Category Archives: cost vs value

Here’s how to know if you’re ready to sell your home.

I love to sell homes. It’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of the process. I get great satisfaction from making my living helping people move on to the next phase of their life, whether it’s upsizing, downsizing, or simply relocating to a new neighborhood.

But there is one sort of home seller I can’t really help: The seller who’s not really ready to sell.

If you’re thinkingsell about selling your home, don’t enter into the process lightly. It’s a big deal. There’s some stress and there’s a great opportunity for joy. There’s a big investment at stake. This, along with a lot of other reasons large and small, is why you want to be 100% sure you’re ready to sell your home. If you think you’re ready to sell, but it turns out you’re not, you waste a lot of time and energy (and sometimes money).

So how do you know if you’re really ready to sell your home?

1. You’re fine with the process. You must have no problem with the idea of a stranger poking around your house, talking about renovating it, or treating it like a used car. If you’ve lived in your house a long time, it’s natural to have emotional attachments. So if the process of selling the house makes you feel protective or defensive, you may not be ready.

2. You are flexible on the right price. Motivated sellers understand selling a home involves negotiation and competitive market pricing. If you have a number “you must get” in order to sell, then you might want to think again. Also, if all of the agents who price your home come back too low for your standards, take a breather and ask yourself if it’s go time or not.

3. You know where you’re going next. Prepared sellers have plans, even if those plans aren’t 100% firm. They’re anticipating the move and they are probably even shopping for houses, if only casually at the moment. moving day If you can’t clearly answer the question, “Where would you like to live after you sell?” then you’re not quite there yet.

If you’re iffy on any of these, take a step back and consider how you feel. While some markets favor sellers more than others, a home can sell in any market for the right price. Don’t jump into something before you’re ready.

However, when you’re ready, we’d be happy to help. Give us a call when the time is right: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square Realtors   realestate@thenicholasteam.com    973-509-2222

 

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Adding an Independent Living Area to Your Home

suite2Years ago, it wasn’t so uncommon to have multiple generations living in the same home. Sometimes these were aging parents moving back in with their kids, and other times they were college students getting their finances in order after graduation. Many homeowners utilized extra space in their home to create independent apartments or separate living spaces. Though they go by many common names (in-law unit, granny flat, garden cottage, basement apartment), these types of spaces are known as ADUs, or Accessory Dwelling Units.

If you have extra space such as an above-garage loft, or extra land where you could build a freestanding structure, you might be interested in adding an ADU to your home. Even if you don’t have a family member in need of the space, they can be great for hosting out-of-town visitors or earning extra income from short or long-term rental agreements.

While communities have different rules regarding ADUs and their permitted uses, there’s a high likelihood that you can find a pathway to adding one to your property if the idea appeals to you. According to AccessoryDwellings.org:

Flexibility in housing makes sense for environmental, lifestyle, and financial reasons. Though many people buy houses and live in them for decades, their actual needs change over time. But the way that houses are currently built doesn’t reflect those changes, especially the way households may spend decades with just 1 or 2 members. Many American houses are too big for 1- or 2-person households, which is too bad, because size is probably the biggest single factor in the environmental impact of a house.

If you have a reasonably sized house, and an even more reasonably sized ADU, you’ve likely got a pretty green combination with some social benefits as well. You could have your best friend, your mother, or your grown kid, live with you. This kind of flexibility and informal support could really help as the nation’s population ages. Most people want to stay in their homes as they age, but finances and design can be problematic. An ADU could help aging people meet their needs without moving.”

(Source: https://accessorydwellings.org/what-adus-are-and-why-people-build-them/)

If you’re interested in exploring ADUs, be sure to check out AccessoryDwellings.org for an extensive library of resources on the topic.

If you’re looking for a home with an existing ADU, or want to find one with land or enough space to create an ADU, I’d be happy to help you find one ASAP. Just reach out to on of us today:  Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square  realestate@thenicholasteam.com  973-509-2222

Undertanding Your Home’s Equity

home equityThe dream of home ownership is about more than just a stable place to live, exempt from the whims and decisions of landlords. For many, home ownership is a piece of the wealth building picture, essential to a future retirement or financial independence. The idea is pretty basic: You purchase a home and pay it down while hoping the value of the home increases over time. Generally speaking, this is what happens over a long enough period of time. (Remember, real estate is meant to be a long term investment.) As you go, you build what’s called “equity.”

 Equity is defined as “the market value of a homeowner’s unencumbered interest in their real property—that is, the sum of the home’s fair market value and the outstanding balance of all liens on the property.” If you were to sell your home and pay off the balance of the mortgage (and any other debts, such as home equity credit lines or liens), the cash you would have leftover is your equity. Your “equity position” changes over time due to a variety of factors.

 As you’ve probably noted, the biggest variable in your home equity position is the home’s true market value. A variety of factors can influence your home’s value, including: Market demand for homes in your area, local amenities, schools, your home’s particular features, upgrades you’ve made, condition issues, and quite a bit more. So how can you tell your equity position?

 First, you need to know what you owe on your home. This is as simple as checking home equity 2your mortgage statement to see what your principle balance is on the loan. This number can differ slightly from your actual payoff amount due to closing dates, interest, and other issues determined during the sale, but generally speaking your principle balance is the number you need to know. If you have any other debt on the home, you need to add the value of this debt to the principle balance. This might include credit lines, liens, or second mortgages, for example.

 Next, you need to know the value of your home. While there are sites such as Zillow and Trulia out there which will tell you what your home’s value is, these “automated valuation models” are generally not very accurate when it comes to your home’s value, as they exclude many crucial factors. Often they come in quite a bit higher. They can, however, give you an idea of general changing trends in your market over time.  Learn more about market values and prices here.

Hiring an appraiser is one way to determine your home’s value from a more bank-like perspective. While an actual sale may be above the appraisal, this thorough, conservative option is a good way to go. The downside? You may have to pay up to $500 for the appraisal.

 Of course, We’re happy to help you get a handle on your home’s current value with a comparative market analysis (CMA). Just get in touch today: THE NICHOLAS TEAM, Barbara & Gregg, realestate@thenicholasteam.com  Office: 973-509-2222 ext. 1126

Remodeling Without Return: The Home Office

Many home remodeling projects do wonders for the value of the home. Certain upgrades and renovations pay dividends when it comes time to sell, and you often can recoup the money you’ve invested in the upgrade.

There are exceptions, however. And one stands head and shoulders above the rest (or should I say below) when it comes to return on investment:

The home office.

Surprised? It may seem like a home office would be a boon for your home at sale time, especially considering the number of people who telecommute and work online. But the fact of the matter is, a home office seldom recoups more than 45% of the money invested in the remodel.

Why? A couple of main factors.

First, even people who work at home often don’t work at home. When was the last time you walked into a coffee shop and didn’t see a laptop open? Many people still find space outside the home to work.

Second, a full-on home office renovation often takes up a bedroom which new owners might want to be able to convert back into a bedroom. If you’ve spent the time and money having built-in furniture added, media wiring, and other “office like” details installed, it represents a cost to restore or lost-usage for the new owners.

Of course, if you need a home office and want to have the home office of your dreams, it might be worth it to you to put the return on investment aside. But don’t undertake the project thinking it will pay off down the line.

Curious which home remodeling projects pay off at the sale? Let’s talk about what you’re considering: THE NICHOLAS TEAM, Barbara P. Hughes and Gregg Nicholas  RE?MAX Village Square REALTORS  realestate@thenicholasteam.com

Renovations Buyers Like to See

Not all renovations are created equal. If you’re adding a luxurious new bathroom or a “man cave” for your own purposes, you’re probably not too concerned about your return when the house goes on the market. You’re spending the money for your pleasure and quality of life, not the return.

messy-garage                  eshop-garage

Garage_b4_right            Gorgeous-White-Interior-Gray-Concrete-Floor-Garage-Storage-Ideas

But many homeowners see their home as a financial investment vehicle and understand that it’s quite likely the day will come in 5 to 7 years when they are ready to trade up or move to a new market. With this eye, every renovation is a calculated decision. In this situation, you want to select projects which are likely to provide a good return.

Any renovation which improves the value of your home in the eyes of buyers without breaking your renovation budget is an excellent choice. So how do you know which ones buyers want to see?

According to a National Association of Home Builder’s 2013 report of 4,000 prospective buyers, the following seven features were on buyers’ most wanted list:

  1. Separate laundry room (93% preference)
  2. Exterior lighting (90% preference)
  3. Energy Star-qualified windows (89% preference)
  4. Garage storage space (86% preference)
  5. Eat-in kitchen (85% preference)
  6. Walk-in kitchen pantry (85% preference)
  7. Wireless home security system (50% preference)

kitchen pantry  cute-dog-in-laundry-room  laundry closet  custom_walk_in_pantry_springfield_mo_fs

You can read the estimated costs and reasoning behind these features in the original Kiplinger article here:

http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/real-estate/T010-S001-7-features-home-buyers-want-most/index.html

(Keep in mind that the costs may have risen, as the original article ran in 2014.)

The past few months, something we’ve noticed Millenial buyers look for and often ask about is FIOS connectivity as well as strong cell service for the many mobildevices we now all rely on day to day…something you can’t always gaurantee personally, but its good to know the answers and the availability of these “must-haves”.

Are you planning to sell your home after a renovation? I’d be happy to help you. Let’s talk: Barbara & Gregg, THE NICHOLAS TEAM  realestate@thenicholasteam.com  973-509-2222 ext. 1126