Chit N’ Chat
Want to Increase Your Home Value this Year?
A conversation with Top Orlando Homes realtors Brenda and Philip Kolbrich
Brenda: Increasing your home value to sell this year or in the future surprisingly doesn’t have to cost you a lot. A home is most often the largest asset a person owns and a seller wants to obtain the highest price always. To obtain the highest price there are some simple cost-effective ways to get your home ready for sale.
Philip: I agree, but a percentage of sellers feel their home will sell because of their location and the hot seller’s market and they are not interested in upgrading or preparing their home for sale…big mistake…There’s a great business book out called “Built to Sell” by John Warrillow which teaches small business owners how to transform their business from a full-time job, to a tangible asset that they work On to increase the business’s value in the marketplace. Many of the same principles apply to real estate. A house is already a tangible asset with the land it sits on and the structure but the value of a home can vary drastically, based on the condition its in as well as staging the house prior to listing it.
Brenda: Yes the same exact home which has been well-maintained, has some upgrades and is staged will often sell for a higher price than a home which needs a lot of work. The physical condition of a home and first impressions are crucial in a sale. As realtors we always need to advise our clients to maintain their home not only for them to enjoy but for re-sale. If an opportunity comes up to relocate, upsize or downsize, having your home ‘Built to Sell’ gives you peace of mind.
Philip: Top on the list is ensuring your roof has at least a few years of life on it at all times. Roofs generally last anywhere from 10-30 years, depending on the quality of the shingles installed. Should you sell the house, certain types of loans require 3+ years of life left on a roof in order for that buyer to qualify for a mortgage. Also, most buyers & buyer’s agents will have a lot of negotiating power if they see an old or damaged roof. Your house may qualify for an insurance claim to be filed due to “wind and hail damage” from a number of non-hurricane related hail storms that have hit our local area over the past few years. Upon approval, this claim could cover most if not all of the cost of a new roof. The first step is to call a local recommended roofer who specializes in insurance claims for a Free Estimate to determine if there is visible damage to your roof before filing an insurance claim. If the roofer does determine that it’s worth filing the claim, make sure that the same roofer comes back to help the insurance adjuster prove & document the damages upon their visit. All this proof will then be sent to the “insurance claims department”, and they will make the final decision. With all the facts present, it’s difficult for them to deny your claim and you will most likely be given the money for a new roof!
Brenda: Also at the top of the list is to maintain your air conditioner(s). Changing the filter regularly, flushing the drain pipe with vinegar, and sucking out all excess fluid from the outside drain with a shop vac every few months are simple and inexpensive tasks every homeowner should do. Also, at least annually have an a/c service company come inspect the entire system, and service anything needed. Poorly maintained air conditioners will cost the seller during the inspection period. The first questions a buyer usually asks are “How old is the unit?” and “When was the last time the a/c was serviced”? Well-maintained units can last much longer, up to 15+ years, than those not regularly serviced. Even on an ‘As-Is’ contract, which most contracts are written on, if there are major issues with the a/c unit the buyer will demand that they be fixed.
Philip: Also keeping a good coat of high-quality paint on the exterior and sealing any cracks is important for the look and maintenance of your home.
Brenda: Landscaping is the first thing buyers see when they approach a house for sale, so replacing any dead grass and planting nice bushes and flowers in season makes the home visually appealing for showing and for the online photos. Red mulch and colorful flowers are not expensive and show up very nicely in pictures.
Philip: Lastly, having the interior freshly painted in a neutral color can be one of the most important things you can do to prepare your home for sale. If any upgrades can be done based on your budget, the kitchen is generally where to put the money first. Ensure the cabinets are in great shape or have them professionally painted. Consider upgrading the counters especially if they show significant wear and tear. Make sure all of the appliance colors are matching & that they are working properly before listing.
Brenda: Staging can be as simple as de-cluttering and moving out furniture pieces to make the home appear more spacious. We have an in-house professional stager on our team (no cost to you) who can use your existing furniture and add some accent pieces that we provide, like high-end towels, plants, candles & fruits…much less expensive to do it this way than to hire a separate staging company. And of course the home needs to be sparkling clean, including the windows. Once your house is on the market it becomes more like a shopping mall and buyers want to be impressed if they are going to pay top dollar