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Tips for Making Your Home Appealing to an Investor

By Michele Lerner

Home sellers have had a tough time the past few years, especially if they are trying to sell a property in an area glutted with other homes on the market and foreclosures.

One strategy for making your home be the one which jumps out of the crowd is to decide who should buy your home and make sure your property is actively marketed to that specific buyer. Working with an experienced real estate agent and/or a professional home stager can make you home look good, but thinking about how your home can appeal to particular buyers can also push the property from the “for sale” side of the market to “sold”.

Think About Investors

Now that the real estate market is showing signs of stabilization or improvement in different areas of the country, investors are beginning to reentry the market. As a seller, you need to recognize that investors are looking at property as a business, not a home. Investors are looking to buy a rental property.

So, while you may appreciate the fact that your home is within walking distance to a shopping center, the investor only cares about that amenity in relation to the bottom line. If the location will improve the value of the home over time, that’s great. If the location will make it easier to keep the home rented, too, that’s even better.

So how can you make your home noticeable to investors? First, you can ask your real estate agent to add a line in your home listing and other marketing materials that says, “Investors Welcome”.

Next, think about what investors want to find:

1. A home priced below market so that it will be a good investment over time and increase in value.

As a seller, you may already feel that your home is priced well below what it should sell for, especially if you bought it or were following price trends in the “boom years”. But if you are thinking about selling this home and buying another, then recognize that what you may lose on selling your current home can probably be made up by the money you’ll save as a buyer.

Spend a few minutes with a calculator and consider how much you are spending each month to keep your home marketable and for housing costs, then realize that you won’t have to spend that money once you have sold the home. (You’ll be spending other money, of course, on the next home, but presumably it’s more fun to lavish cash on your new purchase than maintaining your old one.)

2. A home which will be easy to keep consistently filled with renters.

Real estate agents tell most sellers to make their home as neutral as possible so buyers can visualize their own belongings in the residence. But when you are looking to appeal to renters, the home should be even more neutral and as easy to maintain as possible. In addition, try to think about the use of space in your home. This could be even more important if your property is near a city or a university where the renters will be roommates rather than a family.

Maximize the space available for privacy and even, if possible, for extra bedrooms. A two-bedroom home with a formal dining room might be marketable as a three-bedroom home if the dining room, or perhaps a study, could be converted to bedroom space. If you have a two-bedroom, two-bath home, emphasize the fact that roommates wouldn’t have to share a bathroom. Or perhaps your kitchen has extra cabinets or a pantry, another bonus if several people need to store food.

In other words, to sell to an investor, you need to think like one.

Michele Lerner, a real estate expert and freelance writer with 20 years of experience, is the author of “HOMEBUYING: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time”.

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