Resell Remodeling in Lincoln, NE – 2018
There are numerous reasons why a homeowner would decide to sell their home, but regardless of why they’re selling, every homeowner would like to turn a profit when they do. This may not be possible for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look into all the possible ways to get the most money for your home when it’s your turn to sell.
So, what do you need to know before and during your home selling venture? And, if remodeling work is required in the process (which it usually is) where do you start? Well, we’ve asked a few local experts to share their advice on the matter.
Since the temperatures are dropping and the busy holiday season has snuck up on us once again, you should know that these winter months are typically the slowest time of year for home sales.
“With fewer buyers looking, it may take longer to sell your home and you may not get as much money as you were hoping for,” comments Sandra Larsen with BancWise Realty. “Don’t let that discourage you, though. If for whatever reason you need to sell your home immediately, you can take some comfort in knowing that while there may not be as many buyers this time of year, there also won’t be as many sellers to compete with. Not to mention that the Lincoln market trends have indicated a continual increase in home sales over the past year, which means market conditions are good for sellers. However, if you are able to wait and sell your home in the spring, you can use these winter months to take on all the remodeling projects that need to be done to get your house in optimal condition for selling.”
For the most part, buyers are looking for a house that is move-in ready. They don’t want to have to take on an exhaustive list of home improvement projects after they get everything unpacked and situated in their new home, which is already a stressful undertaking. If your mind is jumping ahead to basic interior design upgrades like painting or staging your home for the open house, reel it back in. First, you need to address any significant underlying issues that will be uncovered during the inspection process.
Having your home inspected before listing it is recommended in order to avoid any costly surprises once the home is under contract. When it comes to home inspections in Lincoln, Randy King with King’s Home Inspection has vast knowledge from experiences cultivated over decades that he brings to the table. He prides himself on customizing the delivery of his results to the clients’ needs. Old house or new, first-time buyer or practiced investor, Randy offers personalized, carefully considered inspections to people in the community.
“In the long run, it makes a lot more sense to face the scary unknowns and just get the inspection out of the way,” notes Randy. “Don’t simply hope for the best. If anything hazardous is found on the property after the contract is signed, it could cost you in legal fees on top of the cost to fix the problem(s), and it will either force you to accept a lower price or result in you losing the sale altogether. In Lincoln, inspections generally average at $500. The sense of security you’ll have after learning the exact condition of your home before putting it on the market will make every penny worth it. Most real estate contracts have an inspection clause to protect the buyer anyways. So, get ahead of the game and get on the phone with a local home inspection service.”
With a pre-listing inspection, you’ll give yourself the time to make necessary repairs, if any. If you decide to wait until the buyer’s inspection and substantial defects on the property are identified, you’ll be tasked with repairing them in order to still get full price for your home. Rushing to get everything fixed in the limited time before closing doesn’t sound very fun. Be proactive, not reactive.
An inspector’s report covers the entire scope of a home, including:
- Insulation/ventilation systems
- Plumbing (pipes, drains, water heating equipment, and sump pumps)
- Electrical (service panels, breakers, and fuses)
- Fireplaces including chimneys and vents
- Structural components including the foundation of the home
- The interior and exterior roofing system
- Interior features (walls, ceilings, attic, floors, windows, doors, stairs, and railings)
- And exterior features (siding, decks, walkways, and driveways)
Certain inspection companies, like King’s Home Inspection, will also check wood features for rot or termite damage, along with radon and other toxic chemical testing.
Due to the extensive nature of a home inspection, the visit will take about three hours, but there are ways you can prepare beforehand to make the process go quicker and smoother. For example, you can make sure the inspector has enough working space around your furnace, air conditioner, and water heater by removing any clutter that might be in the way. In addition, the home inspector will need to turn on the stove, run the dishwasher, and test the HVAC units, so make sure all your utilities are on. Simply cleaning your house and having all the necessary documents on the renovation history of the home readily available will also speed up the inspection process.
Something we’d like to note is that an inspection is not just beneficial when you’re looking to sell your home, it’s a service you should have done regularly for your own safety and to ensure you’re being energy efficient. Having an inspection done once a year is recommended.
Homeowners need to understand that most buyers today are more willing to pay your asking price if you have replaced the bigger ticket items such as roofs, siding, and especially old, inefficient and/or unappealing windows.
If any plumbing defects are identified during the inspection, this is definitely something you want to take care of immediately. There are some major health risks associated with bad plumbing systems. If pipes are leaking, this will result in mold and mildew in those areas. A faulty plumbing system can also affect the quality of running water in your home. If you’re noticing a foul smell or any kind of discoloration from your faucets, call a plumber.
After gaining peace of mind from the inspection, and addressing any major concerns that may have arose during the comprehensive check-up, you can now assess what your budget is for other remodeling projects based on the value you intend to sell your home for.
By this point, you’ll want to have a trusted real estate agent in your corner to give you a realistic figure for what your home is worth. It can be tempting to think you can sell your home yourself in order to avoid paying an agent commission to do it for you. Our advice is to resist this urge.
“People who opt not to enlist an experienced real estate agent to sell their home usually end up losing more money in the sale than what they would have paid for an agent,” reveals Ben Bleicher with Woods Bros Realty. “Aside from superior marketing reach and ability to take care of the daunting amount of paperwork involved in selling a home, a real estate agent has the knowledge of the valuations in the area and can provide you with an accurate appraisal of your home.
A valuation is a formal breakdown that contains the features of the property, including:
- Land size (m²)
- Number of rooms
- Risk ratings (environmental and market)
- Local zoning
- Condition of the property
The appraisal process is a bit more informal, and are to be used as more of a guide to property value, allowing you to get a better understanding of an appropriate selling price.”
Since appraisals are based on the opinion of one professional’s knowledge of the prices that other homes in the area have sold for and their assessment of your property, you might want to get a second opinion… maybe even a third. When you’re selling one of your biggest assets, it’s worthwhile meeting with more than one agent.
Overpricing your home is a good way to set yourself up for failure and disappointment. Even when it remains a seller’s market, you don’t want to be unrealistic.
Before starting a resale remodel project, first consider the sales price of other comparable homes in your immediate area. Any agent will tell you not to be one of those people who spends a ton of money remodeling their house, expecting to see that same amount reflected in the closing price. That is just not how it works. There is no reason to spend $3,000 on new hardwood floors if the resale value is less than that. Only invest in projects that will recoup your expenses and create actual equity. So, set a realistic asking price, evaluate your spending budget, and allot available funds to improvements that will make an actual difference when it comes time to list your home.
Once you have an idea of what your sales price will be, you will then be able to budget accordingly. Most realtors will tell you that the kitchen and the bathroom are what sell houses, and they’d be right. We hear it again and again. Particularly popular among first-time home buyers is the bathroom remodel. A majority of upgrades to a bathroom can be completed by simply refinishing surfaces, rather than replacing them. For instance, countertops, tile, and even the shower basin can be refurbished with a spray-on texture that provides quick coverage, and a like-new finish. Local companies can perform this service for you at a very minimal cost. Also, remember to replace old shower doors, or remove them, to add the illusion of space.
A popular trend today is that homeowners are completely ripping out their bathtubs in order to create bigger shower space. This trend makes a lot of sense based on what the majority of buyers are looking for these days. It’s still important to have at least one bathtub in the house, though, or else you’ll lose the interest of buyers with small children. Otherwise, most people would prefer to have a nice roomy shower that allows for more than one shower head and plenty of elbow room.
Perhaps one of the more noticeable and profitable upgrades is the kitchen remodel; however, it is important to remember that the average return on that investment is only 98.5%. If cosmetic updates are needed, keep them minor.
“Open up the kitchen by sanding and painting existing cabinets!” Exclaims Lori Wellman with Lincoln Cabinet. “Specializing in custom cabinetry and interiors, we’ve built our reputation from the ground up. By providing the highest standard of workmanship and service on all jobs and settling for nothing less than the best, we strive to live up to our motto of quality without compromise.
At Lincoln Cabinet our goal is to assist you through your remodeling or new construction experience. We work with a quality team of licensed and insured professional sub-contractors throughout the design process. From flooring to walls, Lincoln Cabinet will make your dreams come true. Our highly experienced team has the knowledge and expertise to take your project from concept to completion and will work with you to create a design that fits your style and budget.
My advice is to update your old, dull laminate countertops and add a decorative backsplash with spray-on finishes and texture. Kitchen trends in recent years have reflected a shift toward low-maintenance, seamless counters. Formica is out, faux marble and natural stone are in. Ceramic tile is also an excellent choice for secondary prep surfaces, such as islands, eat-at counters, and wet bars. I’ve seen a kitchen be completely transformed by applying a subtle touch of tile design. When you’re trying to make your space look more high-end or modern, tile is a pretty inexpensive solution.”
People aren’t just looking for a space that is visually appealing, they want durability and easy upkeep. In other words, buyers are looking for a home that will stand the test of time.
While some people do love the softness and comfort of carpet, the majority of home buyers prefer hardwood floors because they are easier to clean and refinish, and they It doesn’t hold on to allergens that can sink into the fibers of carpet.
“Wood can last many lifetimes with proper care and periodic refinishing,” notes Greg Lee with EMO Flooring Company. “There’s a larger variety of woods to choose from than there was several years ago. Wood comes in many different colors and characters. The nice thing about hardwood floors is also the flexibility. A homeowner can easily change the floor’s look and get the softness they desire with the use of area rugs.”
While there are many wood floor choices to pick from, not every style is suitable for every application. Greg shared some things to consider when picking out hardwood flooring:
- Hardness – Some woods are harder and therefore more durable than others. Based on where you plan to install the wood, you’ll want to consider the species of wood you pick. The harder the wood, the better it will be for the wear and tear that’s to be expected in high-traffic areas of the home. Some of the hardest and most common woods you’ll find are red and white oak. Maple is very popular as well, and is actually harder than oak.
- Type – There are two types of wood: solid wood and engineered wood. While both types have the same cosmetic effect, the difference is in the floor’s composition. Solid wood will expand and contract due to humidity, and therefore should only be installed on the main floor of a home. Engineered grade wood is more stable due to its multi-ply genetics and can be put in on all levels of the home, even bathrooms and basements where moisture is a factor.
- Look – Rich and inviting, hardwood makes a distinctive statement. Because of the great range of natural variations—from boards with extreme character, graining, and color diversity, to those that are evenly colored and consistent—lustrous hardwood can create a uniquely beautiful floor. However, it’s important to remember that home renovations made for the purposes of resale do not necessarily have to look good by your standards, they are meant to match the preferences of most potential buyers. Pick a wood style that can be very versatile so a new resident can create the space they want. Also, consider the home itself–it’s history, architect, and given floor plan. If you have a country-style farmhouse, wide plank floors with defined wood grains and a distressed appearance will be a good fit. For Colonial homes, consider installing dark stained oak or maple floors. When picking for a contemporary space, dark charcoal or whitewash finishes can enhance the modern charm of the home.
“Tile installations on wood requires underlayment,” Greg adds. “Normally, 1/4” fiberock is used on grade level and higher but Ditra can be used especially if floor levels need to be lower for transitions to other floors.
A trend I’ve seen when installing new floors in a home is radiant heating systems, which is something EMO Flooring specializes in. The demand for using in-floor radiant heat has increased dramatically with in the last 25 years. Heated floors provide a warm, comfortable room especially during the Nebraska winters. These systems can be installed under wood floors. I recommend an engineered wood if a heating system is desired. EMO recommends Ditra Heat radiant systems. This product has a strong warranty and the easy installation is preferred by our installers and customers.”
Heated floors may seem like a luxury, and definitely aren’t a necessary remodel, but they could make your home stand out amongst the rest when it comes time to sell. Features like this might be what gives you the competitive edge.
Besides, heated floors aren’t just comfortable, they can cut down on your heating bill, which leads us to our next point: Energy efficiency. “Homes that incorporate energy-saving features are more attractive to home-seekers,” identifies Gary Shunkwiler with Heartland of Nebraska Windows. “Installing updated windows and doors that improve insulation and energy-efficient light bulbs are high on the list for many millennials (ages 22 – 37) and Gen X (ages 38-53) homebuyers. A particularly important update with respect to remodeling and selling is replacing the windows with triple pane, high efficiency, and maintenance-free windows. Buyers understand the importance of a quality window with a lifetime warranty and are more willing to pay the seller’s asking price, rather than invest in replacing the windows themselves in the future.
Natural lighting is a huge factor that home-seekers are looking for these days. Large windows can help really open up a space, reduce the need for additional lamps and light sources, and they make a room feel more inviting. If you are considering major remodeling prior to putting your home on the market, call Heartland of Nebraska Windows about installing great bay windows to transform the look of your home.
With regards to window replacement, any time of the year is good. But, obviously with winter around the corner, fall is a great time to invest in new replacement windows in order to save on those high energy bills in the cold months ahead.
Whatever the improvement, do your research. My advice is to check out Better Business Bureau ratings and/or complaints. Read what other customers had to say about the company you want to do business with. Make sure you’re getting a good value for your investment. I also encourage you to give yourself plenty of time to do your research, to look at various products and to pick a reputable company that will back their products and services.
Many homeowners decide last minute to take care of items that need fixing or replacing. That usually leads to making rash decisions that could cost the homeowner to select inferior products or services, invest a lot more than was necessary, and be highly disappointed in the final result.”
Like Gary emphasized, homeowners looking to sell their house need to understand that most buyers today are more willing to pay the asking price if they have replaced the bigger ticket items, such as inefficient and/or unappealing windows, roofs, and siding.
A bad roof or inadequate siding have the ability to drain your pockets. A poorly insulated roof can let in too much heat in the summer, resulting in huge air conditioning bills, and on the flip side, it can let off too much warmth in during the winter, leading to unwanted heating costs. Considering almost half of the money you spend on utilities goes toward the heating and cooling of your home, this is an issue that can’t be easily overlooked.
“A new roof could save you money on your homeowners’ insurance and/or taxes,” contributes Matt Preister with Xcel Roofing. “If you haven’t updated your roof in the last 10 years, this is something I would highly suggest doing. The underlayment, the protective layer underneath the shingles that acts as a secondary moisture barrier, can get old or damaged over time. It may be time to upgrade yours. In addition, the wind ratings of shingles on the market have increased dramatically over the last decade. Where as old singles couldn’t withstand winds over 70 mph, shingles and roofing systems today, like what Xcel Roofing installs, are rated for up to 130 mph winds. In addition, as a part of our roof replacement process, we make it a point to go into the attic to confirm that the ventilation system is doing what it should to protect you from unnecessary energy expenses.
Protecting your home from the elements of weather often includes the siding. Your home needs the whole exterior protected against leakage, storm damage, and pests. At Xcel, we can help you pick the best quality and look for your siding while sticking with your budget.
Vinyl siding is a popular choice for many homeowners due to its reasonable price and low maintenance. Choosing the right color of vinyl is important, and we’re happy to consult with you to make the perfect choice. Our huge selection of colors and themes can coordinate with your roof and windows to give you a consistent look you’ll love coming home to.”
Xcel uses Owens Corning, a leader in insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composites. Xcel’s systems come with a manufacturer 50-year problem-free performance and 5-year labor warranty.
Another energy-efficient consideration towards making your residence more desirable to potential buyers is advanced home technology. “We are on the verge of a “smart-home” boom,” claims Pat Killeen with Engineered Controls. “Installing technology that allows you to control everyday home functions such as lights, appliances, thermostat, and windows with just the click of a button on your smartphone could be what gives you the competitive edge other sellers.
People are beginning to expect this type of convience in their homes. Not only does it provide a sense of security, it reduces energy costs. That is why Engineered Controls represents a wide range of Honeywell residential smart-home products, the most trusted and recognized name in home comfort and security. From the most state-of-the-art Wi-Fi enabled thermostats, zoning systems, and whole-house air cleaning systems, to wireless home security and video systems; everything is geared toward making homes more safe and energy-efficient. Honeywell’s Total Connect Service provides a personalized web portal with mobile apps that allow the homeowner to stay connected to their home’s heating and cooling system and security system from anywhere on their smartphone, tablet, or laptop.”
With any major renovations–anything from knocking down a wall to create a more open floor plan, to an adding an addition to increase the square footage of your home–make sure you’re in touch with a trusted electrician.
“A recent study from The National Association of Realtors shows that for every 1,000 square feet you add to your home, the value typically increases by 3.3%,” shared John Eicher with ABC Electric. “Due to the fact that much of your electrical system is hidden behind the walls, it can be easy to overlook when planning a remodel. Consider home electrical wiring upgrades along with all the other items on your home renovation list. Whether your electrical wiring is really old or it just got installed within the last 10 years, it can still be dated and ready for some upgrades if it’s causing problems. Renovating your home is the perfect opportunity to make electrical updates, and when buyers know this aspect of the home has been recently checked, they will feel more at ease to make an offer.
When you need to install a new electrical product in your home, you can rely on our professional services at ABC. Our services include residential wiring, computer cabling, motor controls, security lighting, and more! We are also proud to be the green energy installers of choice for the Lincoln area.”
After the big stuff has been taken care, then you can focus on the cosmetics. Sometimes all it takes to make a space look and feel attractive to buyers is a fresh coat of paint. We’ve heard some horror stories when it comes to DIY painting projects. You may think that doing the job yourself will save you money, but you run the risk of ruining carpet or trim in the process, or it might just end up looking uneven. We encourage readers to hire a professional to save time and avoid any costly accidents.
An alternative to your basic paint job is the rising fad of faux finishing, which is a term used to describe a decorative paint finish that replicates the appearance of another material such as marble, stone, or wood. You might be familiar with what we are talking about as this trend is slowly taking over the Midwest.
Thomas Rajkovich and Julie Uribe recently moved to Lincoln, bringing with them over 25 years of expertise from the high-end finishing projects they did in Los Angeles. They are now offering their metallic plasters, textured designs, beaded effects, and other high-end decorative paint finishes in the local marketplace through their new business, Thomas Faux Finishing.
“This is a seller’s market!” Announces Thomas Rajkovich with Thomas Faux Finishing. “In addition to remodels and new construction, we are working with several homeowners who are investing in wall finishes that will bring them maximum value before they sell home. Just one accent wall with a faux finish design can transform the feel of an entire room. They are all custom and seamless, delivering a contemporary or transitional look. Choose from loud metallic patterns or pick something with a rustic, earthy feel. You’ll be amazing by the results, and so will everyone else who visits your home.”
With respect to current market trends, it’s just as important for the exterior of your home to look visually appealing as it is for the interior. Patch any dead areas of grass with sod from your local nursery. Add a splash of color for maximum impact with eye-catching flowers from your local garden center. If your doorways or windows are overwhelmed by greenery, get out the shears. Foundation plants with varying heights and colors can be used to replace overgrown shrubs for dramatic effect. Curb appeal can go a long ways with sellers.
“It’s been widely studied that landscape and outdoor living space enhancements can have a return on the original investment of 100-175%,” notes Ken Svoboda with Ray’s Lawn & Landscape. “Improving your landscape for resale can be as simple as trimming, pruning, or replacing old and tired shrubs and trees. Sometimes, all you need is some fresh mulch in the flower bed! Along with other proper upkeep such as mowing and weeding, of course.
Bare, muddy patches in your lawn where grass should be are concerning to most home buyers. I recommend putting down grass seed, no matter if it’s in a section that gets a lot of sun exposure or a highly shaded area. This time of year provides the best climate for treating your yard; any grass seed you lay down should do well. Fall is also very crucial to getting your yard prepared for the spring. For the long term health of your plants, ensure the root system is adequately covered, and don’t forget to keep up with the watering well into the winter time. Even if there isn’t any visible growth, it doesn’t mean the plant is fully dormant. They still needs attention. Also, if you have outdated, cracked, or broken concrete patios, they should be replaced with new cobblestone or slate-like pavers.
Let’s face it, first impressions matter. So, call Ray’s Lawn Care for the mowing, edging, treating, aerating and renovating of your lawn. We also offer power raking, gutter cleaning, and roto-tilling. Gutter cleaning is especially important because a clogged gutter can cause a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. In addition, if you do choose to list your home this winter, we offer effective snow removal services to ensure your driveway and walkways are safe for visitors.”
Trees make a good impact on your resell value, as well. Not only are they visually appealing, they provide shade which helps save on energy costs, reduce the risk for erosion with their roots, and they improve the air quality. Two mature trees can put out more oxygen than one human being consumes in their lifetime.
“According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, a sound, mature tree can add from $1,000 to $10,000 to the value of your home,” points out Tom Scharfen with Eagle Nursery. “This is only if they are properly planted, though.”
“Trees are meant to compliment your home, not cover it up,” Tom continued. “Safety is also a factor. If a trees is too close to your home, there is a risk for storm damage. A good rule of thumb is planting trees about 20 feet away from the house. Always account for growth when you plant new trees and shrubs.
The right tree can transform a front yard by adding structural interest, seasonal color, shade, and scale. At Eagle Nursery, we have a wide range of shade, oriental, and evergreen trees.
One type of tree we offer is the River Birch Tree, which I highly recommend for front yard use. River Birches add character to any landscape, and they have a commanding presence. They can reach heights up to 60 feet with a spread of 40 feet. This is also a versatile tree species, as it can either be trained as a single-truck or multi-trunk tree. Easily grown average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. River Birch is perhaps the most culturally adaptable and heat tolerant of the birches. With its cinnamon-color bark, it makes an attractive front yard tree even in the winter.”
Other measurements to take to ensure potential buyers aren’t scared away by the exterior of your home include general cleaning and maintenance. This applies to garage doors!
Your garage door is a highly visible, hard-working surface that is subjected to all sorts of use and abuse on a daily basis. Yet, while going through our cleaning list, we often neglect to give our garage doors the same kind of care that we give our homes’ windows, patios, and other exterior areas. The experts at Raynor Doors of Nebraska shared some tips for optimal results when washing the garage door:
- Wash the door surfaces and windows of your garage with a mild liquid soap (such as a car-washing soap or dishwashing soap) and water. Wash both the interior and exterior using a sponge, cloth and/or soft brush.
- Do not use harsh or abrasive detergents. This can damage the painted surface of the door or the seals.
- Rinse thoroughly with a hose, but do not use a pressure washer. This, too, can damage the surface.
- If you are cleaning something more stubborn than dirt or road salt, such as oil stains, you can spot-clean the area with a diluted bleach and water solution. Be sure to never mix bleach with other cleanser because the mixture will cause harmful fumes. Immediately after spot cleaning, rinse all surfaces thoroughly.
- After washing, and every six months to protect the door’s finish, your door should be waxed. Use a good quality car wax, following instructions on the package. CAUTION: Do not apply wax to AccuFinish™, ArmorFinish™ or anodized aluminum doors.
- If you detect surface rust, contact your local Raynor Dealer for inspection and repair options.
- As a final step, you should clean and organize the areas around the garage door. Remove any stacks or objects that could fall over and obstruct the path of the garage door or damage the track.
- It’s also a good time to do a quick maintenance check and tune-up.
While we’re talking about garages, it’s important to note that staging and organizing the inside of your garage is almost as important as the inside of your home.
“Garages can be a strong selling point. Many home-seekers consider it one of the most important spaces in the house!” Says Austin Peters with Levrack. “Make sure you have a good storage and organizational system in place for your garage. When you’re in need of a storage system, your first thought should be calling Levrack.
We create a storage system that acts as a closet for your garage,” “It’s a standalone unit that we developed to keep this area clean and clutter-free, with ample shelving space inside that faces inwards so it takes up less wall space while also being hidden from view. Show buyers how functional your garage can be by installing Levrack.”
If you’re one of the lucky few who only need a few minor retouches or updates before listing your home at its maximum value, that is great. With a short list of to-dos, you might as well work with a company that can literally check them all off for you.
“When it comes to real estate, the point is simple: when properties sell, you make money,” states Ryan Reinke with TruBlue Total House Care. “A quick turnaround on listing a property and a making a sale is preferred. That’s why it’s critical to have a partner in your corner who can not only provide cleaning and repair services to help prepare your home to go on the market sooner, but will help bring in the best offers and close quicker. TruBlue is a one-stop real estate cleaning service that can provide everything from a full-home clean-up to a minor repair work and increase the curb appeal of the property”
Doing these things may not get you those large lump sums of cash you were imagining when you decided to sell your house, but they will surely earn you more money than what you’d probably get at signing if you didn’t do them. We wish you the best in your home selling venture, and don’t forget to contact your local experts!