Ayelet Gilad

Alpharetta Living, Real Estate and Community

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Swimming Pools: Do They Add Value or Turn Buyers Off?

Sparkling blue water, especially when it’s lit up at night – what’s not to love about a swimming pool in your backyard? If you have one, you may feel blessed. If you don’t, and are considering adding one, hang on a minute.

Who Wants a Pool?

According to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, middle-aged buyers with teenagers at home comprise the biggest market segment for homes with swimming pools. This makes sense when you consider how dangerous an unfenced pool is for families with toddlers.

Another segment of homebuyers who may find a pool desirable are younger couples who entertain frequently. There has been a lot of emphasis over the past few years on outdoor entertainment areas, including outdoor kitchens, fire pits, fireplaces and seating areas. A swimming pool frequently figures into these plans.

Location Always Counts

“Location, location, location” may just be a trite real estate mantra, but it is important nonetheless. If you live in Hawaii, Florida or the Southwest, a pool is far more in demand than for homes in Minnesota, Alaska or North Dakota.

Then, drill down your location even further. Even if you live in the desert climate of the Southwest, if there’s a community pool a block away, installing a pool at home may be a waste of money. On the other hand, if your neighbors all have pools, you should probably consider putting one in.

How Big is Your Lot?

Lot size is a huge factor in deciding whether or not to have a swimming pool installed. Remember, if you have a small lot and the pool takes up the entire backyard, you are removing your home from consideration by buyers with small children and buyers who garden or entertain. Pet owners and young families typically want grassy areas where their pets and kids can play safely. Many seniors like to putter in the yard. If there is no room for any backyard activity other than swimming, you narrow the buyer field dramatically.

What is the Home’s Value Right Now?

One of the most important factors to consider when thinking about adding a pool as a home improvement project is to not over-improve for the neighborhood. If you own a modest tract home in a neighborhood of similar homes, a pool may be overkill. The value of your home can only rise to that of the most expensive home in the area.

Owners of luxury homes in higher-priced neighborhoods with roomy backyards that appeal to buyers looking for a certain lifestyle may be able to justify the expense of installing a swimming pool. In fact, if you own a luxury home without a pool, you may lose buyers.

Type and Condition of the Pool

It should probably go without saying: If the pool is in poor condition or dirty, it will not add value to the home. If the pool is outdated, it won’t add value. If the pool hasn’t been maintained, the appraiser may even deduct from the home’s value, according to Tim Page, owner of Appraisals by Page in Spokane, Washington. He suggests that if your pool is of the above-ground variety, it is considered personal property and it won’t factor into the home’s value. Be that as it may, if it is in poor condition it may turn off buyers, so take it down.

Factor in the Ongoing Cost of a Pool

Ongoing home maintenance costs are a turn-off for many buyers, and a pool may be a maintenance nightmare for them. Aside from the cost of pool installation, ongoing maintenance tasks such as heating and cleaning the pool, as well as the ongoing cost of a swimming pool, may be prohibitive to many buyers.

Does a Pool Add Value?

Most real estate agents will tell you that pools do not add value to a home, and for the most part this is true. What value a pool may add is small – typically about 8 percent of the home’s value, according to the National Association of Realtors® National Center for Real Estate Research. The margin of increase is larger for homes in the southern U.S., Florida and Hawaii.

The decision to install a swimming pool should be based on your personal lifestyle and desire, not whether it will add value to the home.

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The Misconception About Closing Costs

Closing cost are the fees assocaited with the closing of the mortgage and unlike most people mistakingly think, they are the sole responsibility of the buyer, and not the seller’s responsibility. This misconception stems from the fact that as part of the negotiation of the deal, the seller pays for the closing cost. Indeed, more than 75% of the transactions last year had the closing costs paid by the sellers (in various %).

Basically, the closing costs are a cash amount, that together with the down payment, the buyer needs to “bring to the table” Often, an offer on a house will include the request to cover (partially or fully) the closing costs. If the seller agrees to this concession it means less cash for him, as this will come out of his net amount, and for the buyer it means – less cash to bring to the transaction.

If you have the cash, my advice would be to pay for the closing costs yourself, as it means that you can give a “clean offer”. This is of great importance in today’s market, which is becoming more and more seller’s market and you and your offer may be competing with other buyers & offers.

Need more info? Don’t hesitate to contact me for a free consultation! I’m always here to help!

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Is Your Front Door Welcoming?

Creating indoor/outdoor transitions that welcome and complement your home can add to your home’s curb appeal and value. People often think only about the value of their house and what’s going on inside, but your front door is the first impression your visitors get of your home. Make it a good one.

Entries That Welcome

These days, many homeowners in the United States use their garage as their everyday entry to their home. They rarely enter their home the way their guest will, through the front door.

Have you ever been invited to someone’s home and discovered when you got there that you aren’t sure where you were supposed to enter? Or perhaps the front entry is so dark and overgrown that it feels scary and unwelcoming? One of the most important indoor/outdoor transitions at your home is the sequence people experience from the instant they arrive at the curb to the moment they enter through your front door. So, what can you do?

Make it Obvious

Guests should not have to wonder whether they should enter through your front door, a side door, or through the garage. Make the entry you want guests to use obvious by providing a clear path and making it visible from the street. Use containers of plants, lighting, or a wreath on the door to signify the importance of that entry.

Light it Up

Provide adequate outdoor lighting, not just at the front door, but along the path guests will use to walk from the street to your door. This is especially important if there are a number of stairs guests must climb and descend to get to and from your home. Your guests will appreciate a well-lit path, and the chances of someone injuring themselves on the way to your front door will be reduced. There are a wide variety of lighting options available to homeowners. You can choose anything from low-voltage and solar landscape lighting to step lights and LED rope lights that can be imbedded into concrete walls and stair risers.

Make it Safe

As mentioned before, visibility from the street is very important. This goes beyond simply allowing visitors to see the location of the front door. We often think of high fences and gates as mechanisms to keep out intruders, but once someone has breached that barrier, a high fence becomes a hiding place behind which to lurk. Fences and walls can be designed to keep intruders out while still allowing views in. High, solid fences and large evergreen shrubs near entryways should be avoided. Avoid built elements and plantings that block views or create a confined space. Your guests should feel safe when waiting for you to answer your front door.


The act of welcoming your guests does not start when you open your front door; it begins the moment they drive up and park their car at the curb. What does the entry sequence at your front door say about you? Walk across the street and take a look. Walk the path your guests will use several times and think about the experience. What works? What needs to change?

Do you feel welcome?

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Why I Appreciate “For Sale By Owner”

I must warn you in advance, as the title implies, this is a bit of a sarcastic post. Now that I gave you a fair warning, let’s get to discuss the “For Sale By Owners” sellers. I always appreciate entrepreneur  who wants to save money or make big bucks on the back of professionals.

So why do home sellers do it? Why instead of using skilled prefoessionals that have the experience, knowledge and resources to do it for them. they go and try to sell by themselves? They probably think they can do it by themselves or they might have had a bad past experience with a realtor. Also, some owners think that their house is worth more than what a real-estate agent told them it’s worth – I call this reason “The Denial Factor” or they just simply want to save the cost of commission

The reasons above are all valid reasons to why try and do it yourself. However, home sellers should be aware of the statics! The data show that  only 9% of “For sale by owner” home sellers succeed in selling their house by themselves and 1/3 of those 9% sold their house to a relative, a neighbor of a friend.  The list to price  ratio is  usually lower and stands around 80% as compared to transactions via real estate agent (the data are form the National Association of Realtor, 2012 profiles of home buyers and sellers).

Lastly, there is no subsitutue to the amount of exposure that I can get for your house and make sure it’s visible to the right audience, on the web especiaaly. With today’s technology, more than 80% of buyers found their homes on the internet, this kind of power is irreplaceable and I can make sure your house get this attention and exposure . To sum it up, while you might be handy and one of those DIY type of guy or a girl – selling your house is not really the DYI kind of task, so contact me today and find out how I can help you! And I’m always here to help!

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Hey Sellers – Are You Ready For Multiple Offers?

This past weekend, a house went on the market. The house was certainly overpriced but because there’s nothing in the market now, or anything else worth checking – there were a lot of eager clients coming to the  showing and 8 offers were put on this house within 3 days. It might surprise you, but this happened even though, the house wasn’t upgraded or in top notch conditions,  nonetheless they received multiple offers and these were competitive offers. As I recently shared with you – this is because there just aren’t many options out there but there is an abundance of interested buyers who want to buy now and don’t want to wait till spring.

If you are considering selling your house, you should consider how to price your house to get to multiple offers; several strategies exist when it comes to pricing your house and I’d be happy to discuss them with you (click here to contact me).  Sellers should think it through and decide, as part of their selling strategy, whether they’d like to  disclose the fact there are multiple offeres or not. Since buyers are humans too, some love the competition and will gladly jump into the competition and get into a bidding war, but some buyers may be scared off, and would rather wait to the next house, as they are just not competitive by nature.

Once you get your multiple offers, sellers should know to differentiate the good and sustainable offers from the rest of the pack, i.e. what is the offer with the highest probability to get to closing. And this is again, something only a well seasoned agent like me can help you with! Thus, you should remember that an offer is comprised of a number of parts and different terms: price, closing costs that may have been asked to be paid by the seller, date of closing, special stipulations and concession requested from the seller. True, the first thing most people think about is the higher the price – the better the offer. However, what if you are in disagreement about the closing date because you want to close now but the buyer wants to close in 2 months? Clearly, this might not be the best offer for you!

A not less important thing to consider when estimating the different offers is how financially strong the buyer is? Are they cash buyers that don’t need financial contingency?  How much earnest money are they willing to pay? Is their mortgage pre-approved by a reputable lender?

Now, don’t be overwhelmed! I am always here to help you, if you are considering selling your house – come and have a coffee with me!

However, just because the market is shifting towards a seller’s market. Don’t think that you can just list your house and show it as is. The house should be decluttered and staged, clean and organized. You still need to make the effort to tidy it up so there is a great incentive for buyers to put an offer on your house. Click on the link for more seller resources.

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What Are The Most Important Parts Of The House To The Average Buyer?

In continuum of our latest post about whether you should remodel your house before you sell,  we thought you should know that an upgraded kitchen and master bedroom will make your house more likable to any buyer! Nonetheless, they will like your house more, just because of that compare to any other houses with outdates kitchen and master bathroom.

Should you  renovate your kitchen and/ or the master bathroom to sell faster and for higher price? Well, in all honesty – it depended. Talk to us and will make sure to go over your specific details, your area and neighborhood.  So before you “over-improve” your house and lose the money, find out what’s suitable for your house by contacting the Ayelet Gilad Home Team today!

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Should You Remodel Prior To Putting Your House On The Market?

Is improving your house will make it sell faster? Will you get more money for a recently renovated house?

Unfortunately, there is not a straight answer to this. It really depends!  Renovations and remodeling can definitely make your home more sellable and compatible to buyers taste. However, while some renovations can benefit the selling process and yield a higher price,  some renovations would only help you sell the house faster without increasing its value. Since cost of renovations and recouping the money when selling the house depends on the area, checkout this table, which summarizes the cost of the project, the resale value and the $ recouped for a variety of projects ranging from deck edition to kitchen remodeling to door replacement.

How can you decide if you should renovate or not? Contact us for your free consultation.