When you’re getting ready to sell, there are a lot of things you can do so everything works in your favor. Not only so you can get more for your property, but also sell it faster than you might otherwise. You may be familiar with some of these concepts but are you using them all to your advantage? A lot of these principles also apply for creative investing strategies like lease options or property assignments.
1) Take an objective look at the property
Many people that have lived in a house for a while tend to overlook little things that may hurt the resale value, but this can also be true for investment properties if you don’t know what to look for. Keep in mind what you would think if you were going through the property for the first time. What might be some turn offs? Are there things that could create concerns and how can you negate them?
2) How is the curb appeal?
Statistics show that potential buyers decide in about the first 10 seconds of seeing the outside of a house whether they want to see the inside. This is one of the single most important things you can do to attract buyers initially. Whether they drive by or see a picture of the property on the internet, you need to make a great first impression. As an investor, we like to find properties that lack curb appeal but have the potential for it. Most buyers can not see past overgrown shrubs, weeds or dirty siding, and even if they can it is still a turn off because it may reflect how the rest of the house is taken care of.
3) Make the buyer feel like they can move into the home without any extra work
Buyers will usually be looking at a lot of different properties, so you want to make sure yours stands out. You want buyers to connect and visualize the home as their own. This is one of the reasons you will hear some real estate agents encourage sellers to “depersonalize” their home by putting away personal photos and belongings that could detract from its neutrality.
Aside from standard cleaning, do the following:
o First of all, trim shrubs, grass and clean up flower beds (and add fresh mulch if needed) In many counties there are places you can get a truck load of mulch for as little as $20
o Many properties can be made to look like new by simply pressure washing exterior walls to remove dirt and grime
o You can repaint the front door if needed to add color and definition.
o Sweep and clean the pathway to the front porch
o Clean out gutters and spouts
o Remove oils stains in the driveway
o Fix any cracks, leaks or stains
o Put down welcome mats or replace old ones
o If room permits, add a small bench or seating on the porch or just inside the entry.
o Add color to the entry way with flower pots on the porch
o Replace old or dim lights with new brighter ones
o Use touch up paint where you can avoid repainting entire rooms
o When new paint is needed, use neutral, lighter colors that will appeal to more buyers.
o Eliminate or replace “dated” features like wall paper, old fixtures and knobs
o Eliminate clutter or garbage including that in closets and pantries
o Have the carpets cleaned or replace areas that absolutely need it
o Clean or re-grout tile including showers and bathrooms
o Clean or replace old blinds, drapes and shower curtains. Get rid of dated drapes and make sure as much natural light can get into the house as possible
o Clean handrails, light switches and door handles
o Wash windows and mirrors
o Air out the house and use natural air fresheners. Avoid chemical based air fresheners or sprays; there are many people that have allergic reactions to them.
4) Make improvements that the price range of the neighborhood can support.
Especially in a buyers market, it is rare that you will recoup expenses that would raise your properties price over 15% of the median house price in a given area. For example, updating a kitchen with top of the line appliances, slate and granite counter tops may be nice. But if the property is in a lower class neighborhood where these features are rare, you will probably have a difficult time just breaking even with the added costs. Match the parameters of the neighborhood and the prospective buyers’ budgets.
5) Minimize expenses and keep track of them.
A lot of times, you don’t have to spend a lot to get a house cleaned up to make it appealing to buyers. Avoid remodeling that is preferential and not absolutely necessary. Things can add up fast and most new investors go way over budget because they over do it and don’t keep good track of expenses. In the event you feel larger renovations like a new roof, furnace or remodeled kitchen are necessary, get bids from several reputable contractors. Not only will this help you know what you’re really up against it will help you avoid inflated bids from contractors that would otherwise scam you. You can also determine what your options are and if there are other avenues should take.
Be creative. You don’t have to break the bank with excessive remodeling; many of the things we have talked about will not cost very much but make a big difference in your real estate investing. Some of the small details will actually do more for you then extensive renovations. Approach it right and you will find yourself getting a lot more interested and prospective buyers to work with!
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Matthew Sorensen is a leading authority in risk free, creative real estate techniques. He has trained thousands of people with several large organizations.
You can visit his website at: http://www.creativerealestatehelp.com to receive more information on how to maximize profits safely for changing market trends.