Increasing Your House Value
Are you preparing to sell and looking to increase your house value? There are many things to think through but the most important is the return on investment (ROI). If you are considering upgrading your vanity bathroom cabinets for example, you should rethink that approach. The return on investment is only 66%. That is nowhere near as lucrative as simply cleaning and decluttering.
8 Improvements to Add House Value
- The return on investment for yard improvement is 303% according to NAR (or 400% according to This Old House). You are only going to attract bargain hunters if your yard is full of weeds.
- Repair (electrical, plumbing, etc.). The return is 299%. Homes that need essential repairs are not going to get top dollar in the marketplace.
- Declutter and Clean. Return 403%. This simple thing with an average cost of $400 is one of the most value adding improvements a seller can make. If you get professional assistance it will likely increase the ROI even higher.
- The HomeGain website states the ROI for new carpet ($671) is 160%. If the carpet in your home is clean and in good condition money is likely put to better use elsewhere.
- The ROI here is 196%. Professional stagers can help to draw attention from parts of the home that are too expensive to revamp.
- Brighten and Lighten. Boost the light by cleaning windows or giving a fresh lighter coat of paint to a dark room. You can even choose higher wattage lamps. While all the return figures for increasing your house value are different depending on what you do, they are all going in the positive direction.
- Improve appliances. While entire kitchen remodels are far too expensive to have a good return on investment to increase your house value, minor kitchen remodels have an ROI of 79%. Replacing old kitchen appliances is also a great way to increase your house value.
- Declutter and Clean. Yes, it is that important and that valuable!
If you are looking to sell and in need of some advice about what your home may need in the way of improvements to get top dollar, give us a call today! We would love to help you with this and all other facets of selling your home.
Concepts for a Bigger Kitchen
We all know the important role a kitchen plays in any home. It is a gathering place for the entire family. If you are in a small uninviting space while preparing food, it affects your quality of experience. Are you looking to make improvements to your kitchen without spending a ton of money? How about giving the illusion of a bigger kitchen without breaking the bank? How about making it a place your entire family enjoys spending time in?
Recently author Brad Miller gave some tips on achieving a bigger kitchen on a budget in an article for Realty Times. He offered some ways to increase the value of your kitchen, make it appear larger, and do it all in an economical fashion. Below are some of his ideas:
- Light the cabinets (reducing shadows will make a kitchen “feel roomier”. There are so many options including my favorite, glass-doored cabinets lit from the inside).
- Purchase a narrow refrigerator (a tall, slim 28 inch model stores quite a lot of food).
- Purchase a compact dishwasher (especially suitable for a condo).
- Get rid of the double sinks (one single big sink is a real space saver; makes washing certain dishes easier; gives you more counter space).
- Do away with some of the hardware (to give a less chaotic and more spacious look utilize press activated drawers and cabinet doors).
Included in the Realty times article was an impressive array of photographs showing his bigger kitchen ideas. They really do make a kitchen look bigger on a budget.
Are you looking to sell your home? Consider pinpointing the cheapest improvements that can add value to your home. I can help you to identify any needed improvements. Please call today!
Real Estate Sales: Consider All the Senses!
When thinking of conventional real estate sales circumstances, we first consider the photos that lead the MLS listing and the details given about the property. After that, if our thoughts about the property are positive, we would then seek to view the home in person to get a feel for the curb appeal.
Every step considering the property up to the next point has been solely taken in by the eyes. Actually, I think most real estate sales prospects think in mainly visual ways. Why? Because most of what appeals to possible home buyers comes to them through their visual sense.
But, wait! While the eyes are important; sight is only one of the five senses. When preparing their homes for sale, homeowners can also think about how to utilize the other four senses to impress prospective buyers. Although it may be a different way to think about real estate selling, it can be extremely useful.
SOUND: does your front door squeak? Do the stair rails groan or does the air conditioner screech? This all leads to a less than satisfactory impression. However, playing pleasant music softly in the background can gain a favorable response from perspective buyers.
SMELL: pets! Bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and other rooms can gain from candles and other air fresheners. And a bouquet of flowers can add more than the obvious visual element.
TOUCH: if a possible house buyer grasps a rickety door handle it sends an immediate message about the quality of the home. A heavy, solid door sends a completely different message than a light and flimsy door. In fact, consumeraffairs.com puts front door replacement at the top of its list for return on investment fixes. Consider repairing anything from dirty light switches to stubborn sliding glass doors.
TASTE: yes, this sense is not as important as the others. But after a full schedule of viewing homes, the sight of a tray of homemade brownies is most welcome.
When selling your home, it is a good idea to take into account all the senses when preparing your home for visitors. For this and all other real estate sales concerns, please give us a call!
Pricing Your House is an Art
Pricing your house is not a science.
Scientific findings must be verified experimentally. To prove a quality of gravity, Galileo dropped a feather and a lead weight from the Tower of Pisa. This experiment can be repeated by others. If the results are recurring, then it is a matter of science.
Pricing your house is more art than science. No pricing experiment can be replicated because no two houses are identical. Also, even if you attempt to sell the same home more than once, the collection of interested buyers is continuously changing. So many external factors affect the sales picture, even the daily news.
We also must consider the attachment many of us feel for our homes. Even the most unemotional homeowner knows there are two different ways to place a price on their home. There is the amount the home can be listed for, and there is the value the home has to their family. With any luck they are not completely dissimilar. Regardless, it is always going to be the value the home can be sold for that reigns supreme.
Three Tactics In Pricing Your Home
Now that we know no pricing approach can be scientifically based, the most effective plan it to adhere to some widely accepted standards. We guide our clients to tackle the pricing dilemma in the following ways.
- Research the market as potential buyers would. Find similar properties and see what the asking prices are and what they sold for. This is where our research can be most useful.
- After you have determined the range where your house sits, find “holes” in that span. Often there will be an obvious break in asking prices. One excellent tactic is to price your home in that gap.
- After you have decided on an asking price, another approach is to change it to the next ”99” number. If you are sitting at a $305,000 asking price, think about lowering it to $299,999. Although everyone knows this maneuver, its use is so commonplace no one feels duped. People will always respond to that lower price as though it were a much steeper discount.
Pricing your house correctly is one of the multiple steps that go into a winning marketing strategy. Give us a call today for a no cost, no obligation meeting.
Prepping Your Home For Sale
Home sellers can find the process of home prepping to be a trial or a joy. This is likely determined by the amount of care they have given the home in recent years. Either way, first and foremost they must take a complete survey of the home to determine what improvements are needed.
When the curb appeal evaluation assesses as a “C” or less, it is sure to be echoed in the attention of potential buyers. This will be especially evident in the offers they make. Landscaping, a new roof, a paint job for the exterior might be needed. At the end of the day their cost will be a bargain compared with the loss of buyer excitement.
The Three Rules of Home Prepping
Prepping the interior of the home also calls for the identical amount of straightforward consideration and judgement. Yes, a major remodeling job rarely makes back it’s expense, but the three essential rules of house prepping are completely worth their cost in money and labor.
- Do a thorough deep cleaning in every space.
- Remove clutter.
Making Them Welcome
What is next after the majority of work has been done? A beneficial last step is simple. The word “welcome.” That is demonstrated by one of the most often observed recommendations for prepping a home. It is also the easiest piece of advice to accomplish: “replace the welcome mat.”
“Replacing the front door”-as well as “changing the front door hardware” and “replacing the address numbers” are other costlier recommendations. Meeting potential buyers with a ship shape and welcoming first impression is very valuable. It shows that a great amount of care has been taken to welcome the visitor. It shows respect. In fact, adding those finishing touches and making those specifics as nice as they can paves the way for a good response for the following event.
We can assist you with all the parts of home prepping. There is never any obligation. Call for a professional’s opinion today!
Are Home Appraisals Keeping Up With The Rising Market?
Home Appraisals Catching Up To The Rising Real Estate Market
One of the most difficult and unpredictable times in a home purchase and sale is the home appraisal.
Up until that point one side of the transaction is in control, whether buyer or seller.
But the home appraisal is different, a bad home appraisal can damage a good deal beyond any reconciliation.
Once the appraiser determines the value of a home and submits the home’s appraisal report it can be very difficult to dispute that value.
That’s why this week’s news pertaining to the continued rise in the value of homes is certain to make many homeowners very very happy. However, with the good news there always seems to be some level of bad news right behind it. The unintended consequences so to speak.
The mortgage loan industry appears to be a group of folks just so affected by rising home values. Specifically, when it comes down to the home appraisal. Broward County home appraisals appear to move to the front of the line when mortgage lenders are preparing their offers for mortgage. Mariam-Webster’s Dictionary defines an appraisal as “a valuation of property by the estimate of an authorized person.” In mortgage terms the appraiser gives an independent, third party assessment of the subject property. Lenders rely on an accurate home appraisal as a backstop to the loan. The value they are lending on must be recoverable should the borrower fail to repay the borrowed amount in full.
Which is why the steady rise in home values is having a less than desirable consequence on home appraisals. So long as a steady inventory of homes are selling in the recent weeks and months this not an issue at all. Considering the fact that home appraisals are dependent upon comparable sales to determine property values, this could become an issue. Especially if inventory and sales dry up, and there are less comparable sales to work with. This will cause the appraiser to look further back into the past for comparable sales. With a rising market that can cause some problems. One being, older sales won’t reflect recent price gains.
In a seller’s market this it is not unheard of. In fact, right here in Coral Springs we are experiencing lower than usual inventory on the market. Homes for sale just can’t keep up with current demand.
One likely outcome in this scenario could be that the price that the buyer and seller agreed upon will end up being higher than the value the appraiser believes, based on comparable sales. The smallest difference in value could be just enough to quell the mortgage.
Now don’t get me wrong, lenders are in the business of lending money. Which means they like to lend money and they’re especially happy when these deals work out. So rest assured they are certainly aware of this phenomenon and are keeping track. One such company is Quicken Loans. Their HPPI (Home Price Perception Index) measures the disparity between what a refinancing homeowner is seeking, as compared to the value the appraiser comes up with.
The best news (or at least on a national level) is that the gap between homeowners, home buyers and appraisers is closing. As we know real estate is hyper local, but this trend appears fairly widespread nationwide. By mid-November 2017, the difference reduced for the 5th consecutive month. As of this writing the difference is within 1%.That’s great news for everyone.
Coral Springs and Parkland appraisals and mortgages are very important components to the home buying experience, but it doesn’t end there. Our job at The Miranda Team is to guide buyers and sellers, and to fit all of the pieces of a real estate transaction together and ensure a smooth transaction along the way. Home appraisal and all. So call us to see how we can help your next real estate transaction be the best one yet.
Preparing To Sell Your Home? – Choose The Right Improvements!
Which Upgrade Will Make You The Most Money When You Sell?
A major question we encounter with homeowners thinking to sell their homes lately revolve around which projects they should undertake prior to putting their home on the market for sale.
There is almost always some level of consternation regarding how much time, money and effort will be required and to what extent the projects should be completed.
There’s always the obvious punch list to take care of the areas where the home shows wear and tear. The questions arise when discussing the more ambitious projects.
Fresh paint and steam cleaned carpets only begin to scratch the surface on the “can do” projects to prepare a home for sale.
Unfortunately it’s the gray areas that present the largest challenge. The costly improvements that may or may not result in a quicker sale, an offer for more money – or both. I call the areas gray because even the best real estate schools don’t train us to use a crystal ball, so we cannot see into the future and advise with that ever so helpful hindsight. So there will be no guaranteed rate of return on investment.
A simple Google search for “home repair cost-recoup” will reap some invaluable data. While perusing the data keep in mind these are national averages, unless you can find local information. Don’t dismiss these numbers all together though, they at least give some level of indication on each named project and they certainly can assist in your decision making process. Below is a chart of repairs and what they return on average borrowed from the National Association of Realtors® from mid-range homes.
When deciding which repairs will make the most sense the first thing to do is decide on a budget. If you don’t have $62,000 available, you likely won’t be doing a major kitchen remodel—even if your kitchen looks like a scene directly out of “The Brady Bunch”.
Before making a decision on repairs or upgrades before you sell contact us at The Miranda Team. We can walk you through the best repairs to make within your budget to ensure you get the highest return on investment. As you can see from the chart above, not all repairs are created equal, and it doesn’t always make sense to do some repairs. While others make total sense. Let us be your Sherpa guide when navigating through the mountains of data for your repairs. We’re ready to make you as much money as possible, and spending as little money possible. You’re success is our goal.
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The World Series is Over, But Your Home Selling Negotiations Are Not
Make Sure to Avoid Fouls in Your Home Selling Negotiations
When it comes to starting negotiations, the home seller is the ultimate decision maker.
A great real estate agent, like every great coach of the past will be there to offer the guidance and counsel needed for a winning game plan.
It’s not always easy to develop the appropriate response to offers on your home.
If this is your first time selling a home, or it’s been more than a decade, it’s time well spent to familiarize yourself with practical pointers in home selling negotiations.
Not only is Realtor.com the best website to search for homes, home sellers around the country can also find valuable resources and insights to help them on the road to their home closing. This month’s World Series finale no doubt inspired one of Realtor.com’s title for a list of home selling negotiating pitfalls. The article I’m referring to was published on the morning of Houston’s Game 7 victory. The premise of the article deals with errors in negotiating a home sale. You can find it here, titled “Hardball Fouls: 6 Home-Selling Negotiation Strategies That Can Backfire.”
Even though the first foul mentioned is “starting a bidding war”, after reading we find that was a slight overstatement. Clearly, a bidding war is more than ideal for home sellers in Coral Springs, or anywhere in our beautiful country. What was mentioned was how a multiple offer circumstance could be botched. One common mistake is setting your offer deadline too far into the future. Buyers pressed for time simply won’t be willing to wait. An additional foul ball mentioned was passing up on a strong offer that may not re-appear if you miss out. Don’t leave money on the table during these multiple offer situations by sticking too hard to your own rules. After all, you only get one shot at making the most amount of money possible in this sale.
They also mentioned in the article about being too tough responding to the home buyer’s request for home repairs. They stopped short of saying “stop being so gosh darn stubborn”! On the same note, don’t be so stubborn about your closing date, how closing costs are paid and arguing over your favorite light fixture you want to take with you. If every other part of the deal is going smooth, don’t mess it up over these seemingly small items.
The next one could misfire in a big way: “threatening to put the property back on the market”. Now first of all, your agent should walk you off the ledge from this potentially deal killing move. Keep in mind, it’s not only the stigma that may be attached to your “back on the market” property. It’s also the fact that all of those other home buyers that were once interested in your house may have already moved on to other homes, never to return to the prospect of buying your house.
These invaluable negotiation techniques underlie all of the Realtor.com’s examples as guiding principles we know to be legitimate deal breaking techniques. When you’re in the final inning and coming down the home stretch, be sure you’re evaluating every aspect of the deal as part of the transaction as a whole. Individually, every detail that may seem important will tend to lose their influence when viewed in relation to the entire transaction. In baseball terms, keep your eye on the ball.
Regardless of how thrilling any World Series Game 7 may be, remember, it’s only a game. However, when it comes to selling your home, whether in Coral Springs, Broward County, or anywhere in The United States, it’s a much more serious endeavor. When selling your home, every decision matters, and every decision may have consequences for years to come. These are details we at The Miranda Team keep in mind when we’re working with our clients and negotiating the best deal for them. From listing prep to closing day, we ensure you have a winning plan when it’s time to sell. Please call us anytime to discuss how we can help you put more money in your bank account with our game winning negation strategies.
Curb Appeal Window of Opportunity
The Best Time To Get Your Lawn Ready For Summer Curb Appeal
Southeast Florida garden enthusiasts already know. But for the rest of us who don’t have green thumbs, this is a very special time of year for your home’s curb appeal.
Or at least as far as gardening and landscaping are concerned.
The fall is prime season for transplanting existing plants and planting new plants.
Even if you’re not planning on selling your Coral Springs home anytime soon, it is still in your best interest to maximize your home’s curb appeal. Where pride of ownership is concerned, having beautiful plants in your front and back yard will have a major positive impact on visual appeal. Your neighbors and casual joggers may not notice the aesthetic difference your pleasantly appointed yard makes, but fresh landscaping is one area that is readily available, and within full control of every homeowner. (Unless you live in an HOA community, then there may be some restrictions.) Experienced gardeners will tell you, now is the best time of the year for making the most aesthetic difference in your curb appeal, for the least amount of money. Who doesn’t want to save money, right?
Fall’s cooler temperatures are what make all the difference. The soil maintaining much of summer’s warmth, along with the cool air temperature will cause less stress on the plant’s roots, as well as the gardener doing the work. Like squirrels in the winter, perennials hibernate in the winter. Their time in dormancy over the winter gives them a nice time to restore themselves. Additionally, it’s a stress-free way for their roots to take hold.
Most amateur gardeners begin by enhancing the variety of color in their gardens when spring begins. However, for spring blossoming bulbs, shrubs, perennials and trees, this is not the best time for planting and transplanting. Experts will tell you, the fall season is the best time to divide clusters of perennials that did well throughout the year. This is one trick the will help you spread color to other parts of your garden for a total investment of zero dollars. Keep an eye out for sales at local garden sales. There are a lot of places in Coral Springs that are trying to unload their garden inventory to make room for holiday inventory.
For house flippers with a short timeline, planting and transplanting may not be ideal. But for homeowners that don’t see selling their house on the horizon anytime soon, taking the long view of landscape enhancement is ideal and cost effective. The best time to begin your plans for the summer’s lush garden is October. And when the time comes to buy or sell real estate in Coral Springs or Broward County, we hope you’ll give us at The Miranda Team a call. We’re always here for FREE, no obligation counseling and advice.
5 Basic Tips To Ensure Your Appraisal Goes Well
5 Simple Tips To Help Your Home Appraisal
Samuel Johnson is quoted saying:
“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully”.
Similarly, homeowners could apply an equivalently wry modern version to real estate appraisal.
A home seller might say something like:
“Depend upon it, sir, nothing clears a home seller’s mind like knowing the real estate appraiser is coming in a fortnight”.
We would like to dispute that thought—when the appraiser is scheduled, there is really not much to worry about. There are measures that can be taken to lower stress and anxiety levels. Here are just a few simple ideas to keep in mind when “The Appraiser” is scheduled to make a visit. This is an easy to follow list for the homeowner. A good Realtor® will be invaluable with additional tips to ensure a satisfactory appraisal.
1. Be Considerate.
The job of the appraiser is partially physical. So any consideration you give to his/her comfort will be greatly appreciated, and maybe rewarded (Certainly not punished). Check for any barriers or obstacles that may impede his/her path. Ensure also that all rooms are properly heated or cooled. A sweaty appraiser is not a happy appraiser. And an unhappy appraiser is not a good thing…
2. Your Appraisal Is Not a Showing Appointment.
Appraisers will be focusing more on the physical details of the home such as square footage, structure and mechanical features. With that in mind it’s still not a bad idea to get your house in order. Even though the appraiser is not there to buy the house, we still want to sell it to them. What I mean by that is we want the appraiser to feel like this house is different than the other homes that sold in the neighborhood (by different I mean better). We don’t need a totally clutter-free show stopper, but the house must be presentable. Appraisers won’t be buying your house anytime soon, but they must buy the vision.
3. Organize Your Paperwork.
If available, it’s a good idea to dig up floor plans, location plats, surveys, permits and warranties etc. Although age is important, recent updates and upgrades are equally important in increasing the appraised value. Prepare a line item list of improvements, being sure to include the year the improvement was completed, and the cost. Believe it or not appraisers want your house to appraise at full purchase price. Everything we do to help them achieve this goal as easily as possible, the more likely we are to receive a satisfactory report.
4. Curb Appeal Still Matters.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve met the appraiser at the property and the appraiser has complimented the curb appeal. We just discussed that appraisals are not showing appointments and the appraiser is not there to make an offer to purchase your property. But nobody can resist the “first impression” effect. It’s more of a feeling or emotion than it is a reaction. Property condition is a consideration in every appraisal, so it’s a worthwhile endeavor to maintain your front lawn. At the very least, before the appraiser arrives the front lawn is freshly cut and all of the plants are trimmed and looking their best. If there is any area in the front that needs a fresh coat of paint, it is well worth the time to make a great “first impression”.
5. No News Is Good News.
Any positive changes in the neighborhood would be a plus for the appraiser. Politely remind the appraiser of any new developments that make the area more desirable. Similarly this is not the time to discuss the freeway they’re planning behind your house. Even if your city, like our great City of Coral Springs is be experiencing rising home prices, appraisers won’t speculate on “future” values. However, providing some constructive neighborhood developments can certainly be influential to the appraiser’s conclusions. Appraisers are human after all.
One final “nothing clears the mind” quote. By me: “Nothing clears the mind like buying real estate”. This quote is not as depressing as the first quote by Samuel Johnson, and it’s absolutely true. If you’re on your own house hunt, we hope you’ll give us a call to assist you in focusing your search. And if you’re preparing to sell your house, especially in Coral Springs or Broward County, (which adds you to the soon-to-be-visited-by-the-appraiser category) the same applies. Don’t hesitate to call us. And if you have a friend that would benefit from this information please feel free to share.