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Giving You the Service You Deserve

Kevin Darrow






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Inside This Issue:


* Should you remodel before you sell?


* How to be sure your neighborhood is safe.


* Question of the Month: Prepping for your open house.


Should You Remodel Or Lower Your Price?


* I specialize in

First-Time Buyers!


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Should you make renovations to your home before you put it on the market or should you list it at a lower initial price and not spend the money for upgrades? Although there’s really no simple answer to this question (even most experts disagree), each option does have its benefits.

Yes! You should renovate before putting your home on the market. If your home is definitely in need of upgrades, spending the money makes sense. If you are considering any major renovations, you’ll want to have your real estate agent provide you with information about houses in your area in to determine what the norm is (number of bathrooms, kitchen types, average age of homes, etc.). If your home is “inferior” to other homes on the market in your neighborhood, take the plunge and complete any needed upgrades. However, be careful that you don’t go overboard. If your renovations are over the top, your home may end up being too pricey for your neighborhood.

No! Instead of making upgrades, list your home at a lower price. In many cases, you might not be able to recoup your remodeling costs when it comes time to sell your home. Also, if you’re worried about your house sitting on the market longer than you want it to, you may be better off if you forgo any major renovations and instead concentrate on listing your home at a much more competitive price. This doesn’t mean that you need to underprice your home, however. You just need to price it according to what the current market will bear—and according to the current value of your house in its current condition. Once again, your real estate agent can help you in this area.

In the end, the smart thing for you to do may be a combination of remodeling and lowering your list price, so make sure to discuss your options with your real estate agent. ∆


A Message

From Kevin


I hope that you find this newsletter helpful and informative. Feel free to call me anytime with any questions you may have. I look forward to being able to help you with your real estate needs!


         — Kevin


A Safe Haven? Check Out the Neighborhood Before You Buy


You’ve found the perfect home. It’s the perfect size. It has the perfect yard, perfect amenities and perfect view from the bay windows in the family room. It seems to be in the perfect neighborhood as well.

But how can you really be sure that it’s in the perfect neighborhood?

Before you buy, you should take a very close look at how safe your potential neighborhood is, or you may find out—too late—that your new home isn’t in such a safe area after all.

The first step in researching your potential neighborhood is to check crime statistics on the Internet. Some good websites you may want to review are NeighborhoodScout.com, SpotCrime.com and CrimeMapping.com, although there are plenty of other useful sites out there including real estate sites Zillow.com and Trulia.com. You can also get good information online from your local newspaper and community forums or Facebook pages.

However, just browsing online may not be enough. To get better crime statistics, go to the local police station that serves the neighborhood of your potential home and ask them for a report on all dispatched calls to the area. Most police stations are more than happy to provide this information—and you may be surprised by what you find on that report.

After your visit to the police station, walk through the neighborhood at night as well as during the day. Are there people loitering at odd hours? Is the area well-lit at night? And most importantly, do you feel safe or feel uncomfortable? The bottom line is that if you don’t feel safe walking in the area near your potential home now, do you think you will ever feel safe?

Another step in checking out the neighborhood is to talk to local business owners, community groups and the city hall. All three of these sources can provide good info about the safety of the area. Local business owners are an especially good source as they can be very candid about the safety of the area.

Finally, don’t be afraid to knock on a few doors and talk to your potential neighbors. Ask them specifically about safety issues. Have there been any problems or incidents in the neighborhood recently? Is there a community association and/or a neighborhood watch program? Chances are good that you’ll get all the information you need and more. Plus, you’ll get a head start on meeting your new neighbors—truly an important part of your new home. ∆


January's Question of the Month




Although packing up anything that you can lift may be a little extreme (such as your microwave or house plants or lamps), you should definitely consider “de-personalizing” your house and removing any clutter. When prospective buyers tour your house, they often envision how their belongings will fit. Not only do they try to imagine where their furniture goes, but they also mentally place personal items like pictures. By putting your personal items temporarily into storage, you can help those potential buyers better “connect” with your home. Also, by removing clutter, you open up the house and give the appearance of more space. A room that has a lot of clutter will look smaller than it actually is. Cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms are prime candidates for clutter removal as well. Prospective buyers will likely look through your cabinets and may be put off if your cabinets are packed. They may end up thinking, How in the world will my stuff ever fit in this small space? So, as a general rule, try to keep clutter to a minimum. It just may be the difference between selling your house quickly and not selling it at all. ∆


Kevin Darrow, Realtor®

Darrow Properties & Associates


Direct Office Line: 202.465.8000


Cell: 212.465.6547


Fax: 212.465.8005



Kevin Darrow

Giving You the Service You Deserve



Darrow Properties & Associates 746 East Street New York, NY 10002

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