Did you know that smoking is not only bad for your health but that it can also decrease your home’s resale value?
Studies show that smoking cigarettes inside your home seriously affects your property’s worth. In a 2013 study by Pfizer Canada, 88 percent of the approximately 400 real estate agents surveyed said that it’s more difficult to sell a home where smokers live. Nearly half said that smoking affects a home’s resale value, and about one-third said that it lowers a property’s value by as much as 29 percent.
The damage caused by cigarette smoke can discourage potential buyers from purchasing your home and lead appraisers to devalue your property. Residue from the smoke stains walls, floors and ceilings, and the smell is extremely difficult — and costly — to get rid of.
Not only are the grime and smell unappealing to buyers, but third-hand smoke (the residue from second-hand smoke containing nicotine and other harmful chemicals) is carcinogenic and can remain lodged in dust and on surfaces for more than two months after smokers have moved out. Exposure to third-hand smoke can be harmful for your health and is especially dangerous for children.
If you’re a smoker and a homeowner, think twice before lighting up inside; the habit may be hurting not only your health but also the market value of your home.
Is home staging worth the money?
Staging involves altering the look of your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers. Is it worth paying for? The short answer is, it depends.
How much does it cost?
The extent of the staging will largely determine how much it costs. A minimal staging involving a deep clean and a fresh coat of paint will be less expensive than one involving renting chic furniture and installing new light fixtures.
What are the advantages?
A 2017 report by the National Association of Realtors cites that 29 percent of seller’s agents believe that home staging can increase the dollar value of a home by one to five percent.
Staging can also prevent sellers from having to accept lowball offers or drop their asking price. Realtors may insist that the price of staging a home is offset by the (potentially) gained profits, but this strongly depends on a number of hard-to-predict factors such as how strong the market is. There’s no universal rule that can be applied in every scenario.
What’s the bottom line?
How effective staging is varies from case to case. The most important thing to do is have an open discussion about it so that you can define your budget, timeline and expectations.
Finally, remember that anyone can call themselves a home stager. If you decide to stage your home, make sure to check the stager or staging firm’s references.
Lockboxes: pros and cons
If you’re selling your home, your realtor might suggest keeping a set of your house keys in a lockbox. Though this can make it easier for potential buyers to view your home, is it a good idea? Here’s what you should know.
Lockboxes are convenient, especially when the property up for sale is vacant. Sellers don’t need to attend each visit and buyers can take a look at the property when it’s most convenient for them. In addition, some buyers prefer visiting homes when the sellers aren’t around.
No matter how secure the lockbox is, there’s always some level of risk that a burglar could access it. Mechanical lockboxes, however, are more vulnerable than electronic models.
Electronic lockboxes often use smartphone applications to enter a personal code, creating a record of who opened the box and when. While secure, they don’t eliminate the risk of human error.
Keep in mind that the use of a lockbox requires your consent following a thorough explanation of the risks. If you’re not comfortable with the idea, it’s your right to refuse. Finally, remember that realtors are never allowed to give the combination to anyone who isn’t a registered real estate agent. If you see this happen, report it right away.
Homebuyers beware: get an air inspection before you make an offer
Are you in the market for a new home? If so, you may already know that having a property inspected before finalizing a deal is generally recommended. However, standard home inspections don’t usually include an evaluation of the building’s air quality. Since air quality can have a huge impact on the health of a home’s inhabitants, forgetting to check this important aspect is a mistake.
Testing indoor air quality
When testing the air quality in a home, the inspector will focus on several elements, including:
• The building’s history, including the year it was built and the materials used to insulate it. This information will offer insight into potential air contaminants.
• The health of the current residents, including any symptoms that indicate an issue with the air in the home.
• The state of the home’s ventilation system.
The inspector will also collect samples of the air in the home to check for mold, bacteria and gases like radon and carbon monoxide.
Don’t risk your health. Before scheduling a home inspection, ask if the inspector is qualified to assess the air quality of the home and if they’re comfortable drawing conclusions about potential health risks.
Increasing mortgage interest rates: what it means for you
Mortgage rates are on the rise for the first time in years, with 15-year rates expected to rise from 3.9 percent last year to 4.4 percent at the end of this year. Here’s what it means for the real estate market.
What it means for sellers
You should expect your house to stay on the market a little longer before selling it. Taking on a mortgage represents a big commitment, and climbing interest rates are forcing some prospective buyers to stop and think a little harder before buying a house. Also, don’t be surprised if you get fewer offers than you were expecting.
What it means for buyers
While rates are higher than they’ve been in several years, they’re still relatively low. However, the trend isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Unless you’re buying the home with cash, opt for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and avoid variable rate mortgages as they’ll likely go up again in the coming years.
The bottom line is that sellers should manage their expectations, and buyers should keep in mind that rates will likely continue to go up.
Understanding guaranteed sale programs
Have you heard of realtors offering to buy your home if they don’t sell it within a certain length of time? While guaranteed sale programs may seem like a hassle-free way of selling your home, there are a few things you should know about them first.
You need to do your homework
No two programs of this type are the same. Different realtors offer different terms, and you need to look closely at the fine print. Find out what the limiting conditions are and ask for a detailed explanation of the offer and a written agreement that clearly outlines the costs involved.
You need to ask questions
Ask the realtor about their strategy for selling your home and how much you’ll get if they end up purchasing it. Many guaranteed sale programs involve listing a house under its market value to ensure a quick sale.
You should also get a written disclosure outlining any factors affecting property value and the brokerage’s plans for the property.
They’re not for everyone
Outside of ensuring a quick sale, these programs don’t offer many advantages. Some realtors denounce guaranteed sale programs as mere marketing schemes, citing that they rely on listing homes under market value and that anyone could sell a house for cheap.
In any case, make sure to look up potential realtors through the relevant professional real estate association and be careful before signing anything.
4 eco-friendly renovations that increase property values
If you’re thinking about selling your house, you should know that buyers are often willing to pay more for green homes. Here are four eco-friendly renovations that also boost the value of your property.
Skylights increase the amount of natural light in your home and may also help to warm it up, thereby reducing energy consumption during the day.
2. New windows and doors
Replacing old windows and doors can increase your home’s energy efficiency. Plus, Energy Star windows and doors are eligible for tax incentives in many places, meaning you get the increase in property value at a lower cost.
3. Rainwater collections systems
These systems are simple and inexpensive to install but can translate to considerable savings. A barrel is hooked up to the gutter downspout and collects rainwater, cutting down on water usage. Installing a gutter filter will simplify maintenance, which is sure to please potential buyers.
4. Smart thermostats
Smart home technology is increasingly popular and smart thermostats can make your house even more attractive to potential buyers thanks to the energy savings they enable.
Going green is a smart investment, whether you’re selling or just want to save money.