4 Insider Tips for Anyone Buying or Selling A House
(NU) - Sponsored by GAF - How many houses have you been outbid on?And if you’re an owner who can’t even get a nibble out of buyers-if some barely even bother stepping inside - are you starting to feel like screaming? Yes, times are tricky for both buyers and sellers. “Rising demand among millennials, full employment, and the strong economy have bumped against limited inventory,” the Washington Post reported, “which fuels price increases.” What to do? Read on for some of the best insider tips. • January and February are the best months to buy. Forget the “experts” who warn you shouldn’t try to time the market. A recent study from Nerd Wallet shows houses typically cost 8.45 percent less during those two months than in June and August. True, the pickings might be slimmer, given that most sellers list a house in the peak spring or summer seasons. However, not only are you less likely to be up against buyers with wads of cash - they’re probably wintering in the likes of St. Barts - but you’ll also stand to profit from a time-tested truth. “If their home is (still) on the market in fall or winter,” notes the home improvement website BobVila.com, “chances are they’ll be eager to close.” With the median price of homes currently listed in the U.S. at $275,000, that 8.45 percent "discount" translates into a very un-chump change savings of more than $23,000 - and a lot more in pricier cities like San Francisco. Sellers, on the other hand, do best in the first half of May, according to Zillow.com. Generation Z is quick to buy. We hear so much about Millennials these days, but those born after 1995 caught Zillow’s attention for a very good reason: When they buy, they buy “quickly.” More than two-thirds of those Gen Z buyers spent less than three months on their search, compared to 54 percent of Millennials and less than half of both Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1976) and Baby Boomers. One of the best ways to pique their interest? Smart home features that allow just about anything to be remotely controlled on their phones. • Anew roof is a sure-fire way to boost a home’s resale value. A perennial fixture on Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report, roofs are often the first thing prospective buyers notice even before exiting their cars.And if yours pales in comparison to others up for sale in the area - or worse, looks like something out of “Twister” - that could explain the lack of nibbles. Patsy O’Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby’s in Montclair, New Jersey, has witnessed this effect first-hand. “If your current roof is an eyesore,” she says emphatically, “buyers will be predisposed to find other things they hate about your place. It’s just the way people’s minds work.” Your roof no longer cutting it? You might want to check out the popular Timberline roofing shingle line from GAF (gaf.com), North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, given their look of luxury at affordable prices.An even more upscale choice: the Designer Shingle line from the same company. Play the online odds. “Stud- ies show that homes with more than six listing photos online are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers,” Trulia.com reports. Of course, that only applies if the house you’re trying to sell is photo-worthy. (See “New Roof” above.) And if it isn’t…well, let’s just say you might want to skip this tip.
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Which Home Upgrades Are Worth It and Which Aren’t
(NU) - Sponsored by GAF - Mark your calendars. Come April, we’re looking at the start of peak home buying season -the four months that generally account for more than 40 percent of annual housing transactions. The reasons are pretty obvious: The weather is (cross your fingers) nicer, the holidays are a distant memory, and families with kids prefer to relocate before the start of a new school year. So if you’re eager to sell - or just want to make some changes to test reactions - now’s the time to save yourself some grief by learning which upgrades increase your house’s value in potential buyers’ eyes and which leave them stone cold. And while you’re at it, never forget the first rule of upgrades, according to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report for 2019: “Think like a real-estate broker.” Read on to see why that includes focusing heavily on “curb appeal” and “first impressions.” • Worth it: a new garage door. It ranked first on the magazine’s list of projects, with a 97.5 percent return on investment thanks in part to its relatively low cost. And for anyone who ever doubted that everything is pricier in New York City, that same high-tensile strength steel door with windows costs $426 more there than the national average of $3,611. • Not worth it: upscale bathroom remodeling. Want an easy way to save $60,000 or so? Don’t - repeat, don’t - spend it on installing the whirlpool tub, heated towel bars, and stone counter tops of your dreams. Why? Because they’re your dreams.And as Remodeling magazine notes, “Because of the vast differences in aesthetic tastes, one person’s elegant new bath will be viewed by a range of other prospective buyers as “tacky and outdated and in desperate need of a reset.” Worth it: a bigger rug. Going bigger is actually a trick some real estate moguls have been known to use. Since the living room is likely the first interior part of the house buyers will see - and, remember, first impressions matter, bet on them extrapolating from it to guesstimate the entire size of the house. Ergo, since the goal is to make the room seem more spacious … At least some buyers will judge the size of a room based on the size of the rug. A nice Oriental one perhaps? • Not worth it: a mid-range backyard patio. It’s in the back- yard, right? - emphasis on “back.” Which explains why it only garnered a 55.2 percent return on investment. Worth it: a new roof. “Buyers pay a premium for one already in place,” Credit.com has observed. No kidding. In fact, given that it’s such a prominent part of the house, you might call the roof the ultimate curb enhancer: If buyers like what they see, you’re halfway home; if they don’t, they may look for even more things to hate and certainly won’t be quick to open their wallets. Or, as Remodeling magazine says about curb appeal: “The impact these impressions make is critical in setting the stage for what a buyer is willing to pay for a home.” If your roof needs replacing, check out the best-selling Timberline roofing shingle line from GAF (gaf.com), North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. The shingles have the look of luxury at a very affordable price. And remember: Don’t be afraid to use a new roof as the “negotiating tool” with buyers thCrediat t.com says it is. Not worth it: a major upscale kitchen remodel. Another of those “differences in aesthetic tastes” issues. Better off to stick to repainting the walls or resurfacing cabinets, if need be.