How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House

Your home will look nicer, and painting may add value, too!

If you’re starting to feel like your home could use a facelift, painting can be one of the most cost-efficient ways to freshen the look—and it might even be a good way to improve the value of your home. Depending on how you approach the work, however, the cost can vary widely. Here are some of the factors to consider, and how to decide whether it is the right move for you.

Cost of Painting the Exterior
According to HomeAdvisor, it costs an average of $2,832 to paint the exterior of your home, though that price can range from $1,710 to $3,975. There are also several factors that can influence how much it costs to paint the exterior of your home.

  • The material of your home: Painting wood and vinyl siding cost about $1 per square foot less than painting stucco or brick.
  • Size of your home: As you might expect, the bigger your house, the more paint it will take to cover the exterior. You will also pay more in labor costs.
  • Type of paint used: There is an enormous range of paint quality, and high-end brands may cost twice as much as lower-grade paints. While it does not much matter whether you use an oil-based or latex-based paint, your choice of finish can affect the price. In general, paint with matte finish costs less than high-gloss paint.
  • Who does the work: Labor can easily be your biggest expense? Typically, paint pros charge between $25 and $75 per hour. Typically, though, contractors will offer a flat rate bid for the project.

Cost of Painting the Interior
Interior paint costs are driven by many of the same factors, including the size of the home, which rooms you focus on, and the type of paint you use. The condition of your walls matters, too. If yours have major stains or uneven surfaces, you may need one or more coats of primer to ensure smooth coverage, which can add to the total cost. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of painting the interior of a home is $1,776. It can range from $964 to $2,739 for an entire home, while an individual room may run you somewhere between $200 and $1,000.

NOTE: One thing to keep in mind as you choose paint for the interior is that a matte finish, though less expensive, is harder to clean. So, if you have children and/or pets, you may want to spring for the higher-cost gloss finish so that it is easier to clean and looks nice longer.

While not many homeowners are willing and able to tackle exterior paint jobs, painting the inside of your home can make a good do-it-yourself home improvement project, and you will save a substantial amount of money on labor costs. Just make sure you have the tools and the time to tackle the job properly.

Pros of Painting Your House
Painting your home can be a hassle, but offers some advantages compared to other home improvement options.

  • It is relatively easy to manage costs.
  • You may enjoy living in a fresher-looking space.
  • It is among the most cost-effective ways to make your home sell faster on a budget.

Cons of Painting Your House

  • While painting your home can be cost-effective if you are not careful it could set you back.
  • The wrong color can actually reduce the value of your home.
  • If you do not accurately estimate square footage and labor costs, it may prove more expensive than you thought.
  • If you can only afford lower-quality paint, you may need to re-do the job in a few years.

Will Painting Increase Your Home’s Value?
Home improvement projects that increase curb appeal—that is, the look of your home—have among the biggest payoffs in terms of return on investment. With that said, there is a good chance that you will recoup the money you spend on painting if you plan to sell in the next year or two, while the paint job still looks new. But color choice matters. A 2019 Zillow analysis found that houses painted yellow sold for about $3,500 less than expected.  The study also found that bold colors are out, while “warm modernism and organic accents” are the current trends.

Accents matter too. Zillow found that a black door can help boost your home’s sale value by up to more than $6,000. But do not take that as a hint to paint the entire house that color. The study found that palette contrasts in general, such as kitchens with different upper and lower cabinet colors, helped owners nab a higher sale price.

The Bottom Line

If you’re wondering how much it costs to paint a house, the answer ultimately depends on the size of your home, the type and quality of paint, who does the work, and if you’re tackling both the interior and exterior. Save money by doing it yourself, looking for paint sales at large improvement stores, and choosing the right colors so that you can hopefully add value to your home.

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Why rent when you can buy it?! Beautiful ranch – move-in condition, cute as a button! 2 Beds, 1 bath, eat-in kitchen, living room, formal dining room, freshly painted, recessed lighting, newer backsplash in the kitchen, stainless steel appliances. Central air, 1 car width driveway, 1 attached garage. Beautifully landscaped backyard perfect for entertaining, all fenced. Low taxes! Property is close to Edison Schools. Conveniently located by all major highways, shopping, and more! This home is a must-see!

How to Interview a Real Estate Agent

Things You Should Know Before You Sign an Agreement

Smart consumers will interview several potential real estate agents before they settle on which one they want to work with, and good agents are selective about their clients, too. Just as you’re sizing up a good fit, the real estate agent will likely be interviewing you as well. Be wary of agents who don’t ask you questions and probe for your motivation.

The interview stage of the relationship is important for everyone involved. You can interview the agent over the phone, or get together at his office for the first meeting. But don’t expect a top-producing agent to meet you at your home before you’ve made a selection.

You’ll also want to confine the questions you’ll ask your realtor to certain areas, but be sure to hit on these 10 areas if they’re important. You don’t want to overlook critical issues.

How Long Have You Been in the Business?

The standard joke is that there’s nothing wrong with a new agent that a little experience can’t fix, but that’s not to say that freshly-licensed agents can’t be good ones. Much depends on the level of their training and whether they have access to competent mentors.

A newer agent might have more time to concentrate on you unless he’s holding down another job. You can ask about this as well.

That said, there’s no bar exam for real estate agents, and no school offers a degree in how to handle problems in a transaction. Agents learn on the job. The more sales an agent has completed, the more he knows.1 It’s even possible that he’s taken courses and attended seminars, and it’s OK to ask about this, too.

What’s Your Average List-Price-To-Sales-Price Ratio?

An agent’s average ratio depends on the market. A good buyer’s agent should be able to negotiate a sales price that’s lower than the list price, at least if you take sizzling sellers’ markets out of the equation. A competent listing agent should have a track record for negotiating sales prices that are very close to list prices.

Listing agents should have higher ratios that are closer to 100%, while buyer’s agents’ ratios should fall below 99%.2 Keep in mind that sometimes market value has no bearing on the asking price, and ratios are meaningless in this case. Don’t put too much emphasis on them.

You might also want to find out just where most of these homes were located. Is the agent familiar with the neighborhood you’re interested in or where your property is located? This area-knowledge can be an important consideration.

What’s Your Best Marketing Plan or Strategy for My Needs?

You’ll want to know how the agent plans to search for your new home if you’re a buyer, and how many homes she thinks you’re likely to see before you find the one you want. Will you be competing against other buyers? How does the agent handle multiple offers?

As a seller, you’ll want to know exactly how the agent will market your home. Is a direct mail campaign appropriate? Where and how often does she advertise? What kind of photography does she offer? Does she market online? What steps will she take to prepare your home for sale?

Ask if there’s anything about your home that might detract from its potential for sale. Perhaps, you could remedy and avert the problem.

Can You Provide References?

You might not need references if the agent has tons of reviews online, and some experienced agents might feel insulted if you ask for them, but a new agent most likely won’t.

Even brand new agents should have references from previous employers. Ask to see them and find out whether any of the individuals are related to the agent. Find out if you can call the references with any additional questions.

What Are the Top Three Things That Separate You From Your Competition?

A good agent won’t hesitate to answer this question and should be ready to fire off several reasons why he’s best suited for the job. Everyone has their standards, but most consumers say they’re looking for agents who say that they’re honest, trustworthy, assertive, and excellent negotiators.

He might tell you that he’s always available by phone or e-mail, or that he’s a good communicator. He might indicate that he’s friendly and able to maintain his sense of humor under trying circumstances—and there will be some.

It all comes down to the characteristics and qualifications that you value most.

Can I Review Documents Ahead of Time?

A good real estate agent will make important forms available to you for preview before you’re required to sign them. Ask for these documents upfront, if at all possible. And, make sure during the interview stage that an agent is agreeable to this.

As a buyer, ask for copies of the buyer’s broker agreement. Is it exclusive or non-exclusive?3 Ask for copies of agency disclosures, any purchase agreements, and buyer disclosures.

You’ll also want to see the agency disclosure if you’re the seller.4 Ask for a copy of the listing agreement as well, and of your seller disclosure.

How Will You Help Me Find Other Professionals?

Your agent should be able and more than willing to supply you with a written list of vendors such as mortgage brokers, home inspectors, and title companies.5 Let her explain who she works with and why she chooses these particular professionals.

Ask for an explanation if you see the term “affiliated” anywhere. This designation could mean that the agent and her broker are receiving compensation from that particular vendor. If so, you could be paying a premium for the service.

How Much Do You Charge?

Don’t ask if the fee is negotiable because all real estate fees are negotiable. Agents typically charge from 1% to 6% to represent one side of a transaction, either the seller or the buyer. A listing agent might charge 3.5% for herself and another 3.5% for the buyer’s agent for a total of 7%.6

The adage that you get what you pay for is also true in real estate. Top agents tend to charge more.

What Kind of Guarantee Do You Offer?

Will the agent let you cancel the listing or buying agreement if you sign only to realize later that you’re unhappy with the arrangement? Will the agent stand behind their service to you? What is their company’s policy about canceled agreements? Has anybody ever canceled an agreement with her before?

What Haven’t I Asked You That You Think I Should Know?

Pay close attention to how the real estate agent answers this question. There’s often something else you might need to know, something you forgot to mention. You want an agent who will take the time to answer this one and make sure you feel comfortable and secure with her knowledge and experience. She should know how to listen, how to counsel you, and how to ask the right questions to find out what she needs to know to serve you better.

The Bottom Line

Not all real estate agents will welcome an opportunity to be interviewed, and top agents probably won’t want to fill out a survey. Try to limit your questions to the most important issues for you and your needs. And, don’t interview agents from the same company.

BY ELIZABETH WEINTRAUB Updated May 22, 2020

How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

Some local governments require that sellers provide buyers with a detailed home inspection while giving the buyer the option to obtain their own inspection. In other parts of the country, the seller only provides disclosures, and the buyer pays for their own home inspection. Whether you’re producing a seller’s home inspection for the buyer or expecting the buyer’s home inspector to show up on your doorstep, it’s best to be thoroughly prepared.

 

  1. Clean the House
    It sounds so simple, but homeowners often overlook this tactic. Home inspectors are people first and inspectors second. As people, they carry preconceived ideas about how well a home has been maintained. A clean home says that you care about the house. It’s a good idea to make a good impression. Don’t make the mistake of thinking inspectors can see past dirt and clutter because they can’t.
  2. Be on Time
    Have the house ready for inspection at 8:30 if an inspector makes an appointment with you for 9:00 a.m. Sometimes home inspectors are early.
    It’s also common for inspectors to start on the exterior of the home, so leave the shades down or drapes drawn until you’re dressed. More than one unprepared seller has been surprised by a stranger stomping around in the backyard.
  3. Leave the Utilities Connected
    The home inspector will turn on the stove, run the dishwasher, and test the furnace and air conditioning, so leave the utilities on if the house is vacant. It’s impossible to check receptacles for grounding and reverse polarity if the power is turned off. Without utilities, the inspector will have to reschedule, which could delay the closing of your transaction. It could also trigger the removal of the buyer’s home inspection contingency. Some inspectors will charge the buyer a reinspection fee to make a return trip, and this can cause ill will, too.
  4. Leave Space Around the Furnace and Water Heaters
    Remove boxes, bookcases, furniture, and anything else that’s blocking access to your furnace, air conditioner, and water heater. The inspector will need three to four feet of working space to inspect these items. Inspectors generally won’t move anything themselves, so they might suggest a specialist to the buyer if they don’t have reasonable access. They’ll let someone else deal with it. Buyers might then hire a specialist who will undoubtedly find more things wrong. Specialists have a lot more knowledge than general inspectors.
  5. Keep the Pilot Lights Ignited
    Many home inspectors will also refuse to light pilot lights because they don’t carry enough insurance to be covered for that type of liability or risk. Important items such as the water heater, gas stove, or furnace won’t be inspected if your pilot lights aren’t lit, and the buyer could delay closing until those inspections are completed. Again, the inspector will probably charge extra to make a return trip.
  6. Provide Access to the Attic & Garage
    The inspector must get into your basement and/or attic as well, so keep a path cleared. Check for water in the basement. Move all boxes and stored items away from the walls by at least two feet. Vacuum spider webs. Look in the attic for possible rodent droppings, and secure any valuables.
  7. Leave Keys for Outbuildings and Electrical Boxes
    Leave the remote controls for your garage door opener or a key if the garage is unattached to the house. Unlock the covers for your sprinkler system and electrical box. Leave a key for exterior building access. You can label these keys and leave them on a kitchen table.
  8. Clear Away Brush From Exterior Inspection Points
    Nobody expects you to shovel a tunnel around your home if snow drifts are blocking the foundation, but do provide a path around the house. Cut down dead tree branches and clear brush from the foundation in the summer months, and move trash cans away to provide easy access.
  9. Provide Repair Documents
    Make available all invoices and documents regarding remodeling projects or new items you’ve installed, such as a roof or furnace. Find the paperwork if you’ve upgraded the electrical system from ungrounded to grounded, installed a new dishwasher, or repaired a leaky faucet. It will give the buyer peace of mind to know those items were reinspected.
  10. Prepare to Be Away for at Least Three Hours
    Buyers will often accompany the home inspector, and buyers feel uncomfortable asking questions if the owner is present. Try to schedule a time for the inspection when you can be out of the house, and take your children with you. Crate your pets if you can’t remove them from the premises. Many inspections can take up to three hours to complete. Walk around your property to get a view of the areas the inspector will be looking closely at wiring, plumbing, drainage, gutters, and foundation. You don’t have to be an expert, and you’re not trying to pinpoint problems before the inspector does. Just make sure the areas are easily accessible, clean, and well maintained.

Hope these tips help you get through the home inspection process! For more information, please contact me at c.732.910.1682 or email me at debkerr@kw.com. 

5 Coronavirus Real Estate Myths Everyone Thinks Are True—Debunked

Over the past few decades, we have experienced the ups and downs of the real estate market. Some of us remember when the interest rate skyrocketed as high as 19%! Now we’ve experienced something entirely different regarding health. However, as has been said, “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.” Interest rates are the lowest ever and houses are selling quickly, with multiple offers over the selling price. This article should assist in understanding the current real estate market. If you are ready to make a move, I am here to help you with all your Real Estate needs! Deb Kerr – 732.910.1682
Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of New House.

Every day, our conversations online and off are filled with “did you hear this yet?” news about the coronavirus pandemic. And, alas, not all of what you hear is true—particularly when it comes to real estate.

For instance: Do you assume, as many do, that it’s a terrible time to sell a home since real estate prices are plummeting? On the contrary, the latest data shows that home prices and buyer demand are through the roof. Or have you heard that the coronavirus has forced all city dwellers to flee to the burbs? Some have, but the mass exodus you might envision is by no means the reality.

There’s a potential cost to these misguided beliefs: missing out on some profitable opportunities. For instance, home sellers sitting on the sidelines might be passing up the chance to make tons of money on their sale. Meanwhile, home buyers who wrongly assume they can’t schedule home tours right now might be forfeiting their chance to snag their dream home this summer—at record-low interest rates no less.

To help you separate the truths from the half-truths from the utter falsehoods that might be filling your social media feeds, here are five prevalent myths about real estate during the COVID-19 pandemic—and some much-needed reality checks.

1. It’s a terrible time to sell your home

Many home sellers who may have hoped to put their house on the market this summer have put those plans on hold. In early July, new home listings dropped 14% compared with a year ago, and total home inventory was 32% lower, according to realtor.com®’s Weekly Housing Trends report for July 11.

But on the contrary, the latest statistics suggest that now is one of the best times in years to sell a home for several reasons.

“Given the pandemic and uncertainty it’s caused, the general sentiment [among some owners] is that now is not a good time to sell your home,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com. “Yet so far, the data suggests the opposite—that buyers outnumber sellers in the housing market, which means it’s better to be a seller than a buyer.”

The aforementioned low housing inventory is one reason why those who do list their homes will enjoy a strong seller’s market, characterized by bidding wars that could fetch them a high price.

“Multiple offers could be fairly common over the next few months,” predicts Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors®.

“As long as buyer demand remains strong, I expect the market to remain tipped in favor of sellers,” says Hale.

2. Home prices are plummeting

Data shows just the opposite: Home prices are actually rising.

According to the NAR, the national median price for single-family homes grew 7.7% during the first quarter of 2020, to $274,600.

“We’re seeing home prices grow faster than pre-COVID-19,” Hale says. “In fact, they are on pace with the home price growth we saw this time last year.”

The reason is record-low mortgage rates.

“Record-low mortgage rates boost buying power,” Yun says, “and, when combined with a lack of supply, will result in higher and higher home prices.”

3. Buyers are holding off on home purchases

According to NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index (a forward-looking glimpse at home sales based on contract signings), pending home sales jumped 44.3% in May, the largest month-over-month increase since the index’s inception in 2001.

Record-low interest rates are driving much of the buyer demand, Hale says.

Mortgage interest rates dipped below 3% for the first time in 50 years, to 2.98% as of July 16, according to Freddie Mac.

“Certainly low interest rates help,” says Karl Jacob, CEO of LoanSnap. “You can lock in a rate that you just wouldn’t even have been able to imagine six, seven months ago.”

One caveat: Not all borrowers will qualify for the lowest interest rate, Jacob says. A borrower’s debt-to-income ratio and credit score typically affect the type of loan and interest rates, so someone with large amounts of debt or a low credit score may be offered a higher rate.

And although the market is booming now, it may not remain that way for long depending on what unfolds.

“If [COVID-19] cases worsen and that leads to a broad reversal of reopenings, this could cause longer-term job loss that would put a dent in buyer demand,” says Hale.

4. Homes can’t be viewed in person

As states issued stay-at-home and social distancing mandates to stop the spread of COVID-19, many in-person home showings and open houses were put on hold temporarily in favor of virtual home tours. But by now, most of these restrictions are being lifted across the country so homes can be viewed in person—and real estate agents are taking extra precautions to protect buyers and sellers.

Peggy Zabakolas, a licensed real estate broker with Nest Seekers International, who specializes in Manhattan and Hamptons markets, says she’s been showing homes virtually. If a buyer is interested, she schedules an in-person showing that follows social distancing guidelines, and requires everyone involved to fill out a COVID-19 disclosure form and limitation of liability form. And, she’s sure to have gloves, masks, shoe coverings, and hand sanitizer on hand.

Hale says she’s also heard some real estate agents are requiring potential buyers to have pre-approval letters or review a home inspection report before they can see a home in person.

“These extra steps also weed out the nonserious buyers,” Zabakolas says. “If someone is willing to go through all those steps and then schedule a physical tour, you know they are serious.”

Important to note: With infection rates in some parts of the country rising, some restrictions on home showings may take hold again. Check with your local real estate professionals for current guidelines.

5. Everyone’s fleeing cities for the suburbs

This is probably the most rampant myth of all, and it certainly makes sense from a pure impulse level. Since urban centers like New York City make social distancing far more challenging than in less densely populated areas, why wouldn’t city dwellers flee en masse and try to buy a house in the burbs?

Well, this is only partly true. Yes, listings in the suburbs are drawing more attention these days. In May, the number of views on properties with suburban ZIP codes increased 13%, almost double those in urban areas, according to realtor.com data.

“We have seen home-buying demand recover faster in the suburbs and rural areas than urban areas,” Hale says. “There’s also evidence of home shoppers in cities that were hit early and hard by COVID-19, such as New York and Philadelphia, seeking homes in nearby smaller communities at a higher pace, like the Poconos.”

That doesn’t mean everyone is fleeing to the suburbs, though.

For one, unless you’re extremely wealthy, it’s not that easy to pick up and move. This is particularly true since, while a few companies have announced that their employees can work from home indefinitely, most firms haven’t decided yet whether their employees will one day have to return to the office.

As a result, many of those people surfing suburban real estate listings might not be all that serious about following through. They might fantasize about moving, but when it comes to making an offer on a house and packing up their belongings, many may prefer to stay put and see how the coronavirus pandemic shakes out first.

“This pandemic, although bad, will eventually pass,” points out Jacob. “And when it does, are people really going to stop wanting to be in a city? I just don’t think that’s the case. Even though you can get delivery from Grubhub every night, it doesn’t mean you’re never going to want to go out to a restaurant, and if you have to drive 30 minutes to a restaurant versus being able to walk around the corner, that’s a different lifestyle.”

1511 Tooz Pl. South Plainfield NJ – $499,900

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