Some Reasons Your House Isn’t Selling

It’s heading towards late summer and your house still has that “For Sale” sign out in the front yard. Remember, it’s not your house anymore, so you may have rearrange a few things in order to make it seem like somebody else’s dream home. Here are the top five reasons houses don’t sell, and how to go about addressing these particular predicaments.

It’s a Buyer’s Market

All real estate is local. So depending on what part of the country your house is in, it could be that the buyer’s have the leverage in that area or neighborhood. A high price can quickly turn off a buyer and prevent them from entering the door. It’s the hardest thing you’ll have to ever do but don’t be afraid to lower the asking price. You or your realtor will need to check what recent, comparable homes have sold for in the last few months to get an accurate picture of what buyers will pay for your home. In areas where it’s a buyer’s market, you will need to aggressively price your home in order to catch the eye of the limited amount of buyers. Keep in mind that it is the market and facts that dictate how much your home is worth, not what you think it should sell for based on the money you’ve invested in it.

Adverse Investments

You’ve spent a lot of time fixing your home, but did the money go to the right places? For example, there’s nothing wrong with sprucing up your landscaping, but if you have a backyard full of decks, fountains, and streams, yet your kitchen is dated and falling apart, you may be not be getting the proper mileage out of your remodel. Even an outdoor pool isn’t a great bargaining chip since only 20% of buyers (aside from the Southwest) look for this in a house. So if you’re struggling to sell and still have equity built up, think about renovating a few key areas. The biggest sellers are kitchens and bathrooms. Other rooms may take a fresh coat, but these two areas are crucial. And don’t get crazy with granite counters or hardwood floors (this could actually inflate the price, making it less marketable). Instead, refinish the cabinets. Replace a vanity with a pedestal sink. Get a couple new appliances. These small investments instantly double the appeal of a room.

Don’t Live in the Dark

You have a great house but can anyone see it? It’s amazing how sellers spend time and money on renovations only to not highlight these selling points. What’s even more remarkable is what a little light can do to a room. Open up the space by adding natural light or larger windows (even if this means just opening the drapes). Take down the dark, busy wallpaper and wood paneling: not only is this stuff probably outdated, it can make a room feel claustrophobic. Repaint the walls a lighter shade and install light fixtures (or add more if needed). Install spotlights in your yard or track lighting under the cabinets to highlight counter space. Buyers want their future house to be open, airy, and inviting, so just a few brightening installations can help a small room become roomier.

That Is So You!

Two words you never want to hear at an open house: “That’s . . . interesting!” Yes, you’ve made your house a home. You’ve made it part of your personality. That’s great, but when you’re selling it’s not about you. Therefore you have to remove your life from the space and allow the buyer to imagine their life moving in. It’s hard to cut the apron strings, but keep your as home neutral as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to paint every wall white (this sterile remodel can actually decrease its value), but strange never sells. Take down the animal heads from the study. Remove the keg fridge from the kitchen. Most people don’t own a ping pong table, so get it out of the living room and into the garage. Get rid of the leopard-print rugs. Take down the “interesting” art pieces. Eliminate anything that appears unusual to the rest of the general population.

You’re On Stage

Staging is important to conceal the blemishes and highlight the features. It’s not unethical to put your best foot forward. You’re just trying to get buyers interested; inspections and negotiations come later. So hide the eyesores: put a slip cover over an old couch, cover the A/C unit with a window treatment, or place a rug over a stain. Then enhance the selling points: clean the windows, cut the grass, set out flowers in the kitchen, and light candles in the bathroom. And if you’re already moved out, rent furniture for the open house: a furnished home always looks bigger and better than an empty space.

7 Remodeling Tips

When it comes to home renovations, the money that you put in cannot always be recouped when it comes time to sell. Most people want to get the best value for their dollar when doing home renovations and there are some important things to keep in mind. Before you decide on a remodel, consider the cost versus the value, and decide if the remodel you want to do is a worthy investment. Ultimately, you want to improve your home and then when it comes time to sell, you can command a higher price. The following remodel ideas may help you add some value to your home.

1. Increase Light and Space

Dark, cramped rooms are no good when it comes to real estate. One thing that homeowners can do to increase the appeal of their property is open up the house to create more of a flow of natural light. Consider knocking down some walls to brighten up a space. An open floor plan will also make a home feel much larger and is better for entertaining. Vaulted ceilings are another idea that can help create the illusion of more space. Skylights can help flood your home in natural light. There are several options when it comes to brightening up your home with natural light and these options have a range of prices.

2. Landscape & Curb Appeal

The curb appeal of your home is incredibly important when it comes time to sell. The first impression of a home that someone will have is from the look of the exterior. It is said that a good first impression of a home can add five percent to its value. Make sure your exterior paint and details are up to par. The driveway should be paved properly, and any lawn space should be properly maintained. Consider drought tolerant plants if you are not great at gardening. If you have a deck, add some nice furniture, or create a colorful garden in some extra space.

3. Create a Home Office

With more companies giving employees the option to telecommute, a home office can really add some value to a home. If you have some extra space in your home, consider converting it into a home office. Make sure there is plenty of work space, and remember to have grounded outlets installed as well as data ports and possibly an extra phone line.

4. Consider Adding a Deck

It has been determined that when you spend the money to add a deck onto your home, you will likely be able to recoup more than eighty percent of its cost at sale time. If you choose to install a deck, take some time to plan it out and come up with unique features such as built in benches or a fire pit if your city or town allows them. Use higher grade materials to increase the life of the deck.

5. Finish Your Basement

If you don’t have enough space to add a room to your home, consider finishing your basement. A basement space can easily be turned into a playroom for the kids, a bar, or media room, relatively easily. Consider adding a bathroom if you do remodel the basement, as this can increase the value of the remodel even more. Try to keep the space as open as possible so it does not feel dark and cramped.

6. Update or Add Bathrooms

Bathrooms are an important part of a home. If there are not enough bathrooms or if they are very outdated, it will be a big turn off to potential buyers. Updating bathroom amenities and fixtures or adding an additional bathroom if you have the space can really increase a home’s sale appeal.

7. Update Your Kitchen

Kitchen remodels can really add value to your home but it is also important to be careful. When planning a kitchen remodel it is really important to consider the cost of your materials versus the value. Based on the cost of your home, if you choose to install granite or marble counter tops, will you be able to recoup that money? Take a close look at costs when remodeling kitchens. Things such as updated appliances or a window over the sink can add a lot of appeal.

There are tons of different projects that can be done around the home to increase value in addition to the ones listed above. As long as you take the time to really plan accordingly, and don’t overspend, you can make some really nice upgrades to your home. For some more remodeling ideas, take a look at the following pages.

  • The Top 10 Ways To Add Value To Your Home
  • Broker’s Tell All: 10 Ways To Boost House Value
  • 10 Investments To Boost Your Home’s Value
  • The Value of Home Improvements
  • Which Home Improvements Pay Off?
  • Remodeling Projects That Add Big Value
  • Which Remodeling Projects Are Worth Your Money?
  • Cost Versus Value For A Major Kitchen Remodel
  • Home Upgrades: Cost vs. Value
  • 3 Home Renovation Projects That Don’t Pay Off

All About Home Appraisals

There are any number of reasons why you might want to get a home appraisal. They can reduce your property taxes, aid in selling or buying a home, facilitate divorce proceedings, and enable home refinancing (including preventing foreclosure). Of course, depending on your circumstances, you may be hoping for a lower or higher home appraisal. Regardless, you should know a little about the process and how it works, both to decide if a home appraisal is in your best interest and to take any possible steps to influence the final appraisal number.

Home Appraisers

Given that home appraisals are often used by mortgage lenders, local governments, and real estate agencies, it should come as no surprise that these individuals go through a regulated licensing process. The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) sets and maintains guidelines to help ensure a uniform appraisal process. That said, a home appraisal is essentially nothing more than an opinion about what your home and property is worth, albeit the opinion is supposed to be an objective one.

This is done primarily by looking at how comparable-sized homes are selling in your neighborhood. Generally, at least three of these comparable homes must be considered to generate a valid appraisal. Naturally, a home appraiser will adjust the final value for specific home improvements and the general condition of your home, but this home comparison starts the baseline value of your home.

Preparing Your Home for Appraisal

There is generally less that can be done to influence a home appraisal than most people think. Clutter and dirt has no effect on a home appraisal unless it has begun to affect the structural integrity of the house. Most home appraisers have seen it all when it comes to appraising a still furnished home, so there’s no need to be embarrassed by your clutter. The most hideously painted walls, too, won’t make a bit of difference. Neither will the most posh home furnishings.

On the other hand, the general condition of your floors and walls will have an impact on the value of your home. Fix any damage in the drywall; clean your floors to make them look as well-maintained as possible. If you’re trying to get a higher home appraisal, make sure you have paperwork on any home improvement projects that aren’t obvious. If the laminate flooring, for example, still has three years left on its installation warranty, show this to the home appraiser. Some general outdoor landscaping may also be in order, but otherwise don’t spend a bunch of time or money on smaller items that won’t have any bearing on your home appraisal.

Conducting Your Own Home Appraisal

While you can’t guarantee what your home appraisal will be, doing your own research can help you predict where your appraisal may come in at. This can be useful in deciding whether hiring a home appraiser is worth the cost. If you’re not at least in the ballpark of where the property value needs to be to refinance your home, it’s probably best to save what money you do have. At the same time, know that mortgage brokers may pressure the home appraiser to overprice the home to get a larger loan amount. In the rare circumstance that an appraisal needs to be challenged, doing your own research can also help your cause.

At the same time, if you’re getting your home appraised to sell it yourself, you’ll want to let the appraiser know this. Typically, home appraisers run to real estate agencies to get their home comparisons. If you can tell the home appraiser specifically what other homes have sold for in your area, that’s even better. As objective as the process is supposed to be, these factors can have a dramatic effect on the final value the appraiser reaches.