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The information provided has the purpose in assisting you in selling your property, and it reflects both common practices and the experience of Piramide Real Estate Brokers.

Pricing Right.

The most important factor when selling your home is pricing the property right. A home priced above market value is difficult and may be impossible to sell. Pricing below market value will help speed the sale if the property is in good condition. However, it will result in unfulfilled capital gain for the owner. Special circumstances may justify pricing a property above or below market value. These are owner determined and need to be analyzed when considering selling. Occasionally a property may have been improved beyond its market value. These properties, even when the improvements are done in excellent taste, are difficult to sell if priced above the market value for the area.

Comparable Sales:

The easiest way to get a ballpark figure on the value of your property is by studying comparable sales. That is, what has been the recent selling price of properties similar to yours in your immediate neighborhood. In the new property market, prices are set by the developer and usually depend on lot and construction size, and factors such as "view". However, in the re-sale market, properties tend to reflect the value of other homes in the area. In this fashion, higher priced properties tend to increase the value of lower valued homes and vise-versa.

Appraisal:

Sometimes it is difficult to objectively assess the value of one’s own property. Many real estate professionals will recommend an appraisal if they are unsure, or uncomfortable, with the asking price set by the owner. It is always a good idea to have a professional "market value" appraisal conducted on your property prior to setting the selling price.

Asking Price:

Very seldom will a buyer pay asking price for a property. In Puerto Rico a fair amount of bargaining takes place. Therefore, when setting the price for your property, consider giving yourself some bargaining space.

Value Added Improvements:

How much are the improvements you made to your property worth? In general, you can divide improvements between those that add value to the home, and those that make the property easier to sell (if aesthetically pleasing).

New construction:

Any increase in the total sq. ft of construction immediately adds value to your home, and this value is reflected on appraisal. The use to which this new construction is put to influences the amount ($’s) per sq. ft. allowed by the appraiser. An increase in living area provides premium return. Increasing the size of the garage or putting in a terrace also increases the value, but at a diminished rate. Converting a terrace into a living area increases the value of the property, as does converting a garage into a living area. However, in this latter case, you will be penalized for not having a garage, unless a "new" garage is built.

Swimming pools, Spas, etc.

 For this type of improvement you may consider a 1 to 1 increase in property value. That is, if the pool cost was $ 20,000.00, the property value will increase by a similar amount. Changing carpets for tiled floors is also in this category, as Puerto Ricans much prefer tiles over wall-to-wall carpeting.

Remodeled kitchen, bathrooms, etc.

 An appraiser will only note the condition of the kitchen, or bathrooms. Those in excellent condition will be mentioned by the appraiser and given a fixed value. Investing in gold fixtures or state-of-the-art appliances, for example, will only cause a modest increase in the appraisal value, but may make the property more attractive to the buyer, if done in good taste.

Air Conditioning.

There are three main types of air conditioning (A/C) from the value added perspective:

Window units:

In general they do not add value to the home, but make the property easier to sell.

Split Units:

quieter and more efficient than window units, they are now seen more frequently in Puerto Rico. They add from 50 to 75% of their value to their property. That is, an investment of $ 10,000.00 on split units will add from $ 5,000.00 to $ 7,500.00 to the property, and are a definite plus when selling.

Central Air:

Considered as part of the price when included by the developer, they do not add to the overall property value. However, when included as an add-on on properties not originally equipped with them, they are a definite incentive to buy and can add up to 200 % their cost to the value of the property. A caveat: the design must be clean, without protruding lines or wires, and definitely without water filtrations.

Haphazard or improvements in poor taste

 Haphazard or improvements in poor taste will detract from the value of the property. Therefore, always make sure any improvements are well done and aesthetically pleasing for the majority of the population. Improvements for a "specialized taste" will make the property difficult to sell and may detract from the value of the property. Among these are painting interior or exterior walls of unusual colors, and the use of mirrors or wallpaper.

Expenses Associated with Selling:

Anyone in the process of selling a home needs to be aware of the expenses related to this transaction. These include:

  • Payment of existing mortgages or loans secured by the property.

  • Real Estate Agent Commission (usually between 4 and 6% of the final selling price).

  • Closing costs of the sale.

  • Other costs not properly part of closing costs.

    • Back taxes owed on the property. Any taxes owed on the property will be retained at closing.

    • Maintenance fees. If your property is located in a condominium or development, a letter stating that all dues are paid is needed. Any dues owed at the moment of closing will be deducted at the time of closing.

Showing the Property:

All your effort in selling your home is condensed in the few minutes the prospective buyer spends inspecting the property. Therefore, keeping in mind a few guidelines will enhance the experience and increase the likelihood of appealing to the buyer:

  • Your home should be "tidy" at the time of showing. It does not need to be "picture-perfect" but neither should it be as if "a-hurricane-went-through-it" condition.

  • If you have abundant furniture, consider removing some of the pieces, specially of items that interfere with the free circulation within the property.

  • Make sure the property is well lit and ventilated. Open drapes and turn on lights to make the property easy to see. If possible, open windows or turn on the air conditioner to avoid a stuffy feeling.

  • Encourage perspective buyers to feel free to look, and encourage them to open any and all closets and cabinets for inspection.

  • If soiled, consider painting walls and doors, and having the carpets professionally cleaned. A small investment at this time will help secure a better price for your property.

  • Make sure all electrical and plumbing connections are tidy and in working order. Dangling wires and leaking faucets are indicative of poor maintenance.

  • Keep your garden clean and trimmed. Expensive landscaping is not necessary, but the property should indicate proper maintenance.

  • Wall cracks and leaky roofs should be professionally repaired. Painting over covers the defects only to cause you legal trouble further on.

  • Pools, spas and ponds should be clean and in working order.

  • Don't be obstructive, stand inconspicuously so the customers feel free to look around at their leisure.

  • Don't chatter.  Be available to answer specific questions but don't carry on.

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