Selling a home can be a stressful experience even in a seller’s market—but certain gifts can take that pressure away and boost a home’s sale price in the process.
A few simple home improvement projects can help make a home more attractive to buyers, which can increase its value and make it sell more quickly. Selling a home isn’t a cheap endeavor—on average, homeowners spend on average $9,080 in “hidden costs” when planning a sale, including refurbishments. Consequently, giving certain gifts to a home seller offers a better return on their initial investment—and peace of mind.
“As you’re going into the holidays, many of us are stretched thin as it is,” said Sarah Staley, Realtor.com’s consumer spokesperson. “A gift that helps someone get that home on the market and take something off their to-do list would be a huge relief.” (Realtor.com is operated by News Corp subsidiary Move Inc., and MarketWatch is a unit of Dow Jones, which is also a subsidiary of News Corp.)
Here are some gift ideas to consider for friends or family off-loading a home:
Give their home a new (and improved) look
Paint color preferences do vary regionally though, said Staley, so one way to help a homeowner looking to spruce up their property ahead of selling it would be to hire a color consultant on their behalf. This has the added benefit of giving them inspiration they could take with them to their new house, too.
Alternatively, if they want to stick to a more neutral palette that’s less likely to offend, a gift-giver could offer to hire a painting crew to do the dirty work. Similarly, hiring a fix-it crew to make minor fixes around the house is another worthwhile gift option, Staley said.
“Oftentimes you live in a house so long that you don’t even remember the things around you that need to be done—you get used to that sticky door or the screeching sound in the dryer,” she said. A gift to help fix such things “makes the process of selling your home that much lighter.”
Doing these little projects can make a potential buyer more willing to pay a higher price—nearly two-thirds of buyers are willing to spend more on a home that’s move-in ready, according to a Maritz Research Staging poll.
But some home improvement projects pay off more than others. Refinishing hardwood floors can have a complete return on investment, said Brad Hunter, chief economist at home improvement website HomeAdvisor. Same goes for a new roof. The return is less for other projects, though—meaning what the gift-giver invests in the offering won’t necessarily translate entirely to the home’s value. A general rule of thumb is that less expensive projects are more likely to have a better ROI.
Help them set the stage
The vast majority of real-estate agents report that staging a property makes it easier for prospective buyers to visualize it as their future home, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. And that can lead to an increased sale price: Nearly one-third of agents said that home staging increased the offer amount.
But telling a friend that they need to make their home look more inviting might not always go over well. That’s where hiring an interior designer for them can come in handy. “The designer does the delivery of the news,” said Lynette Bruno, real estate and lifestyle expert at real estate website Trulia. “The designer is an objective expert who tells you what will sell.”
Boost their home’s curb appeal
When it comes to selling a home, it isn’t just what’s on the inside that counts. A 2012 study from Professional Builder magazine found that 76% of home builders said curb appeal and design was the most important issue with home buyers.
One suggestion here is to gift the home seller a landscaping service that can trim the trees and primp the lawn. “If you put $1,500 into a lawn that’s in bad shape, plant flowers, et cetera, you’ll add substantially more than that to the value of the home,” Hunter said.
Another option: Make their home’s exterior shine by offering to power-wash away the dirt and grime, Bruno suggested.
Clean up their act
Clutter can kill a home sale. “You want people to remember your home, not your stuff—the picket fence and front door, not the crazy doll collection,” Staley said.
But making a home look presentable isn’t as simple as throwing everything into the garage and closets. “Buyers are yearning for storage space,” Staley said. A closet filled to the brim will look smaller and make it more difficult for buyers to visualize their own possessions in the home.
One gift option to help remedy this situation is to offer to hire a professional organizer. A consultant will bring an objective perspective to the seller’s storage situation and aid them in making the home look as put-together as possible. Plus, an expert like this can assist a client in deciding whether they need to keep everything they own—and that can have the added benefit of lightening the load when it comes time to move.
For those who are worried that hiring an organizer would be too challenging, another option is to pay for a storage unit. Getting a portable storage unit from PODS can cost between $160 and $190 a month, based on where the person lives.
Make their home look picture perfect
If the home sellers are going the for-sale-by-owner route, they will be dealing with a lot of the minute tasks that real-estate agents typically handle, including photographing their property.
But taking blurry photos with their smartphone probably won’t cut it. And striking photos will make the difference between receiving multiple offers versus next to none. “With the majority of home shopping starting online, the photos are the first impression you make with buyers,” Staley said.
She recommended hiring a professional photographer to come capture the home. A professional will be able to find the best angles to show off the home and will also edit them for exposure and color correction. As an added bonus, the recipient of this gift will also get to keep the photos as a memento of their time in their old home.
Take their home into the 21st century
Research shows that smart-home features are becoming more important for sellers who want to attract buyers. One survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate noted that 54% of buyers would choose a home with smart features over a similar one without. And a separate study from John Burns Real Estate Consulting found that nearly two-thirds of buyers would spend extra on a home with features like high-tech security cameras, network-connected appliances and smart doorbells.
“The ‘cool’ factor comes into play there,” Hunter said.
Prices on these features range substantially. For instance, the Zmodo Greet Wi-Fi Video Doorbell costs only $100 on Amazon, but a Samsung smart refrigerator from Best Buy could set the gift-giver back over $2,000.
The post These Holiday Gifts Could Increase the Value of Your Friend’s Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.
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