Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Five Maintenance Issues Owners Shouldn't Ignore

Consumer Reports magazine advises home owners not to put off important maintenance projects, noting that waiting until the economy rebounds could end up making the repairs more costly while putting a family's health at risk. The magazine identifies five crucial maintenance issues:

Check the gutters: Clogged gutters, broken fasteners and separations where the gutters meet the fascia board will lead to roof leaks if they haven’t already.

Inspect the roof: Cracked, curled and mussing shingles mean a roof is nearing the end of its useful life. Cracks around chimneys, skylights, and roof valleys can also suggest the roof might be leaking.

Look for bugs: Termites and carpenter ants can bore through a home in a few short years. Probe the sill plate on top of the foundation with a screwdriver to check for rotten wood. Also look for carpenter ants and termites along windowsills and walls.

Avoid mold: Mold and mildew can cause musty odors, dank air, and make residents sick. Check under carpets and around windows for visible mold or mildew.

Don’t ignore cracks: Foundation cracks wider than 3/16 of an inch can be a problem. These require examination by a structural engineer.

Source: Consumer Reports (05/04/2009)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fast Fixes Can Help Sell a Home

It’s not rocket science: Houses that look fresh and attractive sell faster than beat-up homes.

Here are some cheap tricks from Money Magazine for boosting appeal:

● Buy a new mailbox, house numbers, doorbell, and knocker: $200
● Green the grass with nitrogen-rich fertilizer: $50 to $200, depending on the lawn size
● Edge and mulch the flowerbeds: $300 to $600, depending on the number of beds
● Replace the bathroom faucet: $300
● Install beadboard over dated bathroom tile: $800 to $1,000
● New paint: $60 to $100 per room, if homeowners do it themselves
● Replace switchplates and outlet covers: 50 cents each
● Install stone tile over existing Formica countertops: $500 to $1,000

Source: Money Magazine (05/04/2009)

Monday, May 04, 2009

What's Your Home Worth?

Market value is the main concept you must understand when determining the value of your home. But what is it and how it can help you price your home?

What is market value?
Market value is the amount prospective buyers are willing to pay at the time homeowners are ready to sell. The best way to find out the market value of your home is to ask me for help. I can ensure that you get the best price by providing and discussing with you the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).

What is a CMA?
The CMA will include homes in your area that are currently on the market, expired from the market, pending a sale and already sold within the last three to six months. Of course, the best indicator of your home's value is the price for similar homes in your area that have already been sold. The comparison is based on the proximity to your home and the similarity of characteristics such as lot size, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, etc.

It's a good idea to sit down with me to discuss how each factor of the market analysis affects your home's value. You can consider the current listings to identify the competition, recently sold homes to indicate what buyers are willing to pay, homes with a sale pending to show the current demand and expired homes to suggest what buyers are unwilling to pay.

What are the dos and don'ts?
Do obtain the CMA and discuss the findings with me. Don't price your home based on factors not affecting the market value. Those factors include how much money you need to buy your next home, how much you paid for your current home, how much you paid for home improvements, the value of similar homes in different communities, area appreciation statistics, the cost to build the same home today and personal attachment.

Discovering how much your home is worth is the first step to ensure that your home is priced correctly. So, take the time, do the research, talk with me, and together we can decide what the best price is in today's market.

Contact me for more information.