Here in the "Real" Estate blog, we will answer the questions, uncomfortable or comfortable, that many of our friends in the general buying and selling public need to know about. There is much that goes into the buying and selling of real estate that is pretty much common sense. But what about those issues, or those questions in which the answers aren't really common sense, or contain more grey, than strictly black and white? We are here to help YOU by answering your real estate questions, and do our best to give you a perspective from the Real Estate professionals.
Here's the scenario. You are building a house or remodeling your house. Material costs are up. Labor costs are up. You ask yourself, where can I save a buck? Before answering this question, you must be careful, especially if your home is located in an area where other quality homes are built, whether on the lake, off the lake, or in higher valued developments such as golf course developments, etc. Growing up in construction and with a plethora of new construction and remodels under my belt, let me share with you some of the easy things that your future buyers will recognize when they are looking for quality.
1. One of the first things buyers of higher end homes will look for is to determine if the owner used hollow core doors. It's an immediate sign that the seller was looking for ways to save money (where else then did they cut back that I can't see???)
2. The second most obvious is the counter tops. Did the sellers spend for a quality granite, quartz, or other hard surface, or was formica used?
3. The third item that might stick out is the cabinetry. Do the drawers have dovetail construction with hardwoods? Did they use "soft close" drawers? Are there pull outs for the pots and pans?
4. Flooring is an easy one also. Was laminate used, or is it engineered or hardwoods? Does the carpet convey a quality feel and plushness? Is there a nice thick pad underneath the carpet?
5. Though there are many other items to look at, cheap vs quality lighting and plumbing fixtures are probably the next major focus.
There is nothing wrong with with using lower cost materials, especially when trying to keep a project within budget, especially when trying to build more house for less money. Just be aware that most buyers looking to spend in excess of $300k for off lake homes and $500+ for East Lake chain homes, and $1M+ for West and Big Spirit will expect the very best materials and finishes.
I hear this one all the time from prospects looking to list their house. "Well, agent xyz told us that if we listed with her, she'd have it sold in a week." This would fall into the category of "If it sounds too good to be true, the probably is." The majority of agents are not going to make this claim, but rather will give you an honest market analysis, inform you as to how weak or strong the market is, especially the market in which your home resides, and present the objective facts. A good agent will then lay out an effective marketing plan, where the majority of the focus should be on "online marketing". Be careful to not get caught up in empty promises, reduced commissions, and being talked in to lowering your price below market value (unless you must have a quick sale). The key to choosing a good listing agent is to objectively determine who is going to provide you the best opportunity to sell your home. Will your listing agent also aggressively work to find buyers, or will they just list your home and wait for another agent to do the work.
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