Brokers Tell All: 6 Ways to Boost House Value

Six ways to Boost House Value
With housing prices increasing, now is the time invest in your home to capitalize on 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. “Right now buyers want a wide open floor plan, the living room right off the kitchen. They are into big spaces.
A kitchen island can be an asset, creating needed storage space. But if the kitchen has enough cabinets, it could pay to haul the island away.Homeowners might want to consider a moveable island. “You can adjust them to you needs.

2. Prune, Limb, and Landscape
Tangled trees and unkempt bushes can obscure views, darken interiors, promote mold, and block a good look at the house.
People forget about their trees more than almost anything, yet landscaping is one of the top three investments that bring the biggest return. According to a 2007 survey of 2,000 brokers conducted by HomeGain, an online real estate marketing site, an investment of around $400 or $500 dollars in landscaping, can bring a return of four times that. “It could really make a significant difference in the price. Nobody likes to spend money, but landscaping might even be the most important thing, even if owners have kept up the house.
Overgrown landscaping is a problem at all price points, it hurts with marketing too. People say, “Where’s the house?” If buyers can’t see what they are getting, they just move right on.

“3. Let in the Light
The number one item on 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.” 
He’s a booster of sun tubes, too. 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. With tubular skylights, sunlight is nice, and moonlight is even nicer. Everyone loves the natural light.” 
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. 
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. 
These kinds of fixes go a long way toward value. Starting with a couple hundred dollars on a few things could increase the value of your house by a few thousand dollars. People are surprised by that. It’s exciting. People think they have to put in a lot of money to see a big difference and they really don’t.” 
4. Don’t Put Off Care and Maintenance

Investing in maintenance and repairs is not only moneywise; could also be crucial to a sale. Brokers and agents from across the country say the houses that get attention in this buyers market are in tip-top shape. What’s important in this market, houses that sell are in pristine condition and are priced to the market. If your heating or air conditioning systems are old, “new ones are so much better, with savings of up to 30 to 40 percent.

5. 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. 

And you can spend even less than that. A few well-placed nails can eliminate distracting squeaks. Other small projects with a big impact include repairing broken tile, patching damaged floor boards, and tossing out the wall-to-wall carpeting. 
In some cases, however, a new floor is in order!! The “would-be seller’s ” house might’ve sold were it not for a kitchen floor that drew questions from buyers. “The number one problem was the fact that her floor was really personal: blue and green vinyl. It clashed with the other upgrades in the kitchen. Everyone kept saying, ‘That kitchen!'”
If you want a wood floor that holds value, check out  engineered hardwoods. If you like cork, she says floating cork wears better than cork tile which is glued down and can peel. 
6. 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. You can spend $500 on a bathroom, and it’s totally tuned up. 
Think DIY , small $$ investments , BIG $$$ returns. Neat , clean and spiffy !!! 

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How To Prepare Your House For Sale

Prepping and staging a house. Every seller wants her home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it’s not luck that makes that happen. It’s careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will send home buyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.Here’s How:
Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.

Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house — a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf.

Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.

Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners!

Say goodbye to every room.

Don’t look backwards — look toward the future.

De-Personalize.
Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can’t see past personal artifacts, and you don’t want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can’t do that if yours are there! You don’t want to make any buyer ask, “I wonder what kind of people live in this home?” You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.”

De-Clutter!

People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it.

If you don’t need it, why not donate it or throw it away?

Remove all books from bookcases.

Pack up those knickknacks.

Clean off everything on kitchen counters.

Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.

Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.

Find Your Niche & And Dare To Risk

With the recent Facebook pie-in-your-face IPO still ringing in our ears, it might be wise to dwell on what constitutes taking the “right risk” for you. Like it or not, risk taking will always be an inesapable part of our everyday lives. Whether you are changing jobs, investing, or beginning a new relationship you will ultimately be confronted with some risk. But here’s the kicker question: How do we know if the risk is right for you?

In a recent interview, Robert Michael Fried, best selling author of Igniting Your True Purpose and Passion, offered “the risk is right when it will help you close the disparity or gap between who you are and where you want to go. When your outside view of the world reflects your inner voice, you are will on your way to taking the right risk.”

Make no mistake about it – it takes courage to take the right risk, but the greatest rewards go to those who take them. So if we don’t take any risks in life, we lessen the risk of getting hurt – but we don’t live life to the fullest either.

As Seneca once pined, “It’s not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that things are difficult.”

That being said, Fried offers up 7 jumpstarting steps to take the right risk:

  1. Listen to your heart. Follow your heart, not just your reason. You seldom go wrong when you listen to your own inner voice.
  2. Get out of your comfort zone. Golden opportunities often lie just outside our comfort zone. Have the courage and fortitude to grab that brass ring.
  3. Avoid analysis paralysis. Do your homework, but ultimately you need to take action.
  4. Somehow the biggest risk is not to risk at all. Don’t wait for your ship to come in… row out and meet it.
  5. Don’t wait for the perfect time. There will never be a truly perfect time to act. In life, you generally learn more by doing than waiting. The perfect time to act is now!
  6. Face your fears. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Have the courage to work through your fear and use it to propel your spirit and rekindle your focus.
  7. Live in the present. Make the present the primary focus in your life, not the past or the future. Remember, life is a gift; that’s why they call it a present. The present moment is all you’ll ever have in your life.
  8. Take the leap. Aristotle once said, “Courage is the first of all human qualities because it is the one that guarantees all others.” Have the courage to take the leap and close the gap between your dreams and reality.niche