VOL. 128 | NO. 120 | Thursday, June 20, 2013
Rays of Wisdom
Dana and Ray Brandon
Investing In House To Sell
By Ray and Dana Brandon
Ray’s Take Finally and thankfully, the housing market seems to be making a bit of a comeback. Those years of drought actually created a pretty significant pent-up demand. However, homebuyers still expect more for their money. Exactly what that means varies: some want the biggest house possible and are willing to upgrade. Others want a move-in-ready home. The truth is even people willing to upgrade are more easily sold on a house that already looks great.
The question is, should you invest in renovations to sell your home? A lot depends on your neighborhood and the potential for return on any investment you make. Different neighborhoods attract different kinds of shoppers. This is when the advice of a professional real estate agent who really knows your area is worth a lot. Your agent can advise you on the condition and price of nearby homes most like yours. This can help you determine what your profit potential is and what you could safely (hopefully) invest. They could even suggest waiting to get feedback from potential shoppers on what to improve.
That said, still think for your self. After all, improvements could make your agent’s job easier, but might not provide the return on investment you want. Plus, while your buyer benefits from major renovations, you’re the one who has to put up with the hassles. It’s a financial balancing act and sometimes it’s more effective to set a lower asking price and move on.
If you do decide to renovate to sell – and this certainly can make a major difference in both selling price and time on the market – focus on things that have the most visual impact. These can include fresh, neutral paint; updated kitchen counters; new cabinet fronts or hardware; and other partial improvements rather than complete room renovations.
Whatever investments you make, be sure they are what people are looking for rather than what you like. One anxious home seller chose to replace all the carpet in their home. The first thing the buyer did was tear all that carpet out and replace it with hardwood floors!
Dana’s Take Before you commit to spending big bucks, read up on “staging” your home for selling and roll up your sleeves. Remove personal items like pictures, diplomas, travel souvenirs and the like. You want potential buyers to envision themselves living there, not you. De-clutter aggressively, and that includes storing away some furniture in order to make rooms look bigger.
It goes without saying that your home should be sparkling clean, with spotless windows, gleaming tiles, and flawless grout. Also, stand in front of your house and study it critically. This is the first impression potential buyers have. Does your home look welcoming? Is the lawn trimmed and are the flowerbeds weeded and mulched? These things set expectations about what shoppers will find inside.
Ray Brandon is a certified financial planner and CEO of Brandon Financial Planning (www.brandonplanning.com). His wife, Dana, has a bachelor’s degree in finance and is a licensed clinical social worker. Contact Ray Brandon at firstname.lastname@example.org.