Whether you’re planning to sell or refinance, a home appraisal is a necessary step in determining the true value of your home. This means your home should be in the best possible condition, so it will be appraised at the highest potential value. While it may be tempting to swing for the fences with big-ticket renovations, there are smaller things you can do to efficiently raise the market value of your home.
Start Small with a Little Spackle
If you’ve lived in your home for any length of time, you’ve probably hung things on the walls, put up shelves, or simply had accidents that resulted in minor damage. Now is the time to repair those blemishes. Filling these holes and crevices with a little spackle and painting over the area will leave your walls looking like new. While this may not boost the value of your home, it will keep the appraiser from deducting for the damage.
As Long as You’re Painting…
After you’ve touched up your walls, you might want to consider freshening up the paint. Repainting worn trim and moldings around the home can give it a fresh look. Venture outside and touch up the trim around the windows and doors too. This will boost curb appeal and help you add value to the home. Any area where the paint is peeling, chipping, or simply has lost its luster should be retouched with a fresh coat.
Do a Deep Clean
This is also the time to really clean your home from top to bottom. If you have young children and pets, there may be odors and damage that might not be noticeable to you, but strong odors and scuffed hardwood floors will be the first things your appraiser notices. Consider hiring professionals to wax the floors, shampoo the carpets, and conduct an intensive cleaning of the entire home.
Be the Buyer
At some point, you should tour your home with the mindset of a home buyer. This will help you identify problems that you live with every day but just don’t notice anymore. Look for things that need to be repaired, such as a loose handrail, a leaky faucet, or a shorted electrical outlet.
By taking the time to spruce up the home ahead of the appraisal, you may be able to increase the value by thousands of dollars. The suggestions offered here should give you a head start, but if you have additional questions on how to add more value to your home, don’t hesitate to reach out me.
Let’s face it – it’s been a long winter, but brighter and warmer days are upon us. If you’re the type of person who likes to be prepared, it isn’t too early to gear up for lawn and garden season. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Test the content of your soil with a kit
Soil test kits are designed to determine levels of PH, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and other micro/macronutrients in your soil. An accurate test will tell you how to amend your soil for optimum growing.
Disinfect any tools that will touch vegetation
This is to prevent the spread of bacteria, fungi, and soil pathogens. Soak lawnmower blades, shovels, trowels, rakes, and pruners for 30 minutes in a solution of 10% bleach and 90% water.
Tune up your lawnmower
If you didn’t already do it in the fall, drain your lawnmower of old fuel. Add fresh fuel, replace the spark plugs, clean/replace the air filter, change the oil, and sharpen the blades.
Don’t forget about other tools
Service your leaf blower and trimmer according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Stock up on trimmer line. Sharpen the edges on your pruners, clippers, and digging tools. Lubricate any hand tools that have moving metal parts, then lightly coat the metal with mineral oil to prevent rust. Sand any rough patches on wooden handles. Use linseed oil to seal the wood and prevent shrinking.
Check fittings and filters on irrigation systems
Check the rubber washers on your hoses, sprinklers, and nozzles for cracking and replace if necessary.
Clean pots and planters
This is to remove mold, fungi, and tiny pests. Use a brush and mild soap to clean, then rinse and let dry.
Inspect lawn furniture
Check wood parts for splintering, pests, rot, and other damage. Sand and repaint/restain these parts if necessary. Inspect cushions and covers and wash if possible.
Maintain fencing, gates, and other wood features
Replace warped or rotting pieces and repaint/restain where needed.
Some of these tasks may seem over the top, but knocking them out now while the weather is still less-than-ideal will give you more time to relax during the warmer days ahead.
Have you found yourself dreaming of your own Walden Pond lately? Whether you’re looking to build a luxury retreat or you just want a natural escape, the dream of scooping up an undervalued piece of land is an understandable one. But before you break out the flannel, it’s important to remember that buying land is different from buying property with a structure already on it. Here are some things to keep in mind when buying land:
If It’s an Investment, Consider It a Long-term Investment
Land is not a quick flip. You should only plan to buy land if you’re going to hold on to it for at least 10 to 20 years. Landholding can protect you against inflation, but its value isn’t going to rise quickly.
Pay Cash if Possible
If you aren’t going to build a home on your land right away, lenders will see you as a risk, and you’ll have to pay 30 to 50% upfront (if not full price). If you are going to build right away, you can get a construction-to-permanent loan, which is different from a normal home loan.Construction-to-permanent loans are a form of short-term financing that don’t have fixed rates. Your bank releases funds as construction stages are completed. Then, the loan rolls over into a traditional mortgage when construction is done. If you plan to build with a construction-to-permanent loan, and you don’t have collateral in the form of a preexisting home, you’ll need to have nearly perfect credit. Paying all cash is the best option to avoid these financial hurdles.
Review Deed Restrictions
Before getting your heart set on land, it’s important to look at deed restrictions to determine what you can and can’t do with the property. You’ll also have to figure out how binding these restrictions are. Restrictions might include limits on the building styles or square footage. The more rural the property, the fewer deed restrictions there are likely to be, but that’s not always the case.
Research Zoning Restrictions
Land may be zoned for commercial use, residential use, or both. You’ll have to figure out if the land is zoned for additional structures like detached garages or ADUs. Zoning restrictions can also determine the minimum structure size you can build.
Find Out About Easement Stipulations
If there’s an easement on a property’s title, you’ll want to know the stipulations before buying. An easement gives another person or entity a legal right to someone else’s property for specific reasons, which may reduce privacy or cause other headaches.
Water and Septic Considerations
If you’re looking at land that’s not on a city sewer system, you may have to dig a well for water. That can cost over $10,000, plus the costs of water filtration. Some properties even require adding lakes or hydrants, so firefighters have access to a rural water supply. If your land isn’t on a municipal sewer system, then any structure you build will probably need a septic tank. For that you’ll need a percolation test, which measures how absorbent the soil is to the liquid that comes out of the septic tank. If you can’t support a septic tank on your land, you probably won’t be able to build or get a mortgage.
Buying land can be a great opportunity, but a lot of research should go into the decision. Do your due diligence and consult with experts on real estate laws and local zoning guidelines. Like anything else, if a land deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.