An Easy Way to Make More Money Selling Your Home

Another great article with some great tips about selling your home from Dave Ramsey’s blog:

If you’ve ever sold a home, you know it takes money to make it happen. You’ve got to fix and freshen it up to attract buyers. Then there are closing costs. And moving brings its own set of expenses.

But perhaps the biggest chunk that comes out of your pocket is the real estate agent commission, which traditionally runs around 6%. For the typical “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) home—which sold for $208,000 last year—that’s almost $12,500. Ouch!

With that kind of cash, it’s no wonder that many sellers fly solo in an effort to save a few bucks. But is it worth it?

Would You Rather Save $6,250 or Make $27,000?

Your home is a big investment, and you want to make the most of it. Keeping the agent commission all to yourself seems like an easy way to do that. The problem is you’re leaving even more money on the table by opting out of a pro.

How much more?

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the typical home sold by an agent last year fetched $235,000. That’s a $27,000 difference!

But wait . . . there’s more! Selling your home on your own doesn’t necessarily mean an agent-free transaction. You still owe it to the buyer’s agent to pay their commission. After all, they worked hard to get their buyer into your home. If they get 3% of the sale, you can cut your $12,500 in savings in half, leaving you $6,250.

The numbers alone paint a pretty compelling picture. But let’s explore two reasons smart sellers go pro.

There’s Power in Numbers

If you want to sell your home, you’ve got to go where the buyers are. A recent NAR report found that 88% of buyers used a real estate agent to purchase their home in 2014.

Want to know the top method FSBO sellers used to market their home? A yard sign.

Last we checked, yards signs don’t exactly have their finger on the pulse of the market. Think about how many people drive by your home on a given day. Then stack that up against an agent’s pool of buyers. There’s no comparison!

With a real estate agent, you get instant access to thousands of potential buyers through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). A true pro has a proactive plan for exposing your home to as many buyers as possible and works with you to ensure your home gives a great first impression.

There’s No Substitute for Experience

Let’s set the sugarcoating aside and cut to the chase. Going it alone guarantees one thing: You’ll make mistakes. Some will be small—but some will come with zeroes on the end. You’ve worked too hard to let that happen!

Research shows FSBO sellers struggle most with paperwork, pricing and preparing their home for the sale. A real estate agent can help you with all of those things (and more!) and will advise you based on experience, not emotion.

Here are just a few ways a pro makes selling your home a cinch:

  • Advising you on home repairs or updates
  • Pricing your home based on the latest market data
  • Actively marketing your home to buyers
  • Scheduling showings with potential buyers
  • Negotiating to get the best price on your home
  • Handling all the required paperwork

Look at it this way: A top-notch agent sold more homes last week than you’ll probably sell in your lifetime. They eat, drink and sleep real estate. Doesn’t it stand to reason that they can help you achieve the most gain with the least pain?

Don’t Give Up Big Bucks Just to Save a Few

Can you save money by going FSBO? Sure. But you lose out on so much more! Do yourself a favor and partner with a high-performance pro who knows what it takes to get top dollar for your home in the least amount of time.

The average real estate agent sold 12 homes last year. But why settle for average?

Dave’s real estate Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) sell at least 35 homes a year and have experience in both good and bad markets. Best of all, you can trust an ELP to give you the same helpful advice you’d hear from Dave. Why? Because ELPs are Dave fans too!

If you’re planning to sell your home, why not work with the best of the best? Check out the #1 team in Georgia for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices: www.PetersenPartners.com

What Does a REALTOR Really Do?

So, What Exactly Does a REALTOR Do For You?

checklistPat Vredevoogd-Combs, past president of the National Association of REALTORS, testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Housing to blunt government complaints about industry pricing.

As part of her testimony, she submitted a list of 184 things that listing agents do in every real estate transaction.

“By all accounts,” she said, “the general public is not aware of all the services that agents provide to sellers and buyers during the course of the transaction, probably because most of the important services are performed behind the scenes.”

Pre-Listing Activities
1. Make appointment with seller for listing presentation.
2. Send a written or e-mail confirmation of appointment and call to confirm.
3. Review appointment questions.
4. Research all comparable currently listed properties.
5. Research sales activity for past 18 months from MLS and public databases.
6. Research “average days on market” for properties similar in type, price and location.
7. Download and review property tax roll information.
8. Prepare “comparable market analysis” (CMA) to establish market value.
9. Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex layout.
10. Research property’s ownership and deed type.
11. Research property’s public record information for lot size and dimensions.
12. Verify legal description.
13. Research property’s land use coding and deed restrictions.
14. Research property’s current use and zoning.
15. Verify legal names of owner(s) in county’s public property records.
16. Prepare listing presentation package with above materials.
17. Perform exterior “curb appeal assessment” of subject property.
18. Compile and assemble formal file on property.
19. Confirm current public schools and explain their impact on market value.
20. Review listing appointment checklist to ensure completion of all tasks.

Listing Appointment Presentation
21. Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections.
22. Review agent and company credentials and accomplishments.
23. Present company’s profile and position or “niche” in the marketplace.
24. Present CMA results, including comparables, solds, current listings and expireds.
25. Offer professional pricing strategy based and interpretation of current market conditions.
26. Discuss goals to market effectively.
27. Explain market power and benefits of multiple listing service.
28. Explain market power of Web marketing, IDX and REALTOR.com.
29. Explain the work the broker and agent do “behind the scenes” and agent’s availability on weekends.
30. Explain agent’s role in screening qualified buyers to protect against curiosity seekers.
31. Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan.
32. Explain different agency relationships and determine seller’s preference.
33. Review all clauses in listing contract and obtain seller’s signature.

After Listing Agreement is Signed
34. Review current title information.
35. Measure overall and heated square footage.
36. Measure interior room sizes.
37. Confirm lot size via owner’s copy of certified survey, if available.
38. Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements.
39. Obtain house plans, if applicable and available.
40. Review house plans, make copy.
41. Order plat map for retention in property’s listing file.
42. Prepare showing instructions for buyers’ agents and agree on showing time with seller.
43. Obtain current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and account numbers.
44. Verify current loan information with lender(s).
45. Check assumability of loan(s) and any special requirements.
46. Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller.
47. Review current appraisal if available.
48. Identify Home Owner Association manager is applicable.
49. Verify Home Owner Association fees with manager–mandatory or optional and current annual fee.
50. Order copy of Home Owner Association bylaws, if applicable.
51. Research electricity availability and supplier’s name and phone number.
52. Calculate average utility usage from last 12 months of bills.
53. Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system.
54. Calculate average water system fees or rates from last 12 months of bills.
55. Or confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report.
56. Research/verify natural gas availability, supplier’s name and phone number.
57. Verify security system, term of service and whether owned or leased.
58. Verify if seller has transferable Termite Bond.
59. Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure.
60. Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact.
61. Prepare detailed list of property’s “Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale.”
62. Complete list of completed repairs and maintenance items.
63. Send “Vacancy Checklist” to seller if property is vacant.
64. Explain benefits of Home Owner Warranty to seller.
65. Assist sellers with completion and submission of Home Owner Warranty application.
66. When received, place Home Owner Warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale.
67. Have extra key made for lockbox.
68. Verify if property has rental units involved. And if so:
69. Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file.
70. Verify all rents and deposits.
71. Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled.
72. Arrange for yard sign installation.
73. Assist seller with completion of Seller’s Disclosure form.
74. Complete “new listing checklist.”
75. Review results of Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and suggest improvements for salability.
76. Review results of Interior Decor Assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market.
77. Load listing time into transaction management software.

Entering Property in MLS Database
78. Prepare MLS Profile Sheet–agent is responsible for “quality control” and accuracy of listing data.
79. Enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS listing database.
80. Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy, including property placement in mapping function.
81. Add property to company’s Active Listings.
82. Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Data Form within 48 hours.
83. Take more photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers. Discuss efficacy of panoramic photography.

Marketing the Listing
forsale84. Create print and Internet ads with seller’s input.
85. Coordinate showings with owners, tenants and other agents. Return all calls–weekends included.
86. Install electronic lockbox. Program with agreed-upon showing time windows.
87. Prepare mailing and contact list.
88. Generate mail-merge letters to contact list.
89. Order “Just Listed” labels and reports.
90. Prepare flyers and feedback forms.
91. Review comparable MLS listings regularly to ensure property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions and availability.
92. Prepare property marketing brochure for seller’s review.
93. Arrange for printing or copying of supply of marketing brochures or flyers.
94. Place marketing brochures in all company agent mailboxes.
95. Upload listing to company and agent Internet sites, if applicable.
96. Mail “Just Listed” notice to all neighborhood residents.
97. Advise Network Referral Program of listing.
98. Provide marketing data to buyers from international relocation networks.
99. Provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network.
100. Provide “Special Feature” cards form marketing, if applicable/
101. Submit ads to company’s participating Internet real estate sites.
102. Convey price changes promptly to all Internet groups.
103. Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed.
104. Review and update loan information in MLS as required.
105. Send feedback e-mails/faxes to buyers’ agents after showings.
106. Review weekly Market Study.
107. Discuss feedback from showing agents with seller to determine if changes will accelerate the sale.
108. Place regular weekly update calls to seller to discuss marketing and pricing.
109. Promptly enter price changes in MLS listings database.

The Offer and the Contract
homesold110. Receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ agents.
111. Evaluate offer(s) and prepare “net sheet” on each for owner to compare.
112. Counsel seller on offers. Explain merits and weakness of each component of each offer.
113. Contact buyers’ agents to review buyer’s qualifications and discuss offer.
114. Fax/deliver Seller’s Disclosure to buyer’s agent or buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible.
115. Confirm buyer is pre-qualified by calling loan officer.
116. Obtain pre-qualification letter on buyer from loan officer.
117. Negotiate all offers on seller’s behalf, setting time limit for loan approval and closing date.
118. Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance or amendments to buyer’s agent.
119. Fax copies of contract and all addendums to closing attorney or title company.
120. When Offer-to-Purchase contract is accepted and signed by seller, deliver to buyer’s agent.
121. Record and promptly deposit buyer’s money into escrow account.
122. Disseminate “Under-Contract Showing Restrictions” as seller requests.
123. Deliver copies of fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to sellers.
124. Fax/deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to selling agent.
125. Fax copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender.
126. Provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file.
127. Advise seller in handling additional offers to purchase submitted between contract and closing.
128. Change MLS status to “Sale Pending.”
129. Update transaction management program to show “Sale Pending.”
130. Review buyer’s credit report results–Advise seller of worst and best case scenarios.
131. Provide credit report information to seller if property is to be sellerfinanced.
132. Assist buyer with obtaining financing and follow up as necessary.
133. Coordinate with lender on discount points being locked in with dates.
134. Deliver unrecorded property information to buyer.
135. Order septic inspection, if applicable.
136. Receive and review septic system report and access any impact on sale.
137. Deliver copy of septic system inspection report to lender and buyer.
138. Deliver well flow test report copies to lender, buyer and listing file.
139. Verify termite inspection ordered.
140. Verify mold inspection ordered, if required.

Tracking the Loan Process
141. Confirm return of verifications of deposit and buyer’s employment.
142. Follow loan processing through to the underwriter.
143. Add lender and other vendors to transaction management program so agents, buyer and seller can track progress of sale.
144. Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track.
145. Relay final approval of buyer’s loan application to seller.

Home Inspection
146. Coordinate buyer’s professional home inspection with seller.
147. Review home inspector’s report.
148. Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program.
149. Explain seller’s responsibilities of loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract.
150. Ensure seller’s compliance with home inspection clause requirements.
151. Assist seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors for required repairs.
152. Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on seller’s behalf, if needed.

The Appraisal
153. Schedule appraisal.
154. Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to appraiser.
155. Follow up on appraisal.
156. Enter completion into transaction management program.
157. Assist seller in questioning appraisal report if it seems too low.

Closing Preparations and Duties
movingday158. Make sure contract is signed by all parties.
159. Coordinate closing process with buyer’s agent and lender.
160. Update closing forms and files.
161. Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale.
162. Select location for closing.
163. Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties.
164. Solve any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc.) or in obtaining death certificates.
165. Work with buyer’s agent in scheduling and conducting buyer’s final walk through prior to closing.
166. Research all tax, HOA, utility and other applicable prorations.
167. Request final closing figures from closing agent (attorney or title company).
168. Receive and carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy.
169. Forward verified closing figures to buyer’s agent.
170. Request copy of closing documents from closing agent.
171. Confirm the buyer and buyer’s agent received title insurance commitment.
172. Provide “Home Owners Warranty” for availability at closing.
173. Review all closing documents carefully for errors.
174. Forward closing documents to absentee seller as requested.
175. Review documents with closing agent (attorney).
176. Provide earnest money deposit from escrow account to closing agent.
177. Coordinate closing with seller’s next purchase, resolving timing issues.
178. Have a “no surprises” closing so that seller receives a net proceeds check at closing.
179. Refer sellers to one of the best agents at their destination, if applicable.
180. Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker and agent’s ID numbers, etc.
181. Close out listing in transaction management program.

Follow Up After Closing
182. Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty company, if requested.
183. Attempt to clarify and resolve any repair conflicts if buyer is dissatisfied.
184. Respond to any follow-up calls and provide any additional information required from office files.

– See more at: http://ohiorealtors.org/consumers/184-tasks-agents-do-for-you/#sthash.mLteahAE.zT20XaH3.dpuf

Summer Lawn Care Tips

Here’s a good mantra to guide you through the heart of grass-mowing season: The taller the grass, the deeper the roots, the fewer the weeds, and the more moisture the soil holds between watering.

With that in mind, here’s how to ensure a healthy, green lawn:

  • Set your mower blade height to 3 inches.
  • Deep and infrequent watering is better for lawns than frequent sprinkles, which promote shallow root growth. In general, lawns need about 1 inch of water per week to maintain green color and active growth.

Lawns that receive less than that will likely go dormant. That’s okay, the grass is still alive, but dormant lawns should still receive at least 1 inch of water per month. Your grass will green up again when the weather brings regular rains.

  • To check the output of a sprinkler, scatter some pie tins around the yard to see how much water collects in a specific length of time. Having a rain gauge ($5 to $20) will help you keep track of how much water the lawn receives naturally.
  • Although it’s OK to leave grass clippings on the lawn where they can decompose and nourish the soil, large clumps of clippings should be removed. Regularly rake up any leaves, twigs, and debris.

If your grass seems to be stressed out, check out our advice on what to do if your lawn is turning brown.

Save Your Sanity With These Moving Day Tips

Here are some great moving day tips from Dave Ramsey’s blog:

Is there anyone in the world who actually likes moving to a new home? Organizing and packing up years of accumulated stuff, keeping up with odds and ends, tripping over boxes—is there any way to make that sound fun?

While we may not be able to make moving an enjoyable experience, we have some tips to help relieve some of your stress. To start off, try not to think of moving to a new home as a single, overwhelming ordeal. Break the moving process down into easy-to-accomplish phases to keep you focused and motivated.

Here’s our suggestion for a four-phase move along with some interesting packing tips to make things easier.

Phase One: At Least Three Months Before Moving Day

1. Don’t waste time or space packing what you don’t use or need. Clear out closets, cabinets and any other random storage places and sell, toss or donate anything you haven’t used in more than a year. Have a pre-moving yard sale and make a little extra cash while you’re at it!

2. Start gathering sturdy boxes from grocery, furniture or electronics stores. It may take more time to get what you need, but they’ll be free!

3. Start pre-packing! If you’re selling your home, this will help you clear out clutter and make your home appear more spacious to prospective buyers. Pack up photos, knickknacks, rarely used dishes and cookware—almost anything you don’t use on a daily basis.

Packing Tips

—Label and/or color-code boxes to make unpacking easier. Place labels on the sides of boxes so you can see them when the boxes are stacked.

—For items that must be disassembled, keep screws, washers, and so forth in labeled plastic bags. Put all the bags in one box so they won’t get lost. Do the same with the cords from your electronics.

—Instead of wrapping each dish in newspaper or bubble wrap, separate your dishes with Styrofoam plates. Stack them in boxes vertically instead of flat. They’ll be less likely to break.

Phase Two: One Month Before Moving Day

1. Coordinate your moving dates with some overlap. Leave plenty of time between closing on your current home and the move-in date for your new home to paint or put in new flooring—whatever projects you have in mind—before you move in.

2. Go ahead and set up utilities and internet access at your new home and notify the post office of your new address.

3. Take measurements at your new home to make sure your current appliances and furniture will fit.

4. Keep packing!

Phase Three: One or Two Weeks Before Moving Day

1. Finish up the immediate updates to your new home.

2. Put up shower curtains at your new home and stock the bathroom with towels and soap so you can have a hot shower after a long day of moving. Have paper plates, disposable cups, paper towels and cleaning supplies at your new home so you don’t have to search for them the day of the move.

3. Pack a bag of essentials for each family member: medicines, toiletries and a change of clothes. Keep these handy so you’ll have everything you need for your first night in your new home without digging through boxes.

4. Nearly done packing!

More Packing Tips

—Take pictures of your electronic hookups so you have a guide to use when you get to your new home.

—Slip your hanging clothes into garbage bags while they’re still on the hanger. Simply transport them to your new closet and remove the bag.

Final Phase: Moving Day

1. All your prior hard work should make this day a simple matter of moving your things from one location to another. Make things even easier by having a friend watch your kids and/or pets so you can focus on the task at hand.

2. If you’re relying on volunteers to help you move, organize your teams in shifts so one group of friends helps you move out while the other helps you move in. That way no one has to give up a full day, and you get all the help you need.

Professional Movers Can Do the Heavy Lifting

If your budget allows, consider hiring professional movers who will take on much of the physical stress of packing and transporting your belongings. Remember, it’s your responsibility to keep things organized.

Look for companies that have a reputation for good customer service. Be sure you understand your responsibilities so you don’t end up paying more than you expect.

A Small Price to Pay for a Great New Home

Don’t let the task of moving keep you from finding a new home you and your family can enjoy. Take your time, think ahead, and keep your sense of humor!

If you think you’re ready to start shopping for a new home, we can put you in touch with a high-energy, high-octane real estate agent Dave recommends to help you make the home-buying process as smooth as your move.

How Much Does That House Project Really Cost?

Imagine you are house hunting. You find the perfect home-except for one thing. Maybe it’s hardwood floors. Knowing how much would it cost to replace the carpet with hardwoods could make a difference to your bottom line.

New online resources are available to help home buyers decide if a repair or renovation is within their budget and home sellers determine whether they should invest in fix ups prior to listing their home for sale. We recently read about two new sites in an article

For example, HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide can provide visitors with an idea of what they can expect to pay for projects in their area.

truecost

 

 

 

At the site, users plug in the project they want to complete, along with their ZIP code. The tool then will list the average cost of the home improvement project or repair in their area based on what others have paid. You can see a breakdown of cost estimates from the low to high end as well as average. The site offers a searchable database to gather estimates for more than 300 types of home projects and repairs, whether your buyer wants to find the average cost of remodeling a bathroom, painting the home’s exterior, installing new windows or countertops, or more.

fixr

 

 

 

 

 

Another cost estimating site, called Fixr, also offers estimates on various home improvement and remodeling projects — just plug in the project and find estimated costs as well as get access to a list of contractors in your area. The site also features cost guides to give you an overview of the price of tackling projects like kitchen and basement remodels as well as the costs of repairing siding, installing new windows, adding a porch or swimming pool, and more.

Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. As we enjoy our holiday, it is important to remember what Independence Day is all about.

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence declaring the United States independent from Great Britain. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.

In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on this memorable day. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.

We wish you and your loved ones a safe and Happy Independence Day!

7 Tips for Staging Your Home

Make your home warm and inviting to boost your home’s value and speed up the sale process.

The first step to getting buyers to make an offer on your home is to impress them with its appearance so they begin to envision themselves living there. Here are seven tips for making your home look bigger, brighter, and more desirable.

1.  Start with a Clean Slate

Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning right down to the nitpicky details like wiping down light switch covers. Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.

2.  Stow Away Your Clutter

It’s harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they’re looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, don’t make spaces like mantles and coffee and end tables barren. Leave three items of varying heights on each surface, suggests Barb Schwarz of Staged Homes in Concord, Pa. For example, place a lamp, a small plant, and a book on an end table.

3.  Scale Back on Your Furniture

When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

4.  Rethink Your Furniture Placement

Highlight the flow of your rooms by arranging the furniture to guide buyers from one room to another. In each room, create a focal point on the farthest wall from the doorway and arrange the other pieces of furniture in a triangle around the focal point, advises Schwarz. In the bedroom, the bed should be the focal point. In the living room, it may be the fireplace, and your couch and sofa can form the triangle in front of it.

5.  Add Color to Brighten Your Rooms

Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements.

6.  Set the Scene

Lay logs in the fireplace, and set your dining room table with dishes and a centerpiece of fresh fruit or flowers. Create other vignettes throughout the home — such as a chess game in progress — to help buyers envision living there. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.

Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Judiciously add subtle potpourri, scented candles, or boil water with a bit of vanilla mixed in. If you have pets, clean bedding frequently and spray an odor remover before each showing.

7.  Make the Entrance Grand

Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before showings to make your lawn sparkle. If flowers or plants don’t surround your home’s entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat and adding a seasonal wreath to your front door.

Related:

  • Spring Cleaning Guide
  • 11 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance for Under $100
  • Fragrant Plants that Will Keep Your Home Smelling Good

 

By: G. M. Filisko. Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/7-tips-staging-your-home/preview/?cid=eo_rl_sss_rcrpromo#ixzz3cZUqVJjx

Why You Should Pay Attention to the Home’s Furniture Layout

One thing that occasionally gets overlooked when preparing a home for sale is furniture layout. I’ve been in many homes where I’ve felt that something wasn’t quite right about a certain room as soon as I entered it. Not anything obvious, but more of an indescribable sense of confusion for lack of a better word.

If you’re planning on selling your home, here are some questions you should ask yourself about your current furniture layout:

• Does the room look off balance?

• Is the flow of the room disrupted?

• Does the layout impede pathways?

• Is the focal point of the room concealed?

• Does the room feel “boxed in” rather than open?

• Is there too much furniture in the room?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might want to take a look at your furniture placement. This is where a professional home stager can help you.

At a recent staging consultation that I carried out, there were some issues with furniture placement. The space in question was an open concept living room/dining room/kitchen. If you take a look at this BEFORE photo, you’ll see that some changes were needed.

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Now let’s ask the questions about this space:

Question #1: “Does the room look off balance?” Although you can’t see it from this photo, the dining area was directly behind the sofa. This area was comprised of a small round table and four chairs along with a small dining hutch. The living area was weighted down in comparison with too many pieces of heavy furniture, which made the overall space look off balance.

Question #2: “Is the flow of the room disrupted?” The large sofa split the space between the living and dining areas in half, making the room look smaller and broken up.

Question #3: “Does the layout impede pathways?” The pathway to get from the dining area to the kitchen was tight due to the length of the sofa. As well, the pathway between the sofa and loveseat to reach the seating area was cramped.

Question #4: “Is the focal point of the room concealed?” Absolutely. In this case, the focal point of the room was the fireplace. With the current furniture configuration and the large TV, the fireplace did not take main stage.

Question #5: “Does the room feel ‘boxed in’ rather than open?” Yes, you can see this from the BEFORE photo.

Question #6: “Is there too much furniture in the room?” Yes, from a staging point of view there was too much furniture in the space. While living in a house and not considering selling, you’re obviously going to arrange your space to suit your needs as was the case here. Due to the amount of entertaining the home owners did, they required more seating. However, now that they were going to sell, they needed to make some changes.

So here’s what we did…

We removed the sofa, moved the loveseat over to where the sofa previously was, and brought in a chair that was being used upstairs in the master bedroom suite. Fortunately, this chair matched the loveseat so we were in luck. While we were at it, we removed the TV for good measure in order to also help open up the space and make the fireplace the main attraction.

Once the TV was gone, we brought in a glass console table that was previously in the basement to help ground that area, yet not detract from the fireplace.

Now take a look at the AFTER photo …

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In the AFTER photo you’ll see how the space is more open, there’s flow, and the fireplace now takes its place of prominence as it should. This photo was taken before any styling took place. You can see how different the space looks already and that’s without any decorative accessories, an area rug or small glass tables.

The way your furniture is arranged while you are living in your home should be configured to suit your needs and to work with your intended purpose for the room. However, remember that if you’re going to sell anytime soon, you should always ask yourself some important questions about furniture placement.

Happy Father’s Day!

unnamedFather’s Day originated in 1910 in Spokane Washington. Sonora Smart Dodd was the daughter of a Civil War Veteran who raised his six children as a single parent. To honor her father, she organized the first celebration at the Spokane YMCA. There were several attempts to create a national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson, President Calvin Coolidge and others. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers and declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the national holiday was made permanent and President Richard Nixon signed it into law. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads! Sunday, June 21st is your official day. Take time to enjoy it!

8 Tips for Adding Curb Appeal and Value to Your Home

Here are eight ways to help your home put its best face forward.

Homes with high curb appeal command higher prices and take less time to sell. We’re not talking about replacing vinyl siding with redwood siding; we’re talking about maintenance and beautifying tasks you’d like to live with anyway.

The way your house looks from the street — attractively landscaped and well-maintained — can add thousands to its value and cut the time it takes to sell. But which projects pump up curb appeal most? Some spit and polish goes a long way, and so does a dose of color.

Related: Gorgeous Landscaping for Your House Means More Than Just Looks

Tip #1: Wash Your House’s Face

Before you scrape any paint or plant more azaleas, wash the dirt, mildew, and general grunge off the outside of your house. REALTORS® say washing a house can add $10,000 to $15,000 to the sale prices of some houses.

A bucket of soapy water and a long-handled, soft-bristled brush can remove the dust and dirt that have splashed onto your wood, vinyl, metal, stucco, brick, and fiber cement siding. Power washers (rental: $75 per day) can reveal the true color of your flagstone walkways.

Wash your windows inside and out, swipe cobwebs from eaves, and hose down downspouts. Don’t forget your garage door, which was once bright white. If you can’t spray off the dirt, scrub it off with a solution of 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate — TSP, available at grocery stores, hardware stores, and home improvement centers — dissolved in 1 gallon of water.

You and a friend can make your house sparkle in a few weekends. A professional cleaning crew will cost hundreds — depending on the size of the house and number of windows — but will finish in a couple of days.

Tip #2: Freshen the Paint Job

The most commonly offered curb appeal advice from real estate pros and appraisers is to give the exterior of your home a good paint job. Buyers will instantly notice it, and appraisers will value it.
 
Of course, painting is an expensive and time-consuming facelift. To paint a 3,000-square-foot home, figure on spending $375 to $600 on paint; $1,500 to $3,000 on labor.

Your best bet is to match the paint you already have: Scrape off a little and ask your local paint store to match it. Resist the urge to make a statement with color. An appraiser will mark down the value of a house that’s painted a wildly different color from its competition.

Tip #3: Regard the Roof

The condition of your roof is one of the first things buyers notice and appraisers assess. Missing, curled, or faded shingles add nothing to the look or value of your house. If your neighbors have maintained or replaced their roofs, yours will look especially shabby.

You can pay for roof repairs now, or pay for them later in a lower appraisal; appraisers will mark down the value by the cost of the repair. According to “Remodeling” magazine’s 2015 “Cost vs. Value Report,” the average cost of a new asphalt shingle roof is about $19,500.

Some tired roofs look a lot better after you remove 25 years of dirt, moss, lichens, and algae. Don’t try cleaning your roof yourself: call a professional with the right tools and technique to clean it without damaging it. A 2,000-square-foot roof will take a day and $400 to $600 to clean professionally.

Tip #4: Neaten the Yard

A well-manicured lawn, fresh mulch, and pruned shrubs boost the curb appeal of any home.

Replace overgrown bushes with leafy plants and colorful annuals. Surround bushes and trees with dark or reddish-brown bark mulch, which gives a rich feel to the yard. Put a crisp edge on garden beds, pull weeds and invasive vines, and plant a few geraniums in pots.

Green up your grass with lawn food and water. Cover bare spots with seeds and sod, get rid of crab grass, and mow regularly.

Tip #5: Add a Color Splash

Even a little color attracts and pleases the eye of would-be buyers.

Plant a tulip border in the fall that will bloom in the spring. Dig a flowerbed by the mailbox and plant some pansies. Place a brightly colored bench or Adirondack chair on the front porch. Get a little daring, and paint the front door red or blue.

These colorful touches won’t add to the value of our house: Appraisers don’t give you extra points for a blue bench. But beautiful colors enhance curb appeal and help your house to sell faster.

Related: Colorful Plants with Curb Appeal

Tip #6: Glam Your Mailbox

An upscale mailbox, architectural house numbers, or address plaques can make your house stand out.

High-style die cast aluminum mailboxes range from $100 to $350. You can pick up a handsome, hand-painted mailbox for about $50. If you don’t buy new, at least give your old mailbox a facelift with paint and new house numbers.

These days, your local home improvement center or hardware stores has an impressive selection of decorative numbers. Architectural address plaques, which you tack to the house or plant in the yard, typically range from $80 to $200. Brass house numbers range from $3 to $11 each, depending on size and style.

Related: 11 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance for Under $100

Tip #7: Fence Yourself In

A picket fence with a garden gate to frame the yard is an asset. Not only does it add visual punch to your property, appraisers will give extra value to a fence in good condition, although it has more impact in a family-oriented neighborhood than an upscale retirement community.

Expect to pay $2,000 to $3,500 for a professionally installed gated picket fence 3 feet high and 100 feet long.

If you already have a fence, make sure it’s clean and in good condition. Replace broken gates and tighten loose latches.

Tip #8: Maintenance is a Must

Nothing looks worse from the curb — and sets off subconscious alarms — like hanging gutters, missing bricks from the front steps, or peeling paint. Not only can these deferred maintenance items damage your home, but they can decrease the value of your house by 10%.

Here are some maintenance chores that will dramatically help the look of your house:

  • Refasten sagging gutters.
  • Repoint bricks that have lost their mortar.
  • Reseal cracked asphalt.
  • Straighten shutters.
  • Replace cracked windows.