Feb 21, 2018

Homeowner Staging Tips

Posted by: CENTURY 21 United Realty

Homeowner Staging Tips to Spruce Up the 

 Exterior of Your Home for Resale

 

A house’s exterior is like that property’s home page. If potential buyers do not like what they see, there is a good chance they may just hit the gas pedal and drive on. This is why it is critically important to decorate and spruce up the outside of your home as you would do with any other room in the house. Give buyers every reason to stop and see all the home has to offer!

Apart from keeping your front yard free of dead leaves, grass clippings, and sweeping cobwebs from the windows and walls, there are a few more things you can do to make your listed house a true eye-candy that both buyers and investors will have a hard time passing by. Here are several exterior staging tips to spruce up the exterior of your home and put it in its best light for visiting consumers.

 

Start With The Yard

For many homeowners this is the hardest part of preparing your house for the local real estate market as there is often so much to do. But at the same time, cleaning up the yard can be the most rewarding phase. Everything starts from it. Only when your yard is free of clutter you can really get the image of what needs doing.

If it is not part of the yard decor, store it away. While this is not always an issue with front yards, both side and back yards can become storage grounds for gardening tools, sacks of compost, stashes of firewood, kids toys, and all sorts of containers. When in doubt, pick up everything that is movable and store it away.

 

Store Junk Or Give It Away

Moving stuff from one place to the next without a plan will not get you anywhere. If your garage is already full, you can put the items in a professional storage facility, have a giant yard sale, and even donate or give away the items. The point is…less is more!

A good rule of thumb is if you have not used the item in the last year or have no desire to protect it from the elements, it may be an ideal time to make the decision on whether or not you need to retain the item(s). Making this decision not only helps your yard look its best but it ensures you do not cart the item to your next home.

Do-It-Yourself Landscaping

Inspect the bushes and trees to see if they need pruning. Trim low-hanging branches so they do not obstruct the view and overpower the ground level vegetation. If the lawn needs mowing, do it. Make sure to mark the lawn borders with strips of gravel, mulch, or decorative brick/wood if it fits with your homes style. Edge as necessary.

If it is the hot and growing season, periodically water the lawn so it looks healthy and maintained. Finish up with sweeping the walkways and pulling out any weeds that might be growing in the garden beds or along the walkway.

If you have benches, water features, or some other type of yard sculpture, ensure they are well maintained to maximize the outdoor space If they are in disrepair, it may be time to remove them so they are not a distraction as buyers come up your walkway.

Spruce Up The Curb Appeal

Does your driveway have an edge? Installing one will prevent the lawn and dirt from invading the driveway, prevent erosion, and give your home’s front view an elegant and crisp look. You can use bricks, pavers or natural stone to build a curb that can either be elevated or in-line with the asphalt. If the border is raised, a bunch of colorful flowers will help peak buyers’ interest and improve your house’s curb appeal.

Another detail that instantly catches the eye of anyone who drives or passes by is the mailbox. You need something solid that looks like it is sturdy as can be and not going anywhere. Ensure the mailbox is clean, well maintained, and tasteful.

Paint It

In addition to improving your home’s curb appeal, a fresh coat of paint protects the house from the elements and increases the likelihood that consumers will find the outside of your home appealing. It is important to plan for a new coat as soon as you notice the old paint cracking, blistering or peeling. You have two paint types at your disposal, water-based or oil-based paint. Each type has its own set of benefits and downsides.

  • Water-based paints (often referred to as acrylic or latex) are odorless, dry quickly, and the tools can be cleaned up with water and soap. If you are applying acrylic paint on the top of old oil-based alkyd paint, make sure you apply an adhesive primer first.
  • Oil-based paints (some call it enamel), on the other hand, are typically cleaned up with mineral paint thinner. They have a strong odor and dry very slowly. Still, they are preferred by professionals because they are very stain-resistant, durable, and dry with few brush marks.

Whichever paint type you decide to use, going with a neutral color is the smart approach. While you may love the color purple, prospective buyers may not be so keen on something so bold. When in doubt, appeal to the masses and let your home’s curb appeal pop, to put you in position to sell your home quickly.

Upscale The Front Door

Surprisingly, the front door is one of the items that can be a deal breaker or a deal maker. It can either attract the buyer or turn them completely off. There are two primary options when it comes to front doors. You can either buy a new one or refinish or coat the existing door with a new layer of paint.

  • Buy a new door – What you are looking for is a timeless front door design, especially if the existing one is in bad shape and beyond repair. When choosing a new door, look for one that resonates with the house style and color scheme. Solid wood doors are emerging again as a growing trend among architects. If treated properly, solid wood is age resistant and will last for many years, increasing your home value.
  • Paint an existing one – Remove it from the hinges and after laying it flat scrub the old paint using fine-grit sandpaper. Foam rollers work great on wood surfaces as they minimize the brush marks. Still, you will need a smaller brush for the detailed work. Go with a color scheme or finish that makes your door stand out in a regal, not gaudy way.

Polish The Hardware

The devil is in the details, and sometimes inconspicuous and seemingly unimportant things can improve the curb appeal. Maybe your outdated front door lock and handle need to be polished to get back their old spark and charm. If that does not work, consider changing them out for something more elegant and functional. Simple changes can make a world of difference so the quicker you can get your home ready to sell faster!

The same goes for rusty or smudged light fixtures. Clean and get them looking their best as you can bet a prospective buyer will notice them as they walk up to your property. If your home has visible house numbers, ensure the numbers sparkle as well.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor or landscape lighting makes your home beautiful from dusk to dawn, improving the curb appeal and giving your property an inviting look and feel. A well-lit home enshrouded in greenery is a welcoming sight to anyone visiting after dark. More importantly, outdoor lighting will make your home stand out in a row of dimly-lit and curtained neighboring houses. A side benefit is it will perform as a great deterrent for burglars.

Power Wash for Perfection

While they are not typically showstopper items for buyers, stains on the concrete, steps, decks, siding, and all outdoor accessories (umbrellas, chairs, etc.) should be power washed to eliminate grit and grime. While most consumers might be able to look past some oil stains on the driveway, a few will not, and they could be the serious buyers.

The Little Things

Once the larger projects are complete it is time to touch-up wherever needed and ensure the little things are completed. Some of those tasks include ensuring all light bulbs work, a fresh welcome mat is at the door, the windows are cleaned, and dead flowers/planters are removed. You only get one opportunity to make a great first impression so make sure you do just that!

When a buyer is presented with a well-maintained and decorated home exterior, they are excited about the prospect of what the rest of the home looks like. With a little planning and a bit of work, your home will look warm and inviting for all potential buyers who stop by. 

If the same care is taken on the inside of the home that is shown on the outside, you could be on your way to a great offer and quick sale…which is ultimately what every seller wants!

May 27, 2017

30-yr Fixed Rate Fall = Increased buying power!

Posted by: CENTURY 21 United Realty

 

 

Over the past 7 business days a 30-yr fixed rate has decreased on average from 4.02% to 3.95%.  As a result a buyer who qualified for a $500k home on Thursday 5/18 gained about $10k in their purchase power. They now qualify for a $510k purchase price. Don't forget this effects people selling too.

 

Translation  

If you're sitting on the fence, you're losing purchasing power quickly. Call or schedule an appointment with us TODAY so we can get you approved for financing and in your home before the rates climb (which they are expected to do)!

 

The market is changing rapidly. Who do you know that could use our help today to sell or buy a home?

 

Feb 2, 2017

4 Ways to Jumpstart Your Credit Score

Posted by: CENTURY 21 United Realty

 

Improving your credit score can sometimes be a lengthy project. But, consumer advisor Brian Acton tells Yahoo Finance, if you are planning to apply for a mortgage or other major loan, there are five strategies you can use that can help bump up your credit score in as little as 30 days:


Become an authorized user – You can piggyback off someone else’s good credit by having them add you as an authorized user to an account they’ve had for some time. As an authorized user, you can benefit from this responsibly managed account once it is added to your credit profile. (Understand, however, that if you use the account irresponsibly, both your credit scores will suffer.)

Request a credit limit increase – If you have a timely payment history with your credit card issuer, the issuer will likely grant you a limit increase if you ask for it. Since your credit utilization rate figures heavily in your credit score, an increase in the limit can help your score –so long as you resist increasing your spending.

Pay down your cards – Because, as indicated above, a lower balance positively affects your credit utilization rate, make the effort to curb your current spending and use any extra funds you can muster to pay down existing debts.

Check for credit report errors – An error on your report can weigh down your score, while removing one can result in great improvement. Since most credit reporting errors are resolved in about 30 days, pull your report from AnnualCreditReport.com and go over it with a fine tooth comb. If something seems amiss – such as an unreported debt payoff – disputing it right away can make a big difference in your credit score.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Jan 20, 2017

7 Tips to De-Clutter Your Home

Posted by: CENTURY 21 United Realty

The New Year is the time for a fresh start. It brings a feeling of starting over, and an opportunity to improve all areas of your life. In the New Year, take some time to complete projects you’ve been putting off for months. You can create an even better home for you and your family by decluttering and organizing your home.

Follow these tips for easy and quick ways to de-clutter your home.

1. Keep things at arms reach: Keep items you use daily somewhere where they can be easily reached, whether that’s in a basket, on a shelf, or in a cabinet. Store everything that is used sparingly on a higher shelf or in the garage or attic. It will be easier to find what you need when you need it.

2.  Add shelves: If your home is cluttered adding more furniture won’t help. Instead of adding a bookshelf or desk, add wall shelving.  You’ll have room for books, picture frames, paperwork, and even a television without cluttering your home with more furniture.

3. 12-12-12 Challenge: This challenge comes from BecomingMinimalist.com, and is a simple project to add to your routine. Clean and organize by choosing 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 to return to a proper place in your home.  This helps you organize, declutter, and give to a good cause all at the same time!

4. Garage storage: Make your garage your main storage area. Use old dressers and other furniture to store seasonal items and items you don’t use daily. Paint the furniture the same color to create a unified look.

5. Get rid of broken items: There’s no point in keeping items that are broken or unused, they’re just taking up precious space in your home. If you haven’t used it or gotten it fixed in the past six months, you probably never will. Throw it out or donate it to make room for something new.

6. Use things up: It’s a habit to save special items for special occasions, whether it’s fancy bath soap or an expensive spice. Stop saving these things for the right time, use them and enjoy them now. Use what you have before you buy something new to help keep clutter at bay.

7. Deal with one room at a time: Take it step by step. Organize and declutter one room at a time, makes it easier to focus on the task at hand. If you try to juggle too many rooms at once, it may never get done.

Go through these tasks every few months to help maintain an organized home. A decluttered home can give you and your family peace of mind – and room for something new.

Jan 10, 2017

Personal Growth

Posted by: CENTURY 21 United Realty

Every new day is yet another opportunity to grow, learn things, get closer to our goals, and set new, bigger ones.

But the beginning of the year one is a fantastic chance to see what we’ve been doing wrong, assess our life and progress so far, and enter 2017 with a bang.

Let the theme of the New Year be personal growth.

That means that whatever you do, wherever you go, and whoever you spend time with, you’ll always have your end vision in mind. You will be alright with making mistakes, but will take the lesson after each. You will experiment, build some new, healthy habits, and get things done regardless of the distractions around.

A lot can be achieved in a year. So why wait for yet another one to go by without being a better version of yourself and finally fulfilling your dreams?