Curb Appeal, Front Porch Style!

If you’re looking for a few, easy things to do to increase your curb appeal before you go on the market or to jazz up some new photos if you’ve been trying to sell for awhile, adding a few simple touches to your front porch or deck is a great place to start. You can begin to show off your home before the Buyers even open the front door. And there are some really easy things that you can do this weekend!

front porch

You don’t need to be fancy, just a few simple touches will work. And don’t try to change your style, keep the front porch (or deck) just an exterior version of your interior style.  Light and breezy inside? Don’t try to be dark and heavy outside!

Start by just painting your front door. A fresh coat of paint will never hurt you, as long as it’s a color that will appeal to most Buyers ~ your favorite fushia may not be the right color for this project!  Add as much lighting as you can, ~ don’t forget that Buyers tend to drive by homes they are interested in at night checking out the neighborhood!

Add some comfortable furniture ~ let the Buyers stop and sit before they leave to get a feel for the home and surroundings.

You get the picture, right?  And a picture is what we are trying to create here, that this is a home not just a house, both inside and out!

Face Lifts….Real Estate Style…!

A functional and updated kitchen, an open and flowing floor plan, plenty of storage, and spacious master suite will help win your buyers’ hearts. But before they even enter your home to be wowed by these things, they need to be wowed by your landscaping, your curb appeal. Their first impressions. Some buyers will decide based on the look of the outside of your home whether they’ll even bother to come inside. Trust me, they do!

If your lawn isn’t mowed, the front yard is cluttered, or the house paint is faded or chipped, you may find that the For Sale sign in your yard won’t be enough to get those buyers out of the car and into your home.

                                                 It’s time for a Real Estate Face Lift!messy lawn

Fortunately, you don’t have to hire a landscape company to come and redo your entire yard, there are a few things that you can do that are pretty simple and will make a big difference.

If you’ve still got last falls leaves, rake rake rake.  Take out any dead or dying shrubs, plants or trees.  A few colorful pots of annuals for a splash of color is a good substitute for dead and brown plants!

Take a walk around the outside of your home and note which areas need freshening up. If you have chipping paint, get it taken care of. Too much lawn furniture? Put some away. Kid’s toys scattered about? Store them in the garage when not in use.

Important to remember….your yard and home need to look great ALL the time, not just minutes before a scheduled showing.  Most buyers are doing drive bys now….long before you and I know they may be interested in asking for a showing, they have cruised by the house and neighborhood….and what they see may turn them off from even getting

The time and money you put into cleaning up your front yard will help attract buyers and keep them from by-passing your home.

Do years add up to size? Yes!!

Did you know, the longer you live in your home, the smaller your home gets?

That’s physics. It’s the net result of adding more stuff to your home each year than you get rid of each year. Even I can do the math on this one…!

To counteract this space-eating trend…a few tips!

~ Adopt the Replacement Principle: For every item that is added to your home, something of equal or greater size must be tossed, given away, or sold at the same time ~ not “when you get around to it”!

~ Stop automatically buying things that you “want,” but don’t need. Before you buy, remember that you will need to get rid of something else…so do you really “want” it now?

~ Sell or donate everything that still has a price tag on it or is in original packaging a year after purchase it. If you haven’t used it yet, do you really need it? I don’t think so!

The longer you live in your home, the bigger everyone in the home becomes.

That’s physics, too. It’s the net result of adults expanding from ingesting more calories than they exercise off and of kids growing up. How to fix this?

~ When you embrace exercise and healthy eating, you get smaller and your home feels bigger.

~ The kids will eventually leave home. Hopefully, they will take some of their stuff with them. Make them! There’ll be more space until they move back in…..


messy-garage storage 1 storage

The bigger the basement or attic, the easier it is to overload and the harder it is to get things out!

~ Stop buying more storage bins and boxes, and you’ll stop having more stuff come in to the home than goes out.

~ Stop thinking that moving something further out of sight is the same as permanently out of sight! The self-storage industry thrives on the misconception that moving stuff to their location (and paying for the privilege) is managing your possessions when it is often just delaying the “throw out” decision.  Oh, and they make money on it as well!

~ Once a year, take everything out of each storage tub, locker, closet, shelf (not all at once, but on different days)…and at least throw out the oldest thing (unless it is a priceless antique, in which case, use it or sell it). Consolidate the contents of two storage containers into one whenever possible by throwing out duplicates, everything broken, and things that no one confesses to own!

~ If you have sports equipment older than your oldest child, get rid of it—the stuff, not the kid. That goes for rarely used camping and hobby equipment, and back issues of magazines and old school textbooks, too. Once it’s out of date, dump it.


Home Sellers…Why Did You Buy Your Home???

Why did you chose to purchase the home that you now own? Yes, I know that you want to sell it, and we do need to know why you want to sell, but for me to help you sell your home, it helps to know why you bought your home!  Whatever drew you to it years ago may be the same thing that will draw the buyer to your home today!

Factually , there are usually three reasons a buyer chooses to buy a home:

Location ~ Condition ~ Price

Location ~ Do you love the location?  Can you walk everywhere?  Do you have beautiful gardens? Do you have acres of land for kids and dogs to play? If location wasn’t the reason, and the location isn’t all that great, you can’t do much about it.

Well, maybe you CAN change the location of your home!

Well, maybe you CAN change the location of your home!

But you can make your home more attractive with lovely landscaping and fences to block out ugly views and sounds.  At the least, trim the hedges and keep the lawn mowed!!

Condition ~ Was the house in showcase condition?  Newly painted throughout with freshly shampooed carpets and washed floors?  The best way to market your home is by putting it in the best condition possible. Buyer’s pet peeves may be easy items to fix, but you don’t want your house to go to the bottom of their list because you failed to paint, shampoo or clean. Wear and tear on a home is sometimes best seen by an outsider (that would be me, the real estate agent!) Take my advise, sometimes you have to invest a little money to make money.

Price ~ Yup, this is the big one.  To be successful, you need to know if your neighborhood and price range is in a buyer’s market or seller’s market. A buyer’s market typically has large inventories of 6 months supply or higher, fewer buyers making offers, low offers, and many seller concessions. A seller’s market is typically a low supply of homes of 6 months or less, heavy buyer traffic, multiple offers, and close to full price or full price offers. Price tags

Lenders, buyers’ agents and buyers and especially appraisers all have access to the same information that I will give you when it’s time to price your home for the market. If you overprice for the current market, your potential buyers, if they come, won’t get their loans approved.

It’s hard not to be sentimental about the home you’ve loved and lived in for years, but to buyers, your home is a commodity that they haven’t yet fallen in love with.

Mantel Blues? Try Decorating it!

It’s not just a shelf for greens and candles for holidays, or an afterthought for knickknacks or assorted collectibles that have no other home, your mantel offers a great opportunity to showcase your personal style.

And there’s no one right way to design your mantel…in fact, whether you lean toward classic, contemporary, country, or any other design styles, it’s easy to create a stylish mantel that will serve as a focal point for your room.  

Layer it on ~ Creating a well-designed mantel is often about knowing how to layer different items with varying sizes and scales. Using a large piece of art in the center and gathering items in threes around it is nice……and for a more modern option FP photos (but only if you’re not OCD), try an asymmetrical look with your focal point off center. Okay, this one would NOT work for me!!

Color coordinate ~ A mantel is also a great place to build on a color scheme or to add that really bright bit of color you’re afraid to use in a larger fashion! Love bright pink but not sure if it’s right for the room, find (or paint) and accent piece and try it out on your mantel!

Develop a theme ~ Whether your theme is beachy,, Americana, or French country, the mantel is the ideal place to show it off. FP photo 2

Go seasonal ~ If you’re the type of person who likes to update your space frequently, the mantel is a great showcase for seasonal decor (and if you’re not, it’s still an ideal place for those holiday greens and candles!). 

Hang the TV ~ The fireplace wall is often the best (sometimes the only!) place to put the TV. Your seating area is facing it, right? But if you want your room to be centered around the TV without it becoming an eyesore, try a disguise. A flat-panel TVs often find a place above the mantel.

What have you done to or on your mantel?  I’d love to hear your ideas!  

Fall into a sale

Remembering The Past

From this……
(Photo credit: Ian Sane) 

Do first impressions matter?  Do you judge a book by its cover?   If you’ve answered yes to these questions and you are getting ready to or have just listed your home for sale…read on!

The first thing a buyer sees when pulling into your drive is likely to affect how they feel when they actually open the door and enter your home, assuming they don’t just keep on driving.

We call this first impression curb appeal. The idea is to make the exterior of your home so inviting the buyers can’t wait to get inside.  The most obvious way to do this is by cleaning, painting and landscaping. Try these inexpensive, easy for the DIYers tips and you’ll be packing for your new home before you know it!

~Clean the mildew and grime off exterior surfaces and paint them if they need it.

~Rake leaves and pick up any debris …front and back! Cut

Picture of the "Gingerbread House" i...

To this!!!   (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

back and mulch empty flower beds.

~Polish the brass doorknobs, knockers and mail slots until they glow.

~Wash the windows both house and garage! By removing years of grime, you can fill the house with natural light.

~Drive or walk around your neighborhood and look at others’ houses. Then go home, stand across the street, and look at your house and yard. What makes your house better or worse than the others?

If you improve the exterior, or “polish the apple,” it could value to your home, but will certainly add marketability.  Make cents?!