Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Let the Little Things Make the Lasting Impression - Green Garages Help Sell Homes

Trouble selling a home in this market is far from a rarity. Fact remains, millions of homeowners spread across every demographic, representing progressive urban dwellings, traditional metropolitan suburban communities, and rural American towns are still finding great difficulty selling their homes. Economic statistics have begun to suggest that the housing downturn has begun to stabilize indicating that prices may be nearing the bottom. Problem is there are not enough prospective buyers to match the vast surplus of inventory remaining in the market.

What, then, is the difference maker? Why do some homes sell while other persist unsold. Certainly, community characteristics such as schools, household median income, community crime rates, and other socioeconomic factors contribute tremendously to a buyer’s decision.  However, differences in a home’s design, livability and aesthetic appeal play an even greater role in selling because they are the characteristics that YOU have the power to control.
Through cable network channels such as HGTV and TLC, the dissemination of tips, trends, and trade secrets of the real estate community have reached even the novice homebuyer/ home seller.  Enhancing curb appeal by improving landscaping & applying fresh paint, upgrading kitchen fixtures and appliances, and remodeling outdated bathrooms are great ways to improve the chance of selling a home; however, buyers know to look for such improvements, and coincidentally, so do other home sellers on the market. Improving on these areas will certainly contribute to the value of your home, but you still might need an added way to distinguish your home from the rest of the marketplace in order to sell.
So where to make the changes that will deliver the most value to your home, your wallet, and your ability to sell?
Although your real estate agent will undoubtedly lead prospective buyers into your house via the front door to highlight your foyer and entrance way, it could also be in avoidance of your garage.
Whether peeking to catch a glimpse of where they might park the family Mini Van or SUV or the prized sports car of a lifetime of hard work and savings; hide the kids Christmas or birthday presents; help their 16 year old son rebuild his dream car; store the golf clubs, skis or holiday decorations; or just see what will welcome them home each day after work, soccer practice, or a weekend at the lake.  According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal in 2008, 70% of American homeowners and their guests will enter the house through the garage, not the front door.
So while your agent might try to wow potential buyers with your home by taking them through the front, they cannot remove the importance of the garage from the buyers’ minds. There are many, inexpensive and a few cost-free ways to upgrade your garage changing its dynamic from an eyesore and embarrassment to a point of pride and a great selling feature. 
1. Remove clutter – whether you are trying to sell you house or not, be honest with yourself. Many families hold onto needless junk thinking it will serve some unknown future purpose, but when the future becomes the present, more often than not, that item will be outdated, unusable, or simply forgotten
2.  Apply a fresh coat of paint – whether your walls are concrete block or drywall, years of gentle bumps and scrapes against the walls leave their mark. Fixing holes and painting will help transform the garage into the feel of a room instead of neglected space
upscale_garage.jpg3. Apply a garage floor coating* – garage floor coatings come in many forms at various prices from the Do it Yourself Garage floor paints and epoxy systems that can be bought at Home Depot and Lowes to high end concrete coatings applied by certified application crews. If a cheap fix is what you want, and you are not concerned with quality, using a store bought paint or epoxy will do. However, these products will not last. Within months of typical wear and use, they will begin to peel, blister, and become more of an eye sore than to plain concrete before. New polyurea systems have come available on the market in recent years, and trained application crews conduct thorough preparation work and product application in less than a day. A garage application takes less than 10 hours from start to finish and generally costs less than $2500 for a 400 square foot garage. Many companies are offering long term warranties on both product and labor for these services, guaranteeing the product for as many as 10 years.
4. Install shelving and cabinetry* - if high-end is the market you want to achieve, then installation of quality cabinetry is a very useful way to appeal to this class of buyers. Whether a homeowner is looking to store crafts and decorations or motor parts and sports equipment, high-quality installations are a must. Full service garage companies are offering these services and the craftsmanship of the products is much higher than that of store bought products.

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