Posts Tagged ‘home seller advice’
Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
Sellers get ready! Not only are we about to embark on the busy Spring/Summer selling season in real estate – which actually seems to be well under way – but according to Zillow we are entering the best 2 weeks out of the entire year to sell a home.
Zillow reports that the period between May 1-15 is the BEST time of the year in which to sell a home. The study found that homes which sell during this time sell on average 18.5 days faster and for more money (1% more than the average listing).
It is important to note that some areas may have different results, so I suggest contacting an experienced agent in your neighborhood/surrounding areas to find out when the best time to list your home may be, and how the market is doing.
In Carlsbad CA for example, the market is currently very hot. Many homes are getting multiple offers and inventory is historically low, so desirable homes are selling quickly. Buyers are waiting for homes to pop up in certain neighborhoods; I get many phone calls from agents asking if I know of any upcoming sales in a neighborhood in which I have sold many houses.
The bottom line is that if you are considering selling your home, now is one of the best times to do so. There is a healthy buyer pool out there so contact an experienced agent and find out what you need to do to be sale-ready.
Monday, August 8th, 2016
It is common knowledge that upgrades and improvements add value to homes, and of course most people know that there are some upgrades and improvements that add more value than others, such as upgrading kitchen counters and appliances, or bathrooms. But some improvements do not truly add value in the sense that they will increase your sale price potential. Let’s take a look at some of these.
1. Pool: Pools can be highly desirable or completely undesirable (for example, if the buyers have babies or small children they may be seen as a danger). If you have a pool then of course you will attract buyers who want one, and if you do not have one but have a yard that will accommodate one you may attract buyers who are interested in adding one. But if you do not have one, adding a pool will not usually help resale value (there may be an exception if your home is located in a very warm environment like the desert, where pools are coveted and oftentimes expected). Speak with your agent if you are considering adding a pool and know you will be selling down the road.
2. Yard improvements: These can be tricky. There are some improvements to yards that can actually add value, and some that may be a waste of money that sellers will never see at selling time (although they may make the home more appealing). For example, if you have a yard that is merely dirt and has no landscaping, it may make sense to put in sod and an inexpensive border with some greenery. But going overboard – fully landscaping and hardscaping – may not bring dollars to your pocketbook. There are ways to make yards look nice that do not involve spending lots of money.
3. New construction landscaping: Most newly built homes do not come with landscaped backyards, and often also come without landscaped front yards. It is always a question whether to landscape if the home has to be sold prior to any being completed. Many buyers will not want to pay top dollar for dirt front and back yards. BUT one has to be very careful when landscaping, as it can become very personal and if a potential buyer comes along who doesn’t have the same taste and feels the need to rip everything out and start over it can actually be a detriment to the sale, rather than a benefit. It is important to speak with a knowledgeable real estate agent who can take into consideration the neighborhood, prices and other factors. If it is decided that some type of landscaping is a good idea, try to keep it simple in case the new buyer wants to add more (built-in BBQ, firepit, hardscape, etc.) Keep in mind that just because you spend the money, it does not mean you will get it back at sale time – in fact, you likely will not…BUT having a completed yard could also make your home more marketable (I know that is confusing so speak with an experience local agent if you will be selling soon after purchase).
4. Garage conversions: These typically are on my “do not do” list, and if they exist I recommend converting them back prior to selling. Garage conversions require permits for one thing, and many people (at least in my years of experience showing these types of homes) do not obtain them. Most buyers want the garage space so unless there are many spaces in the garage if you have a 2 or 3 car garage it is preferable to NOT have one converted to a room. Most buyers will see it as something they have to “deal with” and may write your home off their possibility list.
5. Room additions: This is a tricky one because it all depends on the home, lot and what is being added. If you live in a tract neighborhood and want to add a room it could be ok if you have a large enough lot such that you are not making the outdoor space smaller. If your addition makes your home the most expensive one on the block you need to beware, as most buyers do not want to own the highest priced home in a neighborhood. There is a lot to take into consideration when adding a room, so speak with an experienced agent if you are planning to sell down the road and are contemplating an addition.
6. Other improvements: There are many other improvements that could add value to a sale. I suggest inviting an experienced local area agent over to discuss any potential improvements prior to sale. Adding a new furnace or water heater is great if the ones you have are old – that will add some value an peace of mind for new buyers. New windows may be good in an older home as they help with insulation. New flooring could be a charm under the right circumstances, and paint – often the cheapest and best way to make a difference – is a great improvement. What you “should” improve will really depend on many factors, so consult with an expert agent in your area before spending any money.
Friday, November 21st, 2014
Today on Twitter a follower made a comment about the benefits of having a home pre-inspection prior to listing a property. There are some agents who recommend doing so and it can be a good idea. However there are also agents who would not recommend doing so because it could open up a can of worms for the seller. I thought it would be a good idea to look at the benefits and disadvantages of having a pre-inspection.
Issues with the Home that the Seller may not Know About Could be Revealed in a Pre-Inspection
Benefit: A pre-inpsection gives sellers an opportunity to repair/remedy any defects or problems that are discovered, in order to present a home to the buyers that has been well cared for and has no deferred maintenance. This means there will not likely be any surprises when the buyers have their inspection. Oftentimes inspectors discover issues of which the sellers were not aware. Most buyers will ask the seller to repair such issues or credit them through escrow so they can do so after closing, or even reduce the price because of any issues. A pre-inspection could eliminate any surprises, but keep in mind that the buyers still may have their own inspection (something I always recommend), and it is possible that their inspector may discover other items.
Disadvantage: There could be some major issues discovered that the sellers did not know of, that could cost a lot of money to fix. If the sellers do not have the funds or do not choose to repair such issues prior to sale, they now are aware of these problems, which means they must disclose them to buyers. Disclosure of know factors affecting the property is required by law. One could argue that no matter whether the buyers are told via disclosures that there is a problem, or whether they discover it themselves through a home inspection, they will still likely seek repairs or a credit, so it may not matter either way.
The one problem I see with having a pre-inspection is that if something major is discovered, meaning the seller has to disclose it, it could affect the value of the home (depending of course on the issue). For example, say there is a crack in the swimming pool, or the roof needs to be replaced. These could be costly issues to fix, and could detract from the value of the home. The seller can turn it into a positive and deduct the repair costs from the value right off the bat if aware of issues, OR if not aware of such issues and presented with a repair request by the sellers, it is possible the seller may be able to negotiate a price under full repair costs.
A Special Note About Termite Inspections
It is important to note that this month there will be a big change to the California Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) regarding termite inspections. The current contract has an addendum called the Wood Destroying Pest Addedum (WPA), which normally specifies that the seller is responsible for Section 1 items – damage caused by pests. This would include dry rot on wood and fumigation, which could be costly. The new RPA eliminates the WPA, so it will now become a repair issue. This means that the buyer will be responsible for paying for a termite inspection, and any issues discovered will need to be negotiated with the seller, along with any other non-termite repair issues.
Keep in mind that a buyer can write something different into the contract, such as sellers are to pay up to a certain amount, if necessary, for any termite work discovered. If sellers have a termite inspection prior to listing and discover any issues, they can inform the buyer up front in disclosures so that the buyer can negotiate those repairs or decide what action to take. I will be suggesting to my sellers to have termite pre-inspections, as I feel it could eliminate potential problems. It also allows the seller to choose a reputable termite company.
I suggest always to discuss the above with your agent before listing your home so that you are aware of your rights and can make an informed decision.
Friday, July 18th, 2014
Whether you are going to sell your home or have a home you can’t yet afford to upgrade, there are things you can do to make it more appealing, without breaking the piggy bank. If you are selling your home it is important that the home look the best it can, especially if you want to attract qualified buyers. Here are some great ideas you can accomplish in a weekend or two.
1. Paint. Paint is by far the best way to update any space, and it is inexpensive. If your home looks dull or the walls are dirty, paint is the answer. Avoid any bright or dark colors, and try to stay within a neutral realm if you are selling (buyers may have different tastes so it is safest). If your home does not get a lot of natural light you should keep the colors light. Painting is easy and can literally transform a room. Don’t forget baseboards and doors if needed. If the front of your home needs sprucing up, you can save money by just painting the trim, front door and garage (if needed), without having to spend thousands on the entire exterior.
2. Replace door and cabinet knobs. This is another inexpensive way to really change the feel of a room or entire home. I can’t tell you how many times I have shown homes that have been upgraded, but for the ugly door and cabinet knobs that are circa 1970. Knobs come in a plethora of shapes and colors, with a vast price range. If you go to a large home store like Home Depot or Lowe’s, you can find some great prices. You can also shop online. Doors that are freshly painted with new fixtures improve the entire room.
3. Let the light in. This is one of the biggest selling points – buyers do not like dark homes. If you have one you have to assess how best to address the issues and bring in as much light as possible. Windows should be uncovered and cleaned – no heavy drapes (because even when they are open the material hanging on the sides blocks light). Short of installing light tubes in your ceiling, you can add more lighting to your home if there are areas where the natural light does not illuminate. You don’t need to spend lots of money – if that is not an option you can simply purchase inexpensive lighting features. If the kitchen is dark, consider mounting under-cabinet lights – if you have multiple outlets you can usually install them yourself without the help of an electrician.
4. Dress up the front of your home. This is critical for sellers, because curb appeal is the first thing buyers will notice. Without having to completely re-landscape, you can make a big difference to the front of your home by doing the following: trim overgrown bushes and trees, mow the lawn, pull weeds, clean windows and doors and sweep porches, and do some planting – think colorful. You can purchase flats of flowers for cheap and line your walkway or planter boxes. If you don’t have those think of investing in a few big pots (it is easy to find cheap ones), and filling them with flowers – place these at your front door or other focal points. If you have large spaces that cannot be filled with plants, purchase a few large bags of bark to make the spaces look fresh. Make sure outdoor lighting is working and clean fixtures.
5. Declutter. I have written numerous blogs about the importance of decluttering. If you are selling your home, keep in mind that buyers want to see the useable space in every room. Take out excess furniture, stacks of books or magazines. Remove photographs from walls (a few well-placed pieces of art are fine, but you do not want walls covered with photos or art). Leave counters empty (except for very little, like a vase of fresh flowers). If you have furniture that is very bulky, get rid of it if you are sprucing up for sale. If you really need help you can consider staging (which really is not overly expensive and will likely bring you offers sooner than without staging, so do the math). If you are not selling but living in your home, decluttering still is advantageous and will highlight the space in your home. Decluttering should include the garage and outdoor living spaces.
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
I have blogged already about my feeling that 2014 will be a great year to sell. Those sellers who have held off, waiting for values to go up, can reap the benefits of the 2013 price increases, as well as the growing buyer pool and lower inventory levels. But today’s buyers are definitely picky, and they usually know where they want to be (which neighborhoods, what amenities). To get top dollar for your home you really need it to be in the best showing condition possible.
I have written several blogs about things sellers can and should do to get their homes in the best condition for sale. But in this blog I wanted to focus on painting. Paint is probably one of the cheapest things you can do to seriously enhance the desirability of your home. A fresh coat of paint says that your home is well maintained, and really makes buyers feel there is less they need to attend should they purchase the home.
Exterior paint: Drive through any neighborhood and look at the homes. You will immediately notice those that are in need of paint jobs and those that look fresh and clean. Curb appeal is a big factor in whether a buyer will consider making an offer. If you are unable to paint the entire exterior of your home, at least consider painting the trim, front door and garage (if you have a painted garage). Doing so will not create a big dent in your pocketbook and will really make your home look more attractive.
Interior paint: Color was always a big plus in the past, but interestingly enough I just learned from a local builder that most buyers of new construction today prefer white paint. That was somewhat surprising, but I have heard it elsewhere – white seems to be the new preference. It says clean and fresh.
When it comes to painting one piece of advice has and still rings true: avoid bright or loud colors. While you may love a red kitchen or purple bedroom, if the buyers viewing your home do not it makes the home less desirable. It is better to paint over those colors and keep it neutral, or just go with white. You never know what colors people prefer and can never please everyone, so keep it simple.
Of course, paint is just one thing you can do to get your home in the best selling shape. You also should consider decluttering, removing personal photographs, light staging if needed, touching up your landscaping (potted plants are great by the front door), keeping your home clean and letting in the natural light. For more ideas on what you can do to make your home more appealing click here.
Saturday, September 8th, 2012
Although many local housing markets are experiencing increased sales prices, it is still very important to be careful in listing your home at the right price. I have always adhered to the notion that a listing has the strongest potential to attract qualified home buyers the first two weeks on the market (many agents say it is the first 30 days, but I think the first two weeks are the most crucial). With a great listing agent, a strong marketing plan, and quality photos of your home, the right list price will provide the opportunity to attract many buyers, possibly leading to multiple offers.
Here are some of the issues sellers can face if their home is not priced right from the start:
1. Lack of interest. It used to be that buyers would come and see properties even if they were not priced well. In the last few years, it seems like that is no longer the case. Many buyers now prefer to to wait on price reductions, with the philosophy that lengthy market time means sellers are breaking down their barriers and might be willing to sell for UNDER market value, just to finally get rid of their homes. Those homes that are priced well garner more interest from both agents and buyers, and have a higher chance of selling. In fact, in many areas, such as here in North San Diego, homes that are priced well end up getting multiple offers and even selling above list price.
2. Extended market time. This really goes hand in hand with number one, above. If you do not have your home priced right you will not generate interest amongst qualified buyers; no interest = longer market times. Lots of buyers tend to want to wait until prices come down, rather than trying to negotiate with sellers whom they feel are unreasonable in the expectations. Price reductions down the road do not seem to stimulate interest like a new listing hitting the market.
3. Appraisal issues. We are seeing many more appraisal issues now, mostly because the banks have been so stubborn with lending. They want to prevent the free-for-all lending environment that caused the housing crash. In my opinion, they are really being too strict in lots of cases. Where there are strong sold comparables, and home prices can justifiably be increased (due to location, condition and upgrades), it is important for the lenders to understand that such properties should sell for more. But of course, there are limits.
4. Distressed property comparisons. Many sold comparables might contain a few or lots of distressed sales. Some agents still believe that appraisers appraise properties with two different sets of criteria: distressed and non-distressed. That is no longer the case, in my opinion. Just because a home is distressed most lenders still expect the home to sell according to comparable market prices. There IS an advantage to the waiting periods for non-distressed properties, but all things being equal your home should not sell for $100,000 more simply because it is not a short sale or bank-owned property. Of course, many other factors need to be considered in appraisals, including condition, location and upgrades.
So, how do you come up with the right price for your property? The first thing to do is to hire an experienced area agent. He or she can provide you with an extensive comparable market analysis, and then you can consider any upgrades, superior location, views, etc. It is alright to add on a reasonable amount for any of these “extras,” so discuss with your agent as to what is considered reasonable. If you have a home that is difficult to compare, you may want to consider paying for an appraisal before listing. Even if your market has become a sellers’ market, as have many attached homes in San Diego cities, you still need to be reasonable in pricing your listing. In retrospect, once you have sold your home, I think you will be happy that you did everything right at the beginning.