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Results No Excuses

SPEND A LITTLE, RAISE THE PRICE A LOT

Your real estate professional is probably advising you to declutter, stage your home, plant new flowers, and make numerous repairs and updates. You may be reluctant to get started because of the costs, but according to home valuation site HomeGain, improvements like these can actually make you more money when you sell your home.

Under HomeGain’s Tools for Sellers, you can find the Home Sale Maximizer tool, where HomeGain has identified the top 10 home improvements under $1,500.

These add the most to home sellers’ bottom line, and are recommended by over 600 real estate professionals across the nation.

The top 10 home improvements are listed by the greatest return on investment (ROI):

Cleaning and de-cluttering ($290 cost / $1,990 price increase / 586% ROI)

Lightening and brightening ($375 cost / $1,550 price increase / 313% ROI)

Home staging ($550 cost / $2,194 price increase / 299% ROI)

Landscaping ($540 cost / $1,932 price increase / 258% ROI)

Repairing electrical or plumbing ($535 cost / $1,505 price increase / 181% ROI)

Kitchen and bathroom ($1,265 cost/$3,435 price increase/172% ROI)

Replace or shampoo carpets ($647 cost/$1,730 price increase/169% ROI

Paint interior ($1,012 cost/$2,112 price increase/109% ROI)

Repair floors ($931 cost/$1,924 price increase/107% ROI)

Paint exterior ($1,467 cost/$2,222 price increase/51% ROI)

When you put in your zip code, your results may vary from the survey results, but what’s interesting is how consistently the surveyed listing agents recommended the same home improvements. Nearly 100% of listing agents recommend cleaning and de-cluttering, while 97% recommended lightening and brightening and 80% recommended staging. These top three categories cost just a little over $1,000, yet netted sellers $5,734 at closing.

One hundred percent of HomeGain real estate agents recommend painting the interior and cleaning the carpet and ninety-eight percent recommend decluttering., but you may be surprised to learn that the top three money-makers in terms of ROI aren’t necessarily what agents most often recommend.

Cleaning and decluttering: Remove personal items; wash and clean all areas inside and outside of house; freshen air; remove clutter from furniture, counters and all areas of the home; organize closets; polish woodwork and mirrors, etc.

Home staging: Add fresh flowers; remove personal items; reduce clutter; rearrange furniture; add new props or furniture to enhance rooms; play soft music; hang artwork in walls, and more.

Lightening and brightening: Open windows; clean windows and skylights inside and outside; replace old curtains; remove other obstacles from windows that block out light; repair lighting fixtures; make sure windows open easily, among other suggestions.

It’s all about first and favorable impressions. It takes money to make money, but it doesn’t have to take a lot. It’s the return on investment that’s important.

10 Inexpensive Ways to Spruce Up Your Rental or Rehab Property

It’s easy to fix up your properties if you have unlimited cash. You also need to keep your properties in good shape to attract tenants or buyers. There are the basic improvements, such as carpet and paint, but these can still costs thousands of dollars. The following are some inexpensive ways to improve your properties with very little cash.

#1) New Electrical Switch Plates

This is such a minor, yet overlooked improvement. Most rental owners and rehabbers paint a unit and leave the old, ugly switch plates. Even worse, some even paint over them.

New switch plates cost about 50 cents each. You can replace the entire house with new switch plates for about $20. For the foyer, living room and other obvious areas, spring for nice brass plates. They run about $5 each – not much for added class.

#2) New or Improved Doors

Another overlooked, yet cheap replacement item is doors. If you have ugly brown doors, replace them with nice white doors (you can paint them, but unless you have a spray gun it will take you three coats by hand).

The basic hollow-core door is about $20. It comes pre-primed and pre-hung. For about $10 more, you can buy stylish six-panel doors. If you are doing a rehab, the extra $10 per door is well worth-it. For rentals, consider at least changing the downstairs doors.

#3) New Door Handles

In addition to changing doors, consider changing the handles. An old door handle (especially with crusted paint on it) looks drab. For about $10, you can replace them with new brass finished handles. Replace the guest bathroom and bedroom door handles with the fancy “S” handles (about $20 each).

#4) Paint/Replace Trim

If the entire interior of the house does not need a paint job, consider painting the trim. New, modern custom homes typically come with beige or off-white walls and bright-white trim. Use a semi-gloss bright white on all the trim in your houses.

If the floor trim is worn, cracked or just plain ugly, replace it! Home Depot carries a new foam trim that is pre-painted in several finishes and costs less than 50 cents per linear foot. Create a great first impression by adding crown molding in the entry way and living room.

#5) New Front Door

You only get one chance to make a first impression. A cheap front door makes a house look cheap. An old front door makes a house look old. If you have nice heavy door, paint it a bold color using a high-gloss paint. If your front door is old, consider replacing it with a new, stylish door. For about $125, you can buy a very nice door.

#6) Tile Foyer Entry

After the front door, your next first impression is the foyer area. Most rental property foyers are graced with linoleum floors. Consider a nice 12″ Mexican tile. An 8′ x 8′ area should cost about $100 in materials.

#7) New Shower Curtains

It amazes me that many landlords and sellers show properties with either no shower curtain or any ugly old shower curtain in the bathroom. Don’t be cheap – drop $40 and buy a nice new rod and fancy curtain.

#8) Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Replacing kitchen cabinets is expensive, but painting them is cheap. If you have old 1970’s style wooden cabinets in a lovely dark brown shade, paint them. Use a semi-gloss white and finish them with colorful plastic knobs. No need to paint the inside of them (unless you own a spray gun), since you are only trying to make an impression.

Americans spend 99% of their time in the kitchen (when they are not watching TV). A fancy modern faucet looks great in the kitchen. They can run as much as $150, but not to worry – most retailers (Home Depot, Home Base, etc) often run clearance sales on overstocked and discontinued models. I have found nice Delta and Price Pfister faucets for about $60 on sale.

#9) Add Window Shutters

If you have ugly aluminum framed windows, consider adding wooden shutters outside. They come pre-primed at most hardware retailers and are easy to install. Paint them an offset color from the outside of the house – (e.g., if the house is dark, paint the shutters white. If the house is light, paint them green, blue, etc.).

#10) Add a Nice Mailbox

Everyone on the block has the same black mailbox. Stand out. Be bold. For about $35 you can buy a nice colorful mailbox. For about $60 more, you can buy a nice wooden post for it. People notice these things….and they like them!

PositionRealty.com
Office: 480-213-5251

Green Homes Increase Market Share

Remodeling and construction of single-family homes to make them more green continues to grow as more attention is placed on the benefits of going green for energy efficiency savings and better indoor quality, a new study shows.

In the construction market, the green home market share has grown to 17 percent in 2011. That percentage is expected to rise to 29 percent to 38 percent by 2016, according to a new report by McGraw-Hill Construction, “SmartMarket Report: New and Remodeled Green Homes: Transforming the Residential Market.”
According to the report, the two key forces driving the green growth: Green homes are often viewed as higher quality and can potentially save consumers money on utility costs.

“In the current residential market, there is an enormous need to differentiate your homes for consumers,” says Harvey Bernstein, vice president of Industry Insights and Alliances at McGraw-Hill Construction. “When builders are able to offer homes that not only are green but also offer the combination of higher quality and better value, they have a major competitive edge over those building traditional homes.”

In the past, builders have cited higher upfront costs as a roadblock to building green. However, the survey found that a much lower percentage of builders view that as an obstacle now than in 2008.

The report was produced by McGraw-Hill Construction, in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders and Waste Management.

Sean Heideman, Broker ~ Position Realty ~ 480-213-5251

Phoenix Realtors Advice ~ Five Musts Before You List Your Home

Deciding to list your home for sale is a momentous time. It means you will be moving on to a new stage of life, no matter if you’re moving up or sizing down. Take a moment to look over these tips for what every seller should do before they put their home on the market.

Organize Your Paperwork: Every homeowner should have a detailed list of all past repairs, updates, and upgrades they’ve made. This will help your agent know what should be mentioned on the MLS. Did you put on a new roof in 2010 or a install a new water heater in 2009? These are great selling features because they mean less work in the future for the prospective buyer.

Also included in this list should be any home warranty information. These warranties will most likely transfer with title of the home.

Get Ready to Declutter: Even before you’ve officially listed your home for sale, you should start getting rid of things you don’t need. Starting now will mean a more thorough and less rushed job of clearing things out.

Start with one closet and work your way through the entire home. Sort items to toss, keep, sell, and donate.

Having a yard sale is a wonderful way of making a little extra pocket change while reducing the amount of things you’ll have in your home during showings and that you’ll need to pack up and move. It’s a win-win!

Clean, Clean, and Clean Some More: Dirty homes are a real buyer turnoff. Now is a great time wash down walls, spruce up paint, and give your entire home a thorough cleaning. Do your carpets need refreshing? Consider renting a carpet shampoo machine or hiring a professional carpet cleaning company to come in and revamp your carpets.

Chances are buyers will ask for this anyway come closing time. You’ll beat them to the punch and have a shiny, sparkling home to show for it.

Get an Inspection: Did you think inspections were only for buyers? Having a pre-sale inspection can mean identifying problem areas. Perhaps you’re unaware that your foundation needs repaired. This will severely affect your listing price. It’s best to be prepared and realistic in today’s market.

Make Repairs or Get Estimates: Your inspection will likely leave you with a list of repairs, large and small, that need made. Keep in mind that prospective buyers will also get an inspection of your home and will find these same issues. Head them off at the pass and do some fixing up. You may wish to go ahead with large repairs. If not, be sure to at least get estimates so you are fully prepared for negotiations (you’ll know what the real cost should be) or so you can provide the estimates for buyers.

Start Staging: Staging is like prepping your home for its first date. You want to have it clean and well-dressed. This means amping up curb appeal with neat landscaping, fresh paint, and flowers. It means rearranging furniture and removing clutter.

Congratulations on deciding to list your home for sale. Be proactive about making a good first step by following these tried and true tips.

Sean Heideman, Broker ~ Office: 480-213-5251 ~ Sean.Heideman@PositionRealty.com

Do Kitchens Really Sell a House?

It’s a tool used by house flippers all across the nation. Stagers know its power. Real estate agents push its importance. What is this not-so-well-kept secret of real estate? A kitchen can sell a house.

A kitchen is the heart of a home. This is true all across the globe. The old saying that the “stomach is the way to the heart” carries a lot of truth. Kitchens are where we spend much of our time and most of that is with our families. It’s the room where we nourish our bodies and our spirits.

Kitchens are integral to entertaining and in today’s age of open floor plans, they’re a focal piece of many family rooms. It’s because of this that kitchens play such an important role in the buying and selling process.

This one room is the showpiece of the house. You’ll see it every day and your guests will see it during most visits. This means buyers want homes with up-to-date kitchens.

Kitchens, however, can be one of the most expensive rooms to renovate. These projects can also be the most labor and time intensive of all home renovations. It’s not just a new layer of paint.

Instead you find a complicated array of flooring, tiling, cabinets, and counters. This means buyers may want a home with an up-to-date kitchen but they aren’t willing to tackle this problem themselves. Most buyers want a kitchen that is ready to use the day they move in.

What do buyers look for in up-to-date kitchens? A lot of this depends on what price range your home is in.

The main thing to remember as a seller is to not price yourself out of your market. If homes in your neighborhood are selling for $100,000 with tidy, but not luxury kitchens, then this is no time to upgrade to granite, travertine, and marble at the price tag of $40,000+. You simply won’t find a buyer.

Scope out the competition. Use open houses in your area or MLS listings to find out what your competitions’ kitchens look like.

Do area homes have new solid wood cabinets and granite counters in today’s designer colors? You’ll be wise to consider making the same move. Are they including new stainless steel appliances and add-ons like dishwashers, wine-coolers, and trash compactors?

Are you in a higher-end neighborhood? It’s time to think high-end. Your older home may have a highly functional kitchen, but a buyer will take one look at your formica counters and white appliances and become lost in the stress of how much money and time it would take to remodel. If you don’t want to put in the time yourself to make upgrades then you’ll have to make concessions in the price.

Don’t become overwhelmed, though. Sometimes a kitchen update can mean doing just a few minor changes. Change the paint color to a warm, neutral tone. Get rid of any clutter. Update your appliances, paint your cabinets, change the pulls, or get a high-end looking counter for a fraction of the cost (faux-granite or lower end granite). You might even save a bundle by doing much of the work yourself.

The bottom line is a kitchen can sell a home. Do a little research and find out what your kitchen needs to make it competitive with area listings.

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