4 Questions to Ask a Home Improvement Contractor

For home sellers, home repairs may be needed to improve the quality of your residence. And with the right home improvement contractor at your disposal, you’ll be better equipped to optimize the value of your residence.

Unfortunately, not all home improvement contractors are created equal, and you’ll likely need to conduct an initial phone interview to ensure that you can hire a qualified contractor to fulfill your home improvement requests.

So what should you ask during an initial phone interview with a home improvement contractor? Here are four questions that every home seller needs to know:

1. Can You Handle My Home Improvement Project?

Not all home improvement contractors will possess the time and resources to deliver the results you need. As such, you’ll want to ensure that a home improvement contractor understands the size of the project and is able to complete it successfully.

Asking whether a home improvement contractor if he or she is able to handle your home repair project is essential. And if a home improvement contractor is unable to do so, you’ll be able to move forward with other potential candidates.

2. Can You Provide References?

In many cases, a home improvement contractor should have no trouble providing you with a list of past clients who were satisfied with a project that he or she completed.

However, if a home improvement contractor is unable to provide references, you may be better served to consider a home repair professional who boasts a proven reputation and consistently helps clients improve the quality of their residences.

3. How Many Other Projects Are You Currently Completing?

No home seller wants to work with a home improvement contractor who will begin a home repair project and fail to complete it in a timely manner. Thus, you should ask a home improvement contractor how many other projects that he or she currently is completing to ensure that this professional will be able to finish the project without delay.

Ideally, you’ll want to find a home improvement contractor who prioritizes your home repair project. And if a home improvement professional says that he or she is extremely busy with a wide range of client projects, you may want to consider alternatives.

4. What Is the Project Timeline and Cost of the Project?

You’ll want to find a home improvement contractor who fits both your schedule and budget. Therefore, you should explain when you’d like your project to be completed and how much money is available for your task to find out if he or she is able to meet your expectations.

Furthermore, don’t forget to ask for a formal bid for the project. This bid will feature a projected timeline and cost and ensure that you can make a more informed decision.

Selecting a home improvement contractor sometimes can be a time-consuming and expensive process. And if you choose the wrong one, you may need to commit additional time and resources to correct a past contractor’s mistakes.

Conversely, asking the aforementioned questions may provide you with additional insights to help you make the best decision possible and reap the benefits of superior home improvements.

Home Remodels to Avoid

If you are looking for ways to increase the value of your home, then there are some simple guidelines to follow, as well as a few projects you may want to consider avoiding altogether.  Depending on the region, a particular home remodel has the potential to make or break a potential sale.

Swimming Pools – Homes with swimming pools generally do better in the warmer states, where they can be seen as a welcome addition during the hottest months.  However, a home in New England that has a pool is increasingly likely to be viewed as a headache.  Maintenance costs, family safety, and seasonal accessibility make this addition one that is in reality more likely to hurt the chances of being able to sell your home quickly.  Not to say that you shouldn’t have a pool if you have your heart set on it.  Just don’t count on it making your house more appealing.  If you already have a pool, then try to sell your home in the spring or summer, when the pool is in use.  This will help potential buyers see the benefit of the addition, without reminding them of the headaches associated with upkeep.

Koi ponds and indoor aquariums – These items, while beloved to a homeowner, may turn off a buyer who isn’t interested in being a pet owner.  There aren’t a lot of uses for an aquarium installed in a wall for someone who doesn’t like the idea of having fish.  Similarly, koi ponds on the property have the capability of turning off an owner that doesn’t necessarily want to have a portion of their backyard dedicated to a project that they have no interest in taking over.

Converting garages and second bedrooms – While these renovations generally arise from necessity, they can hurt your resale value in the future.  Garage space is fairly desirable these days, and especially so in cold climates that deal with large amount of snow.  Converting a garage in New England isn’t generally a good idea unless you absolutely need the space.  This is also true in the cases of converting second and third bedrooms into office spaces.  While a new buyer may consider at a later date to convert an extra bedroom into an office space, they may not want to have the option forced on them.  Most of the time, a two-bedroom house with an office will remain on the market longer than a three-bedroom house.

Fireplaces – They can be beautiful, yes, but fireplaces are quickly falling out of favor with buyers, and are increasingly being seen as a messy addition to a home.  In 2009, a consumer preference survey from the Nation Association of Home Builders ranked fireplaces as No. 1 on a list of what NAR called “Home Fads That Are Falling Out of Style.”  Not to say that fireplaces don’t have a market.  Many people are still looking for homes that contain one or even two.  But installing a fireplace in an existing home can be very expensive, and the return on your investment wouldn’t be that great.

What Buyers Say They Want in a Home

What do buyers want in a home? Is it location? Is it size? Could it be an endless list of amenities ? According to a survey done by The National Association of Homebuilders, they want all of the above.

According to the survey, buyers say they want a home that is approximately 2,000 square feet. Unfortunately, only one-third of the current homes on the market have 2,000 or more square feet of livable space. Most homes are nearly 40 years old and don’t have many of the amenities buyers want.

So what is a seller to do? If your home is smaller than what most buyers want, play up on your homes good points. Here are some other features buyers want that could help overcome the objection to the homes smaller square footage.

Location: Buyers may consider a smaller home if it’s located in the best school district or in a great commuter location.

Possibilities: A smaller home may have potential for expansion, making the home suddenly more appealing.

Great space: The home may not have the square footage buyers want, so show off the space it does have. Remove any furniture that doesn’t complement the home, making the home seem spacious and uncluttered.

If your home is smaller than what many buyers want, emphasize the amenities that it does have. Help buyers see the potential in your home. Don’t let them rule it out just because its current condition doesn’t meet all of their needs.

 

 

Prepare Your Home to Sell

When it is time to sell your home you may have much work to do before the sign is placed on the front lawn. If you would like to sell your home for more money or in less time you will need to prepare your home to sell.

One way to sell your home for more money in less time is to stage your home. Statistics show that home staging is credited with selling 95 percent of homes within 35 days or less.

Here are some tips to get your home ready for the market:

Prepare your home to sell to the most likely buyer. The average buyer nationally is 32, while the average seller is 57.  Remove items in the home that may be out dated and add in more modern items that appeal to a younger buyer.

Start at the front door. The front door is the first thing a potential buyer will see, so make a good impression. Spruce up the landscaping, wash the front door and clean up the trim around the door. Make the entry neat and welcoming.

Clear out the clutter. A good rule of thumb is to remove about one third of your belongings. Pay special attention to removing extra pieces of furniture, like ottomans, bookcases, and decorative pieces.

Depersonalize the home by removing all photos, memorabilia and other personal items.  This will help the buyer envision the home as their own, picturing their personal items around the house rather than yours.

Clean the home very thoroughly. Dust under the furniture, clean the grout and all the other places that may not receive everyday upkeep. “

Freshen up the paint and neutralize your wall colors. It is best to stick with white, cream or pale earth tones.