How to Highlight Your Home’s Best Selling Features

If you’re getting ready to put your house on the market, your real estate agent will create a focused marketing plan that will help attract interested prospects to your home. Although your agent will tap into a variety of resources to make it widely known that your house is for sale, there’s information you can provide which will help them present it in its best possible light.

Specifically, I’m talking about the things that make prospective buyers perk up, such as HVAC system upgrades, major home improvements, and decorating updates. If you’ve kept good records about rooms you’ve remodeled, fixtures you’ve replaced, and any structural, cosmetic, or mechanical upgrades you’ve made over the years, it would be helpful to itemize those improvements and share them with your Realtor or real estate agent.

Unless your home was newly constructed when you bought it, chances are you’ve made numerous changes. Here are examples of some of the types of information you’ll want to pass along to your agent:

  • The age of the roof: There are a lot of variables, when it comes to the life expectancy of roofing materials. With harsh weather conditions — including sweltering summer days and annual ice buildups — Mother Nature subjects your roof to a lot of wear and tear. If it’s been more than 20 years since your roof was last replaced, the shingles are probably starting to show visible signs of deterioration. That’s definitely not a selling point for prospective buyers. What house hunters do love to hear is that the roof is relatively new and has been replaced within the past five years. Although prices vary and can run higher, roofs typically cost at least $10,000 to replace. Many potential buyers would be turned off by the prospect of having to shell out that kind of money after they close on the house. Others might use that as a bargaining chip to get you to lower your asking price. In either case, an old roof puts you at a disadvantage.
  • Completed remodeling projects: Although some home buyers thrive on the idea of renovating a property themselves, most would prefer an updated home. Recently remodeled bathrooms and kitchens will make your house much more appealing and marketable to would-be buyers. If those closely scrutinized rooms look dated or poorly maintained, you can be sure that will negatively impact the selling price and/or the amount of time your house stays on the market.
  • Mechanical and electrical upgrades: People like to hear about improvements like a new central air conditioning system, a furnace replacement, or an upgraded electrical panel. These can all be major selling points, especially among prospective buyers who have had trouble with any of these vital systems in the past.
  • Miscellaneous: Other features that could help sell your house may include energy-efficient windows, new flooring, lighting, security systems, room additions, a new driveway or walkways, a finished basement or attic, basement waterproofing, new siding, fencing, patios, porches, and landscaping improvements.

While this is not a comprehensive list of all the home improvements you’ll want to share with your real estate agent, it includes many of the key items that will be on the minds of prospective buyers.

Home Selling Tips for Property Owners

Sometimes the simplest habits can yield the greatest results. Making to-do lists is the perfect example of a productive habit — especially if you’re getting ready to sell your home.

When putting your house on the market, here are a few tips to keep in mind for staying on track and avoiding delays.

Organization: As a home seller, there are a lot of things you can do to prepare your house for real estate showings.

Making lists can be an extremely effective way to reinforce goals, clarify objectives, and remind yourself what needs to be done. Knowing your priorities for the day (and week) can strengthen your confidence and help you avoid that feeling of being overwhelmed. On the other hand, when you lack clarity and keep forgetting important tasks, frustration and pessimism can creep in, causing you to lose your edge.

Like any method of staying organized and focused, making lists is not without its potential pitfalls. Priority lists are of little use if they get misplaced, buried under other documents, or forgotten about for days or weeks. Ideally, your list of important tasks should be readily accessible, highly visible, and regularly updated. While some people like to use old-fashioned written lists in a spiral-bound notebook or legal-size pad of paper, others may prefer their mobile devices, computer, or a reminder app.

The benefit of creating a list and checking off items as you progress is that it helps keep you focused, goal oriented, and organized. The sooner you create a priority list of tasks, the greater your efficiency will be in getting them done.

Motivation: Although your real estate agent will handle most of the details related to selling your home, there are still dozens of tasks you’ll need to be involved in. Keeping your home and property well maintained, presentable, and in a state of good repair are among them. If you’re like most home sellers, however, your plate is already full with family responsibilities, career demands, and other obligations. Fortunately, there are strategies for balancing your priorities.

The three keys to getting important stuff done in a timely way are: effective time management, prioritization, and staying motivated. Selling a house is a team effort involving you, your family, your real estate agent, and other professionals. Doing your utmost to keep your real estate objectives on the “front burner” will help keep the sales process moving forward and make a good impression on potential buyers.

Goals, in general, should be specific, attainable, measurable, and deadline-oriented. As motivational writer Napoleon Hill said, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” When you fail to assign a target date or deadline to a house-selling task, it’s all-too-easy to let that goal slide and cause you to lose your advantage.

How to Budget for Home Repairs

Many new homeowners are eager to begin renovations on their home to make it fit the beautiful picture they have in their mind. Unfortunately the aesthetic improvements, while important, are often prioritized over important structural and functional repairs that should be made first. The key to making smart financial decisions for renovating your home is to have a good budget and to stick to it.

Home improvements are one of the few expenses that people often forget to budget for, alongside car repairs and emergency medical expenses. If done properly, however, a budget will help you prioritize your repairs so you’ll spend your time and money wisely.

In this article, we’ll explain how to budget for home repairs in a way that works for you and your family.

Understanding your money

To budget for home improvements, you first need to budget for other things in your life. Use an app or website like Mint or You Need a Budget to get a better understanding of how you spend your money. For some, budgeting for home improvements may mean cutting back on other spending areas. Fortunately, these apps break down all of your purchases by categories and help you spend less each month.

Ranking your renovations

If you’re dying to update the bathroom but the roof needs to be redone, you should call the roofers first. Some home improvements are a ticking time bomb: deteriorating roofs, poor insulation, HVAC issues, water damage, and safety concerns like fire hazards are all problems that need to be addressed first on your budget. Some will save you money, others could save your life, but all of them are more important than adding closet space in your bathroom.

Estimating costs

Do your research when it comes to the the cost of repairs and home improvements. Once you have a ballpark figure, add it into your budgeting app as a new item on your budget.

There is a general rule, when budgeting for home repairs, that you should set aside 1% of the cost of your home for maintenance and repairs each year. However, there are many other factors involved in how much it will cost to upkeep your home like the age of the house, the weather in your area, and how well-maintained the home was before you bought it.

Sticking to your budget

Everyone starts with good intentions, but keeping a budget isn’t easy. Thankfully, it has been made much more manageable with the help of apps and websites that link right to your bank accounts. To stick to your home repair budget, make sure you sign up for reminders on your spending and progress. If you’re keeping a budget the old fashioned way (pen and paper), put reminders on your calendar each month to check if you’re spending too much on home repairs.

Another key to successful budgeting it to make sure everyone in the house is on the same page. If your significant other plays a role in home repairs, go over your budget together. This will help you keep one another accountable and set priorities that work for everyone.

How To Pass The Home Inspection Easily

There are few things for a home seller that are more stressful than the home inspection. You hope and pray that everything will come out a-OK in your house so that your buyers will want to continue with the sale without asking for too many contingencies. There’s a few simple things that you can do to make sure your home inspection goes smoothly. The good news is that these tasks won’t cost you a lot of time or money. A few simple actions can save you a lot of grief in unnecessary service calls. Check out these tips to help you get through the home inspection with flying colors:

Check Your Light Bulbs

If you have a light bulb that’s simply burnt out, that could prompt the need for a check of the entire electrical system in your home. Avoid a costly visit from an electrician just by checking your light bulbs and replacing them where necessary. 

Check Your Air Filters 

The air filters in your home can be easily neglected and be a big problem in the home inspection process. Even if a filter looks a little gray, take the time to replace it. You should check your air filters and furnace filters for any potential problems like tears or excess dirt. For bonus points, you may want to just replace the filters before the inspection no matter how little dirt they have on them. Otherwise, a clogged filter can be a sign that your furnace or heating and cooling system isn’t working properly. 

Check Your Sinks

A few dollars spent on some drain unclogging chemicals is a few hundred dollars potentially saved on a plumber. Fill up your sinks with water and see how they drain. If they’re a bit slow, get the chemicals that you need to work on unclogging the drains (such as Drain-o). If there’s a funny smell coming from the drain, be sure to address it. Lemons also work wonders on everything from drains to garbage disposals. Even some baking soda and vinegar can help to clean a drain wonderfully. 

Fix Major Repairs Before Your Home Goes On The Market

If you know something pressing needs to be fixed or replaced in your home, be sure to fix it before the home even goes on the market. It’s much easier to take care of things before a buyer’s contingency and a time limit is involved. Although you may be hesitant to spend the money, you should replace certain appliances, fix the roof, or address that creaky floor before the “For Sale” sign even goes out front.