There are so many good reasons for home improvement — even in a tough economy. You may want to boost your home’s future sales value, add livable space, refresh an aging room or feature. Or you may just want to enjoy your home more, especially if you wanted to move but the market didn’t cooperate. Find out which projects could bring you joy — and some cash back!
Is the kitchen the biggest project that will pay you back or the bathroom?
One thing is common among all properties that receive multiple offers these days: the home is in a good location. Location is nearly always what drives homebuyers in their search. Before considering price, number of bedrooms or size of home, a buyer looks for location.
If your home is on a busy street, not in the best school district or near a freeway on/off ramp, chances are you won’t receive the kind of activity that a well-located home would. In that case, work closely with your agent to price the home correctly.
Must be priced right
Buyers in any market look for perceived value. Homes priced 10 percent (or more) over their market value won’t get noticed. Pricing isn’t an exact science, and it’s nearly impossible to pin a precise number to a home until buyer and seller sign a contract and close. Then, the price officially becomes the home’s market value. Until that time, agents can provide sellers with a value range. Have a good location? Does your home show well? Are you in a strong sellers’ market? Price your home on the bottom of that price range and you’ll be sure to attract buyers — and possibly multiple offers.
Must show well
A generation ago, sellers simply did some deep cleaning and maybe some de-cluttering before their first open house. Presentation wasn’t as important then as it is today, given online listings. More buyers today develop an emotional connection to a home. They want to imagine themselves in your home and not feel like they’re a guest. What does that mean? Appeal to the masses. If you have a good location and you plan to price your home realistically, then you need to make sure you give buyers what they want. If you can afford it, make cosmetic upgrades; invest in some staging and work to turn your home into a “product.” Emotionally disconnect from your home and try to see it more objectively.
Plan on having the home in perfect condition for the photo shoot. A buyer’s first impression of your home likely will be via the Internet or an email from their agent. Make them want to step inside. The more buyers you attract to your home, the more activity.
Know your market
Don’t assume that national trends apply to your region, city or neighborhood. If you’re not in a strong sellers’ market or you spend a fortune on last-minute upgrades, you could be in for a giant surprise. Just because you hear about bidding wars and multiple offers on the news doesn’t mean that applies to your area. Home selling is like the stock market it is goes up, down and can have a bit of a lull when interest rates go up and what is happening in the news for your area and even around the world.
Work with a good Realtor and, no, not all agents are Realtors learn the difference. A local Realtor knows the area and what has recently sold as well as ones that have sold over the past six months to a year. Knowing those homes, having walked inside and personally knowing the agents who have sold them matters. This is market data that an outsider just doesn’t have access to. This knowledge empowers good local agents to educate their sellers.
I know the last year has you asking yourself I don’t need to worry buyers are waiving inspections. I guarantee you that is changing and if you do not wish to have a Seller’s pre-inspection than you may wish to check out this list. You can make your home more attractive to buyers and increase your likelihood of obtaining a positive inspection report by performing routine maintenance now before going on the market.
A visual inspection does not pass or fail a house but simply describes those items in need of minor or major repair or replacement. The inspector will visually examine the structure, crawl space, attic, mechanical components and all interior rooms, as well as closets.
On the day of you can help by having keys available to any locked doors, removing obstacles around water heaters and other appliances, removing items from closets that provide access to attics, and so on. Please be ready to indicate the location of hidden components such as the water meter, electrical panel, sump pump and main sewer clean out.
You can eliminate seasonal limitations on the inspection by clearing pathways of snow or debris. Ensure that appliances not tested because of the temperature (such as air conditioners in winter) are operation. Move boxes and storage items away from interior walls and make certain the entire perimeter of the house can be observed. Finally, leave pets with a friend or, take them with you, for the few hours of the inspection.
Repair minor defects in the exterior wall coverings.
Repair damaged masonry on walkways and steps.
Repair missing or loose railings on decks and steps.
Recaulk around exterior windows and doors.
Replace missing or damaged shingles
Recaulk around flashing.
Clean debris from gutters.
Ensure downspouts are intact and water drains away from the house.
Trim trees and shrubs away from the roof.
Loosen any windows that are painted shut.
Replace missing or faulty hardware on doors and windows.
Repair any broken or cracked windows.
Replace damaged baseboard or molding.
Recaulk around bathtub and kitchen/bathroom sinks.
Re-grout tub and shower enclosures and the kitchen backsplash.
Repair leaky faucets and fixtures.
Unclog slow drains using commercial cleaner.
Replace oversized fuses with proper fuses.
Repair faulty receptacles and switches.
Ensure exhaust fans are in working order.
Have the fireplace chimney swept.
Have the furnace or other major appliances serviced.
Ensure central vacuum, garbage disposal, water softener and other ancillary components not part of the standard inspection are in working order.
Replace dead batteries in smoke and CO detectors.
Have service contracts, manuals and warranties available and in a drawer for the inspector/buyer to access.
Prior planning always pays off and makes for a smooth transaction after securing a buyer. Reach out to me for questions on this or if you are considering selling your home.
Trying something a bit unconventional! If you do not know how the Real estate market is right now I am going to take a quote from the MLS “The economics of scarcity are driving prices up at an unsustainable pace,” said Dick Beeson, managing broker at RE/MAX Northwest. “What will happen this spring and summer will likely be more of the same. The real estate vortex we’re in of depleted inventory and high prices is real and unrelenting.” “If interest rates weren’t historically low, buyers would be unable to afford the escalating cost of housing,” suggested Beeson. “We’re feeling nervous about where this market is headed,” he said, adding, “Help is not on the way. Sellers are almost as rare as the dodo bird.” Although he noted the number of new listings coming onto the market has kept pace or even exceeded last year’s totals in some areas, (Not Snoho county) “new listings are immediately devoured by a plethora of waiting buyers.” The situation has buyers asking, “Am I paying too much?” and sellers asking, “Can we ask more?” That answer for both is “Yes,” says Beeson
Do you know Snohomish county does not even have 2 weeks of inventory? I listed a home in Marysville a few weeks ago and within 2 days I had 18 offers! Many waived everything and, I mean everything. The offer my sellers decided to accept? 140k over asking and covering the difference of a low appraisal! So why am I bothering you with this?We have 5 home buyers that we have been working to find homes and one family that currently has 7 family members living in the same townhome as they have special needs and we want to find them homes! We were just beat out of an offer that we put in for them. Our offer was 50k over asking and waiving all we could plus they would cover a 25k low appraisal. The offer that got it was $80k over listIn almost 11 years in Real Estate I have never experienced anything like what is happening. I rarely do not get my clients the home they want on the first try but, right now there are to many buyers, low interest rates and not enough homes on the market to sell. So I am trying to think outside the box. If you happen to know of anyone thinking of selling within these parameters can you PLEASE consider having them contact me? Believe me I have scoped out everything online, even FSBO, and so I am reaching out.
Local firefighterVeteran wanting to use his VA loan for the first time. They are approved for up to 500k. They would love a small rambler w/garage and a bit of a yard. Flexible on area. Currently looking in Lake Stevens, Marysville and Arlington. 3-bed, 1.5 bath. Home does need to be in good condition for VA financing but if something is called out and if a little something is needed to push I will do it!
Family of seven. Multigenerational family with one of the parents being confined to bed permanently. We are trying to find a home that has 2, or potentially 2, living arrangements. A split maybe for parents to live downstairs and the younger families up? They have 2 small pet goats so no HOA neighborhood. Underwritten approved to 675k.
First time home buyer with 2 small kids and need a home they can keep their laying hens with them. No HOA against chickens. 3 bed/ 1.5 bath with a garage detached or attached. Like homes with a bit of lot. Looking in Marysville, Granite falls, Arlington area. Underwritten approved to 500k.
First time home buyer couple. No kids yet but want to have a couple fur babies soon as they lost there two older ones in the last year. Underwritten approved to 570k, 3 bed, 2 bath. Like newer modern homes but not the zero lot line ones.
First time home buyer expecting their first baby in May. Underwritten approved to 425k. Flexible on location but prefer Everett and going east or north is okay. At least a 2 bedroom, 1 bath.
This is not something I would normally do or ask but I want to do the best for my clients and never hurts to try right?
Please reach out if you know of anyone, wanting or thinking, about selling. That could help my buyers or another family that is looking for a home.
It’s that time again for your monthly newsletter! Notice QR codes seem to be back? While I like QR codes and think they are handy I sure hope we all can “experience” some of the beautiful places the Pacific Northwest has to explore in person and soon!
Don’t get all wet. Prepare for the rainy season while it’s dry.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
We know. The last thing you are thinking about at the summer barbecue is preparing for the stormy season. But it really is worth taking a look around your house during fair weather, because finding out you have a problem during inclement conditions is at best inconvenient and at worst very costly.
Check your rain gutters.
Clear them out and make sure they are in good working order to prevent damage to the roof or house.
Look at your roof.
If you see loose or damaged shingles, get them repaired. Look for tears and buckling on flashing. Check the chimney and look for damaged bricks, cap or cracked joints. Don’t forget the flashing there too.
Check indoors for signs of roof leaks.
Look for discoloration and peeling paint on ceilings and walls. Check in the attic for damp rafters.
Check the trees.
Trim back branches and cut sections that could fall in a rainstorm.
Check doors and windows.
Make sure there are properly insulated with weather stripping.
Look for water collecting at the base of the house.
Redirect water with trenches or drains.
Keep sandbags on hand.
if your area is prone to flooding, keep them filled and at the ready.
Check for erosion.
This is important if you live near a hillside. Shore them up if necessary.
Most importantly enjoy the fall and all the beauty it holds.