Top Return on Remodel Item?

What would you guess to be the top return on home improvement dollars spent?

I have incorrectly stated for years: “a kitchen improvement gives you the highest return of added value for your remodel dollar”.

While it typically adds 80 – 83% of your remodel dollar-to-value, there is an inexpensive improvement which gets an even higher return – almost 100%!  Hint: a contributor to curbside appeal.

Take a look at this article (see the list at the bottom) and you may be as surprised as I was.  I’m assuming the photo above hasn’t helped you figure it out already.  It is still an eyebrow raiser for me.  It’s also motivating because I can redo our front door out of  “pocket change” vs influencing the national debt for a full-on kitchen do over.

BTW: there was a secondary point made in the article which should be self evident: a $75,000 kitchen remodel on a $100,000 house does not make sense.

What have you done before sale which gave you the best return?

Seller’s Universal Qustion: “How Much?”

In a Hollister listing interview the inevitable question came up and I gave the answer I have heard myself offer more and more lately. 

     The question: “How much of a commission do you charge”? 

     The answer: “If your competing homes for sale are offering 2.5 or 3.0% to the selling office you should offer at least 3.0%.  The first sale you need to make is the Selling Agent’s interest in showing your home.  You want to do everything possible to encourage those agents to enthusiastically promote your home.  If you instruct me to collect a lower commission, half of which goes to the Selling Agent, they will see that lower commission when searching for homes to show their buyers.  We want to ENCOURAGE them to show your home.  A lower commission being offered by you while competing homes are offering more will be discouraging to them.

     “The home will sell itself – once the agent and their prospective buyers actually tour your home.  We just need to do all we can to make your home appealing to the prospective buyers AND their agent”.

This answer seems to resonate as a new thought with most sellers and typically the issue is settled.  Now!  If we could just find a buyer for this nice, upper-end home!  Anyone want a producing vineyard and nice home in the Spring Grove Area of Hollister?

Install New Carpet for Re-Sale Appeal?

A Monterey homeowner asked a question    which many sellers wonder about: “Should I replace our dated and worn carpeting  with l new flooring on the home I’m selling?”  The seller has been told “Yes” and “No.  Buyers will want to put in their own color and texture of flooring“.

This is topic which has no perfect answer. I find most buyers really want a “turn-key” home – one where they can simply move into it and live. Those same buyers often say, “we’ll change this, and that…” but, often take a long time getting around to it if they don’t make those changes soon after the close of escrow.

A  few enterprising buyers will, in fact, shop for a ‘fixer upper’.  Some have family and or friends in “the trades” and fully intend to do a complete face lift to the home they buy.  If the rest of the home is dated and in need of repairs  the seller will have spent money on carpeting that will likely be removed.

If the home is in otherwise good condition I would go with the odds and put down a complementary-color carpet. It does make a lot of difference in the ‘feel’ and ‘senses’ of that brief tour the prospective buyer will take of the  home.  We only have one chance for a first impression.  The value of getting the home sold in a timely fashion vs. staying on the market a long time suggests that the cost of carpeting is really a cost of selling.

Regarding the cost – We have a nice relationship with a carpet store where they will allow homeowners to “bill escrow” with no costs or interest for up to a year.  This kind of relationship can make the decision a whole lot easier, right?

The Lack of Pictures vs. the Quality of the Home

A prospective client is moving into our area from out of state and asked a rhetorical question:  “Does the lack of pictures on the web indicate poor quality of those homes?”  Well, yes and no.

No – “REO” and especially the “Short Sale” listing agents are often too busy to take more than one picture (sometimes none at all).  Occasionally, a solo picture of the front of the home is all the agent could squeeze in.  So the home might be fine.

Yes – there just may not be anything photo-worthy.  Since most of the homes on the market currently are Short Sale or REO listings and since many of these financially challenged homes are pretty worn finding a compelling shot may be difficult.

However, some listings will show 8 or 9 photos of the front and back yards and none of the interior…MESSAGE: there probably is nothing INSIDE worth displaying.  Also, have you noticed how forgiving a camera can be?  We often turn to one another asking:  “Yuck, is this the same house”?

So, after doing a Google Street Scene your best bet is to do your research on the location, statistics on the home(s) etc. from the web then, go out and look at several homes in the same afternoon.  Your agent will put together an efficient tour of prospective homes for you.  Not only will you see what the condition of the homes ARE and, could become, you will also get a feel for the neighborhoods.  “Seeing (in real time) is believing”.