5 Holiday Splurges to Avoid If You Hope to Sell Your Home Next Year

elenaleonova/iStock

The holidays are officially here—and while  merrymaking and gift shopping are likely top of mind, you may have to keep some of those celebratory urges in check if you’re planning to sell your home next year. Why? Because many holiday season activities can come back to haunt you when your house is on the market, even if it’s months later.

Don’t believe us? Here are five holiday splurges to avoid if you hope to have a smooth home-selling process next year. It’s our gift to you! (You’ll thank us later.)

1. Don’t do decorations that could damage your home

Yes, we know you want to display your holiday spirit. But avoid any decor that could leave behind damage you’ll have to repair later—holes in the walls, marks on the floor, screws that mar the side of the house. If you have a live Christmas tree, be careful not to let spilled water sit on hardwood or laminate flooring, which can warp and stain. And it should go without saying that you don’t want to paint walls dramatic colors; save the winter wonderland mural for another year.

Think about curb appeal, too. “Avoid blow-up animals and reindeer in the yard,” advises Flor Blanchett, a Realtor® at the Keyes Company in Florida. “When you take those things out, especially in the South, they leave spots on the grass that are totally dead for months afterward.”

2. Don’t clutter your home with huge holiday gifts

The mantra of anyone trying to sell a home? “Declutter, declutter, declutter,” says Blanchett.

Don’t buy a bunch of gifts that are going to have to be hidden away after the new year.

“If you have young children with toys all over the place, I advise packing it all away in a container under the stairs or somewhere people won’t see it,” she says.

The basic organizational rule is that you don’t want your closets to appear bursting at the seams, which will give the impression there’s not enough storage.

Obviously, nobody is saying that Santa has to skip your house this year, but consider forgoing the bulky play kitchen or drivable toy car in lieu of smaller action figures or electronics.

Remember: You’re going to have to move all that stuff after you sell the house. You’ll thank yourself at packing time if you spring for a gift certificate or jewelry instead of sports equipment or kitchen gadgets.

3. Don’t buy appliances or furniture that may not fit your future home

It’s another prime gift-giving no-no. Avoid shelling out for appliances, furniture, or anything that’s specific to your current home’s layout. Unless you already know where you’re moving, that gorgeous (and large) new couch might not fit correctly in your new digs. And that sparkling new washer-dryer set is probably going to be a gift for the buyers, since appliances usually stay with the home. Grills, sheds, anything bulky—you’re going to either gift it to your buyers in a few months or pay someone to move it. Save the heavy stuff for next year.

4. Don’t take on too much holiday-related debt

This is not the year to live out your “new car with a giant bow on it” fantasies. Taking on debt, whether it’s credit card debt or a car or boat loan, can hurt your chances of getting approved for a mortgage when you’re ready to buy your next home. So, don’t go out and buy expensive things; a lender will take note and it could work against you. When in doubt, ask first.

“Speak with your lender if making a real estate purchase after the sale on how much you can spend on big-ticket items,” says Dillar Schwartz, a Realtor in Austin, TX.

5. Don’t surprise the family with a new pet

The holidays are a common time for families to get a new furry friend—there are even adoption drives based around getting a holiday pet. However, right before you’re ready to sell your house is not a terrific time to be housetraining a puppy or teaching a cat not to scratch the couch.

Showing a house with a pet can be challenging enough even when it’s not a new pet, and then they’re going to have to go through the wildly pet-unfriendly process of moving. However much you’re longing for a cat, pup, or capybara, it just makes sense to wait until after the move. Especially the capybara.

 

Posted by Audrey Ference on realtor.com

Advertisements

5 DIY Ways to Stage Your Home’s Exterior for Winter Home Selling

Winter can be a tough time of year to sell your home, particularly in areas that see colder or inclement weather. The biggest issue that homeowners face in attempting to sell at this time of year, is the curb appeal; with piles of snow and no leaves on the trees, it can be hard to show your home in its best light.

There are ways that you can help to improve your home’s appearance, however, no matter what time of year you put it on the market. These 5 DIY tips for staging your home’s exterior for winter selling will help you make that crucial first impression that buyers are looking for.

Get the Snow Off

Buyers want to see the condition of your home, including areas like the porch, outdoor deck, and roof, which may all be areas where the snow collects during the winter months. Keeping these areas free of snow and ice means that buyers can get a better sense of what your home really looks like. It also means that they can get a better idea of things like your roofing shingles and their condition.

Removing snow from these areas also has the added benefit of making your home appear well maintained. You want to remove snow any way to help protect your roof from leaks and ice dams; by taking the snow off before a showing, you let buyers know the home is being cared for.

Add Some Greenery

During the summer months, your yard and landscaping are in full bloom and can help improve your curb appeal. During the winter months, however, when everything is brown or leafless, this can have the opposite effect of what you want from buyer’s first impressions.

Purchase some greenery in urns to place around your front door and walkway. Evergreen plants in large tubs that can be brought out for a showing can help recreate the effect of well-maintained landscaping. Anywhere your home or yard looks a little barren at this time of year is a great place to add some greens to help brighten things up.

Add Exterior Lights

The days are shorter during the winter months, which means that buyers arriving in the late afternoon or evening to view your home may not see it in the best light. Add some solar lights to the walkway leading up to your house, and consider swapping out the bulbs in any sconces you have next to the door for full spectrum lights.

Full spectrum lights will help ensure your house siding color looks more the way that it does when the sun is hitting it, which can help buyers get a better idea of what your home will look like in other times of year. If you don’t have lights currently installed, consider adding temporary solar lights that will turn on when people walk by to illuminate the front of your home more effectively.

Brighten Up Your Front Door

While the winter months aren’t the best time to give a new coat of paint to your house siding, it’s not a bad idea to freshen up your front door color. A bright, cheerful front door can go a long way toward making your home look more inviting, no matter how cold or dismal the weather is.

Look for a house color that’s a little bolder than you would ordinarily choose, as you want it to show up even in the poor light of winter. Reds, turquoise blue, and even orange are good colors to paint your front door in the winter months.

Take Down the Holiday Decorations

Many people assume that leaving up decorations from late fall or the winter holidays will help make the home more lived in and therefore more appealing. Surprisingly though, many buyers don’t want to see these things; they want to envision what the house will look like when they move in. While it’s fine to have a wreath hanging on the door in December, make sure that come January the house is free of lights and garlands to ensure that buyers aren’t put off.

Get Your Home Ready for Sale

It doesn’t take much to get your home looking its best even in the winter months. Follow these tips to help improve your home’s exterior and get the quick sale you’re after, even in the colder months of the year.

 

Posted by HomeZada

Ready to sell? Visit our website today, and let one of our agents help you get started!

5 Simple Ways to Stage the Exterior of Your Home Before an Open House

If you’re selling your home, chances are good you’re familiar with the concept of staging your home. Real estate agents recommend your home look its best to prospective buyers, and home staging is a great way to ensure you receive top dollar. But did you know you should stage the exterior of your home too? Failing to update the look of your home’s exterior can cause buyers to get a bad first impression when they initially arrive to view your home.  Whether your audience are luxury home buyers or you are selling your starter home, staging the exterior of your home will have a major impact in the sale of your home.  If you want to put exterior home staging to work, here are five elements you should consider tweaking.

Clean Your Exterior Windows and Screens

Nothing says poor maintenance like dirty windows and window screens. If your windows are caked with dust or muck from the last rainstorm, open house visitors are going to wonder what other maintenance jobs you haven’t attended to. Don’t give visitors the opportunity to question whether your home has been properly maintained or not; clean those windows and screens before authorizing an open house.

Refresh Your Gardens and Walkways

Just like dirty windows are a real estate faux pas, so are unkempt flower beds. Weeds and overgrown bushes tell visitors you can’t be bothered with the small stuff. Spend a day removing weeds and trimming flowers, or hire a professional landscaper to refresh your gardens.  It is amazing what a refreshed garden can do to your home’s curb appeal.

Refresh Your Home’s Siding

No, you don’t have to replace your home’s siding prior to an open house. A quick power wash could be all it takes to remove years of dust and grime. You can attempt this task yourself, but it might be worth your while to hire a professional. Some homeowners have been known to damage their home’s siding by using too forceful a water stream. This is one task that is often best left to experienced professionals.  The last thing you want to deal with is replacing siding before an open house.

Update/Clean Door Fixtures and House Address Signage

Something as simple as a new doorknob or address signage can give your home a refreshed look. You needn’t spring for a new door; just update the faceplate and/or doorknob. Purchase new address numbers from the local hardware store and you’ll have tweaked the look of your home’s exterior in just a few minutes.

Clean Patio Furniture

Whether you have chairs on your front veranda or a dining set on your back deck, tired patio furniture can cost you big dollars when it comes time to negotiate with a potential homebuyer. Dilapidated patio furniture instantly gives a bad impression and can cause potential homebuyers to request replacement furniture as part of their deal. Spruce up your existing furniture with a quick power wash, or replace it if it is beyond cleaning.

Simple tweaks to the exterior of your home can have a big impact on your home’s final selling price. By spending just a few days improving the look of the outside of your home, you can increase the amount buyers are willing to offer and make your home the cleanest real estate listing on the block. Will you be trying these exterior home staging tricks when you list your home for sale?

 

Posted by Charles Muotoh on RISMedia

Explore The 5 Senses Of Selling A Home

What’s scent got to do with it?

Perhaps the smell of fresh baked cookies takes you back to the kitchen in your childhood home. Maybe that perfect sky blue paint color on the bedroom walls makes you instantly feel serene and safe. And it’s probably the crunch of the pebble stone walkway that gives you a hint of anticipation as you approach the front door. Our senses – hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste – are so strongly bound to our perceptions, emotions, and nostalgia, it’s no wonder that you rely on all five when looking for your perfect home.

To get to the heart of the sensory triggers that appeal or detract from a home shopping experience, Trulia recently surveyed real estate agents on what stands out to the five senses of potential buyers during open houses or showings.

If you are preparing to stage your home, here are a few findings from the survey to consider, as well as some tips on where to focus your efforts to create the best sensory experience to turn shoppers into buyers.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled: 

Put away the Legos. Clear the desk clutter. Vacuum up the dog hair. Nearly 74 percent of real estate agents said that the cleanliness of a home is the most important sight-based feature to home buyers. Someone looking for a new home doesn’t want to have to use their imagination (or the “mind’s eye”) to determine if the house is a fit for their lifestyle.

The Smell of Home: 

Vanilla and fresh scents (think mountain air or clean laundry smell) are the most popular and appealing fragrances when staging a home. In fact, vanilla is such a powerful scent, studies have shown it’s linked to positive nostalgic memories, reducing stress and anxiety and producing a sense of calm*.

First Impressions Make a Lasting Impression: 

While the majority of real estate agents said the most important rooms to focus on staging are the kitchen and living rooms, they emphasize not to forget about the entryway. The look and feel of the entryway is the first opportunity to make a full sensory impression on the home buyer. Additionally, homeowners should consider incorporating ambient music, fresh flowers, and a clear path to the rest of the home.

Color Correction: 

Primary colors are great for preschool walls, but are definitely a no-no when it comes to selling your home. Bright or funky color palettes such as reds, oranges, and yellows are the least appealing (you don’t need a fast food restaurant in your living room). Instead, neutral colors such as eggshell, white, and ivory are the most appealing because they represent a clean, blank canvas.

The dominant senses of selling a home are sight and smell, so focus your efforts on fresh, calming fragrances, a neutral color palette, and an inviting first impression as potential buyers walk in the door.

What have you done to entice home-shoppers senses? Share your experiences in the comments!

Methodology: Trulia designed and analyzed an online survey of 223 self-identified Real Estate Agents living in the United States. The survey was fielded utilizing an in-product invitation appearing in the ZillowGroup Premier Agent Desktop application from August 23 – 26, 2016. The survey has a margin of error 6.8% +/- at the 95% confidence level. Participants were provided a $10 Amazon gift card for their participation in the survey.

*Source: http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/suppl_1/i248.full

Posted on Trulia

5 Tips for Selling Your House This Summer

Summer may be real estate’s busy season, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy time to be a seller. With so many homes on the market and minimal pressure to settle, buyers can afford to be pickier.

It takes strategy, patience, and a level head to manage a sale successfully. Nevertheless, it is still possible, and if you follow these five steps, you will not only survive this summer home selling season, but thrive.

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and House

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and House

1. Curb Appeal

Summer is a time when all the flowers are out and blooming and all the trees are nice and green. Use this to your advantage and keep the outside of your house looking as good as it possibly can.

Pay special attention to your lawn. Grass in the summer grows twice as fast as it does in the winter. If you are trying to sell a house, make sure you keep your lawn looking trimmed and tidy. It’s a good idea to mow your lawn 1-2 times a week to keep it in top shape.

2. Natural Light is a Must

Summer is the time of the year with the most sunlight and almost everyone likes to capitalize on that. If your house is not showcasing its full natural light potential, it will be most noticeable in the summer. Consider removing any heavy curtains or dark shades because this can make the room seem darker and smaller.

3. Show Off Your Outdoor Space

One of everyone’s favorite activities during the summer is enjoying the outdoors. People who are buying a house in the summer are going to be seeking somewhere to do that, so make sure that you have showcased the outdoor space at your house. Outdoor furniture and decorations will allow them to easily visualize themselves relaxing outside on a calm summer night.

4. Air Temperature

As we all know, summertime can often be too hot. The last thing you want on an 80 degree day is a potential buyer to walk into your house and find it hot, stuffy, and uncomfortable. This can be a real turn off.

Before anyone comes into your house, do everything you can possibly do to prevent this from happening. It could be as simple as opening the windows, but it may require an investment in an air conditioner.

5. Tidy Up

Prior to any prospective buyers walking around your house, pick up after yourself and clean everything until your house is looking its absolute best. It’s a very simple fix that could make or break a buyer’s decision.

While you’re at it, be strategic about how you arrange each room. Be sure to keep every room neutral and not too personal so people can imagine themselves living there. Also, have the furniture set up so it brings out the positives of each room. Don’t allow furniture to make an otherwise open room seem small and uninviting.

6. Be Realistic

This last tip is applicable any time of the year. It’s no secret that everyone wants to get as much money for their house as possible, but if you try and price it too high, it might not sell at all. So do your research and list your house at a price that you’re happy with, but that is also fair for your area and house’s quality.

Bottom line   

Summer is the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sunshine. Don’t ruin it by stressing about an unsold house. Instead, use these tips to sell it quickly and move on.

Posted by Carter Wessman on HomeZada

19 DIYS to Make Your House Smell Amazing

Who doesn’t love coming home to a nice-smelling space? A good home fragranceacts like an accessory and adds character, making your space feel extra homey. However, constantly buying candles and air fresheners can start getting expensive, and lots of them are actually polluting your home with chemicals. So how do you get a great-smelling home without resorting to unnatural and toxic scents? These 19 all-natural fragrances are super simple to make, much cheaper than buying fragrances and will actually improve the air quality in your home. From candles to diffusers, the best part about making your own air fresheners is that you can control the exact scent you want.

1. DIY Reed Diffuser: Candles are great for setting a mood, but you can’t leave them burning when you’re not around. A reed diffuser is brilliant for giving your home a fresh scent 24/7, and you’ll be amazed to know how inexpensive and easy it is to DIY your own. Instead of paying a lot, mix up your own concoction of essential oils to create the perfect smell for your home. (via eHow)

Room Scents

Room Scents

2. All-Natural Room Scents: If you rocked the DIY herb garden this summer, now you have a great way to use all those happy herb plants. Bring fresh ingredients like freshly squeezed lemons, rosemary and a touch of vanilla to a simmer on the stove and your house will be filled with the smells of summer. (via Thistlewood Farms)

3. DIY Beeswax Candles: Beeswax candles give off a light honey-ish scent, and they also have a purifying effect on the air in your house. They give off negative ions when burned, which neutralizes bad ions like allergens, dust and airborne toxins. So not only are you adding good smells, you’re actually cleaning the air whenever you burn these lovely candles. (via Hello Natural)

4. Homemade Lilac Room Spray: Why is it that the best-smelling blooms only seem to be around for a couple weeks? Keep the heavenly scent of lilacs within arm’s reach all year long with this amazing DIY room spray. And yes, you get to go buyvodka for this project. (via At the Picket Fence)

5. Coffee-Scented Candles: There’s no better smell than coffee in the morning. Why not chase those good vibes with a coffee candle that you can burn all day long? Use this morning’s coffee grinds to make these all-natural soy wax candles. (via The Lovely Drawer)

6. DIY Incense Holders: If you love the smokey smell of incense, make some pretty little holders that you can use to set up around pesky areas like a litter box or mud room. These simple stands are both easy and effective. And although they may not be great at catching ash, you could always sculpt a little lip around the stand if it bothers you. (via Almost Makes Perfect)

7. Citrus Room Spray: Instead of throwing out those empty perfume bottles, upcycle them into little spray containers so you can have air fresheners in every room. Use your favorite citrus and a healthy dose of vodka to make this simple-yet-effective spray. (via Raining Hot Coupons)

8. DIY Tea Scented Candles: If you’ve never made candles before, don’t worry! It’s actually really simple and the scents are so much better than the fake smells of those cheap candles from the store. Plus you get to personalize the smell. To make DIY tea-infused scented candles, all you have to do is pick your favorite flavor of tea. (via Fall for DIY)

 

9. DIY Scented Wax Bars: Aromatic wax bars can be put in dresser drawers to keep linens or socks smelling fresh. You can also hang them in the closet, or in the bathroom to release scent with the steam of the shower. Pick your favorite scents, like relaxing lavender or spicy cinnamon, depending on the mood you want. (viaeHow)

10. Homemade Air Freshener: What bathroom doesn’t need a little extra freshness? Perk up your WC with a spritz of lemon-rosemary air freshener that works double duty as an antibacterial without worrying about any harsh chemicals. (via Blah Blah Magazine)
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

11. Fruit Rind Air Freshener: Instead of just masking bad smells, use sea salt to actually get rid of them. Fill half of a citrus fruit with sea salt and set it somewhere where it can soak up all the bad odors; just make sure it’s out of reach of little fingers or furry friends. Replace the rind and salt every few days to keep the space fresh and odor free. (via Free People)

12. Garbage Disposal Cleaner: If your garbage disposal is emitting some cringe-worthy smells, then send a burst of citrus down the drain to clean up that situation. Homemade and natural, these pellets are made with vinegar and orange peel to neutralize everything icky lurking down there. (via Hello Natural)

13. Five-Minute Reed Diffuser: If you already have a empty jar at home, you can DIY this reed diffuser for under $10. Plus, you get to make washi tape flags. Not only will you get a good smell, but you’ll have a room freshener that you won’t mind putting in a visible place. (via Sugar and Cloth)

14. Handmade Room Spray: Once you start experimenting with all the possible scents, you can give these away as lovely little hostess or housewarming gifts. This orange cinnamon combo gives a sweet and spicy room fragrance that is welcome all year long. (via Little Green Dot)

15. DIY Potpourri: Collect flowers all summer long, and then at the end of the season combine them to make a pretty bowl of potpourri that will have your home smelling lovely. There is really no wrong way to make potpourri, and you can have a lot of fun experimenting with different kinds of flowers, herbs, spices and oils. (via Free People)

16. Gel Air Freshener: Instead of setting out a gel that’s full of chemicals, let the kids help you make these awesome gel fresheners. They’ll have a blast choosing the color and scent, and you’ll love knowing that you’re making your home a tiny bit healthier. (via Homespun Love)

17. Deodorizing Disks: If you’re struggling to keep a diaper bucket or garbage can fresh, you need to make a batch of these little odor destroyers. They’re easy to make and work great for deodorizing closets, bathrooms or anywhere else you have an unwanted smell. And while they’re not the prettiest, they are hardworking, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need to fight bad odors. (via Reading My Tea Leaves)

18. Refrigerator Deodorizer: Take the little box of baking soda you’ve been using in the fridge and give it an upgrade with a dab of essential oil. Obviously you don’t want a super strong scent that affects the food in your fridge, so stick with citrus smells instead of florals and start with less and add more as needed. (via Hello Natural)

19. Lavender Lemon Candles: When life gives you lemons, it’s time to find some lavender and make these bad boys. ASAP. (via Brit + Co)

Posted by Kate Thorn on Brit & Co

Freshly Baked Cookies Are So Yesterday—Instead Try These 5 Wacky Tricks to Sell Your Home

A plastic box stuffed with brochures at the curb, a Sunday afternoon open house, and chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. If your marketing plan to sell your house feels a little “been there, done that,” you might need to step up your game.

To help you, we searched high and low, asked the pros, and came up with a list of unusual, bold, and even downright wacky marketing tricks you (and your Realtor®) can use to get your house sold.

Start with social media

Everything is on the Internet these days, including, of course, your house. Your Realtor has likely already hooked you up with an online listing, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Put into action a full social media plan to attract buyers.

  • Twitter: Who says you can’t sell a house in 140 characters? Some sellers are creating Twitter accounts for their houses. Be creative! You can do a lot with 140 characters, trust us.
  • Facebook: Use personal stories about your favorite home memories and photos to connect with buyers. Maybe create a meme or two.
  • Instagram: Attract buyers with artsy home photos or advertise your upcoming open house.

 Turn your open house into a party

Open houses can be boring. Why not liven things up with an actual party?

 “We throw eventsnot open houses—at a lot of our listings,” saysJosh Myler, director of the Residential Division at The Agency in Beverly Hills, CA. “We do everything from a simple cocktail party to a bigger affair. We’ve even hired professional chefs.”

To pull it off—and keep things cheap—Myler recommends looking for event planners, caterers, and other pros who are just getting started. Many newer companies will work inexpensively to get the exposure.

Set the tone with music

If a party sounds like too much work, you can still spice up your open house with live music. Myler often hires professional musicians to play softly in the background during an event or open house.

“It depends on what you’re looking for,” he says. “We’ve hired DJs, but we’ve also hired violinists.”

To keep things affordable, ask family and friends for suggestions. Many amateurs are as good as the pros and a lot cheaper.

Make a game of it

To keep potential buyers hanging around longer, it helps to get them invested in the experience.

Try adding a game or a raffle event to your open house, suggests Seattle real estate broker Jana Schmidt.

“Have a contest for the biggest ‘loser’ renter,” she says. “Have buyers enter the amount of rent they have paid over the years into a drawing for a gift card.”

Spread the news with swag

Myler is a big fan of swag (who isn’t?), and The Agency uses a lot of free merchandise to promote itself.

“We offer tote bags, T-shirts, baseball caps, mugs,” he says. “Basically anything you can think of, we give out.”

You can pull off the same thing to promote your house. While people probably won’t be wearing baseball caps sporting a picture of your house, smaller (and blissfully more affordable) items will get used. For example, many companies are happy to make magnets, pens, mouse pads, and notepads in smaller quantities.

And potential buyers will snag them. After all, stuff we all get is the best.

Posted by Angela Colley on realtor.com