Ten Tips to Quickly Increase The Value of Mom's House

(CAPE COD) We've prepared a list of ten simple tips to increase the value of Mom's house on the Cape. When selling real estate on Cape Cod to pay for Mom's stay in assisted living or a skilled care facility, it is important to get the most money possible while still being competitive in a difficult market.

In most segments of the real estate market on Cape Cod in 2010 we are experiencing a buyer's market. Unlike the conditions of the late '90s through sometime in 2005-2006, there are more people offering their homes for sale than there are buyers looking to purchase. Statistics are being interpreted to try and show otherwise, but the reality in the Cape Cod real estate market is that prices are declining through the Spring and early Summer.

In order to sell Mom's house within a reasonable period of time in this market the property must be priced right and looking good. In certain very anemic market segments ($400-700,000) buyers do not want to do ANYTHING. If the house is not in 'move in' condition expect VERY low offers, if any.

No matter what the situation of the seller, however, the following tips will help yield the highest possible net proceeds;

In a buyer's market is is critical to price the house correctly, based on a current CMA prepared by a local Realtor®. If there are no offers, adjust the price after thirty days and again after seventy-five.
First impressions are vitally important. Maximize curb appeal by hiring a landscaper to tune up the front yard - rake, mow, trim, mulch. Keep the lawn cut though the season. Have the leaves raked in the Spring and Fall.
Have a handyman fix any obvious, glaring defects in a professional manner using quality materials. Some things from the big orange Home store are OK - like cement blocks, concrete, paint, caulk, etc. But if you're going to change a dining room fixture or faucet, buy a real one from an electrical or plumbing supply house - quality fixtures in a few key locations create a natural, clean look.
Hire a professional home inspector to uncover any big problems - if any are found, get estimates to correct them and either fix them or reflect them in the price. Your buyer will hire inspectors too - isn't it smart to know what they'll find? Same deal with a septic inspection - get it done now, you have to get one anyway.
Houses show best either empty and clean or staged. Hold an estate sale, then a yard sale, then a clean out. Finally, after all painting, repairs, etc., are complete, do a thorough interior cleaning. Consider hiring a professional home staging company.
Seriously consider putting a fresh coat of paint in contemporary, neutral colors on the walls and ceiling. If Mom and Dad were smokers, this is especially important. Make sure your house painters coat the ceiling with "Kilz" or an equivalent product, plus a topcoat of ceiling paint. Surveys show the smell of cigarette smoke decreases selling prices by up to $50,000 - that's a lot of paint!!
If there are hardwood floors under the carpets, rip out the carpets. The floors are probably in pretty good shape - it wouldn't hurt to screen them and put on a half dozen coats of finish. If Mom and Dad were smokers, even if there is no hardwood under, rip out the carpets and replace them.
Replace any energy saving light bulbs (curlycue compact fluorescent) with real, full wattage incandescents. Use 'Reveal' type bulbs except in the bathroom. - use regular frosted there. It may cost you a few cents on the electric bill, but real lightbulbs make your house look better.
Use the services of an experienced, professional local Realtor® who offers a 100% showing guarantee. If your listing agent is not available for any reason, every agent in the office should be committed to showing your property. "Teams" and "Partners" sound good, but in reality, only a 100% showing guarantee means anything.
Offer a Home Warranty. These inexpensive insurance policies are a fantastic selling tool. Just ask yourself, "if I have a choice between two very similar products, will I choose the one with the Warranty?" Sure you would, and so will your buyer.



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