18 Ways to Add Instant Curb Appeal to Your Home

  1. Paint your front door. (There’s an app called “Front Door Paint” that allows you to see what different door colors would look like)
  2. If you don’t want paint, just give your door a good scrub.
  3. Spray paint your existing door hardware. Anything is more modern than contractor’s brass.
  4. Give your house numbers a font upgrade.
  5. Frame your door. Painting the trim and adding matching molding can make any door frame look tons better
  6. Add a stylish door knocker.
  7. Put in some new porch lights. Or upgrade the ones you already have.
  8. Add tile to plain concrete entryway, or make faux tiles with concrete stain.
  9. Adding layers of plants will give more dimension to you porch.
  10. Wood-stain your aluminum garage door to give your home a more rustic feel.
  11. Cover an exposed foundation with ready made panels.
  12. Camouflage the ugly electrical boxes and hide your A/C unit.
  13. Give your mailbox a makeover.
  14. Revamp your welcome mat.
  15. Pressure wash everything!
  16. Hang up your water hose.
  17. Create a flower bed around your trees for another well-contained pop of color.
  18. Top it all off with a porch swing.

If you have any more ideas on what could make your home pop out, please let us know in a comment below!

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How to Sell Your Home for More

You always want to make a good impression and sell your home for as much as you possibly can. Below are 10 tips to help you increase the value and look of your home.

  1. Price Below Market Value
    Pricing your home slightly below market value can create urgency among active buyers who know the market. Increasing the odds of multiple offers.
  2. Brighten Up the Rooms
    A dark room can feel dark and cluttered. Clean the windows, open up the blinds and turn on the lights.
  3. Clean Out the Closets
    Remove 50% of everything in the closet and pack it away. Buyers want to see more closet space and less clutter.
  4. Paint the Front Door
    Make your home stand out! A freshly painted door can leave a great first impression to an excited home buyer.
  5. Enhance the Landscaping
    Spruce up the landscaping! The front of your house is the first thing buyers see online and when they pull-up in the driveway.
  6. Stain Deck and Driveway
    Staining your driveway is simple and cost effective. Cover up those old oil spots and make it look new again.
  7. Paint Walls Neutral Color
    Painting the rooms throughout the house a neutral color is less distracting and can be more comforting for visitors.
  8. Clean. Clean. Clean.
    Make sure your home is clean from all odors and debris. Clean up before every showing:
    – Vacuum
    – Wash Floors
    – Clean Windows & Blinds
    – Clean Baseboards
  9. Pack Away Picture Frames
    De-personalize. Take the time to pack away certain items like pictures, trophies, and awards.
  10. Kitchen Improvements
    No matter your budget, you can make improvements to your kitchen that can make a big difference when selling.

Don’t Be Intimidated by These Real Estate Terms!

Real estate can be scary at times, especially when you aren’t in the industry. If you aren’t familiar with the lingo in real estate, it can sometimes add to more frustration. To prevent any additional pressure and keep you from being overwhelmed when buying or selling for the first time, we are providing a few very helpful real estate definitions.

Appraisal – the estimate value of a property.

Certificate of Title – document that ensures the property is legally owned by the person who claims it.

Closing Costs – all the fees and expenses associated with closing on a home, usually around 6% of the cost of the home.

Comparative Marketing Analysis (CMA) – a study of how comparable local homes have sold to help determine a reasonable price for the property.

Contingencies – conditions that must be met in order for the offer on a home to proceed.

Due Diligence – actions that a responsible buyer must address in to protect the real estate investment.

Debt to Income Ratio – in order to qualify for a loan, your monthly debt cannot exceed 43% of your monthly income.

Earnest Money Deposit – payment made to the seller with the offer to show serious intention.

Escrow – an account where all closing costs are collected while the lender approves the deal.

FICO Score – numerical value assigned to lenders based on their credit history.

Fiduciary Duties – the responsibilities of the broker that the real estate agent works for.

Good Faith Deposit – payment made to the lender  with the offer to show serious intention.

HOA – homeowners association; the organization that determines community rules and standards.

Loan to Value Ratio – how the lender determines if the loan is worth the risk associated with it.

Mortgage – simply put: the home loan.

Pre-qualification – the process to determine if a borrower is qualified for a loan; amount is approximate.

Payment Terms – principle, interest, taxes, PMI, etc. all the buyers really needs to know is the monthly and cumulative totals.

7 Ways of Making a Move Less Stressful

The process of moving can take a toll on you both physically, and mentally, so it’s important to try and stay as relaxed as possible. You want your move to be a happy and welcome change, not a dreaded one. So take a deep breath and take a look at these 7 tips to make your move with the least stress possible.

  1. Start Packing ASAP
    Of all tips to make moving less stressful, this one is definitely one of the most important. As soon as you know for sure that you are moving, start packing! If you start packing little by little, it will leave you enough time to sort through your belongings and get rid of some of the things you no longer need. By doing this, you will have less clutter and easier time unpacking. This will also prevent the panic of last minute packing.
  2. Pack an Overnight Bag
    To make your last night at your old place and first night at your new place less hectic, we recommend using an overnight bag. This should contain everything you usually pack on an overnight trip, such as your everyday bathroom necessities, PJs, and a change of clothes. This way you are’t stressing over finding the things you need right when you need them.
  3. Don’t Buy Boxes
    Moving usually puts a strain on finances by itself so don’t spend even more money on moving supplies! Try going to your local convenience stores as well as grocery/hardware stores to see if they have any extra boxes or moving supplies. Also, don’t forget to ask if you can take extra boxes from your own office if there is any. Run by some local dollar stores for tape, labeling markers, and any other packing supplies you may need for half the cost.
  4. Hire Professional Movers
    If you really want to lower the stress during your move, then spend the extra cash to hire some movers. Make sure to do some research and get quotes from several different moving companies in order to get the lowest price possible. If you don’t have the money for professional movers, then ask some of your family and friends if they would be willing to help out. The more people you have helping your move, the less stressful it will be!
  5. Plan a Spa Day
    Use moving as an excuse to plan a day at the spa, salon, or any other place that makes you feel good! Try to plan one day during your final week of packing and then one day during your first week of unpacking. It’s great to break up the stress of the move at the moments when you need it most!
  6. Notify Everyone of Your Move
    Make a list of utilities and people at both locations that need to be notified of your moving date. Then, make sure to check off each as you contact them. Make sure to remember to change magazine subscriptions, your billing address, and any retail stores than you enjoy getting coupons from. Also, don’t forget to file your change of address with the post office at least a week before you move.
  7. Start Room Planning
    It’s always a good idea to start room planning as soon as you know you will be moving. If you don’t already know what kind of place you will be moving to, then start with things like color schemes or themes. Create a board on Pinterest (We also have a team page here that you can follow for different room ideas/diy’s) or a collage from magazine cutouts. The best part of moving is getting a fresh start, so why not design your rooms a new way?

Throughout your moving chaos, just remember how happy you will be once you are settled into your new home. Moving is a great excuse to start fresh, so make sure to take full advantage of it by getting rid of the old and making way for the new! What other tips do you have for others to help make moving less stressful? Let us know below in the comments!

Add Value to Your Home Without Spending Loads of Cash

Here are some quality tips for improving your home without breaking the bank. Find out how to add value to your home before putting it on the market. We hope you find these ideas helpful and feel free to share with friends and family.

Designer
In the U.S., you can easily find a designer that will charge less than $100/hr. Contact a few interior designers in your area and find the best for you. In one hour they may give you lots of brilliant ideas on how to paint your rooms or arrange furniture to improve the look and atmosphere of your home. So be sure to take this step first.

Home Inspector
As any realtor will tell you, every buyer organizes a home inspection before signing the final contract. So, why not take the lead and do that yourself? You should consider that not every home improvement is cosmetic. There can be some hidden problems that need to be fixed. And for sure this will make home selling process more nervous or even end up in losing a potential buyer. Small problems (for example, a hidden water leak) can shortly become big and expensive. So don’t put off repairs to save money and time.

Energy Saving Solutions
Cutting energy costs is a very important issue nowadays. Many local companies provide free energy audits. Ask them, and they will show how to maximize your home’s energy efficiency. This will save your money now and make your home more valuable and marketable when your decide to sell it.

Add/Invent a Room
If your home is short of rooms, you should make a change before selling it. Many homes don’t have baby nurseries and crafting rooms, but they are very important for some buyers. If you have a den or an attic, you should decorate them to look like rooms mentioned above. Or you can just expand to make your home feel larger. It is not only the home’s square footage that matters. The size of your home really affects its value. You need to take care of visual space.

Plants
If planting a tree is out of your budget, you can just grow potted plants. Group them at the entry to make your home feel more welcoming. Colorful plants will add curb appeal to your home. When you shop for plants, choose native ones – they require less water.

Storage
Every home buyer wants as much storage as possible. Try to add storage. Make one in the wall or add a freestanding  wardrobe to a room that lacks closet space.

Lighting
First of all repair all broken lighting objects. This may cost you very little money, but will increase your home’s value. Besides, be sure to let in sunlight on the showing day. The lighter the room is, the larger it looks. If needed, add more ceiling fixtures. New ceiling features will instantly freshen your home look. If you show the house when it’s unfurnished, pay much more attention to this point.

Kitchen and Bathroom
These are hot points in each home for sale. Any update and improvement to these rooms will definitely increase your home’s value. These are key updates. If you can’t buy a new sink or a tap, just make it look new – clean and shining.

Un-decorate
When putting your home to the market for sale, you should considers that buyers may feel uncomfortable with your personal objects. So, remove all personal objects before showing. Your home decor may be very nice and warm to you , but it may seem old to the buyer. Besides, your rooms will look larger and more valuable with freshly painted walls instead of all those pictures and/or decorations on them.

 

A Few Important Reasons Why You Should Use a Real Estate Agent

Intro
During hard times, people look to save money the best way they can. And when purchasing a home, it is no different. Why wouldn’t you want to save that extra few thousand dollars? With a buyer’s agent, they can make sure that you achieve that. Agents can also find you the perfect house in a lot less time that it would take for an unlicensed buyer. Most people do not have much time aside for house hunting with a full-time job, but agents have all the search tools needed to find a great home in a short amount of time. Listed below are some other useful benefits when using a real estate agent.

Pricing Expertise
Many agents can pin a price on a home almost as soon as they walk through the door. Usually if they have quality experience in a market and area, they know how well a neighborhood holds its value, too. Anyone can go online to get information on comparable houses, but real estate agents have the experience to know whether a specific home is underpriced or overpriced. Not only can agents provide all the data on local home sales that you would like to see, but they can also bring assets to the deal that come from years of watching series of transactions in the neighborhood and surrounding areas.

Avoiding Closing Problems
When a home sale is nearing closing, all kinds of issues can cause a deal to go awry in the final hours. A real estate agent knows to watch for trouble before problems occur. For example, the title of the house may not be clear — some long-lost relative might be listed on the title who hasn’t signed off on the sale. Or maybe the lender is causing a problem by not meeting the timeline on financing. Agents know are used to dealing with these types of problems and can work through almost any challenge that arises.

For our agents with The Sold by George Team, we can guarantee you as a buyer/seller that we will do our best to ensure a smooth transaction process. For more information and statistics, please take a look at the graphic below.

Why Use a Real Estate Agent

12 Quick Spring Cleaning Tasks to Tune-Up Your Home

Spring Cleaning Header

We’ve reached that time of the year again. It’s time for spring cleaning! If you’re like us, this is a dreaded part of the year. BUT, it doesn’t have to be that nuisance anymore with these effective 10 minute tasks.

  1. Wash and dry the slipcovers from your pillows, sofas and chairs. Put in the washer and dryer one day. Put back on the furniture the next day.
  2. Take 10 minutes and clean the junk drawer in your house. For many people, this drawer is in the kitchen. Toss the junk and use a silverware organizer to manage the chaos going forward.
  3. Clean the blades on the ceiling fans.
  4. Make today toy clean-up day. Put all the game pieces together in Ziploc bags, throw out broken items and donate toys your kids have outgrown.
  5. Clean out your refrigerator. Check expiration dates and toss everything that is old or will not be eaten.
  6. Clean out your medicine cabinet and toss old medications (both prescription and over-the-counter). Go to safeguardmymeds.org to find out how to safely dispose of these items.
  7. Clean your most cluttered countertop. For many it’s the dining room table or kitchen counters. Recycle what you can and shred sensitive materials.
  8. Change the batteries in your smoke and CO2 alarms. Why wait for the annoying beeping sound?
  9. Clean your blinds. Try using fabric softener sheets (you can show your kids how to do this).
  10. Take three days to clean windows. Start with the dirtiest windows and go from there.
  11. Wash and dust the baseboards in each room. This is another task the whole family can get in on. Just remember, 10 minutes with five people is almost an hour of cleaning time.
  12. Dedicate a day to maintaining and fixing things. Oil a lock, fix a broken toilet paper holder, etc. Just make a punch-list and start checking off items.

If you have your own spring cleaning tips, please share with us! Do you have any to add to this 10 minutes-or-less list?

Source: http://www.blogher.com