Can Mismatched Appliances Affect Your Home Sale?

Appliances that don't color match.Every once in a while I’ll show a home that has non-matching kitchen appliances.  To be clear, when I say “mismatched”, I’m not speaking of ones from different manufacturers but of ones that are not color-matched.  It’s rare that a buyer not notice these and comment on them as they tend to draw attention to all the appliances, making buyers often question the age of each one.  Even a new white clothes washer will undoubtedly stand out when paired with an almond-colored dryer.

The example shown in the photo came to be mismatched because the home seller got a good deal at the store on the new flat-top stove and the fact that it didn’t match the color of the other kitchen appliances wasn’t of importance to him.  Unfortunately, when a house is on the market, this type of “bargain” is likely to cost the seller more than they saved on the purchase of it.

While mismatched appliances may not affect how quickly your home sells, it will probably be a factor in the sale price of your home.  Buyers are likely to factor in the cost of new appliances, resulting in a lower purchase price offer.  After all, if you noticed as you were walking out your door that you accidentally paired a black shoe with a brown shoe, wouldn’t you go back in and change?

Give Internet Home Buyers What They Want… Photos!

Search the Broward County MLS / South Florida MLS.What do home buyers want most when they’re looking at listings of homes for sale on the Internet?  Studies have shown the answer is photos… the more photos, the better!  Listings lacking in photos have a tendency to be overlooked.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, least of all those who market the majority of homes – real estate agents/brokers.  One only needs to put oneself in homebuyer’s shoes to realize this.  Yet, too many listings of homes on the South Florida MLS offer few, if any, photos of what is considered most people’s largest investment – their home.

Personally, I’ve seen new & used cars that are marketed better than some homes on the South Florida MLS and this is frustrating for both home buyers and real estate agents who work with buyers.  So, why do so many listings offer no photo or even just one photo?  Well, let’s start with the obvious… perhaps it’s a brand new listing and the real estate agent hasn’t had a chance to take and upload the photos yet.  In certain cases this is true, though a good agent will typically not upload a listing to the MLS without at least one photo.  Digital cameras are inexpensive, not difficult to learn to use and eliminate the need (and cost) to develop photos.  Unfortunately, in many cases, listings remain for months on the MLS with minimal, if any, photos.  I’ve often wondered whether the home sellers are even aware of how poorly their property is being marketed or the impact a lack of photos can have on the sale of their property.  Now more than ever, in the current buyer’s market South Florida is experiencing, photos are a very important part of the marketing mix.

I decided to get some real, hard facts for this post, so this morning I searched the South Florida MLS for single-family homes in Broward County.  There are currently 17,306 listings of single-family homes for sale in Broward County.  Below is a breakdown of what I found:

Listings with…

  • NO photos:  2,158 … just over 12% of all listings – more than 1 in 8
  • 1 photo:  1,395 … listings with 0-1 photo = 20.5% or 1 in 5 listings
  • 2 photos:  423
  • 3 photos:  407 … 0-3 photos = 4,383 or just over 25% of all listings
  • 4 photos:  522
  • 5 photos:  594
  • 6 photos:  905
  • 7 photos:  924
  • 8 photos:  2,531 … 0-8 photos = 9,859 or just under 57% of all listings
  • 9 photos:  1,008
  • 10 photos:  876
  • 11 photos:  650
  • 12 photos:  755
  • 13 photos:  573
  • 14 photos:  530
  • 15 photos:  428
  • 16 photos:  2,628 (just over 15%)

As you can see, over 20% of listings had either no photos or just one photo, while just over 25% (1 in 4) had 0-3 photos.  With our current high inventory of homes for sale, properties with few (or no) photos are not as likely to get as many showings as homes with 8-16 photos.  Fewer photos = fewer showings = fewer prospective buyers… all of which reduces your chances of getting an offer sooner rather than later.  Under current South Florida real estate market conditions, it’s a good idea for Realtors to invest in the best marketing possible.  The South Florida MLS allows members to upload up to 16 photos and, yet, this is what we see in 1 out of 8 listings:

No Photo Available

If you’re considering selling your home, be sure to hire a Realtor
who understands the importance of marketing your home for sale!

Quick Home Sale Strategy – Tip #3: New Door Hardware

Updated style door knobsIn the current South Florida buyer’s market it’s important that your house stand out above the competition if you want to have a good chance of selling it reasonably quickly.  Home buyers today are looking for signs that the house they’re looking at has not only been well maintained but also updated over the years.  Many buyers want that “new home look” without the price tag that almost always comes with the purchase of a new home.  In my experience, one of the things home buyers do when comparing resale homes is figure out how much time and money they’ll have to put into a house before they can get it to look how they’d like it to look.

Outdated door knobsIf you are at all a DIY (do-it-yourself) type of home seller, then consider whether your interior door knobs could use some updating.  If your door handles look more like the example on the right than that on the top left, you may want to invest some money on the newer, updated styles of door handles.  The example on the top left can be found at Lowes for $23.97 plus tax (that comes to an investment of about $127 for a typical 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house with five interior doors) and is the style many South Florida new home builders have been installing on their interior doors in recent years.  While you’re at it, you may want to invest in new door stops, too, if your old ones won’t match your new door handles.  Of course, an exception to the suggestion of new door knobs is if you own a home with an architectural style (Victorian, Craftsman, etc.) that is better off with the original or restored hardware in order to stay in character with the home.

Door StopSurprisingly, sometimes it really is these little touches that make a difference in whether or not your house is appealing enough for buyers to want to put an offer in rather than continue looking at homes.  Home buyers usually look at the overall picture, not just any one thing — but it’s the small things that make up the larger picture.  This tip along with my other quick home sale tips are based on comments I have personally heard buyers make as I show them homes.  First and foremost, though… in any market, but especially in the buyer’s market that South Florida is currently experiencing, your home must be priced competitively as none of these home improvements will make a bit of difference if your home is overpriced.

Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal with Landscaping – Quick Home Sale Strategy Tip #2

green lawn and colorful flowersWe’ve all heard it before: first impressions are lasting impressions.  If you’re planning on selling your South Florida / Broward County home in the near future, one way to increase your home’s curb appeal as well as your Florida home’s value is through landscaping.  In this article, we’ll concentrate on the front yard since that’s among the first things a prospective home buyer will notice as they pull up to your home.

At a minimum, the lawn should be a healthy green… free of weeds, fertilized when appropriate, mowed and watered regularly and any patchy areas should be replaced with new grass or sod.  Any dead or dying plants, shrubs, etc. should be removed or replaced.  While mature trees can be great providers of shade and help reduce home energy costs, they should be pruned back if they touch your home or thinned out if they shade such a large area that grass won’t grow under their branches.  Applying a fresh layer of mulch around trees, plants and in flower beds is one of the quickest and least expensive ways to improve your home’s curb appeal.  Finally, placing a nice container full of flowering plants next to the front door makes for an inviting entrance.

In the strong buyer’s market we are currently experiencing in South Florida, every improvement you can make to your home can make a difference in how quickly it sells by making it more appealing to home buyers.  I’ve found HGTV to be a great resource for gardening tips and landscaping design ideas.

Is it time to hold a garage sale?

Garage SaleIs your home lacking in storage space?  If so, perhaps it’s time to have a garage sale (or yard sale). Although a successful garage sale takes good planning, time and effort, the benefits usually make it worthwhile. It can help declutter your home and depending on the quantity and quality of the items you put up for sale, it has the potential to be reasonably profitable.

If you’re planning on putting your South Florida home up for sale in the near future, consider having a garage or yard sale to make your move lighter as well as help potential home buyers see the amount of (rather than lack of) storage space in your home. Consider using the profits from the garage sale to pay for any necessary repairs you know would show up on a home inspection report, or perhaps to update or upgrade something in your home to make it more attractive to home buyers and help your home sell more quickly in this slower market.

Most local newspapers charge a nominal amount for those wanting to advertise a garage sale in the classified section.  You can also advertise for free on the Internet on websites such as Craigslist.  If your community allows them, I’d also suggest placing “garage sale” signs in key locations such as near intersections and entrances to your neighborhood.  Here is a webpage with useful garage sale tips.  Good luck!

Quick Home Sale Strategy – Tip #1: New Paint

If you’re preparing your South Florida home or condo for sale, probably the best update you can do for your property before listing it is to give it a fresh coat of paint, especially if it’s been 10 or more years since it was last painted.  If you are the do-it-yourself type, it will also be one of the least expensive updates you can do.  When choosing a paint color in preparation for the sale of your home, it’s best to choose a neutral color on the light side.  Although white gives the next owner a “clean slate” to work with, it can be a bit harsh on the eye, so it’s probably best to pick a light shade of a neutral color you like.  It is especially important to remove outdated wallpaper and repair the wall if necessary before painting it.  Home buyers viewing your house will appreciate not having to spend additional time and funds removing wallpaper or painting a crayon-colored room because they plan to use it as their home office instead of a child’s bedroom.

There is no question that South Florida has been experiencing a buyer’s market for about a year-and-a-half now, which is why it’s more important than ever to make sure your home shows well when compared to your competition.  A fresh coat of paint can go a long way towards differentiating your home for the better.  Oftentimes, because of the preparation process, you’ll find it’ll also help you get your house clean and decluttered which can also help sell your house more quickly.

My “quick home sale strategy” tips are designed to do just that… help you get your home sold fast and for top dollar in today’s market.  Check back regularly for new tips that are sure to make a difference!

Home Seller Don’t – Item #2

Today’s example of a “Home Seller Don’t” probably doesn’t need an explanation, but just in case it’s not clear on the photo, sellers should check for things like clogged gutters. I don’t think weeds are supposed to grow there.