September 7, 2016
6 Deal-Breakers that Will Send Home Buyers Running for the Hills
Selling your home is all about appealing to the market. You’re putting a product out there, so of course you have to take steps to make it appeal to your prospective customers. Some flaws are excusable: not having a fireplace in the living room, kitchen tiles that are slightly out of fashion, and so on. When your home has certain flaws, however, you’ve got to take steps to improve or downplay them – otherwise, they’ll send any sane home buyer dashing for the door.
Utilities Gone Wild
Water, heat, and electric are the first things any smart buyer will check in a prospective home, so you’d better make sure yours are up to code and working at full throttle. Get your home inspected before you sell to get aware of any issues at hand, and have them taken care of professionally unless you’re a licensed technician – home inspectors can tell when something’s a DIY job, and you don’t want to get slapped with legal fines down the line if something goes wrong. These utilities are serious issues that could end disastrously without an experienced hand, so don’t let that DIY itch get the best of you.
A Home So Cozy That We Can’t Turn Around
It’s always tough to sell a small home, especially if you and your real estate agent don’t do your part to make the house an attractive purchase without denying the issue. Buyers know when a house is small, but you can expand it to the eye with clever staging – clear out clutter, stage with small furniture, and let in plenty of light. Don’t forget to sell your buyer on the benefits of living small: cheaper utility bills are no joke, especially to first-time home buyers and retirees looking to downsize.
This Place Has Really Let Itself Go…
Some buyers don’t mind a small home improvement project waiting for them when they move in: laying new tiles, repainting rooms, and tearing up carpets aren’t overly expensive undertakings, and can help a new buyer to settle in to a new place. However, there’s a difference between “we should tear up these tiles, they’re not really our style” and “we should tear up these tiles, I think something’s building a civilization beneath them”. Do your part to take care of the big home improvement projects before you even put the house on the market. Your house will sell faster, and you won’t have to take hits on your desired price tag.
Those Aren’t Termites! The Walls Are Just Rustic!
Insect and vermin infestations don’t need to be as severe as a termite attack to have an adverse impression on buyers, and they don’t even need to be infesting the house itself. If your lawn and garden are home to some nasty beasties, your buyers will be able to tell with even the briefest inspection that something iffy is buzzing around – especially when it’s buzzing right in their face.
For severe issues such as the aforementioned termites, a professional exterminator is absolutely essential – the exterminator will not only work to get rid of the bugs, but will also assess any potential damage to the home and its foundations. If you’re lax on getting this inspected and professionally fixed, be prepared for legal repercussions. Less pressing problems, like a booming mosquito population, can usually be improved or eradicated with a little bit of detective work, instead of smelly, lawn-damaging pesticides. Check online for what kinds of environments your given insect invaders thrive in – that long grass is prime real estate for ticks, and stagnant water attracts mosquitos. A bit of lawn improvement can go a long way.
Is That a Lawn or a Jungle?
Many home sellers neglect to include their home’s great outdoors in their prep work, and do so to their own peril. A messy, unkempt lawn will impress no one: not only will it put your home’s curb appeal in the toilet, but if things are especially dire, you might find that potential buyers refuse to even take a step outdoors. Are lions and tigers lurking in that unmowed grass; or more reasonably, ticks and fleas? Are they going to need a tendonitis shot for being in the proximity of your rusted lawn furniture? No buyer wants to be saddled with the responsibility of cleaning up the mess of a yard that you’ve left them, so do your part beforehand and get some gardening done.
In This Neighbourhood, It’s Always Party Time
Noisy neighbours (and their noisy children, noisy pets, and noisy guests) are one of the biggest deal-breakers out there when trying to sell a home, and unfortunately, it’s usually an issue that’s completely out of your control. Noise is only one of the many sins that bad neighbours can commit: there’s also the nosy neighbour, the rude neighbour, and the messy neighbour. A neighbour that parties into the night is just as bad as a neighbour that peeps into your windows, a neighbour that refuses to give back children’s toys that have gone rogue into their yard, or the neighbour whose yard is so messy that they couldn’t give the toy back if they tried.
In the end, the only thing that can solve this issue is communication. If politely requesting that a neighbour cease their bad habits doesn’t work, consider building a privacy fence to block out at least some of the issue – if the problems are severe, you may have to get local law enforcement involved. In any event, it is heavily advisable for you to speak about the issue at hand to your real estate agent so they can devise an appropriate plan to keep prospective buyers informed, but still interested.
Taking care of these deal-breakers before your home even goes up for sale will do a lot for your selling prospects. Homes that are well-maintained and attractively staged consistently spend less time on the housing market, and go for more money, than those that could do with some TLC. Put in some elbow grease, and you and your prospective buyers will be thankful for it in the long run.
August 24, 2016
3 Ways to Make Your Living Room More Functional
The living room is the main space in your home where people gather. It's a high traffic room and it has a lot of jobs. Creating a space that meets the needs of your family, but is also beautiful and desirable to be in, is no easy task. You might find yourself wondering where to even start, but with a few simple tricks, you'll be headed in the right direction.
Here are three significant ways you can create more functional space in your living room right now:
Aim to Simplify
These days, with life spinning so fast in so many different directions, it's easy for our home to become a drop zone for so many things. We accumulate sports equipment, hobby related accessories, kid’s toys, pet supplies, and the list goes on. Somehow, in the midst of all these bits and pieces, the parts we really love about our home can get lost. The number one thing you can do to create a more functional living room is to start by de-cluttering. Start by grabbing four boxes labeled:
Go through your living room and do your best to purge those excess items. Think creatively and remember that by letting some things go, you are making way to really highlight the things in your home that really do matter to you. Consider pairing down on things you have in excess, for instance, limit your throw pillows, don't pack your bookshelves to the max, and try not to overwhelm your mantle with knickknacks. Colleen Madsen of 365 Less Things suggests, “There is no need to make things difficult by trying to organize the hardest things first. Most likely, it will simply deter you from the task altogether. Instead, start with the easy stuff and then as you strengthen your will to reduce, the harder decisions will become easier.” De-cluttering might seem like a daunting task, but it is worth it in the long run. Having less clutter is actually healthier for you and it helps promote a more peaceful environment. Who doesn't want a living room that ushers in peace?
Once you have simplified the extra stuff around your home, you can then really focus on the statement pieces that you want to showcase. Turn your attention to pieces that open up and add light to your living room. Mirrors offer a great way to add dimension to an otherwise boring space. Focus your energy on finding pieces that inspire you, draw out simplicity, and take up minimal space.
Designate Space Wisely
Creating functionality in your living room is so much more than arranging furniture, it's about developing an environment that works and flows with your family’s lifestyle. Instead of just placing your furniture where it fits or the best angle toward the TV, really consider the design and formation of your living room. Try to designate areas with certain jobs in mind. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- a distinct sitting area
- a reading nook
- a play area
- a home office corner
- an entertainment space
Elaine Song from styleathome.com advises, “Divide your living space by designating areas for certain activities. It will allow for better organization of furniture and necessities. Whether it's a games area with a table and proper storage for board games and toys or a TV area with seating and media storage for music and movies, your space will feel less cluttered.” If you find yourself debating over what to do with your sofa, consider what Designer Laura Casey has to say, “People often ask me my opinion on using sectional sofas. Under the right conditions they can be functional and look great. I think their best use is in rooms with high ceilings or lots of windows, and upholstered in a lighter color. Getting room and upholstery proportions correct can be a challenge. If you've got a smaller sized room with low ceilings you are better off choosing a mix of a sofa and chairs to help break up the space.” The living room is the place that family gathers, with specific designated areas, giving everyone a corner of their own.
Use Furniture Creatively
One of the main reasons to use furniture creatively is that it is a great way to incorporate sentimental family pieces into your everyday life. Jan Porter of Isle Designs, brings over 35 years of Design experience to the table, she shared some helpful advice about how she uses pieces creatively within her own home, and “I tend to use pieces that have a multi functional purpose. One of my family heirlooms, an antique cedar chest from the 1800's not only doubles as storage, but it is used as my coffee table as well.” Another wonderful reason to use furniture creatively is that it can offer double-duty. Some benches have wonderful storage capabilities and they also make a great window seat.
Many new sectional sofas come with ample storage inside, and the chaise lounge portion can double as a daybed. If your living room is on the smaller side, consider using a bookshelf as an entertainment storage center/room divider. You can place TV remotes and controllers in lined baskets, store games in decorative boxes, and reserve one shelf for your favorite go to books. By using double-duty furniture, you not only create more space, but you develop a room that everyone in your family feels some sense of ownership to.
October 21, 2015
Keep Your Home Selling Like Roses
From, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post
Pet odors, smelly shoes, burned food in the kitchen - no need to run out and buy air freshener. There are plenty of deodorizers you already have around the house that can do the job - naturally!
1. Deodorize a dirty disposal with orange peels. Next time you eat an orange, just drop the peel down the sink and turn on the disposal. Citrus rinds contain fragrant essential oils and potent antiseptic and astringent properties that kill odor-causing germs.
2. Send pet odors packing with baking soda. Technically, it is sodium bicarbonate that absorbs odors from both surfaces and air. Simply sprinkle a little on rugs, couches, pet beds and other spots favored by your pooch or feline. Let sit for several hours or overnight, so it can work magic. Remove the powder with a vacuum and all that remains is fresh scent.
3. Say so long to smoke smells. Cigarette odors are tough but white vinegar is tougher! Pour vinegar in a few soup bowls and set around the smoke-scented room - the next day, the smoky stench should be gone. Also smart: Moisten an old towel with vinegar and wave through the room.
4. Zap microwave odors Did you heat your popcorn a little too long, and now the burning smell will not go away? Here is a sweet-smelling solution: Combine 1 tsp. vanilla extract with two cups water in a microwave-safe bowl, then heat on high for five minutes. Vanilla extract is a natural deodorizer that will take away the scorched stench - and replace it with the delicious aroma of just-baked goods.
May 27, 2015
Easy Home Staging Tips to Help Your Home Sell
When selling your home, you need to carefully prepare it for the market in order to get the highest possible selling price. Staging your home with some simple but effective methods will help you accomplish this. Home staging can also help your home stand out from the competition and prevent your home from sitting on the market for a long time.
Buyers want to see homes that are open, air, free of clutter, and not too bogged down with the current owner's style and personality. It may be a bit difficult to put away your treasured mementos, photos, and personal items, but it is one of the best things you can do to make your home appeal to more buyers. If you put yourself in the buyer's shoes for a moment, you will realize that it could be difficult for them to imagine living there when your home is still decorated with photos of your family. You want buyers to be able to walk in an immediately envision their own family enjoying the home, and they will be more likely to make that connection without your personal photos on the wall. In addition, religious items should be removed as these can sometimes distract buyers from the home itself. In the home staging field this process is known as depersonalizing and it is a crucial step in making your home appeal to a wide range of buyers.
Personal grooming items should also be put away because you want buyers to be looking at the spacious bathroom counter top without being distracted by your toothbrushes and hair dryer. This may seem overly nit-picky, but these little things really do add up in a buyer's mind.
In order to help give your home the open, airy feel that buyers desire, there are several things you can do. Remove any excess furniture to open up the floor plan and create a sense of more space. Put away unnecessary items that tend to accumulate on kitchen counters. Leave only the basics like your microwave and coffee maker, and add a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers. Keep in mind that buyers will often peek into closets and cabinets so make sure these are well organized so that they appear as spacious as possible.
It helps to remember that putting your home on the market is really the first step in the moving process. It makes sense to go through your home with a critical eye and start packing up items that are not essential on a daily basis. This will naturally declutter and create more space.
Keep window coverings opened up so that you can show off the natural light. Buyers love homes with great light.
Try to keep up with tidying every room in the house. Make the beds as neatly as you possibly can, put away toys, straighten pillows, and always make sure the kitchen and bathrooms are spotless.
These simple home staging steps will put you ahead of the game when you're getting ready to sell your home.
March 25, 2015
Turn Spring Cleaning into Spring Staging and Sell Your Home Fast
Mark Twain described spring fever, saying, "When you've got it, you want -- oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!" According to Realtor.com, spring is the perfect time to sell your home. Why not capitalize on Twain's spring fever symptom by feeding your buyers burning desire for something new?
Make the most of your annual spring cleaning by staging your home at the same time. Use spring's positive associations in your staging both inside and outside. When buyers feel the fullness of the season, your home will almost market itself. Here are some ways to let spring help you sell your home.
1. Quit "nesting" and freshen up. Winter causes people to create a cozy environment with throw blankets and other clutter than make a room feel snug and welcoming. Begin your spring staging with a good spring cleaning. Pack up the comfy clutter to give your home a clean, fresh appeal. Pay special attention to windows. When the sunshine streams through sparkling windows, your home is filled with optimism.
2. Use colour to your advantage. Yellow and red both create an urge to purchase. According to Entrepreneur, yellow is the first color our eyes can perceive. A small, yellow display in a boutique can sometimes cause us to stop in our tracks and stare at it. Why not make the most of this phenomenon by bringing spring inside? Transplant some daffodils in a pot and place them strategically near one of your home's most attractive features. For a red accent, try tulips. Bringing nature inside and using colour to your advantage is a great way to inspire buyers.
3. Ready your closets for spring. Removing winter clothes from your closet may seem impractical as you face a season known for wild temperature swings. However, you should box up your dark, winter wear and make your closets sing about spring with plenty of room and pretty pastels hanging in a row. Keep your closets no more than half full and remove everything from the floor. Your staged closets may even cause you to catch spring fever too.
4. Change the scent. In the fall and winter, you may have baked cookies or used a cinnamon scent to create a welcoming environment. However, in the spring, clean, fresh scents become alluring. Use fragrances that mimic beach scents, citrus scents, or light floral scents. For even more impact, keep fresh flowers in each room.
5. Capitalize on potted plants. Since your yard is probably still only beginning to wake from its winter sleep, use potted plants to add life. First, remove all traces of dead foliage and any piles of leaves. Next, arrange several pots together, making sure to vary their heights. Place a grouping of pots by the back door, the front door, on patio corners, and even at logical points in the yard. Annuals, like petunias and impatiens, are inexpensive and readily available at big box stores before customers even remove their winter coats.
6. Add a splash of calming colour. Replace your checked flannel throw blanket with pastel pillows. Replicate your chosen pastel with candles and a figurine or two. Add some pastel towels to your bathrooms. Great seasonal colours include coral, sea-foam green, soft yellow, and robin's-egg blue. Use just enough colour to suggest spring without overpowering your buyer.
While you are busy spring cleaning, take a moment to make your home feel more that just clean. A few extra touches can create the feeling that spring has moved indoors. Spring brings with it the promise of lazy summer days and warm summer evenings. If Mark Twain's assessment of spring fever is correct, when buyers sense that optimism, an offer is sure to follow.
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