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Landscaping is essential in making a great first impression on the real estate market. Having a good mix of colorful plants, nicely trimmed shrubbery and a central focal point like a manicured walkway or fountain can increase the value of a house when properly maintained and looked after by the homeowner.
According to the American Nursery Landscape Association, the average homeowner spends about $3,502 on landscaping and $1,465 on a designer. If you want to try and save money on landscaping here are some tips that could prove useful, including reusing old materials or buying them used, saving grass clippings or extra seeds, and maintaining a low maintenance landscape that relies less on water uses more native plants and perennials.
Adding a fresh coat of paint on the interior and exterior of a house will add a new perspective on the look and feel of the property and rejuvenate it by covering up any cracks, marks, chipped paint or other signs of damage, along with modernizing any outdated or faded color schemes. It can also help remove any unwanted odors and makes the house appear well cared for on the surface, helping to enhance the first impression of an appraiser and prospective buyer.
It is recommended that neutral and earth-based tones be used as they tend to appeal to a wider range of buyers rather than flashier colors of the rainbow for example. Much of this depends on the local market and what works for a home steps away from the beach may not work for a home near a ski-resort in the mountains. There should be a consideration for the local surroundings and the tastes of the buyers who inhabit them when determining which paint schemes will attract the most value for a home in any given area.
Tastes in housing design, like fashion, come and go so it’s important to make necessary updates to an aging property when trying to sell it on the market. This is an opportunity to remove anything that no longer feels practical and expand on the living space by replacing unwanted baths with showers, using a pedestal sink instead of an old cabinet, and killing two birds with one stone by having the kitchen counter-top also act as a bar to eat appetizers on with friends and family.
It is also advised to replace any old flooring, fixtures, cabinets and drawers with updated materials, or if that can’t be afforded just glaze over the surfaces so as to have a like-new finish. It can cost about $10,500 dollars to replace the tub with a new one, but re-glazing it can cost around $300-$400 if it doesn’t need to be replaced but ought to have a fresh new look for guests looking over the property.
Being one’s personal property, it’s normal to leave some things lying around the house when one just wants to relax after a hard day’s work. When an appraiser or possible buyer comes in and looks around the property however, it’s important to clean up after oneself so as to maintain a degree of cleanliness that has an impact on what they ought to think of it.
The cleanliness of a home doesn’t affect the value or appraisal of a home unless it compromises the property’s structural integrity, but it’s always a good idea to put away anything that might mislead or get in the way of an appraiser’s inspection regardless so as to come away with a more accurate report of the house’s condition.
Another thing a homeowner can do to increase the value of his or her property is to rely on energy-efficient appliances and equipment. Maximizing energy efficiency can help save money on utilities and make a house last longer by using less out of its own resources.
There are multiple ways one can enhance a home’s efficiency, such as replacing conventional shower-heads with low-flow shower-heads, replacing incandescent light-bulbs with fluorescent or LED bulbs, installing solar panels, buying energy star products, and consider hiring a professional energy auditor to inspect any further inefficiencies and wasted energy in the home.
An appraiser’s job is to examine properties on an objective basis and state how much they would be worth on the market; this is based on a number of factors like the condition of the property, the functionality of utilities, where the house is geographically located and so forth. How the borrower addresses any issues or problems they notice with the property beforehand can determine its overall value by the time the appraiser has completed his or her checkup.
The property should be open and accessible to the appraiser so be sure to clean up any areas relevant to the inspection. Even though this is not necessarily applicable to the appraiser’s work on site, it is recommended that the whole house look presentable and any loose items are picked up after; the appraiser is a guest in the home after all and leaving a great first impression makes it more likely that the appraiser gives the home a high value.
Going off of the last point, making some cosmetic changes like paint touch-ups and replacing outdated furniture can boost an appraiser’s impression of a property while taking pictures and even boost the practicality/efficiency of the house itself by implementing more up-to-date technology. This puts less wear-and-tear on the property as opposed to relying on 50-year old furnaces and refrigerators that are not as energy-efficient as their contemporary equivalents.
It is helpful to organize a list of repairs and upgrades that ought to be made before the appraiser arrives like broken windows, non-functional door bells, chipping paint, and leaking pipes. Improving the landscaping around the home by replacing dead plants and grass can also go a long way in boosting the property’s appeal, along with trimming any hedges present and cleaning the gutters out front. Addressing all of this before the appraiser arrives will save him or her time on inspecting the property and increase the home’s value.
In addition, it’s important to make sure that all of the utilities like gas, water, and electricity are functioning properly before the appraiser checks for him or herself, along with any carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. In an earthquake-prone state like California, it is essential for water heater tanks to have two earthquake straps in order to resist motion and thus major damage to the property that would result from fires, flooding, or gas leakages.
On a final note, if the property has had any previous appraisals it is a good idea to review those and address any issues those reports raise so that the home will be ready next time it’s due for an appraiser’s evaluation.