3 Inexpensive Upgrades That Can Increase the Value of Your Home

By Wendy Dessler Most people take great pride in making their home more appealing, and homeowners can spend hundreds or thousands each year on improvements and alterations. One of the main things to consider when choosing an improvement project is how much value it could potentially add to your residence. You also need to think about the overall cost of the project. Here are some inexpensive improvements that can increase the value of your home: Invest in Home Security Upgrades More than 1 million home burglaries take place in the U.S. each year. If your area has experienced break-ins, it may be time to beef up your home security. Investing in a wireless security system is a great way to protect your home and your possessions. Some homeowners think that these systems are expensive, but, in reality, there are many different wireless systems on the market that are relatively inexpensive. Taking the time to research all of the systems at your disposal is crucial. Consult with home security professionals to avoid missteps. They can help you choose the right security system and get it installed quickly. Upgrade Your Appliances Over time, kitchen appliances become outdated and unappealing. Rather than letting old appliances impact the value and appeal of your home, take action. Today’s market is filled with appliance options that are both affordable and energy-efficient. While an energy-efficient appliance may cost more initially, it will save you a lot of money on energy bills in the long term, which is why they’re a great investment. Give Your Kitchen Cabinets a New Look Another great way to make your kitchen more appealing and modern is by giving the cabinets a...

Budget-Friendly Tricks for Updating Your Older Home

When it comes to updating an older home, you can make big style statements on a small budget, experienced decorators say. “Start with a pop of color,” Keysha Jillian, owner of Jillian’s Designs in Tampa, Fla. told Reader’s Digest in an interview. “Paint the front door—and the shutters, if you have them. If your mailbox sits out front, paint it, too. You’ll protect them from the elements and create a fresh, new look for the cost of a gallon or two of paint.” Indoors, Jillian recommends a few of these small, but mighty, do-overs: Toss out your throw pillows. Replace them with fuller, crisper new ones, mixing and matching colors and textures to add a fresh breath to your living space and bring your color scheme together. Add an area rug. An area rug can transform any room, grounding furniture groupings and adding interest and definition to your living space. Change out the hall light. Make a statement in your entry way with a chandelier or other contemporary ceiling fixture that brightens the space and welcomes guests with a flourish. (Adding table or floor lights may help your living space look larger.) Add artwork and accessories. Stroll through stores like HomeGoods, Target or Tuesday Morning to find framed artwork and a few accessories to coordinate with your new throw pillows. It can bring a room together and add a fresh, new look without replacing older furniture. Replace the light switch plates. Switch out those old, faded plastic switch plates for brushed nickel or other designs for as little as $5 per plate. Throw on a backsplash. It can jazz up an old kitchen or...

4 Things Dog Owners Should Replace Before Selling Their Home

By Meghan Belnap If you have a dog and want to put your house up for sale, certain things around your home might need to be replaced due to damage caused by your pet. Having these problems addressed before putting your home on the market can help you get higher offers from potential buyers. If you’re a dog owner, here are four things you should consider replacing before trying to sell your home: Carpet Even if your dog is house-trained, there still may have been occasions when your precious canine used your carpet as a personal bathroom, which may have caused underlying damage to the carpet. Pet dander, dog hair, dirt and debris can be difficult to clean entirely, which can diminish the quality of your carpet. Replacing your carpet with a high-quality option can make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Wooden Floors If you have wooden floors in any part of your home, you’ll likely notice scratch marks from your dog’s nails. There are modern wooden floors that are made to be scratch-resistant, which will help you keep your floor looking its best until your home sells. Floors made out of bamboo, cork and laminate materials are also known to be good at withstanding pet damage. Doors Wooden doors, in particular, are susceptible to damage from dogs that might scratch them. When you opened certain doors on occasion, your dog may have rushed through them and bumped them hard along the way, which can cause further damage. Steel and fiberglass doors often make great replacement doors, or you can even opt for a higher-quality wood. If...

3 Renovations That Can Help You Sell Your Home Faster

By Brooke Chaplan If you’ve decided to place your home on the market, you likely want it to sell as quickly as possible. Partially, this is for your own convenience. More importantly, though, the longer that a house sits on the market, the lower its final price tends to be. Therefore, before you list your home, you need to be sure it’s ready to attract as much attention as possible. One great way to do this is by making strategic renovations to various areas around your home. You want to be sure you’re making the most of your remodeling budget to ensure it results in the biggest payoff. To help you come out ahead, here are three renovations that can help you sell your home faster: Kitchen A dated kitchen is one of the biggest turnoffs for potential homebuyers. A kitchen that’s been renovated using quality materials often draws people in and causes them to overlook other potential flaws. Therefore, a kitchen renovation can be a great investment to make before you sell your home. Quality finishes in the kitchen are crucial, as many buyers at all price points are looking for granite countertops (or something similar) and tile backsplashes. The cabinets should also be of decent quality and a neutral color that appeals to a wide range of people. Roof Since a roof is rarely seen except when you’re coming and going, it might not seem like the best place to spend your renovation dollars; however, if you can state on your home’s listing that the roof was recently replaced, you may gain more interest, potentially helping you...

Is It Time to Sell Your Home?

Choosing to sell your home is a big decision—one that requires the careful weighing of a variety of factors, both lifestyle and financial. To help sort things out, here are a few telling signs that now might be the time to finally put your home on the market. You’ve outgrown your space—really. Truly needing more space is about more than an overflowing closet or two. Do you have kids outgrowing shared bedrooms? An in-law moving in? A new virtual work opportunity that requires a home office? These are the life events that truly necessitate a bigger home—not the inability to curb one’s shoe-buying habit. Your neighborhood is booming. Are you smack-dab in the middle of a hot housing market? Contact your local real estate agent and check out comparable sales. If homes in your neighborhood are selling above listing price and you’ve been on the fence about selling for a while, now might be a wise time to take the leap and cash in on the opportunity. You’re letting things go. Remember when home improvement projects and landscaping chores were fun? Well, if that’s a distant memory and your grass is knee-high and the porch railing is rotting, this may be a sign that you’re ready to move on to a maintenance-free way of life. Realize that the more you let things go around the house, the more money you’ll have to invest to get it ready for market. So, honestly evaluate if it’s time for a home that offers a simpler, less work-intensive option. Your life has changed. An important life change can surpass all other reasons to...

The Master “Change of Address” Checklist for Your Next Move

Any time you move to a new home, things change. A new neighborhood, new people to meet and a new address. With the stress of a big move and the excitement of starting the next chapter in life, there are important tasks that need to get done, but are inevitably put on the back burner. Once your boxes are unpacked and you start to settle in, the next step is to identify any and all places where your address needs to be updated. Trying to figure out every company, account or personal document that needs to be updated can be just as stressful as move-in day. So, instead of digging through your mail and potentially missing a bill, check out this master list of all necessary (and possible) places you may need to update your address. Government Agencies: Post Office DMV – License, Vehicle Registration (Plates, if you moved out of state) IRS/Other Tax Agencies Social Security Administration Voter Registration Financial Providers: Banks/Credit Card Company Loan Providers Accountants Utilities: Gas/Electric Company Cable/Internet/Phone Provider Cell Phone Carrier Insurance Companies: Health/Dental/Life Insurance Provider Car Insurance Provider Home/Renter’s Insurance Provider Personal, Family & Pets: Employer Doctor/Dentist Schools (If you have children) Veterinarians (If you have pets) Memberships & Services: Online Accounts (Amazon, PayPal, etc.) Streaming Services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) Subscriptions (Magazines, meal delivery, etc.) Clubs/Organizations (Costco, BJs, Sam’s Club, etc.) Gym And last but not least, don’t forget to update your friends and family of your new address. Once you make your way through this checklist, you can officially call your new house your home! Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2020. All rights...

Why Selling Your House Without an Agent Could Be a Costly Mistake

When a real estate agent helps an owner sell a house, the agent receives a percentage of the sale price as commission. You might think that selling your home yourself would save you some money, but it could wind up costing you a lot more. How Selling Your Home Without an Agent Could Backfire Many buyers and real estate agents don’t take homes listed as “for sale by owner” seriously because they assume that the seller has unrealistic or unreasonable expectations or will not behave professionally. Some buyer’s agents will only show their clients houses that are listed by a seller’s agent. It’s easy to overlook problems with your house that you see every day, but a seller’s agent would spot those flaws. A professional would be able to recommend repairs, give you advice on decluttering and staging, and help you find a professional photographer to take pictures that would attract buyers. A real estate agent could get your home advertised on multiple listing services and major real estate websites. Agents also have large networks of professional contacts who can help draw in potential buyers. Showing a home is time-consuming, and it would be difficult to handle yourself if you work full-time. In addition, many buyers are uncomfortable viewing a home when the seller is present and therefore rush through and miss important details. Dealing with prospective buyers and hearing negative feedback about your home could be upsetting. A professional agent could identify serious buyers and calmly respond to negative comments. A real estate agent understands the local market and knows how to price homes to sell quickly. If...

4 Unique Ways to Market Your Home

If you’re thinking about listing your home on the market soon, you’ll want it to sell as quickly as possible for the highest possible price. While local market conditions are usually the main factor affecting both of those outcomes, creative marketing can also play a significant role. Talk to your real estate agent about deploying one the following strategies to help your home stand out, no matter what the market: 1. Target niche buyers. While you want to cast the widest possible net when attracting potential buyers to your home, your home might be just right for a particular segment of the market. For example, is your master bedroom on the first floor or do you have a ranch style home? You could have the perfect place for retiring Boomers. Do you have a fenced-in yard and a finished basement? Those are ideal selling points for families with small children. Talk to your agent about the unique qualities of your home that might make it appeal to a key buying group, then highlight those features in listing promotions. 2. Be present during showings. While it’s standard operating procedure to vacate the premises during showings, sometimes no one does a better job at highlighting the nuances of your home than you do. While an unusual approach, your home may call for an insider’s viewpoint. Discuss the idea with your agent to get his or her feedback. And keep in mind, you’ll need a tough skin to hear potential buyers discuss what they don’t like about your home. 3. Do a neighborhood tour. While it’s becoming more and more common to include videos and...

Your Home Isn’t Ready to Sell Until It’s Been Checked by These Professionals

By Meghan Belnap If you want to sell your home, you’ve got to make a good first impression. Doing so requires not just a great deal of preparation, but some professional oversight. Before you decide to list your home on the market, you’ll definitely want to have it checked out by these professionals: Foundation Expert One of the surefire ways to scare off a potential buyer is to have foundation issues. Problems with your foundation are neither easy to fix nor cheap, so it’s always a good idea to know if your home has them before you put it on the market. A good foundation expert will let you know exactly what the problem means for your home and what steps you can take to fix it before you show your home to potential buyers. A Professional Roofer While a bad roof isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for some buyers, it’s something that’s going to cost you a lot of money before you close on a home. In fact, you’re almost certainly going to have to repair any roof problems before your buyers can get approved for an FHA loan so you’ll want to check with a roofing contractor long before you sell. A good contractor is going to not only let you know what’s going on with your roof, but let you know your options and the timeline for fixing them. Plumber Your home’s plumbing can cause more problems for a potential sale than you might realize. Not only is bad plumbing something that any buyer is going to want to be fixed before they close, but it can scare off...

7 Ideas to Improve Curb Appeal

(Family Features)–Whether you’re hoping to sell in the near future or simply looking to touch up outdated areas, there’s one aspect of home maintenance most homeowners agree is important: curb appeal. It’s a broad term that may reference any number of visible features, meaning there are plenty of ways to enhance the appearance of your house. Consider these ideas – some big, some small – for bringing new life to your home’s look from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Swap Out Your Front Door. As one of the first things a guest, passerby or potential homebuyer may notice, the front door is the gateway to your home and a likely opening impression. Upgrading to a heavier, bolder door or simply repainting the existing threshold can capture positive attention. Alternately, swapping out hardware for a more eye-catching look is an easy way to achieve a fresh facelift. Create Seating Areas. A welcoming home is typically an attractive one, and there are few better ways to create a cozy vibe than a seating or gathering area on the porch. Whether it’s the classic porch swing or chairs and a coffee table suitable for the outdoors, a small zone ideal for conversation and camaraderie can help create an at-home appearance. Plant Shrubbery. Billowing trees and blooming flowers are certainly eye-catching accessories outside a home, but many varieties require intense care to grow the way you envision and may adhere to seasonal weather patterns for optimal appearance. For a quicker result, shop around for fully mature shrubs and plants that can withstand elements throughout the year. Rethink the Mailbox. It may not...

6 Essential Tips for Selling a House ‘As-Is’

By Wendy Dessler Selling your home without fixing it up first presents potential challenges for some homeowners. For others, it may open up different opportunities. Selling a house “as-is” can be a good thing. It all depends on your approach to selling it. Here are six essential tips to help make the sale a smooth transition: Flexibility Is the Name of the Game Flexibility is really important when you decide to sell a house “as-is.” You’re asking buyers to purchase your property without making any changes to it. There may be serious problems that need to be corrected, so being flexible is definitely in your best interest. In situations like this, people are looking to purchase a house inexpensively. For this reason, it’s unlikely that you’re going to find a buyer willing to pay the exact price you’re looking for. However, you always have the ability to negotiate to try to get a higher price. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Some Necessary Repairs In certain situations, it may become incredibly difficult to sell your house without making any repairs. Sure, you’d love to sell the place “as-is,” but that doesn’t mean buyers are going to be interested if too many things need to be fixed. Take a moment to really look over your home. Is it in rough shape? Does it need extensive repairs like a new roof, a new foundation, or worse? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s likely time to consider making certain upgrades to make your property more appealing to potential buyers. Obviously, no one is going to force you to make changes. However, it’s...

How to Get the Best Price When Selling Your Home

By Meghan Belnap If you’re selling your home, you’re likely trying to make as much of a profit as possible. Unfortunately, most markets are crowded and it can be difficult to stand out. If you want to get a good price, you should consider following these steps: Work With an Appraiser Your first step should be to work with an appraiser. A good appraiser will help you not just to figure out how much your home is reasonably worth, but also help you to figure out which parts of your home are the most marketable. If you can put more of an emphasis on those features, you’ll have a much better chance of selling your home for a great price. Do Your Homework Your next step is to start doing your research, and that typically means doing more than just typing “sell my house” into a search bar. You’re going to want to work with local real estate professionals to figure out not just how much your home is worth, but what the market is like in your area. Remember, it’s often the other homes that are up for sale at the same time as your own that’ll determine exactly what kind of asking price you’ll be able to post. Finish Major Repairs No one wants to buy a home that needs major repairs completed. Take some time to look at the most problematic areas of your home and to get the work done. Though this does mean spending money, doing so will make your home look more attractive to buyers. If you can present a home that looks like...

Don’t Fall For These 6 Real Estate Scams

  By Yazir Phelps Getting involved in real estate can be both rewarding and lucrative. Whether you’re a novice home flipper, a licensed professional or fall somewhere in the middle, real estate done right can be financially life-changing. If you’re looking to rent a property or potentially buy a home, there are countless resources and websites at your disposal to narrow down your search. Just like any industry, there are certain deals you’ll probably want to avoid when deciding how to spend your time and money. Real estate scams can be financially devastating, but there are ways to identify red flags that can alert you of fraud before it’s too late. Beware of These 6 Real Estate Scams If it’s too good to be true…it probably is! Here are six real estate scams not to fall for. 1. Rental Rip-Offs When looking for a rental, you’ll first want to use a reputable website. Facebook postings or ads on Craigslist are often legitimate but aren’t platforms meant for advertising specific real estate listings, which means it can be easier to post fraudulently. Online swindlers have been known to post about a property, ask for money upfront as a security deposit or down payment, and then disappear once they receive money. Young adults are especially susceptible to rental fraud, as scammers often target first-time renters. Beware of this scam, as it’s standard to see a property in person and have the opportunity to ask basic questions before being required to make a deposit. Red Flags The seller demands payment upfront Post from a social media account with no pictures Avoids sending further...

When Selling Your Home (or Just Enjoying It), Lawns Matter

According to recent research from the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), 81 percent of all Americans have a lawn, and a majority—79 percent—say that a lawn is an important feature when renting or buying a home. Respondents to the NALP survey ranked a nice size yard second behind a renovated kitchen when asked to prioritize home features. And for millennials, a good-sized lawn was actually the No. 1 priority, with 82 percent reporting that having a lawn is important when renting or buying a home (compared to 81 percent of Gen Xers and 77 percent of baby boomers). Apparently, respondents value lawns for good reason: they use them regularly. According to the survey: – 47 percent report entertaining in their yards at least once a month – 57 percent use their yards for recreation at least monthly – 77 percent report relaxing in their yards at least once a month – 32 percent garden in their yards multiple times a week But Americans’ love affair with green spaces doesn’t stop at their garden gates. In fact, they are also enjoying grass and green spaces beyond their doorsteps. The NALP research also found that Americans visit public parks and playgrounds more often than movie theaters, pools and beaches, bowling alleys and museums. Whether you plan to list your home soon or just want to maximize the enjoyment of your yard, the NALP recommends the following lawn maintenance best practices: Practice “grass cycling.” Allowing grass clippings to remain on the lawn helps return nitrogen and nutrients to the soil. Water wisely. Provide your lawn a deep watering every few days, not daily....

When It Comes to Selling, It’s All About Location…and Condition

You might’ve heard the classic adage that when it comes to real estate, the three things that matter most are “location, location, location.” While location still trumps most other variables when it comes to selling, the condition of the home frequently plays an equally important role in many areas. Why? Many attribute it to our HGTV-obsessed culture. Today’s buyers not only want to find a home in the neighborhood they want, they expect it to look pretty darn good, too. And, unfortunately, home improvement shows make it look simple to attain a magazine-worthy look no matter what the current condition of your home. Although you probably won’t be able to have Joanna Gaines pop by for a makeover, there are several more realistic options for improving the condition of your home before you list it. Some of these ideas, in fact, should be pursued even if you aren’t planning to sell your home in the near future, as it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your home’s value. Invest in necessary improvements. Your home’s great location at the end of a cul-de-sac or within walking distance to the train station won’t necessarily make up for your outdated kitchen or creaky floorboards, so make the necessary renovations.  According to HomeAdvisor’s 2018 True Cost Report, Americans spent an average of $6,649 on home improvements in the 12 months prior to the research, so don’t skimp, especially if you want to sell. Maintain the exterior. Dilapidated siding, peeling paint, or an aging roof or fence will be big turn-offs to potential buyers, no matter how great your location is. Not...