Inexpensive Improvements When Preparing Your Home for Sale – Part Two

Yesterday, I discussed Part I of inexpensive improvements you can do to have the best curb appeal when preparing your home for sale.  Click here if you didn’t see it.

A great, inexpensive weekend project that will bond a couple faster than anything else is tile.  Yes, guys, I said tile.  Many hardware stores have “How To” classes and you have many great sites on the internet to help you, try the DIY site for one.  Due to the small square footage of a bathroom you’ll stay within your budget & you will have an enormous impact on a buyer when they see you’ve updated but only you will know how fiscally responsible you were in achieving that great look.  Get rid of that old wallpaper that Grandma really thinks is pretty because it reminds her of her youth.  That should be a red flag.  Forget that, it should be a huge neon sign with a blow horn telling you to Rip It Down and if nothing else, paint the room a very neutral but warm color.  A light mushroom color always works.  I love, love, love showing a home that has the smallest trace of a fresh paint smell.  Ain’t nothin’ like it.  Amp up your light fixtures throughout the house and max them out.  Buyers like light!  Showem’ what ya got.  Soft mood lighting is great for a romantic evening, not so much when you’re trying to sell.  Since we know that kitchens and baths with improvements are the top two areas that sell a home and allows for about 80% recoup on that expense, doesn’t it make sense to look at yours from a non-emotional point of view to really get to the heart of what is reasonable for you to do, both with your budget and time allowed.   Also, don’t overlook your neighborhood and what level of improvements most of those have.  In some areas, rejuvenating by replacing old laminate may be all you need to do, however, other neighborhoods may have solid surfaces or granite.  Depending on your budget, think strongly about granite as most of it is competitively priced to match corian costs and what chef wouldn’t love a kitchen with granite?  Spend a few hours on a Sunday and check out open houses in your area to see what’s “under the hood” of your competition.  If you’re in an upper end neighborhood, it’s a good chance you’ll need to put in granite to stay with current trends and value.  You don’t want to be the big fish in the little pond though.  Stay reasonable in your improvements.  And lastly, check all your windows for functionality.  Buyers really do open and close windows.  I see it more times than not.  If it’s stuck or half goes up while the other half stays put, it’s always such a treat to see the expression on my client’s faces.  So, oil them if needed, but do clean them.  Put new weather stripping on your doors.  A significant portion of buyers are looking for energy efficient homes.  Make it more comfortable for you while you’re occupying it but make your property the one that buyer’s will put the offer in on by being the shiniest apple in the neighborhood.  For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Inexpensive Improvements When Preparing Your Home for Sale – Part One

On January 6, I posted a blog article on your New Year’s Resolution for selling your home.  If you missed it, here’s the link, it was in two parts:

Part of that was discussing that little inexpensive projects can really create a warm, welcoming atmosphere for prospective buyers.  I didn’t specifically talk too much on those items that put the shine on your home so today I’ve got a few ideas for you that may help.  Inexpensive but priceless! I’m not talking major renovations, it’s too late to do those anyway.  Let’s start with the curb appeal and move inside.  Remember you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Oh, so true.  Especially in real estate.  Spruce up the front.  Cut back overgrown shrubs, pull weeds, place mulch that will give contrast to your home so it pops! Power wash the porch & deck or re-stain/repaint them.  Freshen up the trim paint, that helps to give a fresh look.  For our northern friends that have brick, sometimes you get mold in the grout.  Rent a power washer from your local hardware store to freshen it up.  Front door: Most important, do not overlook this.  Here, I’ll say it again:  Do not overlook the front door.  I have been with buyers that get really turned off by a front door in disrepair with chipped paint, brass that looks like it had been there since the Civil War, spider webs, bugs and hinges that creaked like the Herman Munster house, leaves that collect and swirl as you try to get through the front door.  If all your budget allows is for new handles, fixtures and a new front porch light, that is where you need to spend your money. You should read the iq option legit review so you can get a bigger picture. If you can afford a new front door, do it.  Ripped or torn screen door, again, really cheap to replace and you can do it yourself.  There’s no cost in labor when you do sweat equity, so get out and thin the herd of bushes.  Inside:  if you have a leaky, dripping faucet, FIX IT!  A buyer thinks that if you can’t take care of such a minor repair, you more than likely haven’t taken care of the major ones and they are out the door like Jack Flash.  Into the bath we go:  Update your lighting fixtures, you can get really reasonable ones at Lowe’s or Home Depot that won’t break the bank or your budget.  Same with your faucets.  There are great inexpensive styles that you can put in yourself.  Ladies, that means you too if you don’t have a handyman with a honey-do list.  Even check your local newspaper for garage sales or eBay or any online store like Overstock.  If your budget allows it, think of ripping out the old bathroom vanity and replace it with a pedestal sink.

For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Getting Your Financial House in Order – Part Two

Yesterday, Part One of this book review on Ric Edelman’s book, The Truth about Money, was discussed but if you missed it, click here for yesterday’s Part One.

Personal finance is a meaty topic that could never be comprehensively covered in a pocket book, but this book’s user tools eliminate the daunting nature of the prospects of wading through such a tome, from its very first pages.

Edelman starts at the very beginning, with Part I, an “Introduction to Financial Planning,” which briefs readers on all the reasons they need to take financial planning very seriously, then covers obstacles to building wealth, explains taxes and inflation, sings the praises of compound interest, and explains the powerful reasons to stop procrastinating when it comes to saving and investing — quick like!

Parts II through VI offer even the totally uninitiated a basic, yet complete, education on traded assets, from the capital markets, to fixed-income investments (e.g., bonds and CDs) to equities (think: stocks) and packaged products (like mutual funds) — then helps readers understand and select the right investment strategy for them.

Next, Edelman zooms out a bit to provide a fire hose-force shower of individual financial strategies for a wide variety of financial challenges a reader might face across her lifespan, from job loss to funeral costs.

Part VIII is a deep dive into housing offering Edelman’s take on sound strategies for “Buying, Selling and Owning Homes.” Edelman’s BLT (Big Long-Term) mortgage strategy might be controversial to those who espouse achieving financial security by paying their homes off, but he does articulate a good argument for alternatively investing the cash to achieve higher returns than the interest saved by an early mortgage payoff. He also pushes readers into taking a long-term view of their mortgages and housing obligations, which is never a bad thing.

The other sections — “Tax Strategies,” “Retirement and Estate Planning,” “Insurance” and “Selecting a Financial Advisor” also all get appropriate shrift, so to speak.

To make a long story short (pun completely intended), this book is like a layperson’s version of the Physician’s Desk Reference for money matters. Yes, there’s a lot of Edelman’s professional opinions and strategies inside, but most of it is unobjectionable, and the bit of controversial material in there is in no way sleazy or even sales-y.

The vast majority of the book is simple education and Edelman’s blunt and occasionally entertaining admonitions to make the basic money moves that create financial security wealth, like planning, saving, investing and strategizing. Financial novices and money mavens alike will value this guide.

For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

The Shores at Bay Colony in Pelican Bay had a sale!

Entrance to Bay Colony Shores, Pelican Bay, Naples, FloridaSo why am I so happy there’s a single family closed sale this month in Bay Colony Shores, one of Naples most exclusive and sought-after seaside communities?  Well, to understand the excitement one needs only to have an overview of the entire market within Bay Colony and how the lack of inventory of single family homes has made this already chic and exclusive community, well, that much more desirable, if that’s possible.  This year alone from January 1, 2010 to October 24, 2010, there have only been three other closed sales of single family homes in all of Bay Colony, which includes the über exclusive beachfront estate section of The Strand.  There was a closing every other month in the first half of the year in Bay Colony but then nothing until a last week.  Of course, there’s very few homes for sale to select from too:  four to be exact.  Of those four, there’s one in The Strand with a list price of $12,900,000 and a total under air square footage of 9,775 built in 1995 as Bay Colony was in the younger stages of development.  That’s it for the 12 homes in The Strand.  Bay Colony Shores has three to select from, ranging in size and appointments from 4,715 s.f. including a three bedroom with den for $3,299,500 to 8,280 s.f. including six bedrooms for $5,975,000.   Comparison time: in the previous year, all of Bay Colony had a total of nine closed sales, of those, three were in The Strand with a sale price range from $9,500,000 for 9,775 s.f.  – $16,400,000 for 12,505 s.f. leaving the remaining six closed sales in Bay Colony Shores.  Those closed sales in Bay Colony Shores ranged from $2,500,000 for 10,000 s.f.  – $5,225,000 for a newer home built in 2007 with 5,500 s.f. under air.   Compare these available homes to the twenty three for sale homes in other sections of Pelican Bay.  You have a nice selection of homes ranging in square footage of 2,000 s.f. for $685,000 up to 8,337 s.f. for $2,895,000.  At the top of the price point is a home for $3,900,000 with 6,354 s.f.   With clear definitions of a limited supply of homes to select from within Bay Colony and for that matter even Pelican Bay, the line in the sand (so to speak) has been drawn.  If you enjoy your privacy, exclusivity and amenities that are afforded every homeowner in Bay Colony, it’s time to reconsider your choices and make the move to Bay Colony soon, before these four homes are gone and then they’ll be none! For more on Bay Colony, please check out tomorrow’s blog post on what exactly is the draw to this sweet seaside community.

For further information or any questions on Naples real estate please contact Ruth Bethem at or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.

Competitive Market Analysis for Real Estate Buyers – Do I need one?

Okay, so we have the question and here’s the answer, YES, YES AND YES! Not only should you have one, it’s imperative you have one.  As a service to every buyer we assist in purchasing any form of real estate in the Naples area, we conduct a thorough market analysis for our buyers before any ink makes it’s way to an offer.  Buyers may have a general idea what a home in any given area may be worth, but it’s the job of a professional Realtor® to function as an advocate for their buyer in assisting them in understanding the current market value of recent sold properties in an area of which they are contemplating purchasing.  This is a really important step for buyers, whether they be well-seasoned purchasers or first-time home buyers.  Many times, a home or homes in an area may be well above the price point of an average like-kind home that has recently sold.  Sellers sometimes simply insist on over-pricing their property to give them “room for negotiating” and that “cushion” can be upward of 30% plus!  More on sellers in tomorrow’s blog post. So, when our buyer has selected their preferred property, we collect data specific to the community in which the property resides, comparing the square footage of the interior space, overall square footage, amount of bedrooms, baths, interior appointments, location within the community as well as desirability and accessibility of the community within the area, lot size and view, garage space as well as condition, which is a big factor.  However, keep in mind that the old adage still stands regarding location, location, location.  That has a big impact on the value of the property.  Another important factor is the functionality of the floor plan as there are some homes that have larger square footage but have an obsolete floor plan that makes it terribly undesirable for future buyers without major reconstruction, therefore impacting the closed sale price.  Of course, it holds true in the other direction.  Those closed sales of homes that have sold for considerably more are generally due not only to square footage size and location, but the upgrades, appointments and finishes that are in place.  In today’s market, buyers are not only looking for a great deal, which generally constitutes under market value at best or realistically, spot on to market value, but all the bells and whistles that would make their dream home a reality.  My job is to gather the data, analyze it and relay it onto the buyer so they can get the best home for the best price and not overpay for a property.  Several factors come into play in this and I believe having an educated buyer that understands just what the value of their dream home should be will give them the best advantage in negotiating a superb deal for them now and in the future when they’re ready to sell, whether it be for the end user or the investor.  For more information on a Comparative Market Analysis and assistance in purchasing real estate in Southwest Florida please contact Ruth Bethem at or direct at 239-777-7007 or toll free 877-777-7545.