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PToday’s “Ask the Expert” column features Lance Malcolm, Chief Operations Officer with Contractor Connection.

Q: In what ways can real estate agents increase their value when working with customers who want to improve their homes?

A: As someone your clients trust as an expert when it comes to buying or selling their home, finding ways to advise them on adding value to that home can be a real difference-maker.

From remodels to repairs, you know there are always ways to increase the value of the home by investing in it, either before or after the sale. The key is understanding where the most value lies, and how to best achieve the homeowner’s vision. Many of you have a range of clients who have different needs and expectations based on their various circumstances. Some are always looking to have more room for their families; others are hoping to make their lives as comfortable as possible. Many homeowners want to make the most of their space by having the most up-to-date amenities. To do any of these things, it’s critical to have a licensed and insured contractor your clients can trust to complete their project timely and effectively.

With that in mind, here are three common areas in which you can help your customers who want to improve their homes, in turn increasing your value as their real estate agent.

1. Expand the Square Footage
Small homes that can accommodate the addition of square footage can be a great choice for buyers. But when it comes to planning these types of projects, hiring a highly qualified contractor is critical. You can help your clients increase the value and usability of their new home by pointing them to a resource, such as Contractor Connection, that can help them select the best contractor for the job. Doing so can make the difference between a successful project and one filled with headaches.

2. Explore Special Needs Modifications with Aging-in-Place Remodeling
You can help older homebuyers or those with disabilities see past a property’s limitations by suggesting simple modifications that can accommodate remaining in their home. A growing number of general contractors are offering specialized services for older homeowners and those with special needs. Changes to make a property safer and more comfortable can range from minor additions to extensive remodeling, but the goal is to ensure homeowners make a purchase that lasts for years to come.

3. Discuss FHA 203k Mortgage Loans
Most real estate agents have been there: You have a listing that has great bones or offers a lot of space for the money, but some aspects of its condition are likely to frighten most buyers away. With a unique financing option available for homes in need of renovation, you may actually have a property that’s more marketable than you think. The 203k loan insured by the FHA is designed to make financing for properties in disrepair more accessible by combining the estimated costs of repairs and the home’s purchase price in a single loan. Suggesting this option may help buyers see the possibilities in a property and lead to a sale. If you choose to market these homes, consider involving a general contractor who has experience meeting the loans’ unique requirements. Contractor Connection provides a free service that matches homeowners with a top-quality, thoroughly vetted contractor whose workmanship is warranted for three years.

Whether it’s adding a new roof, remodeling a kitchen, creating an additional room or anywhere in between, you can offer your clients a hassle-free way to find a qualified contractor to make those changes.

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