Estimating the market value of your home isn’t a precise science. There are several factors that go into assessing the value of a home and the process is complicated by changes in the market that can sway home prices in either direction.

Since homes are so expensive and are such a huge investment, the pragmatist and worrier in us all wants it to be a clear cut decision backed up by facts. Unfortunately, no two people will ever arrive at precisely the same number for the value of a home. The good news is that you can use this ambiguity to your advantage when bargaining with prospective buyers.

To learn more about the six main factors that determine a home’s value, read on.

Condition

Homebuyers don’t want to walk into what could be their new house and discover months of expensive repairs and upgrades waiting for them. Especially for busy, young professionals there is great appeal in a home that is move-in ready. If your home needs some work, it will knock off some digits from your asking price.

Location

We would all love to say that having a home near the ocean or the mountains is our top priority. But, let’s face it–having a place that is close to your work and that is in a good school district will probably take precedence over our daydreams.

Location factors that add value to your home could include close proximity to schools, shopping, highways, and other amenities. However, if your home is far away from them or is in a neighborhood that appears run-down or dangerous you will find the value of your home decreasing.

An easy way to get a ballpark figure for your home value is to look up the value of other comparable homes in your neighborhood.

Age

Age is just a really expensive number. For some, buying an old home is a dream they’ve always had. Old homes have character and offer challenges when it comes to DIY repairs and renovations. For others, an old home means more headaches and more expensive utilities if it’s drafty or outdated.

Features

Curb appeal is important, but once your prospective buyers are inside you’ll have to keep them around with great, convenient household features. Lots of storage space, updated kitchens with new appliances, finished basements, or a beautiful backyard with a view can all add thousands to a home value.

Size

Square-footage is important to many homebuyers. In spite of the current trends around minimalism and being eco-friendly, the numbers show that Americans are buying increasingly larger homes and vehicles.

Market

You’ve probably heard the terms “buyer’s market” and “seller’s market” thrown around in conversations about real estate. They are essentially descriptions of the supply and demand of homes. Many buyers with few homes means you’re in a seller’s market, whereas a surplus of vacant homes and few prospective buyers means it’s a buyer’s market. This is closely tied to location, different cities and suburbs experience different rates of growth and decline depending on the local economy.

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Dogs, like humans, are territorial by nature. If a stranger came into your home unannounced you would likely react in either a fearful or aggressive manner. Dogs who are aggressive and protective are no different. Fortunately, there are training techniques that can be employed to help your pet grow more comfortable when you have company at your home. Whether you have an older dog who behaves aggressively toward visitors or you are raising a puppy that you want to train to be comfortable around strangers, here are some tips that can help.

Know your dog

Before you start training you need to understand exactly what makes your dog uncomfortable. With some dogs it may be a certain type of person (like a mail carrier or the oil delivery driver). With other dogs any stranger who comes in or near the home is a trigger. Determine the fine line between your dog’s comfort zone and where your dog becomes scared.

Employing a training partner

Start small by having a friend (someone your dog doesn’t know) walk past your home where the dog can see. The moment they show signs of fear, assure your dog that you have the situation under control. Scolding the dog, grabbing them, or otherwise exhibiting aggressive behavior toward your dog will only exacerbate their fears. You want them to know that you have the situation in control. Saying firmly and calmly, “I got it; I’m OK” will tell your dog that you see the stranger and you’re in control.

Oftentimes, dogs bark at strangers because they want us to be aware of the potential danger. Acknowledging your dog is vital in these situations. If your dog is the type who barks or growls at strangers, reward them with treats when they don’t bark as the “stranger” passes by your home.

From there, you can try other triggers with strangers outside the house such as ringing the doorbell or walking through the yard.

Let the stranger inside

After a few sessions working with the stranger outside your home, it’s time to introduce your dog to strangers inside their territory. If you think your dog will be aggressive toward the stranger, make sure you keep your dog leashed or basket-muzzled during the first visit. It will protect your training buddy and will help let your dog know you are in control.

Start by having a family member let the stranger in the home while you hold your dog leashed at length. If your dog barks at the stranger, attempt to get your dog’s attention and verbally reassure them you are okay; you are in control. Have your training partner avoid eye contact with your dog.

Once your dog calms down enough to stop barking, try having them follow commands for treats (sit, stay, etc.). If this is successful, have the stranger try tossing treats to the dog as well. If your dog is too nervous to eat, reward them with pets and other positive reinforcement (“Good girl!”).

Tips for productive training sessions

  • Try to keep your dog’s focus on you as often as you can. Use treats and positive reinforcement constantly
  • Exercise your dog before training if they are high-energy
  • Train in small increments; if your dog is afraid of strangers don’t start by introducing him/her to a party at your home
  • You need to be calm at all times while training. Your dog takes his/her cues from your behavior. If you get frustrated or anxious take a break and start again when you’re fully calm

 

 

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