How To Spend Your Time & Money In a Buyer’s Market
The current combination of low home prices and low mortgage rates make today’s real estate market a “buyer’s market.” If you’re a homeowner interested in selling your home right now or are just keeping the possibility in the back of your mind, a few key home improvements have been shown to have a significant impact on how buyers and agents see your property — and how much they’re willing to offer and pay for it. Maximizing these five qualities of your home helps you take advantage of the buyer’s market by leapfrogging your property to the top of the most desirable list.
Clean and clutter-free — according to HomeGain.com’s Home Sale Maximizer survey, the number one investment sellers can make of both time and money is to clean and de-clutter their homes. Cleaning and organizing your home in advance of putting it on the market costs, on average, under $300 and brings an average price increase of about $1,990 — a return of more than six times the original investment.
Four more ways homeowners can create a stellar first impression and realize a positive impact on the sale price are:
- Light and bright — this can mean anything from new, brighter bulbs to more lamps to a fresh coat of neutral, light-reflecting paint on the walls.
- Staged — create the image of a dream home, with stylish accessories, plants, and occasional pieces. Staging a home lets it tell the story the buyers want to read.
- Landscaped — welcome potential buyers with bright flowers and green grass , don’t scare them away with a dry brown lawn and scraggly plantings.
- Repaired — sounds simple, but making sure every light switch works, every faucet runs and every toilet flushes can mean a $1,500 swing in price.
An article in The New York Times noted that small changes “can alter the ultimate sales price of an apartment by 5 to 10 percent. The calculations are irrational, and buyers are usually unaware they are doing it.” (Emphasis added.) From chipped tiles to fresh paint, from cluttered rooms to crisp, new bedding, little things can mean a lot. The article cites real examples where one apartment, filled with stuff and clutter sold for 15 percent less than an identical one, whose owners had cleaned and streamlined the rooms. Offers on another apartment went up 5 percent ($25,000) after the bathroom was freshened up with $700 worth of towels and a new bath mat.