Kristen Meleedy, CBR's Blog
Choosing what to upgrade or fix in, on or around your home can be a complicated process. Changes fall into two categories – things that increase or decrease value (or sale price) and things that increase or decrease salability (or how willing people are to pay full price for it). Before you start swapping out all the pieces of your home for new ones, determine whether you actually need to make those changes. Any change you make should either add something that adds value or replace something that needs fixing.
Adding Living Space
One of the most foolproof ways to add value to your home is to increase the living space, up to a point. If you have a 1-bathroom home, adding another bathroom definitely will increase the value, same with adding a bedroom to a 1- to 3-bedroom house.
It's essential to understand the difference between adding something to increase value and fixing something to bring back the value that has been lost. For example, fixing the roof doesn't add any value to the home. However, it does negate the devaluing caused by a leaky, old or otherwise poor roof. The same goes for landscaping. With a few exceptions, you can't truly add value to your home by updating or fixing the landscaping. You merely bring back any value lost from previously deteriorating land. This is not to say that these things aren't necessary; they are. It's just important to understand that they bring your property from 80% to 100%, instead of from 100% to 120%.
What to Avoid
If the home has a working kitchen and bathrooms without any significant problems, that are on par with other homes in your neighborhood, you are best off just leaving them alone. Your buyer will likely have different taste than you. That means they're probably looking at your brand-new kitchen and pricing just how much it will be to rip it all out and replace it with their brand-new kitchen. If you lose out on buyers who wanted the slightly lower price of your home without the cost of your new kitchen, you’ll lose out overall.
Before you start dropping big money on changing things in your home that are just fine as they are, get a professional opinion. Real estate professionals are intimately familiar with the best sales features in your area, so take their words to heart.
Selling a house should be a fast, simple process. Unfortunately, potential pitfalls may arise that make it tough to achieve the best-possible home selling results.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you prepare for the home selling journey.
Now, let's look at three steps that every home seller should take before listing a house.
1. Evaluate the Real Estate Market
The housing market fluctuates week to week. Thus, a real estate market that favors sellers one week may favor buyers the following week, or vice-versa.
A home seller should examine real estate market data closely. By doing so, this seller can analyze housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.
Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. This housing market information will allow you to see how long homes were listed before they sold and help you set realistic expectations for the home selling journey.
Also, examine the prices of local residences that are comparable to your own. With this housing market data, you may be better equipped than ever before to establish a competitive price for your house.
2. Conduct a Home Inspection and Appraisal
Don't wait to conduct a home inspection and appraisal. If you perform these assessments before you list your house, you can gain valuable home insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.
During a home inspection, a property expert will assess your house both inside and out. Then, this property expert will provide an inspection report that you can use to prioritize assorted home repairs and upgrades.
Meanwhile, a home appraisal can help you determine the present value of your house. The appraisal will be conducted by a property expert who will examine your house, as well as review myriad data about homes in your neighborhood and the local real estate market. Next, this property expert will provide a property valuation that can help you determine how to price your residence.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands the challenges commonly associated with selling a house. Fortunately, this housing market professional also knows how to identify and address these challenges early in the home selling process, increasing the likelihood of a quick, profitable home sale.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your home selling goals. He or she then will help you put together a strategy to sell your home quickly and maximize your earnings.
When it comes to promoting a residence to potential buyers, a real estate agent knows exactly what to do too. He or she will help you craft an engaging and informative home listing that hits the mark with the right buyers. Plus, a real estate agent will host open house events and home showings to provide buyers with plenty of opportunities to view your house.
Want to list your house? Follow the aforementioned steps, and you can boost your chances of a terrific home selling experience.
A home appraisal often helps a property seller determine how to price his or her residence. As such, an appraisal is important. And with a great appraisal, a seller may boost the likelihood of earning top dollar for his or her house.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to trust the final results of a house appraisal, and these reasons include:
1. A home appraisal is conducted by a property expert.
An expert home appraiser will allocate significant time and resources to complete his or her report. This professional also will perform a home analysis as part of his or her assessment. That way, a home appraiser can provide an accurate property valuation.
As you consider home appraisers, you may want to search for professionals with comprehensive experience. By doing so, you can find a home appraiser who knows the ins and outs of evaluating properties.
2. A home appraisal is based on your home's condition and real estate market data.
Although many home sellers believe an appraisal's property valuation is based solely on the age and condition of a house, other factors come into play. In fact, a home appraiser generally evaluates the current state of the housing market, the prices of comparable houses that recently sold and other real estate market data to determine the optimal property valuation.
Of course, it typically is a good idea to perform myriad property upgrades before an appraisal is completed. This may help you improve your chances of receiving the best-possible property valuation.
3. A home appraisal provides home selling insights you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
A home seller won't have to wait too long to receive an appraisal report, as a home appraiser usually can provide this report over the course of a few days. Meanwhile, the report includes a property valuation and other home insights that a seller may be unable to obtain elsewhere. And as a result, the report may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for a seller who wants to maximize the value of his or her house.
When it comes to conducting a home appraisal, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can explain how a home appraisal works and answer any concerns or questions that you may have. Plus, a real estate agent may be able to put you in touch with the top-rated home appraisers in your city or town.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the house selling journey, either. A real estate agent will help you list your home and promote it to prospective buyers. And if you receive an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent can offer a recommendation about how to proceed with this homebuying proposal.
Ready to add your residence to the real estate market? Perform a house appraisal, and you can move one step closer to establishing a competitive initial asking price for your home.
Buying a new home is a joyous occasion, one that should be celebrated by family members and friends. However, telling people about a new home purchase sometimes can be tough, particularly for those who may be leaving roommates or others behind.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you alleviate the stress and worry commonly associated with telling family members or friends about a new home purchase.
Here are three tips to ensure you can remain calm, cool and confident as you inform your loved ones about your decision to buy a new home.
1. Prepare As Much As You Can
Purchasing a house is a life-changing decision, and as such, your loved ones may have concerns. Therefore, you should plan ahead for any questions that you could face about your new house.
Why did you decide to buy a home in a particular city or town? How much did you pay for a house? And what does your home purchase mean for your loved ones? These are just some of the questions that you should prepare to face when you share the news about your new home purchase with loved ones.
Also, it is important to realize that you and your loved ones won't always see eye to eye. And if a family member or friend disagrees with your home purchase, accept his or her opinion and move forward.
2. Take a Proactive Approach
When it comes to informing others about your home purchase, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Thus, taking a proactive approach will ensure you can directly inform the most important people in your life about your home purchase.
Communication is key between family members and friends. With a proactive approach, you can inform your loved ones about your homebuying decision and minimize the risk that they will hear the news from a third-party.
Don't leave anything to chance as you determine who to tell about your home purchase. If you believe there is a risk that a loved one will be left in the dark about your new home, be sure to reach out to this individual directly.
3. Understand the Emotions Involved with a New Home Purchase
A new home purchase represents a new opportunity for you and your family. If some family members and friends feel left out of your upcoming move, many emotions may bubble to the surface.
Keep the lines of communication open with family members and friends – you'll be glad you did. That way, loved ones can share their thoughts and feelings about your new home purchase and understand you will allocate the time needed to hear them out.
If you need extra help as you get ready to tell loved ones about a new home purchase, don't be afraid to ask your real estate agent for assistance, either. This real estate professional understands the intricacies of purchasing a home and can provide expert guidance throughout the homebuying journey.
Do you ever wish that they taught a class in high school called, “Things You’ll Actually Need to Know In Life?” You’d learn how to prepare your taxes, what investing is, and how to buy a home.
Unfortunately, all of these important life lessons tend to be self-taught; you pick them up along the way and learn from your mistakes.
However, it needn’t be that way. Our goal today is to give you an accurate idea of what to expect when you’re buying your first home. We’ll go over a typically home buying timeline and discuss how long each step can take. This will give you a better idea of how long it will take to close on your first home.
Step 1: Build credit and save for a down payment
Estimated time: 2+ years
The first step of buying a home is to make sure you’re financially secure enough to do so. While there are ways to purchase a home with low or no down payments (See FHA, USDA, and VA loans), generally it’s wiser to wait until you have a sizable down payment saved. This will save you money in interest and mortgage insurance in the long run.
Next, you’ll need to start working on your credit. If your credit score took some hits due to late payments when you were younger, now is the time to start fixing those mistakes by making on-time payments and paying off outstanding balances.
Step 2: Have a plan for the next phase of your life
Estimated time 6+ months
One of the most important, and least talked about, parts of buying a home is understanding what it means to own a home. If you have a spouse, partner, or family, you’ll need to be in agreement that you’re prepared to stay in one place for the next 5 or more years.
Buying a home is expensive and you won’t want to go through the process of closing on a home if you aren’t sure you’ll stay. This means making sure your career won’t bring you elsewhere in the near future.
Step 3: Get prequalified and preapproved
Estimated time 1-3 days (depending on how much initiative you take)
Getting prequalified for a mortgage takes minutes. You simply fill out an online form and the lender will give you an idea of the type and size loan you could qualify for. Be forewarned: they’ll also use this information to call and bother you about getting a mortgage from them.
Once you’re prequalified, it’s just a matter of working with the lender to provide the correct documentation for pre-approval.
Getting preapproved takes a bit longer (1-3 days), since it requires a credit check and some work on your part--namely, gathering and sending income verification.
Once you’re preapproved, you can safely start shopping for homes without worrying that you’re wasting time looking at homes that are overbudget.
Step 4: House Hunting
Estimated time: 30+ days
It’s a seller’s market. So, if you’re buying a home right now there is competition out there. You’ll need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to researching homes online, contacting sellers’ agents, and following up on calls. Like before, the amount of effort you put into this process determines how quickly and smoothly you’ll get through it.
Step 5: Making an offer and closing
Estimated time: ~50 days
Average closing times for buying a home has grown to 50 days according to a recent study. However, by securing financing ahead of time and acting quickly, you can drastically cut down the time of these process to as little as two weeks.