Ways to Brighten Your Home and Improve Its Appeal

Ways to Brighten Your Home and Improve Its Appeal

When you’re thinking about selling your home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the details. Should you paint the front door? How about changing out that fixture in the dining room? Do you need to redo the floors or will a good deep cleaning be enough? So many questions, so many tasks that you suddenly feel are each the most important thing that must be done right away.

Anyone who has ever staged a home for sale, however, will tell you that the number one thing that you should do to get your home ready — before you start tearing out carpet or painting doors — is to make it feel light, bright and airy.

Buyers Are Always Looking for More Light

Instinctively, there’s a part of every person that wants more light, more light. It’s the same reason that people suffer from things like seasonal affective disorder: we need more light in our lives. Light also makes your home feel bigger when compared to other houses with the same basic square footage, so it’s sort of a win-win here.

Too many sellers overlook this simple notion, instead opting to choose trendy colors to try to appeal to buyers. They paint their dining rooms a dark scarlet, or choose lighting that isn’t nearly bright enough, creating a home that’s more cave-like than house-like. These same sellers wonder why they can’t find a buyer for their enclave, as potential after potential comes in for a look and immediately runs for the door.

But you’re not one of these sellers. You’ve come to the right place for some tips to make your home more appealing by bringing in more light, both real and artificial. These simple tricks can make a huge difference to your home’s first impression.

Let’s Let in the Light!

There are three kinds of light you need to be aware of when you’re looking to brighten your home: the natural light that comes from windows, doors and skylights, the artificial light that comes from your light fixtures and that light that’s bouncing off the walls and around the room.

Natural light is simple to harness, just:

* Clean your windows until they sparkle. Even those fine layers of dust and dirt can block light transmission, making your home feel dark and dreary.
* Remove heavy drapes. If you must have curtains, opt for sheers or lace panels. Sheers will still set off the windows like a heavy drape, but let most of the light from outside come inside.
* Leave every window blind open once your house is on the market. This is a huge mistake a lot of sellers make. Instead of leaving their windows open so that the first thing a potential buyer sees when they walk through the door is a bright and beautiful home, they close the blinds for fear that people will look into their home since it’s for sale.

Artificial light isn’t too tough to get a handle on when you:

* Clean the globes on all your light fixtures. The glass globes on ceiling lights and those glass shades on your ceiling fans can be run through the dishwasher on the top rack. They’ll come out clean as a whistle and able to let more light pass through.
* Replace dim bulbs with much brighter ones. You’ll be surprised how much different your living room looks when you replace the four 40 watt bulbs in your ceiling fan with four 75 watt bulbs. You can certainly overdo this, but it’s hard in rooms of any substantial size.
* Choose blue. Replacing those orange-tinted light bulbs with full spectrum bulbs may seem like a pointless hassle, but this small modification will make your interior feel like it’s full of more of the natural light that’s coming in through the windows. More natural light is almost always better.
* Consider the room size. There are times that choosing the brightest bulb in the box is the wrong way to go. Rooms that are small or narrow, like bathrooms, may be better served with slightly less lighting. You’ll have to use your judgement on that, but keep in mind that no one wants to walk into a small space and be blinded by the artificial light inside.

Light that’s bouncing around the room needs to keep bouncing, so:

* Choose brighter colors to reflect more of the ultraviolet spectrum. The more white involved, the more light it reflects, which then bounces off the other light colored walls, making the room seem big and airy. Stark white is not a great choice, it often makes a home feel too institutional, but a buttercream, barely gray or other almost-not-tinted color can really brighten up a room and get that light moving.
* Minimize dark design elements. It’s not just the walls that can absorb too much of the light in your home, making it feel like an underground bunker. The floors, ceilings and even the furniture in the room all affect how much light is moving around. Again, you don’t want to go totally white, but if you have a dark floor or your ceiling could stand to be painted, definitely make an effort there. Ceilings should be flat white for best results.
* Use mirrors strategically. Mirrors were way overdone in the 1980s and have kind of fallen out of favor since. It’s unfortunate, since they’re a great way to help direct light exactly where it’s needed. When you’re confronted with a dark room that seems to have no good solutions for light, try adding a mirror. For example, a mirrored closet door in a small bedroom with a single window can have a huge impact on the room, plus it’s a handy accessory.

The Devil’s in Those Details

Before you panic about all this lighting stuff, you may want to talk to your Realtor about doing a quick walkthrough of your home so they can point out places where you should be focusing your efforts. Don’t worry if you don’t have the mad skills just yet, you can find a talented home pro among your HomeKeepr community. They even come recommended by your Realtor, so you know they’re good!

Good Friday: Live!

Good Friday: Live!

I saw this on Facebook and it really got my attention. You may want to share it as well. It a video of what the the resurrection day would have looked like in our time of social media.

Ways to Trim Your Spending in Retirement

Ways to Trim Your Spending in Retirement

Saving money before and during retirement so their standard of living doesn’t suffer is important for many retirees. Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t saving nearly enough and are falling short of setting aside adequate funds to support their retirement needs. The average retirement savings for people aged 56-61 is only $163,577.  Meanwhile, retirees can spend nearly $275,000 on health care.  The National Institute for Retirement Security estimates that America has an up to $14 trillion gap in retirement savings.

If you are retired and finding that balancing your savings and spending is an ongoing challenge, follow these tips for ways to trim your expenses and save more.

1. Cut Your ‘Time-Saving’ Costs

When you’re employed and busy managing your career and family, spending money on time-saving items – like professional house cleaning or monthly food-subscription services – can be helpful. Once you retire, however, you typically have more time on your hands. You may be paying for items that are no longer necessary. You can save money each month by trimming or eliminating any time-saving resources you don’t need to support your retirement lifestyle.

Actions to take:

  1. List all the monthly, quarterly, and annual subscriptions and services you have. Identify which ones aren’t necessary.
  2. Consider taking over household chores you pay someone else to manage.
  3. Assess how much you spend on eating out, and switch to eating in for some of those meals.

2. Reduce Your Health-Care Costs

Retirees typically spend a large amount on health care, often siphoning income that could be used for other expenses. Unless you have the money to pay these bills, they could leave you in a financial bind. You can help reduce some of your medical costs by learning to shop around.[5] For example, changes like getting an MRI at a radiologist instead of a hospital can make a difference in your medical bills, as the radiologist is typically less expensive.

Actions to take:

  1. Get comparative quotes from hospitals and other medical professionals.
  2. Check prescription costs at different pharmacies, and consider buying generic.
  3. Revisit your insurance plans to help identify if you’re receiving the best value.
  4. Every retiree’s financial life and needs are different, so knowing a true breakdown of your daily, monthly, and yearly costs (your budget) is important for finding ways to save. By taking time to assess what may be
  5. unnecessary spending in your life, and reducing or eliminating these expenses, you may have more money on hand for other lifestyle needs.
Why Buyers May Lose If They Don’t Act Now

Why Buyers May Lose If They Don’t Act Now

Rising mortgage rates could have a big impact on the direction your buyers choose when shopping for real estate, economists warn. “Every time the interest rates go up, you eliminate a group of people who can no longer afford to buy a house,” Don Frommeyer, a mortgage broker at Marine Bank in Indianapolis, told realtor.com®. “Some people may have to rent for a period of time until they make more money—or buy a smaller house.”

To avoid further complications in their plans, your buyers may want to speed up their home search this spring, as interest rates are forecasted to move higher in the coming months. Forty-four percent of home buyers say rate increases likely will force them to settle for a smaller, less expensive home that requires a longer commute to their jobs, according to a realtor.com® survey. First-time buyers may be most affected by rising costs, as increasing home prices and interest rates price some out of the market.

Mortgage rates are at their highest levels in more than four years. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.46 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac, and that’s largely expected to increase since the Federal Reserve said it is likely to raise its short-term interest rates this year. That could prompt mortgage rates to move higher at least three times this year, starting this month.

“For the bulk of buyers, it’s not going to kill their decision to purchase a home,” Rick Palacios Jr., director of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, told realtor.com®. “If anything, it will get them off the fence by creating a sense of urgency.” Higher rates are “a kick in the pants for you to start thinking seriously [about buying].”

Rate increases—even minor ones—can add up over time. Realtor.com® offers this example: On a $300,000 house with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and 20 percent down payment, the difference between a 4 percent and 5 percent mortgage rate is $142 a month. Calculated over the life of the loan, that is more than an extra $51,000. “Buyers thought they could wait forever because rates were going to stay low forever,” says Palacios. “They’re starting to realize that if they’re going to buy, they should probably buy now.”

Home buyers who are concerned about rising rates may want to lock in with a lender, which guarantees the current rate for a set period of time. Still, don’t let your clients linger on making a decision. It typically costs several hundred dollars to lock in a rate.

Source: “Is It Last Call for Low Mortgage Rate? Why Home Buyers Should Act Now,” realtor.com® (March 7, 2018)

Curb Appeal – Make a Good First Impression

Curb Appeal – Make a Good First Impression

In most markets across the country, supply still outweighs demand when it comes to home sales. While the focus is often on what can be improved on the interior of the house, many sellers neglect the outside of the property. Most buyers form an opinion whether they like a house or not before they step foot in the front door. The work you do to the kitchen or the fixtures in the bathroom may be great, but by that time it may be too late. If you want to maximize your properties’ value, you need to focus on improving the curb appeal.

First impressions make a difference when it comes to selling your home. Improving the exterior of a property may not be as exciting as trying to figure out what to do with the kitchen, but in many ways it is more important. At first glance, you want your property to have a wow factor. At a minimum, it shouldn’t turn off a large majority of buyers. Your curb appeal should start with the condition of the grass, landscaping and any trees or bushes near the front of the property. If you have old, dying shrubs near the front entrance, they threaten to set a negative tone for the rest of the property. Plants on the front stairs, flowers in the garden, fresh mulch and updated shrubs are all easy fixes that have a big return. If your grass is old and there are dirt patches, you can either lay down some sod or start the seeding process months before your house is ready. Little things like cleaning leaves out of the gutters or hosing the driveway may seem insignificant, but if a buyer feels like the house is home before they walk in you are already ahead of the game.

In addition to improving the landscape, you should also look at the physical condition of the property. If the roof is old and only has a few years left, you will get a good return on your money by replacing it and trying to sell for a higher amount. Buyers do not want to come out of pocket after they get into a home unless they are getting a great deal. If they know they will need a new roof in a few years, they will most likely submit a low-ball offer.

In addition to the roof, you also have to look at the siding and exterior of the property itself. Siding, new paint, updated trim, new shutters and fresh gutters can all make a huge difference. You can start with a good power washing of the house and see what kind of impact it has before you look to paint or update the siding. Just by changing the color of the shutters and adding a fresh coat of trim around the doors and windows can make it look like a new house. A new matching front door can also have a big impact. The front door is one of the first things that anyone notices when they enter a house. If the door is old and the handle is rusted, the rest of the house will suffer.

Another area that is often overlooked is the driveway. For an area that gets used every day, it would make sense to make the driveway as appealing as possible. If there are cracks, weeds and other noticeable flaws, improving the driveway will dramatically increase curb appeal. Paving over a stone or rock driveway will make the house more livable and may take a buyer off the fence. You never know which feature will attract or turn off a buyer, but many times it has to do with the exterior of the property. Grass and weeds in a driveway is one of the things that is very unappealing and doesn’t take much time or money to fix.

Finally, you should assess which items around the house are in need of updates or need to be removed. You may have bought the house with a pool, but if it is old and in a bad location, it should be taken down. Pools do not offer as much bang for the buck as you might expect, especially in areas that will only use a pool during the summer months. If there is minimal back yard space, it may make more sense to take the pool down and open up the yard. It is also a good idea to take down any old basketball hoops or other items that are dated and aren’t doing anything to improve the value. If you have a deck or patio, you should throw a fresh coat of paint on the wood to give it a nice, updated feel.

There are many things you can do to improve the curb appeal of your property. Some of these things may be more costly than you imagined, but they can have a huge impact on your sales price. If you are wondering which items should be updated, ask a friend to drive to the house and tell you the first thing they think of when they pull up. This will give you an honest assessment and a starting point for your work. Spending time and money on the interior is important, but it will all be for naught if the exterior of the house is a mess.

Best Renovations to Help Sell Your Home

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The data relating to real estate for sale on this web site comes in part from the Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS®. Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Keller Williams Realty are marked with the IDX logo and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing brokers.

 

All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) nor Keller Williams Realty shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless.

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