Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Does Owning A Pet Impact the Sale of Your Greenwich Home?


 Pets and Greenwich real estate have a love/hate/love relationship—a strong one. For prospective Greenwich buyers and renters who own pets, a home’s suitability can be a make-or-break element in their decision. But how the home sellers handle their own pet wrangling is another matter entirely.
The statistics give us a glimpse into just how consequential the issue has become. The majority (61%) of American households either have or plan to have a pet in the future—and of those who answered a real estate survey this year, 81% said it would influence their choice of residence. If you know many dog or cat owners (or are one yourself), that comes as no surprise. Ninety-nine percent consider their animals to be part of the family.
For Greenwich homeowners who are contemplating selling, there is a seemingly contradictory takeaway when it comes to all of this. There’s little doubt that if they have successfully created a safe and comfortable home for their own pet, it should be a plus for the 61% cited above. After all, it’s living proof that their own dog or cat will be right at home with minimal fuss, right?
Yes and no.  I never hesitate to point out the pet-friendly features of a property—especially when the prospective buyers have indicated that it’s on their own wish list. It’s a hallmark of 21st century Americans that whenever the subject of dogs or cats comes up, the ensuing conversation will quickly turn to the personality quirks of the current menagerie (if it doesn’t, those folks are petless).
Sooooo, you might assume that if a homeowner’s Greenwich real estate encompasses comfortable quarters for their own cat or dog, it would be a plus to have said creatures on display as part of a showing. But just about every Realtor® on the face of the planet will agree: not so! The near universal recommendation is to not only to send the family animals off for a temporary field trip anywhere else, but to put some effort into erasing the evidence of their recent presence—most particularly, odors! Lose the dog beds! Pack the kitty beds off somewhere in the garage! Pick up the dog toys! Stash the water dishes!
The fact is, the idea that dogs and cats can be comfortably housed on a property is a plus—but the actual dogs and cats themselves are a minus. Too distracting. Too personal. A major goal in showing a home is to enable the potential buyers to project their own personalities onto the property: to see themselves living there. A strange dog or kitty roaming around inhibits that. And there is another reason: people can be counted on to respond to the pet (especially dogs) one way or another—it’s quite likely to become the most powerful memory of the whole outing!


Monday, May 22, 2017

How To Maximize Property Value In Appraisals

You’ve probably heard the wry old saying: “Nothing clears the mind like the prospect of being hanged at dawn.” For some homeowners, you could add an equally wry modern Greenwich real estate version: “Nothing clears the mind like having a real estate appraiser drop by for a look-see.”

I’d like to counter that notion—there’s really not much to worry over when the Greenwich real estate appraiser is scheduled to make an appearance. The stress level can be lowered by keeping a few simple ideas in mind:

1. Appraisals aren’t showings. Sure, you want to have the house as spruced up and orderly as you would for any visitor. But your property doesn’t have to present the kind of perfection it will for an open house or prospective buyer showing. Experienced Greenwich appraisers aren’t looking for a 100% clutter-free, immaculate show-stopper of a home: they will be concentrating on physical details like square footage and structural and mechanical features. They are more like backstage workers than audience members—but neatness can’t hurt!
2. Paperwork is a plus. If they are available, dig out any floor plans or location plats you may have filed away. Also, the age of your home is one thing, but updated features can boost the end appraisal value. If you prepare a list of improvements and the years in which they were completed, it will make the appraiser’s job that much easier—and your Greenwich home’s appraisal that much better.
3. Curb appeal is the exception. Appraisals aren’t showings, but no one—even the professional who prepares your Greenwich appraisal—is immune to the “first impression” effect. Condition is a factor in any appraisal, so it will be worthwhile to be sure the front lawn is mowed and plantings trimmed. If the front doorway is in need of a paint refresher, it will be effort worth making.
4. Consideration helps. The appraiser’s job is part physical, so being considerate of that part of the appraisal process will be appreciated. Be sure that obstructions are cleared, that rooms are appropriately heated and cooled—and that Lassie and Garfield aren’t allowed to pester.
5. New good news is good news. If there have been positive changes in the neighborhood, it can’t hurt to let the appraiser know about them. Greenwich may be part of a rising market, but appraisers don’t speculate on future values. Supplying some positive neighborhood developments can be persuasive. 

There is another “nothing clears the mind” quote, too: Nothing clears the mind like buying property. That saying isn’t wry at all: it’s absolutely true! If you are setting out on your own Greenwich house hunt, I hope you’ll give me a call to help focus your search. And if you’re readying to sell your own Greenwich property (which puts you in the soon-to-be-visited-by-the-appraiser category) the same applies.