Archive for the 'Real Estate Nuts and Bolts' Category

Lake of the Pines Real Estate. How Are We Doing? Part 5

said on May 22nd, 2012 filed under: Lake of the Pines, Localism, Market Trends, Neighborhood Profiles, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

GOLDEN APPLES?

This is the fifth of a five-part analysis of real estate at Lake of the Pines, California.   In this fifth analysis, we’re going  to examine the most expensive group of homes at Lake of the Pines, the “lakefronts.”

We will look first at the lakefronts that sold one year ago (May 23, 2010 through May 22, 2011) as compared to lakefronts that sold during the past 12 months (May 23, 2011 through May 22, 2012).  Then we will look at the lakefronts that are for sale right now, also called the “actives.”

                                                          5/23/10 thru 5/22/11           5/23/11 thru 5/122/12

Number of lakefronts sold                                9                                                   13

Highest price sold                                    $1,095,000                                      $915,000

Lowest price sold                                        $450,000                                      $400,000

Average price sold                                       $736,702                                      $598,576

Median price sold                                        $735,000                                     $625,000

Average  list price                                         $773,944                                    $637,107

%sold price/list price                                       95%                                               94%

Price/square foot listed                                 $258                                              $227

Price/square foot sold                                    $246                                              $212

Average days on market                                  172                                                161

 

ANALYSIS

The number of lakefront homes sold rose from 9 to 13, or 31%.  The sample, however,  is too small for this increase to be especially meaningful.   Better than a poke in the eye, but don’t get too excited, because . . .

Prices fell off a cliff.

Based on average sold price, prices declined 19%

Based on median sold price, prices declined 15%.

Based on price per square foot, prices declined 14%

No way to mince words, spin it in a positive way, squint at it through rose-colored glasses and make it look better.  The lakefront homes at Lake of the Pines are taking a royal beating at the real estate  marketplace.  No, it’s not that lakefront home prices are being dragged down by foreclosures and short sales.  In the first period, 2010/2011, there was only 1 distressed sale out of 9, and that one sold higher than the other 8  in price per square foot ($285  per square foot vs. the group average of $246 per square foot).  In the second period, there was only 1 distressed sale out of 13, and that property was only slightly below the group average ($202 per square foot vs. $212 per square foot).

No, don’t try to blame the decline on foreclosures and short sales.

Were lakefront homes wildly over-valued and still correcting?

Are buyers still too tight to spend on “luxury” homes?

 

ACTIVE MARKET, LAKEFRONT HOMES FOR SALE RIGHT NOW (May 22,2012) 

Number of Lakefront homes for sale                   7

Highest price                                                    $1,549,000

Lowest price                                                        $799,000

Average price                                                    $1,076,142

Median price                                                       $998,000

Average days on market                                         235

Average price per square foot                              $312

ANALYSIS

The price per quare foot of the homes on the market today ($312) is almost exactly twice the price per square foot of homes sold in the past 12 months ($161).  Yes, there is 1 home out of the 7 (the most expensive) that is pulling the price per square foot up a bit, but even taking that one out of the sample, the other 6 current actives are way above the average price per square foot of the sold homes.

SUMMARY

Based on price per square foot, lakefront homes at Lake of the Pines declined 14-15% during the past two years, and yet based on price per square foot, current sellers are asking almost twice as much for their homes.  Does this give you some idea why lakefront homes are a tough sell right now?

 

 

 

 

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Lake of the Pines Real Estate. How Are We Doing? Part 4

said on May 21st, 2012 filed under: Lake of the Pines, Localism, Neighborhood Profiles, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

THE FARMER’S MARKET

This is the fourth of a five-part analysis of real estate at Lake of the Pines, California.   In this fourth analysis, we’re going  to market and see what is for sale right now (May 21, 2012) at Lake of the Pines.

TOTAL SALES

48                     total number of homes for sale at Lake of the Pines on May 21, 2012 as reported on Paragon MLS

47                     total number of homes for sale at Lake of the Pines on May 21, 2012 as reported on Metrolist MLS

REGULAR SALES

37                    number of regular homes for sale (no foreclosures)

$1,549,000     highest priced regular home for sale

$160,000        lowest priced regular home for sale

$452,541        average priced regular home for sale

$330,000        median priced regular home for sale

105                  average days on the market (and counting–from 5 DOM to 419 DOM)

$182                average price per square foot (asking price not sold price which will be lower)

 

DISTRESSED SALES (foreclosures and short sales–does not include back-up shortsales)

5                       number of foreclosures and short sales

$350,000         highest priced distressed home for sale at lake of the Pines

$135,900          lowest priced distressed home for sale at lake of the Pines

$238,780          average priced distress home for sale at lake of the Pines

$244,000          median priced distress home for sale at lake of the Pines

125                    average days on the market

$101                  average price per square foot

 

PENDING SALES

21                     number of pending sales at Lake of the Pines

78                     average days on the market when home went into contract

$272,966         average list price when home went into contract

$137                 average price per square foot  when home went into contract

 

BACKUP SHORT SALES

(Backup short sales are similar to pending sales, but the offered price has not yet been approved by the lender)

9                       number of current backup short sales

165                   average days on the market when home was submitted for short sale approval

$162,211          average list price when home was submitted for short sale approval

$110                average price per square foot when home was submitted for short sale approval

 

 

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Lake of the Pines Real Estate. How Are We Doing? Part 3

said on May 19th, 2012 filed under: Lake of the Pines, Localism, Neighborhood Profiles, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

APPLES AND ORANGES

Do foreclosure and short sale homes (distressed) at Lake of the Pines sell for less than regular homes?

Of course they do.

How much less?  Let’s examine the “distressed homes” market in Lake of the Pines, California for two different periods:

May 19,2010 through May 18, 2011 compared to the period of May 19, 2011 through May 18, 2012.

I selected “average” houses between 1500 and 2500 square feet that sold during these two periods.

                                                     5/19/10 thru 5/18/11           5/19/11 thru 5/18/12        

Number of distressed sales                           26                                                    13

Number of regular sales                                 20                                                   30

Highest distressed sold                             $280,000                                      $325,000

Highest regular sold                                  $435,000                                      $405,000

Lowest distressed sold                                 $165,000                                      $73,000

Lowest regular sold                                    $150,000                                      $150,000

Average distressed sold                              $210,025                                      $184,446

Average regular sold                                   $283,550                                      $275,171

Median distressed sold                               $207,500                                      $169,900

Median regular sold                                    $289,000                                     $272,500

Average distressed list price                       $218,759                                      $196,192

Average regular list price                            $301,409                                    $290,341

%sold price/list price distressed                    96%                                               94%

%sold price/list price regular                         94%                                                95%

Price/square foot listed distressed               $122                                              $107

Price/square foot listed regular                    $157                                              $150

Price/square foot sold distressed                  $117                                               $101

Price/square foot sold regular                       $148                                              $142

Average days on market distressed                 136                                                85

Average days on market regular                      98                                                103

 

ANALYSIS

Lots of mixed results.

The number of distressed home sales in 2011/2012 (13) was 50% less than it was the previous year in 2010/2011 (26).  What happened to the “flood” of foreclosures?

The number of regular home sales in 2011/2012 (30) was 33% more than it was the previous year in 2010/2011 (20).

In 2010/2011 distressed properties were on the market longer than regular sales; in 2011/2012 distressed properties were on the market shorter than regular sales.  Go figure.

Consistently, across all types of Lake of the Pines Properties, sellers are getting about 95% of their asking price.  But this statistic is deceptive.  The original price (the price at which a home first came on the market) and the asking price (the price at which the home was for sale when an acceptable contract was negotiated) are often different.  Frequently the price has been reduced, sometimes more than once, so that the asking price is much lower than the original price.  When that happens, the %sold price/original price may be much less than 95%.

Distressed properties sell for less money.  How much less?  A lot less.  Distressed markets and regular markets are like two separate realities within the same town.  Using “price/square foot sold” as the basis of comparison, distressed homes sold for 21% less than regular sales in 2010/2011 and for 29% less in 2011/2012.

How did distressed sales fare from 2010/2011 to 2011/2012?  Again, using “price/square foot sold” as the basis of comparison, prices of “average sized” distressed properties declined 14% in 2011/2012.

How did regular sales fare from 2010.2011 to 2011/2012?  Prices of “average sized” regular homes declined slightly in 2011/2012, about 4%.

SUMMARY

Fewer distressed homes sold this year than last year, and for 14% less money.

More regular homes sold this year than last year, but for 4%  less money.

 

 

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Lake of the Pines Real Estate. How Are We Doing? Part 2

said on May 18th, 2012 filed under: Lake of the Pines, Localism, Neighborhood Profiles, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

THE WHOLE FRUIT BASKET

This is the second of a five-part analysis of real estate at Lake of the Pines, California.   In this second analysis, I’m not going to compare apples to apples .  With this one, you get the whole fruit basket–regular sales, foreclosures, short sales, lake fronts, golf course homes, good streets, better streets, and best streets, tiny houses, average-sized houses, and a few behemoths–all of it.  I will compare ALL of the Lake of the Pines homes that sold during the past 12 months (May 19, 2011 through May 18, 2012) with ALL of the homes that sold the previous year (May 19, 2010 through May 18, 2011).

                                                     5/19/10 thru 5/18/11           5/19/11 thru 5/19/12        

Number of homes sold                                  78                                                    81

Highest price sold                                   $1,095,000                                      $915,000

Lowest price sold                                      $120,000                                         $73,000

Average price sold                                    $303,652                                       $290,019

Median price sold                                      $231,500                                      $239,500

Average list price                                       $321,626                                      $306,056

%sold price/list price                                     94%                                               95%

Price per square foot listed                         $154                                             $147

Price per square foot sold                           $145                                              $139

Average days on the market                          125                                                 101

 

ANALYSIS

You can see that about the same number of homes sold this year (81)  as in the previous year (78), but sold 24 days  faster (101 days on the market to 125).

Prices have risen slightly, about 3%, (comparing the median of $231,500 in 2010-2011 with the median of $239,500 in 2011-2012).

But . . .

Prices have fallen slightly, about 4% (comparing the average of $303,652 in 2010-2011 with the average of $290,019 in 2011-2012).

Prices have fallen slightly, about 4%  (comparing price per square foot  ($145 to $139).  This is probably the most reliable indicator of value.

 SUMMARY

Sales of larger, more expensive, lakefront homes in 2010/2011 skewed the data, rendering contradictory results.  Almost all of the decline in prices can be found at the upper end of the price range.  Keeping this in mind, it is reasonable to state that prices of homes sold at Lake of the Pines, except for the lakefronts, have been relatively unchanged from the previous year through this year.  

In the next  blog, we’re going to get even more sophisticated.  We’ll look at the same Lake of the Pines market for the same two periods of time, but we”ll compare conventional sales with homes sold as foreclosures and short sales.

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Lake of the Pines Real Estate. How Are We Doing? Part 1

said on May 18th, 2012 filed under: Lake of the Pines, Localism, Neighborhood Profiles, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

 APPLES TO APPLES

This is the first of a five-part analysis of real estate at Lake of the Pines, California.   In Part 1 I will compare average-sized Lake of the Pines homes that sold during the past 12 months (May 19, 2011 through May 18, 2012) with average homes that sold the previous year (May 19, 2010 through May 18, 2011). For this first study I am defining average-sized homes as between 1500 and 2500 square feet and excluding “lakefront” homes along the shore.

                                                     5/19/10 thru 5/18/11           5/19/11 thru 5/19/12        

Number of homes sold                                  46                                                    43

Highest price sold                                   $435,000                                      $405,000

Lowest price sold                                      $150,000                                         $73,000

Average price sold                                    $241,992                                       $248,931

Median price sold                                      $224,000                                      $239,900

Average list price                                       $254,694                                      $262,824

%sold price/list price                                     95%                                               95%

Price per square foot listed                         $137                                             $136

Price per square foot sold                           $130                                               $129

Average days on the market                          119                                                  94

 

ANALYSIS

You can see that about the same number of homes (43 to 46) sold this year as in the previous year, but sold 25 days  faster (94 days on the market to 119).

Prices have risen slightly, about 6%, (comparing the median of $224,000 in 2010-2011 with the median of $239,900 in 2011-2012).

Prices have risen slightly, about 3% (comparing the average of $241,992 in 2010-2011 with the average of $248,931 in 2011-2012).

Prices are almost identical (comparing price per square foot  ($130 to $129).  This is probably the most reliable indicator of value.

 

SUMMARY

Prices of homes sold at Lake of the Pines have been relatively unchanged from the previous year through this year.   

 

 

 

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The Net, The Net, and Nothing But The Net

said on May 14th, 2012 filed under: Negotiating, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

Once you put your home on the market for sale, it becomes a product.  It can be difficult for you to change your preception about the place you live from “home” into its new identity as a commodity.  But that’s what it is now, and more so, it’s now business.  For many homeowners, selling your home may be  big business, the biggest you may ever conduct.  Your  financial future may be determined by the success or failure of the sale.  We’re not fooling around here.

You need smart, objective business decisions followed by energetic action and a sharp eye toward the bottom line, the net, the size of your check when all is said and done.

Your agent should (must!) provide you with a net sheet, or multiple net sheets at different selling prices, so that you can get your mind on the net where it belongs.

Smaller decisions about costs, who pays what, during marketing and escrow should be examined only in regards to how they affect the net.

I frequently hear things like this from the homeowner:

  • “I’m not paying for a home warranty for the buyer!”
  • “When I bought this house I had to pay the escrow fee, and now that I’m selling it, they want me to pay it again.  It’s the buyers’  turn to pay.  I won’t do it!”
  • “The buyers want me to give them 3% back to help them with closing costs?  Nobody gave me help.  No way!”

I keep reminding you over and over, “just look at the net.”

If the buyers want you to absorb $3,000 in closing costs (the nerve!), but they are offering $5,000 more for the sale, you are netting an additional $2,000.  It seems like a no-brainer to me, but real estate transactions can become emotional, especially if you are still wrapped up in the perception that it is your “home” that you are selling.

  • Keep your eye on the goal.
  • Don’t lose sight of the forest among all the trees.
  • Don’t lose a fortune bending over to pick up a dime.
  • The net, the net, and nothing but the net.

In an ideal world, you would give me the keys to your house, and then you would fly off to Maui and sit on the beach until I called you to come back and pick up your check.

(Or maybe I’ll bring the check to you.  Maui, you said?)

 

 

 

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Distressed Sales vs. Regular Sales in Grass Valley, California

said on May 14th, 2012 filed under: Grass Valley, Market Trends, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

Do foreclosure and short sale homes (distressed) sell for less than regular homes? 

Of course they do.

How much less?  Let’s examine the “sold homes” market in Grass Valley, California for two different periods:

Dec 22, 2010 through May 13, 2011 with the period of Dec 22, 2011 through May 13, 2012.

I selected houses between 1000 and 1500 square feet sitting on parcels less than 1 acre that sold during these two periods.

                                                     12/22/10 thru 5/13/11           12/22/11 thru 5/22/12        

Number of distressed sales                           22                                                    26

Number of regular sales                                 13                                                   15

Highest distressed sold                             $225,000                                      $220,000

Highest regular sold                                  $320,000                                      $300,000

Lowest distressed sold                                 $45,000                                        $55,850

Lowest regular sold                                    $147,000                                      $122,000

Average distressed sold                              $140,140                                      $132,478

Average regular sold                                   $213,223                                      $185,450

Median distressed sold                               $157,500                                      $137,250

Median regular sold                                    $200,000                                     $169,000

Average distressed list price                       $147,770                                      $135,292

Average regular list price                            $221,569                                     $196,213

%sold price/list price distressed                    95%                                               98%

%sold price/list price regular                         96%                                                95%

Price/square foot listed distressed               $118                                              $108

Price/square foot listed regular                    $166                                              $154

Price/square foot sold distressed                  $112                                               $106

Price/square foot sold regular                       $160                                              $145

Average days on market distressed                 78                                                  60

Average days on market regular                      100                                                80

 

ANALYSIS

No surprises here.  Distressed properties sell quicker and for less money.  How much less?  A lot less.  Distressed markets and regular markets are like two separate realities within the same town.  Using “price/square foot sold” as the basis of comparison, distressed homes sold for 30% less than regular sales in 2010/2011 and for 31% less in 2011/2012.

In my previous blog, we learned that the overall market in Grass Valley, California (based on price/square foot sold) declined from 2010/2011 to 2011/2012 by 7.8%.

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How Are We Doing? An Analysis of Real Estate in Grass Valley, CA.

said on May 13th, 2012 filed under: Grass Valley, Localism, Market Trends, Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

This is the house we bought in Grass Valley, California as an investment on December 22, 2010. We called her “Grizabella.”  She was built in 1887 with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath.  She was 1176 square feet in size and sat on a generous .3 acre city lot near downdown Grass Valley.  How is “Griz” doing as an investment?

But first, let’s look at the Grass Valley real estate market as a whole for properties of this size.  For my study, I compared the period of Dec 22, 2010 through May 13, 2011 with the period of Dec 22, 2011 through May 13, 2012.  I selected houses between 1000 and 1500 square feet sitting on parcels less than 1 acre.

                                                     12/22/10 thru 5/13/11           12/22/11 thru 5/22/12        

Number of homes sold                                  36                                                    41

Highest price sold                                   $320,000                                      $300,000

Lowest price sold                                       $45,000                                         $55,850

Average price sold                                    $169,722                                       $151,858

Median price sold                                      $175,750                                      $144,000

Average list price                                       $177,398                                      $157,580

%sold price/list price                                     96%                                               96%

Price per square foot listed                         $137                                              $125

Price per square foot sold                           $131                                               $121

Average days on the market                          84                                                  67

 

ANALYSIS

You can see that more houses (41 to 36) sold this year, and faster (67 days on the market to 84).  But (and it’s a big but), prices have fallen.

Just comparing price per square foot of sold properties ($131 to $121) you can see that the value of small homes in Grass Valley market has declined about 7.8% in one year.

If you compare median price of homes sold a year ago ($175,750) with the median prices of home sold this year ($144,000) you would think the Grass Valley market has declined about 18%.  Let’s not do that.  Yuck.

The first calculation, price per square foot, is the more accurate, and less scary, “but it is what it is,” as we say in this crazy game.  The market continues to drift downward.

So, how did Grizabella do?

We bought her for $92.69 per square foot.  She was a bargain at 71% cost of the other homes sold,  based on price per square foot.  So, we were already ahead of the game.  But by the time we fixed her up, we had brought her cost up to $161 per square foot.  Now we cost more than the other homes sold during the first five months of this year, almost 19% more than the comparables.

Did we overspend, or more precisely, overimprove?

No.

There are numerous variables in play (depreciation, tax advantages, and the real value added by remodeling or improving property), but the most important variable is this:  after property management expenses and maintenance, we are netting $1250 a month in rent.  That’s $15,000 a year.  That’s about 8% return on investment.

Of course, Uncle sam wants a piece of that, but doesn’t he always?

 

In an upcoming blog, we’re going to get even more sophisticated.  We’ll look at the same Grass Valley market for the same two periods of time, but we”ll compare conventional sales with homes sold as foreclosures and short sales.  Do you think we will see a marked difference?  Do you think there are really two different real estate worlds out there?  Let the truth be told.  Next time.

 

 

 

 

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5 Best Things to Do For Less Than $5,000 to Get Your Home Ready for Sale

said on May 11th, 2012 filed under: Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

Want some more seller tips?

In my previous blog, I discussed 5 things to do for less than $1,000 to get your home ready for sale:  (1) professional cleaning and window washing, (2) getting a pest inspection, (3) renting a storage locker, (4) sprucing up the curb appeal, and (5) making the front door sparkle.

In this follow-up blog, I’m going to raise the ante and ask you to spend up to $5,000.  Will you get it back?  Almost certainly, but even more importantly, these five things will help your home sell faster and with fewer obstacles.

And just for you, at the end, I’m going to add three secret (shhh!) bonus tips.

Here we go:

1.     Paint 

Absolutely the best bang for your buck.  You don’t have to paint everything, but anything will benefit from fresh paint.  Maybe you can paint only the exterior, or maybe only the interior, or maybe just the kitchen, or the grubby kids’ bedrooms.  What I mean is that you should have these areas painted–by professional painters.  I hope I don’t hurt your feelings, and maybe I’m off base here, but you probably don’t have the skills to paint a room yourself–even if you think you do.  Professional painters have spent years perfecting their craft.  They know a lot of stuff.  I can walk into any house and tell if it has been professionally painted, or painted by someone with professional skills–or painted by amateurs.   Hire a pro to paint.

2.  Remove Wallpaper

Wallpaper is out of date in the current market.  There are some exceptions, of course–very, very expensive designer wallpaper–but even wallpaper of that quality is extremely specific, to a certain taste, love it or loathe it.  Most modern buyers do not like wallpaper in general, and if they do, they want to put their own paper on the wall.  Get rid of it if possible.

Here’s the rub.  Some wallpaper comes off easily, and some is a royal pain in the butt to remove.  Easily removed paper may be feasible for you to take down.  For the harder stuff, you need to hire a professional.  Once you get the paper off, your walls will look like, well, a total catastrophe.  You may need to re-texture the walls.  Then you have to sand.  Then you have to prime.  Then you have to paint.  Five steps:  peel, texture, sand, prime, paint.

Yes, it can be a lot of work, but there is a great up-side to this project.  Nothing makes a house look younger than freshly textured walls.  A facelift for the interior.

3.  Remove Popcorn Ceilings

If modern buyers dislike wallpaper, they really detest popcorn ceilings.  They’re also afraid of popcorn.  “Could be asbestos, you know.”  Well, probably not, but that’s what they’ve heard.  Popcorn ceilings are a total buyer turn-off.

How much does it cost to get rid of it?  Maybe not as much as you think.  It’s significantly cheaper if you move all of the furniture out of the room before the contractor arrives.  He (or she, I guess) comes into an empty room, throws down a plastic drop, scapes the popcorn off the ceiling, letting it fall on the floor, rolls up the plastic, and hauls it away.  Presto!  All gone.   Cost?  Between $1 and $2 per square foot in our area of the Sierra foothills.

Here’s the rub.  If you thought your walls looked like garbage when you first removed the wallpaper, wait til you see those popcorn-less naked ceilings.  Every nail and screw, every taped seam, every stain you thought you had painted over with Kilz.  Right there for all to see.  What to do?  That’s right, texture, sand, prime, and paint.

Here’s the upside.  The room is empty.  Throw down a new drop cloth.  Texture, sand, prime, paint quickly.  The contractor who removed the popcorn is probably good at re-texturing.  He (or she, I guess) may have included the re-texturing in his (or her) bid.  Be sure to ask.

4.  Replace grubby stained carpets

It is almost as cheap to replace carpets with laminate flooring as with rental-grade carpeting.  Think about that.  New vinyl flooring for old vinyl bathroom floors is also cheap. One of the worst decisions any homeowner every made was to put carpet in the bathroom, even in the vanity area of the bathroom.  It’s just wrong. Imagine how much moisture, mold, and mist o’ piss saturates that carpet.  Get rid of it, please, I beg you.

5.  Correct the wood destroying pest damage you discovered when you received the pest inspector’s report (see previous blog)

With great pride, confidence, and a higher price, you will be able to advertise that your home is pest free, and pest damage free.  This is money in the bank.

 

THREE BONUS TIPS!

New Fixtures

Dress up your kitchen and bathroom cabinets with new drawer handles and knobs.  Replace scratched up faucets and other plumbing fixtres with shiny new ones.  Replace tacky lighting fixtures.  Folks, if you are planning to take Aunt Martha’s dining room chandelier with you, take it down and replace it before the first buyer ever walks through the door.

Crown Molding

Crown molding is surprisingly cheap if you know a carpenter who needs work and who knows the trick for measuring and making clean corners.  I know a guy who can install  crown molding in a standard bedroom in less than an hour –for $25 an hour.  The most time-consuming part is filling the nail holes, sanding, priming, and painting.  Total cost?  Including materials and painting, about $250 per bedroom.  My, oh, my does that crown look handsome!  Who should do the painting?  Altogether now . . . PROFESSIONAL PAINTERS!

High Wattage Light Bulbs

Spare me your sermon about wasting electricity.  After you sell your home, you can live in the dark for a month to make up, but while your home is on the market, put 100 watt bulbs everywhere, but especially in halls, foyers, closets and other places that tend to be a little dim and dreary.  Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

 

 

 

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5 Best Things to Do to Get Your Home Ready For Sale for Less Than $1,000

said on May 10th, 2012 filed under: Real Estate Nuts and Bolts

Getting ready to sell?  Want some tips?

Here are the 5 best things you can do for less than $1,000.

 

1.     Hire a professional house cleaner and window washer.

A recent national study revealed that the single biggest “turn off” to prospective home buyers was . . . dirt.  Simply . . . dirt.

2.     Commission a wood destroying pest inspection.

You don’t have to correct everything that shows up in the report, but just knowing what the issues are–and how much it is going to cost to fix them–is going to save you money down the line.  Why?  When the buyers discover the pest damage–and they will–they will try to adjust the price or get a concession from you at the highest possible level.  Wouldn’t you?  If you were the buyer?  Wouldn’t you try to protect yourself by making sure the concession was more than enough to cover all possible costs of repair?  Seller, you need to demonstrate how much it’s really going to cost so that you can negotiate from the strength of knowledge.

3.    Improve the curb appeal of your home.

Get a truckload of tan bark and a bunch of flowers (preferably yellow flowers says CJ, Mistress of Feng Shui).  Prune and trim those shrubs.  Rake and mow.

4.     Spruce up the area immediately around your front door.

Picture this:  the buyers’ agent is on the front porch fiddling with the lockbox, then trying to make the key work in the deadbolt.  This episode takes, maybe, 30 seconds or 60 seconds.  What are the buyers doing?  Standing there, waiting, looking around, looking around very closely, absorbing that critical first impression.  Please, buy a new welcome mat, new house numbers, maybe a new door latch, sweep the porch, eliminate the cobwebs and dirt dobber nest, clean up the porch light.  Make this area sparkle!  Get some healthy plants out there!  Some “stagers” suggest you paint the front door.  Me?  I think that’s a bit of a cliche’, but if the front door is really shabby, a coat of gloss may be your quickest, cheapest fix-up.

5.     Rent a storage locker.

I bet you didn’t see this one coming.  Look, you are going to have to pack anyway, aren’t you?  Now, before you go on the market, is the best time.  You need to de-clutter your home, simplify it, give it cleaner lines, neutralize and de-personalize it.  All those knicknacks?  Into the locker!  Three hundred family photos on the walls, on the buffet, on the dresser?  Into the locker.  Velvet Elvis from your trip to Vegas?  Into the locker!  Imelda’s nine thousand pairs of  shoes?  Into the locker!

Let me say this one more time, so you really hear it:

You need to de-clutter your home.

All of these items together should cost about $1,000.

In a coming blog, I will discuss the sensitive topic of de-personalizing your home as you prepare it for sale.  See you then.

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