Black Friday Home Sales

Black Friday Home SalesAs we prepare to enter the holiday shopping season, home sellers may think it is too late to sell their home this year. You may have heard that homes sell better in the spring, so you might be tempted to take your home off the market until after the New Year. After all, you have shopping to complete, baking to do, decorating to finish and myriad programs and activities vying for your time.

However, a survey of real estate agents shows that while Thanksgiving Day typically is set aside for families, Black Friday and the remainder of the weekend are days when serious buyers have more time to look for a home. In fact, sixty-eight percent of agents surveyed agreed that the buyers out looking on Black Friday are serious about buying a home.

Motivated Sellers

During the holidays, serious sellers can offer extra bonus items to entice buyers: a new washer and dryer or big-screen TV. Motivated sellers could offer holiday discounts, or offer to cover some of the buyer’s fees. Committed sellers may consider dropping their asking price, thereby lowering the effective tax rate on the home—a terrific value to homebuyers.

Sellers can take advantage of Black Friday sales to upgrade appliances and fixtures to improve their home’s appeal. Tasteful holiday decorations add curb appeal, too! Seasonal accents and colorful baskets of mums or pumpkins add a burst of interest to porches and walkways. Brightly painted doors graced with wreaths add a welcoming touch, and new door hardware and carriage lamps add that extra boost of pleasant hospitality to your home’s exterior.

Remember the little touches. Adding a little pumpkin spice or the smell of fresh baked cookies to your home gives buyers the sense of celebration and warmth. They can imagine celebrating the holiday there next year with their own family.

If you are a motivated seller, talk to your agent about ways to make your home more exciting or enticing to holiday buyers, and how to increase your curb appeal.

Bargaining Power

More than forty percent of agents responding to a survey believe that sellers perceive Black Friday homebuyers to be serious, and would likely entertain or accept offers during this time. Buyers with preapproved mortgages have increased bargaining power, especially when sellers want to close the sale by the end of the year.

If you are in the market for a home, talk to your agent about shopping on Black Friday or the remainder of the holiday weekend. Both you agent and motivated home sellers will know that you are serious and will make time for you. If you have picked out the home you want, consider making your offer during the holiday weekend instead of waiting. In the spirit of the holiday, some sellers may be more inclined to accept your offer, or add other values or incentives to the home … so tell your agent what you want, and what would seal the deal for you.

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Elections Affect Homeowners

Elections Affect HomeownersOne of the very first discussions the Founding Fathers had was about how to balance the rights of all individuals with the rights of those who owned property. They knew that if only property owners could vote, the rights of individuals and minorities might be suppressed … but, if voting extended to non-property owners, the rights of property owners could be unfairly overruled. In the end, they left the question of voter rights to the individual states. Now, nearly 240 year later, with suffrage extended to all citizens, with or without property, the question remains:

“Do elections affect property owners differently than non-property owners?”

Levies

Nearly every municipality imposes property taxes on homeowners for, well, owning homes (and other property). The tax authority typically bases these taxes, or mill levies, as a percentage of the assessed value of the property owned. Proceeds from levies on property fund local services including:

  • Law enforcement
  • Roads, bridges, street lights, and other infrastructure
  • Public schools
  • Emergency services
  • Debris and snow removal

Each locality and school district sets the property tax rates each year to meet the needs of that community. This means that tax rates vary widely from one municipality to another, and even between neighborhoods. They can increase each year, or may even decrease. For homeowners, voting for or against a levy affects property owners in two ways:

  1. The actual tax increase affects a property owner’s bottom line. Yearly property tax increases might push the cost of owning a home higher than the owners plan, or higher than their income can bear. Putting stress on property owners’ financial situation may make it more difficult for them to maintain their property. Homes in distress can bring down the value of an entire neighborhood.
  2. When homeowners vote to increase levies—such as those that provide local services, upgraded roads, improved schools or increased emergency personnel—they are voting to increase the value of their homes and communities, making them more attractive to buyers.

Voting for or against levies is a delicate balance between increasing an owner’s outgo with increasing the property’s value and the community’s desirability. Researching the fiscal impact of the levy you intend to vote on is an important first step in determining how it may affect your bottom line.

Sales Taxes

Taxes based on the sale of goods typically spread the burden of the tax across both property owners and non-property owners. Sometimes, however, a sales tax increase is for a specific neighborhood or commercial area. If you own property in an area with a higher sales tax rate than one nearby, it can determine how easily you keep your space leased to shop owners since customers may choose to shop elsewhere.

If you are new to home ownership, increases in sales taxes make purchasing furnishings and appliances more expensive. If you are considering upgrades and improvements, renovations or additions, a tax increase may expand your scope costs.

Other Taxes

Taxes specifically affecting homeowners include those like the one embedded in the Affordable Care Act. It taxes the capital gains income of upper-bracket homeowners that sell their home at a sizable profit and even taxes rental income from investment property.

Candidates

Decisions by both national and local elected officials—from state senators to congressional representatives, governors to county commissioners, city council members to school board members—impact the future levies imposed on local property. Knowing your candidates and how they hope to legislate their agenda can affect both your bottom line and your property values.

Not only are elections about national and state officials, international and social concerns or party platforms—they are about local schools, streetlamps, parks and 911 services.

Voting

Do not leave decisions that affect property ownership to others. Take the time to vote in your local and national elections. Balance how a levy can affect your immediate bottom line with the impact it might have on the sale of your property in five years.

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Should I Buy or Sell on Contingency?

Should I Buy or Sell on Contingency?While your home is on the market, and you find your dream home (or at least the perfect “next” home), it is tempting to place an offer on the new place to hold it until your home sells. Unless you own the house you are selling free and clear, or can afford two mortgage payments, selling on contingency is the only option.

Or, you’re the seller and a buyer wants to make a contingency offer on your home. Do you accept it?

What is a “contingency”?

A contingent offer means that completion of the sale or purchase does not finalize until a requirement, the contingency, is satisfied. In many cases, the contingency is simply good business practice such as having a home inspection or making necessary repairs to the home. In other cases, the contingency waits on an appraisal: mortgage companies rely on an appraisal before approving the amount of the mortgage, so if the home’s appraisal does not meet the asking price, the buyer could back out due to the inability to get a mortgage approved. This is a “mortgage contingency.”

The more difficult type of contingency for both buyer and seller is the one that relies on the buyer selling his own home before completing the purchase of the new home.

How does a first home sale contingency work?

For buyers, this sort of contingency is mostly a win/win scenario. If their current home does not sell, or the sale falls through for any reason, they do not have to complete the purchase of the new home. This protects the buyer from having to pay two mortgages at once. Even so, the buyers typically must place earnest money on the purchase of the new home that they will lose if the sale falls through. They also forfeit costs of home inspections and appraisals, bank fees and other expenses. Without a contingency, however, contractually they would be on the hook for the complete sale price.

Conversely, the seller also has some protection in this case since he can continue to market his home, and if the contingency falls through, he keeps the earnest money. If, during the contingency period, the seller receives a second offer on the home, the original buyers with the contingency have a specified time—typically 24 to 48 hours, or even up to 72 hours in some agreements—to settle the contingency and purchase the new home. If they are unable to do so, the seller is free to terminate the contract and accept the new offer.

A home sale contingency does pose risk to the seller, however, because a motivated buyer may not be willing to risk having her purchase fall through because of the prior contract. Before accepting a contingency arrangement, the seller’s agent will determine the potential buyers’ actual ability to purchase the home:

  • Do they have a preapproval letter from their mortgage company?
  • Do they have a contract in place on the sale home?
  • If not, is their current home already on the market?
  • If so, has it been on the market a long time and is it priced to sell?

We can investigate the likelihood of the sale completing, so when you do receive a contingency offer you can be confident in your decision whether or not to accept it.

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Preparing Your Home for Winter

Preparing Your Home for WinterWith November just around the corner, winter weather is on its way. Now is the time to get the jump on cold weather and winterize your home. Whether you are selling your home or you are a new homeowner, it is a good idea to keep these things in mind:

Clean your gutters

During the summer, and especially the fall, your gutters fill with leaves and debris that can block your gutters and downspouts. When heavy rains, snow or ice descends on your roof, your gutters are unable to remove the runoff quickly enough to protect your roof from leaks. Take the time now to clean your gutters, or hire a professional gutter cleaner so that you do not have to climb up those ladders.

Clear patios and decks

Now is the time clean and put away patio furniture, grills, umbrellas and other patio or deck gear. Before storing it for the winter, take time to clean off dirt and grime, deal with rusted spots, mold or other problem areas. If you do not have room to store everything, stack and cover it. If your area is prone to high winds in the winter, fasten down anything you store outdoors.

Power wash (carefully) or sweep and clean the deck or patio. If your wooden deck does not repel water, add a protective coat of sealant, water repellant or other finish. Be sure to choose the correct protectant for your deck type.

Repair roof damage

If your roof has sustained any damage, have it repaired now. Summer hail and windstorms can loosen shingles, exposing your roof to damage during winter weather. If your area had a hailstorm, your roof may have damage that you cannot see. Have your roof evaluated by a qualified roof inspector, and if necessary, contact your insurance for assistance in repairing a damaged roof.

Caulk windows

Take time now to shut out drafts by caulking windows and adding weather stripping to doorways. Many utility companies offer inspection services to let you know where your home wastes energy and what you can do to reduce high winter energy bills.

Protect plants, flowerbeds and planters

Clean and store breakable planters and pots. Consider adding mulch to exposed beds as an extra protection around trees, bushes and other ornamental plants. Your local nursery can tell you the best form of mulch to use for your needs. Trim away any dead branches from trees, but do not prune them unless your arborist advises you to, since fall pruning can spread fungi spores and damage your trees’ health.

Plan now for rain, ice and snow

If you need a new snow shovel, now is the time to buy one—not after the first snowfall. Keep a broom handy for light snow. Also, purchase deicer ahead of time and put it in an easily accessible but airtight container.

Many municipalities require homeowners to keep neighborhood sidewalks free of snow and ice. Find out the requirements in your city so that you are both prepared and can avoid fines or liability if someone falls on your icy sidewalk.

If your home is for sale during the winter months, you will want to make reaching your front door as easy and inviting as possible.

We can help

If you have questions about how to sell your home in the winter, creating weatherproof curb-appeal, or staging your home, we can advise you. Give us a call today.

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Seven Small Home Benefits

Seven Small Home BenefitsYou bought a starter home that gave you entre into the world of home ownership, but now, your requirements have changed … you’ve added a spouse or children, you’ve moved your office home, or you’ve started a hobby that requires more space than you have. Now, you want to sell your beloved home, but all the folks you know are looking for McMansions, or at least something bigger than what you’re selling.

How do you sell a smaller home? Who is your target market?

If you’re in the mode to enlarge your living space, it may surprise you to know that there is a movement afoot promoting downsizing to a smaller home. In fact, smaller homes appeal not just to “starter homeowners,” but to empty-nesters, retirees, and even families that are looking to live a simpler lifestyle.

How do your entice buyers to look at a smaller home?

Here are seven reasons why a small home may be a buyer’s best choice.

  1. Uses less energy: a small home, properly insulated, is more efficient with both heating and cooling. A smaller home typically has fewer light fixtures, thereby requiring fewer replacements. And, if you change out regular incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs, you’ll be “greening” your home in more ways than one. If your buyers are interested in investing in a home that reduces their carbon footprint, a smaller home may fill the bill. From lower heating and cooling requirements to less water and electricity use, a smaller home on a smaller lot could be just what they’re looking for.
  2. Less maintenance: whether re-roofing, replacing exterior siding or painting the interior, a small home costs less to maintain than a larger one. Downsizing can be just the ticket for a busy traveler, commuter or active family. The less time and money spent on housing upkeep, the more that is available for making memories.
  3. Lower monthly bills: a small home typically uses less electricity so monthly power bills cost less, and a smaller mortgage and lower insurance costs can improve your bottom line.
  4. Easier to keep: cleaning a large home can be daunting. Singles, Baby Boomers, busy small families and others will find that less home to clean is an easy tradeoff for the larger space. Minimizing and streamlining chores can relieve stress and lead to more organization and comfort.
  5. Great investment: smaller homes make great rental properties. If your buyer does need to upsize later, a smaller home makes a great investment as a rental.
  6. Avoid being “house poor”: a smaller, more affordable home leaves more money available for travel, entertainment, hobbies and other pursuits. It allows the owner to set aside money for investments, save for retirement, or upgrade other areas of your life.
  7. A smaller home can lead to closer family bonds. The sharing, give-and-take, managing joint closet and storage space, and other cozy arrangements required to live in a smaller home often bring a since of cooperation and joint effort to daily life.

The bottom line is that we, as your professional real estate agents know how to reach the target market for your smaller home. There are many reasons a buyer will love your home: location, schools, curb appeal … and size!

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Can You Sell Your House with Unpermitted Changes?

Can You Sell Your House with Unpermitted Changes?Often, homeowners make changes and upgrades to their home without securing permit. In some cases, permits are not required, but in many cases they are. When you attempt to sell your home, investigations by the buyer’s real estate agent, inspector or legal representation may discover undocumented changes that could hinder the sale. The degree to which this causes difficulties greatly depends on the types of changes made to the original structure, and whether your buyer’s lender will give a loan on property with unpermitted changes.

Sometimes, the changes occurred even before you purchased the home. Since laws may have changed in your municipality over the course of your ownership, changes that did not matter when you bought your home may be questioned when you try to sell it.

If you believe your home has unpermitted construction, there are things you need to know about it:

  • What was constructed? A patio? A second bathroom? A sunroom?
  • When was it constructed? Before you bought the home? After?
  • Was a permit required and is a permit in place that you are not aware of?

Grandfathering

A “grandfather clause” is an exception to a requirement, covenant or restriction that allows those already doing or having something to legally continue to so even if the new restriction would not allow them to do or have it. With regard to an unpermitted home upgrade, if the upgrade was added prior to the change in the law and the law does not require retroactive compliance, then the exception typically is allowed to remain. An obvious exception to this would be a change that posed a danger to anyone living in the home or on the property.

Retroactive permits

If you discover upgrades, retrofits, additions or renovations in your home you should check city records to see if a permit was required for that type of work in the year(s) you believe it was completed. Then, search municipality records to see if permits were in place. If a permit was required, but you do not find one in place, you can either request a retroactive permit, or sell your home “as is” (see below). Many municipalities have a method in place to obtain retroactive permits. Check to see what the total cost of the permitting process will be. You may have to pay for permits, fines, inspections and other fees. The total cost of obtaining retroactive permits may be greater than the return on your investment.

Selling “As Is”

If you do choose to sell your home “as is,” you do not need to disclose to the city building department that you believe you have unpermitted construction. Therefore, until you are certain that you want to file a request for a retroactive permit, take care in your research not to disclose information when you communicate with municipal offices that might trigger an inspection.

On the other hand, in the selling process, fully disclose to your real estate agent items that you know about for certain—that is, upgrades or additions you initiated during your ownership. You do not want a sale delayed or to fall through because a lender requires a permit, and you want to make sure that an appropriate “as is” clause is written into the sales contract.

We can help you determine which items need permitting, which need disclosure and which are fine as they are.

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Fearing Buyer's Remorse?

Fearing Buyer's Remorse?Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you’ll make, and many times new buyers worry that they’ll make a wrong decision and then be sorry when it is too late to change it. What if I paid too much for the house? What if the neighborhood isn’t what I thought it was? What if I lose my job and can’t pay the mortgage? What if I hate my neighbors? What if a better house becomes available next week/month/year?

What-if? What-if? What-if?

Second-guessing is normal

First, you need to know that questioning your own decisions is normal. Hundreds of doubts and fears can run through your mind as you come up to the closing period during your home-buying experience. We know this expression of fear as “buyer’s remorse.” Some people have buyer’s remorse when they buy shoes, or a television, or that outfit they saw in the window. Other folks have buyer’s remorse when they purchase a car. So, if you experience buyer’s remorse for smaller purchases, expect the feeling magnify when purchasing something larger … like a car … or a house!

The grass is always greener

If your uncertainty is rooted in the idea that something better may come along next week or next month, you may never find a home to purchase. In actuality, if you create a list of your wants and needs, we can review it with you and help you find the home that fits the most important things on your list. When the uncertainty strikes, we’ll be able to review that list together to help allay your fears by reconnecting you with the reasons you chose this house in the first place. Analyzing both what you fear and what you want can help you sort through the feelings, thoughts and even doubts you’re having about moving forward.

Ways to avoid triggering buyer’s remorse

Sometimes, buyers set themselves up for experiencing doubts by falling into one of these scenarios:

  • Choosing or staying with a real estate agent that does not offer guidance through the process. We answer your questions, walk you through the paperwork, explain the complete process, work out the timeline and myriad other things that help you know what to expect as your home closes. You should feel free to call your agent whenever you have concerns. It’s our job to handle those for you.
  • Talking to family or friends. Of course they mean well, but sometimes family and friends can cause unnecessary doubts to creep in when they question the location, the price you’re paying for your home, the schools nearby, the type of loan you’ve chosen or any of a dozen other things. Unless they are professionals in the market you’ve chosen, their advice may be useful, but incomplete. So, take their questions to your real estate professional. We can address them based on the current market and location of the home you’re purchasing so you can buy with confidence.
  • Keeping your options open. When you’ve made an offer on a home, unless there is a real chance that it will fall through (because of seller demands, loans not approved, low appraisal, problems uncovered by inspections, etc.) you should stop looking at other properties to purchase. Continuing to look is like continuing to date others after announcing your engagement.

Dealing with buyer’s remorse?

The best way to handle feelings of buyer’s remorse is to talk with your real estate professional. We can address your concerns and answer your questions. Finally, if we determine together that this isn’t the home for you after all, and we can work out the details of cancelling your contract and looking for the right home where you and your family will be happy.

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Professionals Answer: "How Do I Increase My Home's Value?" (Part 3 of 3)

How Do I Increase My Home's Value?A common question for prospective home sellers is “How can I increase my home’s value or get a higher selling price?” In our earlier articles on this subject, we discuss low budget and economical fixes and upgrades that can increase the perceived value of your home. In this article, we discuss those higher cost items that only give you a high return on your investment if you have high equity in your home or will lose more money if it doesn’t sell quickly.

Many buyers look for a home they can move into immediately. While the specifics depend on the age and condition of your home, here are the priority renovations that increase your home’s appeal and return on investment potential.

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Kitchen

No matter what the other advantages of your home, if the buyers do not like the kitchen, they are less likely to make an offer. So, if you’re planning major upgrades, head to the kitchen first.

  • Paint, refinish or replace the cabinets. If your cabinets are dated, damaged or dark, consider replacing them or painting them with a lighter, newer version that still fits into the home’s style. If you’ve never painted cabinets, consider hiring a professional since they are more difficult than painting walls, and poorly painted cabinets actually decrease the appeal of your kitchen.
  • Replace countertops. If granite is all the rage in your neighborhood and comparable homes have granite countertops, consider this upgrade. Granite requires professional installation to measure, cut and polish the rock correctly. A less expensive version, granite tile, is easier to install, but has less overall value.
  • Add new appliances. New, matching appliances including ovens and stovetops or ranges, dishwashers, refrigerators, microwaves and refrigerators instantly update a kitchen.
  • Upgrade lighting, fans and fixtures to match the style of your new cabinets and countertops.
  • Kitchen floors with carpeting, vinyl or worn and broken tile should be replaced with new ceramic or other tile, wood, or another new product. Make sure you only replace kitchen floors with flooring that can handle the traffic, spills and constant cleaning that a kitchen requires.

Bathrooms

No new homeowners want to feel as if they are using someone else’s bathroom. Replace the vanity, sink and toilet. Use low-flow toilets, water-saving faucets and other green products. Replace the floor and shower surround with a neutral tile. If your bathroom has a built-in tub/shower replace it or have it professionally refinished to look fresh and new.

Living areas

Carpets harbor dirt, dust mites and stains. Replacing the carpet in major living areas with hardwood increases the visual appeal of your home. As an instant upgrade, hardwood gives your home that updated look. It also attracts buyers that cannot live in carpeted homes for health reasons.

Heating, air conditioning and water heater

These major home appliances often are out-of-sight and out-of-mind, but a new buyer wants to know they’ll work when they need them.

Exteriors

To increase the value of your home, improve the “R” rating and make your home more economical, consider replacing the roof, insulation, siding and windows. If your home has hail or other storm damage, check with your homeowner’s insurance to see if they will cover the replacement. Using better quality, energy-saving products gives your home more curb appeal and buyers know they won’t have to worry about leaks and drafts when weather hits.

Let us help …

We can assess the potential R.O.I. for these and similar upgrades to your home. Call us for an evaluation of your home’s fair market value.

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Become a Fan of Fans

Types of FansCeiling fans aren’t just about moving air, they are an important part of creating the right atmosphere in your home. Before choosing a fan, consider what you really want it to do.

Smart ceiling fans

Being smart isn’t just for phones. Big Ass Fan company has developed smart residential fans that have motion sensors, can detect ambient air temperature and humidity, and even connect with the Nest Learning Thermostat. These fans are about keeping the temperature and atmosphere in your home at optimum levels using the least amount of energy. With five-ply bamboo blades and an automotive grade paint on its glass-infused composite finish, the Haiku fan works both indoors and outside on patios and gazebos.

Whole house fans

Older homes that don’t have central air-conditioning can be fitted with a whole house fan. These fans, typically installed in ceilings of halls or stairways and venting into attics, draw cool air from open windows throughout the home and can cool skin temperatures by up to 10°F and attic temperatures by as much 40°F. Newer designs offer quiet operation and tremendous energy savings. QuietCool suggests its fans can lower your energy bills and they’re good for the environment.

Attic fans

Different from whole house fans, attic fans vent hot attic air to the outside, but do not draw air through the living spaces. Typically installed near the gable vent, attic fans can extend the life of your roof by removing trapped moisture from the attic and releasing the buildup of heat that can warp the roof’s structural components. Solar-powered attic fans operate using only solar power and is a green alternative to a standard electric attic fan, but once the sun sets, the fan needs an alternate source of energy. The U.S. Sunlight solar fan compensates for this by allowing the fan to switch between solar and your home’s electrical power when sunlight isn’t available.

Inexpensive fan options

Window fans fit within the window frame similar to a window air conditioner, but use less energy to operate. The most energy efficient way to use them is to use them at night when the outside air is cooler. This method allows for the delay or sometimes eliminates the need to turn on air conditioning during the day. It uses electricity during off-peak night hours too.

Other options include free-standing box, floor, tower or pedestal fans. You can move these portable fans from room to room throughout the day. Hi-end air movers, like the Dyson bladeless fan move air more quietly than traditional fans and consume even less energy, are safer around small children because they have no blades and offer remote control, variable speed and other options.

Fans aren’t just for summer

With winter just around the corner, some homeowners may think they don’t need fans. However, fans can reduce your heating bills just as well as your cooling bills. Make sure your ceiling fans are reversible (look for a switch on the motor housing on traditional ceiling fans). In the winter, operate your ceiling fan clockwise and the blades will push warm air back down into the room reducing the heating requirements. A window fan in lower story windows and be reversed to push cooler air outside and pull warmer air down from the ceiling. Using exhaust fans in bathrooms and laundry rooms during the winter can reduce the buildup of moisture that leads to mold and mildew growth.

When looking at houses, note the locations you can install fans to reduce your energy costs. We can help you find contractors to install whole house and ceiling fans to give your home the best atmosphere for your family.

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Professionals Answer: "How Do I Increase My Home's Value?" (Part 2 of 3)

Professionals Answer: "How Do I Increase My Home's Value?"A common question sellers ask is “What can I do to get the maximum selling price on my home?” Since each home and every market is different, we, as your real estate professionals, can give you specific advice on your home. In general, however, if you’re willing to spend a little bit on some minor upgrades, a higher return on your investment can be significant. We covered the “no-to-low cost” items in part 1 of this series and in this post we suggest some low to medium cost options for improving that selling price.

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If you have a little money to spend, the next items on your list should be these easy improvements:

  1. Paint. In terms of “bang for your buck,” paint is your best friend. Gone are the days when you should paint everything white, but covering smudged or dirty walls with a pretty neutral color (off-whites, grays, creams and earthy tones) brightens your walls, covers over a host of slight imperfections and freshens their look without breaking the bank. A contrasting color on trim and woodwork brings out architectural details. Add a new coat of paint on the ceilings — paint these white or a light off-white— to brighten and light up a room. Paint the front door, too! A bright, cheery front door adds a welcoming touch.
  2. Update light fixtures. Ceiling lights, vanity lights and exterior carriage and porch lights are inexpensive items to update. Often, larger home-improvement stores offer “contractor packs” of multiple light fixtures for a lower price, so you can update all the rooms.
  1. Change out electrical outlets and switch-plates. Simply updating outlets and outlet covers, light switches and switch-plates can give a home an updated appearance. As with light fixtures, electrical components often come in contractor packs. If you are not comfortable changing out the switches and outlets yourself and don’t want to hire an electrician, just change out the covers.
  2. Replace bath fixtures. New faucets, along with towel bars, hooks and other matching pieces bring a brand new look to most bathrooms. Make sure your shower curtains are clean, fresh and neutral. If you have the extra money, changing out the toilet for a new water-saving low-flow toilet is an effective upgrade. Along the same vein, if your lavatory sink is cracked, stained or chipped, you may want to switch it out for a new one.
  3. Kitchen hardware and faucet. Just as simply adding new fixtures improves the bath, a new faucet and fresh, updated hardware on your cabinetry can freshen and upgrade the feel of your kitchen. Make certain that cabinet latches are not broken and drawer glides all work properly. Re-paint painted cabinetry and clean and re-stain finished wood cabinetry.
  4. Fix or replace your front door. Sometimes paint is not enough. If your pets have scratched your front door, or it has dry rot, is swollen, or the layers are separating, consider replacing your door with a new one. In moisture prone areas, or for safety concerns, consider using a steel door, perhaps one with a decorative window. You can even give your steel door a wood look with a faux wood-graining kit.
  5. Upgrade your garage door. Especially if your garage door is visible from the front of your home, consider painting or upgrading your garage door.

Let us help …

We can assess the potential R.O.I. for these and similar upgrades to your home. Call us for an evaluation of your home’s fair market value.

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