Home Improvements with High ROI

Is your house a little dated? Do you want to make some improvements or upgrades but also want to make sure that you get the best bang for your buck if you decide to sell? Not all home improvements bring a good return on investment when selling, so unless the improvement is simply for your own style and enjoyment, choosing projects with higher ROI just makes sense.

Home Improvements with High ROI

  • Add square footage – The best return on investment is adding space. Converting an attic or basement into a family room, adding a room or bathroom or even installing a garden room or outside kitchen will bring solid returns when selling.
  • Bathroom and Kitchens – Remodeling a bathroom or kitchen will always bring more than their cost when selling. Create simple and soothing environments where a future owner can imagine themselves using and avoid heavy period-style cabinetry and surfaces.
  • Doors and Windows – Upgraded doors and windows can really add impact to a room. Not only do current options save energy, they come in a wide variety of styles and finishes to accentuate the space.
  • Garage Doors – If you have an old or weathered garage door, this is a relatively inexpensive way to dress up your home.
  • Paint – Fresh paint is inexpensive and makes the home appear new and modern. Choose calm tones which compliment any décor.

Regardless of whether you’re considering a weekend project or a major remodel, understanding the return on your investment can help you make the best choice for your project. Home improvements can be costly and if you’re considering listing your home for sale in the future, make sure you can recapture your cost.

Top Tips for House Hunting Online

Hunting for a new home online a is a great place to start your search but
keep in mind that you don’t see everything. Real estate agents are great at
highlighting the features of a house listing online but to make the most of
your time, keep these three things in mind:

Identify your Housing Needs
Preferences are important when house searching. A house may not have
everything you want but it will have most of the things. Be realistic about
pricing and keep in mind the must-have items that will definitely be needed because this will help narrow your search.

Stay up to Date
When you start your search, make sure you go to sites with up-to-date
listings directly from the multiple listing service. Realtors post their most
current homes for sale through this. Many sites fail to remove listings that
are already off the market, and this can lead to you trying to sort through
them and find the recent ones.

Pictures can be Deceiving
Photographers capture listings at their best. They use different strategies
and tools to boost the appeal of the home like creative editing and
expensive camera equipment known for its effects. What they don’t show is unappealing parts, like an undone bathroom or small closet.

Go See The Listing After
After you have chosen a house that’s appealing to you, schedule a showing
with your real estate agent. This is the opportunity to see every part of the
house in person and see if it’s a good fit.

Searching online is a great way to learn more about the house you’re
looking for. Even if you’re still unsure about moving, house hunting online
gives potential sellers the basic information.

The A Team

Common FSBO Mistakes

Selling your home on your own as a “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) can be tempting. With real estate commissions amounting to as much as 7% of the sales price, many owners consider selling their homes on their own to save money. Selling as a FSBO is more complicated than it might seem, but if you can avoid the most common mistakes, you will have a better chance at
a good outcome.

Not Pricing the Home Properly – Doing market research on your own is tough. Too often a FSBO is not priced correctly.
Not Advertising Properly – Marketing a home is more than an ad in the local newspaper. FSBO sellers can utilize online tools like Zillow and Trulia, just like the agents.
Saying Too Much To Buyers – Homeowners are rightly proud of their homes, but telling buyers everything they know about the home, good or bad, can turn off a potential buyer.
Not Disclosing Problems or Defects – Just because the home is being sold by the seller, it doesn’t mean they are not subject to the laws governing seller disclosures.
Not Negotiating Terms – Not only the price, but the terms are negotiable.

Selling a home without an agent can be successful. Without doing the proper research ahead of time to know what to expect, it might end up costing more in the long run.

The A Team

How To Lower Closing Costs

Closing costs help facilitate the sale of a home and both buyers and sellers
pitch in. Some closing costs can be paid before the home is officially sold and others are paid at the end.

However, closing costs aren’t set into stone and they can be negotiable. You
can ask your real estate agent or lender with help in estimating your actual
closing costs. Look over everything to make sure all the numbers are right
and then you plan accordingly in how you’re going to lower them.

Loyalty Programs
Some banks offer assistance to buyers when they use them to help pay for
the purchase. It’s a way for a bank to reward loyal customers.
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Closing at the End of the Month
Schedule your closing at the end of the month so you don’t have to pay the
per diem interest for so many days.

Get Multiple Quotes
Get estimates from different lenders because you’re looking for the best
package of closing costs and interest rates. There might be something better out there.

Junk Fees
There may be some fees a lender charges that may be negotiable, such as
origination fee, processing fee, or application fee. Make sure to ask if what
you are being quoted is the best they can offer.

Title Costs
Sometimes title insurance and settlement are bundled together. You may be able to find a title and settlement company that is less expensive.

Negotiate With the Seller You can try to negotiate with the seller in paying for some of your closing
costs. Buyers can ask for credit or to cover lender expenses during the offer
and negotiation process.

Easy Landscaping Ideas

You’ve heard the term “curb appeal.” You don’t need to have a green thumb to make some simple changes to your yard which will delight your potential buyers. A weekend project is all you need to make these easy landscaping and yard changes.

• Add color; seasonal flowers in pots by the front door or beds in the front yard add brightness to the home
• Native plants; create a lower maintenance environment with native plants who thrive in your area
• Outdoor lighting; with so many solar options, it’s easy to add a glow
• Garden accents; fountains, benches and garden art create interest and a sense of luxury
• Vegetable and herb gardens; consider a raised bed in a portion of the yard or large pots filled with tasty plants
• BBQs and furniture sets; while more expensive, adding furniture arranged to showcase the outdoor lifestyle will appeal to buyers and enhance your yard

As the weather becomes warmer, buyers naturally spend more time in the yard. Give them a reason to imagine themselves enjoying this summer in their new home.

Items to Check before a Home Inspection

Selling a home can be a stressful time, there is so much to think about; keeping the home clean, heading out on a moment’s notice to accommodate last minute showings, not to mention planning a move. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed.

Then you get that great offer and enter escrow. You’re relieved until you realize there’s a home inspection coming. Even a home meticulously maintained can have hidden issues. The good news is that you can prepare for the home inspection and make sure you pass with flying colors.

Items to Check before a Home Inspection

  • Doors, windows, cabinets and drawers – check that they slide smoothly
  • Run water in sinks, tubs and showers – snake any that drain slowly
  • Evidence of water leaks – Garage ceiling, under sinks, around water heaters, etc.
  • GFIs – check your local code and put GFI plugs where required
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors must be in working order
  • Gutters and Roof – replace any missing roof tiles and clean gutters
  • HVAC – Consider a HVAC servicing to replace filters and check for problems
  • Water Heater – is it properly strapped and vented
  • Deferred maintenance – anything that has been neglected should be addressed before the home inspection
  • Check out your crawl space, is there moisture issues, standing water anywhere?
  • Have your HVAC serviced if you haven’t done so recently.

The best defense is a good offense. This is true in home inspections too! The best way to ensure you have a great home inspection is to have a pre-listing home inspection. It could be the best couple hundred dollars you can spend – uncover the issues before the buyer does.

The A Team

How Appraisers Determine Value

Once a buyer and seller agree on a sales price, the contract is then sent to the lender for the loan approval process. One of the first things the lender will do is to order an independent appraisal. The appraiser will use local data to determine a value for the subject property. The main purpose is to protect the lender in the event of borrower default by ensuring that the
property is actually worth what the buyer is willing to pay, but this also protects the buyer from over-paying as well.

Determining Value
The process appraiser use to determine value is relatively simple. They start by searching for local comparable properties which have closed recently. They choose the 2 or 3 which most closely match the subject property and use them for comparison. Since these comparable homes have closed recently, they are assumed to represent market value.

Once the appraiser has the comparable properties identified, they will then compare the subject property to them. They will add or subtract value for size, location, amenities, features, upgrades and so on until they have a value for the subject property. This is then reported to the lender in the form of a final appraisal.

The A Team