We often talk about the financial reasons why buying a home makes sense. But, more often than not, the emotional reasons are the more powerful or compelling reasons.
No matter what shape or size your living space is, the concept and feeling of home can mean different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the emotional reasons why we choose to buy our own homes are typically more important to us than the financial ones.
1. Owning your home offers stability to start and raise a family
From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchase may have this in the back of their minds as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase.
2. There’s no place like home
Owning your own home offers you not only safety and security, but also a comfortable place that allows you to relax after a long day!
3. You have more space for you and your family
Whether your family is expanding, an older family member is moving in, or you need to have a large backyard for your pets, you can take this all into consideration when buying your dream home!
4. You have control over renovations, updates, and style
Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Or maybe you want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?
Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home. I can work with you in a comfortable manner. Together we can explore your options for your purchase. You don’t need a high credit score (580 and above work!), or a lot of money to put down. There are many programs which provide the down payment assistance you may be looking for. Reach out to me at 480-570-0220 or Kelley@Kelleysfinehomes.com to share a confidential conversation about your road to home-ownership. Click to visit my website
Nothing says “Ready to Buy” like a home that has been newly painted! Smudges, scuffs, chips, dark or dated colors will set a negative tone for buyers. Neutral colors are good, but they come in a variety of warm and cool, tan and grey values so get some professional tips prior to painting. Cool grays add a nice modernizing touch while outdated indoor faux finishes scream 1990’s for today’s buyers. This is particularly important for the main floor and Master Bedroom/Bath.
2) INSTALL NEW CARPET
Paint and carpet is to a new house as tires are to a used car. Putting new tires on a car doesn’t make the car worth more than its market value. Same with paint and carpet in a house. Used car buyers expect tires on a used car to have reasonable tread left … unless it’s offered at a discount. Same with paint and carpet in a house. It’s maintenance.
3) DECLUTTER AND CLEAN
It’s only natural for homeowners to accumulate “stuff” when living in their home. Clearing out boxes, clothes, extra furniture, toys and personal items will visually enlarge areas to look attractive and spacious for potential buyers. It is common practice to declutter and removed extra items from your closets to give an expansive look. Once accomplished, doing the cleaning yourself or hiring professional house cleaners will be the finishing touch for successful showings and Open Houses.
4) STAGING YOUR HOME FOR MARKETING PHOTOS
Although a well-presented home is a MUST for actual showings, you need to stage prior to that for the photos that buyers will see first online. Light and open, crisp and fresh, these HDR photos will be the catalyst that brings buyers through your door. Need help? Hire Karol Eggbean, a professional Staging Consultant!
5) PLANT A GARDEN
Curb appeal is the first impression that potential buyers will see when they pull up to your home. Embrace your entryway by arranging potted or planted flowers, that will say “Welcome” by adding color, charm, and beauty to your home!
Prior to listing your home for sale, I provide many services to enhance the listing price of your property. Please reach out to me at 480-570-0220, for a complementary sellers consultation and to find out what your home is worth.
Pricing it right
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.
Selling Secret #9:
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.
Selling Secret #8:
Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sell-able.
Selling Secret #7:
Play the agent field
A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.
Selling Secret #6:
Conceal the critters
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.
Selling Secret #5:
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.
Selling Secret #4:
Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.
Selling Secret #3:
The kitchen comes first
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace counter-tops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.
Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show
Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.
Selling Secret #1:
The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.
Looking for the ideal price or for more ideas before you list? Call or email a member of our Team. The Agency Group, at HomeSmart Elite is looking forward to working with you!
A surprising twist toward the end of 2016 with the election of real estate magnate Donald Trump as president is likely to presage some dramatic changes in 2017 for the housing industry, which saw healthy increases in values this year, thanks to factors including low interest rates, lower gas prices, stronger wage growth and millennials getting off the fence and entering the market.
Still, as demonstrated by the Nov. 8 presidential election, anything can happen. Here are five things to watch for in real estate in 2017 — don’t get blindsided:
“Location, location, location has now become perspective, perspective, perspective,” said Steve McIrvin, chief executive of Autel Robotics USA, a Bothell, Wash.–based drone manufacturer. “If you have a property [to sell] with more than an acre of land or a unique perspective, it’s a good reason to bring in a drone.”
While the use of drones to create those flyovers of properties for real-estate agents began to rise this year, home buyers and sellers will be able to use them as well by next year, as operators will no longer need a commercial pilot’s license to fly, although some flights will need the FAA’s or local tower permission, along with a flight plan filed online.
“I could teach you to operate [a drone] in 30 minutes,” said Tim Nguyen, a San Mateo, Calif.–based business-development manager for China’s DJI, the biggest maker of UAV’s, who said real-estate agents and buyers can use drones to do live postings to social media. “It’s a new way of interacting with clients and buyers from all around the world,” Nguyen said.
The newest drones have built-in redundancy: If an operator lets go of the controls, it simply hovers in place, Nguyen said. Even better straight-out-of-the-box prices for high-quality drones are expected to drop to as little as $500, he added, though drones with higher-end features, including gyro-stabilized platforms, which help steady the video images, will still run $1,000 to $1,200. The smaller gyro-stabilized drones, with the rotors shut off, can also be handheld and walked inside a home to provide steadier images during a video walk-through, he said.
While initially a tool of the selling side, the expansion of drone use in the commercial space means that they now be a tool for home buyers, as well. “Buyers in Seattle are skipping the home inspection because the market is so hot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a drone to take a quick look,” McIrvin said. He said he recommends that a buyer who skips the home inspection in a competitive buying situation use a drone to inspect a home’s roof, to ensure that a chimney doesn’t have cracks, or to circle the house if access isn’t available.
Women have only half the retirement savings of men, even though they control $5 trillion in investable assets. Can Wall Street get women to invest more?
Not ‘mixed-use’ but ‘surban’
There’s been plenty written about the move from suburban-style sprawl — marked by McMansions and strip malls — to more dense communities of different housing arrangements, such as town houses, apartments and single-family homes, together in the same neighborhoods. In 2017, look for a new name for it: surban.
“Existing suburban neighborhoods are adding urban amenities so that there’s an environment where people can live, work and play right outside of the core part of the city,” said Peter Burley, a real-estate executive in Oak Park, Ill., an urbanized inner-ring Chicago suburb.
“These developments are more than simply mixed-use,” said Danielle Leach, a senior consultant at John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Chicago, who as a single mom lives in such a community in St. Charles, Ill., with two teen boys. “Surban living is becoming a new way of life for many: where the blend of urban and suburban living provides the best of both worlds,” she said. With surban living, it’s possible to walk to work, like in a city, as well as enjoying pedestrian access to groceries, entertainment and youth- and sport-friendly parks — plus reliably strong public schools.
John Burns Consulting expects nearly 80% of residential growth to occur in suburban communities over the next 10 years — up from 71% from 2010 to 2015 — compared to just 15% for “urban” areas through 2025.
Surban neighborhoods are designed to be inclusive, rather than exclusive, said Bill Endsley, of the International Real Estate Federation, a Washington, D.C.–based international real-estate consulting group, making them affordable to teachers, firefighters, police and janitors.
“The more we go down the road of exclusive development, the more problems we have,” including traffic congestion, air pollution and sprawl, Endsley said. He cited a rundown mall site in San Jose, Calif., which was turned into “Santana Row,” a booming destination in the high-priced Silicon Valley, that includes affordable housing.
Forget the starter home, millennials want the move-up property
More millennials — roughly, those born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s — are expected to buy a first home in 2017, according to the Washington, D.C.–based National Association of Realtors.
Many of those buyers have saved enough to go with something more than a condo unit or a starter home, said Jessica Lautz, managing director for research at NAR. And with the markets doing so well, and interest rates as low as they are, millennials who have paid down their student debt and built up their cash may be in a position to buy more house than real-estate agents might think, she said.
Indeed, the NAR noted that in 2016, 17% of buyers under 35 were able to save enough for a down payment for a home within a year, compared with 14% of all age groups. And though it was lower than all other age groups, 37% of buyers under 35 said they were able to save enough for a down payment within six months, compared with 46% of all other buyers, the NAR said.
To be sure, student debt still is seen as one of the top factors that will influence, in the coming year, whether the millennial generation will buy a home. The NAR noted that 44% of Generation Y buyers had a student-loan debt balance of at least $25,000. And perhaps also worrisome, the baby boom generation is also deep in debt, with the highest median debt balance of $29,100. And it isn’t just their own debt, according to the NAR. “This may be due to not only their personal educational loans but accumulating debt from their children’s education loans,” Lautz said.
How Trump’s shocking win could change real estate
The conventional wisdom just a few weeks ago foresaw a solid electoral win for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a smooth passing of the baton from the Obama administration, along with a gentle increase in interest rates in December by the Federal Reserve. No more.
Last week in Orlando, Fla., just before most voters went to the polls, Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said only “election turmoil” could force the Fed to hold back on an interest-rate hike in December.
“You can never rule things out post-election,” Lockhart said. “We may end up with enough turmoil around the election to create a different set of conditions,” he said during a news conference at the National Association of Realtors annual convention.
Indeed, fears of recession could grow with a likelihood that Trump would cut government spending dramatically in his first year, and stock-market uncertainty increasing over just how his presidency will begin. As such, another year of low interest rates could be in the cards.
“I don’t believe that there will be any significant changes to interest rates, at least in the near term, since the underlying fundamentals that have led us into a low-interest-rate environment haven’t changed,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of Ten-X, formerly Auction.com, a real-estate auction site.
Sharga sees a Trump presidency being good for the housing and mortgage markets in the long term, he said. “He seems committed to bringing regulatory relief — and regulatory certainty — to the financial-services industry, which should make more credit more available to average home buyers who have been locked out of the market by today’s extraordinarily tight credit standards,” he said.
As a result, home buying should remain strong in 2017, which is good news for a market starved of inventory. “This is absolutely a seller’s market and has been for quite some time, and we do not feel Donald Trump’s win will negatively affect the market for those looking to sell,” said Nancy Dennis, a vice president at American Financing Corp., an Aurora, Colo.–based mortgage lender.
Down the road, interest rates could begin rising faster, especially if Trump’s economic-growth plans ignite inflation. “The accelerated economic growth and ensuing inflationary pressure could prompt a quicker pace of rate hikes that are potentially more aggressive than exhibited over the past year,” wrote John Chang, first vice president of research services at Marcus & Millichap MMI, -0.04% , the largest U.S. real-estate brokerage firm, in a note to investors this week.
Start thinking about Generation Z
The millennial generation might grab all the headlines, but it won’t be long before Gen Z reaches the market. They’re teenagers now, but Generation Z is almost on the cusp of being able to buy homes, with the first Gen Z–ers reaching their 18th birthdays in 2017. Gen Z, according to the National Association of Realtors, is a lot different from the predecessor generation that came of age in the midst of recession, war, terrorism and a stock-market collapse, and was burned by the housing downturn and crushing student-loan burdens.
Gen Z will come of age with low interest rates, better job prospects and higher wages to help cushion the high costs of college education, said NAR research director Lautz.
“It might sound a little traditional, especially when compared to what we’ve seen with millennials, but this is a generation that values homeownership,” said Sherry Chris, chief executive of Parsippany–Troy Hills, N.J.–based Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.
In fact, 97% of the Gen Z age group wants to own a home, she said. “I want a big house,” said Cayman, a 17-year-old interviewed by NAR. “I want a room for each of my kids, a master bedroom, a few guest rooms, a movie room. I want a lot of space.”
Looking for more info on your local market? Reach out to me at 480-570-0220 or by emailing me at Kelley@kelleysfinehomes.com and we can chat!
Active Listings and Sales: Total active listings, (with no UCB/AWC) have gone down by 328 units over the last quarter. As of October 1st we sit at 20,234 actives all property types. Sales are at 7,140 for the last 30 days (October 1st), down by 1908 units since July 1st! We are currently sitting at a 2.8 months of supply, (based on Active listings with no UCB/AWC). Pending sales are down from the Quarter before as of October 1st, 6175 vs. one quarter ago at 6,903. Traditionally, 3-4 months of supply indicate a balanced market. September re-sales and new sales in Maricopa County were 8,798. In July they were 8,796. September of 2015 was 8,160 this is a 8% increase in year over year. September 2016 was the largest September unit sales month since 2006!
Absorption rate: Absorption rate is the percent of sales that are sold each month of the inventory. A higher percent means that inventory is moving at a faster rate, and thus is a Seller’s market. The total absorption rate is 29%. Certain areas of town have higher absorption rates, they are:
South East Valley 40%
Northwest Valley 41%
Southwest Valley 33%
Peoria and Glendale 41%
Desert Ridge 32%
Apache Junction 32%
Median Price:The median price in Maricopa County for September 2016 was $242,925. July 2016 it was $235,000. In September of 2015 it was $222,812 for an 9.0% increase!!!! In September 2010 it was $129,760 and in September 2005 it was $252,000!
Real Estate is a great investment! Median Prices have risen by 105% since August 2011 which was the bottom of the Market!
Luxury: The Luxury Market of $1.0 Million and above continues to be the lowest absorption rate of any market segment. There was a 6% absorption rate for the last month. There were 89 properties in all of the MLS were sold for more than $1.0 million.
MONTHS OF SUPPLY (with AWC/UCB listings) (Single Family Only)
For the next several weeks I will post various articles on how to successfully bring your home to tip-top shape! Here is the first of the articles and I hope that you find them to be useful. If you have questions as always, please reach out to me at 480-570-0220 or by emailing me at Kelley@kelleysfinehomes.com
Repair Walls to Give Rooms a Fresh Face
Sooner or later you’ll repair walls that make rooms look worn out. Erasing dings, dents, and scuffs is an easy fix. We’ll show you how.
Repair walls filled with dents, dings, and scuffs, and you’ll make rooms look young and fresh and maintain the value of your home. Fortunately, repairing walls is a good weekend warrior project. Here’s how to fix your home’s face in a hurry.
Patch Drywall to Smooth Walls
A putty knife, spackle, or joint compound can repair wall damage that ages a room.
Dents and dings: A quart of spackle ($11) and a putty knife can fill dozens of small wall indentations. Spackle adheres to painted walls better than joint compound, though it takes a bit longer to dry. Cut wall repair time by thoroughly wiping away excess spackle.
Fist-sized holes: Joint compound is your best bet when covering the mesh or drywall patches that cover big holes. You’ll need at least two thin coats of compound and fine grit sandpaper to blend repairs into the rest of the wall.
Nail pops: Nail pops travel in packs: Rarely do you see just one. To repair walls pocked with pops, hammer the popped nail back into the wall or pull it out with a needle-nose pliers; refasten the drywall to the nearest stud with a couple of screws, then fill dents with two or three coats of joint compound. Sand until smooth and flush with the rest of the wall, then repaint.
Remove Marks for a Clean Start
Microfiber cloths are little miracles that erase the evidence of a childhood well spent, drawing on and caroming off walls. To get rid of scuff marks and fingerprints:
Spray an all-purpose cleaner onto the cloth (never directly onto walls to avoid drips) and swipe the scuff. (Test a hidden spot to make sure the cleaner doesn’t take off paint with the mark.)
Pour a little dish soap onto a damp cloth and wipe the mark.
Dip a sponge into an earth-friendly and slightly abrasive paste of dish soap, baking soda, and water, and gently scrub grime.
To repair walls decorated with crayon marks, dab toothpaste onto a towel or toothbrush and scrub marks.
Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($3), the best instant wall cleaner around. Wet and wring the eraser before attacking scuffs.
Touch Up What You Can’t Wipe Out
Prepare for inevitable touch-ups by keeping leftover paint or at least recording the paint number and/or formula (paint names change). Don’t have the original? Scrape off a little and ask your paint store to match it.
For touch-ups, use the same type of brush or roller the original painter used. Feather the paint from the outside borders in.
If touch-ups stand out, paint the entire wall, making sure to paint corner to corner and avoid splatters onto the ceiling and adjacent walls.
If you are debating listing your house for sale this year, here is the #1 reason not to wait!
Buyer Demand Continues to Outpace the Supply of Homes For Sale
The National Association of REALTORS’ (NAR) Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun recently commented on the inventory shortage:
“While feedback from REALTORS® continues to suggest healthy levels of buyer interest, available listings that are move-in ready and in affordable price ranges remain hard to come by for many would-be buyers.”
The latest Existing Home Sales Report shows that there is currently a 5.1-month supply of homes for sale. This remains lower than the 6-month supply necessary for a normal market and well below November 2014 numbers.
The chart below details the year-over-year inventory shortages experienced in 2015:
Housing Supply Year-Over-Year | Keeping Current Matters
Anything less than a six-month supply is considered a “Seller’s Market”.
Meet with me, a Real Estate Professional, who can show you the supply conditions in your neighborhood and assist you in gaining access to the buyers who are ready, willing and able to buy now! I can be reached at 480-570-0220.
Although the real estate business tends to slow down in the fall, the season still can be an attractive time to put a home on the market. If you want to sell your house in the next few months, it can be done.
Potential buyers—such as empty nesters or millennials who aren’t worried about moving after the school year has started—will compete for fewer homes on the market and will likely want to seal a deal before the holiday season kicks into high gear.
Here are three tips to help make your home more attractive in autumn, so you can sell your house before winter comes.
1. Clean Up
As many regions slowly shift from a sellers’ market to a moderate or buyers’ market, you’ll want to do everything you can to make your house look its best.
Pay particular attention to eliminating clutter and safety hazards that can crop up with cooler weather:
Make sure your yard, walkways and gutters are free of leaves and debris. Mow your lawn so it looks neat.
Trim trees so unexpected winds don’t knock down branches that could damage your home or hurt anybody.
If it is rainy, be sure you have a good doormat so visitors can wipe their feet and not traipse mud and water through the house. If you already have snow, be sure stairs and walkways leading to your front door are not icy.
Wash decks and wipe down windows so they sparkle instead of appear streaked by rain. Vacuum and wash down the fireplace, especially if it hasn’t been used in months. If you live in a region where it’s still warm enough to use the patio, make sure the area is inviting and arranged with the views from indoors in mind.
Above all, make sure your doorway and the rest of the house is clear from knick knacks, bicycles and toys that make your home appear cluttered.
2. Create Autumn Curb Appeal
If your house’s exterior looks drab, you may want to consider painting it a warm color, planting seasonal flowers, or placing pumpkins strategically along your walkup to accent your home’s appeal with instant color.
Potential buyers will make an instant judgment when they see your home, and you want to be sure it’s positive.
While you don’t want to go overboard with fall decorations that detract from the home itself, a few displays like a festive front-door wreath—and lighting so people can clearly see the path to your front door—can make your home feel fresh, even in the fall.
3. Keep the House Cozy
Entering a cold house could leave an unfavorable impression. So warm up your home with a fresh coat of paint and set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature.
Another way to warm up a home is with light, especially as days get shorter leading into winter. Be sure to open blinds and curtains so plenty of light illuminates the home’s interior.
A few embellishments like red, orange or golden yellow pillows can breathe new life into dull sofa—or a fall centerpiece can highlight a certain area of the home.
While you don’t want your home to look like the latest department store display, well-chosen embellishments that give potential buyers the impression you’ve paid attention to the fine details and taken care of any problems with the home will help you put your best face forward.
And remember, there’s nothing wrong with trying to sweeten the deal with the comforting aroma of a freshly-baked, cinnamon-laced apple pie or pumpkin cupcake to leave a lasting impression of your home as the potential buyer takes a bite.
If you are thinking about selling your home in any city within the beautiful state of Arizona, you can go to http://www.searchscottsdalehomevalues.com for a free analysis of what your home is worth. If your looking to purchase a property, I can help you with that by sending you a list of homes that meet the criteria of what you are looking for. Then I will take you to find the home of your dreams. Visit http://www.kelleysfinehomes.com to find out more or contact me directly at 480-570-0220 #kelleysfinehomes
You’re in the market for a new home, whether you need more space or less, you must first sell your present residence. One might think that the slow housing marking would potentially have buyers pounding at your door, but this is not necessarily the case. Prices are steady at the moment and seem not to be plummeting any further. This is good for a buyer and can be good for you, however, home buyers are smarter and leerier these days. They are less apt to make hasty decisions and less apt to buy out of their range, which is partially what contributed to the great housing market collapse. Houses are selling these days, but how quickly they sell is really up to you, the seller, and your agent. The houses that move are those that are priced well. Today’s buyer is savvy and has done his research. Buyers also want a turn-key home that is immediately ready for them to move in and unpack. What they don’t want are…
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1. Bad Smells
Nothing is more of a turn-off than walking into a house that has a smell. Before you sell your home walk through with a friend, a Realtor, or someone you can rely on to give you an unbiased opinion. You will want to get rid of the source of any bad odor as soon as possible. Pets are big culprits, especially cats. If you have a cat, kitty litters need to be cleaned as often as possible and kept, if possible, in a remote or out of sight location. Wall to wall carpeting can harbor bad smells as well, especially if pets are present in the home. Clean all carpets professionally prior to listing your home. If you have a fan above your stove get in the habit of using it regularly to keep from cooking foods with particularly strong odors, such as fish, the evening before an open house or a showing. If your basement smells dank and musty consider purchasing a dehumidifier to clear the air of moisture and odors. If you can pop some chocolate chip cookies in the oven, or maybe an apple pie now that it’s fall. While some smells are offensive to home buyers, some are very inviting!
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2. Dirty house, especially bathrooms and kitchens
Having a house on the market is tough and hard work, especially when you have young children at home. If you don’t have time to clean your house daily, and really, nobody does, concentrate on your kitchen and bathrooms. Make sure floors are vacuumed and devoid of spills, crumbs and dirt. Make sure counters are wiped clean and that there are no dirty dishes in the sink. Don’t hide them in the oven for a quick remedy, house buyers are nosy and will look in your oven and any drawer or cabinet that can be opened! Keep a set of clean, dry towels on hand for the kitchen and bathroom for showing purposes.
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3. Messy house
This is really an extension of the last point. The average home buyer has a hard time looking past your clutter and mess. Simple, easy tasks, can make all the difference. If you have children you know that clutter happens. I am a huge fan of wicker baskets. They are inexpensive, efficient and look nice in your home. Invest in a few wicker baskets as a quick way to stash toys when you don’t have time for an overhaul. Laundry is perhaps the hardest thing to keep on top of and is the most time consuming. If you don’t have time to wash, fold and put away your laundry on a daily basis, pick up a couple more wicker baskets to stow away clean, folded laundry so it doesn’t look like an eyesore. In the kitchen and in the bathroom clear away bottles and containers. Bowls of fresh fruit and vases or pitchers of fresh flowers not only look pretty but often make a room smell lovely.
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4. Poorly lit rooms
No one wants to enter a dark house, especially someone who wants to buy your home. If a house is too poorly lit they may tend to wonder what you are trying to hide. Replace dim or burnt out light bulbs with high efficiency, bright bulbs to brighten up your space. If need be, pick up a few stylish lamps that will not only brighten your home but can add to your home decor. If you have big windows, take advantage of them. Make sure they are clean and make sure that drapes and curtains are not blocking the natural sunlight. When it comes to selling your room, lighting really can be everything.
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5. Loud Walls and Busy Wallpaper
Shhhhhh!! Most likely the person who ends up buying your home will not have the same taste and style you do. They say one decorates their home for living, and one should re-decorate their home for selling. When you sell your home, you must remove yourself and your history from the overall picture. A home buyer wants to be able to envision him or herself in your home, not wonder about you, your lifestyle and your family. You don’t want to distract from the task at hand which is to sell your home. Tone down those bright and cheery colors and save them for your next home. Instead, use softer, more neutral tones like creams and off-whites that can make spaces like lighter, airier and brighter. If your home is covered in brightly patterned wallpaper you ought to give serious consideration to removing that as well. Potential buyers may be deterred by the paper knowing what a colossal a nuisance it is to remove it.
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6. Unkempt yards, untrimmed bushes
Nothing is more unwelcoming than pulling up to a potentially Haunted House! Make sure your yard is well mowed, all bushes and hedges are trimmed. If you can add or fix up your landscaping with fresh or potted plants. The outside of your home is the first thing that will be seen. Let it be a great reflection of you and a great indication of what’s yet to be seen on the inside.
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7. Wall to wall carpeting
If you can, please remove them. These days home buyers are looking for hardwood floors throughout. Even if they aren’t in the best of shape, hardwood floors are much more appealing than wall to wall carpeting. If you can’t rip out the wall to wall, please have it professionally steam cleaned.
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8. Neglected entryways
This is the first room everyone sees as soon as they pass through the front door. This is your greeting card. Let it be warm, friendly and welcoming. A simple bouquet of flowers, it need not necessarily be elaborate, makes a lovely statement. Clear out closets, and make sure that stray shoes and other items are neatly put away.
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9. Your pets
May people are allergic. Many children are scared. Please keep your pets away from your home whenever possible.
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I’m sure you are lovely and you know your home like no one else, but a potential home buyer simply does not want you there, or anywhere nearby. If you remain at home they won’t stay, they won’t linger and they won’t take their time to look around to get a proper look and feel. You will not be doing yourself any favors by remaining at home. Leave the selling to your Realtor, that’s why, after all, you’ve hired him (or her!)
1. Get rid of the beige. It’s been replaced by gray. Really. Do it. Gray isn’t going anywhere
2. Make a big change. Knock down a wall. Change your countertops. Convert the upstairs loft to a full-blown entertainment room. If not now, when?
3. Make a bunch of small changes. Walk through your house and make a list, room by room, of little things that could be updated. Then, start tackling them one at a time. Paint the guest room and change the bedding. Swap out the old art over your fireplace with something new. Take down the unorganized family photos in the hallway and turn the space into a revitalized gallery (here are some ideas to get you started). You’ll feel good about yourself for finishing projects that are probably long overdue, and you’ll also feel better about your refreshed home.
4. Splurge on something you need. The giant old TV that you have to smack on the side to get the channels to turn? Dump it. It’ll only cost you a couple hundred bucks to get a good size flat-screen in there instead.
Popsugar suggests we “take a long, hard look at our homes and identify the key pieces where substance is as important as style and where investing in high-quality pieces the first time around can save money in the long run,” like a “supportive bed, a durable table, or a solid sofa.”
Splurge on something you don’t. A rogue piece of furniture like a vibrant peacock blue chair or a graphic patterned rug in a room that is otherwise sedate can give the space a lift. And, it’ll put a smile on your face every time you walk past it.
5. Surprise someone. Paint your teenage daughter’s room in a new hue of purple (her fave!) while she’s at school one day. That’s bound to improve her mood (if only for an afternoon) and maybe even inspire her to keep it clean (but probably not).
6. Plant something pretty. Plants and flowers are known mood-lifters. Plus, a nice landscape is key for adding curb appeal to your home, which can make it more valuable and easier to sell if you are thinking of putting it on the market.
7. Add plants to the inside of your home too. According to the principles of feng shui live plants, and especially how they are placed in the home, “can affect your fortune,” said Natural Health magazine. They can also improve the air quality in a home and “help us heal,” said the National Gardening Association. “Scientists have found that settings containing plants have a measurable influence on recovery even for hospital patients who are acutely stressed. Some achieve benefits after only a few minutes of exposure to plants. Hospital workers benefit too, as they seek plant-filled environments to escape from work stress during the day.”
8. Update your lighting. Updating the chandeliers in your entry or dining room or replacing the old, builder-grade fans you have throughout your home is an easy way to give your home a lift.
9. Clean out your pantry. Canned goods that are still within their sell date but that you know will never be used are great for donating to food banks.
10. Clean out your garage. Jerry Seinfeld recently joked that once items move to the garage, they never make it back into the house. So as long as you’re in a cleaning mood, might as well take advantage of an opportunity to get in there, too.
11. De-clutter…everything! It’ll make you feel better to un-pile the piles, to empty out the closets, and to finally see your countertops again.
12. Learn a new skill. A few hours at Home Depot can teach you how to install a backsplash, put in new flooring, or build a storage ottoman.
13. Get automated. Start by trashing that old thermostat and make your life easier with Nest, a “learning thermostat (that) learns your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone. Teach it well and the Nest Thermostat can lower your heating and cooling bills up to 20%.” Then, look at ways you can automate everything from your lights to your security system. You can see CNET’s best automated products of 2014 here.
14. Take a stand against boring. It’s OK to paint a wall fuchsia. Or flank your fireplace in shiny emerald green bookcases. Or throwing a giant animal print rug down in your living room. This year, go bold. It might surprise you how liberating it can be to take your style to the next level. You might also find a bidding interior designer inside!
15. Fall in love again. If you’re like most people, your home is your most valuable asset. It’s also where you spend the majority of your time. If you aren’t really feeling it right now, change it. Rearrange the furniture. Get a few new pieces. Paint a treasured but tired item your favorite color. Injecting some life into your home will help make it feel new again and bring back that loving feeling.