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4 Bottom-Line Tips to Decide: What Is the Value of My Home?

4 Bottom-Line Tips to Decide: What Is the Value of My Home?

Your home is more than just a bunch of rooms under a roof. It’s the space where you watched your daughter take her first steps, hosted Super Bowl parties, and celebrated holidays. Those memories are priceless. But when sell your house, the warm and fuzzies can’t factor into the question: What is the value of my home?

You aren’t selling your memories; you’re selling a house.

This is where an agent can help. You’re the one who will set your listing price, but your agent has the expertise and local knowledge to advise on how to price your house so it doesn’t languish on the market.

#1 Don’t Go High Out The Gate

You think your house is great. The problem is sellers often think their house is so great that they list at too high of a price and miss the window of sales opportunity that comes with a new listing.

“By listing too high, you lose your most important leverage and timing because it’s new,” says Ali Evans, an agent in Santa Barbara, Calif. “If you overprice it, you miss out on all those buyers.”

The longer your house sits on the market, the less likely you are to get your asking price. Because buyers expect there’s a deal to be made on a house that’s been on the market for months. 

“If something doesn’t move in the first 30 days or so, then people start thinking that they’re not going to be paying full price any longer,” Evans says.

Bottom line: Listen to your real estate agent about home value, because she knows how to price your home to sell fast. She’s looking at all of the comp prices and knows what the competition is like in your market. 

#2 Don’t Assume Upgrades Will Get You A Higher Price 

You renovated your kitchen after you watched too many episodes of Property Brothers. You looooove the way your reno turned out, because your kitchen is now stunningly modern, as kitchens on HGTV are. Everyone else will love it too, right? So you want to push up the listing price.

Don’t be so sure everyone else will pay big bucks for it, Evans says.

“Upgrades that are done in very specific taste can be tricky. Updates that are neutral are going to appeal to a lot of people will see more value,” she says. “But upgrades don’t always equal value.”

In fact, research from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® shows you might recoup 59% of your costs, based on a national average, on a complete kitchen upgrade.

In other words, just because you put $65,000 into your kitchen renovation doesn’t mean you can list your home for an additional $65,000. Your agent can help you assess the market value of your upgrades and answer the big question, What is the value of my home?

Related: Kitchen Upgrades That Stand the Test of Time

#3 Don’t Set A Dollar Amount You Need To Make

Having an idea of what you want to earn from your house sale is fine, because you’re looking at your home as the giant investment that it is. But pricing your home so that you will make a certain amount of money is the wrong approach.

The number you have in your head may not be in line with the market. This is where doing research on the housing market comes in handy, as well as listening to your agent. 

“Make sure you understand the logic behind the price your agent suggests,” Evans says “It’s important to not be frustrated that it’s $20,000 below where you want to price it, and understand the thought process.”

Your agent will research the market to see what other houses in your area are selling for. He also knows the market, the inventory of houses for sale, and how your home compares to others in the area.

If you’ve listed the home too high, and you’re not getting any bites, don’t be afraid to do a price correction, Evans says. Lowering the price shows buyers you’re realistic and motivated. Adjusting the price is a key part of knowing how to price your home.

#4 Don’t Let Emotions Get The Best of You

For most people, selling
a home is emotional. Whether you’ve lived in your house for four years or 40,
you’re attached to it.  But it’s
important to not let your emotions drive you to price your house for more than
it’s worth. 

Listen to your agent on how to price your home. His cool-headed knowledge of the market and real estate inventory will be a wiser guide for pricing than your irrational love for the bay window in the living room, the restored hardwood floors, and the way the light shines in your beloved sunroom in the morning.

“Pricing can’t be an emotional thing,” Evans says. “It needs to be based on market analysis, which is why an outside perspective is important.”

When you ask yourself, ‘what is the value of my home,’ think with your head, more so than your heart.

Published at Mon, 02 Mar 2020 23:31:30 +0000

5 Relationship-Saving Strategies For Any Couple Buying a House

Before you and your partner start sending each other links to the home of your dreams, have a few conversations about the home buying process.

A couple buying a house should talk about money, of course, but also about their expectations for their first home. Talking now will keep you productive, positive, and focused on finding the right house. It will also help you manage buying-a-house stress on your relationship.

OK, we’re about to get a little “Modern Love” here.

Related: Understand the Steps to Buying a Home

#1 Get On the Same Page About Expectations

No matter how connected you two are, there are still unspoken and undefined expectations between you. Especially when it comes to a couple buying a house. Buying can reveal relationship problems, because it’s the biggest financial transaction you’ll make, and there are a lot of emotions and expectations tied up in the idea of home.

Listen to your partner and commit to the idea that each person has a voice in every issue. “That would be my No. 1 principle,” says Donna R. Baptiste, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and professor at Northwestern University’s Family Institute. “Two people must respect each other’s right to have a say.”

How to start? Ask
questions like:

  • Why do you want to buy a house?
  • What’s the most important thing to consider, in your opinion? 
  • How long do you want to live there?
  • Do you want something perfect or a fixer-upper?
  • What do you think our budget should be?

We also recommend filling out our first-time buyer’s worksheet, which will help you and your partner get on the same page — literally.

#2 Be Prepared to Back Down

Not every decision will be 50-50. Equal say is not always the standard,” Baptiste says.

But both of you should be willing to accept no for an answer. This prevents gridlock. And ceding some control makes the decision on which home to buy a shared one.

Consider the situation faced by work-from-home clothing designer Veronica Sheaffer and her husband, teacher Keith Dumbleton. They bought their prewar apartment on Chicago’s far North Side four years ago.

While scrolling through listings, Sheaffer fell for the property’s vintage millwork and spacious layout, but the building was 12 miles from the centrally located neighborhood they’d been living in. Sheaffer accepted the hours the new location would add to Dumbleton’s school commute could be a deal breaker. 

“I gave him the power of refusal and prepared myself for losing the place,” she says. Knowing that Sheaffer was conscious of the sacrifices he’d be making, Dumbleton agreed to move forward with making an offer. “Her being open to me saying no allowed me to make that decision, and I don’t regret it.”

#3 Do Scenario Planning

New homes have a way of changing life’s routines.

Does one of you take the dog out? If so, that beautiful sixth-floor walk-up may affect the dog caretaker’s mornings (and moods). Does one of you do most of the outdoor chores? How do you really feel about taking care of a massive lawn? That house that sits on top of a hill is gorgeous, and the views! But will you like hauling bags of groceries up the three flights of stairs to the front door?

“I ask a couple to have it sink in,” says Dan Sullivan, a REALTOR® at Compass in Chicago. “What is it going to physically be like living in that property, day in and day out?”

The more you think it over together, the happier you’ll both be after you move in.

#4 Ask An Expert

As a couple buying a house, you may be in full agreement or you may be at an impasse, but either way talk to a real estate agent and, as Baptiste recommends, “submit to the idea of getting good advice.”

A good agent is like a reference librarian and a personal coach in one. They can help you navigate the home buying process minutiae, like finding a good mortgage broker or dissecting the details of a home inspection.

An agent can give you the knowledge you need to make a wise decision. And she can pump you and your partner back up when your energy has ebbed because you’ve looked at 22 houses and not seen one worthy of an offer. Or you put in an offer and it fell through.

Leaning on a professional to offer perspective and help work through disappointment releases some buying-a-house stress on a relationship. “As much as possible, as early as possible, I try to get [couples] to see the big picture,” Sullivan says. 

#5 Recognize You’re a Team 

Involving an agent in the home buying process can have another unexpected outcome, says Sheaffer. It brought her and Dumbleton closer together.

Having the agent participate in discussions — and even occasionally disagreeing with her — “helped us [see] that we know each other, we know our lifestyle. Anything that will allow you to bond more with your partner is always positive.”

The agent got them to talk to each other about what they wanted and didn’t want in a house. It helped them hash out their likes and dislikes, constructively.

Instead of letting buying a house lead to relationship problems, turn the experience into a chance to learn and grow together. Talk. Listen. And get good advice from a smart agent. You’ll end up as homeowners — with an even better connection.

What’s not to love?

Published at Mon, 02 Mar 2020 18:29:24 +0000