Add useful amenities While a simple, natural outdoor space can suffice to attract buyers, people may be looking- ing for backyards to act as extra living space because many indoor and outdoor venues remain closed or restricted due to COVID-19. Adding amenities to the exterior space of a home can help homeowners spread out and add value when they go to sell—as long as the amenities are useful. What someone finds useful can vary from person to person and depend on where they live; however, there are some amenities that have historically been favored by homeowners and buyers alike: Outdoor heaters or fire pits Outdoor kitchens Patios or pergolas Sheds Pools “When you add something like a fire pit or an outdoor kitchen, you’re extending your living space, but it’s cheaper than doing an addition to your house,” notes Tracy Jones, CRS, broker associate at RE/MAX Platinum in Sarasota, Florida. “You’re not adding square footage to your house, but you’re adding space you can enjoy, so you don’t feel as cooped up.”
Neutralize the wall colors Photo by Lauren Smyth At this point, it should go without saying: A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color works wonders to freshen up a dated space and help buyers see its possibilities. White or off-white is a perennial safe bet, but it’s not your only option. “Buyers in my area are still loving light gray,” says Tracy Jones, a real estate agent with Re/Max Platinum in Sarasota, FL, and Re/Max Oak Crest Realty in Elkhart, IN. “It’s a safe choice for sellers, as it appeals to almost everyone, and sellers can use bold colors to accent with.”
Better kitchens and bathrooms: $9,000 or less Kitchens and bathrooms that look outdated or cheap can sink the value of an entire home. Tracy Jones, an associate with Re/Max Platinum Realty, witnessed firsthand how a kitchen face-lift boosted her home’s value. “During the years we’ve done some hefty renos, but resurfacing our kitchen cabinets cost less than $4,000. We replaced the cheap-looking plywood cabinets with white doors and custom-built drawer fronts with soft-pull hardware,” she says. “We also upgraded the 1990s Formica countertops with granite for $4,000, creating a modern look.” Jones believes these upgrades helped them bring in a profit. They bought the home for $189,000 in 2006 and sold it for $425,000 in 2020. Bathrooms can also make or break a deal. https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/coronavirus-friendly-home-improvements-less-than-10k/
HOA fees can be tricky. They may seem outrageous to former renters or those who lived in a neighborhood that didn’t have associations, explains Tracy Jones, a realtor with RE/MAX Oak Crest Realty in Elkhart, Indiana and Sarasota, Florida. “But these fees might include trash, cable, security, a gym, internet,” she says. “So, you might actually save money.” The takeaway? Research what’s included to decide if it’s worth it for you.
Shutters Although shutters can look downright adorable on the right style of home (think Colonials or farmhouses), they can make other types of homes feel too cookie-cutter, according to Tracy Jones, an agent in Sarasota, Florida. “People have begun to shift away from using shutters in favor of more simple, wide, white trim around their windows. This offers a very clean look to the front of the house,” she says. Can’t bear to part with your shutters? Simply spruce them up with a splashy coat of paint to make the front of the home pop.
The pandemic has made many buyers leery of checking out homes in person unless they see one they truly love. The upshot for sellers? Your listing will really need to shine online—and one of the best ways to do this is by offering a virtual tour. “Depending on where you live and how COVID-19 is trending in your area, sellers may want to consider having a 3D tour readily available for buyers who do not wish to do an in-person tour,” says Tracy Jones, a real estate agent with Re/Max Platinum Realty in Sarasota, FL. This approach is also more convenient for sellers, since it can help minimize the number of strangers touring their home. Buyers can get a good sense if your home meets their needs without actually stepping inside.
Consider an escalation clause Can’t deal with back-to-back heartbreak? Talk to your realtor about an escalation clause to ensure you don’t lose out in another bidding war, suggests Tracy Jones, a realtor with RE/MAX Platinum Realty in Sarasota, Florida. The clause essentially allows the buyer to pay a certain amount of money above the highest offer the seller receives, and often comes with a cap so they don’t enter into a deal they can’t afford.
Tracy Jones, a real estate agent with Re/Max Platinum Realty in Sarasota, FL, says buyers have so few homes to choose from these days that they’re feeling forced to make quick decisions about whether to make an offer, or risk losing out on the chance. Nationally, homes spent an average of 54 days on the market in September, 12 fewer days than last year, according to the realtor.com trends report.
What do I need to change when moving to another state? Aside from the obvious changes—your home, your job, your grocery store—there are lots of little updates you should remember to make when moving. And don’t stress out. It might seem like a lot, but just keep working through each task on your checklist, one by one. “Keep a list of things you need to do and check off as you go,” says Tracy Jones, a real estate agent preparing to move her family from Elkhart, Indiana, to Sarasota, Florida.
SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION
WEDNESDAY JAN 27, 2021 |
Tracy Jones, Real Estate Broker with RE/MAX Platinum in Sarasota has just earned the GRI designation (Graduate Realtor Institute). The Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) symbol is the mark of a real estate professional who has made the commitment to provide a high level of professional services by securing a strong educational foundation.