Looking At Actual Sales To Determine Home Improvement Value

Would it be helpful to have a few tips about return on investment for house repair/remodel projects related to future sales of your home? If you said yes, are not alone. It’s such a hot topic (and has been for many years). I’m going to link one article because it’s one of the few that actually mention that there are other factors regarding a sale price (not list price) for your home, besides what you’ve remodeled or enhanced. It’s from the HGTV websiteI caution everyone about trying to attach specific percentage values to upgrades. Yes, basic upgrades like a roof and furnace or upgraded electrical will almost always give you a percentage return on those upgrades. But they are not a guarantee of a certain price!  I’m only going to focus on a few things in this post.  Two things I know to be true, without assigning a percentage value to a home repair/improvement.

If your home is a resale with wood floors, I feel comfortable saying that shiny, clean wood floors are involved in the majority of home sales within the City of Cleveland. Younger buyers are not crazy about wall to wall carpeting and if they are looking at a 1920s Arts and Crafts style home, well they probably want wood floors. Of those 56 homes sold in my last post? 90% of them had floors like the ones in the above photo. They are refinished, clean and shiny. Yes, it may have cost $2500 (what I was told) to refinish the living room, foyer and dining room at the home in the photo but buyers might move on to another home to purchase, one that already has shiny wood floors, if you don’t do it.

An example of a house that sold for more than normal market value in 2017. This house sits on W. 122nd street. Maybe you’ve walked these blocks south of Lorain. To me, these blocks are fantastic. Pretty, well kept homes, yards, flowers.  Still, we’ve just come out of a recession, right? During that time, there weren’t a lot of homes sold.  The above house is special because it’s ‘energy efficient.’ So much so that it has  certification paperwork to prove it. Newer windows, HVAC, insulation, you name it. This makes the house much, much less expensive to operate per month. Lower heating and cooling bills. They DID open up one wall, 1/2 way. So you still did not lose the separation to the dining room but you can talk to people in there.

What’s unusual? Two other homes that sold on this street in 2017, one was a 3br 1 1/2 bath home for $33,500 and one was a 4 bedroom one bath home for $45,000. This house once went into foreclosure, the Land Bank (discussed in an earlier post on here!) took it over, a housing non-profit took it over and here it is. Also, remember how many bedrooms in the other two homes sold? This home has 2 bedrooms and one bath. The first two sales on W 122nd had about the same square footage, in the 1200 sq ft range. This home? 1,089. And yet it was listed at $99,000 and sold for $97,000. Cash deal? I don’t know but not necessarily because this house, via tax auditor’s info, is ‘tax’ valued to sell between $86,000 and $108,000.

Why the heck am I telling you all this? Because getting an energy efficient home is one thing you can do to garner more money When you sell it. Get it upgraded with an energy efficiency certification.

By the way, there is a true market for 2 bedroom one bath homes. (More reasonable than a 500 sq ft rolling tiny home, right?).  But this one’s true value is total upgrading and upgrading to a terrific energy savings level. Which by the way also gave this house a tax abatement (yes, you can get this for your home too) which still has 5 yrs ish to go on it. Currently paying around $400/yr on taxes. Plus the savings on utility bills. So on a  street where a normal, pretty or upgraded home might go for 65 to 79k, this house with really good amenities to offer to garner a sale price almost 20k more.

You will spend money to do the energy efficiency update, no question! But if you bought the house a long time ago and don’t have a mortgage on it, or if you bought it more recently at a below market rate price, I swear this is the way to go. And depending  where your home is located, a lack of  those first two things may not hinder you from making money on your sale.

I suggest everyone: check out an energy efficiency certified upgrade before you do any renovations on your home. It doesn’t cost you anything and gives you something to consider. Both for your own value (less taxes, utility bills) or a future buyer for your home.

Let me know if you have questions or would like me to preview your home to discuss the above suggestions further.

 

 

Jefferson West Park Recent Real Estate Stats

I’m going with the most recent information for the most part, and for a reason. For about 5 years Jefferson’s ‘selling’ season seemed to end around June 30th. But 2017 activity and sales in the Jefferson area of West Park are showing me that the ‘selling season’ has not stopped. In fact it’s still going pretty strong this 2nd week of August.

For those not familiar with it: Jefferson is an area with parks. Jefferson Park, which is on Lorain avenue between W. 132nd and W. 133rd. It’s about the size (and shape) of Lincoln Park in Tremont. A little over 3 acres. There are also tennis courts, a play ground and basketball courts.

Mohican Park is north of Lorain Avenue.  It borders Triskett between W. 140th and Berea Road. It’s larger, suitable for running, biking or walking on the outer trail which is just around 3/4 of a mile. The whole park has a bit over 7 acres of land.  Playground, ball fields and soccer games, both scheduled and extemporaneous. It’s fun to see kids walking to the park to enjoy it.  Life for a kid was meant to be that way!

So when you find yourself at either of these parks you will be in Jefferson!

Housing info for Jefferson…

There are 12 homes waiting for inspections to be done or loans to be approved, so they are ‘contingent’ and under contract.  There are 17 homes ‘pending sale’ so farther along in the process but still not filed at the court house. For both of the above stats, we don’t know sale prices until they file/transfer ownership. So 29 homes, within the last two weeks mind you, have gone under contract or changed contract status. That is how we can determine the most recent activity.

The best news? In the last three months, 56 homes have already sold. Examples: 3451 W. 136th sold for $99,500 (it was listed at $109,000). 3788 W. 139th sold for $95,000 and that was it’s list price.

The average minimum square feet for a sold home among these 56 houses was 888 sq. feet; the maximum square footage for a sold home was 2,485 sq. ft.  The average square footage (not all that surprising for the area unless you’ve added on or finished an attic or basement) was 1,312 sq. ft of living space.

The highest sale price was for a home on Warren Road. It sold  for $192,000. There was also a home sold on W. 140th for $162,500.

And yes, we still have foreclosures so the lowest sale price was $20,000.  What’s nice though: appraisers have adjusted over the years (!) so market value homes, not foreclosures, are more normally used to determine the appraised value for a loan.

The average sale price for the 56 homes sold in the last three months was $81,960.

One other interesting fact: The number of days on the market, on average, for all these homes prior to their going under contract and waiting to transfer ownership? 62 days.

 

First Time Home Buyer Overview

This is an overview, a way to get you started and understanding  the process of buying a home.  A few things to consider:

At the beginning, the most important thing is talking with a lender.  Unless you are paying cash for a home, a lender is needed for two reasons: to provide you with a pre approval letter, which you will need to present at the same time as you plunk down a purchase offer on a home. It’s most critical to discuss finances right away. What you can afford is not just a phrase, it’s a comfort level for you – it’s crucial to know prior to going to see a home. You don’t want to have your hopes dashed and spend your precious free time looking at homes you really like but find out later you are not able to buy.

Second, a mortgage person you can rely on and feel comfortable with is a big help to you as you go along looking at homes. You can call a lender and they can take a home you saw on tour with sale price, taxes, insurance, any home owner fees or condo fees and give you a monthly estimate. This helps you weigh each property in terms of what you might want to buy…or not!

Third, you might get approved at a certain amount but when you see what the monthly payments are, you might say it would be better to take the price range down a notch because you know what your mandatory monthly expenses are over and above rent. You might not be able, or want to, give up some of these expenses.

Those are three reasons why a mortgage lender is your friend and a necessary part of your team from the beginning.

A Realtor® like me ☺ is the second part of your team. Think about the neighborhoods, towns, places that fit your needs or lifestyle. Do you want a walkable community? Do you want transit close by? Do you want entertainment and eateries? How long do you want your commute to be? Do you want a large back yard for dogs to play? Begin a list of about 5 items that will start out on your ‘need to have’ list. (By the way, this list can and probably will change as we go along. For now, a beginning list is helpful.) Some items might be wants and not needs. The word compromise will become important as well. You might wind up with things that are ‘need to haves’ that you weren’t aware of when you started, and some of your list of  initial needs might go by the wayside. You might change styles of homes you want after seeing some houses.  All of this is fun, just pointing out that being open to a flexibility of thought about what you want is very helpful!

We will begin our relationship and I’ll search out the homes that meet your initial criteria. I can email you a few homes right off the bat.  We can brainstorm a bit together about what you like and don’t like.  Example of what I mean: I send you five homes via email. You tell me you don’t like the floor plan on one and the yard is way too large to take care of on another. That helps me (and you!) understand how to search. When we do the brainstorming it helps start to formulate a game plan so that once you’ve gotten a price range settled with a lender, we can begin to look in real life not Internet life!

If you do the above, the entire home buying journey can be started with enough knowledge to keep stress out of the process and more enjoyable!