Plan to Stay, Pay to Sell: Getting Your Home Ready to Put on the Market
There are those who believe that the real estate market is on the upswing. Only time will tell. With the economy still trying to make up it’s mind, you are probably in the midst of trying to make up your own…to sell, or not to sell?
Whether you choose to sell, stay or take out a reverse mortgage on your home, pay no mind to the state of the market. Instead, control what you can control, the practical value of your home equity, by following a few simple steps, outlined below:
Honest First-Hand Appraisal
Conduct quarterly appraisals of each room in your house. The temptation will be to say that everything is fine, but basic wear and tear must be scrutinized if you want to increase the value of your home and likelihood of selling. Examine your home through the eyes of a prospective buyer and look for problems in structure, functionality and aesthetics. Look at the tile in the bathroom. Is the grout cracking? Look at the hardwood in the hall. Does it need to be replaced or refinished? Each room, and each appliance, should be evaluated.
Hire a Home Inspector
You cannot fight what you cannot see. Hire a home inspector to walk you through any problems that might be hiding in the walls. Make a list of all the issues that your home inspector has discovered and ask for an estimate. Fix problems as they arise to avoid significant depreciation of your home equity later on.
More important than building home equity is maintaining it. Repair rooms, plumbing, and items of interest as needed. Repairs increase the equity of your home and will go a long way during an open house, where prospective buyers are apt to ask to more questions about what they cannot see than what they can. If your home is fully functional, priced fairly and conducive to their needs, prospective buyers will have a good reason to come back.
Nothing increases home equity more quickly than desirable amenities, like large master baths and luxurious showers. Buyers typically look for homes that do not require renovation. They look for homes that welcome their arrival with a relaxing hot tub and warming vents over the shower. The more money you put into your buyers’ convenience, the more likely they will be to make an offer after the first showing.
Smaller projects add up quickly. While the equity of your home will increase with each renovation, home improvement projects are not free. Do not go into debt to build equity in your home. Hire someone to put in new trim around the cabinets or tear down a wall to double the square footage in your living room. Personalization is attractive to buyers. Keep a rainy day fund for major home improvement projects, but work smaller home improvement projects into your budget as diligently as you would your electricity bill. Your efforts will pay off in the long run.
Real Estate Agent
Most real estate agents work on commission, which will play to your advantage if your real estate agent is good at what he does. Before hiring a real estate agent, run a Google search and see if their name comes up. Reviews are typically more honest in the cyberspace than they are anywhere else. Reach out to real estate agents in good standing in their profession. Such individuals usually present with years of experience, numerous recommendations and an intricate, practical knowledge of real estate negotiations.