With spring selling season around the corner, it’s time to give your home the boost it needs to meet today’s buyer expectations. Sarah Lee gives us some ways to freshen up after a long winter.
With the early spring selling season kicking off shortly after the new year, it’s time to give your home the boost it needs to meet today’s buyers’ expectations. Take advantage of being inside during the cold winter months with these quick fixes that will help your property stand out from the competition, boost its value and sell quickly.
Declutter & Organize
Start tackling one room at a time by packing up anything that will distract buyers from seeing the unique features of your property such as personal collections, family photos, newspapers, books and magazines. Rearrange and remove excessive furniture to simplify and make the room appear larger.
Make Basic Repairs & Updates
Make sure everything is in good working condition. Repair and replace broken light switches, bulbs, ceiling fans, door knobs, leaky faucets, shower heads, windows, thermostats, etc. Update lighting fixtures with contemporary styles and consider replacing older kitchen appliances with sleek, eco-friendly models to capture young buyer interest.
Refresh and Brighten With Paint
Remove wallpaper and cover bold wall colors with a fresh coat of neutral paint to set the perfect backdrop for simple, updated styling. Give older style kitchen cabinets or wood vanities an instant facelift by covering with bright white or dark espresso paint. Then pair with knobs and drawer handles in brushed nickel or satin brass for an elegant finishing touch.
There is nothing that dates a room more that worn, soiled carpeting. Remove and/or replace carpeting to reveal hardwood flooring underneath to instantly brighten and make the room feel more spacious. There are also many budget-friendly, easy to install options on the market now for replacing damaged flooring such as laminate and vinyl that look and feel just like wood.
Add Storage Options
Today’s buyers are looking for plenty of storage. Added storage solutions such as built-in bookshelves, window seats with storage underneath, entry storage units, and extra closet hooks and rods are a practical way to attract immediate buyer attention.
Partner With a Pro
Consult with a professional stager who will have an objective eye and knowledge of what appeals to today’s sophisticated buyers. They will provide a range of solutions for enhancing your home showings by recommending everything from furniture placement to wall color to complementary modern accessories to add clean, welcoming style.
For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.
Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. Her company has received Houzz 2015, 2016 and 2017 Awards for Customer Service.
Patti has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV. She is a regular contributor to the National Association of Realtor’s Blog, “Style, Staged and Sold.”
Guest post by Patti Stern
15 Delicious Appetizer Ideas for Thanksgiving
There is nothing quite like Thanksgiving. It is a holiday that delights the senses and like most holidays, home plays a central role in a day we share each year to celebrate and make memories with loved ones. Food may be the last thing on your mind after binging on Halloween candy for the past week, but we are heading into the holiday season so put down that chocolate bar down and prepare yourself for Turkey Day with these fifteen appetizer ideas.
Nut Glazed Brie
Sweet Potato Rounds
Goat Cheese Cranberry Kisses
Baked Brie with Cranberry Chutney
Apples on Horseback
Mushroom, Butternut Squash, and Gruyere Tart
Antipasto Sausage Skewers
Feta Fig Tartlets
Pumpkin Spice Dip
Sweet Potato Squares with Garlic Mayo
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Crispy Prosciutto Cups with Pear
Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Wild Mushroom and Blue Cheese Crostini
What is your favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving? Oh and by the way if you or anyone you know is looking to buy that perfect holiday home send them my way. I’m never to busy for your referrals.
Coldwell Banker Tomlinson
article by Today
Here is a fun article to get your home ready for the holidays bywith Coldwell Tomlinson Banker
Prep your home for the holidays and cooler weather with this list of home to dos that you’ll be especially thankful for.
This month, we’re especially thankful for home. Home is where the family comes together, where we’re protected from the elements, and where love abounds. Your home’s November Honey-Do list will make sure your home is ready for the holidays, prepared for colder weather and loved inside and out.
1. Winterize your home – For most of the country, November is the time when we can no longer deny that the colder weather has settled in. Now is the time to winterize summer tools and appliances like air conditioner units, grills and lawn mowers. Bring garden hoses indoors and check your windows and doors for drafts.
2. Make a Turkey Game Plan – No coach would head to a big game without a game plan up his sleeve. Likewise, no chef should hit the kitchen without thinking through the menu and timeline first. Determine what menu items you can make ahead, decide what responsibilities you can delegate, and take an inventory of your pantry and china cabinet. Oh, and now’s the time to clean that oven, too.
3. Polish the Silver and Dust off the China – Thanksgiving is a special meal, which deserves the best of your entertaining arsenal. Because we don’t often use our special dishes year round, it’s smart to give them a good deep clean and polish before setting the table on Turkey Day.
4. Give your living room a refresh – With the holidays ahead, your living room is sure to get plenty of use. Give the space a refresh by changing out the window treatments for a new look.
5. Use some pest control – Rodents and other pests are opportunistic and seek warmer environments when the temperatures drop. Be sure that they don’t call your house their home by implementing these 5 surefire tricks to pest control.
6. Clear out the gutters – Avoid drainage problems and damage to your home’s foundation by clearing out the gutters before snow and ice wreaks havoc. Here is an easy how-to guide to cleaning rain gutters on your home.
7. Be ready for snow – Before the first winter storm, it’s a good idea to make sure your snow shovels and/or snow blower are in proper working order. Ready to invest in a snow blower after the brutal winter last year? Here is a buying guide from Home Depot that will help you make an educated purchase.
8. Start tackling the December to do list – The holiday to do list is notoriously the longest of the year. Get a head start by ordering your holiday cards, updating your address book, and making a gift wish list for each of your family members NOW. You can even start stringing twinkle lights on your shrubbery before the deep chill sets in. After all, the most important part of the holidays is taking the time to enjoy our family and friends.
Oh and by the way I’m never to busy for your referrals!
If you’re looking for more reasons to fall in love with fall at home, check out this round-up of our favorite Blue Matter highlights for this fabulous season
Fall at home is all about cozy nights around the dinner table, afternoons of playing in the fallen leaves, and mornings taking in the crisp autumn air. If you’re looking for more reasons to fall in love with fall at home, check out this round-up of our favorite Blue Matter highlights for this fabulous season.
Did you know there was a right way to rake leaves? Now you do.
Thinking about listing your home in October? Why the Fall Selling Season is Better than You Think
Heating bills. Halloween candy. Fallen leaves! 25 Thoughts Homeowners Have During Fall
We could go on forever, but here are 7 Reasons to be Happy it’s Fall.
How to Use your Senses to Transition your Home from Summer to Fall.
Don’t cry because summer’s over. Instead, turn your summer place into an autumn oasis.
What if there was a gutter cleaning robot?
Call today for your free market analysis.
Coldwell Banker Tomlinson
Jessica Riffle Edwards with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage answers this age old question.
When is the right time to sell your home? Is it in the spring? Is it in the summer? Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage agent Jessica Riffle Edwards sheds a little light on this age old question. Watch the video below for her expert take on the subject.
If you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell I would be happy to help them in anyway I can.
Judy Higgins, CRS
Certified Residential Specialist
208-750-5839 call or text
Coldwell Banker Tomlinson~ 325 Main St, Lewiston, ID 83501
~Licensed in Idaho and Washington
Unsure if you should rent or sell the home you are moving out of? Here are six factors that can lead you to a smart decision.
You’re moving away from your current home and you’re not sure whether you should sell your current home or hang onto the property as a rental. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
If you hold onto your home, you can enjoy residual rental income as well as any positive home value appreciation. You’ll also have the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that you could move back, if circumstances allow.
If you sell your home, you may have cash from the sale that can help you purchase another home in your new location. You also won’t need to worry about renting and maintaining your former home.
It’s a tough decision and there’s no “right” or “wrong” answer. But don’t worry, we’ve come up with six critical questions you should ask yourself when you’re trying to decide whether to rent or sell your current home.
1. What Are the Current Market Conditions?
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) publishes national, regional and metro-market-level statistics about real estate forecasts. If your home is located in a major metropolitan area that’s covered by NAR data, you can view their current forecasts about your housing market conditions.
But remember, real estate trends are hyper-local, which means the data that applies to your overall state or metropolitan area may not necessarily apply to your neighborhood. For specific local information, talk to a real estate agent who specializes in your location.
Ask a real estate agent to conduct a comparative market analysis look at both the recent sales and recent rental history of your neighborhood. You can also check out home pricing reports to compare the value of homes in your area. Again, it’s important to talk to an agent who has experience with your specific neighborhood because the market trends may vary in different areas
2. What is the Long-Term Outlook for the Neighborhood?
Ask your agent if there are indicators that your neighborhood may have a positive outlook for the next several years.
If home prices are slated to rise, it could be beneficial to hold on to the property and allow time for appreciation. If you’re holding onto your former home, then you may want to rent it out so that you can cover mortgage, repair and maintenance costs during your holding period. If, however, values are on a decline, selling your home may be a better option for you.
Of course, nobody can predict the future. But looking at indicators like job growth, population growth and housing inventory can lead to a smarter decision.
3. Will You Have Trouble Finding a Buyer or Renter?
Every local housing market caters to different sets of people. If you want to be able to find a tenant or buyer, you need to understand who your housing market attracts.
If your neighborhood tends to attract first-time homebuyers, and you live in a high-priced luxury home, it’s possible that you may have better luck finding a renter. On the other hand, if your residence is a duplex and your neighborhood is popular with investors, you may have excellent luck selling your property.
Likewise, take a look at how popular your neighborhood is with renters. Ask a real estate agent to pull data about the percentage of homes in your area that are owner-occupied vs. renter-occupied.
In addition, ask the agent to tell you the average length of time that homes sit on the market before selling. This will give you an indication of the demand in your neighborhood.
4. What Are Your Monthly Holding Expenses?
Estimate the monthly rental income for your property. Subtract an estimate for expected vacancy rates as well as an estimate for property management fees. This is the gross revenue you can expect to collect from the property.
Vacancy rates vary depending on neighborhood. Talk to an agent to find the average vacancy rates in your area. You can also call a few property managers who service your area to inquire about rates. Expect to hear estimates around 10% of the gross rent monthly, plus one months’ rent as a placement fee for new residents.
Next, calculate your total monthly expenses for the property, including the mortgage payment (principal, interest, taxes and insurance), condo or homeowner’s association (HOA) fees if applicable, and an estimate for annual repair and maintenance costs. These are your holding costs for the property.
Not sure how to estimate these costs? As a broad rule-of-thumb, repairs and maintenance will cost about 1% of the property value, or $83 per month for every $100,000 worth of home. This is a long-term average that includes major capital expenditures like replacing the HVAC, water heater and roof.
Subtract your holding costs from your gross revenue (after deducting for vacancy and management). How much is left over?
This monthly total will play a big role in your decision to either rent or sell.
5. Do You Have an Emergency Fund?
You’ll need adequate funds to prepare for vacancies and major capital expenditures. Do you have an emergency fund to cover the mortgage payment for those months when the property may not be occupied? Can your cash reserves cover the cost of a major emergency repair, like a broken water heater?
If you don’t have the money to make your payments on time, then your credit score will suffer, and eventually, you could even face foreclosure. Make sure you have sufficient cash reserves before you start renting out your property.
6. Can You Buy Another Home Without Recouping the Down Payment?
Can you buy another home without selling your existing home? Or do you need to sell your current home in order to recoup the equity, so that you can make a down payment on your next home?
If any offer that you make on a future home will be contingent on the sale of your current home, then you may want to think about listing your existing home for sale.
On the other hand, if you can hold onto your current home and also buy another one, and the rental income on your current home – even after vacancies, repairs, maintenance and management – exceeds the holding costs, then there might be an argument for using your current home as a rental.
Whether you should rent or sell your current home is a difficult question to answer. But if you carefully examine the specifics of your neighborhood, home prices, rental demand, cash reserves, and financial abilities, you’ll be able to come up with a smart decision.
2017’s Most Important Summer Home Maintenance Projects
Being proactive when it comes to your home’s maintenance can save you time and money! Focus on maintaining these 5 areas.
With the bright sunlight and warm temperatures that accompany summer, you may be spending more time outside — and you may be noticing areas of your home’s exterior that need repair. But there’s more reason to tackle your home maintenance projects this summer than simply cosmetic appearance. Maintaining your home will prevent major leaks and damage that may eventually require professional help, usually when its most expensive and inconvenient for you.
Being proactive when it comes to your home’s maintenance can save you time and money, and it makes sense to do it when you’re more likely to be outdoors in the comfortable summer months. Here are five areas of your house that are most important to keep updated.
Start by cleaning the exterior of your windows with hot soapy water and a sponge or squeegee. If you’ll need a ladder, make sure to review safety guidelines.
While you’re washing, inspect each window pane for cracks. Double or triple glazed windows with damaged seals or cracks may need to be replaced. Think back: Have your windows had excessive condensation inside through the winter and spring? That’s another sign that the seal might have been compromised and that your window might need to be replaced.
You’ll also want to inspect caulking and weatherstripping around your windows. Recaulk any spots where the caulk is loose or chipping away, or consider applying new caulk for a tight seal. Summer is a perfect time to do this because the warm temperatures and low humidity will help the caulk set perfectly.
Finally, wash window screens and replace any screens that have rips or holes.
Visually inspect your roof every summer for missing or broken shingles, shakes and panels. Again, if you’ll be using a ladder and climbing up to your roof, make sure you follow safety guidelines. If you have any concerns about using a ladder or moving around on your roof, or if you’re unsteady on your feet, call your roofing company. Most roofers will make inspections and do basic maintenance for you.
While you’re up on your roof, you’ll also want to check flashing and seals around vents, chimneys and skylights. Apply caulk around any areas that haven’t been re-sealed in the past year.
Algae and moss can plague even new and well-maintained roofs. Apply a moss killer designed for roofs or install zinc strips that can help keep algae and moss from taking hold.
Your gutters should be cleaned and checked for holes or other damage. Look for water stains around your gutters and downspouts that indicate a problem.
Check high and low over your exterior and look for holes, gaps and cracks in your siding. It’s less expensive to replace siding that is just starting to deteriorate than to wait until it’s broken down completely and impacted your home’s structure, insulation and inside walls.
While you’re walking around your home, look for any signs of pests. Termites and carpenter ants can be devastating to your home’s structure, while ants and wasps can be a nuisance and cause minor damage to your home’s exterior. Check vents and crawl-space access doors to make sure rodents and other wildlife can’t get in.
Check your foundation for any cracks and signs that there has been a leak, such as water stains. Any small cracks can be repaired, but larger cracks should be inspected by a pro. Once you repair small cracks, re-seal the foundation with a good waterproof masonry sealer.
Pull out any larger plants growing close to your home that might impact the foundation. Besides the risks of roots growing into your foundation, watering plants close to your home can cause water to pool around the foundation and lead to damage.
Heating and Cooling
You’re going to want to make sure your air conditioning is ready for the heat ahead, so replace filters and remove and clean your unit’s fan and condenser. Make sure you turn off power to the unit before you tackle any work.
At the same time, your furnace should be checked and readied for use again at summer’s end. Vacuum out the burner and blower cavities, and vacuum and brush the blower blades. Change the filter so the furnace is all ready to go when it’s time to turn it on again.
Your home is a big investment, and it’s important to keep it in good “health.” Spend some of your summer days inspecting and making minor repairs and you’ll reduce your chances of needing a big repair later.
Jul 3, 2017