If there is one thing that can turn a potential client away from a home they may be on the fence about, it is a tiny master closet. When a potential buyer falls in love with your large bedroom only to find that the closet is a fraction of the size they expected it to be, it could make them want to keep looking at other houses on the market. While that may not be the case for everyone, there are plenty of women (and men) who enjoy having a nice closet space. While you may not be able to expand the square footage, here are some steps you can take to make that small closet look bigger and more appealing to potential buyers!

 

1. Marie Kondo your closet

The KonMari method is all the rage today so many people are cleaning out their closets – and the rest of their homes – in an attempt to live a little more like a minimalist.  With this movement being so popular, many people searching for new homes might be even more aware of clutter, especially in small spaces. Declutter your closet and donate anything that doesn’t “spark joy.”

2. Add some paint and light

Even large closets can look small if they are have dark walls and not much light. Since most closets don’t have windows, consider adding a light fixture to brighten the space and a mirror to multiply the amount of light bouncing throughout the closet. By painting the walls a nice bright white or off-white, the room will expand and look inviting.

3. Organization is key

Once you’ve removed the clutter, you may still have a lot of items that you aren’t willing to let go of. By adding shelving or even a closet organizational system, you can fit more into your closet without taking up as much space. If you want to stay on budget, try a DIY closet system that is easily installed and can be purchased at your local home improvement store!

4. Show off your favorite items

While decluttering is key, displaying the things you love on nice hangers or placing those handbags/shoes you adore on your newly installed shelving can help potential buyers picture their own favorite items in your closet. Keep it neat and organized, but show off the things you love most!

These tips will help you ensure that your closet space doesn’t prevent you from selling your home. Remember, if you are ready for a home with a bigger closet, call me and we will find you the walk-in of your dreams!

REPAIRS TO MAKE BEFORE SELLING YOUR HOME

So you’re ready to put your home on the market and to you, everything looks great. Unfortunately, much of the wear and tear on your home becomes unnoticeable when it is something you see everyday. While you may not think about the one light switch that doesn’t work or the chipping paint in the guest bedroom, now is the time to take a step back and look at your home with fresh eyes. When you decide to sell your home, the first thing you should do is make any repairs you can to save yourself money in the long run. Here are a few repairs to cross off so you can get the best deal for your home!

1. Paint Your Walls

Re-painting the rooms that need a fresh face is the cheapest way to update the appearance of your home. Consider using light, neutral colors to appeal to a broader group of buyers. If the room is too dark or has chipped or dirty paint, make it look brand new with a coat of paint.

2. Make Minor Kitchen Repairs

Even if your kitchen isn’t large and spacious, a full renovation might not make sense financially. If your agent doesn’t advise you towards a renovation, consider making minor repairs instead. Paint what needs painted and install new fixtures where necessary. If your appliances aren’t operating properly or are in awful shape, you will need to replace them.

3. Update Your Bathroom

The first priority is making sure your bathroom looks clean. If the toilet looks old, replace the seat to give it a fresh new appearance. Replace any tiles that may be missing, clean the grout, and remove old wallpaper that may still remain. This is a room you should consider painting if need be to make it appear bright and clean.

4. Fix The Exterior

The outside of your home is the first thing buyers will see, so it is important that it looks good. Touch up the yard with sod as needed, remove any junk that may be in the yard, and make sure your fencing doesn’t have any missing parts or boards. Mow your grass and consider renting a power washer to make your siding look brand new.

5. Maximize Lighting

The goal is to maximize light so you can maximize the appearance of space. Light does a great job of making rooms look larger than they are. Update your fixtures, ensure that your windows appear clean and new, and add mirrors across from light sources to reflect even more light.

6. Ensure Functionality

Potential buyers are going to want everything to work. Do a full walk through of your home, checking all light switches, doorknobs, and locks. Repair or replace anything that doesn’t work as it should. The less issues that arise during the buyer’s home inspection, the better chance of you maximizing your profit during the sale.

MAKE LAUNDRY DAY EASIER

Laundry doesn’t exactly make the top of the list when it comes to enjoyable chores. Unfortunately, it is one of the chores that we can’t really get rid of. Instead of dreading laundry day, try these tips to help you manage your load and make the most of your time. Before you know it, you may even look forward to laundry – or at least be able to enjoy the extra time you’ll save!

1. Schedule Laundry-Type Days

Instead of saving one day to do all of your laundry, break up your laundry by type and assign a day to that type. You can have towels on Monday, bedding on Tuesday, and so on.

2. Learn to Multitask

Laundry can take up a great deal of unnecessary time if not done correctly. Rather than waiting for laundry to finish to do other tasks, use breaks between those other tasks to work on your laundry load. For example, once you’ve put dinner in the oven, start a new load. Once you’ve finished another task and a have a few free minutes, use that time to fold laundry. This way you are multitasking and using your time more efficiently.

3. Carefully Pre-Sort Your Laundry

Pre-sorting your laundry will save you the time that is often wasted digging through your baskets to find what can be washed together. Be sure to carefully pre-sort, so you can avoid ruining any clothing.

4. Service Your Dryer

Cleaning out your lint trap after each cycle will not only reduce a fire risk, but it will also help your dryer run more efficiently.

5. Avoid Machine Issues

Being proactive is much easier than dealing with the consequences of a dryer issue. Instead of having to worry about cleaning melted wax or pen stains out of your dryer, make it a routine to check pockets before every load. It is much easier to take an extra minute to double check than scrub out whatever may stain an entire load of laundry.

6. Get Rid of Wrinkles

Instead of worrying about taking the time to steam your clothing, do so while they’re in the dryer. If you add a few ice cubes into a light load of clothing while your dryer is on the highest heat setting, the ice will melt and produce steam.

7. Declutter Your Closet

While this may not be the first thing you think of when trying to make laundry day easier, decluttering your closet can make a huge difference in how much laundry you will actually need to do overall. Clothing we don’t love tends to end up tossed on the floor and washed again and again without ever being worn out of the front door. Get rid of that extra clutter and make your load smaller!

Using Baking Soda In Your Laundry Room

Using Baking Soda In Your Laundry Room

That orange box of baking soda tucked away in your fridge or kitchen cabinet can also be an inexpensive and earth-friendly solution for your laundry needs. It’s safe to use in both standard and high-efficiency washers and is one of the best products available to reduce your dependence on chemicals. Let’s take a look into the top 5 ways baking soda can be used in your laundry room:

  1. Reduce and Remove Laundry Odor

    The body odors found on our clothing and linens are caused by different types of bacteria. These bacteria are removed when the detergent’s molecules break them up and flush them away from the clothing. Less expensive detergents generally don’t have strong enough enzymes to remove all of the bacteria, so baking soda will be a great boost to your detergent’s bacteria fighting power. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to each laundry load to make your detergent work more effectively.

  2. Boost Bleach Performance

    Bleach is often used to remove odors and stains from our laundry; however, if the water is too acidic, bleach doesn’t do its job as effectively. Just as it boosts detergent performance, baking powder can also help how effectively your bleach works. This leads to less use of bleach and its negative impact on our environment.

  3. Use As A Natural Fabric Softener

    Baking soda is great for regulating your water’s pH level in your washer. It does this by making sure the rinse water is not too acidic or full of alkaline. Adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to each rinse cycle will balance the mineral deposits in the water and keep them off of your clothes. It’s the minerals that makes your clothing feel stiff, and baking soda is a shield for your clothes from these minerals.

  4. Great For Cleaning Irons

    Baking soda is a gentle and earth-friendly abrasive. The face plate of an iron is notorious for building up starch and scorch deposits. To remove this build-up, mix a paste of water and baking soda and rub the paste over the face of the cool iron with a white cloth. Gently wipe the build-up away. You can finish with a wipe of white vinegar with a fresh towel.

  5. Controls Water Suds

    If you accidentally use regular laundry detergent in a washing machine that requires HE detergent, you’ll get a mess of suds. They might be fun to look at, but they are a pain to clean up. If you make this mistake, just grab a box of baking soda and sprinkle it directly on the suds to break them down. The baking soda is good at absorbing the moisture and will make clean-up much easier.

From “I Do” to #Sold

From "I Do" to #Sold

Newlyweds are saying “I do” to each other, and they equate to over half of first-time home buyers that are also saying “I do” to their dream homes. It makes sense! When you put two hearts together, the time comes to find a home to nourish that love. A home that brings two of your places together, and makes it one. If you and your spouse are ready to fall in love with the perfect house together, here are five tips to make sure the process goes smoothly and that you come prepared.

1. YOUR WEDDING BUDGET: Your wedding is a one-time event that shouldn’t be less than what you’d imagine. It is a beautiful time to put all of your dream pieces together. However, it is best to sit down and find out ways you can shift the budget to help with your down payment for a home if you plan to purchase. The average couple spends a little over $20,000 on their wedding. Even a savings of $5000 from your wedding budget can help with owning the perfect home.

2. WEDDING GIFTS: Wedding bliss comes with wedding gifts. Let’s admit, one of our favorite times during the wedding season is all of the gifts that come pouring in! Have any friends or family pitched in cash? Save that to put towards your down payment. Depending on the generosity of your gifts, you can even open an account dedicated to your down payment that friends and family can gift to.

3. GET PRE-APPROVED: One of the least brought up conversations in relationships is the credit and financial history of your soon-to-be spouse. Get together with a lender to go over both of your histories to know what needs to be done to put you guys in a position to own together. In some cases, only one person can get approved, while the other can’t. If you want to put both of your incomes toward the cost of the house you want, talking to a lender early on can ensure you are prepared to make the right moves.

4. THE RIGHT AGENT: That’s where I come in! For starters, I can connect you with a lender to ensure you are being watched over from the best recommendations. It is an absolute joy to take the stress out of buying a home for my newlywed couples. We all know how stressful, although joyous, a wedding can be. To then jump into buying a house shortly after, well, it is certainly a lot to get through. I can guide you through all of the steps to make sure you end up with a house you love. Just think of me as a wedding planner, but for homes.

5. NOW THERE’S TWO: Although some spouses are a match made in heaven, loving and adoring the same exact things, often times that is not the case. You are each still your own person, and have your own tastes. This is where the first step to comprise really begins – spending a good bit of money on a place you both will love and call home. A happy marriage starts with a happy home, so be sure you both are considerate of each other’s wants and needs in style and location so you both are happy with the home you end up getting.

It’s Because Of The Price

It's Because Of The Price
Are you getting frustrated that your home hasn’t already sold? Has it been sitting on the market with little to no showings, while houses nearby are going under contract almost immediately? We’re here to tell you the solution is simple: lower the price! I know, I know, you probably already heard this from your agent and thought that it was worth the price you wanted. But the truth of the matter is, the market is hot. It’s at the hottest point it has been in a long time, and if your home isn’t selling in today’s market, and your agent is working their butt off to market it, then the price is too high.

 

Who doesn’t want to sell what they own, and cherish, for the most they can get? Your agent wants to sell your home for top dollar as well! But, if you still haven’t received an offer in such a strong seller’s market, it’s time to sit down with your agent, re-evaluate your motivation to sell, and talk about a new price. Do you have goals when it comes to moving? A new house, a new state? That’s awesome! So if you want to move forward with your life, cut out the stress of slowing down your sale and make the best decision to ensure your home can get under contract. Keep in mind there is a highly likely chance that by pricing lower than market value, you can anticipate a bidding frenzy that can get you even more than you anticipated. Supply and demand – it works wonders when you let your agent play the numbers to get buyers in a frenzy for your home. Drop it down to what your trusted agent recommends, and you’ll be putting your best foot forward in your market.

Kitchen Improvements Under $100

Kitchen Improvements Under $100
Want to spruce up your kitchen but stuck on a tight budget? Check out this 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 use 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 for 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 followed by 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 for character.

9. CLEAN UP THE CLUTTER

The best cleaning tip I can give my clients is to remove the clutter. Nothing is a bigger eye sore than too many things. It can also mess with the energy in a home. Throw out the things that are taking up too much space. If it’s sentimental, see if you can store it in a new place or store it if you are preparing for a move.

Residential Property Disclosures

Residential Property Disclosures

When selling your home, you’re obligated by law to disclose certain information about your property. Most states require that all sellers complete a written property disclosure form. A majority of the forms have a required set of questions that must be answered.

THE BASICS

Most states require sellers to complete this form when listing for sale. Nearly all of the questions are a basic yes/no/unknown response. The questions will address material facts, major defects, special disclosures, and federal disclosures. All forms vary by state and require different information.

MATERIAL FACTS

These include the age of the property, its condition, known problems, and defects. These are all factors that would influence a buyer’s decision to purchase your home. These disclosures require you to address known defects, things that are reasonably apparent, to ensure you don’t knowingly hide a major defect.

MAJOR DEFECTS

All major defects MUST be disclosed. For instance, fire or flood damage. If your home’s electrical system isn’t up to code, and you’re aware of this, it must be shared with potential buyers. Repairs you have completed, as well as improvements and upgrades, should be noted as well.

Since all states have varying federal and special disclosure laws, it’s imperative that you reach out to a local real estate agent to get assistance with the sale of your home. They’ll have a copy of the required disclosures and can assist you to ensure you don’t find yourself in hot water, legally, if an important disclosure isn’t shared with buyers.

The Catch You Shouldn’t Fall For

The Catch You Shouldn't Fall For
With the growth of online tools, companies are quickly building products to serve the real estate community. After all, it’s a lucrative industry, home buying and selling will always be a thing. Even if it does slow down, companies around the world are diving in to make as much money off consumers as possible.

 

What are they selling? The ease. The ease of buying or selling a home online. The catch? You actually don’t benefit from these online quick-sale services. In fact, you could find yourself out of tens-of-thousands in cost difference. If you’re in the market to buy or sell, and are considering foregoing a real estate agent for an online service, be sure you read the fine print. You’ll often times find that you aren’t benefiting at all. Will they buy your home upfront for resale, so you don’t have to worry about the headache? Sure, but you may have been able to get $50,000 more for your house using a Realtor. Can you see and purchase your dream home through said services and “save” on agent commissions? Sure, but you’ll probably be overpaying for the home anyway.

The real estate industry is heavily regulated for licensed professionals to ensure the consumer is always getting the best representation for the best savings. These online services don’t require regulation and licensing, therefore, they can get away with fine print “scams.”

Be sure you do your research. A Realtor is there to make YOU the most money. Quick online services are focused on making their business the most money – not focused on how much you can sell your home for or how much you can save when you buy. Licensed professionals exist for a reason, be sure you don’t lose more than you can afford to by using a gimmicky online service that dubs buying and selling an “easy” process. Any good agent will make the process easy, minus general lending issues that may arise.

HOW TO SAVE UP FOR A HOUSE

Are you thinking about buying a home and just don’t know where to start? Before you even begin looking at homes, consider how much you may need to save to make the process as smooth as possible for you, especially in the long run. While there are situations where you don’t need a large down payment for a home, having one can save you money down the road. 
Saving for a down payment is slightly different than other large savings, like retirement. With those savings, you can set aside smaller amounts or invest the money. Because you will need your down payment sooner rather than later, those saving methods won’t be beneficial to you. Here are some steps to take to save up for your dream home!

1. Determine How Much You Need

There is a general rule of thumb in real estate, the rule of 28, that says your maximum mortgage payment should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income. Sitting down with a mortgage lender will help you find out how much of a mortgage you qualify for based on that income. They will be able to tell you the recommended amount needed for a 20% down payment. Whether or not that is a requirement, a 20% down payment can get you a great price deal and reduce your monthly mortgage rate.

2. Decide When You Want To Buy

The next step will be deciding when you want to buy. This will give you either a monthly or annual goal of how much money you need to be setting aside to reach that down payment goal.

3. Choose A Savings Plan

It it usually best to avoid stocks or other risky investments when it comes to saving for a home. Consider opening a regular savings account specifically for your down payment, and make sure it is an account you use for deposit-only purposes until you’re ready to make your down payment.

4. Check Your Budget

Saving a few dollars here and there can be easy, but saving thousands of dollars may take a little more practice. First, consider cutting back on your expenses. Check your budget for things you can go without. This may be difficult, but think about what you are saving up for! If you have the chance to earn additional income, devote that extra cash directly to your savings account. These saving strategies will not only help you to buy your new home, but can create life-long habits to help you continue to save money down the road.

5. Consider An Automated Savings Plan

Even after you have adjusted your budget, pulling that money out of your checking account and putting it into a savings isn’t always easy. Once you’ve determined how much of your budget will be going into savings, consider adding a savings plan to your bank account so that the money will automatically be sent to your savings. This can remove the temptation of spending what may look like extra money in your account and ensuring that it goes where it needs to.

6. Save Your Big Deposits

Have you received a large sum of money lately? Maybe you just got married, or got a bonus at work, or that tax-return was especially big this year. Instead of spending that cash, deposit it directly into your savings account. This can reduce your savings timeframe and might have you ready to buy sooner than you thought.

Saving up for a home isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it! When you are ready to buy, give me a call and we will get you that home you’ve been dreaming of!