Fast Money
Notary Public

Curb Appeal Draws Buyers

Making a good first impression is as important when selling your home as when meeting a business associate. We call it "curb appeal." And it's what draws a potential buyer out of their car and into your home.

Begin by taking an objective look at your home. When you drive up, what's the first thing you see? Is it an inviting setting that encourages buyers to stop and take notice? Or is the first thing you see your brother-in-law's old boat, children's toys strewn around the yard, or overgrown landscaping? Here are some tips for ensuring your home makes a good first impression:

Nice landscaping: Prune overgrown trees and bushes. Pull weeds and dead or diseased plants. Fertilize and mow your lawn to make it look green and healthy. Consider planting flowers along walkways or in pots along the sidewalk to bring eye-catching color to your landscaping. Spread mulch or beauty bark around trees, shrubs and flowers to give your front yard a clean, well-kept look.

Attractive front entry: Polish your front door handle and other hardware. Paint or stain your front door if needed. Consider hanging a pretty wreath or floral swag. Set out pots of flowers near the front door and/or where potential buyers are likely to notice them.

If you have a front porch, set the mood by featuring a charming bench or chairs with a table and flowers. Keep all sidewalks, porches and walkways swept. Buy a new front door mat in neutral tones. Clean and polish light fixtures.

Less is more: Just as you would inside the house, make sure your front yard does not look cluttered. Move cars into the garage and out of the driveway whenever possible.

Keep the kids' bikes, toys and other play equipment out of sight. To minimize distractions, keep lawn and garden ornaments to a minimum. In other words, create an environment that invites buyers into your home and allows them to picture themselves enjoying your front yard.

I would be happy to take a look at your home and suggest ways to improve your home's curb appeal. Please call me if I may be of assistance.

What is Your Home's Value?

Have you ever wondered why the market value of your home differs from what your bank appraises it as? And what value is being used to set and/or increase your property tax bill?

It's easy to be confused about the different valuations being used in the home buying and selling process, but knowing a home's value or worth in the real estate market will help you get a fair price.

There are generally three ways to determine the value of a home: through a Comparative Market Analysis, a professional appraisal or an assessed valuation. A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), can determine a reasonable listing price for your home.

When I prepare a CMA, I consider a number of factors including the home's size, age, location, and amenities. I also research the list prices of properties that are currently for sale, have recently sold or expired in your neighborhood.

An appraiser (used by a lender) determines the market value of your home by looking at the supply and demand of like properties in the area, comparing your property with others that have recently sold, determining the amount of money it would take to replace your home at the current material.

And labor costs and/or determining how much income a property would produce (this last approach is used more often for rental property, apartments, and commercial property). Lenders frequently require a professional appraisal upon which to base your loan amount.

Local governments also perform independent appraisals to determine your home's assessed value, available on public record, so that your property is taxed fairly.

When comparing the CMA and the appraised values, don't be surprised if they do not match. There are a number of reasons that these differences occur.

The "market value" determined by the appraisal can be different from the "market price" determined through my CMA. In essence, the appraisal amount reflects the cost of replacing your home.

But the goal of the CMA is to determine a price that someone will pay for your home. The sale price can be much different from the appraisal value, especially if there are multiple offers on the home.

Also, the real estate market is constantly changing. A home that was worth $100,000 last year may be worth $120,000 this year and possibly more next year. Meanwhile, all city and county property assessments are assigned an effective date, valid for that particular point in time.

The more time that has passed since the appraisal, the greater the possibility for disparity in the values. For example, some governments appraise properties annually; others appraise properties once every four years.

I can help you determine the value of your home by researching its appraisal history and performing a Competitive Market Analysis. I can also recommend professional appraisers. Please call me to discuss the current real estate conditions that affect the market price of your home.