My Blog

5 Improvements To Increase Your Home’s Value

5/11/2018

Trying to find the right improvements for a home can be tough. Here are 5 possible improvements to help make this decision a little easier for you:

1. Hardwood flooring

When people look at homes to buy, one of the first things they notice when entering is the flooring. Updating floors is one of the best home improvements you could make to your home.  However, if your budget doesn't fit the entire home, then focus on larger areas to highlight your home. 

  • Refinish hardwood floors for a cost-effective home improvement

2. Update fixtures

Sometimes, we don't realize that small fixtures do matter, and we always look at big repairs instead of the small fixtures. For instance, light fixtures, door handles, faucets, and cabinet knobs. Although small, if the fixtures are worn and dated, they can negatively affect the entire appeal of your home. It’s a small, yet incredibly effective update.

  • Replace old fixtures with modern options to receive an immediate increase in your home’s value

3. Revamp old cabinets

One of the new 2018 looks is revamped old cabinets; some individuals will revamp more than just their kitchen in a home. In today's world the bathroom and even dressers are revamped to an older farm look by re-painting or re-staining them. This is an easy, affordable way to increase the value of your home.  

  • Re-stain or repaint cabinets, drawers, and dressers

4. Enhance curb appeal

Often, the exterior is forgotten when you are trying increase the value of your home. When you are thinking about selling your home, take the time to clean up your home's exterior, because it is the first thing buyers see. So take that extra step and make the first impression an appealing one, not repelling the potential buyer. 

Invest in some new plants, flowers and maintain your front lawn. Analyze the exterior of the home and tackle any repairs that contribute to the overall curb appeal, such as a cracked driveway, crooked fence, chipped paint, etc.

  • By addressing the curb appeal, it is very likely you will bring in more offers at a higher value.

5. Make it energy efficient

Prospective buyers are interesting in buying a home that’s affordable beyond the mortgage. Cold drafts coming through the windows, poor electrical, outdated fixtures, and incandescent lights will drive buyers away due to the extra cost of living.

Spend time upgrading various features of your home to embrace an energy efficient lifestyle. Trade out incandescent lights for LED, reseal windows, replace old weather stripping, and fix the leaking tap. Instantly, prospective buyers will see your home as being more affordable than the others.

Try to focus on these five elements that prospective buyers favor when purchasing a new home!

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 7

10/15/2016

I hope you are enjoying cooler temperatures this October (keep in mind, we are in the South)! We also want to keep those families and individuals affected by Hurricane Matthew in our thoughts and prayers.

This month's tip is a very important tip to consider, as it offers protection for both sellers and buyers:

Buy an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy. "An owner’s title insurance policy protects the buyer if a preexisting title problem is discovered after the closing. Normally, a title insurance policy is purchased and issued at the closing by the closing attorney. A title problem can be as simple as a neighbor claiming to own a small portion of your property based upon a disputed fence line. However, it can also be a serious problem, such as a forged deed, where you could lose the title to your property. Mortgage lenders require the buyer to pay for title insurance covering the lender’s interest in the property. However, in a world where there is an increasing amount of identity theft and the forging of documents, title insurance covering the owner is also recommended. There are different types of title policies offered in Georgia; the most comprehensive are sometimes referred to as “enhanced title policies” and in some cases they protect buyers from title claims arising even after the closing date. Since the premium for title insurance is paid only once, it is recommended that buyers obtain the comprehensive policy." (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 6

9/21/2016

Fall is in the air, football is in full swing, and it is time for cooler weather. This is perfect for those of you who are house hunting or wanting to put your homes on the market. I would like to share two tips with you today:

Get a survey of the property. Buyers and sellers alike are encouraged to get surveys of the properties they are considering, so they know where the exact boundary lines of the properties are located. Request that the survey identify the location of any easements of record, whether there are encroachments onto or off of the property, and whether the property is in a flood plain. Surveys are not normally done in the sale of condominium units, however a buyer can review the plat to see the location of the property that is a part of the condominiums.

Make sure that an undeveloped lot can be developed. In most parts of Georgia, lots cannot be developed for residential purposes unless they are properly zoned, which means having access to a public road and are served by water and sewer. This is important for a seller to know when selling a piece of property, so they can know how to properly advertise and promote the property. The seller should be able to inform the buyer of the following pertinent information:

-If there is no ability to connect the lot to a public sewer, the buyer should verify that the lot can accommodate a septic system. This is done by having a licensed engineer perform a percolation test and evaluate whether the lot is sufficiently large enough for a septic tank and field lines to be installed.

-Similarly, if the lot is serviced by a well or private water system, the buyer should arrange to have the water tested to confirm that it is safe for drinking. Meeting with the local governmental department which issues building permits is a great way to get information about whether and how a vacant lot can be developed. (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

These are important tips to maintain when buying or selling a property. Knowing and being an informed seller or buyer is wise in today’s real estate market.

 

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 5

8/15/2016

Today's tip focuses mainly on the buyer, but a wise seller will pay close attention and take good notes!

Thoroughly investigate the property. There are many other tests and studies buyers can do in deciding whether to buy a property. For example, tests could include: a random test to determine if the home has elevated levels of radon, mold tests to determine if the property has high levels of certain kinds of dangerous mold, well water tests when the property is served by well water, and septic system inspections when the property is served by a septic system.

Homes should also be tested for lead-based paint. Normally, this is only an issue in homes built prior to 1978 (since after this time lead-based paint sales were prohibited). Ingestion of lead-based paint chips or particles can cause lead-poisoning, which is a serious condition, particularly in children. Buyers and sellers of older homes should take the time to read the EPA brochure entitled, “Protect Yourself from Lead in Your Home.” Renovators of older homes should read the EPA’s Renovate Right brochure and other related materials.

Many factors can affect the value of a property and the ability of an owner to use and enjoy it. Factors may include: the school district in which the property is located, whether the property is subject to flooding, the availability and cost of property insurance, whether the property is subject to covenants and the nature of those covenants, the governmental jurisdiction in which the property is located, and whether the property is on an historic registry or in a special tax or zoning district. Websites exist to determine if a home was used to illegally manufacture methamphetamine (which generates environmental contaminates) and whether registered sex offenders reside in the neighborhood. Before buying a home, buyers are encouraged to use reasonable diligence to investigate the properties they are thinking of buying for issues of special concern to them. (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

If you are a seller reading this article, you can take away a great deal of pertinent information. Paying close attention to the details buyers are seeking makes your property more marketable. As a proactive seller, you should have the information mentioned above readily available to prospective buyers. This comes across that you are saving them time and that you are a very motivated seller; someone who goes above and beyond other sellers to show your property really is the best fit for buyer’s needs.

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 4

7/15/2016

"Have the home inspected for termites and other wood destroying organisms and obtain an official Georgia Wood Infestation Report that can only be prepared by a licensed pest control company. Buyers should have the home they are buying inspected by a licensed Georgia pest control company for evidence of termites and other wood destroying organisms (including powder post beetles, wood boring beetles, dry wood termites and wood decay fungi). The inspection should be done even if the home has a transferable termite warranty since these warranties normally contain exclusions. As a result, buyers can understand risks they may be assuming in this area by having an inspection performed. Obtaining an official Georgia Wood Infestation Report will identify the areas in the house where there is both active and previous infestation from termites and other wood destroying organisms. Buyers should also review any termite warranty being transferred by the seller to determine what is covered and the cost of maintaining the warranty. Some termite warranties cover both re-treatment and repair while others are limited only to re-treatment." (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

Proactive sellers may obtain an official termite letter when placing their property on the market. This enhances the property in that prospective buyers can be assured that the property has no termite or other wood destroying organisms present. Or if there are damages, what plans the seller has in correcting the damages. This also shows prospective buyers that sellers are serious about selling the property and want to showcase it to its highest potential. Sellers must keep in mind that the letter should only be obtained by a licensed Georgia pest control company.

Obtaining the termite inspection and any needed repairs can be negotiated in a contract between the buyer and seller. Normally, the buyer has the right to inspect all conditions of the house including obtaining the letter and negotiating for repairs or damages, if any. This is just one more great recommendation to consider when selling or purchasing a property.

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 3

7/1/2016

We have already covered several great tips when buying or selling real estate, such as: read and keep a copy of any signed contracts, and have the property inspected by a professional home inspector. Today we will talk about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! The neighborhood in which a home is located is just as important as the home itself (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016). We will see what the Georgia Association of REALTORS recommends when deciding in which neighborhood to live, and I have also posted some tips from Dave Ramsey for sellers to follow when selling in a not-so-great neighborhood.

Inspect the neighborhood in which the home is located. "Buyers should familiarize themselves with the neighborhood in which the homes they are considering buying are located to determine if there are any objectionable conditions nearby. If buyers go far enough away from any home, they will eventually discover some neighborhood condition they wish were not there. What those conditions are and how far away they need to be from a house before they are no longer a concern is a decision that only the buyer can make. For example, a nearby grocery store may be a convenience for some buyers and a disruptive commercial use for others. Buyers can also contact local governmental planning officials to determine what changes, if any, are anticipated in a neighborhood over time." (Georgia Association of REALTORS, 2016)

Okay, so that is great for buyers to consider, but what about the seller that is trying to move out of the neighborhood? What can you do to sell the property when you no longer like the location? Dave Ramsey noted financial wizard in his article 27 "Tips You Should Know to Get Your Home Sold Fast and for Top Dollar," has several great suggestions to help us answer these questions. First, “keep the reason(s) you are selling to yourself. By keeping this to yourself you don't provide ammunition to your prospective buyers. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed. Remember, the reason(s) you are selling is only for you to know" (Ramsey). Second, “appearances do matter- make them count! Appearance is so critical that it would be unwise to ignore this when selling your home. The look and "feel" of your home will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor. Prospective buyers react to what they see, hear, feel, and smell even though you may have priced your home to sell…Scrub, scour, tidy up, straighten, get rid of the clutter, declare war on dust, repair squeaks, the light switch that doesn't work, and the tiny crack in the bathroom mirror because these can be deal-killers and you'll never know what turns buyers off" (Ramsey). Also, don't forget curb appeal is included in the appearance category. One last tip Ramsey mentions is “be honest and be a smart seller- disclose everything. Smart sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their buyers in writing. This can reduce liability and prevent law suits later on.” Being honest about defects or eye-sore surroundings allows the buyer to be prepared before seeing your property, so it does not come as a surprise that will turn the buyer off. Even if your home is not in the best location, following these tips may just make the difference in selling your property!

Ramsey, Dave, 27 Tips You Should Know to Get Your Home Sold Fast and for Top Dollar, https://www.daveramsey.com/media/pdf/realestatecenter_27_tips_fast_home_selling.pdf

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 2

6/15/2016

I hope you have enjoyed your first week of summer; it is definitely warming up here on the border of Alabama and Georgia! I would like to continue our discussion on important suggestions for a buyer or seller of a home or other type of property. This week I want to focus on the Georgia Association of REALTORS’s tips for a home inspection. Both buyers and sellers can benefit from having the home or property inspected.

Have the home inspected by a professional home inspector. "Home inspectors help buyers evaluate the condition of a home based upon one or more visual inspections of the property. Most homes have at least a few items that will need to be repaired and/or replaced. A professional home inspector can assist in identifying these items by performing an inspection of the property. Requests for repairs are normally received more favorably by sellers when the need for the repairs has been documented in the report of a professional home inspector. Many home inspectors are members of professional associations that, among other things, require their members to perform a standardized inspection of the property. Buyers are encouraged to ask inspectors about their qualifications and expertise in inspecting homes before selecting an inspector.” (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

Sellers can benefit from having their property inspected in order to make their home more appealing to prospective buyers, and also to help determine the property’s worth. When a seller is made aware of repairs and replacements that need to be made ahead of placing the property on the market, then the property is at its greatest potential to sell compared to other properties in which repairs have not been made.  Buyers will be more open to view your property and you will hopefully obtain the asking price you want. Just remember, "before you select an inspector" it is wise to "ask inspectors about their qualifications and expertise in inspecting your home.”  (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

Important Suggestions for Buyers and Sellers, Part 1

6/1/2016

I have had the privilege to be a part of one of the most exciting experiences in people’s lives: buying or selling a home. I have been able to help numerous first time and seasoned buyers and sellers during my real estate career, and it is truly a thrilling experience for both type of clients. However, whether you are new at the home buying or selling experience, or have purchased or sold more than a few, there are responsible steps that any home buyer or seller should consider in the purchase or sell of their home. Keep in mind, this is probably the biggest investment of one’s life and it should be protected. Over the next several weeks I would like to share suggestions from the Georgia Association of REALTORS for home buyers and sellers to pay attention to in order to maintain a level of expertise in protecting their real estate experience. Today I will share a little about the paperwork.

“Read and keep a copy of any signed contract. A purchase and sale agreement is a legally binding contract. It should be read in its entirety by the buyer/seller before it is signed to ensure that it reflects the business agreement of the parties. Verbal promises not included in the contract are generally unenforceable. Buyers/Sellers should comply with all the time deadlines in a contract since missing a deadline can leave the buyer/seller in breach of contract. Getting an early start on arranging such things as inspections and financing is the best way for buyers/sellers to avoid missing deadlines. The buyer/seller should also keep a complete copy of any contract that he or she has signed in the event a dispute arises regarding the authenticity of the contract.” (Georgia Association of REALTORS, Inc., 2016)

Check Out This Video Of Columbus Georgia

12/5/2012
Are you considering a visit or possibly a move to Columbus Georgia? Maybe you better know the area for Ft. Benning? If so, you must check out this video of Columbus and our surrounding areas. Upon moving to Columbus in 1988 while serving in the US Army, our family decided to call it home after 20 years of service. Once known as a small town that when kids went off to college they never returned, these days many of them decide to attend college right here at Columbus State University, or one of the other higher levels of education.  So, if you've received orders for Ft. Benning or you are considering a job position here with one of our International Companies, I'm confident that you'll enjoy your new home. To view homes for sale or rent, be sure to visit www.findcolumbusgahomes.com.

2010 Best-Performing Cities

11/30/2011
Milkeninstitue ranks Columbus Georgia number 45 in the nation as 2010 Best-Performing Cities.  Check out their site at www.bestcities.milkeninstitute.org. Of course, for those of us that live here, this is something we've known for years. Columbus has a great diversity throughout it's population with organizations like nearby Ft. Benning and internationally known companies like AFLAC and TSYS that draw people from around the world. Columbus is a great city to live in and raise a family!
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