We all have noticed that the housing market is improving.  We are finally receiving good news in the media.  Homes sales are up and Treasure Valley real estate agents are looking for more sellers to put their homes on the market to increase inventory for buyers that are ready to buy.  In addition to that, builders are seeing increased activity and building lots in certain areas are being absorbed quickly.

Forbes.com has recently posted that Boise, ID is an “Unheralded Outperformer” in housing recovery.  To read more about Boise and the other markets that are leading the way in home sales, go to:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realtorcom/2013/02/04/unheralded-outperformers-10-metro-markets-that-are-leading-the-housing-recovery/

If you are thinking about selling your home, now might be the time to have a Realtor analyze the market for you!

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Is now the right time to sell?  That sounds like a loaded question.  In this economy some homeowners are underwater on their mortgages so selling at this time does not make sense.  However, many home owners have equity in their home and may be able to sell and take advantage of then purchasing the home of their dreams at a low price with a historically low-interest rate.

For example:  Let’s say you purchased a home for $160,000 in 2004 in NW Meridian.  This is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with a 3 car garage.  1700 sqft approximately.  Standard size lot.  5 years old.  No granite counters or wood floors.  Nice neighborhood.  No pool or clubhouse.  Very clean.

TRUE EXAMPLES of COMPARABLE NEIGHBORHOODS

2004 2012 (20 yr) 2012 (30yr)
Loan Amount $128,000 $135,000 $165,000
Interest Rate 6% 3.50% 3.87%
Monthly Payment $767/mo $782/mo $775/mo
Price of Home $160,000 $170,000 $207,000

What can you get in 2012 to keep your payment the same?

$170,000 Home:   4 bedroom, 3 bath home with a 3 car garage.  2500 sqft approximately.  Standard size lot.  9 years old.  Granite tile counters, hickory floors.  Nice neighborhood with pools and clubhouse.  Very clean.

$207,000 Home:  5 bedroom, 3.5 bath home with a 4 car garage.  2800 sqft approximately.  Standard size lot.  7 years old.  No granite counters, but wood floors.  Nice neighborhood.  No pool or clubhouse.  Bank owned so needs some cleaning but no repairs.

Wow.  That sounds great – BUT…what can I sell the home I purchased for in 2004?!  The home that was used as the example above was sold for $145,000 in 2011.  Not bank owned and not short sale.

So the question becomes…Is NOW the right time for you to look at selling and buying a larger home and keep your monthly payment the same?  Is now the time to purchase a home when prices are low AND interest rates are low?

The timing may be perfect for you.

Low Cost Repairs that Increase Resale Value

Which repairs will give you the most return on your investment and help your home sell for more? 

HomeGain, a real estate marketing company, surveyed close to 600 real estate professionals to find out which home improvement projects give sellers the biggest return on their money.  Here is a list of seven projects and approximate cost for the Treasure Valley area (amounts are estimated). 

1.      Cleaning and de-cluttering. Remove any personal items, un-clutter countertops, organize closets and shelves, and make the home sparkling clean.

  • $150 Cost
  • $1,000 to $1,400 Return

2.       Lighting: Clean all windows inside and out, replace old curtains, update lighting fixtures, and remove anything that blocks light from the windows.

  • $350 Cost
  • $1,000 to $1,400 Return

3.      Staging:  Rearrange furniture, bring in new accessories and furnishings to enhance rooms, incorporate artwork, and play soft music in the background.

  • $450 Cost
  • $1,000 to $1,900 Return

4.      Landscaping/Yard:  Spruce up the home’s curb appeal in the front and back yards by adding bark mulch, bushes, and flowers and ensuring current plants and grass are well-cared for and manicured.

  • $350 Cost
  • $1,500 to $1,900 return

5.      Repairing electrical or plumbing:  Fix leaks under the sinks, remove any mildew stains, and ensure all plumbing is in good working condition. Update the home’s electrical with new wiring for modern appliances, fix any lights or outlets that don’t work, and replace old plug points with new safety fixtures.

  • $350 Cost
  • $1,000 to $1,500 Return

6.      Replacing or shampooing dirty carpets:  Steam-clean carpets, replace any worn carpets, and repair any floor creaks.

  • $625 Cost
  • $1,000 to $1,500 Return

7.      Paint/Touch up Interior:  Repair any damaged interior walls by patching all chips, holes and cracks; then touch up or repaint interior walls with neutral color.

  • $625 Cost
  • $1,500 to $2,000 Return

Excerpted from HomeGain’s 2011 Home Sale Maximizer

Portion of Article taken from National Association of REALTORS®, Realtor.org website

Here are a few great tips on creating an atmosphere that will impress buyers and make them want to buy your home.  Don’t forget, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Try to make the best first impression possible.  Follow these simple tips and create the competitive edge that may help you sell your home more quickly.

 Drive-Up/Curb Appeal

Trim trees and shrubs, clean out flower beds, and if you are listing in warmer weather, invest in a few flats of seasonal flowers. Paint the front door, make sure that the doorbell is working properly, wash the mailbox, keep the porch swept, and get an attractive mat for people to wipe their feet.

Basics

  • Make sure that your home is aired out and smelling fresh.  A lot of people will be turned off by even slight odors.  Eliminate odors, especially those caused by dogs and cats, soiled diapers, and/or cigarettes.
  • Wash all the windows, inside and out
  • If your carpets have not been cleaned for a while, get them cleaned.  Bare floors should be cleaned and waxed or polished.
  • Go through every room and pack up nick knacks.
  • Pack away some furniture to open rooms up and make them look larger
  • Put bright bulbs in every socket possible.  Make the rooms bright and cheery.
  • Clean out closets, cabinets, and drawers. Closets should look like they have enough room to hold additional items. Remove things from the floors.  Pack up extra items that you have stored on shelves so it looks more spacious.
  • If you have a wood burning fireplace, clean out the ashes.
  • Keep the kitchen sparkling clean. Make sure that all appliances are clean at all times. Straighten cupboards that appear cluttered.  Keep floors clean.
  • Take all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops.  Take pictures, magnets, messages off of the refrigerator. 
  • Make sure that any pull-down attic stairs, are working correctly. Make sure there is lighting in the attic.
  • Remove all unnecessary items from countertops, tubs and shower stalls in bathrooms.  Coordinate towels to one or two colors only.
  • Check caulking in bathroom.  Freshly caulk if it looks dingy or old.  Grout should be clean and in good condition too.  Make sure there are no leaks in the faucet or pipes.
  • Keep the front yard and sidewalk clean and uncluttered. 
  • Look at your home room by room.  Paint in neutral tones if necessary.
  • If you don’t service your HVAC unit once a year, have it serviced.
  • Check your crawl space and attic to make sure you don’t have leaks, water issues and any other problems.

Consider getting a home inspection prior to listing your home.  The inspector will bring up items that will need to be fixed and will crawl in the attic and crawl space.  You will have a list of items you know may be an issue with a buyer.  Getting an inspection early could save money on negotiations when you get an offer in.

Once your home is on the market:

When you leave the house in the morning or during the day, leave it as if you know it is going to be shown.

  • Make sure the home smells good.
  • Leave lights on and window treatments open to let in light.
  • Turn off television, but a radio station with a mellow music is nice.
  • Keep pets out of the house if possible OR at least out-of-the-way.  Some people are uncomfortable around animals and some may even be allergic to them.
  • Leave the premises.  Buyers are often intimidated if the seller is there and often rush through the house.  Put the buyers at ease by leaving.