spots, and the supermarket, while youre at it, paying attention to the type of people who are there. Are they friendly? Rude? Is everyone in a hurry? Is there an interesting mix of people? Do you see families or retirees or whatever type of demographic youre looking for? Spending some time in the area can tell you a lot about what its going to be like to live there.
Now, take it even more local
Case the specific neighborhoods youre considering. Not in the "Were going to rob you" way, of course. Spending as much time as possible in the area where you may soon be living will give you a better feel for how youll fit in. Maybe the streets fill with kids in late afternoon and youre looking for a quieter environment. Or maybe theres not a peep on the street at all, even on weekends, and youre looking for a livelier atmosphere.
Listen to your head and your heart
Living on the beach would be amazing. Except for the fact that it would mean adding a good hour to your commute - each way. Understanding and accepting your priorities and then using them to establish an action plan is critical when choosing the right neighborhood. If you ditch your plan to find a great family home in a neighborhood with lots of kids and amenities nearby because you fall in love with a remote mountain enclave populated mostly by survivalists, youll probably end up frustrated down the line.
Dont be blinded by a great house
Walking into a house and getting that feeling in your gutyou know, that intangible thing that just makes it feel rightis dreamy. We all want that "meant to be" thing. But a great house is only the right house if it actually works for you.
You dont want to be a few months out and hating your life because you chose the home with the great bones but you dont actually have the money to do the updates needed to bring it into this century. Or because the neighborhood just doesnt meet your needs in terms of schools, commute time, amenities, neighbors, or all of the above.
Real estate experts often recommend choosing neighborhood over house, because, while you can change your house, its a lot harder to pick it up and move it to a better neighborhood.
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