How to Lower the Value of Your Home and Increase Your Selling Time

 
The title of this article would suggest that we are offering poor advice, but in reality what we want to do is illuminate some of the pitfalls of selling a home and a few things you can do to enhance the value of your home.

Now that homes values are on the rise, many people are thinking about selling their homes in the near future.  We get quite a few questions from sellers asking what types of improvements they should make in order to bring more value to their home and what items they should skip.  We thought we would put together a list of do’s and don’t to better coach future sellers so that they may get the most for their homes when it is time to sell. These pointers only apply to people who are looking to gain an extra $5000-$10,000 or more for their homes. For sellers who are offering a discount due to the house being classified as a “fix-up”, then these rules do not apply.   Simple corrections guarantee a higher net for the seller.
 
First impressions: (Exterior)
 
Rule #1 - Poor street appeal will lower the value of your home and prevent people from wanting to look at it.  Examples of items that cause poor street appeal are as follows: 
 
 
·         Clutter on the porch (ie: statues, pots with dead flowers, artificial flowers and yard
          ornaments).
 
·         Dead or dying trees, overgrown trees and bushes
 
·         Oil stained driveway
 
·         Un-swept porch, dirty paint and cobwebs hanging from the porch ceiling
 
·         Dirty front door with faded paint or stain and/or scratch marks on the bottom from a pet
 
·         Rusty, peeling or out-dated door hardware
 
·         Torn screen on the security door
 
·         Dented garage door
 
·         Poor exterior paint (meaning old and also poor color)
 
 
Simple corrections:
 
Power wash the driveway to remove any stains;  clean the front door and ceilings to remove the dirt, dust and cobwebs; remove excess yard clutter; bring in more rock; clean and trim the landscaping, replace decrepit door hardware and repaint exterior and front door if necessary.
 
First impressions  - Interior:
 
Once buyers enter the front door, they have to feel comfortable in the house and they have to feel that the house is in move-in ready condition.  Issues that can cause a buyer to be turned off are as follows:
 
·         Bad Smell – cigarette smoke, pet smell, strong smell from last night’s dinner, etc.
 
·         Dirty wall paint and baseboards
 
·         Wild colored paint and worse, a poorly done wild colored paint job
 
·         Furniture or excess clutter blocking or crowding a smooth pathway into the rest of the
          house
 
·         Excessive amount of pictures or decorations on the walls
 
Rule #2:  Remove all excess clutter from the entire house. 
 
Rule #3:  Thoroughly clean all baseboards and walls.
 
Rule #4:  Professionally repaint the entire house in neutral colors (light beige or off-
                white).
 
Rule #5:  Ensure that the house smells fresh. 
 
Rule #6:  If you have pets and you are listing your home for sale, you have to make it look
                like no pets live there.
 
Simple corrections:   If you cannot completely remove the pets, then completely remove the items that show a pet lives in the home like dirty dog dishes, bones, litter boxes, pet droppings in the yard.  Secondly, barking dogs or pets wandering around the house during showings will decrease the value by causing a buyer to be “turned off”.  Restrain from cooking foods with heavy spice during the listing period.   Burning strong scented candles is also a problem as certain people are allergic to candles and t certain scents may turn them off. 
 
If you know you are going to move for sure, move all unnecessary items to the garage.  Excessive clutter distracts the buyers and makes the rooms appear smaller.  Remove excess pictures from the wall, particularly family photos and patch and repaint the holes.  Remove extra or extra- large pieces of furniture that crowd a room. 
 
Ensure that the main selling points of the house are maximized and displayed properly.  For example, if a home has a gas fireplace, the seller needs to make sure that the fireplace is not blocked by large furniture pieces or crowded by other pictures or wall decorations.
 
Rule #7:  Do-it-yourself jobs may save money initially, but end up costing more in the end when future buyers see an unprofessional job that needs to be redone.  We recommend that all improvements be done by a qualified professional.
 
Again a seller should not create another reason for the buyer to second-guess the home.  Unfinished projects are definitely a deterrent as well.
 
Backyards:
 
In Arizona people spend quite a bit of time in the backyard during the fall and spring months. Having a great backyard is very important.  Even if the backyard is simple (a little grass in some curbing), rock around the edges, a couple of trees and some bushes), it makes a huge difference.  People want to be able to sit under their patio and see something appealing.  Homes that have just dirt or partially-completed backyards will give the buyer a reason to second guess the home as they see that extra work must be done at their expense.  Yards that contain all rock not only make it difficult for a new buyer to add irrigation and foliage, but adds extra heat to an already hot backyard.  When homes are initially built, the exterior dirt is leveled for proper drainage.  If a yard has not been landscaped for a period of years, the leveling will ruined by wind and rain.  Contractors recommend that homeowners maintain a 5 foot perimeter of rock around the perimeter of the house and slightly sloped downward to maximize drainage potential and maintain the termite protection by not having moist areas around the foundation of the house.
 
Pool homes sell as a premium due to the high interest level of Canadians and buyers form the northern states flocking to sunny Arizona to be warm.  The majority of these buyers seem to be focused on pool homes because this is a new concept for them.  In recent years, pools add about $10,000 to a home’s value, but this year they have added almost the value of a new pool.  If a seller is thinking about adding a pool, keep in mind that traditionally they will only recover about $10,000 of the total cost.  In our current market, they will recover closer to the full cost.  The market can change however, so give it careful thought before spending the money to add a pool if you are not planning on keeping the house for several years.  Self cleaning pebbletec pools are the most popular from a buyer’s prospective.
 
Above ground pools will decrease the value of the home. 
 
Rule #8:  Backyards and side-yards should be landscaped, even if it is simple landscaping.
 
Rule #9 :  No above ground pools. 
 
Rule #10: The house must be spotless.
 
The cost to correct most of these issues is far less than being forced to sell the house under market value to make up for the lack of buyer appeal.  The house must appeal to 80% of the buyer pool in order to sell for market value or above.
 
When we list your house, we hire a professional photographer and provide staging assistance to maximize the quality of the photos.  With a reported  85% of buyers on the internet before and during their home search, it is crucial that sellers have a strong internet presence resulting from amazing pictures and description.
 
If you are thinking about selling your home and need some professional advise to prepare for the listing, please contact us so we can visit your home and give you the feedback you need to help maximize your selling potential.