Want to Add Value to Your Home? Get Into the Kitchen and the Bathroom!

Watch on your mobile device >>

Everyone knows that – all things being equal – the first areas buyers look at when considering the purchase of the home are the kitchen and the bathroom. They know they’re heavily-used areas and also the most expensive to upgrade. So, buyers want to know they’re in great shape or need, at most, minor repairs.

This tells you that you need to make the kitchen and bathroom “shine” in terms of their appeal. By some estimates, you can earn back 80 to 90 percent of your money in resale value!

Here’s more good news! Depending upon the state of these rooms, improvements don’t have to be all that expensive! Let’s look at the kitchen first.

Making Your Kitchen Shine!

The first bit of advice for you actually applies to both the kitchen and the bathroom – use paint! In fact, use high-quality paint. It’s a fact of life that kitchen walls get spattered with grease and food (especially if you have kids!), and bathroom walls get battered with steam and moisture.

So, the first thing to do is to take a look at those walls, clean them, and then paint them. And consider the color carefully. It should be a color that’s relaxing and tends toward a neutral tone.

Once you’ve chosen a color, spend the money on good paint, not the cheap stuff. It’ll look better, and buyers will notice that it’ll resist stains and water for a longer period of time than lower quality paint. It’ll also tell them that you’ve taken good care of your home.

Another inexpensive “fix” you can do yourself is, of course, the faucets over the sink (or the sink itself). A visit to a “big box” store like Home Depot, Menards, etc. will cost you little money. All you have to do is invest some “sweat equity.”

Of course, fresh curtains always spruce up a kitchen as well as orderly counters, islands, etc. And don’t forget lighting! Warm, friendly lighting can make a huge impact upon a buyer’s first impression. 

Another area to look at is the kitchen floor. If it’s worn, I’d recommend that you replace it with a hard-wearing material. Everyone knows the kitchen is a high-traffic area so they’ll look closely at the floor to see if they’ll have to bear the expense of replacing it.

Again, if you have handyman abilities, you can do this yourself. There are many inexpensive materials available today that are relatively easy to put in – high-quality tile, laminate floors that clean up easily, etc. 

In terms of kitchen cabinets and counters, you may want to consider refinishing them or replacing them if they’re in bad shape. This can be rather expensive, of course, but it also might make the difference between a sale and the home staying on the market.

Moving on up in terms of expenditures, buyers today expect modern appliances in the kitchen – stoves, dishwashers, etc.

These are big ticket items, of course, but if your appliances are worn or out-of-date, think about replacing them, especially if you’re having trouble selling your home.

Look for sales on modern higher-end appliances such as the ones available at Sears, etc. Buyers will spot cheap ones in a heartbeat, and this can cost you a sale.

Today’s buyers look for spacious kitchens that open on to another room and which have a window over the sink. Obviously, if your kitchen doesn’t have these features, it would be far too expensive to put them in.

However, you can make your kitchen look as open as possible. Make sure the counters are clear, visible pots and pans are ordered neatly, and the floor is free of clutter.

Okay, now onto the bathroom!

Making Your Bathroom Shine!

If your bathroom is in good to great shape, then it’s a simple matter of paint, as I mentioned before, and a good all-round clean up. Since we’re dealing with sanitary issues, you want this area to sparkle as much as possible.

But, what if the shower, tub, sink, or toilet are not in great shape or are out of date? Well, then, I’d recommend that you do a whole remodel.

It can be expensive, but when you replace, say, just one item, it can create an unharmonious look. Ideally, you want the sinks, faucets, toilets, showerheads, tile, etc. to match to make the bathroom look as unified and appealing as possible.

Depending upon your expertise, you can install these items yourself at a lower cost. If not, hire an expert to do the work, especially if your home has been on the market a long time and isn’t selling.

Okay, here’s one last suggestion. It’s an expensive one but it’s been proven to add value to your home – add a second bathroom!

One-bathroom houses are simply harder to sell and sell for less than ones with two or three bathrooms. 

So, if you have the financial wherewithal, consider adding one. A good place for a second bathroom is right off the master bedroom. This will appeal to buyers with children since they’ll have a space separate from the kids.

Also, if for some reason, you decide not to sell, a second bathroom can make life easier for you if you have children as well!

Want to hear some more suggestions for improving the value of your home? Contact me today and we can talk about some inexpensive methods of doing just that!

The Truth About Buying Distressed Real Estate; Are Short Sales and Foreclosures Really a Good Deal?

Watch on your mobile device >>

There is no doubt about it. Some buyers have landed incredible deals buying real estate that was sold either as a short sale, foreclosure or bank owned property. But was there really a deal?  The truth is that it all depends. It depends on whether or not you found a property in good, sale-able condition. It also depends on the location of the property plus its potential value in the long run. Either way, buyers that do opt to pursue a distressed property in their home-buying endeavors will face some challenges.

Timing Is Everything – And Distressed Sale Timing Is Unpredictable
Let’s say you found your dream home – or maybe you found a distressed sale property in a location that you have always desired but could never afford, until now. Though it sounds like a win-win situation with a potentially lower price and the great location – it is important to keep in mind that the process can drag on unpredictably. Unlike conventional sales, distressed sales are dependent on the bank (or banks) involved and entail several more steps than a conventional property purchase.

At the beginning of the post-market crash period when short sales first began appearing more frequently in the market, many buyers were dismayed to find that the process could take as much as a year in some cases. The reason for this is that banks must approve the purchase price that was set by the seller. Since in the case of short sales, the bank is owed more money than what the property is worth, there is a sizable difference that must be reconciled upon sale. So when you make an offer on such a property hoping to get a good deal, the bank has to agree to that price first.

More recently, short sales have become more streamlined and can take a lot less time but still the process can add up to months of waiting – something difficult to manage for buyers that are also selling their home. Further, if the purchase is taking place due to a time-sensitive situation such relocation then the timing can be a deal breaker.

Financing Required for Distressed Sales May Be More Difficult to Obtain
One fact about traditional financing that many buyers may not realize is that lenders require certain viability on the properties they lend against. Of course this is because the property serves as collateral against the loan. But when dealing with short sales or foreclosed properties this can become roadblock since a lot of these properties are without major components of the home. Things like an incomplete kitchen, uninhabitable bathrooms or unusable living space can hinder a bank’s willingness to accept a mortgage.

With interest rates as low as they are and inventory fast dwindling in many areas – this is the time to buy if you are looking to buy. But the good deals go beyond just distressed properties so it is important to work with a real estate agent that can provide you the sort of guidance necessary to tap into all areas. Time is running out though – so we advise you to contact us today!