Posted in Best Time to Sell, Home Selling Tips, Selling Your Home

Best Outdoor ROI Tip for 2018!

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Who Knew? A Home Improvement with a 267% ROI!!

If someone said you could give them a dollar and they’d return and give you $267 a day later plus they’d do work for you…. We’d be clamoring to sign up, right? You may be surprised to learn that the home improvements paying the best return on investment (ROI) aren’t what you think!

It is likely you know a great kitchen and master suite make a home much more sale-able and both have a pretty high ROI when updated. You may even know that a new front door is about the highest on the list in terms of best places to put your money when putting up a home for sale. What you may not have guessed is professional standard lawn service, yes lawn service, recovers an estimated 267% of your investment! So not only do you get to sit back and watch someone else do your work, but when you’re selling – it is like having it done free and then some!

It seems there are several outdoor features that make your home both appeal to buyers and add value to your home.  You may want to consider going a step beyond standard lawn care and have some landscape maintenance done too! That ranks #2 on the list and includes such things as tree/shrub pruning, removal of small trees, new mulch, etc.  If your deck has seen better days or you’ve been thinking of putting in a new patio – hop to it. Not only do both of those upgrades make in the top 5 for appeal and added value but they add to the *Joy Factor as well. What is Joy Factor? That’s the positive feeling that makes you desire to spend more time at home.

Joy Factor comes in to play in almost all the top 13 outdoor home improvements. Whether you’re planning to sell or not, you may find justifying the expense of an update easier by looking at these statistics. Not only will mom and dad be more pleased to sit out on the back deck sipping a drink, but kids come into play here too. Despite the bad rap one particular outdoor expenditure has had in regard to ROI, this outdoor feature ranks the absolute highest on the Joy Factor. Any idea what it might be? A pool of course! So if you’re a parent who would like to be sure your kids have a great time at home instead of spending time at someone else’s; the biggest pull is to put in a pool. That’s a great tidbit to be sure your Realtor knows when selling a home with a pool. Marketing the Joy Factor could make a big difference.

We may be nearing the end of summer right now but there’s still plenty of time to make your yard and landscaping look great! And there’s nothing like pulling in the driveway at the end of a long day of work, or after a vacation and seeing your yard looking fabulous.

If you have any further questions about Outdoor or Indoor Residential Features topping the ROI charts, reach out to me and I’ll be happy to get you more information.

Posted in Best Time to Sell, Home Selling Tips, Selling Your Home

Enjoy Now – Get Paid Later

Sounds like a double bonus doesn’t it? Strange as it may be, it is often true in the world of keeping your home updated. As we pass the 10 year anniversary of when the market crashed here in Mid-Michigan (a bit later than many parts of the U.S.) I have seen a number of homes going on the market that were purchased right before that bubble burst. Even though our average home sales are again about the same as just before that burst, many of the homes I’m doing markets on are just not on par with the figure they bought them for.  What do these particular homes have in common? They all lack updates.
For whatever reason, it seems many of the homes I’ve been doing markets on were built in the 1990’s or early 2000’s, when I walk in – I’m pretty much seeing exactly what I would have seen 20 years ago, except now the stuff is 20 years old! Sure, some folks have put in a few rooms of carpet (though many haven’t) but for the most part things are the same. We have old laminate or tile counter tops, out of date appliances, mis-matched fixtures, 90’s wallpaper, etc.  I have sold enough homes (averaging 1/week) to say that people in general want to purchase a home that is updated, investors excluded. A clean updated home will sell so much faster and for a higher price than an outdated one every time!
Maybe it is because it has economically been a rough ten years for our community that there’s an abundance of outdated inventory. Or maybe people just don’t realize the value of keeping their home updated.  I would suggest you make small updates to your home annually; besides raising the sales price for the future – you get to enjoy it now! I recently went on a market analysis in what would be considered a luxury price point. Fabulous floor plan and amenities. However, it was a 1998 kitchen that was not only not-functional but there was laminate in a $400K price point – not possible.  I proceeded to give my prospective clients three values: $289,000 as-is, $369,000 re-doing the kitchen and master bath, or $425,000 with a complete remodel. We ripped apart the kitchen, opened it up and put in new tile backsplashes and granite counter tops. Looks like a whole new place, and we spent about $10,000 but brought the value up a ton.  The sellers – well, they’re not so sure they want to move anymore! They love it! It got me thinking, why are so many waiting to update until the time they’re ready to sell? Why not do a little bit every year and enjoy those updates now AND reap the benefits later.  Financially, it is a lot easier to do a project every year than something great big when you’re getting ready to move.
Surely I’m not saying that you will get your money back for every single update you do.  There are of course wise ways to increase your home’s value and other ways that, though they may make your home more enjoyable for your family, don’t necessarily get your money back. If you’re not sure what the best updates to do are – you can always ask me. Free advice. But generally speaking; kitchens, master suites, and baths are a great bet – as well as an attractive entrance. So lift your spirits a little and grab a can of paint, pick out some new floors or take a sledgehammer to those pink tiled walls in your old bathroom! Have fun, love the home you’re in, and invest for your future!
Posted in Best Time to Sell, Home Selling Tips, real estate, Selling Homes, Selling Your Home

Top Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

We’ve all seen it – on our drive in to work a For Sale sign pops up in the lawn of a home and gee, months and months go by and it is still there. After several months you may even start to wonder, “What’s wrong with that house?” There must be something wrong, right? Not necessarily. Most likely either seller or their agent made a decision up front that cost them a quick sale.  Granted, there are areas and price brackets in every market that move much slower than others. You can’t change that – but you may be able to change whether or not it is the one that does sell.

Aside from hiring an agent with experience and a great marketing plan there are several other factors that will make your home stand out against the competition.

  1. Price – you need to price it to move.  Gone is the day where a home lists way over value and people still flock to it with negotiating on their minds.  Buyers have too much knowledge at their fingertips these days; they know values. Price it at market value and negotiate firm. Listen to your agent and look at the comparables. Unfortunately what you wish your value to be isn’t usually what reality is. Pricing slightly below market value is shown to bring a stampede of buyers in the door.  This can result in a bidding war which is good news.
  2. First Impression – there’s only 1! You know the old saying that there’s never a 2nd chance to make a good 1st impression. It doesn’t just apply to people, but your home as well.  What are the best ways to make a good impression?
    1. Create curb appeal.  Landscaping is shown to have the highest ROI there is in real estate. Make your entry awesome. Is your doorframe cracked or peeling? Are there cobwebs? Bushes not trimmed? Get it done! Whether you hire a professional or make it a DIY project, it is super important to a good 1st impression.
    2. Get Rid of Your Junk. Walk around your home with your cell and snap pics – look at them and what do you notice? If you see your “stuff” instead of the features of your home; get a storage unit and get rid of it. If you don’t need it on a daily basis and it isn’t enhancing your home just pack it up. A storage unit is a super cheap way to enhance your home’s value and 1st impression.
    3. Smell Stinks! Not much worse than opening a front door and being greeted by dog or dirty laundry smell. For that matter, the same goes for potpourri.  Take the time to eliminate the source of your odors. Be sure any automatic air fresheners are a natural clean scent. Don’t use something strong that makes the buyer take notice.
  3. Update Wisely.  Don’t go spending a huge amount on updating your home and think you’re going to get it all back. Ask your agent. Do your research but pay attention to what market you’re researching.  Just because you find an article that says spending $30K in kitchen updates is a great idea – it doesn’t mean it applies to Mid-Michigan! Kitchen and baths, aside from entrances are the best places to see a good ROI. A good can of neutral paint and new hardware on your cabinetry can do a whole lot to update your look.  Have an old nasty appliance? Replace it with a new stainless one.  Doesn’t mean you have to replace all – people tend to see one and forget the others.

There are a lot of variables in making your home sell.  There’s no one perfect solution.  Your best bet is to ask your agent what their ideas would be (assuming you have a good agent). You might also want to invite some friends over and have them look at the house with fresh eyes and tell you what they think.  It isn’t a time to be defensive, but open to suggestions.  When we get a home ready for the market the idea is to make it look in such a way to be appealing to the highest number of people possible.  Sometimes that means making room for people to have their own ideas and not be pre-occupied with all of your personal effects /decor.  Neutral with a touch of flair attracts the widest range of buyers and that is what we’re looking for.

Time to list? Feel free to call/text/email me any time.  989-475-2958 mdvgilbert@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in bay city, Bay City Michigan, Buying Homes, community, Finding a great Realtor, goal setting, Home Buyers, Home Selling Tips, midland, Midland Michigan, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, real estate, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw, Real Estate Market Statistics, Realtor, saginaw, Selling Homes, Selling Your Home, Tips for selling your home faster, Uncategorized

Less Sales – Higher Prices for Saginaw County

Based on number of transactions, March 2017 fell short in Saginaw County home sales when compared to a very robust March of last year, and even behind the 5 year March average. Don’t despair! If you are a buyer or seller there is still good news.

Despite the lower number of sales, Saginaw’s 12 month average sales price ending in March 2017 was at $104,314. This is up 3.33% over last year at the same time. I remember back in 2008 when the average home sale was at a whopping $64,143 – so we’ve made a lot of progress getting back to the “Pre-crash” price in 2005 and the average was just over $107,000.

Lots of numbers. What does it mean? Well, we can’t really formulate a trend from the low March sales. I’ll be keeping an eye on it to see if it was a statistical anomaly for the month. A slow March in essence is really a slowdown of activity in January. The plus side is the increase in home values for our various communities. That’s good news for sellers.  This in turn, realistically is also good for buyers.  Why? Well, all year we’ve seen low inventory of good homes.  As word spreads that home prices are continuing to rise, more sellers are likely to get their homes on the market. This gives a buyer more choices, which also gives them more leverage when making an offer.

The March trend was different for Bay and Midland Counties, despite how closely tied our Mid-Michigan communities are.  Bay County saw 25% more transactions this March over last year which is great; however the average sales price rose less than 1%.  Midland also saw about a 20% increase in number of transactions over last March plus had a 6.13% increase in values.

Quarterly reports should be out soon and that will perhaps give a little more insight as to whether March was a trend or an anomaly. Always good to keep in touch with the heartbeat of your community.  If you would like to know more specific information for your area, please feel free to call or email me. If you’d like to receive a free home market analysis – I’d love to hear from you.

~Build a better world by building a better you

  • Monique Gilbert – Your Real Estate Matchmaker – Connecting Buyers & Sellers for a Perfect Match
Posted in Best Time to Sell, Buying Homes, community, Home Buyers, home ownership, Home Selling Tips, real estate, Real Estate Market Statistics, Realtor, saginaw, Selling Homes, Selling Your Home, Tips for selling your home faster

It Is NOT Too Late!

Spring, spring! It’s gotta be Spring or it’s too late! That’s what sellers often think of in regard to home sales. Reality says, it isn’t so. Sure, the highest peak months might be May and June, but looking at the graphs you will most likely be surprised that the only two really low months for closed sales are January and February.

Sales in Saginaw & Midland Counties are up in general this year (yay!) Looking at the graphic below; you can see two things. First you’ll see the difference between the 5 year average and 2016.  Most importantly if you’re thinking of selling, you will see there is not a huge drop-off. Homes are being sold EVERY month.

There is always a market for good inventory.  I would love to give you a free market analysis on your home if you’re thinking of selling or be your buyer agent for those of you looking for that new home of your dreams. Call me today! 989-475-2958!

Graph

Posted in Home Selling Tips, real estate, Selling Your Home

Easy Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

Is there some kind of magic potion to make your home sell instantly? How about even in the first 30 days? Well, just like the fountain of youth; it hasn’t really been discovered yet, but there are certainly some proven factors that can help you out.  There are two basic issues that sellers may have: 1) They aren’t getting any showings or 2) they’re having showings but no one is making an offer. I’ll address them in this order, because quite frankly each issue has it’s own reason or two.

First of all, if you aren’t getting any showings you need to rule out whether or not you’re overpriced and verify your agent has an excellent marketing plan.  Setting those issues aside for this particular topic, you next need to take a moment and glance at the photos your agent is using. Are they from a cellphone? If so, I’d say have them come out and re-do them. Very rarely are those high quality, they just don’t compare to a real honest to goodness Canon, Nikon or the like. When you’re looking at the photos, what do you notice? I know it is your home, and we tend not to see a lot of our own “things”. That’s why looking at a photo is better than just glancing around your house. At first look, do you notice things or the house? Do you see so much yard on the exterior shot that you can’t really see the home? Have your agent use a wide-angled lens. This makes for a much nicer profile shot.  For the interior, are there items lined up on your kitchen counter? Lots of picture frames on the entertainment center?  A good rule of thumb is to get rid of knick-knack items while your home is on the market – and do it before the photo shoot. An excellent interior photo of your home should showcase the house, not your stuff. Things that we often think make our house a home are also things that make photos look busy and unappealing. Also, if you have rooms that aren’t updated, why put them in the listing? I shake my head every time I look at a listing and see a random shot of a toilet stool…… Better to showcase the finer points and get people in the door. Can’t sell a house that no one looks at!

If you’re getting some decent showings but just not getting any offers or 2nd showings you also need to consider your price because you may just be a bit high. But, there are lots of reasons people don’t buy houses that really shouldn’t prohibit them.  Let’s start with the exterior, because that’s where the buyers’ first impression comes from. Be sure your yard is freshly mowed, trees trimmed, and make your entrance welcoming. Not much more disheartening than getting to a house with an unkempt lawn and then having issues with the door. Be sure your door opens and closes properly. Be sure it latches and the handles are shiny and there’s no peeling paint. The front porch should be spotless and uncluttered. There’s always an agent/buyer conversation at the door, let it be positive, not about a squeaky door or ripped screen.

Here it goes – the key is in the lock and the door swings open……. Whew! What is that smell? Whether it is from a cat or potpourri; it needs to go.  There’s no taking back this first 5 second impression. Smell is a huge deterrent. It puts a stigma on a home the second someone smells it.  It is well worth your money to have the carpets & upholstery cleaned prior to listing. And don’t use crazy candles or potpourri. A clean smelling candle or air freshener is fine, but I always say the best smell upon walking into a house is NO smell.  People associate smells with “they must be trying to cover something up”! Or it is a smell they hate, or in regard to pet odors, people think the house hasn’t been well maintained and that plants seeds of doubt.

One of the best ways to make your home smell fresh leads into what I say is the best investment in selling your home – paint! Paint is not expensive and it covers a multitude of issues.  I always suggest that my homeowners go around and look at their home as if it belonged to someone else. First this eliminates the clutter like I mentioned earlier but go farther. Do you see dingy walls? Finger marks near light switches? scratches on the walls? Scuff marks by the doors and down the stairways? Paint makes a home smell fresh and look fresh. How about wallpaper? Get rid of it. You may like the pattern but chances are someone else will not.  Strip the paper and paint.  Just be sure to use a light neutral color, but not stark white. Go with a light beige or grey tone, depending on your decor. A fresh coat of paint, combined with the staging of your home – putting away those knick-knacks you don’t need, will make a huge difference. Have room to put the toaster in a cupboard instead of on the counter? Do it!

Be sure you clean your house before a showing. If it is between no showing or no cleaning, I always advise to go ahead and have it shown but if you know in advance – prepare your home like you’re expecting royalty. I know you’re busy, but better to do it a few times and sell your house than to have to endure showings continuously without a sale. Vacuum, dust, stuff the laundry into the machines, (not the closets cuz they’re going to open those!) You may even want to prepare a batch of cookies. People associate that with friendliness and they like that. People want to buy from nice people.

All in all, first impressions are critical. If your yard is spiffy, the house is neat, clean, not smelly, not cluttered, not crazy colors of paint or wallpaper – it will sell. You wouldn’t believe some of the things that go on the market. You can make your home stand out in a positive way just by doing the things that are inexpensive and not time consuming. Good luck!! and remember, as always – feel free to contact me for advice about selling your home or for a market analysis.