One of the basic things that people prepare for in their end of life planning is their property. A family home, for example, is often passed down to the couple's children or next of kin. Often, though, the people who inherit the property don't think about what they'll do with the home once that happens.
If you've inherited a property but there are no advanced directives attached, there are a few options.
Every family is different. If the property has been lefts to siblings or multiple family members equally, you'll need to be in agreement as to how the property is managed. Ideally, all parties will reach an amicable agreement but you can also enter into mediation to make sure everyone's best interest is met and the asset is fairly divided.
The state of the home at the time you inherit it is an important factor. There may still be a mortgage or a reverse mortgage on the home, and those payments will need to be taken up immediately.
There are three basic options for an inherited property:
An inherited property can offer a great blessing in financial gain, but it can also be a good deal of work. If your decision is to keep or rent out the property, make sure all parties are on board for the level of commitment that means to save yourself from tension in the future.
When you’re creating a landscaping plan for your home it is essential to design around the local climate and weather patterns. When you opt for plants that thrive in your area, you know they are well equipt to handle the seasonal changes specific to your location. This adaptation makes them easier to care for and less dependent on extra watering. It is especially important to integrate this kind of landscaping when there is some level of drought occurring where you live.
Drought tolerant landscaping is a beautiful way to save on water usage. The good news is that creating a more drought-tolerant yard doesn't necessarily mean removing all of the plantings you currently have.
Large trees are a great asset, plan on keeping those. Well placed trees provide shade for your home and garden which can be an energy saver all year long. Shade trees also allow a diverse variety of plants to grow comfortably and provides nesting habitat for birds and other native wildlife.
A drought-tolerant landscape typically includes little to no grass. Grass requires regular watering to keep it green and thriving. Lawn watering can be expensive and seasonally limited by the town or city where you reside. Opting to replace even a section of your lawn with a rock garden or wildflowers is guaranteed to reduce your water bill.
Focus on plants local to your area. These plants have evolved to handle the local climate and will have the best chance of growing with little to no input from you. In general, using rocks or wood pellets instead of grass for ground covering will serve you well. Try lava rock to cut down on erosion and help the soil retain more water. Install ground cloth under the rock bed or add mulch to curb weed growth and protect your native plants from insects. For an added boost for your plantings, add compost to your soil before the mulch.
An irrigation system could be a helpful addition to your landscape because it allows you to control where and how much you’re watering. If you have an irrigation system in place be sure to have it serviced regularly, especially if you have made changes to the plantings or green areas in your yard.
If you’re considering installing a new system, an efficient option is a grey-water system. Grey-water irrigation allows for the reuse of water from your in-home sinks, washing machines, showers, and bathtubs to water your plants.
The right landscaping can boost your curb appeal and property value to the next level. Ask your real estate agent for their advice and professional landscaper recommendations in your area.
For a homeowner who wants to make green improvements and renovations to their personal property, the Conditions, Covenants & Restrictions, or CC&Rs, of the local homeowner association can pose problems that cost time, money and freedom of choice. This is especially true for homeowners who wish to make structural or aesthetic changes to existing homes. Here are only a few of the battles you might face when the local HOA discovers your plans for going green in a traditional or historic neighborhood.
While some HOAs may interfere with your choice of color of solar panels, others may not permit them at all. It's an aesthetic dilemma. Allowing solar panels on one home differentiates it from the others. In a community that's built upon history or tradition, individuality is rarely a good thing. If you're thinking of adding solar panels to a home that's governed by an HOA, you may be forced to buy certain-colored panels, or you may be banned from adding them at all. Consider this before buying a home, if you plan to make green upgrades in an area that features a homeowner association.
Windows that feature double-paned glass or visible solar tints may get you in hot water with your HOA. Changing out historic windows and doors for more energy-efficient versions should be advantageous, right? Not if doing so sets your home apart from your neighbors or your condo unit apart from the rest of the building. If you want those new, modern windows that lower the cost of your energy bill over time, and you live in a home regulated by an HOA, prepare to fight for your right for window replacement.
Cool metal roofing is all the rage for homeowners who live in dramatic climates. Cooler in summer and warmer in winter, they'd be a big improvement over those old cedar shakes your home is currently rocking. But you'll probably never experience the convenience of cool metal if you live in an historic area where cedar shakes abound. While your HOA can't prevent you from repairing or replacing a failing roof, they can legally limit the materials you use to do it.
While homeowner associations do a lot for the communities they serve, they can cause consternation to those homeowners who place value on energy efficiency above historic appeal. If you're planning to buy or renovate a home that's regulated by the CC&Rs of the local HOA, make sure you completely understand the limitations they impose before you buy. Once in, you're bound by the rules you agreed to follow, even if it means sacrificing energy efficiency in lieu of tradition.
You’ve finally decided to sell your home and now you want the REALTOR® to show you the money! While that sounds like it can happen at the snap of a finger, there are a few things to consider. Are you selling for a profit or is your goal to make the biggest profit you can? If it’s the latter, here are a few things you can do:
Staging your home can bring in big bucks. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 77% of REALTORS® agree that buyers who can visualize a staged property as their future home makes a difference.
Who are you selling to? Are your buyers people who have children and want a nice neighborhood? Are they wanting a move-in ready home? Unless they are buying solely for the neighborhood, the condition of the home has a lot to do with their decision.
Let’s face it – social media and digital marketing are one of the best ways to connect with potential buyers. Adding a 3D element where they can “walk through” will not only create additional interest, but widens the number of people that may add your property to their list. An additional plus would be if you could upload the floor plans, any warranty and maintenance records to show how well you took care of the home.
If you think buyers aren’t looking at the exterior of the home, think again. They want to see the home in its best light – that means pressure cleaning or painting the exterior, washing the windows, repairing any cracks in the driveway and investing in landscaping.
Upgrades to the kitchen and bathrooms truly make your home stand out. New appliances, eat-in arrangements and lighting have a lasting effect. Have some water or something to drink in the refrigerator and make sure it’s clean. Buyers do peek. If you can afford new, inexpensive flooring that speaks to the environment, that will be a positive in your favor.
Painting the walls in a neutral color lightens up the space and allows potential buyers to consider what their furniture would look like in the space
The more you can get rid of so buyers can see an actual representation of how much space they will have the better. Your staging should demonstrate different ways the spaces can be utilized, giving them a wealth of ideas.
Installing ceiling fans, smart home tech and other simple touches can instantly put your home at the top of the list.
These are just a few ways your home can help you get top dollar for your home to move forward with a smile on your face. For more tips on getting your home ready to sell for top dollar, work with your REALTOR® for awesome results.