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Friday, August 27, 2010

Home Maintenance Does More Than You Think

For some, the phrase “home maintenance” might sound like a great way to spend a weekend, while to others it might seem like a dreaded, even avoided, task. However you view routine home maintenance, the fact of the matter is that this somewhat simple task, if done consistently, can increase your home’s value over time.

Increased Property Value

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth of a pound of cure.” This is certainly true when it comes to your home. In fact, proactive maintenance is essential to preserving the value of your home. If you ignore this important task, your home could actually lose 10% of its value over time.

There are a number of benefits you can expect from just making sure you home is kept in decent shape with occasional maintenance. For one, your curb appeal is improved by just simple acts of routine upkeep from time to time. Ultimately, your home reflects your attention to detail, or lack thereof.

Neglecting a home can greatly bring down the value of any property. Things like a house with chipped or fading paint, sagging gutters, or worn carpeting leads to a problem when it is time to sell. Not only does the work accumulate over time, so do the costs. A few simple fixes every year can add up to an increased home value over time.

Cost vs. Value

It’s easy to look at the cost of regular home repairs as a burden that might be able to be avoided. However, it is important to look at the value that you are placing in your home by performing the regular costs of upholding a well-built and maintained home.

A study out of the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University suggests that home maintenance can actually increase a home’s value by about 1% each year. Instead of viewing the routine tasks around a home as “chores,” these tasks should be looked at as a money maker. When you sell your home, you will reap their rewards.

Dr. John P. Harding, Professor of Finance and Real Estate at the University of Connecticut’s School of Business and an author of the study said, “It’s like going to the gym. You have to put in the effort to see the results. People and houses are somewhat similar – the older they are, the more work is needed.”

Some years what needs to be down may be more expensive than others, but it is the overall strategy to keep a “fit” home that should be the ultimate goal.

Proactive Maintenance Strategies

Budgeting for home repairs each year will prevent them from seeming like a burden each year. Knowing there will be a certain amount of money going to home repairs and upkeep makes them a regular part of your annual routine. They won’t be a source of financial devastation they can be for many families.

Other things to keep in mind to take the burden out of home maintenance include:

Play offense, not defense. Being proactive is vital in preventing a small problem becoming a mountain of problems. By having a regular inspections and creating a maintenance schedule, you are in control, for the most part, of home expenses, instead of the other way around.

Focus on a room a year. If you home is generally in good order, you may be at a loss of where to start. By targeting a room each year, you can inspect each and every item in that particular room and know where improvements can be made. This prevents an overwhelmed feeling with you looking at your entire house, scratching you head of where to start.

Keep track. Maintain a notebook or computer file to keep track of all of the maintenance and upgrades you perform is important. Also, either keep a physical file of paper receipts or a file on your computer where can put your scanned receipts. This helps you keep track of what you have done and also helps you prove to a potential buyer exactly what you have done to the home. It also shows you are a conscientious homeowner who has paid attention to the details of your home.

Home maintenance is an important task that should not be overlooked. Not only does it maintain a nice home while you live there, it also helps increase your home’s value when you are ready to sell.

For more on home maintenance visit Bob Vila's home maintenance checklist here!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Advantages and Disadvantages of FSBOs

Many home owners think about selling their own home but relatively few attempt it. Why? Because it's an extremely time-consuming and often exhausting process, especially if you're working a full-time job! It's the Realtor who takes this burden off your back.

Nonetheless, I don't discourage you from putting your home on the market and attempting to sell it yourself.
But before you do it, I do encourage you to become extremely knowledgeable about the process and aware of the both advantages and disadvantages of it.

Below, I've provided information on the benefits and drawbacks of doing a "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO) sale. 

Read it carefully and then make your decision!

Advantages of Selling Your Own Home

Of course, the biggest advantage a FSBO is that there's no commission to be paid to a Realtor. You get all the proceeds from the sale, minus any marketing costs you incur.

second advantage is that you have complete control of the transaction. You don't have to rely on anyone else. You're totally independent.

A third advantage concerns your equity. If it's low, you have the possibility of selling your home without having to write a check.

fourth advantage is that you don't have to rely on a realtor to schedule showings, answer inquiries, etc.

Disadvantages of Selling Your Own Home

Perhaps the greatest disadvantage is the tremendous amount of time you have to put into the sale.

It's a time-consuming process to do all the paperwork, the marketing and advertising, the showings, etc. by yourself - not to mention the hours it takes to get acquainted with all the legal, financial, and other issues. You must be prepared for this.

A second disadvantage is the costs in terms of marketing and advertising. If you don't exactly what you're doing, this can be very expensive!

third disadvantage is that you won't have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) unless you pay a fee to have your listing included. If you don't pay that fee, then you'll end up hunting for buyers one at a time, a very inefficient, ineffective, and frustrating process.

The fourth disadvantage relates to your knowledge of the market. If you're not knowledgeable about it, you may not price your house correctly.

That is, you may underprice it or overprice it. If you underprice your home, you lose money. If you overprice it, you lose buyers. By the same token, if you do find a buyer and you're not experienced at negotiation, you could be taken advantage of.

A fifth disadvantage relates to a belief of some buyers. They believe that since you're selling the house by yourself and not paying a commission, then they're the ones who should get the savings instead of you!

My Advice: Do your homework before considering selling your home by yourself! And, if you do decide to go the FSBO route, be fully prepared in all aspects of home sales!

If you'd like more information and advice on selling your own home as well as my real estate services, contact me.