Looking to buy a house for the first time? You may want to use some of the strategies that investors use. This includes: what kinds of locations increase in value, what the potential is for improvements, any rental restrictions for when you’re ready to buy your second home, and the best types of investment properties for a first time home.
Home Selling Tips: Staging Your Home
First impressions are crucial, especially when it comes to selling your home. Luckily, there are some easy and affordable upgrades you can do to make your home stand out from the moment potential buyers arrive.
1. Enhance The Curb Appeal
Try some affordable upgrades like pressure washing the exterior, painting the front door or shutters, replacing old fixtures, adding fresh greenery to garden beds and window boxes, and creating an inviting outdoor living area with chairs on the porch or stoop.
2. Kitchen Makeover
Did you know that the kitchen plays a crucial role in selling a house? The good news is that you don’t need to break the bank to make it more appealing. If you’re on a tight budget, you can update the backsplash by using peel-and-stick faux tile, tin tile, beadboard paneling, or painting the existing tile.
3. Minimize Furniture
When it comes to getting your home ready for sale, one of the most important things to focus on is decluttering. A cluttered home can turn off potential buyers, so it’s essential to get rid of any unnecessary items. One way to achieve this is by reducing the amount of furniture in each room. Professional stagers often remove up to half of the furniture in a home to make it look more spacious. This allows buyers to move around the house freely and appreciate its unique features, like a fireplace or built-in bookshelves. By minimizing clutter, you can help your home appear more inviting and appealing to prospective buyers.
4. Rearrange Your Furniture
When it comes to preparing your home for sale, rethinking your furniture placement can be an effective way to enhance its overall appeal. Arranging your furniture in a way that maximizes the space and highlights the unique features of each room can make a big difference.
5. Add An Office Space
With the rise of remote work and homeschooling, having a designated workspace has become increasingly important for many homebuyers. By making efficient use of available space, you can appeal to potential buyers who require a home office without compromising on other essential features of your home.
One important aspect of preparing your home for sale is creating a neutral and welcoming environment that allows potential buyers to envision themselves living there. To achieve this, remove personal items such as family photos and children’s artwork that may distract buyers from imagining their own lives in the space.
Work on these tips and you might just have a potential buyer knocking on your door. Which tip will you do first?
What Upgrades Increase Home Value?
When looking to maximize the value of your home, it’s important to know which improvements will have the greatest impact. The right upgrades can make all the difference in what buyers will pay for your property. To help you decide which improvements to work on, we’ve shortlisted a few upgrades that can potentially increase the value of your home.
1. Convert or Build a Home Office
We all saw the world shift when the pandemic hit. Office work has found its way into our homes and for some, it means making room for a work-conducive area.
In a survey done by HomeLight during Fall of 2021, results showed that 60% of top real estate agents had clients with home office as a top priority in their property search. With this demand, home offices add over $10,000 in resale value, according to a mid-2020 data by the same company.
To accommodate an office in your home, you can try converting spaces such as walk-in closets. Or, you can also go big and construct an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) right in your backyard. Whichever way you want to do it, you’ll benefit either way — while you’re living in your home and when you decide to sell your home in the future.
2. Finish an Unfinished Basement
If you have an unfinished basement, you might want to fix it up prior to selling your home. According to HomeAdvisor, it can get sellers a potential of 75% return on investment (ROI) with a finished basement of around 400-1,500 square feet. Turn it into an office, a guest room, a great room, or just leave it blank and let potential buyers imagine what they’ll make of the space.
3. Touch up or re-do your exterior paint
Out of all the upgrades in this list, exterior touch ups may be the most doable and economical. Although this upgrade is not as drastic as the others, it can change your home’s curb appeal instantly — from looking run-down to brand-spanking new! Here are some ways you can change the exterior look of your home:
- Pressure wash the exterior, including the sidewalk, driveway, patio or deck. Nothing beats a sparkling home free of dirt and those green algae.
- Paint the main door with a bold color against a neutral exterior, as often recommended by designers.
- Check the exterior of your home for any flaking or chipped paint. If there are any visible paint issues, it would be better to at least touch them up.
- Go all-out and re-do the exterior paint entirely.
4. Add a deck or patio
Outdoor dining, back yard barbecue, outdoor gym or additional living space — decks and patios are a fantastic way to get your daily dose of fresh air while entertaining or getting a bit of sweat on. These spaces are a common addition to any American home and can add an average of over $7,000 in resale value. Building a deck can cost you around $4,300, which will likely lead to a positive ROI when you decide to sell your home.
5. Install New Windows
According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 90% of home buyers found energy-efficient windows to either be essential or desirable. Replacing your home’s windows can be expensive, but an estimated 80% of the cost can be regained at resale, according to a HomeLight survey.
If you choose to install new windows, make sure to check the the U.S. Department of Energy’s online guide that contains the government’s minimum energy-efficiency standards for new windows. These standards may vary based on the climate zone where the home is located.
6. Kitchen and Bathroom Remodels
Swap out the kitchen and bathroom fixtures and drawer knobs for a newer, modern design. If your home has a more traditional or eclectic vibe, replace the fixtures and knobs with a design suited for its style. The important thing is to get a refresh from all the gunk that has been stuck in the nooks and crannies of these items. If done right, this simple and inexpensive swap can give your home a cohesive feel.
If you have the budget to make a minor remodel, this can garner you an estimated amount of 71% ROI, according to HomeLight. Comparing that to a major kitchen remodel, which can only get you 56% ROI, the minor remodel is the better choice. For bathrooms, a minor remodel can get 60% ROI while an upscale remodel gets 5% less.
Here are some items that you might want to remember when remodeling your kitchen or bathroom:
- Replace the countertop. Granite countertops add more value to your home, but it can be expensive. A less expensive option would be to put in granite tiles instead of a whole slab.
- Replace the cabinetry. If you don’t have the budget for this, you can make your cabinets look modern and brand new with a fresh coat of paint.
- Replace the appliances. Upgrade the appliances into stainless steel and energy-efficient ones.
- Replace the old fixtures and drawer knobs with standard ones. This won’t cost you as much, so make sure you include this in the remodel.
- Replace the old tiles. You can also have them regrouted to save money. This feels the same as having a fresh coat of paint on your wall.
- Refinish the tub and liner. This is an inexpensive way to make the bathroom look brand new.
We hope these tips help you sell your home quicker and at a higher value!
Health, Books, Alcohol and Coffee-Free
Shawn shares real estate info, things he’s doing for his health, and the latest books he’s read.
Tips for First-Time Home Buyers
Buying a House in 2023
Buying a home for the first time can be complicated. There are lots of steps, tasks, and requirements to follow, and you don’t want to make a costly mistake.
Here’s a rundown of what you should think about before you buy to help you get the most out of your purchase.
1. Improve Your Credit Score
Improving your credit score takes time and effort, but it is possible. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Check your credit report for mistakes – It’s important to regularly check your credit reports for any errors or incorrect information that could be damaging your score.
- Pay your bills on time – Paying your bills on time is one of the most important factors for maintaining a good credit score.
- Keep credit card balances low – Keeping your credit card balances low will help improve your credit score. Try to keep your balances below 30% of your available credit.
- Limit applying for new accounts – Opening too many new accounts at once can have a negative impact on your credit score.
- Use different types of credit – Having a mix of different types of credit, such as installment loans and credit cards, can help improve your credit score.
2. SAVE FOR YOUR DOWN PAYMENT
A minimum down payment will most likely be required, depending on the loan. Expect to pay at least 3% of the property’s purchase price.
How much you’ll put down on your home depends on the type of mortgage you receive. The typical mortgage down payment ranges from 3.5% to 20% of the property’s purchase price.
If you put down less than 20%, you may be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) or other fees.
Things To Know About Down payments
- The size of your down payment has a direct impact on the interest rate your mortgage lender will set for your loan. The larger the down payment you offer your lender, the lower your interest rate may be.
- A larger down payment generally means you’re a less risky borrower, and a less risky borrower means a lower interest rate.
- It’s now possible to get a mortgage for as little as 3% down, although some loans (like Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans require no money down.
3. FIND A REALTOR AND A LENDER
Real estate agents are home-buying experts who know the local market and can take you to houses that meet your needs in your target area. They make finding the perfect home much easier and faster.
Now is the time to start researching lenders. Ask for recommendations from friends and family and conduct online research to find someone who will work well with you and your needs.
4. GET PRE-APPROVED
Mortgage pre-approval is a critical step in the home-buying process that you should not overlook in 2023. Getting a mortgage preapproval accelerates the lending process. If you find a home you like and need a loan quickly to buy it before another prospective homebuyer does, being preapproved will allow you to secure the purchase sooner.
Lenders will consider several key factors before deciding to pre-approve you for a mortgage:
- DTI Ratio – measures the amount of income a person or organization generates in order to service a debt
- LTV Ratio – is an often used ratio in mortgage lending to determine the amount necessary to put in a down payment and whether a lender will extend credit to a borrower
- Credit History – a record of your ability to repay debts and demonstrated responsibility in repaying them
- Income and Employment History – to check how much money you are earning and your job stability
- FICO Score – are based on the information collected on individual consumers by the three major credit bureaus, including their payment history, credit utilization, and the age of their accounts
5.MAKE A WISHLIST
What kind of home do you want in terms of square footage, features, and so on? Make a list of your non-negotiables.
Are you ready for your dream home? Let Shawn Realty help you find that perfect home for you and your family.