Add Home Value with These Indoor Décor Ideas

decorIf you’re like a lot of homeowners today, you might be tempted to chalk decorating choices up to personal preference and think they have little to do with home value — but this is a mistake. Whether or not you’re planning to sell your home soon, here’s what you need to know: the right decorating choices not only make your home a more enjoyable place for you to live, but also they increase and improve your property value when it comes time to put it on the market. This is because, believe it or not, there are a lot of ways that updates and decorating can increase how much your home is worth. How exactly does this work? What indoor décor boosts property value? Consider the following:

  1. Fresh Paint. “Whether it’s interior or exterior painting, a fresh coat of paint instantly makes any space appear updated and clean, increasing its surface value,” says TLC Decorating Services. Stick to light neutrals that enlarge your living spaces and appeal to a wide range of tastes, and, if you have it in the budget, hire professionals who will make sure the paint job is done right.
  2. Upgraded Lighting. There’s a reason real estate agents turn on all of a home’s lights for a showing — generally speaking, the brighter, the better. Well-lit rooms look bigger and more inviting, especially when attractive fixtures light them. Plus, because light fixtures are one of those home features that often will stay with a home when it sells, potential buyers are getting extra value from the recessed lighting, pendant lights and other fixtures you add to your layout and design.
  3. Plantation Shutters. Attractive window treatments are always a selling point, especially if they’re custom-made like plantation shutters. Specifically created for your home’s living rooms, bedrooms or basement, plantation shutters add as much functionality as they do value, showing buyers yet another asset of your home.
  4. Granite Countertops. It doesn’t matter if you live in a two-bedroom condo or a six-bedroom Georgian-style home, adding granite countertops is a design choice with value impact. “No matter what price the home is, most buyers want granite these days,” says Lee Anne Culpepper at Networx. Plus, because granite or other stone countertops are such an in-demand feature these days, most buyers will be willing to pay more for a home to get them.
  5. New Appliances. Right along with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances are a top upgrade in terms of value boost. “The cold feel of steel is a hot ticket item for buyers,” saysHGTV. “Transition your appliances as they wear out and go with a similar metallic look in your light switches.” Swap the old, outdated fridge, stove and dishwasher in your kitchen with sleek stainless steel and you bring it into the new century.
  6. New Bathroom Tile. Nothing dates a bathroom faster than vintage tile, so if you want to breathe fresh life into a bathroom space, go with new, bright, modern tile instead. Light colors make small bathrooms look bigger — a major value boost come selling time — and modern choices make your bathrooms fit with your home’s more updated overall look.
  7. Staged Rooms. Only a small percentage of the population can truly envision living in a home with outdated décor or empty rooms — that’s why a service like staging can be so powerful. According to Bank Rate, one survey showed that home staging resulted in an average $1,780 price increase or 586 percent return on investment. If you want to make your home look more valuable and thus to command a higher sale price, consider hiring a stager to make your rooms look their best. When potential buyers see how attractive and spacious rooms can look, they’re one step closer to making an offer.
  8. Attractive Framing. Empty walls force a buyer to try and imagine where art could go and how to fill space. When you have attractive, perhaps even custom framing throughout your living spaces, however, you have a perfect finishing touch — both for your own enjoyment in your home and for a desirable look when it’s time to sell.

If you’ve wanted to upgrade your home but are unsure how to justify it, this list is good news. Not only will the right indoor décor make your home more livable for the short term, but also it will add value for long-term resale. To figure out where to start with your remodeling projects, use the above eight ideas and make the most of your updates.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall

7 Reasons Why You Should Use a REALTOR to Sell Your Home

Realtor  Selling your home can seem a daunting task. When you close that deal, you want to make sure that your home goes to the best buyer for the best price. It may seem cheaper to sell your home yourself, and many do; however, there are a lot of details to work through.

“Selling your home through a REALTOR can help you make sure you get the best value overall,” says Kimberly Nicole, a REALTOR based in The Woodlands/Houston, Texas metro area who caters to luxury homes and their clientele.

Nicole offers seven reasons why you should use a REALTOR instead of selling your home yourself:

1. REALTORS Know How to Navigate the Process A REALTOR is the manager of your home buying process. Nicole explains that you and your REALTOR will begin with extensive discussions to head off any road blocks later on. Your REALTOR is aware of your concerns, needs and priorities. They are there from the beginning to end, navigating each step of the way with you. Selling real estate can be a tricky business, full of regulations and involved steps. Your REALTOR works for you, staying on top of the latest regulations and helping you meet them.

2. REALTORS Know How to Professionally List the Property In the age of web 2.0, it’s not enough to upload your phone photos to a few random sites. Buyers expect professional photos, videos and flawless online presentation. To get the most exposure, you also need to manage your listing across multiple channels. REALTORS will do all this for you, including coordinating with photographers and videographers to make sure your listing is top-notch. “Hitting the right emotional and responsive chords with buyers is the goal,” says Nicole. “Determine who the likely audience is, and market directly to that audience.”

3. REALTORS Know How to Prepare Sellers Before you sell, your home must be in the best condition possible. Your REALTOR can advise you on what repairs need to be done, and they frequently know good contractors. You may have to have inspections done before you sell, and will probably have to do repairs. A REALTOR can set up any required inspections and instruct you on how to prepare. Sometimes homeowners will take out a loan against the house to finance costly repairs, but this can’t be done while the house is on the market. A REALTOR may help assess the situation, and then wait to list it until the repairs are completed.

4. REALTORS Can Help Sellers Prepare for Showings “Staging is extremely important,” says Nicole. “That first impression is vital.” Not only do all of the repairs need to be done, but if you still live there, the place must be kept clean and staged. This means everything from maintaining curbside appeal to the little details, like placing out a plate of cookies or laying out your best dishes in a table setting. She advises that a home must be open and inviting, and that smells, pets and lighting must all be taken into consideration. “We don’t want a home not selling because a buyer can’t see their own furniture in the home.” Your REALTOR may also advise you to de-clutter certain closets and rearrange rooms. They may explain which personal touches add a “homey” look and which things detract from a potential buyer envisioning their own decor.

5. REALTORS Can Help Get Buyers through the Doors REALTORS not only get the traffic in, they know how to manage it. They can arrange and hold open houses in a way that gets as many visitors as possible. They also work with buyers so that showings are more convenient for you. This is especially important if you still live in the house. REALTORS may also help weed through potential candidates so that you don’t waste your time with no-shows or non-serious buyers. “If a person needs to sell a house before buying another, the seller needs to know this,” says Nicole. This all factors in to final decisions and net proceeds.

6. REALTORS Know How to Objectively Negotiate You may think preparing and showing your home may be stressful, but receiving offers can be difficult. “The goal is to get the most money as the seller, and as the buyer the goal is to look at market value and if it’s priced appropriately. You don’t want to present an offer that’s an insult to the seller,” says Nicole. A REALTOR can help you stay reasonable, without letting you take a lowball offer either. They will also be there to navigate a multi-bid and renegotiations. “Renegotiations fall apart all the time, and deals frequently don’t come through,” she says. “Each side has different concerns, and each party needs to know where the other stands.” Closing can be a confusing process, and there is a lot of paperwork to sign. Your REALTOR has been through this many times and can explain everything you are signing and why. If you have any questions on anything, your REALTOR is right there.

7. REALTORS Know the Area “The key to a good agent is knowing the area,” says Nicole. They know what the property values are, and have a good idea of future market fluctuations. They also know where and how to list your property for best results. Having a home listed on MLS is not enough. A good REALTOR that is knowledgeable of the area is essential to getting the best deal on your home.


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Early Fall Lawn Care

Preparing to patch grass in the early fall

Spread grass seed evenly over bare patches. Image: Home Joys


The best time to patch bare or thin spots is when the hot, dry days of summer have given way to cooler temps. Follow these simple steps:

1. Remove any dead grass.

2. Break up the soil with a garden trowel.

3. Add an inch of compost and work it into the soil.

4. Add grass seed that’s designed for shade or full sun, depending on the area you’re working on. Spread the seed evenly across the bare patch.

5. Use a hard-tooth rake to work the seed into the soil to a depth of about half an inch.

6. Sprinkle grass clippings over the patch to help prevent the soil from drying out.

7. Water the area; you’ll want to keep the patch moist, so lightly water once a day until the seed germinates and the new grass gets about one inch tall.