Whether you have lived in your home for 3 years, or even 30 years, there are choices you can make during that time that will affect the future value of your home. Let’s take a look at 5 Mistakes Homeowners Make Which Affect Value.
What’s that phrase…”you only get one chance to make a first impression?” Nothing could be more true when it comes to selling your home. (This is not quite as important when selling a condo, but I’ll give you some suggestions there too!)
When a potential buyer drives by, or comes with their real estate agent, the first thing they are going to see is how your home looks from the street. And this is what they will see online if they saw your home there first. If your landscape lacks some luster, then spruce it up. Seasonal plantings for Spring, Summer or Fall/Winter make a great impression. If you have any landscape beds, a fresh layer of mulch or pinestraw is a night and day difference in how things look. If your lawn is older, it may have some weeds…or lots of weeds. Starting a weed control program now, could actually make your lawn look worse. A tip here is to keep it mowed really sort. Face it, weeds grow way faster than any grass, but if kept mowed short, don’t show as much.
Any shrubbery you have should be trimmed, and trimmed away from the house, if necessary. Think how you look and feel after a haircut or a visit to the beauty salon! Well, your landscape will look and feel the same way.
Curb appeal extends up to the exterior of the home as well. If you have peeling paint, it lends to an air of “this home has been neglected.” Fresh paint (both inside and out) go a long way to making your home look better.
Condominium Curb Appeal
In a condominium, first impressions are usually found in the lobby area where the buyers will first arrive. This is pretty much out of your control, but one thing you can do is make sure you visit personally with any Concierge staff that may be working when your condo can be shown. They appreciate your conversation, and they DO make a difference on how a buyer can feel about a building. The only other thing you may be able to focus on is the hallway in front of your condo and your front door. If you have any damage to your door, work with your HOA and property management to get it repaired/replaced. If your hallway is not very clean due to lack of a housekeeping staff…you might be wise to grab your own vacuum and hit the carpet! Does this sound like crazy? Maybe, but remember that Buyer is going to be walking from the elevator to your door and what they see…well….
The curb appeal we just talked about falls into the category as well. If you have not maintained the landscape around your home, a potential buyer will be looking at the costs (and work if they do it themselves) to make the home look better.
If you’ve had a water leak in the past, but did not have the damage repaired, this needs to be a priority. You still need to disclose this information on your Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement, but you don’t want it to be obvious. You want a repair that makes it look like it never happened.
A dripping faucet…a cracked switch plate cover, severely scratched hardwood floors, broken window blinds, burned out lights or inoperable lights or ceiling fans…all these things will go a long way towards a better looking home.
If you driveway is severely cracked from tree roots, you might want to consider a new driveway. This is no small expense, but will help you with the value of your home as well as the aforementioned curb appeal. (don’t forget to pressure wash it too!)
There are two sides to having a pre-listing inspection done on your home. First, it will help you identify things you can fix to keep a future report cleaner. It can also identify things you now need to disclose to a potential buyer because you now know about them. (Think mold or dampness in a basement or crawl space) But this inspection can really give you a detailed “to-do” list to have your home in the best shape possible. It also can help you with future negotiations as you know what a buyer may find when they have their home inspection done.
Over Improved Or Trendy
We’ve put two of our 5 Mistakes Homeowners Make Which Affect Value together here, because they can be one in the same.
As you make improvements or renovations to your home, you should take personal taste and a future sale into consideration. Personal example…in my last condo, we had black subway tile backsplash in the kitchen. I knew it could look so cool with a blue or even a red tile. A personal taste that a future Buyer would not like at all. And they would look at that as an immediate expense they would incur to make that change. We are not saying don’t make your home or condominium a place you can’t enjoy, but keep design ideas in mind that will help in the future. Of course, if you remodeled a kitchen 15 or 20 years ago, it’s probably going to show it’s age both in wear and design styles by now.
If you go “over the top” on a kitchen or bathroom renovation, because it is what you want, just bear in mind that it may be more than your neighborhood or building can justify in value, and you may not get all of your money back out of the over-improvement.
Painting can be the same. ( I recently saw a listing where almost every room had some kind of mural painted on the walls. They were amazing in detail…but certainly not for everyone.) So if you are selling your home and you have not painted the interior in a long time, and have some bright, or “off” colors in rooms, now is the time to make it neutral. A buyer can live with that builder gray for a lot longer than they can that bright yellow room your kids loved.
Make your home….your home…but think long term how the changes you are making could make the sale of your home more challenging.
This marketing choice can send various messages. “We know our house has issues and we are not going to deal with them.” We have seen the phrase on listings, “As-is, with right to inspect.” What this means is you can have an inspection done on the home as part of your due diligence period, but we are not going to make any repairs or concessions. Sometimes this can be the best way if you are selling an estate property you inherited. You don’t want to take time to address deferred maintenance or other issues.
But if you choose this route, you may want to consider your listing price. Using round numbers, if you know homes in your neighborhood are selling for $300,000 that have been updated and well cared for, you may want to price your home $10-30,000 less than that price point. Again, this is all determined by what needs to be done and the condition of the home. (Kitchen and baths are original, old carpet, wallpaper, etc.)
It goes back to your goal with the sale of the home. If you just want to get it sold, or if you want to maximize the return on the sale, this will determine if “as-is” is the way to sell your home.
And hiring the right Realtor is an important consideration. Just because you have a friend that is a real estate agent, they may not be familiar with your neighborhood or type of home (think condominium vs. single family home).
When a Buyer is looking at your home, they will take many things into consideration, and many of them will be very personal in nature. After all, buying and selling a home is not only a big financial decision, but an emotional one as well.
A garage, or lack thereof, could be a deal breaker. But a buyer will look at a kitchen and bath remodel and think, “I love this kitchen (or bathroom)” or they can think “Oh these kitchen cabinets and flooring have to go!”