Tips to Maintain Your New Homes Value

dollasMany first time home buyers get a big surprise when their home values are different than what they thought they might be; unfortunately it’s rare to buy a home and have it’s value automatically climb with inflation or the market itself.

This is not to say that your home value cannot appreciate, but rather that it doesn’t generally happen overnight. Thankfully there are a few things you can do to help your new home hold it’s value over time – here are some tips to get you on the right path!

Fix Drafts
A drafty house is an inefficient house! Whether it’s Summer or Winter having your HVAC working double time just to keep up with temperature leaks can be a real money drain – when you live there and when it’s time to sell. Find and fix drafts throughout your home to insure that you’re not spending too much on energy costs and to help keep that home value stable.

Regular Ole Maintenance
It seems mundane and ordinary but the run of the mill stuff – that a lot of people just don’t pay attention to – are most often the things that can end up leading to costly repairs if not properly managed. This includes cleaning gutters, changing air filters, and having the furnace serviced – all common things to make sure you keep tabs on.

Landscaping and Curb Appeal
It’s easy to overlook the lawn, even though you walk by it every day, and believe it or not your yard plays a big role in your resale value. Many would-be buyers can be turned off and turned away if the curb appeal isn’t up to snuff. Turns out landscaping is one of the updates you can make to your home with the most return on investment.

Don’t Skimp On The Big Stuff
Need a new furnace? New roof? New Floor? Chances are unless you’re a contractor you don’t have the skill set needed to truly to those big jobs right; doing them wrong can be absolutely disastrous and cost you even more money by needing to have someone come back in and do it right. So don’t skimp! Hire a professional, chances are your agent knows several they can recommend.

Leary about selling? Not sure if the market is ready? Not sure if YOU are ready? Good news – we can help! Get in touch today to find out how a qualified real estate professional can help you avoid pitfalls and make the right choices throughout your next move!

Keep Your Home Safe On Vacation!

16222298Warmer weather has arrived and the days are already starting to get longer; this means it’s time to start thinking about getting out and enjoy a little vacation time.  Nothing can ruin the memories of that time well spent like returning home to find a disaster area. Common sense things like turning off water, having mail picked up, and  locking all the doors are easy to remember, but there are some things many people may not have considered.

Here are some things you can do to be proactive in keeping your home safe when you’re out of town.

Save The Status Updates
We know it’s difficult but you might want to save posting those pictures of the vacation until you get back from the trip. Believe it or not, would be evil doers now use social media to see if people are out of town and target their home. If you can’t resist the urge maybe only share pictures via private messages or to selected friends.

Knock Knock!
Of course someone is home! It might not be a bad idea, even if you don’t have pets, to hire a house sitter or talk to a trusted friend about coming over and just spending some time in your home to help make any potential door knockers believe that there is someone home.

Lights!
Burglars often will watch a home for some time and may know your schedule, so they will notice things like a lack of lights on in the house. So, leave a few lights on, or better yet get a timer to have lights come on at dark to give the illusion that someone is home.

What Needs Power
Go through the house before you leave and take a look at what actually needs to be plugged in and what doesn’t. Things like computers, steroes or TV’s that won’t be in use while you’re out can be a big power drain even when not on, worse yet if there is a power surge while you’re gone they might be damaged.

These few things can help keep your home a little bit safer while you’re away enjoying your leisure time. It never hurts to talk to your next door neighbors and let them know you’ll be away so they can keep an eye on the house as well.

Reasons Why FSBO’s Fail (And Why You Need A Realtor!)

Home-SoldEveryone wants a good deal. Unfortunately that’s the reason many homeowner’s take the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route instead of hiring a real estate professional. Either they think it will save them money, save them hassle, or they are just confident that they can navigate the process on their own. Fact is, there are some really good reasons why many FSBO efforts fail; they are the same reasons you like should work with a qualified REALTOR®.

Too Many People To Deal With
A person can only handle so much. You’re already dealing with getting the house ready to show, possibly still finding a new place, packing…and then you’re going to meet with the buyer, the buyers agent, your bank, the home inspector, the appraiser, and maybe even an attorney? It’s a full time job just keeping up!

Homeowner’s Don’t Know The Market…or How to Market…
Do you know the median home value for your area? Are you knowledgeable in the best ways to market and advertise your home for maximum return? There are any number of things that need to be taken care of before you even list your home; a good agent should know all of them.

The Process
There’s a lot more to selling a home than just putting a sign in the yard. Even after you’ve found a qualified buyer there are further challenges like the home inspection, home assessment and what to do about them – surprises lurking in your foundation or attic could kill the deal before it even starts. Speaking of qualifying buyers: that’s one of the biggest parts of the deal – just finding people not only interested in your home but who are financially able to buy it.

The Paperwork
This item alone should be caveat enough. Familiarity with the paperwork is essential and not knowing the correct processes can sink a sale quick! The sheer volume of the paperwork itself is another factor as well, not to mention that much of the paperwork itself must follow very specific timelines.

The old adage is true: Many hands make light work!
And considering that you’ll almost need to be in multiple places at once, besides having a familiarity with the system that only comes with experience, a skilled real estate professional is an invaluable asset when it comes time to sell your home.

Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets Right NOW!

cabinetsNo, seriously, do it. Do it NOW!

The kitchen is often thought of as the heart of the home; no one can argue that especially as the holidays get close it’s one of the busiest rooms in the whole house! That being the case it should be of extra importance that it look good and function as well as possible. A large part of the appearance of your kitchen of course are the cabinets. The cabinets in your kitchen really set the tone of the room – it’s too bad so many people choose drab over fab. If your conscience hasn’t already gotten the better of you here are a few more reasons to paint those cabinets!

Your Kitchen Is a Dungeon
Ok, so maybe that’s a bit overboard…but seriously, if your kitchen is dark and scary who’s going to want to spend time there? Dark colored cabinets that are old or dreary have got to go. A reflective surface for your backsplash will help further, by bouncing light around the room to make it feel more spacious. Think bright, light, and welcoming!

It Looks Like A Set From Starsky & Hutch
SOLID! But you don’t want to be superfly! If you’ve got old wood paneled or just out-dated looking cabinet styles in your kitchen it may be time for them to go. A coat of paint can take your cabinets from “meh” to masterful in just a day.

It’s Easy!
That’s right! It’s EASY! And that’s reason enough right there. A little sanding, and a little paint can really go a long way towards not only sprucing up your cabinets but also breathing new life into your entire kitchen. When it comes to bang for your buck painting your cabinets is among some of the most affordable ways to drastically change the feel of a room.

Great Kitchens SELL.
Period. End of statement. If there is one room in your home that can make or break the sale it’s the kitchen. If it’s perceived to be too small, or unwelcoming, it just might be the deal breaker that keeps your home from moving off the market and getting you maximum return for your dollar.

Whereas a complete renovation may cost too much, take too much time, or just be more than you want to deal with, painting your cabinets can really turn things around in a big way for not a whole lot of dollars out of pocket. Whether you’re looking to update your exiting home to sell or need to find a new place to call home get in touch – I know the local area and can help make your move the right one!

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

rhbr6r99Selling your home can be a real challenge; a unique process compared to buying a home or any other real estate transaction. It can be hard to know what to do and how to progress in the proper manner; it is for that reason that having an experienced real estate agent can make all the difference. We’ve put together a few hot button items to help you steer clear of some of the most common pitfalls when selling your home, but of
course always recommend working with a professional.

Make Sure the Time is Right
Don’t sell before you’re ready. Don’t sell before the market is ready. Don’t sell before the house is ready. Only you can know whether the time is right for you, your REALTOR® should know if the market is good, but you can do a lot on your own make sure the home is ready. Take care of any repairs that are outstanding, especially if they are major, to insure the best return on your investment.

Don’t Over Improve
What you consider an improvement might not be to the taste of the new owner; not all home improvements are the same either – some can return more or less when it comes to monetary value on return. You may love your new bright pink lady lair, but that coat of paint could cost you the sale if potential buyers aren’t so hot on that style. Lastly, if the improvements you choose are costly you may not recover their cost even if you do end up selling the home.

Don’t Play Hide And Seek
Selling a home is much like any other business, it needs to be based on trust and honesty. Considering that, don’t hide any details about your home or your finances that could pop up as potential pitfalls later on. Some less than desirable details about your house may be ill received, and even cost you a buyer or two, but that’s nothing compared to the fallout of having to deal with outraged buyers or even charges of fraud after the fact.

Simmer Down
Selling a home is a process, with a lot of money at stake, and it’s never a good idea to rush into ventures of that nature. Take time to plan not only your sale itself but the steps leading up to the sale – preparing the home, talking to the kids about the move, packing your home, and a myriad of other details. Don’t rush into thing, make sure the agent you choose is a good match for you and also knows the market. A little patience
can go a long way and even in a fast moving market it takes time for the sale itself to be processed.

Time to Move? Or Just Improve?

moveorimproveIt’s a fairly common thing, you’ve lived in your home for some years and either your lifestyle has changed, the kids have moved out or grown up, or maybe you’re just tired of the same old thing. You look around and simply need more space, or realize there’s just no way to reconfigure the floor plan without major changes. Whatever the case your long term plan didn’t include any of these things when you first set out; now it’s time to decide what to do in order to get it the way you want.

If you’re not sold on moving yet, consider revamping some of your living spaces. While not all home improvements are equal there are some that will add value to your home over others. A good place you can almost always regain value is by upping your curb appeal.

Start Small
Small remodel projects can make your home like a new place. Especially if you are getting that new big tub in the master bath or some other luxury you’ve always wanted as part of the deal. Small remodels are a great way to sate the need for change without the cost of a new home.

Demolition Man
It’s not a sin to up the ante and do a serious full remodel of your home. If you love the area, don’t want to move, and have the budget a remodel may provide you with the best of both worlds.

Color Your World
Repainting can really change the entire mood of your home. Consider a fresh coat in rooms that need a re-do; think about moving the furniture – or even getting new furniture – to turn those rooms around.

Maybe there is nothing to be done. Maybe it simply won’t work – you need more room, or less room – and have to make the move.

If that time has come we’re here to help! The real estate market is really moving; we’re seeing homes moving quickly – and even multiple offers! Given the limited number of homes for sale that might suit your needs it’s always a good idea to work with a qualified REALTOR® when the time comes.

Freshen Up Your Home for Spring!

5x1b8dmjSpring is here at last! With dust in the air one thing that comes to bear ever year is all the odors that have been sleeping during the Winter.

Despite the conditions of the floors being one of the items most directly correlated with cleanliness in a home it can be easy to overlook how smells impact the perception of your home until they hit you in the face. Here are some tips we’ve put together to help you keep those nasties at bay:

Mans Best Friend
It’s easy to think that musty smell is coming from your carpets, curtains or other upholstery, but fact is you may not need to look that far to find the culprit. Not to worry, there’s no need to throw out your favorite pup! Just make sure to give them regular baths and take care of grooming. Have a kitty? Keep that litter box at bay by cleaning it out frequently; using a little baking soda to help absorb smells.

Blossoming Scents
Fresh flowers are a great way to not only improve the visual aspects of a room but they can also bring in fresh spring-like smells. Don’t go blooming crazy of course! There can be too much of a good thing, but this is always great, especially if you have guests coming over – just make sure they don’t have allergies.

When Life Gives You Lemons
Lemons are a olfactory powerhouse – and they have a lot of uses for cleaning as well! Throw a “used” lemon into your garbage disposal with cold water to fight stink in the sink. A few peels from a lemon can keep that “fishy” smell down in your trashcan after seafood night.

Coffee to the Rescue!
Yes, this magical elixir is a life saver in any number of situations, but it can be used to fight odor and leave your room smelling great too! Just put some fresh ground coffee in a small bowl, leave it in a closed room overnight, and by the next day the smelly odors will be replaced with wonderful java aromas! You can put a little in a coffee filter and tie it shut to place in closets or footlockers as well.

Things Home Sellers Need to Do in 2015!

2015The new year is upon us and it’s time to embrace the change and seek a brighter tomorrow! For those considering selling their home the warmer Spring months ahead it’s prime time to get things ready for making the big move. Here are some tips for not only those looking to sell their home but also for those looking to spice up the place they’ve hung their hat for years already.

Get Creative.
Step back and really look at your space. Sometimes it helps to clear the room of furniture – and hey, with Spring cleaning, you were going to be doing that anyway right? Consider doing a full remodel, if it makes sense. Knock down a wall, but in a bar or kitchen island.

Bail on Beige.
Blah. Neutral. Beige. Off-white. Honestly, even taupe is better! Be bold! Claim your walls! Be mindful of current styles and trends, and maybe not go full chartreuse, but really…we can’t suggest this one enough.

Update your lighting.
Did 1995 call and tell you that 8 glass panel chandelier in the dining room was missing? Yeah. It’s like that. Consider not only new updated fixtures but also the bulbs themselves! Lighting has come a long way in the last 20 years; you could actually be saving yourself money.

Clean out the garage.
If you are going to be selling your home this just makes good sense. You’ll be making the task of moving a little bit easier. If you are not moving then it’s a good idea just because it will help you use the space more efficiently – imagine! being able to actually park your car…in the garage! It can happen! The legends are true! Start by getting rid of anything you haven’t seen or used in the last 5 years. Chances are, unless it’s a family treasure, you can do without it.

There are a hundred tips to get your house in tip-top shape! Most of them you can find on your own just by stopping and really taking a look around. From de-cluttering to just old fashioned cleaning and painting you can do a lot to make your home more sellable or to keep your house more livable for yourself!

Avoid These 5 Home Selling Mistakes!

home_houseMany homeowners have an ideal in mind when it comes time to put their home up for sale on the market.

Sold within days and at well over market value being the top of that list…and while it certainly can happen, it is the rare bird to find. Regardless of how reality based your vision of the home sale process may or may not be there are in fact a few things you can do to avoid making it any more difficult than it needs to be!

Don’t Hire the First Realtor You Meet.
(Unless it’s me!) All kidding aside, you really should shop around a little before choosing an agent to work with. Talking to family and friends who own their homes and find out who they worked with is always a good place to start. As you will be working closely with this individual, possibly for a period of time, you want to make sure you select someone who fits your needs.

Not Paying Attention to the Market.
You need to know what’s going on in your area. Are home prices in your neighborhood up or down? What’s the average price for a home with your homes features? These are all things a good agent can help you keep tabs on.

Don’t Ignore Your Agents Advice.
You hired them for a reason. They’ve worked in the industry and understand the market, and while you are in the drivers seat you would do well to heed the counsel of someone who’s been down this road before.

Don’t Hide Things.
Throw rugs over stains, furniture in front of your kids crayon masterpiece…these are all items you want to take care of before you go to sale. Don’t try to hide defects in the home from your agent or prospective buyers – it will only come back to haunt you in the end.

Don’t Over Price.
Everyone wants a good return on their investment…but the market only bares what it bares. Consider all the factors involved with setting a price and then be reasonable. Listen to what your agent has to say and if you do decide to go a little high stay positive – even if it takes longer to sell.

These simple tips can help your home selling process go a lot smoother no matter what your expectations going into it may be.

5 Powerhouse Tips to Sell Your Home

successstory2014 has had it’s ups and downs for sellers and buyers alike, but the real estate industry has finally settled down enough for many to return to consider selling their home. The sluggish recovery in housing starts is impacted by construction costs rising faster than inflation, labor shortages in the building trades, and the difficulty for small local home builders to obtain construction loans. According to the National Association of REALTORS  existing home sales in 2015 are expected to rise to over 5 million.

Here are 5 great tips to help you stay ahead of the trends:

Get Off the Sidelines
For sellers waiting for market improvements, they are here – so jump back in the game if the price is right. Buyers may have already missed the rock bottom deals that were around and that said, the rules have changed a bit; expect higher down payments than we saw in previous years. Sellers too should be aware that many buyers may now have a harder time qualifying as well due to these changes.

Renovate Wisely
Even though renovation and remodeling can add value to your home not all upgrades are created equal. Consider your options before making costly changes that might not actually benefit your selling price. Believe it or not sometimes it’s best to focus on the small things like repainting or minor fixes rather than extravagant builds that may or may not even be to your potential buyers tastes.

Make a Good Impression
Over 84% of potential buyers start their search for homes online, before they even talk to a REALTOR. Investing a few extra dollars from the get-go by paying for professional photos or video of your home can pay of big time in the long run.A REALTOR.COM survey showed that homes marketed with professional quality photographs sold for nearly 12% more than homes with bad or no images.

Don’t Be Afraid to Market
If you’re selling you need to put it out there! Give your agent the go ahead to market your home creatively throughout a number of venues. This includes traditional venues like print ads as well as newer options like social media. Show your listing on the agents website; ask them to blog about it or post it on their Facebook and Twitter pages as well. The internet is a global platform and can exponentially increase your homes exposure to a vast audience.

Little Details Make Big Differences
If you’re a buyer little things can make a world of difference. When you do a walk through switch on the stove, run the faucets, flush the toilets, run the air conditioning and put feet on the ground in the neighborhood. You aren’t just buying the house, you’re buying the area as well so get familiar with it.