Selling this spring or summer? Realtor.com® offers the following often-overlooked tips for home sellers:
To-do No. 1: Google your address
Not all sellers scour the Internet to find out what’s being said about their property, but they should. Nearly all buyers—90%—search online during their hunt for a home, according to the National Association of Realtors. You should be aware of what your online listing looks like, since it will influence the kinds of concerns buyers will have, says Avery Boyce, a Realtor with Compass Real Estate in Washington, D.C.
“Is the site’s estimated value very different from your asking price? It might be because tax records have the wrong information about the number of bedrooms or bathrooms your house has, and this is easily fixed,” Boyce says. Consider this too: Google Maps’ street view of your property may not show improvements that you’ve made, so you’ll want to be sure to include those updates in your listing.
To-do No. 2: Account for improvements and issues
“If you’ve owned your home for a while, make a list of all the problems you’ve solved while you’ve lived there,” says Boyce. This could include chimney fires, water damage, or a flood in the basement. Whether you solved the problem or not, you should disclose this information to the buyer so you don’t wind up in a lawsuit after the sale. Disclosing “invisible improvements” that you’ve made, like re-grading or adding a French drain system, can also be a great source of comfort for buyers, adds Boyce.
“The same goes for sewer lines or tanks, radon remediation, or leaky skylights.”
To-do No. 3: Check your real estate agent’s references
An agent’s bad behavior or incompetence could cost you time, money, and peace of mind, so it’s well worth taking extra steps to find the best real estate agent for you. Ask friends for recommendations.
Check that the people you’re considering have a current real estate license—with no complaints filed against them. Meet with the agent and reach out to a few of their references directly.
“Real estate agents should be happy to provide a number of references for a new client to call,” says Marianne Leonard Cashman a Realtor with William Raveis Real Estate in Andover, MA. As far as talking to your friends about a real estate agent recommendation, here are some questions Cashman suggests asking:
- Did you have confidence in your real estate agent?
- Do you think he/she had good knowledge of the local market?
- Did your agent communicate well and keep you informed during the entire transaction?
- Do you think that he/she negotiated well on your behalf?
- Did your agent have good vendors who could assist you?
- Did your agent returned calls/emails in a timely fashion?
- Would you recommend this person? Why? (Or why not?)
We’re proud of the reputation we’ve built in our community. We have the experience and professionalism you can trust. Please contact us at email@example.com or check us out at www.PetersenPartners.com. We will be happy to provide you a list of references and answer any questions you may have!
To-do No. 4: Insist on social media marketing
You staged your home beautifully, picked a competitive price, and listed the property, but there’s something else you’ll need to prepare before you’re fully ready to sell—a social media marketing plan. Video tours, floor plans, and photo galleries promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are must-dos, advises Cashman.
“You want to make sure that your agent is using all avenues to attract the right buyer for your home,” she explains. “Make sure your home has a presence on your agent’s website, their agency’s website, and is promoted on various sites that will market the home and give information about open houses.”
To-do No. 5: Make sure the doorbell rings
Ah, attention to detail. It’s those little cosmetic repairs that could cost you your home sale. If buyers see that you can’t even be bothered to repair a busted doorbell, they’re automatically going to think about what else may need fixing and view the home negatively.
“First impressions make all the difference,” says Cashman. “A well-kept home, starting with the view from the curb, gives the perception that the seller has great pride in the home and has taken good care of it—which translates into less energy and costs for the buyer as they prepare to move in.”
To-do No. 6: Clean inside everything
Storage is a huge selling point for homes. So be warned: Buyers are going to poke around inside closets, drawers, cabinets, ovens, refrigerators, and even the dishwasher, whether they’re cleaned or not—so you’d better make sure they are clean.
“Spending the money on a service to deep-clean your home will come back to you at least 10 times in your sales price,” says Boyce. Even if you’ve swept up and scrubbed all surfaces to a shine, you’re not done until dust, crumbs, and creepy crawlies are cleaned out from within the small spaces too.
To-do No. 7: Clarify which items are not included
You don’t want a buyer to fall in love with your house because of the custom window treatments and then rescind their offer when they find out the curtains aren’t for sale.
“The law says that anything bolted to the wall or ceiling goes to the buyer unless specifically excluded in the contract,” says Boyce. “If you want to take your flat-screen TV, chandelier, or custom pot rack, be sure to label it as soon as the house goes on the market, so that buyers don’t bank on owning that item and wind up disappointed.”
Atlanta Parent compiled this great list of spring festivals around Atlanta. Lots of fun activities to check out!
With the weather finally warming up in Atlanta, weekends are going to be jam packed with outdoor festivals for your family to explore. These festivals are often free, and include multiple children’s play areas, inflatables, face painting and arts and crafts stations. The Dogwood Festival includes high-flying swings and big slides, and the Inman Park Festival has a parade complete with colorful costumes and a funky community band.
If you are looking for a new art piece for your home or want to grab a bite to eat from the window of a food truck, spend your spring weekends festival hopping. The kids will love Lemonade Days at Brook Run Park with carnival rides and games, and you will enjoy tasting samples from over 75 restaurants at the Taste of Marietta. If you want to travel back in time and watch knights joust on horses or be amazed by a juggling show, visit the Georgia Renaissance Festival through June. Our spring festival picks bring so many ways to plan quality, weekend family time. Grab the sunscreen and head to a park!
Olmsted Linear Park
April 1-2. Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
150 local and regional artists, children’s area, local food and more. 1451 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta. Admission, free.
April 7-9. Fri., noon-11 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Three-day festival features artists from around the country, musical performances, children’s area with inflatables, arts and crafts, face painting and more. 14th St. and Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 404-817- 6642. Admission, free.
Reynolds Nature Preserve
April 8. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Azalea showcases, guided nature hikes, face painting, animal shows and more. 5665 Reynolds Rd., Morrow. 770-603-4188. Admission, free.
April 8 and 9. Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Over 100 artists displaying paintings, pottery, metalwork and more. Children’s area includes arts and crafts projects, bounce houses, sand art and face painting. 4415 Senator Russell Blvd., Acworth. 770-337-4049. Admission, free.
April 15. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Live entertainment, vendors, artist demos, children’s area, kid’s chalk art contest, food trucks and more. 4758 South Old Peachtree Rd., Norcross. 678-277-0920. admission, free.
April 15 and 16. Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Children’s area, local musicians, interactive art stations, plus up to 150 arts and crafts participants. 6100 Lake Forrest Dr., Sandy Springs. 404-873-1222. dmission, free.
Sat. and Sun. April 15-June 4 and Memorial Day. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Artist market, fire whip show, jousting, a hypnotist, belly dancing, aerial trapeze acts, knife throwing and more. Grab a turkey leg and travel back in time. 6905 Virlyn B. Smith Rd., Fairburn. 770-964-8575. Adults, $22; ages 6-12, $10;ages 5 and younger, free.
Brook Run Park
April 19-23. Wed.-Fri. 4-10 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. noon-6 p.m.
Rides, games concessions, arts and craft fair and live music. 4770 North Peachtree Rd., Dunwoody. 770-668-0401. Admission, free; unlimited ride pass, $20-25.
April 20. 5-8:30 p.m.
Samples from local restaurants plus live entertainment, children’s area, carnival rides and more. N. and S. Court Square, Newnan. 770-253-8283. Admission, free; tasting tickets, $1.
April 21. 6-9 p.m.
Over 30 Henry County restaurants serve tasting samples plus kids can enjoy slides, moonwalks, face painting and more. 101 Lake Dow Rd., McDonough. 678-432-1630. Adults, $20; ages 3-12, $5; kid zone tickets, $1 each.
April 22 and 23. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (parade, 9:30 a.m.); Sun., noon-5 p.m.
Enjoy the artist markets, children’s area and live music. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-423-1330. Admission, free.
April 22 and 23. Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. noon-6 p.m.
Traditional music, dancing, arts and crafts, Arabic calligraphy, face painting, carnival games and food from local
Arab restaurants. 3288 Marjan Dr., Atlanta. 770-936-8770. Adults, $5; ages 11 and younger, free.
Grant Park to Westview
April 23. 2-6 p.m.
Enjoy biking, skating or walking down the car-free streets. Local businesses will have booths and displays along the route. Bike parade at 2 p.m. Georgia Avenue and Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. Admission, free.
Downtown Gainesville Square
April 29. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Chicken city parade, upcycled arts and crafts show, live entertainment, children’s area and chicken cook-off. 104 Main St., Gainesville. 770-531-1102. Admission, free. Chicken sample card, $5.
April 29. 4-7 p.m.
100+ cars on display, barbecue, live music and more benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 8200 Roberts Dr., Atlanta. 678-892-1200. $20; ages 8 and younger, free.
April 29. 2-6 p.m.
Visit the Atlanta BeltLine for games, live music, dance performances, food trucks, health and wellness screenings, fitness demos and more. 102 Ollie St. NW, Atlanta. Admission, free.
April 29 and 30. Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m.; 5K: Sat. 8 a.m.
Artist market, Jonquil Jog/Walk 5K, puppet shows by Peter Hart, food for purchase, live music and children’s area. 200 Village Green Cir., Smyrna. 770-423-1330. Admission, free.
April 28 (home tour only), noon-4 p.m. April 29 and 30. Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (parade, 2 p.m.); Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
A self-guided home tour of the neighborhood’s historic houses, an artist market, kid’ yoga, live pet shows and children’s area. Euclid Ave., Atlanta. Admission, ree; home tour, $20.
Historic Marietta Square
April 30. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
75 Cobb County restaurants, live entertainment and children’s area. 50 Park Sq., Marietta. 770-429-1115. Admission, free; tastings, $1-$5.
Top 10 Must Do
- Have AC and heating systems serviced by a professional.
- Clean all rain gutters and downspouts; make repairs, if necessary.
- Clean and repair window screens. Clean tracks and lubricate.
- Clean debris off roof. Check for loose or damaged roof shingles or flashing. Repair, if needed.
- Sharpen all garden tools and inspect the condition of your wheelbarrow.
- Clean lint from the clothes dryer’s exhaust pipe.
- Reverse ceiling fans to counterclockwise direction to blow air down.
- Lubricate all exterior hinges, gates, garage door tracks, and locks.
- Clear away all leaves and debris from the AC condenser unit.
- Prepare all flowerbeds and plants.
If Time and Budget Allow
- Pressure wash decks, fences, siding and driveways.
- Add additional insulation to the attic.
- Organize at least one closet in your home.
- Dust lampshades and ceiling fan blades.
- Aerate and fertilize the lawn.
- Reseed all bare spots on lawn.
A Little Something Extra
- Flip or rotate mattresses.
- Paint the mailbox and inspect the mailbox post.
- Reorganize all DVDs, CDs, and video games.
- Take all indoor plants outside and clean.
- Test sump pump by pouring a bucket of water to activate.
Sherwin-Williams recently announced the winner for Color of the Year in 2017 is “Poised Taupe”(SW 6039), which is somewhat of a cross-over between warm and cool or dark and light. Or, as Sue Wadden, the director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, told the Today Show: “It’s like gray and brown had a baby.”
For a perfect pairing, Sherwin-Williams designers recommend combining Poised Taupe with pastels, brights, and jewel tones (such as a faded indigo hue for a French countryside look or combine it with a teal or sunny yellow for a more bold impact). Still can’t imagine what it would look like in your home? Check out these pictures courtesy of Sherwin Williams and checkout their Pinterest page for more ideas!
- 1 (16-oz.) box baking soda
- ½ (10-oz.) can shaving cream
- Chill the baking soda in the refrigerator for a few hours, and then empty it into a bowl.
- Slowly mix the shaving cream into the baking soda until it reaches a snow-like consistency.
How can you use your indoor snow? Let your creativity be your guide. Here are just a few ideas: You can make a snowman, or create snowballs to toss at unsuspecting family members. And, of course, the more people you have involved, the more fun you’ll have—so remember that you can always double the recipe to make it “snow” more inside!
If you’re feeling snowed under by inclement weather, make the indoors your playground. To get more fun indoor wintertime activities, visit www.americanlifestylemag.com/holidays.
– See more at: http://americanlifestylemag.com/how-to-make-indoor-snow-in-2-simple-steps/#sthash.A40ln4yj.dpuf
Declutter: Most listing agents would agree that clutter confuses buyers. They can’t see the home’s “bones” for all the furniture, toys, and other things. You have to pack up to move, so start dividing your things into three categories – keep, donate, and throw away. For things you want to keep, get a storage unit for out-of-season clothes and holiday dishes that you won’t need for a while.
Depersonalize: While you’re decluttering, store personal items such as photos, albums, figurines and collectibles. Accidents happen, so pack up and store as many breakable items as you can.
Detail: Just as you detail your car to help it hold its beauty and value, you should detail your home with the most vigorous cleaning it’s ever had. When you know you’re home is being shown or to get it ready for an open house, get your helpers to grab a basket and pick up anything that doesn’t belong out, like dirty clothes, wet towels, and tablets and smartphones.
Decamp: It’s harder for buyers to imagine themselves in your home if you’re still there, so take the kids and the dog to the park while your home is being shown. Buyers need to feel free to speak their minds and weigh possibilities.
Get everyone on board to keep things clean and neat, and your showings are much more likely to result in your home being sold.
Sometimes, the simplest things make the most difference. Consider a US soldier, stationed thousands of miles away from home. Even the bare necessities, such as food and clothing, would be welcomed. That’s why many people send care packages to our military personnel and veterans all over the world.
Check out this handy list for some of the most useful—and appreciated—items you can send to a soldier.
- knit hats
- colored socks
- Beanie Babies
- small plush toys
- drink mixes
- instant coffee and tea bags
- energy bars and granola bars
- peanut butter and jelly
- trail mix and dried fruit
- lip balm and sunblock
- roll-on deodorant
- toothbrushes and toothpaste
- floss and mouthwash
- individually packaged razors and shaving cream
- moist towelettes
- foot powder
- shampoo and body wash
- hand sanitizer
- cotton swabs
- muscle relief cream
- travel-sized board games
- crossword puzzles
When you decide what to put in your care package, Operation Gratitude will make sure it gets to the troops. For more information on sending care packages to soldiers, including the preferred sizes of the items on their wish list, visit the Operation Gratitude website.
To get more ideas for how you can help veterans, visit www.americanlifestylemag.com/veterans.
You may or may not have heard of the Remembrance Poppy—but you’ve probably seen it. These red-and-black poppies symbolize those who lost their lives in combat, and it was these same poppies that inspired a profound poem about a lost friend over a century ago that started the Remembrance Poppy movement.
During World War I, Canadian physician and soldier John McCrae discovered these very poppies growing around the burial site of his fallen friend, Alexis Helmer, in Flanders, Belgium. In his grief, McCrae penned the poem “In Flanders Fields”:
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The poem was published in the British magazine Punch later that year, on December 8, 1915, and it became very popular: it was republished throughout the world as a way to honor soldiers’ sacrifices during The Great War.
Later, in 1918, Moina Michael, inspired by the poem, developed the idea for the Remembrance Poppy. It took her two years, but in August of 1920 convinced the Georgia Department of the American Legion to adopt the Memorial Poppy as its symbol. One month later, the Memorial Poppy was adopted countrywide as a symbol of remembrance.
Madame Anna Guérin championed the idea of selling artificial poppies and having the proceeds benefit people suffering from the aftereffects of the war. By 1922, the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand had adopted the Remembrance Poppy.
Now that you know more about the Remembrance Poppy, go ahead and make your own remembrance poppy wreath to display in honor of our veterans.
For more ways to honor veterans, visit www.americanlifestylemag.com/veterans.