Depending on where you live, a patio might not be the kind of thing you think about during the cold, and maybe snowy, winter months. But a patio is what many people enjoy on a sunny warm afternoon. It just feels good to sit outside and sip some iced tea or lemonade. That's the picture your real estate agent would want to capture when listing your home for sale.
Patios are appealing because they can create a sense of peace, open space, freedom, and they can seem to extend the square footage of livable space on those good weather days.
Set out on your patio some simple but comfortable patio furniture when you're listing your home and you might find that prospective buyers take a seat and think about your home. Good! Let them soak in the energy of the home. The way it feels. The way it allows them to relax. Set some brochures out on a side table. Maybe even a good book. You'd be surprised what these buyers pick up. If they enjoy themselves while sitting on your patio, you're likely to have piqued their interest in your property.
So, what if you have a backyard but no patio; is it worth investing in one? The answer depends on your financial situation but there's no doubt that having a patio or a deck - a space outdoors to relax - is a plus.
However, here are a few tips about creating that patio space. If you have a small backyard, you don't necessarily want to take up the entire space with a concrete patio. The reason? Greenery is also appealing. Basically, you want to have the patio proportionally sized to your yard. So you don't want to have a huge yard and tiny patio nor the opposite.
Your patio should be located close to an entryway to the home, typically the kitchen. This is so that if there is grilling or eating outside, people can easily access the kitchen as opposed to walking through some other room in the house first.
Patios also should be located in areas where there is some level of privacy. A patio is most appealing when you can sit back, relax and enjoy a good meal, book, or conversation without feeling like you're being watched. So the backyard is usually the best location.
Buyers often consider a well-built and maintained patio a plus and may create a higher selling price for your home.
To cover or not? Often when homeowners put in patios, they question if adding a covering would help increase the value of their home. That really depends on many things such as if the covering is well built and maintained and if it's aesthetically pleasing, not blocking views, etc. In the case where it's crafted and maintained well, the patio and its covering can increase the appeal of your home. That could translate to a higher selling price as well as a faster sale.
When you're selling your home, you need every advantage you can get. And there are few homes that are magically market ready without a little help. If your home needs a touch more than a little help, it's time to get focused. After all, listing your home when it's not in the right condition to sell will probably only end in frustration. And, in this case, frustration means: your home sitting on the market for months with no offers or the errant, offensive, lowball.
If you want to make sure you get home sold quickly and for the right price, you'll want to avoid listing it with the following:
1. Excessive damage
Maybe the home you're selling was used as a rental and trashed by frat boy tenants, or maybe you just haven't kept it up as you should. Either way, those holes in the wall that look like the living room was used as a boxing gym, the scratched-up wood floors on which dinosaurs have clearly been racing, and the yard that's barren except for those two-foot-tall patches of weeds are not what buyers are looking for. Unless you're planning to offer your house for a price that will make buyers emphasize the good and ignore the bad and the ugly, it's going to need some attention.
2. Carpet in the bathroom
It's just gross. And everyone who walks into that bathroom is thinking one of two things: 1) There's gotta be mold under there; 2) There's gotta be pee on the floor around that toilet. This is one update you'll want to do before you list. Or, if you're already listed and your home's not selling.
3. Big, nasty stains
A buyer shouldn't know where your dog likes to mark or where your kids spilled the entire bowl of holiday punch. If the stains on your carpet are that bad, potential buyers will stroll in and run right back out. No one wants to buy a pigsty. Invest a few bucks in new carpet. You'll make the money back since you won't have to drop your sales price.
4. Pet smells
Speaking of pets…they smell. You probably don't notice since you live with them everyday, but buyers will, and it might be enough to turn them off. Deep clean the carpets and the upholstery, invest in some air fresheners, and remove cat boxes from the house for showings. The last thing you want is a potential buyer referring to your house as "the stinky one."
5. Loud dogs who bark every time someone approaches the home
One last word on pets. Barking happens, whether it's your dog or one that belongs to a neighbor. But you don't need that on the day of your open house. Offering to pay for doggie day care for a neighbor's pooch can eliminate the issue and help create the serene setting buyers want.
6. Your dead lawn
Lack of curb appeal won't necessarily kill a deal. In many cases, you won't even get potential buyers to get out of the car. If the front yard is a mess, buyers will naturally think the mess continues inside.
7. A bad agent
Face it. Not all of them are winners. If your agent is: rude, uninformed, lazy, uncommunicative, belligerent, or unwilling to take your opinions into consideration, get a new one. An agent who isn't giving their client the right type of attention probably isn't going to get the job done.
8. Your sloppiness
Those drawers and cabinets you shoved everything into when you cleaned off your kitchen and bathroom cabinets could be a deal breaker for picky buyers. We all know buyers open stuff. They look in drawers, they open cabinets, they examine closets. If these spaces are messy and overstuffed, they may assume there's not enough storage space.
9. Unreasonable sellers
Big problems in your house can be deal killers, but they can also be deal sealers, if you are reasonable. If your inspection uncovers plumbing, electrical, or roofing problems (or all three!) and you're unwilling to negotiate, you can kiss that sale goodbye.
10. Bad Taste
Your poor decorating choices and failure to keep up with trends from this year - or century - may haunt you when it's time to sell. If it's true that many buyers have no vision—and all you have to do is watch House Hunters and observe a buyer getting hung up on a paint color to know that's true - then you are really in for it with your crowded house full of ugly, outdated crap. A few simple updates can help it to look fresh and give buyers something to fall in love with.
Springtime means warmer temps, blooming flowers—and real estate season. But the market is different from year to year, and spring 2018 is a uniquely challenging one for buyers, especially those looking for starter homes. This is due to several factors: low inventory, higher prices, and rising interest rates.
“The spring market so far this year is crazy busy!” says Kelly Deschamp, an Illinois real estate agent. So what’s your strategy going to be for buying a home this spring? Here’s what you need to know to decide.
If you’re looking for a starter home this spring, adjust your expectations. With high demand and plenty of competition, prices are rising for starter homes to the tune of 9.6 percent more this spring than last year. Trade-up and premium homes are also more expensive this year—7.5 percent and 5.2 percent more, respectively. If you’re looking for a starter home, consider older or smaller options. Even better, look for a fixer-upper. There are 8.3 percent more fixer-upper starter homes than there were six years ago. That’s good news for anyone willing to put a little elbow grease into their investment.
Don’t get too bummed about rising prices. Compared to historical housing costs, homes today are actually more affordable than they were in past decades.
Why? Two words: mortgage rates. To take out a mortgage loan in the 1980s, you’d likely pay up to 16 percent in interest—compare that with today’s mortgage rates of around 4.5 percent. For a $200,000 loan, at 4.5 percent interest, you’d pay $1,013 a month (before taxes, insurance, and other fees), but with 16 percent interest, you’d pay $2,690.
Trulia research found that homeownership is dropping in some neighborhoods and remaining steady in others, even within the same city. Many home buyers prefer neighborhoods full of homeowners, so figuring out the character of an area is essential. Here’s a tip: Hot spots for homeownership share one attribute—increased household incomes. Research neighborhood demographics to pinpoint median incomes and homeownership rates.
If you wait until after you’ve found a home to start the mortgage pre-approval process, you might lose the home in this market to someone who already has their financing ducks in a row. “You must get your loan squared away and be ready to close in 15 to 21 days, max,” says mortgage adviser Jason Fox.
To be successful and not make a rash decision, be as prepared as possible before you start looking by knowing the type of home and neighborhood you desire.
The more earnest money you contribute, the more serious you look to the seller. “So on a $400,000 purchase, be ready to put up $7,500 to $10,000,” says Fox.
In hot markets, buyers should be prepared for bidding wars. Fortunately, bidding wars aren’t always just about money. A shorter closing, willingness to rent the house back to the seller, a super-quick inspection period, and offer letters can help make a lower offer the best offer.
Updating your home can seem like a huge undertaking, especially if it's been a while and it seems like everything needs an overhaul. But there are easy ways to freshen it up and make it look spring- and summer-ready that won't break the bank and won't create a long, drawn-out hassle. Each of these updates represents a classic or current trend and is something you can pull off yourself this weekend if you've got a little time and a little skill.
Take it to the floor
There was a time when the Persian rug dominated formal spaces. But take a look at this one from Wayfair. The somewhat worn look of the Aliyah rug brings in a vintage feel but the color palette is all new. This is an easy and affordable way to instantly update a living room with bold colors that will get your space noticed.
"If there's one piece to invest in this spring, it's a rug," said The Glitter Guide. "It's a surefire way to bring interest and style to any room. Try a colorful pattern or print."
Brighten up the bedroom
While you're thinking about patterns…"Swap in a patterned headboard," said Elle Décor. "You don't have to grab your paint rollers or ready the wallpaper to revamp a bedroom. Upgrade the centerpiece of your room—the headboard—to something bright and cheery."
Patterns, patterns, patterns
Mixed prints have been all over the runway, and you can create a similarly textured and stylish look at home. Mix it up, mash it up, and freshen it up with an assortment of prints—florals, houndstooth, stripes, graphic patterns. You can create a look that brings depth to your space by using one main color as your anchor and then creating a mix of patterns around it.
Coordinate your pet decor
Your basic scratching post or dog bed may fade into the background for you, but they can stand out like a sore thumb to visitors. Pet decor has come a long way, and no matter what style you've got going on at home, you can find something to match, blend in, or even stand out—for all the right reasons. Stores like HomeGoods and Target have tons of options that are affordable.
Spring for a new appliance
Lowe's and Home Depot have both been running spring specials with appliances that are 35–40% off. These discounted prices could easily lead you down a rabbit hole, and before you know it, you're wanting to redo your whole kitchen. But a new fridge all by itself sure would make your kitchen look pretty. If you really want to make the purchase painless, look into 0% financing that lets you spread the cost of the purchase over 24 or 36 months with no interest—it's an easy way to upgrade that appliance without the crunch of putting out a lot of money upfront.
Paint, paint, paint
There really are few places inside and out of your home where paint can't make a huge difference, and with such a low dollar commitment, you just have to pick and choose your projects. We love a good-ole fireplace makeover that can totally change the energy of your living space in one weekend for almost no money.
Bring in the flowers
When spring flowers start blooming, we have a natural desire to bring them into the home. After all, just the smell of fresh flowers can lift our mood. "Flowers always brighten up a space, no matter what kind you use," said The Spruce. "You also don't need a lot of them. A small floral arrangement on a table, mantle or windowsill makes a big difference. What's particularly great about flowers is that every color and combination works together, so it's a great way to experiment with colors you wouldn't normally put together."
Big, bold floral patterns are also a huge trend this season, so, while you're thinking about how to display your cut roses, consider where you can also make a splash on the walls, on an upholstered piece, or on the bed.
Frame your windows
Another easy way to bring an additional layer of interest to your home is with modern window coverings. Already have blinds or shutters? Framing the windows out with drapes that can be changed seasonally is a great way to create an interior that always looks updated while calling attention to the outdoors and to your architecture (or creating architecture where there isn't much).
Shop your home
You can give areas of your home a whole new look without spending a dime. "I love updating the look of our home by styling the coffee table, accent tables, shelves, countertops, and mantel," said Jane at Home. "One of the reasons I love styling is that I can use items I already have on hand. If I don't like how something looks, I can easily change it by moving things around or bringing in new items from another part of the house."
Some of her styling tips include: "Use stacks of books to raise objects off the surfaces; combine items in groups of threes–preferably with a tall item, a shorter, more sculptural item, and a horizontal item; balance hard and soft objects, as well as things with different textures, colors, tones, and styles; layer–placing some things in front of others and some off to the side–to create more depth and give the space a more natural look."
Whether moving across town or across the country, packing up and moving can be stressful, costly and full of surprises. From shady movers and inaccurate price quotes, to overpacking or not allowing enough time to get the move set up, every step of a move has the potential for mistakes that can make a move a nightmare.
These tips will help anyone preparing for a move, whether they currently live in a house, an apartment, a dorm, with friends or with mom and dad.
1. Hiring a shady mover.
We've all heard horror stories about moving scams, and perhaps maybe you've been the victim of a moving scam yourself. You can steer clear of a less-than-upstanding mover by doing your homework. The Better Business Bureau, Angie's List, your state transportation regulator and the U.S. Department of Transportation -- and even your relatives, friends, neighbors and colleagues -- are all good sources of information about whether a moving company is on the up-and-up. Doing some homework online can save you a lot of heartache on moving day.
If you've done your research and still aren't confident in the movers you've come across, you always can go the DIY route -- just be sure you're up for the task.
2. Messing up the quotes.
If you hire a mover, you should be able to have someone from that company come to your place for an in-home moving estimate. If a moving company won't do an in-home estimate, you should think about shopping around for another mover.
Along those lines, don't rely on just one quote from one mover. Contact several movers for quotes. If you really like one mover over another but your favorite company is a little pricey, try negotiating for a lower price. Always make sure to get a moving estimate in writing.
3. Packing too much stuff.
Do you really need those old boxes of baby clothes that you haven't laid eyes on since your 6-year-old was in diapers? Before you move, you need to "edit" your belongings. Think about whether you can trash some of your possessions, donate them to charity, or give them away to friends and relatives. Perhaps you could hold a garage sale to clear out some of the clutter. If you haven't seen, worn or used something in a year, it's best to think hard about whether you need to keep it -- and whether you need to haul it to your new place.
4. Failing to schedule your move well in advance.
During the summer months, good moving companies are booked up quickly. Rather than waiting till the last minute, make sure your move is scheduled weeks -- or, better yet, months -- in advance. You don't want to be scrambling to find a mover the day before you're supposed to head out. Moving already is stressful enough without adding that frustration.
5. Ignoring the need to pack ahead of time.
You'll find very few people who'll say that packing is fun. In fact, a recent survey found that people who'd moved in the past year identified packing and unpacking as the biggest hassle in the process.
You can lessen the load by beginning to pack well before moving day comes along. Start by boxing up stuff that you won't need right away -- for instance, if you're moving in the summer, pack up your winter clothes so that they're out of the way. Also, be sure to carve out time in your schedule to check items off your packing to-do list.
If you get down to the wire and need help with packing, enlist friends, neighbors, relatives or colleagues to lend a hand. Make sure you've got plenty of food and beverages as a "thank you" for your volunteer helpers. If you can't rustle up any free help, consider hiring laborers to do the packing for you; that may be a small price to pay to alleviate moving-related stress.
If you are ready to start your buying or selling process
give me a call at 248-225-0789 - I´m happy to answer all your questions.