Unexpected Ways to Boost a SW Florida Selling Price! Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres. For just about everyone who will soon be preparing to list their home in SW Florida, selling price is a principal focus. What price will this fall’s market support? How will that number affect the time it takes to attract serious buyers? Are there ways to maximize the ultimate selling price without squandering a lot of time and capital?
While there certainly are broad market factors that contribute to a SW Florida home’s final selling price, there are others that can be controlled by the seller—and which do maximize the odds of bringing in top dollar. Some of the less-frequently used low-risk ways to add to a SW Florida home’s selling price—
Additions without Adding
Room additions may be certain to increase value—but not necessarily without costing more (sometimes much more) than they add. While adding a second story or extending the ground floor of a home will add substantial value, the cost in time and budget (and frequently permitting hassles) can also be substantial. Where it’s possible, “adding without adding”— re-purposing existing space—is a far less expensive and easier way to add to that final selling price. The idea is to take an unused or underused space and transform it into something that adds appeal and utility. Common methods include renovating a basement or garage: turning it into an office, media room, or extra bedroom. The extent of such a project can go all the way from the most basic (flooring, paint, and other minor aesthetic improvements) to the most comprehensive (lighting treatments and other accents such as crown moldings and baseboard). One caution: the quality of any improvement should match that found throughout the rest of the house. Slipshod workmanship can actually diminish value.
More Bathrooms = Higher Price
Adding a full bathroom often requires reconfiguring an existing home’s frame—and that’s always costly. Instead of taking on the burden of adding a full bathroom, to get a selling price boost, SW Florida homeowners can consider dividing the space of a large room to include a half-bath. While still a time and budget expense, adding a powder room can add significant value to the listing (and real convenience to the future homeowner).
Facelift (the Easy Way)
Curb appeal is all-important for adding to a dynamic first impression, both on the listing page and during the first visit. One under appreciated means of adding curb appeal and boosting the ultimate selling price is through simply updating the siding. It’s a “facelift” that can be completed quickly and at a relatively low-cost— especially in comparison with more drastic changes like additions and whole-house window replacements.
Unexpected Ways to Boost a SW Florida Selling Price! Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres. Fall can be a great time to list a property before the holidays hit. If you’re thinking of selling your home and want to discuss the ways we can boost your SW Florida home’s selling price, now is a good time to call me for a no-obligation consultation!
Choosing the SW Florida Real Estate Agent Who Represents You. Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Isles Of Capri. When you set about buying a home for the first time, the lay of the land can be a little tricky. It’s worth recalling some familiar sayings, like
All that glitters is not gold; and
Don’t judge a book by its cover; and
Appearances can be deceiving
Likewise, just as “doubletalk” isn’t twice as reliable as “talk,” in the SW Florida home-buying vernacular, a “dual agency” transaction doesn’t necessarily involve twice as many SW Florida real estate agents—it can involve just one (or two who are working under the aegis of a single broker).
This can become important for home buyers who sometimes make a strategic decision based solely on what seems like common sense. They see a SW Florida home or a listing that looks promising, and make the assumption that they will get the best deal by going directly to the property’s listing agent—you know, to get all the information
Straight from the horse’s mouth!
Now in fact, real estate agents are responsible for carrying out a wide array of duties, including staging homes for sale; marketing them; showing the homes to buyers; aiding in negotiations, etc. The real estate agent who listed the property (aka the seller’s agent) is obligated to represent the interests of the seller. Makes perfect sense. And when a prospective buyer chooses to enter negotiations without their own agent to represent their interests, the listing agent remains duty-bound to represent the seller—but now the buyer, also. In the event of a conflict between the interests of buyer and seller, the real estate agent has to represent both—which, as you might imagine, can be tricky.
When you think about how attorneys and real estate agents are similarly duty-bound to their clients, you can see why it usually wouldn’t make sense for a buyer to forego separate representation. It would be like having the same attorney represent both sides in a negotiation. Also, since there is no additional commission charge for employing a buyer’s agent (commissions are customarily split between agents, with both being paid from the seller’s proceeds), most buyers decide that teaming with their own SW Florida real estate agent will get them the best possible deal. After all,
No one can serve two masters!
Does that mean you as a buyer should never proceed with one SW Florida real estate agent—in other words, make a ‘dual agency’ transaction? Not quite. Remember,
Never say ‘Never’!
In some cases, it does work out. For instance, if the parties are related (and have the same goals); or if every detail has already been agreed to; or if time is such an overriding factor that it trumps other considerations, then everyone can be well-served by a single real estate agent. In any case, as long as an agent is able to remain scrupulous in not violating any confidences, since each party has the chance to make their own decisions at every point in the transaction, nearly one in ten home sales does wind up as a single-agent transaction.
Choosing the SW Florida Real Estate Agent Who Represents You. Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Isles Of Capri. If you will be on the lookout for a new home in SW Florida this fall, I’d be pleased to put my experience at your service to help find and negotiate the deal. Call me!
SW Florida Rental Home Possibility Raises Pros, Cons! Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral, Golden Gate Estates, Lehigh Acres. Once you’ve made the decision to move—whether headed across the country or across town—you might think the automatic next step is to prepare to sell your current house. True, that has to get underway without delay…but there should be one intervening step—one which all too frequently gets short shrift.
The key decision to be made before you put your house on the market is just this: should you sell at all? The fact is, you may be in an opportune position to hang onto the property. To become a landlord. In case you have never considered the advantages and drawbacks to owning a SW Florida rental home, you may be overlooking a worthwhile opportunity.
Before you decide whether the right sign to plant outside your home should read “For Sale” or “For Rent,” pause to consider some of the major Pros and Cons—-
• Pro: Long-term ownership. If you aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to your home, renting it allows you to make the decision at a later date. Managing your SW Florida rental home gives you the opportunity to watch its value appreciate before selling, or even to return to it yourself.
• Pro: Potential savings. The housing market’s recent fluctuations aren’t typical, but for anyone who bought when housing prices were soaring and would now have to sell for less, the prospect would be disappointing. In those circumstances, turning your residential investment into a SW Florida rental home can help avert a financial loss….
• Pro: Investment income. By way of taking that basket of lemons and turning it into a lemonade stand, RealtyTrac’s most recent study (July) of residential property rentals revealed a 9.97% annual return for residential property investors in the second quarter of 2014. In other words, in addition to covering your mortgage, monthly rent might bring in a profit…turning what looked for so long like a real estate loss into a money-maker.
• Con: Landlord responsibility. When you don the landlord’s hat, you have to respond to any maintenance issues with your local rental home. In addition to incurring the expenses of maintaining your rental home, you also have to be on top of the problems that every homeowner knows about. If your move is to another city or state, that might require local assistance, which comes at a cost.
• Con: Tenant wear and tear. If you plan to sell the home eventually, it’s probably in better shape now than it will be after your tenants move out. Some wear and tear is expected, but you can’t ensure that your tenants will leave the home in pristine condition. The security deposit doesn’t always cover all fixes.
• Con: Management work. In addition to responding to maintenance issues with your rental home, you also have to attract and select appropriate tenants. You might opt to outsource this work to a property management company specializing in managing SW Florida rental homes. Again, such a service takes a bite out of the monthly rental income.
SW Florida Rental Home Possibility Raises Pros, Cons! Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral, Golden Gate Estates, Lehigh Acres. Weighing the pros and cons as you evaluate your personal and financial situations will aid your decision on whether selling or renting best meets your long-term goals. In the meantime, call me anytime for a sales vs. rental pricing evaluation!
Continuing Low Mortgage Rates May Tempt SW Florida Homebuyers. Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island, Cape Coral, Estero. Local homeowners are among the keenest observers of SW Florida mortgage rates because they are such a large factor in the long-term investment that is their house. It’s the factor that determines if and when refinancing makes sense; the factor that plays a large part in heating (or cooling) the overall SW Florida real estate market.
For the most part, home buyers simply accept the mortgage rate in SW Florida that happens to be currently offered when they decide to buy a SW Florida home. The timing of their purchase is generally triggered by their own financial fortunes, or when the right home comes along, or when some outside circumstance forces them to find new digs—or any of a dozen reasons other than the current SW Florida mortgage rates.
If they even consider how SW Florida mortgage rates come into play, they may look to financial experts—but only for guidance in how to land the lowest available rates (and that answer is always the same: “protect your credit score”). Few consider whether a mortgage rate dip should in itself be the determining factor for triggering their home purchase—but it wouldn’t be such a crazy idea.
So, why do I bring this up now? Let me quote the way Tim Logan, the housing and residential real estate columnist for the L.A. Times, led off his article at the end of last month:
“If you’re borrowing to buy a house, there’s
almost never been a better time to do it.”
He and other residential market observers are not just pointing to the surprisingly low national interest rates reported by Freddie Mac—although that’s certainly the case. Per the Times: “Interest rates on an average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 4.1% this week, a low for the year.” Only last year, the basement-level interest rate phenomenon was widely predicted to come to an end (and rates did begin to rise). But as Logan described it, rates have “been bouncing in the low 4% range for months, not quite record territory, but not far from it.” (I’ll echo that: at this point, they’re close to as low as they ever get.)
But perhaps the most compelling reason for the urgency in that “never been a better time” statement is this prediction (also from the L.A. Times):
“…fairly soon, forecasters say—interest rates
will rise, posing housing-market hurdles.”
The “hurdles” would be a natural consequence of any upward spike in mortgage rates. In that scenario, homeowners will become reluctant to part with their own home since a new mortgage would carry higher interest rates. Not just that: if that causes the supply of homes on the market to tighten, prices will do what supply shortages always cause—higher prices.
Continuing Low Mortgage Rates May Tempt SW Florida Homebuyers. Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island, Cape Coral, Estero. Such a scenario is far from certain. But what isn’t in doubt is today’s decidedly low SW Florida interest rates. If all this has you thinking of buying or selling this fall, as the Times says, your timing couldn’t be better…an excellent reason to give me a call me today!
Selling a SW Florida Home: Turn “Dated” into “Classic”. Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri, Golden Gate Estates, Cape Coral. Selling an elderly or deceased relative’s SW Florida home can be one of the most selfless tasks anyone is ever called upon to do—and not just because it’s hard to let go of a place that has so many loved ones’ memories. What frequently adds to the emotional component is the condition of the house. Although your Aunt Elda might have loved the shag carpeting and the harvest gold kitchen appliances, those features can be counted on to turn off today’s typical home buyer. Bearing in mind that selling a home is first and foremost a business proposition, it’s frequently necessary to apply a few quick fixes to transform the storehouse of one family’s cherished memories into an appealing place destined to house another’s.
Ask: What Dates the House?
If a house reminds prospects of grandma’s place, unless they’re in a determinedly DIY frame of mind, they’ll move on to the next property on their list. Don’t let them overlook the many positive features of the house just because of a few old-fashioned details. Scout out items that make the house look dated—and clear them out of there! Remove worn or discolored carpeting, then either replace with a bound carpet remnant or two, or leave the floors exposed. Selling a home in SW Florida can hinge on a few minor things like replacing old cabinet knobs and light fixtures with more modern versions, or repainting walls in neutral colors.
Replace Kitchen Appliances
Our elders may have drilled into us the wisdom that it’s wasteful to get rid of perfectly good appliances, but homebuyers may not be swayed. For selling a home in today’s market, replacing appliances can be an easy way to inject new life into an old kitchen (even if the rest of the kitchen will need further updating by its new owner). But before splurging on any appliances, consult your real estate agent about what type of appliances buyers expect in this price range. If the place could make a perfect starter home for a young family, inexpensive white appliances might be just as strategic as the stainless steel models.
Or…Embrace the Vintage Charm!
Realistically, sometimes it would take too much money to update an inherited house. If that’s the case (and time is not an issue), turn the problem into a positive by embracing the house’s vintage charm! Old is just the wrong way of viewing antique…and one person’s dated can be another’s classic. If you’re dealing with a home that could double as a set for TV’s “Mad Men,” consider playing up the ‘60s theme with furniture, curtains and even vintage magazines you find at thrift stores or yard sales. Kiplinger.com finds that today’s buyers particularly appreciate eat-in kitchens—so why not add a period-appropriate dinette set to emphasize that space? But don’t forget to thoroughly clean carpeting, curtains and other items that may hold odors. Selling a home may mean capturing the look of a bygone era—but never the smell!
Selling a SW Florida Home: Turn “Dated” into “Classic”. Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri, Golden Gate Estates, Cape Coral. A dated family home will sell faster and appeal to more buyers when you’re willing to make the right strategic changes. Spending just a little time and money can transform an overlooked house into one that demands a second look—that invites a new family to make it the site for another lifetime of memories.
Thinking of selling a home in SW Florida this fall? Calling me today for a price assessment is a solid first step!
You’ve successfully located the home that fits your wish list! The listing agent says the home is in “great condition!” Financing is pretty much a done deal! Time to relax!
Er—maybe not just yet.
A SW Florida Property Inspection Shows What You’re Getting Into. Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs, Marco Island. When you are buying a home, among the scores of thoughts that might be racing through your head (“Is this the best one for the money?” “Will everyone be comfortable in it?” “Will it be enough house over the long haul?”), one you definitely don’t need is “Will this house become a money pit?”
The home that looks perfect may well be exactly that—but if not, you certainly don’t want to find yourself pouring hard-earned dollars into repairs that become apparent only after you have signed. Surprises are fine for birthday parties, but to avoid the sort no home buyer needs, getting a professional SW Florida property inspection is the most direct way to tell if there are any significant underlying issues.
To alleviate the worry, you should make any offer conditional on a home inspection…then order up a professional SW Florida property inspection done by an experienced SW Florida home inspector.
When a home inspector arrives at the property, he or she will invite you along on the tour. However, you don’t have to accompany the inspector to some of the less-accessible areas like the roof, attic and crawl spaces (unless you want to). The inspector will likely start outside, checking for any suspicious areas that may allow water to penetrate, then move indoors for a thorough investigation of each room in the house. As the inspection moves along, definitely feel free to ask questions as they crop up: after all, inspector works for you!
It’s important to remember that any SW Florida property inspection is not 100% certain to uncover every possible defect: a home inspector, no matter how experienced, is not clairvoyant. But you will receive a thoroughgoing assessment of the potential likely problems with the home’s systems—as well as an opinion on the condition of the home. You may be able to renegotiate your offer should conditions warrant it.
SW Florida property inspection costs tend to differ depending on the size and condition of the home, and usually take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to complete. Often, the verbal assessment made at the time will be very informative. Later, you’ll get the fuller detailed written report. If the inspection reveals a deal-breaking flaw, you will have saved yourself from a bad investment. Less commonly, more detailed property inspections could be in order—especially if you are also ordering sewer line, pool, fireplace or other specific inspections. Most inspectors offer discounted rates if subsequent inspections are in order.
A SW Florida Property Inspection Shows What You’re Getting Into. Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs, Marco Island. Property inspections are not intended to offer warrantees or guarantees, but an experienced SW Florida home inspection is the next best thing. It’s something most home buyers find makes their purchase a lot less stressful. If you’re looking at buying a home in SW Florida this fall, call me today to discuss the market. And once you find a likely new home, I can recommend several of our most experienced and reliable property inspectors.
Busy SW Florida Households and Home Showings Can Mix! Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs, Marco Island, Estero. Selling your home quickly and for the highest price possible demands that the SW Florida showings be proactively appealing: that is, more than just a passive display of the residential “merchandise.” To make the most of the advantageous situation that any showing or open house should be, both you and your REALTOR® must adopt the approach of any successful salesperson—namely, being certain every potential customer is shown the best aspects of the product. When it comes to SW Florida home showings, that means staging.
Most of the advice you’ll read about staging follows the same general formula: organizing rooms; maintaining exterior landscaping; updating aged features; eliminating clutter. What’s sometimes missing from those guides is a practical problem: a prescription for showings when the home in question is currently housing a family busy with schoolwork, after-school extracurriculars and full-time professional obligations—in other words, modern life!
No matter how unlikely it might seem, for families whose schedules are already overloaded (and then some), proactive showings are indeed possible! Here are some of the proven ways busy families keep their SW Florida homes in peak shape:
Neutralize Décor: To maintain a home livable for a busy family at the same time it’s ready to display requires muting some of the practical as well as decorative elements. It’s a delicate balance that means first removing idiosyncratic design elements, then also keeping as many personal items as possible out of sight but readily accessible when needed. It’s a room-by-room effort, but when properly balanced, most of the family’s comfort zone can be preserved at the same time the home is ready for showcasing at a moment’s notice.
Spring Cleaning All Year-Round: As parents know, a busy home is genuinely tough to keep clean—yet, sparkling cleanliness gives visitors the sense of newness that prevents common objections from forming in prospects’ minds (fears that updates are called for; feelings that unseen mechanical issues could be lurking, etc.). The solution is one comprehensive deep-cleaning session followed by a regular once-over every week without fail. It’s a regimen that makes pre-showing cleanups quick, easy, and effective. For many busy families, it may be realistic to consider bringing in a housekeeping service once a week while showings are in prospect.
Shrink Living Spaces: In larger homes, one way to minimize the amount of effort showings require is to somewhat confine everyday living activities to designated areas. If everyone is used to occupying the living room, den, and game room, see if you can make one or more of the areas off-limits (especially during weekdays). This will allow you to preserve staging efforts and reduce a lot of last-minute scrambling.
Busy SW Florida Households and Home Showings Can Mix! Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs, Marco Island, Estero. Showings in SW Florida are a key part of selling your home—as are a great marketing plan and well-designed listing—which is where I come in! If you’re planning to list your home for showings this fall, contact me as soon as possible to start the pre-marketing planning that can help you and your busy house S-E-L-L!