Boosting Your Home’s Curb Appeal

What would buyers see if they drove up to your home? Go ahead, take a look. Stand outside your home and try to look at it through a buyer’s eyes. First impressions are lasting impressions. If buyers see paint peeling, a crack in a window or an unkempt yard, they are apt to speculate that there are other, more substantial things wrong with the home.

That first impression, or curb appeal, can make the difference in the amount of money a buyers is willing to offer on a home listed for sale.

Here are some suggestions to enhance the curb appeal of your home to get ready for sale or even just to spruce things up a bit this summer: 

  • Mow the lawn, clean up and yard and prune shrubs and trees 
  • Scrub or paint the front porch and door. Sometimes an interesting pop of color on the door can really modernize the look of an older homea-little-front-door-love-curb-appeal-doors-painting.jpg
  • Check the porch or deck and hand railings to ensure they are secure 
  • Wash the windows, make them sparkle!! 
  • If you have time time and money, paint the exterior of the home. Try to stick to more neutral palates as some bright colors can be an immediate turn off for some buyers. Add color by painting the door a different color, instead. Exterior-before-after.jpg
  • Pick up and put away toys and bikes, outdoor bins are also great for storing these items 
  • Check that the lawn furniture is in good shape or, if not, store it away 
  • Add charm to the front and backyard by adding flower pots and planting fresh plants 

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  • Repair and paint the fence, if needed 
  • Repair the roof, gutters, and downspouts if needed 

These improvements are essential before a home sale and could mean an increase in sales price.  Feel free to call or email and let me know if I can answer any questions for you or make suggestions on how to improve your homes curb appeal!

 

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Top 10 Winter Energy Saving Tips

Whether you’re able to make a big investment into cutting your energy costs or just looking for a few free and simple ways to save money, here are 10 helpful tips for keeping your energy bills down this winter.

No Cost

  1. Set your thermostat to 68 degrees. Your heating system will operate less and use less energy. By turning it down an additional five degrees at night, you could save up to $70 on energy costs each year.
  2. Set your water heater to 120 degrees. Your water heater won’t have to work as hard if it’s set to a lower temperature. In fact, each time you lower it 10 degrees, you’ll save 3-5% on water heating costs.
  3. Open window coverings on south-facing windows. This will help warm your house during the day. At night, cover all windows to help keep the heat in.
  4. Use cold water when washing clothes. Washing clothes in cold water could save you around $40 a year with an electric water heater and $30 with a gas water heater.

 

Some Cost

  1. Replace your furnace filter regularly. Dirty filters reduce air flow, making your equipment work harder. Replace your furnace filter monthly (unless it is a high efficiency filter) during the heating season to reduce heating costs by up to 5% or $35 a year.
  2. Install water-efficient showerheads and faucets. 1.8 gallon-a-minute showerheads can reduce your hot water consumption by as much as 10% and save $20 a year.
  3. Switch to compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs. They cost a little more but you’ll save about $40 over the life of just one bulb.
  4. Weatherize your home. You’ll save up to 10% on heating and cooling costs! Seal holes to the outside by weather-stripping doors and windows.

 

Larger Investment

  1. Insulate your home. By adding insulation to the attic, unfinished basement walls and crawlspaces, you could save 20% on heating and cooling costs. You may need to consult a contractor before taking on this project and I’d be happy to provide you with a referral.
  2. Purchase energy efficient appliances. Remember, items like refrigerators, washers, dryers, furnaces, TVs and computers have two price tags – purchase price and lifetime energy costs. Energy efficient appliances can save you up to $75 a year while helping save the environment.

 

Tips for Selling Your Home in the Fall

Summer has ended, the weather is cooling, leaves are changing and, you may be surprised to learn, homebuyers are out in force. Fall is a popular time for corporations to relocate associates – creating a pool of buyers who need to make quick decisions about housing. They’re serious about purchasing and, with fewer houses on the market this time of year, your house may soon be getting more attention. What can you do to make sure your home sells before all the leaves fall off the trees? Here are a few helpful tips.

Highlight the location. Bring the benefits of your location front and center. Establish a list of perks that your property offers, such as proximity to public transportation, schools, shopping, recreation or entertainment.

Use the season for curb appeal. Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of year and by using that to your advantage, your home can stand out from others in the neighborhood. Leaves turning shades of crimson and gold can add extra appeal, but be sure they don’t get out of hand. Keep trees and shrubs properly groomed and pick up fallen leaves before they suffocate your front lawn. Add pumpkins, gourds or a fall display to your front porch to invite in potential buyers.

Stage your home. Buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in your home before they will consider buying it. You can help them by de-cluttering, de-personalizing and thoroughly cleaning the entire house. Brighten your rooms by bringing the outside indoors with vases or displays of twigs, leaves or acorns from your yard.

Get everything in tip-top shape. Your buyer will most likely hire an inspector before closing, so pay close attention to elements around the home that are important in the fall. For example, make sure gutters are cleared of fallen leaves and that fireplaces are in working order.

Know your home. Access to real estate information on the Internet means that buyers are walking into your home more educated than ever. Take the time to review homes similar to yours on real estate websites like http://www.californiamoves.com or http://www.realtor.com. I can also let you know of the conditions and price ranges of other homes for sale in your area. This will allow us to better negotiate with potential buyers.

Despite what you may have heard, this time of year offers plenty of opportunity to sell your home. By taking a few simple steps to make sure you and your house are ready to hit the market, you can better prepare yourself for what is to come. After all, the more welcoming your home is to possible buyers, the more welcoming it will be to offers.