By Maria Patterson
RISMEDIA, June 9, 2009-While the real estate market continues to correct, buyers are confronted with an increasing number of opportunities. And for those Realtors who see it, there is opportunity for them as well-as long as they are prepared to do a little bit of work getting the property ready for resale.
While a bleak picture for many, foreclosure properties represent a once-in-a-lifetime chance for many first-time home buyers, a way for move-up buyers to get the bigger house they need, and a way for second-home buyers to secure the vacation home they’ve always dreamed of.
Getting a foreclosure property ready, however, means that the Realtor must be prepared-both mentally and financially-to take on home improvements and repairs.
For this, Lowe’s has committed, trained product specialists who are available to walk home buyers-and even their Realtors-through the home improvement process. From flooring to paint-and everything in between, no matter what the size of the project-Lowe’s can help. Following are 10 ways to make a foreclosure as resalable as possible…as soon as possible.
1. Exterior Paint. Peeling paint is one of the most common problems associated with foreclosure properties. Refreshing the exterior paint is a priority to begin attracting the interest of renters and buyers while you continue to work on repairs internally. Dark colors fade faster than light colors and absorb heat-something to consider in warmer climates. Light, neutral colors are your best bet for resale purposes or, if you are renting or selling in a vacation area, consider colors that complement the area, such as light or bright colors near the shore and earth tones in the mountains.
2. Electrical Work. Electrical safety is critical in the resale or rental of a property. Consult a licensed electrician to perform repairs or improvements. Consider installing safety products such as GFCI outlets and AFCIs. GFCI outlets automatically cut power if a ground fault occurs, meaning they will save your life if you somehow end up on the receiving end of an electric current. AFCIs are another safety measure that you install into the wiring itself. They detect arc faults that are a common cause of electrical fires, and break the circuit before fire breaks out.
3. HVAC Repairs. Consult an HVAC contractor to make sure air-conditioning systems are in good working order, a must for any prospective buyer or renter. Make sure the air-conditioning unit is working at optimal efficiency, as this will translate into savings on monthly utility bills.
4. Plumbing. Make sure all leaky faucets are repaired and parts, such as worn washers, springs and “o” rings, replaced. Then check to see if water flow is at all hindered in the property. A stopped drain in a bathroom or kitchen sink plumbing system is often the result of a clogged pipe. First, try chemical drain cleaners, then remove the elbow piping if necessary, to further investigate the clog.
5. Landscaping. Foreclosure properties often fall victim to overgrown lawns, shrubs and weeds. Start by mowing and pruning, and then address more serious issues, such as dead tree branches that could land on the home or power lines. An easy way to provide a clean and updated look to the landscaping-and add curb appeal to the property-is to edge the borders. Consider wood edging, brick or stone edging, metal edging or plastic edging.
6. Pests. Many abandoned properties develop pest problems due to stagnant water and general lack of upkeep. Immediately empty all stagnant water, find the source of any moisture that might be in the home and use over-the-counter repellants to rid the home of small pest problems. Hire a professional for any pest problems that are more serious.
7. Windows and Doors. Unfortunately, many foreclosure homes fall victim to vandalism. This can result in broken doors and smashed windows. Replacing doors and windows must be done
8. Floors and Stairways. Rotting wood in floors, doors, staircases and railings, a common issue found in foreclosure properties, must also be addressed immediately. Rot sometimes occurs in areas that are not visible to home inspectors, so this job may require the consultation of an expert in the area.
9. Interior Walls. Ripped wallpaper and chipped paint are not uncommon in foreclosure properties. Take down all wallpaper and repaint the interior in one or a series of neutral colors. This will make the home appeal to a broad spectrum of renters or buyers; using bright, unusual or darker colors narrows the pool of interested parties.
10. Appliances. Any home that goes on the market for sale or rental will fare much better with updated appliances. Many buyers, in fact, have come to expect this in today’s competitive real estate market. Foreclosure properties in affluent and/or resort areas may already have updated, high-end appliances. Properties in other areas will most likely be in need of new appliances.
For more information, please visit www.lowes.com/moving or log into your Lowe’s REALTOR® Benefits account at www.LowesRealtorBenefits.com to view the new Agent Resource Center, which includes helpful tips and offers from Lowe’s.
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