Dec. 7, 2019

TRENDS TO TOSS

TRENDS TO TOSS

With millennials making up nearly 40% of the home buyers on the market today, up-to-date style is a huge consideration in the buying process. When nearly half of your potential buyers have likely scrolled through Pinterest or watched HGTV more times than they can count, it is important to keep in mind that they are going to be style-conscious. While you don't need to do a full home renovation, getting rid of some outdated trends will help your home appeal to a larger buyer pool. Here are some trends to toss (and avoid altogether during staging) if you want your house to be marketable in 2019!

Curly Ironwork

One of the biggest trends today is sleek and modern design. Curly ironwork and other chaotic decor can be distracting. Avoid having large metal pieces of decor or art in your home during open houses.

Faux Props

Some faux plants add the perfect touch to a home, but in many cases, faux is not the way to go. Faux fruit and some faux plants look unnatural and dated. Replace the fake with something authentic - which will never go out of style.

Tuscan Furniture 

You may have invested more money than you planned in heavy drapery and cherry wood furniture to have the bedroom of your dreams, but Tuscan decor is out of style. Instead of completely removing your bedroom suite, take down your drapes and paint your cherry wood black. Add silver or gold fixtures and you've got a modern bedroom.

Window Treatments

A major key to selling your home is making it look as open and inviting as possible. There is no need to invest in expensive window treatments, and if you already have, take them down during showings. Large treatments can hold on to lingering smells and can instantly date a room. The only treatments you should leave are simple panels or wood blinds. Allow your windows to do what they're meant to do - let light in!

It is important to know your market. It is my job to help you. If you want more details on what the target buyer is looking for in our market today, give us a call! 

Posted in Home Owner Tips
Nov. 23, 2019

THE BEST INDOOR TREES FOR YOUR HOME

THE BEST INDOOR TREES FOR YOUR HOME

Artificial plants may never die, but having live plants in your home will make your home look and feel better. Nothing brings life into a home better than well-maintained greenery.  Most indoor trees are easy to take care of and only need adequate water and a spot where they'll get enough light. You can fill your home with trees or just add enough to a room to beautify empty space. Here are the best indoor plants to add life and coziness to your home. 

1. Fiddle Leaf Fig

You probably have a friend who has a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree in their home right now, and for good reason. They only need regular watering and indirect light, and are the perfect size to add a touch of greenery to a room. Be sure not to overwater this tree, as it will drop leaves quickly.

2. Weeping Fig

This tree is one of the most popular indoor trees. It has slightly arching branches and can fill out quite well if taken care of. Like the Fiddle Leaf, it prefers indirect light but it doesn't like cold drafts or hot, dry air. This tree is best kept away from doors and A/C vents. The Weeping Fig is known to shed less than a quarter of its leaves in the fall and sprout them again in the spring, so keep that in mind when buying one.

3. Areca Palm

If you want to add a beachy vibe to your home, this feathery palm will do just that. It thrives in bright spaces and can grow up to 10 inches in a year, reaching 6-7 feet indoors. In the spring and summer, the Areca Palm likes light, constant moisture. During the winter months, it works best to let it dry out a bit between waterings. 

4. Rubber Tree

The Rubber Tree is one of the easiest to grow indoors. If you want a darker-colored plant, consider this tree that only requires moderate light. Occasional pruning will help the tree look its best, but be sure to wear gardening gloves to keep the sap off of your fingers. 

5. Ponytail Palm

If remembering to water plants isn't your forte, this is the plant for you. The Ponytail Palm stores moisture in its base so it will be just fine if you forget a week or two of watering. The plant has long, strappy leaves that add the perfect touch to a contemporary room. It prefers indirect, bright light and is slow-growing.

6. Lacy Leaf Philodendron

If you're looking for an easy plant that will live long, this is the one for you. With massive glossy leaves, this philodendron can grow up to 6 feet wide, so keep this one in mind if you have a large space to fill. This plant only needs watered when the soil becomes dry and requires moderate light. 

Posted in Home Owner Tips
Nov. 9, 2019

REPAIRS TO MAKE BEFORE SELLING YOUR HOME

REPAIRS TO MAKE BEFORE SELLING YOUR HOME

So you’re ready to put your home on the market and to you, everything looks great. Unfortunately, much of the wear and tear on your home becomes unnoticeable when it is something you see everyday. While you may not think about the one light switch that doesn’t work or the chipping paint in the guest bedroom, now is the time to take a step back and look at your home with fresh eyes. When you decide to sell your home, the first thing you should do is make any repairs you can to save yourself money in the long run. Here are a few repairs to cross off so you can get the best deal for your home!

1. Paint Your Walls

Re-painting the rooms that need a fresh face is the cheapest way to update the appearance of your home. Consider using light, neutral colors to appeal to a broader group of buyers. If the room is too dark or has chipped or dirty paint, make it look brand new with a coat of paint. 

2. Make Minor Kitchen Repairs

Even if your kitchen isn’t large and spacious, a full renovation might not make sense financially. If your agent doesn’t advise you towards a renovation, consider making minor repairs instead. Paint what needs painted and install new fixtures where necessary. If your appliances aren’t operating properly or are in awful shape, you will need to replace them.

3. Update Your Bathroom

The first priority is making sure your bathroom looks clean. If the toilet looks old, replace the seat to give it a fresh new appearance. Replace any tiles that may be missing, clean the grout, and remove old wallpaper that may still remain. This is a room you should consider painting if need be to make it appear bright and clean.

4. Fix The Exterior

The outside of your home is the first thing buyers will see, so it is important that it looks good. Touch up the yard with sod as needed, remove any junk that may be in the yard, and make sure your fencing doesn’t have any missing parts or boards. Mow your grass and consider renting a power washer to make your siding look brand new. 

5. Maximize Lighting

The goal is to maximize light so you can maximize the appearance of space. Light does a great job of making rooms look larger than they are. Update your fixtures, ensure that your windows appear clean and new, and add mirrors across from light sources to reflect even more light. 

6. Ensure Functionality

Potential buyers are going to want everything to work. Do a full walk through of your home, checking all light switches, doorknobs, and locks. Repair or replace anything that doesn't work as it should. The less issues that arise during the buyer's home inspection, the better chance of you maximizing your profit during the sale. 

Posted in Home Seller Tips
Oct. 26, 2019

MOVING TIPS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER

MOVING TIPS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER

Whether this is your first time moving or your 10th, there are always new tips and tricks to making your move a little more smooth each time. While we are so concentrated on getting everything packed in a timely manner, we often forget about the little steps we can take to save ourselves time, money, and even a little bit of sanity. Here are 8 tips to make your move, and your life, a little easier.

1. Wrap your breakables in clean clothing

Instead of spending extra money on bubble wrap, use clothing that you will need to pack anyway. You'll save space and it is the most eco-friendly option!

2. Be specific with your labels

Instead of just writing what room the box will go in, make a brief list of the items in each box on the outside. This way, you will know exactly where every box should go - and so will anyone helping you move in!

3. Prep the bathroom and kitchen

If you have the time and are able to enter the house before your big move, take the time to prep your bathroom and kitchen. Fill the fridge and bring towels and a shower curtain for the bathroom. This way, you won't be scrambling after you move in and desperately want a shower, and you won't waste money on take-out for the first few days in your new home.

4. Get cotton pads/balls for your makeup

If you've ever dealt with the heartache of opening a shattered powder cosmetic item, this tip is for you. Placing a cotton ball/pad helps to prevent your favorite blush or bronzer from covering the entire inside of your packed bathroom box and everything inside of it! 

5. Add an extra layer of protection to your toiletries

It is never fun to open a box and find everything covered in lotion or shampoo. Take off the lids of all of your toiletries and cover any openings with saran wrap and then replace the lid. This will provide a nice seal to prevent any spills.

6. Use Press'n Seal outside of the kitchen

Instead of having to box up your dresser drawers or your jewelry display, keep your Press'n Seal unpacked. Place sheets above your clothing drawers or wrap it around your jewelry display to keep your items in place - and save time packing and unpacking them.

7. Keep a box of small sandwich bags by your side while packing

When you need to take something apart, there may be screws or nails or clips left once everything is disassembled. Use small bags that are easily labelled to place those items so they won't get lost and you will know exactly where they are when it is time to put everything back together!

8. Take photos of everything you need to take apart

Whether it is the way wires go into your television, or the way a certain piece of furniture connects, taking photos as you go will make reassembly that much easier. Who wants to helplessly fumble with wires after they've spent all day unpacking? Save your time and sanity and take the photos! 

Oct. 12, 2019

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER YOU LIST YOUR HOME

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER YOU LIST YOUR HOME

After all of the preparation required to list your home, you are probably ready to relax and wait for offers. While most of the hard work is done, it is important to keep in mind things that you may run into during the sale process. As you begin to welcome potential buyers into your home, here are a few things to expect now that your home is listed!

1. You might feel like you live in a museum.

You may have spent a great deal of time cleaning and decluttering, but now you are going to need to maintain that cleanliness. Potential buyers are going to expect a home that was as neat as the listing photos they saw, so it is important to meet their expectations. Now that you have officially listed your home, maintenance is necessary. There may be showings where you don't have time to do a full deep-clean, so choosing to keep your home 'show-ready' will help reduce any stress about the appearance of your home for a showing.

2. There will be some inconveniences. 

Now that you've realized your home needs to be 'show-ready' at all times, you might be starting to think that there could be an inconvenience or two during this part of home-selling. While your real estate agent will be helpful in this process, you may need to switch around plans during the evenings or weekends when you are typically home so that your home can be shown.

3.  Expect to hear critiques and criticism.

This is often the main thing that first-time home sellers struggle with. It is not always easy to hear the issues a potential buyer may have with the home you have created. While some criticism can feel insulting, it is important to remember that it is not personal. Potential buyers are not trying to hurt your feelings, they just want to picture your home as their own. Your agent can be a key part in buffering criticism. They will be able to take suggestions from potential buyers and relay it to you in a way that is helpful and constructive.

4. Home maintenance will be crucial.

While maintaining home cleanliness is important, you will also need to keep up with maintenance tasks. Your lawn will need to be mowed, your heating and cooling systems need to be operating properly, as well as any appliances that will be staying when your home sells. 

5. There can be some additional expenses.

After you've accepted an offer, the closing process will begin. There will be inspections and final walk-throughs, and this can bring about issues that may need resolved before the sale is closed. Depending on the issue, you may need to pay out-of-pocket for repairs so that you don't need to negotiate your sale price. 

If you're ready to sell your home and need someone by your side to guide you as you prepare to list, give us a call today!

Posted in Home Seller Tips
Sept. 28, 2019

HOW TO MOVE WITH KIDS

HOW TO MOVE WITH KIDS

As if moving isn't already hard enough, adding your children into the mix can present a whole new challenge. Kids are resilient, but major changes like big moves can be difficult to work through if children aren't prepared. Depending on their age, your children may be leaving behind a school, friends, and activities that they've grown to love. Instead of throwing them in the deep end, consider helping them get their moving feet wet with these steps. 

1. Talk to your children about your move as soon as it becomes a possibility.

Once you've decided to move, the first thing you should do is have an open discussion with your children. If you wait until it is time to pack, they may feel like they've had a bombshell dropped on them. If you give them a chance to voice their feelings and work through them, you'll deal with a little less chaos when it is time to move. Consider the best way to tell your children, taking into account how each child best receives information. Be open, honest, and available to answer their questions.

2. Find ways to involve your children in your new neighborhood.

Instead of leaving the kids at home while you are closing on a property or even just touring potential homes, bring them along. Find activities in the area that your children will enjoy, whether it be a park nearby or local libraries, pools, or playgrounds. Helping them feel familiar with their new home will take a weight off of their shoulders and reduce the fear of being the 'new kid' when they move. Once you are moved in, consider hosting a game night or play date for your neighbors with children so that your kids have an opportunity to make friends quickly.

3. Reach out and get local recommendations ahead of time.

This will help both you and your children have a little more peace of mind when it comes to making a big move. Before the move, find local parent groups (sites like Facebook are full of these) and seek out recommendations for daycares and schools that meet the criteria you are looking for. The first thing most people do when trying something new out is to check for reviews, and these groups will allow you to do just that. Create a short list of places you think will fit your lifestyle, and then conduct as much research as you need to make a decision when you arrive in your new home. This will reduce the time your children will spend in limbo when you move.

Moving can be a difficult time, but preparing your children will help make the process as smooth as possible and help to lessen the stress that comes with a big move.

Sept. 14, 2019

CHILD & PET-PROOFING YOUR HOME

CHILD & PET-PROOFING YOUR HOME

You've just finished spring cleaning, and summer is approaching quickly. Summer means longer days and later nights, and usually more traffic in your home. With play dates, game nights, and bonfires, there are likely to be more guests in and out of your home than usual. While fun is the priority, safety should be as well. To keep the little ones, children and pets included, safe in your home, follow these steps so you can enjoy a safe summer (as well as all the other seasons): 

1. Protect your belongings

This has two benefits. If you have items that are important to you and could easily break, it is best to store them away so they don't get damaged and no one gets hurt from the broken item in the process. 

2. Make off-limit areas

If you want to prevent children and pets from going places you don't want them, consider installing safety gates. Placing gates in front of staircases and rooms with more breakable items can prevent both children and pets from falling or accessing those items you don't want to injure crawling little ones. 

3. Secure furniture

Sometimes when we get new furniture, we don't think those extra safety screws included to attach the furniture to the wall are necessary. Sadly, accidents involving falling furniture occur much too often because safety anchors are not installed. If you have any furniture that could be pulled down by a child, pick up anchors at your local hardware store. Dressers, televisions, and bookshelves are all items that can easily be pulled down from a child trying to climb onto them. 

4. Use child-proof locks

Kitchens are filled with items that can become dangerous for both children and pets in an instant. Knives, spices, and cleaners can all stay safely out of the hands (and paws) of children and pets by installing child-proof locks on all the cabinets that need to stay off-limits.

5. Don't buy poisonous plants

The first step in avoiding poisonous plants is finding out which ones can be toxic to children and pets. While most plants are kid-friendly, many can be dangerous to pets, even those you wouldn't think could be, such as the Aloe plant.

6. Protect outlets and cords

While our lifestyles continue to become more wireless by the day, children and pets are still at risk in homes where items are plugged in. Ensure that your outlets are guarded and wires are hidden or blocked off. Not only can you prevent risk of shock, but you can also protect the items you have plugged in - like that television that you don't want to come crashing onto the floor!

Posted in Home Owner Tips
Aug. 31, 2019

DIY FIRE PIT FOR YOUR BACKYARD

DIY FIRE PIT FOR YOUR BACKYARD

Summer is finally here which means plenty of nights spent enjoying the outdoors. While the days may be warmer than usual, some nights are still a little chilly. If you have been thinking of ways to still be outside while also being warm and cozy, a fire pit could be the right choice for you. Here is the way to make your own backyard fire pit for this summer!

PREPARE

First, make sure building your own fire pit doesn't break your local fire code. Check for suggestions or guidelines on how far the pit needs to be away from your home or other structures for safety purposes. 

Now that you know you can build, it is time to pick up supplies! You may already have some of these items at home, but you can find whatever you don't have at your local hardware store. This is what you'll need:

Bricks for the wall
Gravel
Twine
Tape Measure
Stake
Shovel
Trowel
Level

BUILD

The first step you'll make is creating a circle where you want your fire pit. Take your stake and place it in the center of where you want your circle. Next, you'll want to cut your twine to half of the length of your goal size. If you want a pit 5 feet in diameter, make your twine 2.5 feet long. Tie one end of your twine to your stake and the other end to your trowel. Drag the trowel with the twine fully extended around the stake, using the sharp part of the trowel to create a clear circle in the grass.

The second step requires your shovel. You will shovel out all of the grass inside of the circle you have created, and tamp down the dirt remaining in the circle with the bottom of your shovel. Make sure your circle is level, and make adjustments by adding or removing dirt to do so.

Next, you will add several inches of gravel. Make sure you spread the gravel evenly, covering your entire circle.

Now is time to add your bricks. Create a circle with your bricks, leaving a few inches of gravel around the outer rim as a safety buffer. You will want to stack your bricks until the wall of your fire pit is at least a foot tall.

ENJOY

Now you can use your brand new fire pit. If you're still looking for a home where you can build a fire pit, give us a call!

Posted in Home Owner Tips
Aug. 17, 2019

ENERGY SAVING TIPS THAT WILL LOWER YOUR BILLS

ENERGY SAVING TIPS THAT WILL LOWER YOUR BILLS

Temperatures are rising which means that your utility bills are likely on the rise too. With the average American spending around $200 a month on energy, most are looking for a way to decrease those prices in any way they can. Just not using air conditioning is an unrealistic option, so there are other updates and changes you can make to save money and still stay cool this summer.

FIND AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME

If you are on the hunt for a new home this summer, think ahead and make energy efficiency a priority in your home search. Keep square footage to the minimum you think you will need - the more unnecessary space, the more space you'll be cooling (or heating this winter). Certain home features, like sun rooms and high ceilings, also contribute to unnecessary space or space that heats quicker than normal. 

CHECK YOUR APPLIANCES

While newer appliances are easily labeled with their estimated yearly cost by Energy Guide, older appliances aren't as easy to determine. Using the Department of Energy's online appliance energy calculator, you can decide if investing in newer appliances with a lower operating cost could save you money in the long run. You can also have an HVAC professional check your equipment to ensure it is the appropriate size for your home. Having a system that is too large or too small can create unnecessary costs.

QUICK FIXES

Replacing appliances and equipment can be a large up-front cost, so if you're looking to start saving now, even small amounts, quick fixes are your best choice. Some options include using cold water for laundry, changing the direction of your ceiling fan, and using energy-efficient light bulbs. Check your doors for sealing issues and replace weather stripping if necessary to prevent drafts.

FIND AN EXPERT

If you want more guidance on how to save energy, you can contact your local utility company. Many provide free energy audits and can offer professional advice on ways to lower your energy use and save you money. 

Posted in Home Owner Tips
Aug. 3, 2019

HOW TO DECIDE IF YOU SHOULD REMODEL OR MOVE

HOW TO DECIDE IF YOU SHOULD REMODEL OR MOVE

After living in a home for several years, it can be easy to discover things you may not be crazy about. While some things can be a quick fix, there may be major changes that make you wonder if it is worth the investment. At this point, you're probably asking yourself if you should remodel or just find a new home. As you have probably realized, this isn't always an easy choice. There are many factors that go into this decision. Here are some things to consider when deciding what will work best for you.

1. Determine which is more cost-friendly

While both options will have costs, one will have more than the other depending on your situation. Some of the costs of selling include agent commissions, moving costs, minor repairs, the costs of a new home, and potential upsizing costs. The costs of remodeling can include permits, architectural plans, materials and labor, and any other additional costs incurred in the process. 

2. Look into the current housing market

Depending on whether your local real estate market is hot, it might make more sense to just sell if houses are selling quickly around you. By talking to a real estate agent, you can find out what to expect in terms of days on market, average sales price, and other important factors when it comes to selling a home.

3. Decide if your roots are deep 

Is your home more than just a home to you? If you and your family are actively involved in the community, remodeling may work best for you. On the flip side, if there are better schooling or job opportunities in a different neighborhood, or you already spend hours a day traveling to those locations, selling may be a better option.

4. Decide if a renovation can solve your problems

Take the time to decide if the problems with your home are fixable. Is it really the house, or do you dislike your neighborhood? Do you have to spend an hour driving one way to work? Do you need a lot more space? If your answer to questions like this make you realize renovations won't solve your problems, consider that it may just be time to put your home on the market. 

5. Consider the ROI on your remodel

Calculating your return on investment will help you determine two things - first, if a remodel will cost you less than selling your home. It will also help you determine if you will be able to make your money back on a remodel if you choose to sell in the future. Look into the Cost v. Value Report for the last year, which can guide you on the most and least cost-effective improvements.

If these considerations make you realize it is time to sell your home, give us a call today!