Calvin Law's Blog
Each year, flooding causes more than eight billion dollars in damages to homes in the United States. Despite that, many affected homeowners go on to sell their houses so that they can relocate. When your home has damage from a tropical storm, heavy rains, or rising water from a hurricane, here are ways to help your home retain its value.
The crucial first 48 hours
Do your best to minimize the damage. If you know flooding is possible, use sandbags around the foundation, board up windows, fill in crevices around vents and pipes with expandable waterproof insulation. After damage occurs, in the first two days, it is essential that you go through this checklist as quickly and thoroughly as you can.
- Protect yourself. Flood water often has contaminants and dangerous materials, mold and bacteria. If your flooding includes back-up sewerage, this is especially crucial. Wear industrial-quality gloves, rubber boots, masks, and other protective gear.
- Make lists of the damage. Walk around your home and write down everything that is affected by the water. Separate the list by those items attached to your home and those that are separate such as furnishings and personal belongings. These could be very long lists, so write down everything.
- Take photos of all the damage with your smartphone or digital camera. Capture images of the walls, floors, cabinets, outlets, doors, windows, and ceiling if water leaked in from above — document everything.
- Contact your insurance company. They will send out a catastrophic storm damage adjuster to assess the damages. Even if FEMA may cover the costs, ask your insurance adjuster to document everything as well. Compare their list to yours to make sure nothing is left off. Your insurance company may be able to help you restore and repair much of the damage. Professionally mitigated and restored damage makes a tremendous difference when you go to sell your home.
- Once you've documented everything, remove anything that retains moisture from the house. These include carpet and padding, fabric, bedding, furniture, clothing, drywall, and insulation. Doing so lowers the opportunity for mold to take hold in the house. It only takes mold 48 hours to begin germinating, so time is of the essence.
- Rent a dehumidifier to dry out your home. If your HVAC system is unaffected, run the air (heat or cold depending on outdoor temperatures) to help dry things out, too.
- Using a utility knife, cut away and discard any damaged or wet drywall or wallboard and any damp insulation behind it. Spray the remaining walls and the framing of the damaged walls with a solution of nine-parts water with one-part bleach.
Repair or Sell "As-Is."
Make all repairs that your insurance or FEMA covers. If other repairs remain, you might decide to fix them yourself or sell your home just as it is. If you completely restore your home, it likely will sell for more. But if the return on your investment isn't high enough, you may end up losing out in the long run. Here is where you need the advice of a professional. Your real estate agent can help you determine which items to repair and which won't give you any return. Remember, though, that if your relocation is time-sensitive, whatever sells quicker can save you in the long run.
Today’s home buyers see hundreds if not thousands of real estate photos when they’re in the market. Odds are that they’ll eliminate a number of homes from their search before ever even setting foot in them.
As you can imagine, that makes your home listing’s photographs all the more important to securing solid leads on your house.
In spite of the importance of photographs, a number of sellers get them wrong. To ensure that your home listing’s photos make a great first impression, we’re going to take a look at some of the common mistakes to avoid in your listing photography.
1. Not taking enough photos
In the age of digital photography, you can never take too many pictures. Experiment with different lighting, setups, and angles, and don’t be afraid to take as many photos as necessary to get the shots you want.
2. Going overboard with the uploads
It might be tempting to upload all of the pictures you took of your home, but it could hurt your overall presentation. Sort carefully through your pictures and pick one or two photos that best showcase each room and another one to three photos of the home’s exterior and land.
Visitors to your listing will get bored and click away if you have a slideshow with hundreds of images. Make it easy for them to find exactly what they’re looking for by limiting the number of total photos of your home.
3. Avoid close-ups
Your home should be spotlessly clean and tidy when taking photos. However, that doesn’t mean you need to get up close to each object in your home to take photos. Try to take wide shots that make your home feel spacious and welcoming.
4. Look out for mirrors and reflections and other distractions
If there’s one way to ruin an otherwise serene photo of your home, it’s when you spot the photographer accidentally showing up in the shot. Plan your angles so that you don’t get any flashes, glare, or reflections in your photographs.
And, while we’re on the topic of distractions, it’s a good idea to take your pets out of the room before your start shooting. Remember, potential home buyers don’t love your dog or cat like you do.
5. Don’t settle with your first shots
The different (or lack) of lighting your home receives throughout the day can make or break your photos. Try taking photos of your home at midday, when there are the least amount of shadows. Then, shoot some photos at golden hour (just before the sun sets) to capture warm tones. Finally, right after dusk, turn the lights on in your home and take some shots from outside. These photos give the illusion of a warm, cozy place where the light is always on.
A successful home selling experience likely concludes with a profitable transaction. However, plenty of work lies ahead before a home seller can achieve the best-possible results.
Ultimately, there are several things that a home seller can do to ensure that he or she receives top dollar for a residence, and these are:
1. Conduct a Home Inspection and Appraisal
If you want to maximize your profits, you should complete a home inspection and appraisal prior to listing your house. That way, you can identify any underlying structural problems with your home and receive an accurate property valuation based on your residence's age and condition.
During a home inspection, a property expert will examine your residence both inside and out. Then, you can use an inspection report to prioritize assorted home improvements.
Meanwhile, a home appraisal enables you to receive a valuation of your residence. With this valuation in hand, you can establish a competitive initial asking price for your home.
2. Perform Home Improvements
Your home's condition may have deteriorated over the years. Fortunately, there is no time like the present to perform myriad house improvements.
If necessary, it may be beneficial to hire a professional landscaping company to mow the lawn, trim the hedges and improve your house's exterior. A professional landscaping company will make it easy for you to boost your house's curb appeal.
To enhance your residence's interior, it generally helps to declutter as much as possible. If you host a yard sale or sell excess items online, you may even be able to simultaneously remove clutter from your house and earn extra money.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you're uncertain about how to earn top dollar for your house, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you optimize the value of your residence.
A real estate agent understands all aspects of the housing market. Therefore, he or she will develop a custom home selling strategy, one that ensures you can maximize your earnings.
Typically, a real estate agent first will meet with you to learn about your home. This housing market professional then will offer recommendations to help you get your residence show-ready. And once you list your house, a real estate agent will host home showings and open house events to showcase your residence to prospective buyers.
Let's not forget about the guidance that a real estate agent will provide throughout the home selling journey, either. A real estate agent will offer recommendations about whether to accept, reject or counter a homebuying proposal. Perhaps best of all, this housing market professional is happy to respond to any of your real estate questions at any point during the home selling journey.
When it comes to selling a house, it helps to plan ahead. Take advantage of the aforementioned home selling tips, and you can boost the likelihood of earning top dollar for your residence.
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