Carla Ness' Blog
Not everything you’ve heard over the years about home improvements actually “improves” your return on investment. In fact, there are some myths that continue to crop up that surprise homeowners when they price their homes to sell them on the market. Learning the difference between a change you make for your family to enjoy versus an improvement that raises your home’s value can be a painful lesson if you wait until requesting a market evaluation from your real estate agent.
- Every renovation adds value to the home. Splitting a large master bedroom to create a guest room or add a bathroom to your home might increase your asking price, but that doesn’t mean an underwriting evaluation determines it the same way. And while combining two smaller rooms into one or removing a wall could increase the room’s usefulness, on paper, the decrease in bedrooms might lower the valuation amount. If improving livability for your family is the goal, do what works best for you. But, if you’re renovating so that you can sell for a higher price, talk to a home valuation expert, such as a licensed appraiser, to see what really gives you a return for your home.
- Completing the project yourself saves money. This myth only holds true if you’re a qualified contractor. Sometimes, in an effort to save money, you end up spending more to correct errors you didn’t know not to make. Hiring qualified professionals nearly always pays off as compared to doing it yourself.
- Pools add sales value. Many homeowners believe that installing a hot tub or pool makes their home more attractive. While in some locations this indeed is true, if your home is located in a climate with variable seasons, a pool requiring maintenance can be off-putting to many buyers. Putting in a pool should be for the sake of those living in the home. When it comes time to sell, your experienced real estate agent can help you market it with a pool even if that’s not a big seller in your location.
- Improvements should be trendy. Despite what you see on television, not all design trends improve your bottom line. Trading out your bathroom door for a barn door might satisfy your need to update your home, but not all buyers appreciate the lack of privacy a barn door offers. And, while shiplap might be popular when promoted by a well-known designer, homebuyers often prefer less textured walls on which to make their own mark.
The bottom line is that to improve your bottom line, stick with upgrades to appliances, a new roof, replacing that garage door and upgrading the landscaping. Your real estate professional can clue you in on which improvements increase the price and which promote a speedier sale. When you’re ready to sell, ask for a market evaluation on your house.
In an age where collaboration is on the rise, it’s not surprising that some are looking to find an alternative source of funding for their home or business purchase. Crowdfunding has been a successful way to fund various projects and business propositions, but it seems that some have found a way to make it work when purchasing property. The only question is, where’s the catch?
Banking Institutions & Lenders
It’s no secret that crowdfunding may cut into the banking industry’s bottom line. And yet, some people are highly successful when it comes to utilizing it to secure their properties. How do they do it? Diligence and strategy.
Each donation by patron, if the funds are to be used immediately, is considered a gift. These gifts require letters stating that the funds don’t have to be paid back and are, indeed, a gift.
If you only have a few people donating to your crowdfunding campaign, that should be apiece of cake. However, if you have multiple donors, you might want to start checking them off one-by-one as they give until you’ve secured letters from all of those willing to send them to you.
If you run into anyone who isn’t willing to write the letter, is unresponsive, or you simply have time to wait on your purchase, you can put the funds from your crowdfunding adventure into a different account, and leave them alone. After a few months, the funds will have aged and may no longer need a letter.
The success rate is still iffy on securing funding through crowdfunding sources, however. The biggest hurdle is whether your lender will approve this unconventional method of down-payment.
Most crowdfunding requests usually has a story or mission attached to them. Some ask for the money to help their parents out of the rent cycle because they’re retiring, while others might be looking to open a new type of coffee shop and need a little extra to get things up and running. No matter the reason, you’re selling your story, but will folks buy it?
If you choose to go the crowdfunding route, you have to remember that the people funding you need a reason to fund you. You’ll have to give them the perfect story and reasoning or you’re going to end up flat and without funding. Some find this task incredibly daunting, while others are silver-tongued pros. Either way you slice it, crowdfunding is about marketing and storytelling.
If you decide to go the crowdfunding route, be sure to do ample research, line your ducks up and ensure that you’re ready for the journey. If it seems like it’s a little too much but you still want to find an alternative method of funding, chat with your real estate agent. There’s a plethora of options available, and we’d love to help you find the right one.
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Where do you start when you first consider purchasing a home? Buyers who are new to the real estate market may not know exactly what they want in a house or where they want to live. While the dream homes found online, in magazines, and on your favorite television show are great resources for design and style, visiting open house events will help you to hone in on features that will best serve your household.
When visiting open houses, follow these tips to make the most of your time:
Allow plenty of time for each house on your list. If the home appeals to you, take a few moments afterward to drive or walk around the neighborhood.
Create a list of must-haves’, likes, and dislikes to help you evaluate each property. Add ideas that appeal to you during each open house experience.
Sign in when you arrive but let the hosting agent know if you’ve already selected a real estate agent.
Dress comfortably. You might climb stairs, descend into basements, visit attics, or walk from house to house in the neighborhood so be sure to wear appropriate clothing and shoes.
As you tour, create a list of questions for your real estate agent to address with the selling agent if you plan to submit an offer.
Do not peek into closets, cupboards, pantries, or drawers if the hosting agent indicates are off-limits. Your agent can arrange an in-depth viewing if you’re the property is one you’d like to pursue.
Take note if you smell deodorizers and air fresheners. They could be masking pet odors or could indicate something more serious. If you’re interested in making an offer, ask your agent for help identifying the source before moving forward.
Respect the seller's privacy by not taking photos without the host’s permission.
Questions related to making an offer and other negotiations should be funneled through your real estate agent. If you’re interested in the property, ask your agent to arrange a follow-up viewing. Make a list of all your questions and follow up with your agent as soon as possible especially if you want to make an offer on the property.
Construction of affordable starter homes is failing to keep pace with the number of first-time house hunters. At the same time, more homeowners are resisting the siren song of selling to these potential buyers in order to move up or downsize. It's a trend called "rising tenure length."
Owners are staying put. There’s no single reason why and there’s no single age group increasing home tenure. However, early in December 2019, a HousingWire (HW) headline shouted that Baby Boomers — born from 1946 to 1964 — are “likely to gridlock” home sales in 2020. HW cited the leveling out of home prices and economic unpredictability as central factors keeping older homeowners in place.
Move ‘Em On, Head ‘Em Up
Well whoa! HW should maybe also consider that moving down can be almost as expensive as moving up, affordable homes styled for retirement are in short supply in many markets, and a lot of older homeowners want to age in place where services and neighbors are familiar.
HW’s headline might stir the theme song of the cowboy TV series Rawhide (1959-1965) in Boomer brains. The show featured a lot of cattle drives, Clint Eastwood as a tough cowhand and lyrics like “Move ‘em on, head ’em up.” Many Boomers might also feel like channeling Eastwood in Gran Torino by growling, “Get off my lawn.”
But according to a December 2019 article in MarketWatch, anyone who can hang in there long enough will have access to a market influx of about 1.17 million boomer homes a year between 2027 and 2037. They call this projected event the “Silver Tsunami.”
Millennials Staying Put Too
To be fair, it’s essential to note that many younger homeowners also are staying put. Favoring a buy-once-and-stay approach, many have lived with parents longer than expected to save for down payments on bigger homes.
In a December 2019 article predicting a tough housing market in 2020, CNBC interviewed realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu, who said supply will be a greater problem than price this coming year. Ratiu stated that waiting longer to buy homes has caused Millennials to buy up at the outset of homeownership.
Avoiding Migrating Near or Far
CNBC also noted analysis of U.S. Census data by the national real estate brokerage Redfin showing that property owners today generally remain in a home for 13 years, and that this statistic is an 8-year increase over 2010.
Writing at the science news website Phys.org, migration researcher Thomas Cooke echoed Ratiu’s point about millennials buying homes they can grow into. Cooke added that many millennials are finding it difficult to move up due to a complex array of reasons, including carrying a heavier debt load than previous generations.
Furthermore, Cooke said, long distance moves are complicated by the fact that most millennial couples have dual incomes. Major relocation needs to accommodate both their jobs.
Cooke concluded that avoiding migration and putting down roots in one location is becoming the norm. It’s a choice with beneficial outcomes, he asserted, such as deeper social and community connectedness. So, forget that other famous lyric from Rawhide about “rollin’, rollin’, rollin’.” Homeowners of many ages are now stayin’, stayin’, stayin’.