As spring turns into summer, one of the first things you’ll do is get the patio furniture out of storage, grab the cushions, and get ready for some R&R. But what if you grab that furniture and hmmm…it doesn’t look nearly as nice as it once did. Well, you’re in luck because today there are […]
There’s no place like home, so why not beautify your home, and make it a cozy place you can stay in? Let’s dive into some techniques that can help you showcase the best features of every room in your house. Just a touch of color, texture, and personality can transform your home into something new. Here’s a few tips that aren’t a lot of hassle:
ADD SOME COLOR
Going with a neutral scheme can never go wrong, but if you’re feeling like your room is a little drab, don’t be afraid to go with a bold color. You can do an accent wall that compliments the current color scheme or use your furniture or accent pieces to bring a touch of color. Color doesn’t have to mean clutter, you can keep the rest of the room simple and add the dramatic touch with a few elements.
USE SOME MIRRORS
Bringing in some mirrors can add light and room to your space. Using mirrors in staging is known to help the room look like it’s much bigger than it is it. Add a few accent mirrors, preferably right across the room from a window, to brighten up your space and keep it from feeling too tight and small.
PLAY WITH ACCESSORIES
We get it, furniture can get expensive, but there is so much you can do with a room just getting creative with accessories. Get some unique decorative pieces and let your room tell a story around them. Hop down to your closest antique store and grab some pieces that are bold. You can also hop into Hobby Lobby or TJ Maxx, they have beautiful and unique decorative pieces that are incredibly affordable.
ADD SOME GREEN
Nothing gives a space some life like some life, literally. Add some plants to your rooms, lots of green ones that are easy to keep alive, to add a unique touch to the room. You’d be surprised how much a room looks “finished” when you add a beautiful tree to the corner of a room.
EMBRACE THE LIGHT
The natural light, we mean. Don’t block out your windows with heavy drapes or hide them behind furniture. Decorate around your room in a way that compliments the windows and brings the natural light in.
Use fur throws or pillows, use patterns in your fabrics, etc. Don’t be afraid to add unique textures throughout the home. It gives your eyes something to land on as it’s looking around the room. You can even use metallics. Don’t over-do it, because then it can get overwhelming. Just get a few textures that compliment each other and put them in clever places around your room.
A tip you’ll hear often, nothing brings the best out in a room then getting rid of all the clutter and junk. If you have a hard time walking around your room or finding things, it may be time to get a few boxes and start cleaning out the things that don’t really belong.
Eliminating bad odors from your home is incredibly important, you want to make sure you’ve removed them before putting it on the market. Often times, the first thing buyers notice upon entering your home, is how it smells. If there is an odd odor, it will instantly put them off. No matter how beautifully staged and presented it is, strong odors or stale air can make your home unappealing to prospective buyers. Opening windows and exhaust fans will only go so far in removing foul odors, but won’t generally eliminate it completely. To ensure you don’t lose potential buyers, follow these odor eliminating tips to ensure your home smells and feels fresh and new.
Don’t Use Artificial Freshening Sprays
Don’t make the mistake of spraying artificial room freshener sprays in hopes that it will remove the bad odor. Deodorizers will quickly fade, and only mask the smell, sometimes in an overwhelming way. If a buyer walks into your home, your air freshener can cause a reaction, like a runny nose or a headache, and will make them suspicious of an underlying foul odor. Instead of trying to mask it, locate the actual source of the bad odor and get rid of it.
Best Pet Carpet Cleaners for Accidents
We all love our furry friends, but unfortunately, they can get your home pretty smelly. Whether the smell is on the carpet, furniture, or even on the walls – it’s essential to have it removed. Most odors stem from accidents. You always want to attend to the accident right away. Blot them with a paper towel and use mild dishwashing liquid to help remove the odor. Once completely cleaned, blot again with fresh paper towels to dry the spot. If the accident is not recent, use an enzyme cleaner to eat the bad bacteria. Another great idea is to use activated charcoal. It is a form of carbon that has been activated to make it extremely porous. You can get activated charcoal meant for pet odors at most pet stores.
Green Cleaning Products
Using natural odor eliminators is a great green alternative to most of the chemicals sold at stores. One of the most recommended products is to use baking soda. You can place an open box of it in a room to help absorb unwanted smells. It also helps to remove musty aroma in dark spaces, like a basement. On top of being used to remove pet odors, it also works great for cigarette smells. If you don’t wish to use baking soda, most pet supply stores will have green cleaning products that help remove odors, while still being safe for your household.
A real estate transaction can be an exciting thing to experience, but it can also be nerve-wracking and stressful. Your experience will largely depend on the circumstances surrounding your transaction and, perhaps more importantly, the agent you’re working with.
A great agent will not only get you over the finish line to the best of their ability, but they can also change your life for the better. Here are eight ways:
1. They’ll show you they care
In today’s fast-paced world, it seems like everyone’s attention is in short supply. A great real estate agent will show you that’s not always the case, by listening and caring about you and your needs. Not only will being a good listener help an agent do their job, but it’ll also show you that even in business, there are still people out there who care.
2. They can save you a lot of money
There’s an old expression, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” Hiring a great agent can save you literally thousands of dollars, as the right agent will not only negotiate effectively, but also know what pitfalls to look for as the transaction moves along, saving you money in the process.
3. They can help you see things in a different way
One of the most overlooked aspects of hiring a great agent is just how much of an effect they can have on your perspective. For instance, you might think that you’re looking for something in particular, but a great agent can take what you asked for and find something that’s even better than anything you’ve ever considered. A great agent is like an expert matchmaker.
4. They’ll do more than help you buy or sell a home
A great real estate agent will go above and beyond for you. They’ll help you find contractors, give recommendations on design (if you’re open to them), and even help you navigate the restaurants in your new neighborhood. Great agents provide so much value because they want to be your go-to resource for anything to do with real estate.
5. They can find you something that no one else can
Great real estate agents aren’t necessarily miracle workers, but they’re close. A great agent will surprise you with something no one’s ever thought of before, whether it’s finding a property that you didn’t know about, or a solution to an otherwise complex problem. A great agent is proactive and instead of sitting around waiting, will make things happen for you.
6. They can take a lot of stress away
One of the best things about a great real estate agent is the peace of mind that comes from working with them. There are lots of things that can go wrong during a real estate transaction, and a great agent knows this and will not only anticipate issues ahead of time, but will shoulder the burden and solve problems for you, making it a low-stress experience.
7. They’ll go to battle for you when it counts
The right agent is like a general you can depend on when the going gets tough. From searching for the right property or buyer, to negotiating, to pushing the deal through despite all obstacles standing in the way… a great real estate agent won’t back down from adversity and will battle for your best interests at all times.
8. They can become a friend for life
Maybe your real estate agent is already your friend, but if not, with a great agent you might eventually become one. Real estate is much more about relationships than it is about individual transactions, and great agents know this. They also usually have the kind of infectious personality that you always want to be around. So don’t be afraid to form a lifelong friendship with your real estate agent, it could truly change your life.
The post 8 Ways A Great Real Estate Agent Can Change Your Life appeared first on Your Favorite Realtor/BusinessMom.
Why would someone write an article on buying versus renting a home?
What’s in it for the author of the article?
Why would you read one?
What is it you want to hear? Do you just want confirmation and justification for what you already believe and want to do? Or, are you looking to be convinced otherwise?
These are all good questions to ask yourself if you find yourself reading an article on whether it makes more sense to buy a home, or rent a house.
There are “reasons” to buy, and “reasons” to rent.
People want to make choices based upon reason. So, if you start reading about whether to buy versus rent a home, you’ll certainly be given “reasons”, like:
- When renting you’re just paying someone else’s mortgage.
- You’re throwing your money away when you rent. You have nothing to show for it. If you buy, you’re building equity.
- Many of the richest people built their wealth through real estate.
- Real estate is a great long-term investment. Values always go up in the long-term.
Certainly all valid to some degree.
But if you start reading articles bent on renting a home, versus buying, you’ll be given opposing “reasons”, like:
- When you rent, you aren’t tied down to an area. You have freedom.
- You aren’t responsible for the upkeep and maintenance when things break.
- Real estate values are not guaranteed to always go up.
- Your house could be less than you bought it for at times.
Again, all valid “reasons” to some degree.
Regardless of whether the article is pro-buying or pro-renting, the “reasons” cited tend to be the same, decade after decade, regardless of the market. They are overused, and pretty useless to anyone in particular.
There is no absolute answer that is right for everyone.
It shouldn’t be a DIY diagnosis
You can find plenty of “sources” to formulate your opinion on what makes sense for you.
There are online calculators to help you figure out if renting or buying makes more sense for you.
But that’s kind of like looking up health information online…
It’s good to get some thoughts and perspective. Educate yourself. But it’s not necessarily proper for you to diagnose and treat yourself.
Same when it comes to financial and real estate decisions.
Certainly educate yourself. Become informed. But truly assessing whether or not it makes more sense for you to buy a home or rent a house warrants getting some professional help.
Professional help can cost less than self-help. (At least in real estate…)
While you can certainly sift through all the information you want for free, and come to your own conclusion, you can also get the advice of someone who is a real estate expert for free.
All you have to do is reach out to a real estate agent. A good real estate agent will help you figure out if buying or renting makes better sense for you. They’ll help you assess your situation lend you their thoughts and insight based upon their knowledge and experience.
And most of them will do this for free. They get paid if and when you end up buying or renting a place.
Now, certainly, you might question their motives…
Will they push you to buy versus rent to make more money? Will they push you to rent because it’s quicker, easier money? Why would they help me for free? There’s got to be a catch…
Sure, there are some agents who are in it just to make money. But most real estate agents are more caring and concerned about their clients’ best interests, than their own self-interest.
That doesn’t mean every real estate agent will necessarily be able to give you the best advice, even if they are caring, concerned, and not pushy.
So, make sure you find a great agent when you ask for an agent’s advice.
(If they’re all offering their advice for free, you might as well choose the best, right?)
Who’s the best agent to talk to?
Considering this is my article, of course it makes sense that I feel like I’m the best agent for you to talk to.
The best way to find out is for us to have a quick chat. Maybe I’m the best agent for you to talk to… Maybe not. But if I’m not, I probably know another agent who may suit your situation better.
So why not give me a call, or send me an email, and let’s schedule a time to talk. No obligation.
I never push people to do one thing over another. If buying makes more sense for you, we’ll figure that out. If renting does, we’ll figure that out.
I just want to make sure you’re able to make the best and most objective decision possible.
We can’t help who we fall in love with, and even more frustratingly, who falls in love with us. It’s simply one of life’s mysteries. And we might not know exactly why we fell in love with real estate, but we probably have our suspicions. Here are six reasons why I fell in love with real estate:
1. The people
You have to enjoy working with people in order to be a successful real estate agent. Coworkers, clients, baristas who recognize you as you bring in a gallon-sized travel mug for your daily caffeine dose — you’re always around people. It would be dishonest to say that it always goes smoothly, but the relationships and interactions are a huge part of the overall experience, and allow you to connect with people in a way you don’t get to in many other careers.
2. No two days are ever the same
If the drudgery of five days a week at the same office, with the same snack machine, and the same coworkers telling the same lame jokes kills your spirits, then the novelty of working in real estate will be the wind in your sails. No two days will ever be the same in the business, which means every day you’ll embark on a new adventure that could lead to a closed deal, or a trip to the park to meditate and clear your head. If you like variety, you will fall in love.
3. The thrill of the chase
While we may convince ourselves that we hate prospecting or showing up to appointments that go nowhere, it’s those very things that make us appreciate our successes that much more. The pursuit, the hopes and dreams of success, the sweat you have to put in to make things happen — all of these are the ingredients for a successful real estate career, and we appreciate the work more than we are willing to admit.
4. Just me and the open road
While real estate requires working with lots of different people in different capacities, it also has its share of solitude, and is, at its core, an independent profession. Nothing will happen unless you make it happen yourself, so if you’re an independent-minded person who enjoys being out on your own, not only will you be successful but you’ll also fall in love with the feeling of getting in your car and creating your own destiny.
5. The highs are amazing
While the lows are painful, the highest are exhilarating. If you’ve never experienced the joy of a signed contract, or a clear to close, then you have no clue just how energized and happy a signature or a few words can make you feel. Any doubts about the profession can be immediately wiped out, and you can fall in love with real estate all over again after you get to celebrate one of your triumphs.
6. Because I care
They say that if you do something you love, then you’ll never work another day in your life. Well that’s not exactly true, you’ll still have to work, but it will feel different. In real estate, even though you’re helping other people buy and sell houses, it still feels like something that’s yours. And because it’s yours, you will care. And because you care, you will appreciate it in a way that’s different than almost any other job you could possibly have, which is all the more reason to fall in love with it.
Want to spruce up your kitchen but stuck on a tight budget? Check out the list of improvements you can get started on for under $100. These tips can come in handy when you’re ready to list your home to sell on the market.
1. REFRESH THE SINK:
If your sink is starting to look outdated, find an affordable, yet stylish, replacement. If you have the eye for DIY, you can also purchase some sandpaper and a $4 can of spray paint that is made for metal, and dye it to refresh and brighten the color.
2. HANG A NEW LIGHT FIXTURE
A decorative light fixture doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can generally find some decent ones that are under $100. Go for a chrome finish or choose the rustic route, whichever suits the current decor in your kitchen. You can also add LED lights under your kitchen cabinets for around $10-$20.
3. PAINT THE CABINETS
With care taken in the prep work, you can refinish the paint on your cabinets. You can generally get a kit around $75. Refreshing the paint color or the stain can make your kitchen feel brand new.
4. TURN YOUR FRIDGE INTO A CHALKBOARD
Chalkboard finishes are a hot trend, especially on the fridge! They add more functionality by allowing home owners to write grocery lists, menus, and even to-dos. Use painters tape to outline the shape and size you want to use as the chalkboard then coat it with magnetic primer, then chalkboard paint.
5. REPLACE OUTLET PLATES
Replace the outdated outlet wall plates for your light switches. You can add some character to it by using bold patterns, bright colors, or elegant textures. If they look faded, yellow, or chipped, they’re a cheap fix to replace.
6. CHANGE HARDWARE
Replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets and drawers can provide a drastic change to your kitchen. Not only can you get rid of hideous outdated hardware, but you can add a completely new feel to the theme of your kitchen just by updating the hardware throughout it.
7. EXPAND STORAGE
Have empty wall space? Search your local home stores for cute baskets or storage containers you can use to fill the space. Not only can it add some character to your kitchen, it also adds functionality and more storage options. A feature buyers love if you’re thinking of listing your home.
8. DRESS UP YOUR DECOR
Bring some color to your kitchen. Throw out decor that looks like it belongs in the 90’s, rugs that are falling apart, and anything else that weighs down a fresh look. Add in some new rugs and hand towels that match your personality and the theme you’re trying to achieve. You can also add some plants and decorative pieces to add character.
9. CLEAN UP THE CLUTTER
The best cleaning tip I can give all of my clients is to remove the clutter. Nothing is a bigger eye sore than too many things. It also messes with the energy in a home. Throw out a lot of things that are taking up too much space. If it’s sentimental, see if you can store it in a new place or even donate it.
Ready to sell your house? Here is a few staging tips to get your home prepared for the market. When listing a home that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, you want to make sure it’s presented in the best light. You wouldn’t buy a $50,000 dollar car if it was filled from top to bottom in someone’s personal content and trash. This is the same mindset you need to carry into selling your home that will be worth well over a $100,000.
1. SAY BYE TO CLUTTER
The best thing you can do for your home for sale is to get rid of all of your clutter! Make a rule for your home that for every new piece that comes in, one must go. One of the biggest factors to a cluttered home is too much furniture. Generally, in a professional staging, half the home owner’s furniture is removed to make the house look much bigger. Look around your house and see what you can pack away. It’ll be worth the investment to get a storage unit for a couple of months to store away a lot of your furnishings and goods.
2. FURNITURE GROUPINGS
It’s largely misconceived that furniture pushed directly up against walls make a room look bigger, but this is far from true. Instead, you’ll want to float your furniture in reach room and away from the walls. Position your sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groupings. Be sure the furnishings are placed to make the traffic flow in a room obvious. This will make the room more user-friendly and will make it look larger.
3. TRANSFORM ROOMS
If you have a room that has only served to collect boxes or other junk, it’s important to purpose the room to something that is functional. You can make it into an extra bedroom, a small cozy nook/reading room, etc. If it’s in the basement, hid the boxes and turn it into a gaming room or family area.
4. HOME LIGHTING
Great lighting is the trick to making a staged home look warm and welcome. Most homes are improperly lit, which makes rooms look dark and dreary. There is a quick fix to this issue. Increase the wattage in your fixtures and lamps, aiming for about 100 watts per 50 square feet. Add three different types of lighting to each room: ambient (general overhead), task (under cabinets or pendants), and accent lighting (table lamps and wall accents).
5. GO NEUTRAL
The simple trick to toning down dated finishing in any space is a little bit of fresh paint. You don’t want to go stark white, but look into neutral grey and beige colors. Beige colors can also consist of warm honey like colors, soft blues and greens, and a variety of undertones that add a little life to a general neutral color. If you do want to use bold colors, be sure to only keep it on accent walls to help enhance structural features.
6. MAKE IT LOOK BIGGER
If you want to make a room bigger than it is, paint the room the same color as an adjacent room. For small kitchens and dining rooms, a seamless look will make the space feel like one, open it up, and make it seem much larger. Using drapes that match the wall colors can also add an emphasis to the room’s size.
7. USE YOUR GARDEN
Staged homes have an emphasis in fresh flowers and pricey floral arrangements. If you don’t have the money to go all out on florals, you can get this same effect by raiding your garden space. You can DIY beautiful pieces with fern fronds, magnolia clippings, and more. Use the spring and summer months to find cheerful flowers and use them in your arrangements.
8. GET A FACELIFT
So you can’t afford new cabinets? Then you can just get new doors and drawer fronts. Then paint everything to match and add new hardware to them. Instead of replacing the entire dishwasher, you may be able to get a new front panel, go for stainless steel if you can pull it off. Check with the manufacturer to see if replacements are available for your model.
9.MAKE NECESSARY REPAIRS
Unfinished home projects can really scare off potential home buyers, so you’ll want to be sure to make required repairs. Missing floorboards and large cracks in the sidewalk on the way to your door tend to be a red flag. Holes in walls and scratched up door frames can really look unattractive. These repairs cost you less to fix than buyers might deduct from the asking price.
10. CLEAN YOUR HOME
Aside from de-cluttering, the most important step to staging your home is to clean it. A dirty house is a quick turn-off for potential buyers. Most homes, especially with children and pets, and smokers, have a smell that may go undetected to home owners, but are quickly picked up by strangers. Be sure to have your home professionally cleaned prior to staging to appeal to all buyers that your home is nice and fresh.
Winter is a great time to buy a home — there’s less competition, so that often means you can get a better home for a cheaper price. Talk about a happy holiday!
But moving in the winter? Not so great.
There are definitely challenges that go along with packing up everything you own and moving it to a new location in the dead of winter — especially if you live in an area with extreme winter weather.
But it’s not impossible! Here are seven expert moving tips to make your winter move fast and easy (and have you settled into your new place with a nice, hot cup of cocoa before you know it):
1. Keep an eye on the forecast
This one should go without saying, but if you’re planning on moving during the winter months, it’s extremely important that you keep an eye on the forecast.
Winter weather can be unpredictable, and snowstorms can hit with little warning. Check the forecast once a week in the month leading up to your move. The week of your move, check every day.
If there’s a significant amount of snow forecasted – the kind of snow that could close roads or make driving unsafe – consider postponing your move date until after the snow passes. The last thing you want is to get stuck on the side of the road with all of your belongings in the back of a truck.
2. Confirm with your movers (and then confirm again)
One of the best things about moving during the winter is that it’s a slow time for moving companies — which means a better deal for you on your moving services.
But if you do hire movers (or rent a moving truck), it’s super important to make sure you confirm all the details (like the day, time, and location) of your move. You should plan to confirm the appointment a week before and then check in the day before your move to make sure there’s no winter weather that will keep things from going as planned.
You don’t want to get stuck in a house with no heat or electricity, waiting hours for movers who have the wrong time. Make sure you reconfirm.
3. Hire a babysitter and/or petsitter
Moving in winter is tough.
But you know what makes it tougher?
Having a bunch of children and/or pets running around.
If you’re a parent (or a pet parent) do yourself a favor and hire a babysitter and/or pet sitter for the day. This will save you a ton of time and stress. Instead of trying to keep track of your children or four-legged friends as you lug boxes through the snow, you can focus on the task at hand, which will get you through the move (and into your warm home) faster.
4. Start your move as early as possible
Not only do the days get colder in the winter — they also get shorter.
Because there’s fewer hours of daylight during the winter, you’ll want to get your move started as early as possible. That way, if you run into any speed bumps along the way, you still have daylight hours to figure things out.
Even if you’re not a morning person, get started early. A winter move can be tough, but a winter move in the dark is even tougher.
5. Protect your floors
If there’s snow on the ground, that means when you move, you’re going to get snow on your shoes. And, eventually, that will mean snow (and water) all over your nice, new floors.
You don’t want damaging your floor to be the first thing you do when you move into your new home. If you move on a snowy day (or the ground is wet from a previous storm), lay down plastic tarps to protect the flooring before you start moving things in.
6. Make sure the heat is turned on in your new place…
Before you move, make sure you’ve switched your utilities and the heat is turned on in your new place. The last thing you want to do is arrive and find you have to spend the first night in your new home bundled up because you have no heat!
7. But turn it off during the move
That being said, turn your heat off during the actual move. As you move things in and out, all the heat will escape through the door, which will not only make it cold inside, but will also stick you with a hefty energy bill.
Moving in the winter can be a challenge, but with these tips you’ll be moved and snuggled up by the fire in your new home in no time!
The post 7 Expert Moving Tips To Make Your Winter Move Fast and Easy appeared first on Your Favorite Realtor/BusinessMom.
Tons of people think the number 13 is unlucky. Some don’t. But pretty much everyone has at least heard that the number 13 is unlucky. With Friday the 13th upon us, I thought it’d be fun and interesting to send along some superstitions we come across in the real estate industry, which you may have never heard about…
Real estate agents sometimes find themselves working with clients who have superstitions based upon lucky (and unlucky) numbers.
This is often a cultural superstition. And the lucky or unlucky numbers are different from culture to culture.
This can affect whether or not someone will buy a house, if the street address is an unlucky number, or even adds up to an unlucky number.
It can also affect the specific dollar amount they will offer or accept for a house…
What direction a house faces
Does your house face East? If it does, that’s great… for some potential buyers.
But others may not see it that way, and would never buy a house unless it faces South.
Again, these superstitions are typically cultural, and no one direction is right for every culture.
So, don’t worry what direction your house faces…there’s always someone who will be fine with whatever direction it is facing.
Mercury in retrograde
This is less cultural, and more a matter of whether someone is into astrology…
It is believed that when the planet Mercury is in “retrograde” (backward), it is a bad time to enter a contract.
So, if a client is sensitive to this, there is a good chance there isn’t a deal good enough to get them to buy or sell a house while Mercury is in retrograde.
Ever hear of smudging? That’s when you burn a sacred plant (often sage), and walk around the house wafting the smoke, in order to get rid of negative energy in a house.
Does that sound crazy? Sound like someone’s been smokin’ the smudge!?
As a real estate agent, I wouldn’t call it crazy…
While an agent may not believe in a client’s superstition, or even understand it…they won’t consider it crazy.
It’s a real estate agent’s responsibility to represent their clients’ best interests.
So I wouldn’t consider any of the above examples (or anything else you could throw at me) crazy…because if it is a concern for my client, it is a concern for me.
Wishing you nothing but luck this Friday the 13th.
P.S. Out of curiosity… do you have any superstitions when it comes to buying and selling a house? Let me know, I’d love to hear!
The post Do You Believe In Any Of These Real Estate Superstitions? appeared first on Your Favorite Realtor/BusinessMom.