It’s a tool used by all across the nation, stagers know its power. Real estate agents push its importance. What is this not-so-well-kept secret of real estate? A kitchen can sell a house!
A kitchen is the heart of a home. This is true all across the globe. The old saying that the bstomach is the way to the heartb carries a lot of truth. Kitchens are where we spend much of our time and most of that is with our families. Kitchens are integral to entertaining and in today’s age of open floor plans, they’re a focal point of many family rooms. It’s because of this that kitchens play such an important role in the buying and selling process.
This one room is the showpiece of the house. You’ll see it every day and your guests will see it during most visits. This means buyers want homes with up-to-date kitchens. Kitchens, however, can be one of the most expensive rooms to renovate. It’s not just a new layer of paint. Instead you find a complicated array of flooring, tiling, cabinets, plumbing and counters. This means buyers may want a home with an up-to-date kitchen but they aren’t willing to tackle this problem themselves. Most buyers want a kitchen that is ready to use the day they move in.
What do buyers look for in up-to-date kitchens? A lot of this depends on what price range your home is in. The main thing to remember as a seller is to not price yourself out of your market. If homes in your neighborhood are selling for $100,000 with tidy, but not luxury kitchens, then this is no time to upgrade to granite, travertine, and marble. You simply won’t find a buyer.
Scope out the competition. Use open houses in your area or MLS listings to find out what your competitions’ kitchens look like. Do area homes have new solid wood cabinets and granite counters in today’s designer colors? Are they including new stainless steel appliances and add-ons like dishwashers, wine-coolers, and trash compactors?
Are you in a higher-end neighborhood? It’s time to think high-end. Your older home may have a highly functional kitchen, but a buyer will take one look at your formica counters and white appliances and become lost in the stress of how much money and time it would take to remodel. If you don’t want to put in the time yourself to make upgrades then you’ll have to make concessions in the price.
Sometimes a kitchen update can mean doing just a few minor changes. Change the paint color to a warm, neutral tone. Get rid of any clutter. Update your appliances, paint your cabinets, change the knobs and pulls, or get a high-end looking counter for a fraction of the cost (fauxgranite). You might even save a bundle by doing the work yourself.
The bottom line is a kitchen can sell a home. Do a little research and find out what your kitchen needs to make it competitive with area listings.
Making a home sale has never been a lot of fun, but in this economy, it’s even worse. If you’ve followed the usual recommendations about boosting curb appeal and staging your living room properly, but still aren’t getting any bites, there are other ways to help catch a buyer’s eye.
Real estate agents give their best tips on how to move a house in the quickest amount of time without giving the place away.
1. Get an appraisal.
2. Pre-inspect by a professional before listing.
3. Offer the buyer a home warranty.
4. Consider cash incentives.
5. Take care of buyer’s post-move expenses.
6. Remain flexible on the price.
Whether you’re a seller checking to see what your home is worth or a buyer trying to figure out if you’ve discovered a good deal, it’s hard to resist clicking on the button that gives you a property’s value in a flash. Those instant valuations are seductive. Be careful! Many consumers don’t know that an online valuation produced by a click of your mouse is one of these calculators, called bautomated valuation models,b or AVMs and is no more than an estimate.
AVMs use real estate information such as comparable sales, property characteristics, tax assessments, and price trends to provide an estimate of value for a specific property. AVMs are a very useful way to get a rough estimate for a property sight unseen, but, like all computer programs, they are only as good as their data. In today’s market, prices change quickly. Only AVMs with access to the most recent sales data of comparable properties (or bcompsb) can come close to an accurate valuation. However, it can take months for local public data to become available. Multiple listing services have excellent data on sales of properties that they list, but not all AVMs have access to them.
With time, AVMs build up their own databases of sales and values, but many will use sales closed six months or longer to value a home that may not yet be on the market. AVMs have shortcomings no database will ever improve. For example, they can’t tell whether the bathrooms or kitchens have been recently remodeled, or if an extra room has been added since the home was last sold. An AVM doesn’t know whether your countertops are Formica or granite, or if your windows are new Andersons or old and leaky. AVMs don’t know that a local school has closed or that a huge, noisy construction project is going on across the street. The difference between a neighborhood with quiet streets, mature trees and stately custom-built homes and one of mass produced mini-mansions crammed onto sub-sized lots is lost on a computer program, which might select comps from one neighborhood to value a home in the other without knowing the difference. AVMs will always fall short of a trained real estate appraiser.
In short, an AVM estimate is not even close to being the real estate equivalent of a Kelly’s Blue Book price on a used car. Don’t treat it as such. What’s a consumer to do? How can you price a home to sell or accurately price an offer to buy? Call a Realtor and ask for a competitive market analysis (CMA). It takes an AVM to the next level but it’s not as authoritative as an actual professional appraisal. Realtors have access to a vast amount of transactional data in the MLS that you never see. Best of all, they can find out exactly what homes have sold in the neighborhood, what they were priced for, what price changes took place, what they sold for and what their appraisals said.