To rent or to sell, tis the question of the day. While inventory in many markets across the nation have created bidding wars, renting is still popular too. Selling your home may bring in a large sum of cash, but rent can also bring in the cash you need. Therefore, we have some tips to help you decide what you should do now that the housing market is recovering.
Rent vs Sell – you have to ask yourself how much you can sell your home for when compared to how much you still owe on the property. If you owe too much, renting could be a better value for you. Becoming a landlord can be a lot of hassle. However, you will make a monthly income while paying the home loan down.
Let’s look at renting the home:
Rent income – Your goal should be to rent the home for at least $200 a month above your loan, insurance and tax costs. You will need to set that amount aside each month for repairs that will be needed later. If you cannot make a profit off your home, rent if for what you owe and have a clause in the lease that will make them liable for all home repairs. Just keep in mind, your home will need repairs so you will have to trust the renter a whole lot.
Home upgrades – Just like a homebuyer, a renter will want to live in a nice home that does not need repaired and is not falling apart. However, you don’t want to invest a large amount into upgrades and repairs if you are renting. If you need carpeting, builders grade should suffice. Investing in expensive carpet won’t help you rent your home. It will get damaged, and all renters care about is clean carpet.
Property maintenance – When you rent you will have maintenance just like owning the home. Sometimes you will have more if a tenant is not taking care of your property. Therefore, just like we referenced above, you will need to rent your home for more than what you owe so you can save up for repairs. A deposit will help some if a renter leaves the home in disarray. But, if the water heater goes out while the tenant is still occupying the home, you will need that extra cash to get it fixed. Be prepared for many unexpected repairs.
If renting is not for you and you owe too much on your home, ask your lender if they would agree to a short sale. Just beware that it could hinder you from buying another property right away. Hopefully, these tips will help you weigh your pros and cons to help you make the decision that is right for your situation.
Now that the winter’s snow has melted away in most of the country, let’s consider some calculated curb appeal to get people slamming on the brakes to see your beautiful home. Curb appeal is something prospective buyers stop for a better look at when a house is for sale. The National Association of REALTORS® say, “53% of buyers decisions are based on curb appeal”. With so many homes for sale, the major importance is to understand the “new normal”.
Curb appeal is outdoor staging and more important than ever before. If a palace was for sale, no one would have the opportunity to buy it if they didn’t get the bell to ring to see the inside. Without style and upkeep of the grounds, no one is going to want to see the inside. You need to pay attention to the outdoors as well as the indoors. However, all sellers must keep in mind that curb appeal depends upon what the buyer is looking for. Buyers that are urban oriented aren’t just looking at the lovely lawn. They are also looking for clean windows, good condition paint, attractive front doors, nice plantings, leaves raked and freshly mowed lawns. That sets the tone for what a buyer thinks the house should look like.
The early spring and late fall are the toughest times to make the view more appealing to potential buyers. Some flowers are not in full bloom and all but the evergreens are leafless. The grass may be brown and sparse. Other things that may affect your home’s curb appeal are the neighbors’ houses. With townhomes and attached houses, your house can look perfect but it doesn’t help if the attached house is beaten up and looking rundown. Remember, you are selling your neighborhood, too.
Easy fixes are the weeds that pop up between pavers and patios. Trim bushes neatly and plant beds should be trimmed out. If the drive is asphalt, make sure it is clean. Fresh mulch gives landscapes a warmer look. Fresh paint and clean windows don’t add up to much of an expense, but they go a long way in helping buyers to like your home. It gives buyers the impression that you care. Photos of your home in different seasons are a good idea to leave inside the house for prospective buyers to see. But don’t put the photos in the Multiple Listing Service because it will confuse buyers as to when your home was listed. It can give the impression that your house has been on the market for too long.
Even though the real estate market is picking back up, sellers still need the right tools to have the upper hand when selling their home. And while it’s a buyer’s market, everything counts when it comes to selling your home. Therefore, we have a list of things that can devalue your home. It’s these items you want to improve on as much as possible. Follow these tips to get the most value from your home sale.
Top things that devalue your home:
√ Exterior of your home: Dirty windows, faded and chipping paint, broken sidewalks and driveways call all devalue your home. If you want to get what your home is really worth, clean your windows (inside and out), splash on some new paint (keep it neutral), repair broken sidewalks and driveways.
√ Landscaping or lack thereof: Besides the house, the yard is the first thing people see. Potential buyers want to live in a home with a beautiful yard. Therefore, poorly kept yards are a huge buyer turn off. Don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of redoing the yard. You can affordably add curb appeal by sprucing up your flower beds, keeping your grass cut, trimming the hedges, and planting a few new flowers. You want the front of the home to be visually inviting.
√ Out-of-date kitchens: Updating your kitchen will add instant value to your home. Buyers also like bright and clean kitchens. So, if your kitchen is dark and dingy, clean it up and brighten it up. Adding new appliances, countertops, cabinets, fixtures and paint can get you back 90% on your investment at closing. It may seem like a lot up front, but it’s worth it in the end.
√ Outdated bathrooms: The bathroom is just as important as the kitchen. If you give your bathroom a complete makeover, you can recoup up to 80% of your investment at closing. Inexpensive makeovers include new fixtures, new lighting, new paint, and tile on the floor. If you can afford it, update your sink and bathtub. And, make sure it’s all clean when you place your home for sale. Do you have a stained and dingy toilet? Replace it too. Low flow toilets are a great, affordable option.
√ The pet turnoff: Pets are a big turnoff for many potential buyers. Some people can see a pet and think of bad odors whether they are there or not. And, they think they’ll be living with lingering pet odors. So, it’s best to just not have the pets in the home when it’s on the market.
√ Decorating: When it comes to decorating it can be tricky. What you may like, a buyer may not. All buyers want to see themselves living in your home. Therefore, when you decorate, keep it simple and stick to neutral tones. Bright colors can be a big turnoff for many buyers. Neutral colors are more appealing.
You may think that something as insignificant and unassuming as a closet would make a difference in the selling power in your home, but it has more power than you know. Homes need storage for anything from food, clothing, and cleaning supplies. The closet is one of the most important rooms in the home.
So, to get your closets in selling order, you should tackle cleaning out the clutter to determine what the real use of each particular closet. We all like to hold on to things that no longer have a need, but may be used in the future, so you may have a lot of stuff in your closets.
You should ask yourself, when was the last time I used this item and when will I use it next. If it’s been a year or more since you have last used it, you may not use it in the future. You can pass on items you are not using to someone else through a yard sale or a donation. Over packed closets can make a potential buyer keep looking for their ideal home.
Once you have the clutter out of the way you can get organized. Even if you use a cheap fix to do the organizing, it can make a huge difference. Begin organizing your closet by color blocking your clothes, grouping like items together, and putting smaller items into storage totes or labeled boxes. You can store out of season items in another location such as the attic or garage. You should be able to see the floor of your closet; therefore, a rack for shoes will make the floor look nice and neat.
You can organize the pantry by using the same principles as the bedroom closet. Remove unnecessary items, use totes for small and miscellaneous items, and group like items together. All closets need shelving and racks. There is lot of choices for every budget available. Simple and inexpensive shelving can be configured in a myriad of patterns and can be installed with a simple screwdriver. If you can afford it, custom built units will wow your potential buyers and put your home first on their list.
Walk in closets are a huge selling point, so be sure to maximize the potential in this space. Your local building supply store will have everything you’ll need for the specific ideas you have in mind and for your individual needs. Their customer service agents should be able to answer any questions you may have or help you to improve on your ideas.
For maximum selling power, allow buyers to see the true size and functionality of the space and be inspired by your organization.