Getting your home ready to sell

Hello Everyone,

Housing prices may have dropped in your neighborhood, but there are smart ways to invest in your home right now to help hold its value. Here’s what veteran real estate professionals from around the country have to say about what home improvement projects pay off, whether you are selling now or in the future.

1.) Create Space

Knock out a non-structural wall, or even remove that kitchen island. Anything that opens the space and creates a sense of flow in the house is generating a response from buyers who can afford to be choosy. For the price of a few hundred dollars, you’ll transform the feel of the house.

2.) Prune, Limb & landscape

Tangled trees and unkempt bushes can obscure views, darken interiors, promote mold, and block a good look at the house. Be sure to keep everything looking nice & Clean!

3.) Let in the Light

The number one item on the 2007 HomeGain survey, lighting—everything from a dimmer switch to the increasingly popular sun tubes—noticeably enhances a home’s appeal. Dimmers allow you to create a mood.

Also, less expensive than framing in a skylight, sun tubes—also known as light pipes, sunscoops, and tubular skylights—use reflective material to funnel natural light from a globe-capped hole cut in a rooftop down through a ceiling fixture and into a room. A few other ways to light things up: Fix broken panes, make sure windows open, and consider lights that use motion detectors to turn themselves off. Remember high wattage bulbs make small spaces feel larger, and soft lighting brings warmth to empty spaces.

4.) Don’t Put Off Care and Maintenance

Before thinking about a fancy upgrade to the kitchen, address the basics. Insulate the attic, repair plumbing leaks, replace rusty rain gutters, inspect the furnace and the septic system, replace or repair leaky windows, install storm doors, weed the flower beds.

5.) Go Green!

If your heating or air conditioning systems are old, “new ones are so much better, with savings of up to 30 to 40%.” Another example he points to: for $7,000 for the unit and installation, with $2,100 back in green tax credits, a solar-powered water heater could save you as much as 80% on your water-heating bills.

6.) What’s under your feet

Don’t undervalue the materials you’re standing on. Ninety-four percent of real estate pros recommend spending some money on floors. But it doesn’t have to be a lot of money. For an estimated average investment of $600 to $900, brokers report that the return in value comes in at up to $2,000.

7.) Easy bath upgrades

Brokers, one and all, say spiffing up the kitchen and bath is a sure bet for adding value to your home. Surveyed brokers say these kinds of improvements can get expensive. It may not be economical to do a major renovation if you are trying to spend as little as possible before putting a house up for sale. But some upgrades are cheap, easy, and fast…especially in the bathroom.

Replace frosted glass for clear glass, clean the grout, remove rust stains, apply fresh caulk, update doorknobs and cabinet pulls, replace faucets, and install a low-flush toilet. Even buying a new toilet seat can make a difference.

8.) Neutral wall colors

If you’re getting ready to put a house on this circumspect market, don’t allow walls with chipped paint to go unmaintained. If you need to do more than a touch up, choose neutral colors.

9.) Be patient

Remember that all markets are different and time frames may vary.

Hopefully these few tips will help get your home ready to sell and be sure to contact us to assign an experienced Listing Agent to help get your home sold as quickly as possible.

Sincerely,

Scott Myers, Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors
(210) 479-1222

Advertisements

Preparing your home to sell

Hello,

Home Listings are a vital part of our housing market and maintaining a good inventory of homes to sell is essential to our market. Below are a few good tips to remember before putting your home on the market to sell.

1.) Make small fixes.

Inspect your home with a buyer’s eyes, and correct the flaws that are most egregious (if affordable) or can be relatively easily fixed—from repairing cracks in the walkways to repainting dingy walls or oiling creaky hinges.

2.) Decide whether to work with an agent or self-sell.

For a commission, an agent will take care of many details you may not want to be bothered with (placing ads, fielding calls, making signs, etc.) and bring experience to the table. To find a good one, ask friends and relatives, then interview several candidates. Have each one walk through your house to see how he or she would price it and how the two of you get along. Sign an agreement for the shortest commitment possible, usually three to six months. If you self-sell, help is available (for a fee) at forsalebyowner.com.

3.) Set a price.

A real estate agent will give you a market analysis free of charge or commitment. Ask a few to get a broader picture of the market, then ask to see listings for properties similar to yours that have sold in the past six months. Check out comparable listings yourself in the real estate section of your newspaper or on websites. Or get an analysis from a certified appraiser (appraisalinstitute.org). Then decide whether you want a quick, easy sale or the highest possible price.

4.)Clean and declutter .

Weed out excess furniture, knicknacks, and “stuff”—toss it, donate it, give it away, sell it at a yard sale, or put it into storage—so the house seems more spacious and buyers can imagine themselves in it.

5.)Decide whether to do a prelisting inspection.

It may save you time, especially with older homes, to identify—and potentially solve—problems your buyer’s inspection will discover later.

6.) Stay vigilant about maintenance.

From the moment you start showing your house, keep the lawn mowed, shrubs trimmed, gardens weeded, rooms spotless and clutter-free.

7.) Ready your home for show days.

Hide pocketable valuables, display fresh flowers or bowls of fruit, bake a batch of cookies for the homey smell, open the drapes, keep pets out of sight, and stay quietly in the background (or leave, if an agent is showing your property).

Lastly, having a great Listing Agent with experience and knowledge of the local market can be beneficial to getting the most for your home. Please consider our office and agents when thinking about selling or buying your next home.

Sincerely,

Scott Myers, Century 21 Scott Myers Realtors
(210) 479-1222

Government Shutdown Risks Hurting The Housing Recovery

Hello Everyone,

As of late there is a lot of talk about the Government shutdown and I just wanted to share some information regarding it.

The government shutdown is here. Whether it’s not being able to get a new Social Security card or visit a national park, Americans will immediately feel the effects. But there’s one bright spot of the economy that stands to be affected as well: housing.

One of the biggest questions regarding the shutdown and how it will affect housing has revolved around the mortgage market, specifically prospective buyers’ access to new home loans. After all, more than 90% of all loan activity is underwritten, insured, or owned by the government and its affiliated entities.

Initially at least, the mortgage market is likely to be only minimally impacted. New loans will continue to push through most government agency pipelines. What will change is how long the process takes, as many agencies expect to experience delays.

Mortgages purchased and securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be unaffected because their operations are paid for by fees charged to lenders. And the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue to guarantee mortgages for Americans that have served in the military since these loans are funded by user fees as well.

If the government shutdown of 1995-1996 is any indicator, the process will take longer than usual. “Loan Guaranty certificates of eligibility and certificates of reasonable value were delayed,” the VA warned in its September 25th contingency plan.

Where there has been mounting concern is the Federal Housing Administration, which currently endorses about 15% of the entire single-family mortgage market. Several media outlets recently reported that the FHA would be unable to endorse any single-family loans and that no staff would be available underwrite and approve new loans.

That prospect would be somewhat worrisome – if it were actually true. The FHA’s Office of Single Family Housing will indeed remain open for business, albeit with a smaller staff. “FHA will be able to endorse single family loans during the shutdown. A limited number of FHA staff will be available to underwrite and approve new loans,” the report now states. In other words, other lenders’ loans will continue to be insured and some in-house lending will continue to take place at a reduced rate.

The reason for that mix-up: the initial draft of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s contingency plan mistakenly stated that single-family loan operations would cease. The report was amended over the weekend.

The FHA’s single-family loan operations are funded through multi-year appropriations, meaning their budget is not tied to the government’s standoff over funding for the new fiscal year that starts in October. On the other hand, what will be more affected is the agency’s Multifamily Housing Office, which is funded through yearly appropriations.

“Because we are able to endorse loans, we don’t expect the impact on the housing market to be significant, as long as the shutdown is brief,” continues the HUD report. “If the shutdown lasts and our commitment authority runs out, we do expect that potential homeowners will be impacted, as well as home sellers and the entire housing market.”

One government lender that will indeed suspend its home loan activity, however, is the Department of Agriculture. The USDA says that no new housing loans or guarantees will be issued through its Rural Development programs in a shutdown. The department also warns that such a scenario could cause “a setback in construction start-up,” and if the shutdown lasts for an extended period, “a substantial reduction in housing available in rural areas relative to population.”

If it does stretch on, he adds, the worry will be what mortgage rates do in a market shrouded in fiscal uncertainty and how that will affect the home buying, especially in light of recent rate spikes. (Via Forbes Magazine)

Hopefully, everything will be back to normal very soon.

Sincerely,

Scott Myers, Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors
11830 Wurzbach Rd, San Antonio, Texas 78230
(210) 479-1222