4 Common Concerns of Prospective Homebuyers
Selling a home can be a daunting task. Not only do you need to find a real estate agent, settle on a fair list price, and try to stand out in the market, but you also have to deal with people in and out of your home until it sells.
Improve your chances of selling quickly by taking time to understand homebuyers’ sore spots. Ahead, we’re covering the four most common concerns when it comes to shopping the housing market.
1.) Improper Surface Grading/Drainage
According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, this was the most common issue in home inspections. An astounding 35.8% of the survey respondents were dealing with issues related to improper drainage and surface grading.
If you think about it, this is huge, as issues with drainage or uneven surfaces can lead to foundational instability, mold, termites, and more. And, it’s frequently the cause of other household maladies like water penetration of the basement and crawlspace — something that will definitely raise a red flag for homebuyers (and their lenders!).
2.) Home is Too Outdated
Having an old — or shall we say “vintage” — home is not always a bad thing. Older homes often have character and charm that is missing from new builds. However, if you’re trying to match the price point of other homes in your neighborhoods without undertaking the modern renovations of those homes, you’re likely in for some bad news.
While you may not want to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home you’re trying to get out of, consider a few upgrades to help buyers justify a higher price point. A few easy changes can go a long way in making your house market-ready — think new paint, upgraded kitchen appliances, and new shutters!
[PRO TIP: Wondering how much should you spend on home improvement projects? Don’t miss this blog post!]
3.) Roof Damage
Because roofs are expensive, they often make homebuyers leery. Unsurprisingly, roof leakage caused by old or damaged shingles or improper flashing is a frequent problem for sellers. You’ll need to factor in the age of your roof when you are coming up with the list price for your home. (Don’t worry — your realtor can help you with this!)
4.) Poorly Kept Exteriors
First impressions are huge with homebuyers — and as the old saying goes, you only get one chance at yours. Flaws in a home’s exterior (like old windows, peeling doors, crumbling shutters, and rotted porch boards) can be a major turn-off for prospective buyers. Some of these fixes require more effort and money than others, but some are relatively painless tweaks that can boost your home to the next level. How much value do shutters add to your home? We have the answer right here.
Overall, if you’re selling your home, put your focus on high-profile areas like the kitchen, bathrooms, and curb appeal.
Ready to up your curb appeal and replace your shutters right now?
- Gild Group
5 Things to Look For When Buying a House
Last year saw a huge surge in new home purchases, largely thanks to people looking for more space to “social distance” and work from home.
The homebuying process can be downright overwhelming (school district! vinyl siding or brick? open concept!?) … but what are actually the most important things to look for in a home? We have a few ideas.
If you’re in the market for a new home, consider these factors before you hit an open house:
- Location, Location, Location!
It’s a real estate cliche for a reason. After all, you can remodel, paint, update, or tweak just about anything in your home except the location — that’s why where the home is located sits at the top of this list!
Think about the neighborhood, your commute, your amenities and proximity to schools, work, parks, friends, restaurants and favorite hangouts. Beyond that, consider the ease of access into and out of the neighborhood, how the home is situated on the lot, and who or what your lot backs up to.
- Square Footage and Floor Plan
It’s easy to get stars in your eyes when you are scrolling through houses online, but it’s important to be practical. A big house offers more elbow room, but also costs more to heat and cool. Can you really make do with two bathrooms, or do you actually need to hold out for three?
Is there a practical layout flow that works for your family? Be realistic with these assessments — in other words, don’t be overly optimistic and try to talk yourself into a wonky floor plan just because you’re “house hungry.”
- Consider the Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home. Inevitably, it’s not just where meals are made, but it’s where kids plop down with schoolwork, where work emails are written, and where guests always end up at the end of the night. Home makeover shows make kitchen remodels look like an easy feat — and it is doable. Depending on the scale of the project, it can also be very costly.
Appliances can usually be easily upgraded, cabinet pulls can be replaced, and walls can be painted without breaking a budget. But generally speaking, when you’re looking at homes to buy, you need to either factor renovations into your budget or pass. Don’t settle for a home with a kitchen you don’t love — you’ll be spending a lot of time here.
- Let There Be Light
Natural light is hard to fake in a space. There are some tricks of the trade (such as strategically placing mirrors), but this is something to pay attention to when looking at a home. It’s typically possible to install windows, but that can get pricey.
Additionally, be on the lookout for the locations of electrical outlets and fixtures. Are you working with recessed lighting, cove lighting, outdated ceiling fans? Lighting fixtures can be upgraded once you move in, but it all needs to be factored into your budget.
- Curb Appeal
When you pull into your driveway after a long day of work, you want your home to illicit all the warm and fuzzy feelings. Your home is a reflection of you — and the style of your exterior should say so.
Practically speaking, pay attention to the roof and other exterior surfaces. Is the siding peeling? Is the deck disintegrating? Are the shutters ancient?Of course, if you do buy a home that needs a little love, Monument Shutters has a solution for you. Upgrading shutters is a quick way to make a home look completely revived and instantly add value. Shop shutters now!
- Shutter Man
How to Prioritize Your Home Improvement Projects
Once the decision has been made to tackle home improvement projects, the honey-do list seemingly never stops growing. As a homeowner, it can be hard to know where to begin.
When you have limited resources (and patience) for renovations, you have to triage the needs. If you’re overwhelmed with decision fatigue, follow these few simple steps to prioritize your “to-fix” list in a smart order.
Go functional first.
Get tough with yourself and decide what is a “need to have” versus a “want to have.” Then, tackle the “need” list first. If you don’t have wainscotting in the living room for six months, you’ll be just fine. If you don’t have a functioning toilet or kitchen sink, you won’t.
Once you’ve made your master list in descending order of need, you need to zoom out on the picture a bit. Would it make sense to go one room at a time? Or maybe it would be more logical to tackle multiple elements of several projects at once (e.g. painting all interior walls, or replacing carpet in all bedrooms). Efficiency becomes especially important if you are hiring help and not DIY-ing it.
Pick projects that pack a punch.
Next up, organize your priority list by what will have the biggest impact for the lowest cost. For example, updating hardware is a much smaller undertaking than ripping out and replacing old floors — and yet it can totally change a room. These projects are nice to take on toward the beginning of your renovations for several reasons: first, you’ll see major improvements with less effort; secondly, the momentum of a completed project will propel you toward your final goal.
First impressions matter.
Consider tackling the projects that have a big impact on the way people live and visit in heavily-used spaces. Think through your list — what do people see first? Replacing shutters for instant curb appeal or brightening up the living room paint can completely change a first impression, whereas a revamped laundry room may not.
Want to add a freshly updated look to your home’s exterior? We can help!
Remember: When it comes to home renovations, unless something is leaking or smoking, most things can wait. In fact, it may be good to live in a place for a while to see how you use it before you tackle renovations. And then, narrow your focus and take it one step at a time.
- Shutter Man
How Much Should You Spend on Home Renovations?
Thinking about remodeling a part of your house? Those who have renovated will be the first to tell you how difficult it is to stay within a budget. That said, home renovation restrictions are a necessary evil. Otherwise, it’s easy to let things slide here and there — only to look up and realize you’ve blown past your budget by thousands of dollars.
Before you lift a hammer, sit down with a pen and paper and think through some tough questions. Ahead, we’re covering how to best approach your home renovation budget.
How much does an average renovation cost?
Of course, costs can vary widely depending on your geographic location, room size, materials, and timeline. Unfortunately, some cities simply cost more money for labor. On average, though, here’s what people spend on common renovations:
Kitchen $12,000 – $33,000
Bathroom $6,000 – $14,000
Basement $10,000 – $27,000
How much to budget for each room:
The general renovation rule of thumb is to spend no more than 10 to 15 percent of your home’s total value on a single room. If you go beyond those parameters, the value of the renovation will not proportionally add to the value of your home.
Here’s a quick example: If you own a home worth $100,000, the maximum you should spend on a kitchen or bathroom renovation is $15,000.
Realistically, you’d want to spend much less than 15 percent of your home’s value on your powder room; comparatively, a bigger project like a kitchen may need all 15 percent.
This becomes important if you ever want to resell your home. If you think you will move within the next 10 years, you should definitely pay attention to this metric and limit your spending to what you might reasonably hope to get back.
Keep this in mind: Upgrading your home doesn’t have to mean a major renovation. Focusing on a few high-quality, impactful improvements can take your home to a new level without needing a demo day.
These upgrades could be as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint to every room, updating your kitchen hardware to look more modern, adding a bit of thoughtful landscaping, or getting all-new shutters installed.
Looking for inspiration on that last one? We can help!
- Shutter Man
Does Your Home Need Shutters?
To shutter or not to shutter — it’s an exterior decorating decision many homeowners struggle with. Beyond being classically stylish, shutters can add shape to a home.
The real answer to this question entirely depends on your home and personal preference. As you grapple with which decision is right for your home, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Will shutters bring balance to your home?
Depending on the shape of your house and the size of the windows, it may look absolutely naked and unfinished without shutters. Shutters can change the overall look of a house by adding structure and detail that makes the home appear more proportional. But decorative shutters are an accessory, and not a necessary element for every single home. (Functional shutters are another story, however!)
… or make it look off?
On some homes, shutters anywhere — but especially on the ground level — can look unbalanced or too heavy. This is often the case when you have asymmetrical windows, or a large, off-center window that looks into the living or dining room. Depending on the facade, shutters can be distracting and unbalanced.
Pro tip: A general guideline to keep in mind is that if your windows are wider than they are tall, you may need to skip the shutters. There are plenty of exceptions, but if you think about the original purpose of shutters, they would have needed to be big enough to close over windows to protect them!
Do you have ample space on either side of your window?
The area immediately adjacent to your windows is critical in your decision to get shutters or not. Trying to squeeze in a shutter on a dormer that simply doesn’t have space is worse than having no shutters at all. Once again, this answer totally depends on your specific home!
How many windows would need shutters?
Believe it or not, your house doesn’t have to be uniform across the board. For example, the upstairs windows — often bedrooms — may simply be too close together to fit shutters, but your downstairs windows may look unfinished without them. There’s no hard and fast and fast rule that says every window must be identical!
Remember: You can usually get the same shutter style smaller or bigger so that different-sized windows can still correspond.
Not all shutters are created equally. There are a wide range of options available, varying in style, materiality, functionality and size. Here at Monument Shutters, we offer composite, pine, vinyl and Bahama shutters — explore our collection and find the style best suited for your home now!
- Shutter Man
Should a Home’s Exterior Hardware Match?
When it comes to curb appeal, you’ll find a plethora of online opinions on everything from landscape design to paint colors. But you know what they say: The devil’s in the details, which brings us to today’s question: Does your exterior hardware need to match?
The short answer: No, but it’s your call.
From the door handle and knocker to the light fixtures and mail slot, there are several small — but significant — ways that your exterior finishes can make your home stand out in the best way. Here are a few tips to think about as you add exterior hardware to your home.
Consider your interior.
Beyond curb appeal, your exterior hardware sets the tone for what the rest of your home has to offer. You want to consider your home’s interior decor when selecting your exterior hardware — even if it isn’t an exact twin.
The key (no pun intended) is to focus on complementary finishes between inside and out, not matchy-matchy. Think of your facade as a first impression to all the wonderful things waiting within.
Contrast can work.
Think of your hardware as siblings, but not twins. You want them in the same family, but they don’t need to be identical. Mixing hardware shapes and finishes can quickly add an interesting dimension to a home — both indoors and out.
Strong contrasts in your hardware finishes can make a facade more interesting, but stick to about two thoughtful combinations. You don’t want too many conflicting design elements happening at once or it can feel like your eye doesn’t know where to look first.
Let your home’s personality shine.
Ultimately, it’s YOUR home — and the exterior should reflect that! If you’re not into strong contrasts, pick one finish that you absolutely love and run with it. There’s no true right or wrong when it comes to your exterior hardware matching.
It’s worth considering your neighborhood, the age and history of your home, and the design vibe you want to give off right away. In the end, your personal preference is the correct choice.
- Shutter Man