5 Green Upgrades that Increase Your Home Value

Selling a home begins with understanding how much it’s worth. After an initial assessment, you may want to make some updates to increase the value of your property. There are several ways to do that, including boosting your curb appeal or making renovations with significant ROI potential. As you research potential projects, keep in mind that making your home more sustainable can boost its value to potential buyers. Talk with your agent to identify which of these five upgrades makes sense for your home before it hits the market.

Five Green Upgrades that Increase Your Home Value

1. Energy-Efficient Appliances

It’s no secret that appliances use a significant amount of energy, which means there is plenty of opportunity to cut back on their output. Installing energy-efficient appliances can do wonders for creating a more eco-friendly home, while appealing to buyers who value sustainability. When shopping around, look for appliances with high-efficiency or Energy Star certifications. They may cost more to purchase, but their ability to generate long-term savings is a concrete selling point. 

2. Tankless Water Heater

As the shift toward eco-friendly appliances has picked up steamed, so too has the preference for tankless water heaters. Whereas standard storage tank water heaters keep a reservoir of hot water at the ready, tankless water heaters heat your home’s water supply on-demand. It’s similar to a new car that shuts off its engine when sitting idle, as opposed to an older car whose engine is running all the time. Tankless water heaters don’t come without their share of costs. An upfront investment will be required for purchase and installation, but it will deliver immediate savings on energy bills.

3. Solar Panels

There are many benefits to going solar, but for sellers, the positive effect solar energy has on home values is chief among them. A solar-capable home is a surefire way to drum up buyer interest. By taking care of the upfront installation costs, you allow the buyer to focus on the benefits of solar energy, i.e. the long-term energy savings, the reduced utility bills, and the reduction in the property’s carbon footprint. Work closely with your real estate agent to understand how solar energy has affected home prices in your area to get an idea of the project’s ROI potential.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

4. Water Filtration

Installing a home water filtration system is one of the best ways to cut down on your home’s waste while increasing its value. These filtration systems appeal to buyers for a variety of reasons. Of course, there are an array of health benefits to having filtered water running through the entire house. Buyers can be assured that the water is safe to drink, they will be bathing and showering in clean water, and there is a reduced risk of plumbing issues due to contaminated water. Beyond the personal health benefits, it can also cut down on bottled water costs and the amount of landfill waste produced within the home.

5. Energy-Efficient Windows

Alternatives to traditional windows have become more popular in recent years. Energy-efficient windows are better insulated, which helps to regulate temperatures inside the home and protects against harmful ultraviolet rays. Their ability to help regulate your home’s heating and cooling leads to energy savings and reduced carbon emissions. Energy-saving windows can be highly valuable to potential buyers, especially if you live in a climate with extreme temperatures.

For more tips on the selling process, visit the selling section of our blog.

Blog – Selling

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Best Ways to Determine Home Value

Of all the questions that arise during the selling process, “What’s my home worth?” is the first for most sellers. By using home valuation tools and understanding local market conditions, sellers can educate themselves on how much their home could potentially fetch on the market, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Best Ways to Determine Home Value

Windermere’s home value estimator is a great starting point for sellers. Free to use, it will provide you with an instant home value and an expected price range, a heat map of buyer interest near you, and recent home sales in your area. Click the link below to get started.

 

What Is My Home Worth?

 

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

Though tools like home value estimators provide some data on what sellers can expect when pricing their home, nothing compares to the expertise a professional real estate agent offers. Various factors influence home prices including seasonality, market conditions, and location, and agents have the means to account for these factors to accurately price your home  by conducting a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).

A CMA compares your home to others in your area that have either recently sold, are currently on the market, or had previously listed but have since expired. Depending on the conditions of the market, an agent will gather data for the past three to six months. When conducting a CMA, they’ll take into account recent market trends, competing properties, your home’s amenities, and its overall marketability. The analysis also considers aspects of the home such as lot size, condition, age, square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms, and the terms of financing. A thorough CMA will provide information on what homes in your area are selling for, how long they were on the market, and the difference between their listed and sold price.

So why is a CMA important? A CMA helps price the home more accurately, keeping the property competitive in the current market. For example, in a seller’s market where demand is driving up home values, an agent will work with their seller to account for the elevated prices before listing their home. Doing so allows you to avoid overpricing which usually results in a longer sale period. CMAs can also help buyers negotiate their asking price by having a data-backed analysis of the home’s value based on current market trends.

 

The key to a successful sale begins with pricing your home correctly, and finding the right agent to conduct a Comparative Market Analysis is critical to this process. To connect with an experienced Windermere Real Estate agent today, click the button below.

 

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Where to Stay While You Sell Your Home

The time between selling a home and moving into a new one can be a challenging period for homeowners that leaves them with a basic question: Where should I live? In the interim, there are various housing options to choose from but picking the right one depends on your personal situation and the amount of time it will take until you move into your new home.

Once you know it’s time to sell your home, there are various factors that will have an influence on what housing is available to you. Your budget will help determine your options. For example, if you are already in contract with your new home, you might be looking to save some money in preparation for move-in costs. Seasonality plays a role as well. Talk to your agent about real estate trends in your local market to understand which housing options tend to be available at certain times of year.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

Where to Stay While You Sell Your Home

 

In Your Home

There is the option to stay in your home while you sell it. If your home is still on the market, understand that a fully staged home will be fundamentally different from the one you’re used to. Once you’ve sold your home, there are additional options for staying as well. By working closely with your agent, you can negotiate a longer closing period or a rent-back agreement with the new owners. A rent-back agreement is an agreement between the two parties in which the seller rents their old home from the buyer for an agreed-upon period of time before the new buyers move in, allowing for a smooth transition to take place. Depending on the buyer’s urgency to move in and the competitiveness of the market, a rent-back agreement may not be feasible, but in the right situation it presents a mutually beneficial solution.

 

Apartment or Condo

Renting an apartment or condo while you wait to get into your new home can help make the transition easier. To avoid unpacking all your belongings only to have to pack them back up when it’s time to move again, try to find furnished listings in your area, or search for units that offer furnishing at an added cost. Although paying rent is an added expense, this set-up can help you stay organized throughout the moving process.

 

Friends & Family

If you have friends or family nearby that have space to accommodate you, they may be open to the idea of taking you in until you’re able to move into your new home. In this scenario, you’ll likely need to store your household items elsewhere, which will come with an added cost. Of all the options, this is typically the least expensive.

 

Short-Term Rentals

The short-term rental market offers a flexible approach to finding somewhere to stay. Filtering your results by location will allow you to select a place that won’t disrupt your daily routine. If you won’t be moving into your new home for an extended period of time, you can choose a rental with amenities accommodate your longer-term needs. Keep in mind, the cost of short-term rentals can easily add up, and in some cases may be more expensive than renting an apartment or condo.

 

Hotel

Another popular option for riding out the interim period between houses is staying at an extended-stay hotel. These hotels usually offer amenities that accommodate long-term living like a kitchen, living space, laundry services, a refrigerator, internet, and more.

For more information on selling your home, visit the Selling Page on our blog. To get an idea of what your home is worth, try our free home value calculator at the link below:

 

What’s my home worth?

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Knowing When to Sell Your Home

Of all the components involved in a successful home sale, there is perhaps no greater contributing factor than timing. Knowing when to sell your house gives you the best chance to make an impact when you hit the market. Every seller’s situation is unique but choosing when to sell comes down to how prepared you are, finding the right agent, and local market conditions. Once you’ve got a grasp of these elements, then you can decide if it’s the right time to sell.

 

Are You Ready to Sell?

Before you sell your home, your finances must be in order. Equity is a natural starting point for assessing your financial health. To calculate your equity, you’ll need to know your home’s market value. Your real estate agent can help you determine this by conducting a comparative market analysis (CMA), which involves comparing your home to others in your area by such characteristics as square footage, the number of bedrooms/bathrooms, age, and lot size. Once you know your home’s market value, subtract your current mortgage balance from that number and you’ll have your current home equity. If your equity is negative, then it may not be the best time to sell.

Beyond your home equity, there are plenty of other financial factors to consider when preparing to sell. Selling a home does not come without its own set of costs. Commission fees, home repairs, inspections, and staging are just some of the expenses you can expect to incur. For more information on the costs involved with selling your home, talk to your Windermere agent.

Selling a home is an emotional process that comes with significant lifestyle changes, so it’s important to make sure it’s the right time for you and everyone in your household. Part of a real estate agent’s’ role is understanding how the varying emotions of the selling process apply to different people. For every fear, worry, and hesitancy you may experience when trying to decide if it’s the right time to sell, your agent can share similar experiences while working with past clients.

 

Local Market Conditions

The state of the real estate market in your area could dictate whether it’s the right time to sell. Various factors affect local market conditions like inventory, seasonality, mortgage rates, and home price growth. Talk to your real estate agent about what the local conditions mean for your selling strategy and what kind of buyer negotiations you can expect to encounter. Agents have the tools and know-how to perform a complete analysis of the market to help you decide when the right time is to sell.

 

Find the Right Agent

Real estate agents are the catalyst for a successful home sale. They not only bring a wealth of resources to the table, but they can also offer helpful advice on the optimal time to sell. Agents can assess your goals for selling your home, how that aligns with your budget, and how those factors fit into the context of current local market conditions.

To truly know whether it’s the right time to sell, it’s important to find the right agent who understands the needs of your household. The more an agent knows about your situation, the better they can formulate a selling strategy. This also allows them to understand what the best offer for your home looks like. When searching for an agent, ask for referrals from your inner circle. Interview multiple agents to get an idea of their qualities, and select the one that makes the most sense for you.

 

When you’re ready to sell, or if you have any questions about the selling process, talk to an experienced Windermere agent here: Connect with an Agent

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7 Costly Mistakes in the Selling Process

Sellers dream of a flawlessly executed home sale where everything goes smoothly, and they end up with a satisfied buyer. To achieve this ideal end goal, it’s important to be aware of the mistakes along the way that could potentially derail the sale. Mistakes in the selling process come in all sizes, but some can be more costly than others.

 

1. Incorrect Pricing

Simply put, sellers want to get the most value for their home. Inaccurately priced homes create complications in the selling process and can be costly. Overpriced homes are unable to compete with other homes in a more expensive bracket, reducing its appeal to buyers. The longer a home stays on the market, the more likely the seller will have to lower the price, and this could result in a final asking price that is well below what the home is worth. Underpricing can be used as a strategy to generate added interest among buyers and thereby drive up the home’s market value, but it requires that a bidding war take place among buyers.

 

2. Underestimating Selling Costs

There are many costs associated with selling a home that can easily pile up if not planned for. Commission fees take up a significant portion of selling costs, typically between five to six percent of the sale price. Sellers must budget for home inspections, making repairs, and staging the home to get it market-ready. During closing, sellers need to prepare for various costs including sales tax, attorney fees, and any fees related to the transfer of the title, and more. Not accounting for any of these costs can come as an unpleasant surprise.

 

3. Selling When Underwater

It may be tempting to think of selling a home solely as a revenue-generating event. However, if a seller still owes more on their mortgage than what their home is worth, or if the property has gone down in value, they still may not make enough money on the sale to pay off the mortgage. Any homeowner who finds themselves underwater on their mortgage should consider building more equity before they sell.

 

4. Selling FSBO

Selling a home “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) presents sellers with the opportunity to save on commission fees but is a complex and risky process that can easily lead to serious costs. Not only does selling FSBO mean that the seller will incur all costs an agent would have taken on to market the home, but they are accepting added liability as well. If any mistake occurs during the offer process, negotiations, or closing, the seller finds themselves without the representation of an experienced professional. This leaves a great opportunity for costly mistakes that could potentially jeopardize the sale.

 

5. Failing to Disclose Repairs

If a seller fails to disclose any outstanding repairs and issues inherent in the home, they will likely come to light during the buyer’s inspection and can create a very costly situation for the seller. These losses can be avoided by being transparent about what repairs are needed ahead of time. Sellers can also opt to conduct a pre-listing inspection, which can be especially helpful in competitive markets. Disclosure rules vary by state.

 

6. Neglecting to Stage Your Home

Home staging is a critical element for getting the most value for a home and selling it quickly. By neglecting to stage, sellers are opening the door for lowered offers and reduced sale prices. The staging process is also the perfect time for sellers to inspect their home for any minor or cosmetic repairs that can be addressed quickly.

 

7. Not Choosing the Best Offer

Naturally, the highest offer received on a home may seem like the most enticing. But just because an offer may be higher than another doesn’t mean it’s the best one. It’s critical for sellers to communicate with their agent about the full terms of the offer to understand its contingencies, how it affects their bottom line, and how those components align with their needs and preferences.

 

If you’d like more information on selling your home and how to avoid costly mistakes, an experienced Windermere agent is ready to help. Click here to connect with an agent today.

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The Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection

Pre-listing inspections can help sellers better understand the condition of their home before putting it on the market. They can also strengthen a home’s appeal to potential buyers and help to streamline the offer process, which is especially important in competitive markets. However, pre-listing inspections can also open sellers up to added liability. Talk to your Windermere agent to understand if conducting a pre-listing inspection is right for your home.

 

What is a Home Inspection?

Conducted by a licensed home inspector, a home inspection is a detailed review of the condition of a home and property. Inspectors examine everything from a home’s electrical work and sewage to its heating and cooling systems, searching for any evidence of damage or structural issues that may affect its value. By having your home inspected before you sell, you’ll have the chance to discover whether it needs any repairs or upgrades.

 

Pre-Listing Inspections

Pre-listing inspections not only help identify repairs, but they can also make the selling process more efficient. A pre-listing inspection discloses a home’s condition to buyers up front and gives them confidence that the seller is being transparent about any possible issues. This can save significant time for both buyers and sellers, especially in competitive markets where there are multiple offers on the table.

Something for sellers to keep in mind is that if a home in a competitive market does not provide a pre-inspection report, buyers may be hesitant to make an offer knowing the time it takes to perform an inspection and the fact that they are likely competing against several other buyers who are willing to waive this step.

 

The Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection

Home inspections give a good baseline of your home’s condition. The information gathered during this process is exactly the kind of in-depth knowledge that buyers want to know when considering placing an offer on a home.

Since buyers will know right away what repairs are needed, they can factor them into their initial offer, as opposed to discovering them during the inspection contingency and getting entangled in negotiations. Being forthcoming about your home also reduces the chances of an offer falling through and the buyer walking away.

An added benefit of a pre-listing inspection is that it helps your real estate agent more accurately price the home and enables them to market it with the knowledge that everything is being presented in the most transparent way possible.

 

If you have any questions about home inspections or any of the steps in the selling process, we’re happy to connect you with a Windermere agent here: Connect with an agent

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Why Should You Stage Your Home When it’s For Sale?

In order to sell your home, it must be successfully marketed to potential home buyers. Developing a winning strategy to attract as many buyers as possible to your home is something your real estate agent will work on, and part of that process may include staging.

Staging doesn’t just involve decorating your home; it’s using furniture and décor to reveal the possibilities in the space in order to make it appealing to a wide variety of buyers. It is an important step to helping buyers imagine the space for their own use, and it often leads to a higher dollar value and quicker sale time.

 

Staging for Buyers

A well-staged home creates stunning photographs that will attract buyers as they search online. In 2020, 97% of home buyers used the internet to search for prospective homes, and about half of them used mobile devices like smart phones and tablets. Because photos on a mobile device can be quite small and easily swipeable, staging has the potential to grab a buyer’s eye and pull them into the listing. Once they visit in person, staging serves to elevate your space while allowing buyers to visualize themselves living in your home.

 

Investment and ROI

For a relatively low investment, the return on investment (ROI) for a staged listing is worth it for just about any home seller. No matter the size of your home, the average investment on staging is 1% of the sale price of the home. And that 1% investment can lead to amazing gains. According to a 2020 survey by the Real Estate Staging Association, of those who spent 1% on staging, 75% saw a return of 5-15% over the asking price. As this shows, investing in staging can turn into one of the best ways to add value to your home.

In addition to increasing the dollar value of your home, staging is also likely to lead to a quicker sale. In 2020, staged listings sold after an average of 23 days on market. That’s two days faster than the national average of 25 days on market in the same year.

Your real estate agent can connect you with a professional stager who they will work side-by-side with to create a cost-effective strategy for staging your home and getting it sold in the most efficient and effective manner.

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How to Price Your Home for Sale

It’s natural for sellers to want to get every step of the selling process right, but a successful home sale depends on an accurate listing price. Your real estate agent will work closely with you to set the price, but in the meantime, you can use  the following information to better understand what goes into this process. .

 

What factors influence home prices?

 

Understanding what factors influence home prices will give you a deeper knowledge of the market, give clarity to the selling process, and help you work toward the accurate listing price of your home.

 

Comparable home sales

Comparable home sales—or “comps”—have a major impact on the price of your home. Comps refer to the comparable homes in your area, both pending and sold, within the last six months. Your Windermere agent can provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to better determine the price of your home. CMAs factor in aspects, such as square footage, age, and lot size compared to other homes in your area, to determine how your home should be priced among the competition.

 

Your home’s location

Naturally, you home’s location plays a significant role in its asking price. Depending on the market conditions in your area, whether you reside in a metropolitan, suburban, or rural location, and the home’s proximity to amenities, schools, and entertainment all contribute to the price.

 

The home’s condition

If you have recently invested in upgrades or other maintenance projects for your home, they could increase your asking price. However, the price increase potential depends on the kind of renovation, its ROI, and how valuable it is to buyers in your area. If the home is in need of repair, it will likely fetch less interest than better maintained homes at your price point. Any outstanding repairs or projects looming overhead will make the home less attractive to buyers and could lead to a low appraisal.

 

Seasonality

Any factors that impact market supply and demand are worth taking into consideration when preparing to price your home, and seasonality is one that cannot be overlooked. Typically, market activity slows in the winter and picks up during the spring and summer months. However, market seasonality varies region to region. Talk to your Windermere agent about the seasonality trends in your area and how they factor into your asking price. 

 

Market conditions

Naturally, all sellers want to price their home competitively, but what a competitive price looks like depends on the market conditions, such as whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. Some sellers think that pricing their home over market value means they’ll sell for more money, but the opposite is often true. Overpricing your home presents various dangers, such as sitting on the market too long, which can result in selling for well below what it’s worth.

 

What’s your home worth?

 

Nothing can replace the professional knowledge and local expertise of a real estate agent, but automated valuation models (AVMs) can be a helpful first step in determining what your home is worth. Like comps, AVMs assess your home by comparing its information with the listings in your area.

 

If you’re curious about your home’s value, Windermere offers a tool that provides a series of evaluations on your property and the surrounding market. You can find it here.

 

These are the basic tenets for understanding what goes into the price of a home. When you’re ready, we’re happy to connect you with an agent who can interpret and expand on this information, perform a CMA for your home, and be the expert in your selling journey.

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