A Soft Housing Market Makes for a Hard Sell
It is no secret that the housing market has hit a slow down. Properties are staying on the market longer and many are selling for less than the asking price. The American Society of Appraisers (ASA) advises sellers to research ways to make their homes more marketable. “Homeowners are in a position they haven’t been in for quite some time,” said real property appraiser Mike Evans, a Fellow of the American Society of Appraisers. “A few years ago, houses were selling quickly with little effort. Now many homeowners actually have to make improvements before they can sell their home.”
ASA offers sellers advice on the key things that will increase the value of their home or make it more attractive to buyers.
In the near term, the following cosmetic things can help a home sell a faster:
- Update the paint and carpeting. The best thing you can do to update the look of your house is give the outside and the inside a fresh coat of paint and add new carpet. When in doubt, nothing works better than a fresh coat of white paint.
- Give your house curb appeal. If you are going to spend any money on the yard or landscaping, work on the front yard. It is more important to buyers that a home looks good from the street. They can always fix up the backyard later.
- Clean house. Even if you have to put things in storage, clear your rooms and garage of clutter, knickknacks, etc. Sparse and simple are better than clutter and will make your rooms look bigger.
For homeowners who are thinking about selling in the long term, ASA real estate appraisers note that many people put time and money into areas that don’t increase value. For the best bang for your buck, think about the following:
- Add square footage. When it comes to your house, nothing will offer a greater return on investment than putting an addition onto your home.
- Build out your garage. You may not think so at first, but your garage is of great interest to buyers. By adding a garage or expanding the garage you have, you will increase the value of your property.
- Think before you build that pool. Even though you may love the idea of having a pool, don’t build one thinking of it is an investment. Many buyers don’t want a pool and don’t want the upkeep.
- Location, location, location. The best thing you can do to make sure your home sells is to buy in a good location in the first place. When it comes to the value of your home, the location is still the most important factor.
For homebuyers unsure of where to price their house in the changing market, or for advice on the value of their home, they can contact a real property appraiser for advice and counsel.
“It looks like home prices in many markets may be on a downtrend for a while,” said Evans. “It pays to plan to make home improvement decisions strategically if you may be selling a home in the next few years. Think in terms of increasing the value of your home and not just about design and décor.”
ASA reminds consumers to hire a qualified and professionally certified appraiser. For information about the real estate appraisal process, or to find an accredited appraiser near you, log on to http://www.appraisers.org/consumer or call (800) ASA-VALU.