Help Sellers With Built-Ins

Recently I previewed a few homes that had several things in common. The most common and noticeable amenity that stood out was the extensive bookshelves and cabinetry each home had. Each house had a different feel and the cabinetry was what set each one apart. I just stumbled on this related article and found the answer I was looking for.
Bookshelves and cabinetry incorporated within a home’s architecture once was equated with grandeur, offering homeowners the opportunity to showcase personal treasures and knickknacks. But over time, the pieces may look dated. Here are updating ideas with pizzazz that buyers may love.

built in bookcases

Built-in cabinetry, whether part of a home’s initial design or added to organize and display books, artwork, or knickknacks, has long offered a way for homeowners to introduce a distinctive look to their interior. But with the rise of digital media and minimalist decor, buyers these days may have less of a need for this once widely coveted storage feature.

In addition, pieces constructed years or decades ago may feature materials, hardware, or ornamentation that now looks passé. Even newer units designed to house entertainment equipment—hugely popular in the ’80s and ’90s—look dated thanks to wall-hung flat-screen TVs, wireless speakers, and streaming music apps.

Sellers can usually remove built-ins without causing structural problems, but the process of ripping them out, hauling them away, and patching and painting newly exposed walls, floors, and ceilings is expensive, says Chicago designer Mitchell Putlack: “I recommend leaving them unless they’re so outdated. In most cases, they can be remodeled.”

But even when sellers choose to leave them in, questions may arise about how to improve their appearance. You may even want raise the subject with seller clients. “You don’t want to create an awkward discussion point with a potential buyer about how they’ll be handled,” says Jennifer Howard, owner of JWH Design & Cabinetry in suburban New York. Here are five changes you can suggest to give built-ins a new, hip lifeline.

  • Paint or restain. When a house has similar architectural details to the built-ins, simply freshening up the look with an updated paint color or a lighter stain can be an eye-catching, inexpensive solution, says Decorating Den designer Sandy Kozar of Knoxville, Tenn. Try a color that matches the trim in the room for continuity, says Howard. Generally, painting is less expensive than staining, says Putlack. But always go with quality paint in a semigloss or gloss finish that can withstand the wear and tear of books and other storage, says Chicago designer Jessica Lagrange of Jessica Lagrange Interiors.
  • Remove elaborate pilasters and molding that don’t fit the home’s style. Although such millwork was probably lovingly crafted, it may be too fussy for buyers who lean toward simplicity. Removing any over-the-top embellishments and leaving the rest of the built-in requires minimal touch-up work, says Putlack.
  • Change hardware. An easy switch-out is replacing knobs or pulls. However, these trends typically change fast, so make sure you’re up on the latest looks. Brass has become less popular in recent years, though washed brass is making inroads. Two finishes on the chic list nowadays are polished chrome and satin nickel, says Kozar. Often the shape of the hardware makes a big difference in the impression it leaves. Long skinny pulls have a more modern feel than round or octagonal ones.
  • Change or remove cabinet and drawer fronts. If doors are overly ornate for the space, Jody Goodman Dinan, a salesperson with The Dinan Team of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Boston, often suggests switching them out for flat or Shaker style panels. Homeowners can also remove fronts entirely and finish the resulting edges, turning closed cabinetry into shelving. Designers at Chicago custom home builder BGD&C find that running shelves high on a wall offers a feeling of grandeur, while keeping the shelves open offers a greater sense of scale. A rolling ladder offers an eye-catching way to access the uppermost reaches.
  • Install lighting. Adding bulbs at the top or sides of shelves can highlight displays and add drama. And by using battery-powered LEDs, homeowners can often avoid hiring an electrician. Select bulbs that work on dimmers to vary light levels and moods, says Lagrange.

When sellers don’t want to undertake this effort and expense, consider suggesting they include a computer-generated rendering or blueprint drawing that shows buyers how the room can look with any of these changes, says Dinan.

How Built-ins Can Maximize Space

Interior designers are using new and existing storage features to align homes with the needs of today’s buyers and sellers.

August 2017

| BY Barbara Ballinger

Judging a Home by Its Driveway

A driveway can boost curb appeal and set the tone for an entire home. Buyers may want to carefully assess not only the condition of the driveway but also the logistics of it too, particularly if they have to share one.

The condition of the driveway can even be a potential deal breaker for some buyers. “Cracks and crumbling, sunken areas in a driveway usually mean there are weeds growing underneath,” according to a recent blog post at Century 21’s real estate blog. That could lead to the option of having to tear apart and repaving the entire driveway if the cracks are bad enough.

“Looks matter in a lot of departments, including your driveway,” notes the blog post at Century 21. “Gravel driveways are economically easy to make and maintain, while a timeless cobblestone path gives the home upscale undertones. Attractive paths tend to lead towards more impressive interiors, so the bar is already set high from the moment you park the car.”

Also, an added sales point for some driveways has become a driveway sensor. A driveway sensor can detect suspicious movement around the entrance of a home and alert the family whether home or away.

Home buyers, mostly in urban neighborhoods, also may want to carefully consider the pros and cons if they have to share a driveway with neighbors. This may require constant communication in the early morning hours in coordinating the parking arrangements.

Not all homes are in perfect condition. The older the home the more likely situations and problems will occur. All though health and safety issues are the most important cosmetic issues will play an important part as to whether a Buyer will proceed. First impressions of any object leave a lasting impression in a person’s mind. Driveways, landscaping, exterior of the home whether it be damaged or an awful color will make a HUGE difference as to whether or not a Buyer will preview the home. Many times in my long career in real estate I’ve pulled up to a home and the Buyer says “no way”.

Remember that home maintenance is an on going process.  Stay on top of the “honey do’s”. When the time comes to sell your home for top dollar you’ll stand a better chance of making more $$$.

Don’t Let the Holidays Scare Off Sellers

Some home owners may be tempted to delay putting their home on the market until after the holidays. But there’s plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t wait and use the holidays to their advantage and start the new year with a “sold” sign on the front lawn.

Here are a four reasons why selling during the holidays may offer them a better chance than right after the new year:

1. Buyers relocating for job purposes may be in a hurry to get settled into a new home before the new year, particularly if they have school-age children.

2. Buyers who are looking for a home during the holidays tend to be more serious and in a hurry to buy.

3. Some stagers argue that homes show better when they’re decorated for the holidays and welcome buyers in.

4. Sellers will likely have less competition against other home sellers during the holidays. The supply of listings tends to increase after the holidays and new-home construction likely will pick up then so home sellers will compete against more homes for-sale.

So too often my Sellers have shut down business for the Holiday Season. What better Christmas gift can top Selling your home. Merry Christmas.

Source: Realtor Magazine


Sellers Remain Hesitant to List Homes

Consumers remain optimistic about the long-term prospects of the housing market, but home owners say they’re hesitant to list their home for-sale, according to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ Homeowner Sentiment Survey.

The most common obstacles cited by home owners for not yet listing their home are due to inventory concerns, including “waiting for the right opportunity” and “haven’t found my ideal home yet.

What’s more, of consumers considering selling their home but who have not yet listed, 73 percent say that home prices have not recovered from pre-recession levels enough for them to sell. Sixty-eight percent of current home owners surveyed said underwater mortgages remain a big barrier to them. Sixty-one percent say they’re uneasy about the economy, which has kept them from selling.

“Though home prices around the country have recovered much of the ground lost during the downturn, contemplators are telling us they want more confidence in the decision to list,” says Gino Blefari, CEO of HSF Affiliates. “They’re also telling us they need more information about their markets, pricing, and specific home improvement in order to list.”

Indeed, 55 percent of home owners contemplating selling said they’d be more likely to do so if they had additional information on the home selling process.

“The stage is set for real estate professionals to connect with consumers, learn their needs and concerns, and determine the best way for sellers and buyers to capitalize on the opportunities that exist today,” Blefari says.

Overall, 71 percent of the more than 2,500 current home owners and prospective home owners surveyed said they were confident the housing market was heading in the right direction. However, respondents cited concerns over their credit score, stringent lending guidelines, and the competitive landscape for homes as the top barriers facing the housing market today. Source: Brookshire Hathaway.

On the local front Redding’s housing market is moving at relaxed pace. When compared to other California cities Redding’s housing market is weak. Sellers who need to sell obviously will list their home asap. What I see more of are Sellers who want to “test the market”. That translates into listing at higher than market value. The two reasons why Agents take overpriced listing are 1). The Agent is new and doesn’t know any better.  2). The Agent takes it and plays the beat down game. That being the Agent beats down the Seller with price reductions until the property sells.

56% of Agents Call Open Houses ‘Pointless’

Open houses are a polarizing topic in the real estate industry when it comes to judging their effectiveness. Fifty-six percent of real estate professionals recently surveyed by RISMedia called open houses “pointless,” while 44 percent said they were “powerful” in the marketing of a home.

Regardless, nearly 72 percent of agents claimed to host one to six open houses per month. Yet, nearly a quarter of agents said they avoid open houses completely.

Real estate professionals said the main reason for holding an open house is because their clients expect it. Thirty-five percent of agents said that their sellers “frequently” want to include open houses in marketing plans, while 41 percent say sellers only “sometimes” expect open houses.

Some real estate professionals argue that open houses can provide a big benefit to their business. Gaining leads and referrals led the pack as far as benefits to real estate agents, followed by gaining invaluable buyer feedback about the home as well. Fifty percent of agent surveyed credited open houses for 1 to 25 percent of their business, the survey found.

Personally I think it’s OK to do 1-2 Open Houses in the first 30 days. This is a critical period. It exposes a new listing to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and an opportunity to get very important feed back from the consumers that can be passed along to your Seller. What I have encountered more often than not are stubborn Sellers who don’t agree with the consumer and the with selling Agents who previewed the home with or without their clients. Thus the new listing becomes another one those difficult to sell listing.