Saturday, October 25, 2008

10 Easy To Do Ways to Increase Your Home Value

Home sellers can raise their property value in a down market by making a few changes and adding a few things prior to placing their home on the market.

1. Paint the exterior – Painting the exterior of your home can give your home a facelift, and can be done for a lot less than you may think. Choose a neutral color that blends in with neighboring homes. Make sure eaves, gutters and drains may also need painting or updating.

2. Complete all needed repairs – Your Realtor should be able to refer you to an Ashi Certified Home Inspector who will be able to provide a list of items you need to repair prior to placing your home on the market. We also suggest a Radon test.

3. Purchase a home warranty – A Realtor can provide a Home Warranty Company. They will increase the new buyer’s peace of mind, knowing that most major components of your house are covered should they fail. Normal cost ranges from $350.00 to $450.00, dependent on the size of your house.

4. Stage the home to sell – Hire a Realtor who can help you stage your home to sell. By staging the property it allows the potential buyer to visualize the property as their own. Removing things like clutter, personal photographs, monogram towels, etc.

5. Increase front yard curb appeal – People are more likely to tour a home when the front yard looks inviting. Adding color, landscape lighting and replacing dead grass areas with sod will make your home more inviting and increase your visitors.

6. Easy inexpensive kitchen makeover – Most decision makers base their decision to buy a house on the kitchen. Although you can’t make it larger you can upgrade a bit. New stainless steel appliances, cabinet fronts, hardware, flooring even replacing dated countertops will increase the ohs and ahs when potential buyers are touring your house.

7. Update your bathroom - Your master bath is very important in determing a home’s value... By turning the bath into a spa, it will become a welcome relaxing space. Upgrade the faucets, fixtures, lighting, cabinetry, and mirrors. Adding some plants, candles and luxiourious towels will also increase the buyer’s interest.

8. Replace the carpets - Instead of cleaning old, used carpet, replace it with fresh, neutral-toned carpet with an upgraded pad for an extra luxurious feel, or install pergo flooring to really increase the WOW factor.
9. Upgrade doors and hardware – Replace old doors with modern 6 panel doors. If replacing the doors is out of the question at least change out the old hardware with an updated look of pewter, anything other than brass.

10. Clean - Your house has to look and smell fresh. Clean all the appliances, including the oven, make sure all fixtures gleam. Place a basket of potpourri in the bedroom and light a few candles. Vacuum and dust everything. A clean house projects a well taken care of home.
By following these 10 easy to do ideas will result in more visitors viewing your house which will greatly increase your possibility of selling the house. Contact The H Team today for your free Home Staging report.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Selling or Not Selling in the Fall

As Fall begins most Home sellers begin thinking, “I need to take my home off the market”, or “Fall is not the time to place my home on the market”
As a full time Realtor, I can tell you that is the wrong thinking.
People buy houses when they need a house, which can be any season of the year. While it’s true, Spring, historically is the best time to market your house, due in fact that families with school age children who want to get situated into a new home prior to the start of the new school season, I think fall brings out the serious lookers who have to move right away. Due to job changes, relocation, downsizing, or upsizing.
A big plus as to why you should keep your home on the market during fall is less competition and agents have less listings so yours gets more attention and possibly more marketing dollars.
Waiting till Spring or taking your home off the market in the fall may result in you receiving a lower price for your home when you relist in the spring. Most economists tell us we have not hit the bottom on home values yet and by pulling it off and waiting may result in a lower listing price later.
The first thing sellers have to do is look how their home is priced. Is it the highest priced home in the area or the lowest priced? You want your home to be the “best buy”, which will increase traffic and will normally result in multiple offers or offers at full list without concessions on your part.
Drive around the area on Sunday afternoons, to tour competing properties. Look at the pluses and minuses compared to your home. Do they offer nice wood floors while yours offers 6 year old worn out carpet? Is their kitchen dated while yours is updated with stainless steel appliances? You have to be very objective and critical. If the properties are close in comparison , give the advantage to the comparable property.
Increase your home’s curb appeal. You can purchase potted Mums at most garden centers place a few on the porch and maybe even plant a few in your garden beds and allow the colors to pop out at approaching buyers. Install fall decorations on the front door and throughout the home, a nice burning spice candle or potpourri increases the buyers senses.
Get rid of personal items, like photos on the fridge. Remove clutter, nick-knacks. Do some updates, splash some color on the walls, remove old outdated wall paper, update the carpet or re-seal the wood floors. Clean and deodorize your house. If your house is a higher priced property people like to see granite counter tops, ceramic tile, stainless steel appliances and other high end updates.
Try hiring a staging expert who can get rid of your clutter and open the space up. Some Realtors like The H Team provide basic staging advice and it’s offered as part of our marketing plan. Staging can increase the offer’s on your house.
So, regardless of what you’ve heard, placing your property on the market in the fall or keeping your house on the market in the fall can result in you receiving an offer.
The Real Estate market is always changing in the St. Louis area but by working with Realtors who are experienced, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and educated you’ll increase your chances of success. Contact The H Team today for a free non-obligation evaluation that includes a comparitive market analysis, a free staging report, and a free home sellers how-to guide.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Staging Your Bathroom to Sell

Real estate agents will tell you that kitchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms in your home, that determine a sellers decision to make an offer on your home. Staging your bathroom is essential to appeal to the prospective buyer. By doing a good job staging your bathroom, will result in buyers remembering your home over other homes they’ve viewed.

Fixtures & Details
Be sure all fixtures are in good condition with no leaks or drips. If your plumbing fixtures are outdated, replacing them with sleek modern fixtures. Replacing the fixtures is an inexpensive and easy to do fix. Brass fixtures are outdated, choose pewter or stainless steel. How bout your lighting fixtures? Replace them too if they’re outdated.

Color & D├ęcor
Color coordinate some fluffy towels with your bathroom color scheme and place them on the towel racks just before buyers arrive. Add a matching bathmat, a floral arrangement and some floating candles in a pretty bowl. Open any blinds to allow natural light in. Painting your walls with some color will help improve the appearance also.

Scrub & Replace
Shower doors should gleam. Remove all lime and soap scum deposits, scrubing it with a scouring pad and a mixture of ten parts water and one part muriatic acid. If it still looks dull and lifeless, replace it with a new one. This method also works well for cleaning tile. Thoroughly clean tile grout or replace it. Also make your mirror shine or update it with a round or oval shaped one.

Clean & Deodorize
Always clean your bathroom thoroughly before your home is shown. The room needs to sparkle from top to bottom. It should have sufficient lighting but not be overly bright. Keep counters and shelves clear of clutter. Put away all blow dryers, curling irons, combs and brushes. Remember to empty, clean and deodorize wastebaskets. Also, clean the exhaust fan. Leave no sign of dust or dirt. A spotty or messy bathroom will turn prospective buyers off.

Making your bathroom a “WOW” experience for the prospective buyer may result in receiving an offer to purchase your house.

For a free evaluation of your property and your own "Get it Staged Correctly" report contact The H Team today.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Preparing Your Home for Fall

Clean the air ducts in your heating system. Vacuum dirt from all floor vents, baseboard heaters and the cold air return. Dust build-up is a major cause of indoor dirty air. In a home that is insulated and air tight for the winter, dust increases the possibility of illness.

Check the heating system. Change the filter every month, check the pilot light and burners in a system fueled by gas or oil. Fireplaces, boilers, water heaters, space heaters and wood burning stoves should also be serviced and checked every year.

Clean out your gutters. Remove all debris that slows down the ability for your gutters to drain effectively from the roof. Standing water in your gutter can freeze and thaw, which will crack and break your gutters.

Check the roof. Look for loose or missing shingles, gaps in the vents and flues, as well as damaged mortar around the chimney. Immediate maintenance can prevent emergencies and expensive repairs.

Check steps and handrails. Repair any broken steps and secure all loose banisters.

Inspect exterior walls and window sills. Check walls and window sills for damage such as cracks, gaps, loose or crumbling mortar, along with splitting and decaying wood. Caulk exterior joints around windows and doors, which will lower heating bills

Remove any damaged tree limbs. Dead branches will damage a roof or a deck if they break and fall off.

Test all smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Often alarms and detectors go unattended. Batteries should be changed every six months. Most people change them when they have to reset their clocks for daylight savings in the spring and fall.

Pools, sprinkler systems and outside faucets. Homeowners can shut down outside faucets, and disconnect all outside hose bibs from hoses. Professionals should blow out and winterize sprinkler systems.Remove all pond equipment.

Preparing your home in the fall will allow you to keep the cold air of winter outside. For a free checklist of additional items to complete before Old Man Winter arrives contact The H Team