Spring Home Remodeling Tips

painting-1744956_640Before you know it Spring will be here in full force!

Before the list of items for your honey-do list get filled up it’s  good time to start thinking about the bigger projects that may be on the board for the season.

Remodeling, even a small room, is  a great way to invest in your homes value and your own enjoyment, but not all home improvements are created equal – we’ve put together a list of a few of the best ones to get the most bang for your buck!

Install or Upgrade Insulation
If there’s one thing we learn about during the great snowpocalypse of aught 16 was the importance of staying warm! Proper insulation in your home is the difference between not only having good protection against the cold itself but also against the high energy bills as well! Of all the updates you can do for your home insulation ranked as one of the highest returns on investment with most recouping upwards of 90% of the cost over time.

Garage Doors
If your garage faces an alley or side road it’s not such a big deal but if you’re garage is on the front of your house like most it takes up a considerable amount of the visual look of your home. This is why it’s good to make sure that it’s not only in good repair but that it looks as nice as possible – so consider updating it or adding a pop of color.

Hit The Deck
Believe it or not adding a nice deck to your home is among one of the top 5 improvements that adds value to a house. Everyone loves socializing during those long Summer evenings; it’s really a wise choice to make if you want to add an improvement and pamper yourself a little at the same time.

Siding
Literally the skin of your house, and it’s important! Not only does it help keep the weather out but it is also a big part of how you home looks on the outside as well. If your siding is in bad shape it’s definitely time to get it looked at, but otherwise consider a different color or style. An easy fix if your siding is still in good shape is just to give it a good pressure washing every so often to keep it looking nice and clean!

The beginning of the season is always the best time to make plans; whether you’re remodeling because you’re thinking of selling or just because you want to get more out of your home while you are in it there’s a number of things you can do. We’d love the chance to talk with you more about your home, and your ideas – feel free to get in touch!

Is Your House Just No Fun?

happy homeownersHome design doesn’t have to be stuffy! Interior decorating should say something about your style, and it’s okay that it does it with a bit of humor. But it can be difficult to balance your childhood whimsy with your grown up sensibilities. Here are some ways to add some fun to your home!

Start at the Front Door
It seems so simple: start at the beginning! Your front door is the very first thing most visitors will see when they come over, so start there. This can be as simple as a humorous welcome mat, or a cute door hanger that will make guests smile.

Color Me Impressed
If it’s the kids room this is easy: go WILD! Make the room a fun theme like a jungle or a spaceship! If this is for the other rooms of the house maybe go a little more grown up; think beyond paint. You can add fun pops of color to a room with fun pillows or a themed throw blanket.

Accessorize!
It’s a VERB! That’s right! The deal breakers are in the details, so don’t be afraid to take the time to add a little charm to any room by using the right accessories. It might be a little book of witty sayings on the coffee table, or a funny little picture over the commode in the bathroom. There are dozens of ways to add some fun using small items in just about any room – but don’t over do it!

Home Is Where the Art Is
Art. Paint it, collect it, hang it on the wall – it’s good for all of those things. And whether your tastes are modern, traditional, or eclectic you can always find some kind of art that will suit your style and add some fun to your hum drum home. There’s nothing more sad than a blank wall, so think about what you like and don’t be afraid to put it up, after all this is your new home!

Not quite ready to get to the decorating part? Still looking for a home to buy? Need to sell the one you’re in first? No matter what your situation we can help you make your next move the right one!

Best Kept Home Buyer Secrets

home buyer helpEverybody loves a good secret, a little wink wink inside tip, that in itself is no hidden knowledge.

Buying your first home can be really intimidating and first time home buyers are often full of questions, never having experienced real estate from the inside before; whether your new to the process or an old buying pro we’ve put together some good insight and guidelines to help you get the most for your dollar.

Keep It In Your Pocket
One of the worst things you can do when you’re considering buying a home is to start spending money. In fact, it’s likely wise to put a hold on big expenditures before you even begin looking for a home. Not only will you need all those funds for closing costs, moving, and other things but large purchases – specifically with credit can reflect poorly when it comes time to qualify for a home loan.

Get Pre-Qualified
Boom! Biggest, likely best thing you can do. Talk to a lender – your agent should be able to recommend a few – and see what you’ve got going on in the finance department and see what you still need to take care of. Getting pre-qualified for that home loan will take a lot of the hassle and waiting out of the first part of your home purchase; also keeps you from running around looking at houses that aren’t within your price range.

Don’t Play Romeo
It’s easy to get excited and emotional about the idea of a new home – especially when you find one that is just THE perfect one – but check your emotions at the door. Emotional buying at the market is bad, emotional buying a home can be devastating. Emotions change, your lifestyle will change, and so it’s important to look at your potential new home with a practical eye.

Always Get An Inspection
No, really. ALWAYS. Not having the home inspected is akin to buying a car site unseen without even sitting behind the wheel – much less taking it for a test drive. A home inspection can help you spot major issues as well as minor ones and will save you a lot of pain in the pocketbook.

Bid Boldly, But Be Smart
This isn’t a market for the feint of heart! Big boldly but understand your bid should be based on two things: how much you think the home is worth and how much home you can actually afford. Look at what other homes in the area that are similar have gone for and use that as your metering stick. Don’t be afraid to give a non-round number as a bid either, whether it’s a Jedi mind trick or just science, for some reason sellers often like an odd number as it stands out from all the typical offers they’ve received.

The best advice that’s no secret at all of course is to work with a qualified real estate professional who puts your needs first and listens to what you’ve got in mind. Haven’t found on yet? Get in touch!

Are You Buying The Right Home? Are You SURE?

home buyersThere’s nothing that quite compares to the feeling of first stepping foot into a new home. The time and effort put in to finding the home, getting through the paper work and procedures have finally paid off and that big breath relief hits you. Ahhh!

But before that golden moment there are a lot of things to consider; as a lot of work goes into that warm happy memory, it’s important to make sure we’ve made all the right decisions along the way. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of it all but here are a few rational questions you’ll want to ask yourself before you rush into a commitment to buy.

Condition
Unless you are buying new or having your home built this is one of the big items to really take your time with. Will this home need a new roof or other major repairs soon? Will we be in a flood plain? Is the landscape something too lush and extravagant for me to handle on my own? Fixer-upper homes have tons of potential but you have to be ready to own those rough edges until you can smooth them out the way you envision.

Pricing Counts
Even if your lender says the home of your dreams is within your reach you need to make sure you are actually comfortable with the monthly terms. The price of the house itself is not the only factor in the end cost either – don’t forget down payments, closing costs, and other fees (not to mention moving costs!) That new house “ahh moment” might not feel quite as fresh if you are living on ramen for the first year, so it’s always good to plan for more than is listed in the black and white details.

Size Matters
Is the home you’re considering big enough for you or your family? Right combination of bedrooms and baths? Could the living room be a little bigger, or do you need a separate office? You’ll want to make sure the home you select is going to have enough growing room for your needs – in most cases you can expand later but that is often costly.

Creature Comforts
Does your potential dream home have central air conditioning or heat? Maybe you have fantasies about a heated garage floor. Will having a two level house make it difficult for visiting guests? Are there adequate bathrooms to accommodate your traditional summer time patio bbq fiesta? Make sure you give these things some thought even though in most cases adjustments can be made, there should never be a reason to compromise.

Resale Potential
You just got here…and you’re thinking of moving already?! Well, statistics show that people move into a new home nearly every seven years on average. Life can throw some wild curve balls at us without warning; if you were forced to sell your home how easy would that task be? Having a home with high resale potential can help this item not be of concern. Whether it be the newness of the home, it’s location, or special features, generally most homes will have some element that lends them a little extra resale potential. Thinking about the future through home improvements is also a great way to not only protect but to also grow your home investment.

Thinking about all of these things while you are in the home finding mode is a great place to start. Some buyers will fall in love with over the top amenities that often seem attractive in the showing stage but later turn into real headaches. There’s nothing wrong with shooting for the moon, your house should be as fabulous as you can imagine it, but it also never hurts too keep your feet on the ground while your head is in the clouds.

Insanely Clever Moving Tips!

nicefamilyOne thing most people will agree on: moving will make you CRAZY! And while it’s true that moving can be one of the most physically and emotionally challenging tasks you can take on next to running the ironman marathon there are some ways to keep it clever and add some calm to the chaos. Check out these great ideas!

Think Outside the Box
Boxes are the go to way to pack your stuff, but they might not be the best way to go. For clothes, bulky items, things that squish, or even shoes a good ole plastic trash bag does great! They are durable and best of all they are great for packing in those tight in between empty spaces in the truck.

*bonus tip: if you have luggage use it to pack too! There’s no sense in moving an empty suitcase!

Don’t Pack Clutter
You’re moving to a new place; this is the perfect time for a fresh start! Use this time to de-clutter and get rid of junk you’ve just been holding on to, and whatever you do don’t pack it up and move it with you – it just makes more stuff to move and less usable space when you get where you’re going.

Skip the Bubblewrap
Yes, it’s great fun, and you’ll likely need the stress relief but bubble wrap can be expensive! Get creative and use tshirts and socks to wrap and pack some of your less breakable fragile items – this not only saves on cost and throwing away wrap, it acts as double purpose packing for clothes that you have to move anyway.

Label Doors
Everybody knows to label their boxes but one way to help movers or friends who might be helping is to label the doors of your new home when you get there. Just slap a piece of paper on the door for “Bobbi’s Room” and it will save you a ton of “where does this go?!” questions throughout the day.

Clear Plastic Bins
You can find these fairly affordable, so grab one for each member of the family. Use these clear plastic bins to pack up the more essential day to day items for each person – phone charger, favorite teddy bear, or important medicines. This will make it easier to find those must have items during the whirlwind of activity when the move happens.

Moving is a huge chore – especially if you take it on yourself – but using these simple tips will help make it hopefully just a little less crazy. Not sure if you’re ready to move? Is the market good? The best way to find out is to talk with a qualified real estate professional! Contact me today to find out how I can help!

Think You Don’t Need a REALTOR? Think Again!

thinking
Even with the amazing amounts of information online today regarding real estate, buying and selling homes, and market conditions real estate is still a complex industry; it is imperative to make sure you are not attempting to go it alone. It is crucial to find an honest, competent, agent who will represent your best interests throughout the entire process.

Here are some good things to keep in mind no matter which brokerage you choose:

Experience
Despite huge amounts of on-going education, like many industries, agents in real estate simply will not know how to deal with unusual situations without some experience. Therefore having an agent that has been out working in the market for a little while is only to your advantage. All real estate transactions are complex so having one that has been through the process itself numerous times is a real asset – be sure to ask your prospective agent how many transactions they’ve closed in the last year; ask about their general amount of time in the industry.

Availability
Real estate agents often have to handle multiple clients and offer scenarios at once. It is important that while you want an experienced agent that you don’t pick one that simply may have “too much going on” to help you with your needs. Especially if you are a first time buyer or seller it is important your chosen agent be able to spend a little extra time with you, educating you about the transaction process.

Knowledge
Not just knowledge about the type of house you want to buy, but also the info on the kinds of amenities in the area, schools, and what things are important to the way of life you are looking to lead. An agent knowledge should extend well beyond just the correct procedures in negotiating and shuffling papers. Make sure you work with an agent that knows the area!

So do some homework before you settle on an agent. Remember, chances are your home will be the biggest financial decision you make in your entire life. Having a qualified professional to help you navigate through the transaction will be absolutely necessary for success. Beyond that, trust your gut. Make sure the agent you select is someone you can trust and who you feel will be great at providing you with just the right service!