April brings many lovely things: warmer temperatures, flowers beginning to bloom, and hopefully a check from Uncle Sam once you’ve filed your taxes. It’s enough to make you giddy with possibilities — no matter the size of your refund. “While it’s typically not sufficient to fund major home improvement projects such as a new addition or a kitchen renovation, it can often provide enough cash to accomplish a wide range of home up-fits and improvements,” says Leigh McAlpin, principal of Dwelling Interiors & Design in Charleston, SC. Here’s how to use your refund to refurbish or enhance your home.
Your tax refund feels like found money, doesn’t it? Here’s how to use it to spruce up your living space.
Posted by Michelle Hainer on Trulia
Whether you seek a craftsman home or your taste is more contemporary, these homes have the style you want at a price you’ll love.
Curb appeal might not be at the tiptop of your home-buying wish list, but maybe it should be. Attractive landscaping and a welcoming exterior can draw in buyers like you — but also increase your resale value when you’re ready to move on. The good news is that great curb appeal is available at every price point. We’ve found homes for sale under $200K across the country, from Pittsburgh, PA, to Sahuarita, AZ. And they all have plenty of presence at an affordable price.
Cute and vintage: $142,900, 2715 N. 68th St., Milwaukee, WI 53210
Boutiques, eclectic coffee shops, restaurants, and yoga studios occupy West North Avenue, a short walk from this adorable ranch home. The sweet two-bedroom, one-bathroom home has a gorgeous front yard. Visitors will be drawn in by the manicured boxwoods that line the sidewalk, archway, and climbing vine. Inside, hardwood floors, French doors, and crown molding add to the home’s cottagelike feel. But the most notable feature is in the backyard. There, you’ll find a private, fenced lawn with a patio that’s made for spring entertaining.
Desert beauty: $163,900, 116 W. Camino Rancho Vecino, Sahuarita, AZ 85629
Sahuarita has it all: great restaurants, an easy commute to Tucson, AZ, mountain views, and tons of golf courses. This home adds to the town’s charm. A stucco exterior complements the desert landscaping. The low-maintenance front yard adds a bit of Zen, with a few pops of color from flowering plants. No mowing needed! The neutral color scheme continues inside, making the 1,780-square-foot floor plan feel bigger. The three-bedroom home includes a large master suite and new appliances in the laundry room.
Peaceful and parklike: $174,900, 142 Jacks Run Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15214
It’s only a short drive from I-279, which brings you right to the center of Pittsburgh. But this charming three-bedroom brick home feels as if it’s tucked in the woods. The home has a tidy landscape on a parklike lot that exudes country comfort, and it’s close to five gorgeous parks. But don’t overlook the home’s remodeled interior, with crown molding and a designer-inspired paint scheme. The neighborhood offers public transportation within walking distance and easy access to Pittsburgh’s hospitals, shopping, and schools.
Big style, small price: $191,345, 1910 Macondray Drive, Humble, TX 77396
It may have a modest name, but Humble has a lot going on. There’s plenty of shopping and restaurants, and it’s close to Houston, TX, and George Bush Intercontinental Airport. In the peaceful Woodland Pines subdivision, this four-bedroom home’s contemporary exterior and landscaped front lawn make a great first impression. The neat grounds underscore the home’s well-cared-for appeal, and with plants in pots and in the shade, there’s no intimidation factor. The backyard offers plenty of recreation space, with a large covered patio. And the neighborhood pool and playground are steps away.
Desert deluxe: $199,000, 138 E. Juniper St., Mesa, AZ 85201
This upgraded home in Arizona’s third-largest city is big on personality. But it’s not just the fabulous palm tree in the front yard that will pull you in. Low-maintenance landscaping, lined with river rocks, makes a charming (and easy-to-care-for) front yard. And the home’s color scheme, drawing inspiration from its desert surroundings, sets off those always-sunny skies. Interior updates include fresh paint, new kitchen countertops and appliances, and new flooring. Mesa’s relaxed, suburban feel pairs well with its year-round festivals, plentiful parks and green space, and thriving cultural district. This three-bedroom home puts you right in the middle of it all.
Southern stunner: $199,900, 3608 High Battery Bluff NW, Acworth, GA 30101
Filled with historic buildings and surrounded by gorgeous natural features, Acworth is the kind of town where visitors flock for weekends. Walking trails, Lake Allatoona, and Lake Acworth are close by. This home in the town’s quaint Charleston Park neighborhood lets you take full advantage. The craftsman-style home’s front door — complete with transom window — hints at the charm and comfort within. A welcoming front porch and colorful landscaping beckon from the sidewalk, and the home’s color scheme is a soothing backdrop to all that greenery. The interior boasts a spacious living room, three bedrooms, and three bathrooms.
Blond brick charmer: $200,000, 11422 Sky Way St., Cypress, TX 77429
Right in the middle of suburban Cypress, this four-bedroom home sits on a quiet cul-de-sac. The two-story home has fresh exterior paint, a new front door, and a large, flat lot with refreshing shade trees. With blond brick, a fresh coat of paint, and well-manicured shrubs, this charmer is ready for buyers. Thoughtful updates continue inside, with a granite backsplash, a huge master suite, new flooring, and new appliances. Best of all, the restaurants, nightlife, and shopping on Jones Road are nearby.
Posted by Brie Dyas on Trulia
Ornately carved, brightly painted, or gleaming in glass, each of these stunning doors makes a bold design statement.
A front door is a home’s first chance to make a good impression. And if you’ve ever asked your real estate agent to skip past a showing appointment because of a house’s unwelcoming exterior, you’ve noticed firsthand just how important curb appeal really is. These 10 homes for sale on Trulia all boast pretty portals — the perfect inspiration for your personal home search.
Cowabunga(low): $414,999, 3009 Elizabeth St., Bellingham, WA 98225
A tangle of grapevines on twin trellises adds curb appeal to this craftsman bungalow in Bellingham, WA. The two-bedroom, one-bathroom home is already as cute as a button, with its cranberry-red front door and a location along one of the city’s lesser-trafficked roads. Built in 1926, the charmer has been modernized with a keyless entry, hardwood and tile floors, a subway-tiled kitchen with recessed lighting, and an open floor plan that makes the most of the bungalow’s 1,150 square feet. The master bedroom opens to the large, private fenced yard.
Making waves in Carolina: $539,000, 1031 Bennet Lane, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Just a seashell’s throw from the coast, this contemporary on a cul-de-sac welcomes guests with a front door painted a happy shade of sunshine. The door’s skinny windows provide a peek at who’s outside, but a fuller view is offered by the high-tech doorbell, which is loaded with a camera and an intercom. After guests identify themselves, they’ll cross a threshold into a 3,071-square-foot space that’s flooded with natural light, from the quartz-bedecked modern kitchen to the ground-floor home gym. But if you ever choose to venture out for a workout, you’ll have easy access to the Carolina Beach Fitness Loop.
Smooth around the edges: $765,000, 3019 E. Bonanza Road, Gilbert, AZ 85297
This 3,637-square-foot residence in Gilbert, AZ, sits about 20 miles southeast of Phoenix. The home welcomes guests with a circular brick driveway that’s echoed in a colossal arched front door. The wood- and stone-adorned interior features more curved lines. Arched doorways create a sense of grandeur within the already-stately residence, while an arched portico shades the poolside patio. Fun fact: The ceiling of the home takes inspiration from a villa in southern Mexico and contains 234 Saltillo tiles between the wooden beams.
You won’t need a second chance to make a first impression when you live in one of these homes for sale on Trulia.
Everyone hopes for love at first sight — though your first-look jaw dropper may come in the form of an early-1900s Colonial home in Richmond, VA. From a home’s landscaping to its color palette, even the smallest details can help set the look and feel of the rest of the home. You get only one chance to win the curb appeal game, and these picks from Trulia with stunning front yards are really bringing the heat.
Pomp and circumstance: $398,500, 701 Sugar Mill Road, Greer, SC 29650
The wide, brick stoop of this imposing Georgian-style beauty beckons, with lovely details like dormer windows and mature, tailored landscaping. The four-bedroom brick home’s charm isn’t limited to the front: A two-story back deck and screened-in porch overlook a parklike backyard.
Charmer in Chattanooga: $605,000, 704 Westwood Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37405
Flowers and greenery adorn the curb of this four-bedroom Chattanooga, TN, home, set back from the street. An inviting porch leads into a spacious great room that offers high ceilings and a spiral staircase. Rooms flow easily from living to dining spaces and into each impressive bed and bath — all the way out to the screened-in porch off the master suite.
California casual: $975,000, 4462 Pleasant Valley Court S, Oakland, CA 94611
A cozy front porch or a spacious back deck? It’s hard to choose where to spend your time in this 1916 craftsman-style home. A flowering vine creeps up the side of this three-bedroom, two-bath storybook-sweet home, while the large picture windows provide an inviting glow in the updated kitchen, modernized with white granite and stainless steel appliances.
Solar-powered in Phoenix: $999,900, 13208 S. 34th Way, Phoenix, AZ 85044
The stark desert landscape surrounding this Santa Fe, NM–style home fades into the background, letting the home really shine. The imposing adobe home, with solar power and more than 5,000 square feet, also includes a pool and Jacuzzi. Inside, an industrial-grade kitchen and high ceilings add to this six-bedroom home’s charm.
Old World meets New: $1,089,000, 501 NW A St., Bentonville, AR 72712
Enjoy vintage charm and modern amenities in this Arkansas home. The 1891 Victorian design is still intact, with original stained glass, a detailed porch railing, and crown molding — but upgrades like commercial-grade appliances and custom built-ins make it feel as though you’re living in this century. Outdoor entertaining is a breeze with an old-school tree swing out front, plus a spacious yard and detached guesthouse — complete with a second kitchen. Toss in the updated bathrooms, refinished original wood floors, and a wood-burning fireplace, and just like that, you’ve found yourself a dream home.
Texas modern: $1,249,000, 6527 Anita St., Dallas, TX 75214
A unique twist on the traditional Texan landscape, a spacious rock bed holds a planter of succulents, making it the front-yard focal point of this custom home. The home blends a cottage feel with a modern aesthetic, with quirky light fixtures and finishes and an open floor plan in 4,216 square feet. Drop your clutter from the day in the home’s mudroom and relax on the fenced-in back patio, complete with a fireplace and grill (it’s even wired for a TV and sound). The fresh hardwoods glow from the natural light beaming into each room. Custom built-ins — from the closets and hallway shelving to the kitchen cabinets — give each room a unique and functional piece.
Miami vibes: $1,500,000, 555 NE 57th St., Miami, FL 33137
Miniature shrubs line the walkway of this bright and beachy Miami, FL, home. Let the palm trees greet you along with the roof’s Spanish tile and bright orange stucco, which all give the house a fresh, Floridian feel. The 3,500-square-foot smart home has a completely renovated interior, including high-end appliances in the kitchen and bath — even a steam room in the master suite! If four bedrooms aren’t enough, there’s also a guest cottage, just past the gated driveway and adjacent to the pool and grilling patio.
Posted by Catherine Currin on Trulia
Save the big cash for major projects. Update your porch — and curb appeal — with these inexpensive tips.
When you’re hoping to add curb appeal to your home, look no further than the part that’s closest to the curb: your porch. A porch makeover can help you make a great first impression on visitors, and it provides you with a pleasant place to spend some time, whether you’re living in Nashville, TN, or San Diego, CA. Here are a few ways you can update your porch’s look without spending more than $1,000.
Posted by Virginia Brown on Trulia
What you need to know about the process, from a veteran certified appraiser.
Getting your home appraised can often be a nerve-wracking experience. Your home and your handy work will be on display to be judged and valued so that you can move forward with selling your home.
But it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. With the right tools, tricks and savvy, the appraisal process can not only go smoothly, it can also help you make a giant financial leap toward a future in a new home.
Do your homework
“Just like anything else — for example, if you’re going to select a doctor, dentist, or lawyer — you do your homework to find out the appraiser’s market knowledge of the area,” says Rick Singh, a property appraiser in Orange County, FL.
Ideally, your appraiser will be a local who knows the area well and who has been around long enough to see changes in the market. It’s also crucial to hire an appraiser who is state certified.
Check your maintenance
Whether it’s a loose shingle, chipped paint or dirty carpet, be sure to take care of it before the appraiser comes. Anything obvious that needs work could potentially eat away at your home’s value.
Also, keep a list of maintenance work that has been done on the home. Have a running list of what you have fixed and upgraded in your home as well as the amount of money you have spent.
Maximize curb appeal
When you’re getting your home appraised, remember that your house should look like the nicest one on the block.
“Landscaping plays so much into making a good first impression,” Singh says. “And remember that a first impression is a lasting impression. Make sure [your yard] is tidy and up-to-date. Trim or replace dead plants, and make sure it’s nice and green.”
Ensure appliances work
Do you have a dishwasher that only works when you give it a little kick, or a refrigerator that doesn’t keep your food as cool as it used to? These malfunctioning big-ticket items in a home could be a huge disadvantage to your home’s appraisal value.
Show pride in ownership
Although your home isn’t necessarily valued on the interior decor, it doesn’t hurt to show that it’s well cared for.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to trade in your T.J.Maxx finds for a pricey interior makeover, but make sure your home is neat, tidy, and exhibits that you generally have an interest in keeping your home looking its best.
Know your neighborhood
Before you get your home appraised, be sure you know what comparable nearby homes are going for, because that can be a huge predictor of your home’s value.
Also, inform your appraiser of any extraordinary circumstances, like if someone in your neighborhood had to sell their home quickly. Sellers may have to lower the price of their home to get out in a timely fashion in the event of death or job relocation in another state.
It’s extremely important that both you and your appraiser are knowledgeable about your neighborhood to get as accurate a value as possible.
Understand that cost does not equal value
When you make improvements to your home, you hope that everything you’re upgrading will increase your property value — but this isn’t always the case.
“Sellers may think, ‘I spent $60,000 on my home and $20,000 on the pool, so the home should be worth $80,000 more.’ However, the market may say it’s only worth $5,000 more. Find out what the economic investment is, because the rate of return is so important,” Singh says.
If you’re not satisfied, reach out
If you’re dissatisfied with the appraisal value, Singh advises contacting the appraiser about your concerns. Make sure you have data to back up your claims when you call to voice your opinion.
“You can always get a second appraisal,” Singh notes. “If you really think something was done incorrectly, voice your concern to the appraisal board as a last resort. All appraisers are licensed, and they don’t want to jeopardize their license. However, I often recommend going back to the appraiser and showing [him or her] the facts.”
Posted by Jamie Birdwell-Branson on Zillow
Here’s a breakdown of the most popular colors for your house’s siding, trim, and architectural accents.
Changing the color scheme of your home’s exterior is one of the quickest ways to give your house a face-lift, whether you’re preparing to list it for sale or just want to increase curb appeal (or both!). You might be surprised at the number of outside elements at play that you should consider before you choose a color scheme. Things like the hue of your brick chimney (is your brick more orange or brown?), the color your neighbor chose for their house, and your area of the country can all influence a color scheme. Plus, you’ll probably have to coordinate at least three colors — for the siding, trim, and accents. And this is a big investment, so it’s not very easy to change if you don’t love the end result, making what seems like a simple decision trickier than you might have expected.
We talked to paint companies to get information on their bestselling exterior paint colors, then consulted with color specialists on what to consider when planning your own home’s color palette.
Posted by Liz Olech on Trulia