Johnny Bitti hopes to sell his home before July. Raymond Kalu, Century 21 Hometown agent from Sterling Heights, Michigan says, “Bitti needs to start thinking about how to make his home stand out from the rest. The trick is to spend time and money on fix-ups, getting the house to look neat and open instead of spending money on remodeling projects.”
Kalu seems to have his hand on the pulse of the market. Remodeling magazine completed a study of homeowners across America and the result is that the owners aren't recouping as many improvement costs as they could in recent years. In fact, real-estate agents advise clients not to overdo it, regardless of what the local market conditions are like.
The investment for any remodeling projects is added to the selling price of the home. Chaldean real-estate agents say that the buyers market is fiercely competitive and sellers will have trouble selling a home with value added costs added to the bottom line. The reason is that asking prices are based largely on comparisons with similar homes in the area, Kalu says. “And in the many markets that aren't exactly booming right now, buyers have more negotiating power over the price of a home,” he adds.
www.CHALDEAN.org contacted a number of Chaldean real-estate agents and asked them for their best tips for Chaldean homeowners looking to sell. Here is what they had to say…
1. Ask for advice.
Before making any remodeling plans, clear your home of clutter and rent a storage unit, if necessary, to hold extra stuff while the home is on the market. Check online or get some advice from a local real-estate agent on how the home stacks up against the competition.
2. Make a List and Prioritize.
The real-estate agent should help sellers make a prioritized list of improvements that will make a difference. Cleaning the carpets, painting the walls and removing wallpaper are common fixes. It is wise to budget for these tasks before putting money aside for more expensive projects.
3. Dig deeper.
Look below the surface by getting a home inspection before listing the property. That way, problems that could stall a sale are addressed in advance. Some estimate that for every dollar of perceived defect in the home, buyers want a $2 to $3 discount.
4. Take care of the Essentials.
Buyers often look at a few major items in the home. Things like furnace, windows, roof, and water heater. If they look neglected most buyers will wonder if this was neglected, what else?
Repairing some of the necessary essentials such as a furnace helps create a favorable perception of how well the seller took care of the home. Keeping the windows clean and free and trip pearly white sends out a good message.
5. Look outside.
Pay attention to exterior details of the home like the landscape, address numbers, and lawn. Consider planting beautiful flowers, removing weeds, fixing cracks in the driveway or porch, power washing the bricks, and the condition of siding and windows. Curb appeal sets the mood and tone. Buyers are drawn by photos and price to visit the home and often they make up their minds before stepping into the house. A beautiful and well kept landscape will go far in helping the buyer come up with excuses for shortfalls inside the home.
6. Research Remodel Returns.
Take some time and research what the remodeling returns are in your area. Trends and temperature impact what the seller might be able to recoup from a remodeling or fix-up project.
According to Remodeling magazine's 2007 Cost versus Value Report, a wooden-window replacement recovers on average 81.2% of its cost at resale, and siding replacement recovers on average 83.2% of its cost. The payoff for those projects is much better than for an upgrade that a buyer might not need. A home-office remodeling, for example, recovers 57% of its cost on average. The estimates are national averages for midrange homes, not upscale ones.
7. Spend time in the bathroom.
Freshening up the bathroom doesn't have to be expensive, but it is very important. It's most important for the bathroom to be spotless clean. Sellers should also consider replacing the fixtures, tub, sink and toilet, cracked tiles, or curled linoleum.
The replacements don't have to be expensive. A toilet can cost less than $250, and Chaldean agents recommends taller, handicap replacement toilets that appeal to an aging population.
8. Keep it small in the kitchen.
The other room that often sells a house is the kitchen, but it might be best to keep renovations modest. Remodeling magazine's report found that homeowners could recover 83% of the cost of a minor kitchen remodel at resale, compared with 78.1% of a major kitchen remodel.
Chaldean agents caution clients not to replace refrigerators, stoves or dishwashers. Buyers considering remodeling the kitchen will likely have their own preferences.
Along those same lines, sellers should replace a countertop if it is crumbling but not if its only fault is that it is outdated. Even then, seriously consider material costs: There is no need to update to granite unless the overwhelming competition has granite countertops as well.