Yes, you should be keeping up with the Joneses...and here's why

The most frequent questions we hear from homeowners relate to maintaining or improving the value in their homes. Being active in the local real estate market means we know the trends. Some you may already know. Others may really surprise you.

MAINTENANCE: SO IMPORTANT

Yes, this is a totally boring topic but it is super important! We cannot stress this enough: maintain, maintain, maintain! A stitch in time really does save nine. When something isn’t working, repair it right away. It’s the right thing to do and you’ll thank us later.

UPDATES: TACKLE THE SMALL STUFF

Everyone knows that kitchens and baths sell homes. Flooring is a close second. But even small changes can have a huge impact. Those old brass light and bathroom fixtures will age your home and make it seem dated. The good news: fixing this is affordable. Both Lowes and Home Depot now have great lighting options. We recently updated every light fixture in a townhouse for less than $400. It had a huge impact and the house sold quickly. Small investment for a huge impression!

IMPROVEMENTS: BE YOU BUT BE CURRENT

It’s important to choose flooring and paint colors that are current. You don’t have to follow every fad but keeping up with trends while making your house still feel like your own will help to maintain or increase the value. Many designers offer color consultations at reasonable fees.  Again, investing a small amount for a fresh updated palette will make a huge impact in your home!

IT PAYS OFF: DO NOT LEAVE MONEY ON THE TABLE EVER!

Maintaining and upgrading your home allows YOU to enjoy the house. Yes, you’ll recoup some of your investment but you’ll also fall in love with your home again. Should you sell down the road, your home will show like a model and you’ll sell faster and for more money than your neighbor.

Want some more free advice? Like us on facebook, follow us on twitter or contact us for more info about improvements and referrals to high quality service providers.

Wishing you all the best!

Wendy Slaughter

This article was originally published in Her Mind Magazine.

RECEIPTS RULE!

Have you ever heard the saying that “the house with the most documents wins” or gets the best value in the market? Well, it is true and here are 2 very good reasons for you to keep all of the receipts related to your home:
1) Receipts help to justify your list price to prospective buyers and
2) Receipts help to justify your contract price to an appraiser

But first, a little background information.
Keeping track of the improvements and repairs to your home can really pay off when it comes time to sell. In addition, differentiating between “improvements” and “repairs” is important. Improvements can be anything from new kitchen appliances, adding a deck, or finishing your basement. Repairs include replacing the carpet, adding fresh paint, fixing sagging gutters, replacing rotted trim around doorways – anything that is an important, but routine maintenance project. Even though these items fall into two different categories, all of these things will improve the value of your home.

Back to receipts….

#1 Helping buyers see the value of your home
Buyers want to see your home as close to model condition as possible and will form an opinion based on what they can “see.” For example, the buyers may not know that you replaced the hot water heater in the past 6 months. By documenting the date and cost of an item you replaced or repaired in your home, you can justify the list price with prospective buyers based on the value of the improvements or repairs you have completed. When we work with sellers, we ask you to provide a list of any updates or repairs along with the approximate cost and year the work was completed. We create a document based on this information and provide copies of this list for prospective buyers when they tour your home.

Buyers often decrease the amount they are willing to offer if they see the house looking run down, worn out, or out of date. If you can present an itemized list of repairs/updates/improvements in your house with the dates of completion and can provide the receipts as well, it tells a story to your buyer. It shows you were willing to invest in your home and that you cared about maintaining it. This list will help you when negotiating the contract price.

#2 Helping appraisers see the value of your home
Once you are under contract, the buyer’s lender will order an appraisal of the home. Even though appraisers work off of checklists that measure real values in a property, they also raise or lower the home value based on how sellers have cared for or neglected their properties and they credit the value based on any upgrades sellers have completed to stay in line with the market. Keeping receipts helps to quantify these repairs and improvements when it comes time to sell. When we work with sellers, we meet the appraiser at your home and we provide the itemized list and copies of the receipts. Rather than having to guess each improvement’s worth, receipts will empower the appraiser to identify the full value of a home improvement. Even if you think it’s only a small or minor improvement, you should include it.

One final recommendation: Photocopy or scan the receipts to a file so that you don’t find yourself with blank paper as the ink degrades over time.

- Debbie Gottwals

Repair Receipts