Property Awareness

Even though home buyers are all looking for something different, the majority of them  will turn around and walk back out of your door if they notice one or more of these top 10 problems. 

1. Odours 

House odours are number one on the home selling no no list, narrowing it down, odours from cigarette smoke and pets take top billing, with mildew not far behind. If you smoke indoors - the house smells like cigarettes. If you have pets, the house might smell bad - even if you don't notice it.  Eradicate the smells so that you can present potential buyers with a clean, fresh atmosphere - not a house that's full of perfumes to cover up the odours. 

2. Pets 

Dogs that meet you at the door or in the driveway dogs frighten most of our buyers - you'll have a much better response from showings if you control or put away your pets, whatever they are.  One of my buyers had an awful encounter with a pet chameleon that was walking down the passage toward her.  Needless to say the lady very quickly left the home and the sale was lost because she was not interested in seeing the rest of the house.  If you have a pet that may draw attention advise the buyer where he is so there is no surprise when we go into that area. 

3. Dirty Bathrooms  

Grimy bathrooms are an instant turnoff. Scrub them, paint them, buy a new shower curtain, rugs and towels--do what it takes to make them shine. If you're serious about selling the home, the extra work is a must. 

4. Dimly Lit Rooms 

Dark homes are a turnoff to most home buyers, so try to brighten them up: Replace dim light fixtures , put a lamp into a room that needs extra lighting , open the curtains before a viewing.  Repaint some rooms with colors that reflect light , trim tree limbs that shadow the house.  Dirty and fogged windows are another buyer turnoff. Clean them inside and out to bring in more light. 

5. A House Full of Busy Wallpaper or Vivid Paint  

Busy wallpaper or very different dark colours in every room turns off most buyers, and even people who love wallpaper  or a different palette rarely like what you've chosen. It's a personal decorative touch that they want to select themselves. It's the masses you must appeal to when you're selling a home, so take a hard look at your home and decide if it should be removed and replaced with a neutral paint. 

6. A Dirty home and Garden  

A lot of the time your Negotiator should advise that they are coming over with clients , try and make sure that .the home is in a reasonable state both inside and out so that people look at the house clearly and not the dirty spots.  The dirt in the house shouldn’t be  there not have to be explained away. 

7. Pests 

Bugs Roaches, spiders, any insect shouldn’t be in the house , Try and get rid of all your pest problems before you put your home on the market. 

8. Poor Curb Appeal 

You must grab a buyer's interest from the curb if you want to sell the home for top dollar. Home buyers often refuse to go into a house with an unkempt yard, sagging doors or peeling paint. You say you can't afford to paint? Okay, but get that yard in tip-top shape and grab a screwdriver to fix those doors. 

9. Gutters 

Some people never clean their gutters, it always makes buyers wonder what else hasn't been maintained. 

10. Sellers Who Hang Around for Showings 

Please leave the house or move to a quiet area in the garden , we are trying to help the Buyer see if they can live there and this tends to not happen when the owner is involved.  As well as this the buyers feel awkward about opening closet doors and lingering for a really good look at the house if the seller is home.   

Most of the Top 10 problems are home selling issues you can correct without spending a lot of money. Do it now, before you put the house on the market, because if your house develops a reputation among agents as the house that smells, the house with the huge barking dog or the house where the owner won't leave people alone, it will be too late. Your house will be last on their list to show potential buyers 

Lifestyle Improvements 

Lifestyle home improvements such as kitchen and bathrooms consistently impact a home's value for the better. As a result, these are always your best investment. They will help your home's value increase. Other improvements may include master bedroom suites or media rooms. 

Maintenance Improvements 

Maintenance improvements are necessary, but don't expect the value of your home to go up as a result. Buyers expect systems and maintenance to be adequate and up to date.  Since maintenance is a part of home ownership, don't expect an expensive paint job to translate to the same value increase in your home value.  Failure to maintain your property will make the value go down by the cost it will take to repair the damage or implement necessary maintenance. Maintenance protects your homes value from going down, if not more , poor condition gives a Purchaser a bargaining tool for negotiating your price.   

Cosmetic Improvements 

Cosmetic improvements have a neutral effect on a home's value. Jobs like painting are improvements most homeowners can do themselves, so the perception of their value is less. 

Don’t over do it 

Beware of over improving, especially if you would like to resell within a short space of time. You may want to approach all improvements cautiously. Before you commit to any big projects, understand the character for your neighborhood. If your house is improved beyond the entire neighborhood that surrounds it, it is likely that the value of your home won't be 
realized when it comes time to sell.

Stay informed 

Keep up with home values.  The best way to assess value is to look at home sales of properties that are similar to yours. If you know a Neighbour sold for $90 000 with a new kitchen, you can get an idea of your home's value with a new kitchen if your home is comparable to the Neighbour. 

Fixing up your property for Resale

Fixing up your property doesn't always mean major remodeling - Home buyers recognize the value of a house that doesn't need major repairs. If most buyers think they are going to have to replace major items soon, a house is probably not going to move, or you're not going to get all the value out it.

Buyers expect your house to be in decent shape. That means roofs that don't leak, paint that isn't peeling and household systems (heating, cooling, electric and plumbing) in good repair. If you've neglected your home, you face a tough choice. You're unlikely to recoup much of the cost of your repairs in the form of a higher sales price, since buyers are unlikely to pay you a premium for maintenance you should have been doing all along. Yet not making the fixes may turn off buyers altogether.  Fortunately, unless you’re living in an Addams Family-like spook house, there are plenty of quick and easy ways to spiff up your home and give potential buyers a reason to come inside. 

Getting your Estate Agent to inspect your house before you put it on the market can alert you to problems, this gives you the chance to fix these items before they complicate a potential sale.  The list below is compiled from several published surveys and shows typical payback for some popular remodeling projects:

Kitchen remodeling – 90%
Add a bathroom – 90%
Bathroom remodeling – 80%
Install central air conditioning – 75%
Replace windows – 70%
Add a room – 55%
Build a pool – 45%

The type of project you do and how it fits in with other homes in your area can have a big influence on payback too. If you put your money into the wrong type of improvement, you won’t get your money back. The payback will be better on improvements that are in demand and conform to neighborhood standards.

A positive remodeling will depend on several factors including:

Type and cost of renovation

A new paint job is an inexpensive renovation and can easily be handled by most homeowners, make the interior more attractive and likely more saleable. Adding a new room is an expensive renovation, and beyond the scope of most homeowners and would thus require expensive tradesmen and would also change your tax assessment.

Market valuation

In times when real estate prices are rising, you are more likely to gain an increase in your renovation investment. If the real estate market is contracting (harder to sell) you are less likely to get back the renovation costs.

Home comparison

Does the proposed renovation fit in with your neighbors? Adding an outdoor swimming pool in an area where no one has a pool, the seller is less likely to see any return on their investment and may actually lose money. However, in an area where everyone has an outdoor swimming pool, then adding one to your property would more likely to be an improvement

When getting your home ready to sell remember the Exterior is the most important.  

A homebuyer’s first impression is based on his or her view of the house from their car.   

They call that first impression "curb appeal." Is your homes exterior at least average to your neighbours?  If not, why not buy a few bushes and plant them. They give instant appeal, the same can be said for mature colourful flowers they add a splash of vibrancy and color, creating a favorable first impression.  Your lawn should be evenly cut, freshly edged, well watered, and free of brown spots. 

The front door should be especially sharp, since it is the entryway into the house. Polish the door fixture so it gleams. If the door needs refinishing or repainting, make sure to get that done.  If you have a cute little plaque or shingle with your family name on it, remove it. Even if it is just on the mailbox. You can always put it up again once you move. 

Get a new plush door mat, too. This is something else you can take with you once you move. 

Make sure the lock works easily and the key fits properly. When a homebuyer comes to visit your home and the agent uses the key to unlock the door if there is trouble working the lock while everyone else stands around twiddling their thumbs, this sends a negative first impression to prospective homebuyers.   

The back yard should be tidy. If you have a pool keep it freshly maintained and constantly clean.  If you have dogs make sure the garden is clean of any debris , also try and remove anything that doesn’t have to be there , you want your garden to appear as spacious as possible especially for homes where the yards are not too large.   

Take a walk across the street and take a good look at your house. Look at nearby houses too, and see how yours compares.  Then it may be time to go to work.  We hope this has helped give you a new perspective on your property. 

To pinpoint the projects that you should be tackling when looking to sell your home , look at what makes the most sense, start by touring your property with fresh eyes, as if you were a prospective buyer. Drive or walk 
up to your house and see how it appears from the street. Walk through the front door and take a look around. 

You might ask a trusted friend to help you spot problems, clutter and weird smells that you've long since stopped noticing. Keep a pen and pad handy to list the projects that need to be done. 

On the outside 

Here are some suggestions for the exterior of your home: 

· Start at the sidewalk. Landscaping makes a huge difference in how people perceive your home. Whack back overgrown bushes and trees so your house is visible from the street. Plant colorful annuals in the flowerbeds. If possible keep the lawn green and trimmed. 

· Revive a tired exterior. Painting exterior doors and window trim can freshen your home's look without the huge expense of a complete exterior repainting. Shine or replace worn door knockers and hardware.  Make 
sure exterior lights are working and have fresh bulbs , some buyers like to cruise by your home at night to see how it looks. 

· Remove outside clutter. Get rid of anything that blocks pathways or clutters up side yards, backyards and patios. This includes toys, excess furniture and tools. 

· Clean your windows. You want your home to look as light and bright as possible. Dirty or spotted windows drag down a home's appearance. 

On the inside 

Once inside, inspect your floors, walls, kitchen, bathrooms and closets -- because your buyers will. 

Here's what to tackle: 

· Dig out the dirt. A deep cleaning is essential for a good first impression. It's also key to keep up the cleaning as long as your house is on the market. Bathrooms and the kitchen should be kept spotless. 

· Banish bad smells. Air out your home by throwing open the windows at least once a day. Don't cook smelly or greasy foods, which linger in the house. If you have cats, clean the litter box at least once a day. Use potpourri before buyers visit to give your place a "homey" smell. 

· Remove inside clutter. You need to move anyway, so why not get a head start and make your home look larger by packing away at least one-third of your stuff? Stowing away knickknacks, mementos and family pictures helps depersonalize your home, which is actually a good thing: You want potential buyers to picture themselves living in your home instead of being distracted by your personal effects. Consider renting a temporary storage space rather than stuffing your packed boxes in your closets or garage, which will make them look smaller.   

· Organize what's left. Tidy closets and pantries look bigger and more appealing.   

· Fix your floors. Real estate agents say buyers really notice the condition of floors. Hardwood should be polished and carpets shampooed or, if they're in bad shape, replaced. Repair any broken tile or linoleum. 

· Brighten your walls. If you've painted or wallpapered in recent years, you may be able to get away with just washing your walls. Otherwise, consider repainting your rooms in neutral colors. 

There was a recent study done in the UK which said that 22% of people who are looking for a home now look at the internet before they phone an Estate Agent. This is then followed by 20% who look out for the For Sale Signs. The Study went on to show that almost 70% of buyers were put off by a rude Estate Agent or Seller, 75% were deterred by household smells and 90% were deterred by poor building work or DIY.  More then 80% would think twice about putting an offer in on a house with a garden that lacked privacy.  The study also showed some other interesting statistics such as 55% of potential buyers found that they were immediately disinterested in an untidy home after having made an appointment and the Occupant was fully aware of their visit , surprisingly It was also said that 54% believed that the kitchen was the most important area of the house. 

Cracks and crack damage 

When looking for property most people look at the ceilings for roof damage and cracks for foundation problems, here is some info on cracks for you to tell what is a serious flaw in the building and what can pass 
as a cosmetic fix up.
Horizontal Cracks 

These cracks weaken your walls much more than vertical ones and can lead to complete failure of the wall. These cracks are caused by pressure against the side wall that can snap the walls.   
If you can fit a coin into the crack in the wall, get a professional opinion from a foundation contractor.  There are many options available for fixing bowed walls, such as braces, helical piering and reinforcement that can repair your wall, add strength, stop the inward movement of your walls, and redistribute the weight on your walls.
Vertical Cracks 

Most vertical cracks in a foundation wall do not seriously damage the structure of your home. Vertical cracks are most often caused by the shrinkage of the concrete as it cures, but they also tend to occur from damage as the foundation settles. When looking at a vertical crack, run your fingers across it - if the sides of the crack are even, then that’s a sign that the crack formed as the concrete cured.  The more significant problem in this case is that you are now vulnerable to water from the earth seeping into your wall.  If the cracks are uneven to the touch, then external pressures could be the cause. 
Many homeowners find cracks in their foundation walls long after they have formed. Cracks tend to form most often at weak points and openings in your foundations walls.  These include corners, edges of basement window frames, pour lines, holes for service, pipe penetrations, long spans of wall, and tie rods in your foundation.  If you find a crack, check on it regularly.  If you suspect that the crack is moving, spreading or widening, the fatigue on your wall is increasing, which will lead to further damage and eventual foundation failure.  Monitor the crack’s length by marking off the ends of the crack on the plaster, tile or brick with a pencil.  Be sure to also draw several “alignment” marks across the crack at various points to ensure that the crack is not shifting unevenly.  Add the date on the side of the marks to monitor how quickly the wall is deteriorating.
As a homeowner you can become very distressed, it is important to watch out for wall cracks and to call in a Professional if you feel that it may be spreading or widening