4 expert curb appeal tips for home sellers
So you're thinking about selling your house. Well, you picked a great time to put it up for sale, as inventory remains quite low nationwide.
As of early 2019, there were roughly 1.74 million properties available for purchase, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is better than where things were at this point in 2018 (1.67 million). Historically speaking, that's the textbook definition of a seller's market.
In short, when you include your house among online listings, it will almost surely receive notice from those eager to buy. With that said, though, placing a "for sale" sign on your front yard and hoping for the best won't cut it. You're going to want to add some good old-fashioned curb appeal to wow would-be buyers.
There's no need to reinvent the wheel to give your place some added panache. Here are a few of the most popular curb appeal ideas you might want to consider:
1. Beautify with colorful plants
Nothing captures the attention quite like colorful plants do. Speaking to HGTV, landscape designer Sheri Silver noted that window boxes, front beds and potted plants provide an "instant lift" to your home's look, so be sure to include them when posting pictures.
2. Change the door knobs
Little things can make a big difference. Chief among them are the door knobs. As noted by DIY Network, while they may seem somewhat insignificant, door knobs add ready-made flare to the front and back doors, which the eyes naturally gravitate to when scanning listings. Get some feedback from your design-enthusiast friends so you find the best match for your house's architecture. Adding color to the front door - like a bold red - can help make the knobs more of a focal point.
3. Seek symmetry
Whether it's matching plants to flank your house's entrance or lantern-style sconces positioned similarly, symmetry is naturally pleasing to the eye, according to Better Homes & Gardens. Whatever style, item or installation you decide to add, look for opportunities to correspond one feature with another.
4. Clear out the gutters
When was the last time you cleaned your gutters out? Gutters collect debris and channel rainwater away from your house to reduce localized flooding. That's an important job, but a dirty - and unsightly - one if you don't maintain the gutters. Be sure to give them a good cleaning.
With a little creativity and some elbow grease, you can get your house in tip-top selling shape in no time!
Spring cleaning tips
The new year is in motion and spring is in sight. It's a great time to evaluate the things you have in your home, declutter, and donate. Donating things you no longer need will free up space in your home and allow your items to better serve someone else who needs them. Decluttering your home can seem like a daunting task, but sorting through your home will be more manageable if you tackle it in these four categories: Toys, books, wardrobe, and furniture.
Declutter and Donate - spread the love
If you have children, or are an adult with a healthy toy collection of your own, toys and entertainment items are a good place to start. Look through and donate the entertainment items that have been outgrown or no longer hold interest. If these are your children's toys, involve your kids in the process of going through their toys to teach them the positive impact of clearing space. Make sure to include them in donating their toys so they can understand and appreciate that their toys are going to children who might need them. If these are outdated electronics, look locally to see if there are programs near you that accept old technologies for teaching or recycling.
Trust the Dust - a signal that it might be time to let go
Sort through the books that have been collecting dust on your shelves. Used bookstores, schools, libraries, and thrift stores will be thrilled with your donation.
Undress the Mess - figure out what you love and use
Clearing out your closet is a great opportunity to create more order in your daily routine. Oprah Winfrey’s closet hanger experiment is an excellent way to create space in your closet. Turn all of your hangers to the reverse direction in your closet. Every time you wear a garment, flip the hanger to the correct direction. After six months, evaluate the articles of clothing with hangers still facing the reverse direction and consider donating them.
Does your household have a pile of tennis shoes that are too worn to donate? Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program can still put those dirty kicks to good use. The Reuse-A-Shoe Program takes old sneakers and turns them into footwear, apparel, and sport surfaces through Nike Grind. Nike placed Reuse-A-Shoe bins in every one of their retail locations and accepts any brand of athletic shoes for this program.
Go Big - out with the old
If you have gently used furniture and appliances you no longer need, there are many charities that will come to you and pick up your donations for free.
- Salvation Army – Schedule a pick up HERE (https://satruck.org/Donate/Choose )
- Goodwill – Schedule a pick up HERE (http://www.goodwill.org/?s=schedule+a+pickup )
- Habitat for Humanity – Schedule a pick up HERE (https://www.habitat.org/stories/does-habitat-offer-furniture-donation-pickup )
Decluttering your home can reduce stress and maximize space in your home. Donating the gently used items you no longer need will ensure that your things will be used and help the community after you part with them. Make it a positive activity and get everyone in your household involved in decluttering your home and spreading the love!
4 easy ways to spruce up your kitchen or bathroom
What's the most popular room of the house? Is it the living room, the go-to place for rest and relaxation? Or maybe it's the dining room, where the family frequents for conversation after another day at school or the office.
It's hard to say for sure - but it's safe to assume that a case can be made for the kitchen or bathroom - two areas of your home you may want to consider sprucing up.
In a 2018 Houzz poll of professional remodelers, 75 percent said more of their work involved helping homeowners reduce the amount of clutter in their kitchens. In a separate poll among baby boomers, 47 percent said they wanted to change the layout of their bathrooms so they were more conducive to aging in place.
Home improvement projects can run the gamut in terms of costs: from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. People often finance them through home equity lines of credit, as rising home values are helping more Americans realize that homeownership truly is the best investment. Renovation mortgage loans offer the option to wrap the cost of renovations into your mortgage, which can give you better repayment terms than many loan options for the renovations alone.
There's always something to be said for do-it-yourself projects too, which don't necessarily have to be expensive to be transformative. Here are a few suggestions that can help you revive the look of your kitchen and/or bathroom without much fuss:
Paint the sides of doors
Is your bathroom stuck in a color rut? White may have seemed like the best color for the walls and tile. That may be your preference, but something is still missing.
To inject just a hint of flare to the room, consider painting the sides of the door, BuzzFeed advised. Whether it's a bright yellow or an audacious red, that little bit of color that's viewable whenever the door is wide open or slightly ajar can provide the extra pizzazz you're looking for quickly and easily. You might consider doing the same to sides of drawers in the bathroom or kitchen.
Place mouthwash in a decanter
You can't help but feel like something is out of place when cotton swabs, soap dispenser and toothbrushes are in their own special containers, but the mouthwash is still stuck in the same bottle you found it in at the grocery store. BuzzFeed suggested placing mouthwash in a decanter, which can help complete the decorated toiletry ensemble.
Smooth out the ceiling with a screwdriver
Popcorn may be great to eat, but it's not exactly the most visually pleasing of ceiling surfaces, having bumps all over the place. More formally known as stucco, popcorn ceilings were once all the rage, but they're a trend of the past.
To take the bumps out, all you need is a flathead screwdriver, according to the Family Handyman. Using one to canvass the entire ceiling is pretty labor-intensive, but it will make painting a straight line where the wall and ceiling meet much easier. It will also give you an idea of what the ceiling would look like completely texture-free.
Make use of mirrors
Mirrors are pretty magical. In addition to making a small room appear larger, they help reflect light, so that a dark space appears brighter. Talk with an interior designer about the best places to position mirrors, particularly in your kitchen.
Small changes can make big differences when sprucing up your bathroom, kitchen or any other room of your house. Consider implementing some of these modest modifications to your place. They may serve as inspiration for what to do next.
Tips for heating your home more efficiently this winter
According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for almost 50% of the energy used in a typical American home. Since heating your home is most likely your largest energy expense, take some time to make sure that you are doing it as efficiently as possible. Read on for some tips to keep your home toasty and your utility costs down, the environment and your wallet will thank you.
Keeping the cold air out is just as important as keeping the warm air in
- Find and seal the drafts in your home with caulk and weather strips.
- Caulk is used for cracks between stationary parts of your home like door and window frames while weather stripping is for moving parts of your home like doors and operable windows.
- Some places to look for drafts are attic access doors, outlets, doors, plumbing entrances, windows, and chimneys. Click here (https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/weatherize/air-sealing-your-home) for a checklist from the Department of Energy to make sure your home is sealed top to bottom.
- Make sure your home is well insulated, including your attic. Click here (https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/weatherize/insulation/where-insulate-home) for a checklist from the Department of Energy on insulating your home.
Air circulation matters
- Reverse your ceiling fans so they rotate clockwise. This will draw rising warm air down.
- Change your furnace filters monthly to ensure efficiency.
- Make sure your furniture is not directly in front of vents so the warm air can circulate.
Timing is key
- Use your curtains correctly. Open your curtains during the day to take advantage of the heat from sunlight. Close your curtains just before the sun goes down to keep the cold air out at night.
- Install a programable thermostat to drop the temperature down 8-10 degrees while you’re at work or sleeping.
Hoping you have a toasty warm winter, no matter the weather outside!
The most important list to get you through the holidays
The season of holidays has begun. Lists are forming so details get remembered. Gatherings, shopping, decorating, cooking, winterizing, it seems like the world speeds up for a couple of months.
Here is a self-care list that, hopefully, will help you better enjoy the holiday season knowing you took steps to provide for your safety and well-being:
Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Any medical check-ups needing to be scheduled before those insurance deductibles start over for the new year?
Replace water filters
Here are a few more ideas to consider:
Have your fire extinguishers serviced
Replace the pillows on your bed
Rotate your mattress
Replace your toothbrush
- Is it flea treatment time?
- If you’re in an area that gets snow and your pet goes outside, remember to check their paws for salt & sand from the treated snowy roads
These small actions can combine to have a great impact on your overall safety and welfare. Wishing you a safe and healthy holiday season!