Century 21 Winklhofer's Blog
Selling your home? Make improvements to your home to increase the likelihood that you will get a higher offer. Even small and inexpensive updates can make a difference. Do these projects before you put up your listing and schedule a staging.
Here are five simple ways to increase your property value when it’s time to sell:
1. Rethink your home’s layout: If you have three bedrooms and a home office, take out the office to make your house a four bedroom home. Removing bedrooms may decrease the value of your home. Turn it into an office, gym, or craft room then turn it back to a bedroom when you’re ready to sell. (Forbes)
2. Remove clutter: Making rooms look neat and clean is always a necessity, but take it one step further and remove the clutter and personal items from your rooms. Taking out photos, magazines, and little decorations will make the room look bigger and taking away personal items will help your buyers envision their lives there. (Forbes)
3. Front yard makeovers: The saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” but when it comes to real estate, that is hard to live by. The first impression of your home is the front yard so make sure it is neat and tidy. Plant some new flowers, mow the lawn, and touch up any exterior paint that might need some attention. (DIY Network)
4. Maintenance work: The last thing buyers want to see when they walk into your kitchen or bathroom is rusty, leaking pipes, or a faucet that looks like it has seen better days. Take a weekend and give attention to any little repairs around the house. It could be as easy as replacing old door knobs and faucets.
Here are five common renovation mistakes that may decrease your home value:
1. Over improvement: Your home should be similar to other homes in the neighborhood. If your home costs much more than other homes in the neighborhood, potential buyers may choose that the updates you made do not outweigh the increased cost.
2. Over personalization: You may love bright paint, built-ins, and elaborate tiles but the potential buyer may see changing it as too much of a hassle. You want buyers to be able to picture themselves living in the home so it is helpful to have a neutral design aesthetic when you show your home.
3. Inconsistency: It is better to spend smaller amounts on many projects than spend a large amount of money on one project while neglecting other parts of the home. Instead of spending upwards of $30,000 installing a pool while keeping old and outdated appliances, it is a wiser decision to update the appliances.
4. Removing a wall: It may seem as though knocking down a wall between two small rooms to make one larger room is a no brainer but having more rooms is almost always better when it comes to increasing the value of your home. Your family may be smaller than the potential buyers and, for them, it may be better to have more rooms regardless of their size. Removing bedrooms can also decrease the value of your home. Turn an extra bedroom into an office or gym while you are living there, but switch it back to a bedroom when you are getting ready to sell.
Here are five things that may help to decrease your energy bill this summer:
1. Use the energy saver option on your air conditioner (AC): When you leave your home, use the energy saver option on your air conditioner rather than turning it off. The energy saver will keep your house at a cool temperature. If you turn off your air conditioner the temperature in your house will rise, and when you turn the unit back on it will need to work harder to cool your house down again, which in turn, can increase your electric bill.
2. Fans are your friend: Well placed fans can keep cool air circulating in the house, which means you might be able to delay turning on the air conditioning—especially if you can also leave windows open on cool summer evenings.
3. Create a lights-out policy: Keeping all of the lights off in your home during the day is a simple way to conserve energy and lower your electric bill. Try to rely on natural light alone. At night, consider trying something new like candlelit dinners or dimly-lit game nights.
4. Use heavy drapes on the windows: We’re not saying you have to be Dracula, but try hanging some heavier drapes—especially in windows that get a lot of natural sunlight. Close the drapes when you leave the house to help keep the sunlight out and the cool air in.
5. Get your AC inspected: Inspectors can make sure your system is leak-free and operating as efficiently as possible. Don’t forget to clean air filters; some units require monthly cleanings.
If you’re looking to reduce or completely decrease the grass space outside your home, here are some appealing alternatives:
1. Sedges: A sedge is a grasslike plant with small flowers. Sedges do well in temperate and cold regions. There are thousands of types of sedges so you can choose a type that fits your preferences and your climate. Some sedges need more water, hotter weather, or more sunlight than others. (Canadian Gardening)
2. Moss: Moss filters the air, purifies rainfall, and is the oldest terrestrial plant! Moss gardens do well in shade and moisture but they can handle partial sunlight. Moss is a good grass alternative for areas partial to drought. You need to water the moss for the first two or three months but then it will be able to grow on its own. You can also ditch the chemical fertilizers and treatments – moss gets all of its necessary nutrients from the air. There are twenty-two thousand species of moss – choose the one that works best for your region and space. (Martha Stewart)
3. Clover: Clover is a perennial lawn alternative that fertilizes itself and can grow in bad soils and a wide pH range. Clover needs to be mowed occasionally but less often than grass. (Organic Gardening)
4. Artificial Grass: Artificial grass can look like real grass!
There are dozens of ways to baby-proof your home, but here are ten crucial steps:
1. Outlet plugs: Buy outlet plugs that go inside the outlet and prevent children from being shocked by sticking fingers or objects inside.
2. Non-slip bath mats: A non-slip bath mat allows you to make bath time fun without worrying that your child will slip and fall.
3. Safety gates: Use safety gates once your baby starts crawling and walking. Place them at the tops and bottoms of staircases and in the doorways of any rooms that aren’t baby-proofed and don’t have a door.
4. Corner guards: If you have sharp-edged furniture like cabinets and tables, put on corner guards. This is especially important for furniture that is low to the ground, like coffee tables.
5. Window locks: Install window locks so that your child can’t open the windows.
6. Door locks and door knob covers: Door locks and door knob covers keep children from being able to access things that could potentially be dangerous like cooking utensils, cords, medicine, and cleaning supplies.
7. Oven knob covers and oven latches: Oven knob covers and oven latches keep your child from opening the oven or turning it on.
8. Bath spout covers: The bath spout might get too hot when you are running water. Use a bath spout cover so that your child doesn’t get hurt if he or she gets too close to the faucet.
9. Pool gates: If you have a pool at home, it is essential to have a gate around it.
Here are some tips to help you have the perfect staycation at home:
Clear your calendar. Block off at least 2-3 days. During this window, don’t book appointments, do errands, or plan to do work. Be protective of your vacation days. It may be tempting to keep to your regular schedule, but in order to truly relax and feel like you’re on vacation, you have to set aside quality time for yourself.
Add in amenities. Turn your home into a five-star resort with a few upgrades:
● hang a hammock in the backyard
● build a firepit
● give your bedroom a makeover
● turn your bathroom into a spa
● fix up the patio to enjoy dinners al fresco
● add a porch swing.
Play tourist. Get to know your city better, and see it with a fresh perspective. Do all the things you don’t normally have time for and treat yourself to the experiences that don’t fall into your daily routine. If your friends or family visited from out of town, where would you take them? Check out the current events at local theaters, museums, and concert venues. Find the new (or best) restaurant in town. You might even consider buying a guidebook to cover the most ground.
Bring the fun to you. You don’t have to go far to enjoy yourself. Tackle your lengthy reading list by curling up in a deck chair with a tall, refreshing drink. Break out the s’mores and take a mini camping trip. Binge-watch the popular TV series everyone is talking about, but you haven’t had time for.
Cooking on the grill is one of the best parts of warm weather. Get the best from your grill. Learn how to properly clean and maintain your gas or charcoal grill.Cleaning Gas or Charcoal Grills
There is much debate as to which type of grill cooks better: Charcoal or gas. But one thing they have in common is how easy they are to clean. To maintain a gas or a charcoal grill all you need is a rag, a wire brush and some cooking oil.Routine Maintenance
Routine brushing of the grates prevents food and bacterial buildup. A brass wire brush is best for clearing and cleaning off surfaces. After each use, wash and soak your brush in hot soapy water. Then hang dry it with the brush upside down on a grill hanger. Drying the brush naturally ensures the bristles will last a long time. After your brush is dry, keep it indoors to reduce weather exposure to the bristles.
After you've brushed down your grill and the grates are at a cool temperature, spray it down with some cooking oil. This prevents your grill from rusting and ensures a long life. If you don't have cooking spray, another option is to pour some oil on your rag and wipe down the cast iron grates.
Cleaning the burners is also important as burners can accumulate grease and food, leading to uneven temperatures along your surface. After the burners have cooled, scrub with a wire brush evenly and clean around the ports to ensure food and grease have not amassed.
Cleaning out grease traps is important because grease is highly flammable and can cause a fire or heat up all surfaces, including the handles.
For charcoal grills, it's important to dump all used charcoal or ash after each use.
You never get a second chance at a first impression. It is important that potential buyers get a great first impression when they come to your home for an open house or see your listing online. Factors like cleanliness, brightness, and furniture placement all make a big impact on the home’s overall appearance. Making buyers feel comfortable in a new space is key to selling a home. We asked our Facebook friends for their best tips for staging a home to sell.
Here are five tips for staging your home:“Make sure all furniture is about one and a half inches from the wall, this creates the illusion of more space. Clear all personal pictures. If the front door is worn, paint it an interesting color that is inviting and make sure the path to the home is welcoming.” – Michael L. “You hope that you will have a lot of people in short period of time, freedom of movement is essential.” - CENTURY 21 Ilford “Good photos get action. Make sure the lights are on and that you are using a good camera. Don’t use your cell phone!” – Kristy W. “Everything off the counters! Toilet seats down. Blinds all the way up to show off recently cleaned windows.” – Wayne F. “Stage with smaller furniture to make rooms bigger and go with light colored furnishings unless the area dictates darker classy designs.” – Peter C.
- See more at: http://blog.century21.com/2014/05/do-this-not-that-tips-for-staging-your-home/#sthash.aWPwkodh.dpuf
You and your family spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Whether you are cooking a family meal, eating dinner, or enjoying a midnight snack, the kitchen is a family gathering point. Little renovations and adjustments can take your kitchen from good to great.
Island: Add an island. An island provides extra counter space, room for more seating, and much-needed storage space. If you are on a budget and can’t get an island installed, purchase a stand-alone version or even put a small table in the middle of the kitchen.
Range Hood: Range hoods draw up steam and smoke, circulate air, and keep your kitchen from smelling like whatever you’re cooking. Your neighbors will also appreciate it because it decreases the likelihood that your smoke alarm will go off when you are simply cooking pasta! There are a wide variety of range hood options. You can find one for almost any budget and, to decrease costs, you can install it yourself.
Countertops: Beautiful and durable countertops help to take your kitchen from good to great. If you are looking to sell, they are a great selling point for potential buyers. You can remodel your countertops without spending a fortune. The prices vary depending on the type of material you choose to use.
Backsplash: Cooking can be messy. Sick of oils and sauces making marks on the walls? Get a backsplash. Similar to countertops, the price varies based upon the material you choose. If you are on a budget you can also do it yourself!
Appliances: New appliances make a big difference. Prices range depending on the technology but they make cooking easier and more convenient. New appliances can also attract sellers and increase the offer price of your home.
Warm weather means more BBQs, bonfires and quality family time in the backyard. Before you get ready to entertain guests, get your patio summer ready for you and your family.
Follow our tips to turn your patio into an outdoor oasis:Floor Design: Decide what kind of style and atmosphere you’d like to achieve before buying your materials. If you’re looking for a contemporary feel, choose an interesting stone design. For a more classic look, stick with a wooden deck. For less maintenance, consider using a wood alternative. Furniture and Fabric: Summer means extra heat and occasional rain storms. Choose durable furniture and fabrics that will withstand the natural elements. When you are decorating consider how you want to use your space. Are you primarily hosting dinner parties or simply lounging outside? Choose furniture and accessories that will work well for you! Kitchen Area: Grilling season is here. Make a mini outdoor kitchen by arranging your BBQ next to a side table. Store kitchen utensils, plates, and other grilling supplies on the side table. Fire Pit: You don’t need a big space to enjoy a summer bonfire. Make a small fire pit the focal point of your patio. Do your research before placing one in your yard so that it is a safe distance from your home, then start making summertime s’mores! Finishing Touches: Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to add the finishing touches! Outdoor lanterns make great lighting for the evenings. Add some greenery to your patio with flowers and plants from your garden to keep the look cohesive. Don’t forget some candles to keep the bugs away.
Gather your loved ones and celebrate summer the right way – and in a space you love!
- See more at: http://blog.century21.com/2014/06/how-to-style-a-patio/#sthash.vPPfILVO.dpuf
Myth 1: You should get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan after closing on your house.
Fact 1: Early in the process, you’ll want to get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. It enables you to move swiftly when you find the right home, especially when there are other interested buyers. It also indicates to the seller that you are serious and can afford to buy the property. A pre-approval is a simple calculation done by a mortgage lender that tells you the amount you’ll be able to finance through a loan and what your monthly payment will be. Another figure that lenders use to evaluate how much you can afford is the housing expense-to-income ratio. It is determined by calculating your projected monthly housing expense, which consists of the principal and interest payment, property tax payments and insurance premiums on your new home loan (also known as PITI). Use our Mortgage Calculator, Refinancing Calculator, and Amortization Calculator for insights.
Myth 2: You need at least a 20% down payment.
Fact 2: A common myth is that the more money you put down, the less you’ll have to borrow and the easier it will be to get a loan. While this is ideal, there are other options as explained in The US News article, Alternatives to Putting 20 Percent Down on a Home. Each buyer is unique, and a mortgage professional can help you find out just what you can afford.