Unexpected costs first-time homebuyers should be aware of

Being a first-time homebuyer is an exciting time. But it can also be very stressful, especially when costs start to escalate. While first-time homebuyers typically know to prepare for a down payment, that is definitely not the only cost to consider when buying a home. Home-buying costs add up quickly with numbers that often startle first-time buyers.

Before signing on the dotted line, check out the list below and prepare yourself for all of the costs that go along with buying a home. Continue reading “Unexpected costs first-time homebuyers should be aware of”

Stage Your Home with These Low-Cost Tips

house staging tips - blog PHOTO (ABC)It’s time to sell your home. You are most likely excited to get the process started, and also a little nervous. Selling a home is a big deal, after all, and you want the process to be simple, smooth and quick. When you put your home on the market, you will have prospective buyers browsing photos of your house online, as well as checking it out in person. There are thousands of houses on the market, so what can you do to make yours stand out from the rest? Stage it.

Staging a home is an excellent tool to help sell your home faster – and for more money. In fact, staged homes have been shown to sell for more than six percent above the asking price. To learn how to successfully stage your home, continue reading.

A Welcoming Exterior

The outside of your home is the first thing potential buyers notice, so make it presentable. The front door (or wherever potential buyers enter your home) should be welcoming. A good way to do this is by adding a welcome mat and plants or flowers. The area should also be clean and maintained while your house is on the market. If the outside of your home isn’t appealing, buyers won’t waste their time.

The Power of Light

Opening curtains and blinds is a no-cost way to brighten your home with natural light, which will make it feel more open and inviting. If your home doesn’t provide much natural light, consider investing in light fixtures, lamps, etc. For small rooms such as the bathroom, replace old bulbs to provide the best light possible.

Remove Personal Touches

Staging a house means making it feel like a home to prospective buyers. But most importantly, you want them to envision themselves there – with their own belongings. To do this, remove family photos or artwork; it will only distract them.

Be Careful of Scents

The nose is a powerful thing,with the sense of smell having the biggest impact on a buyer’s connection to your home. Scents and aromas can make your home feel cozier, so incorporating them into a showing can be a cost-effective idea. Just don’t overdo it! As inviting as certain scents and aromas can be, too much can turn buyers away – especially those with sensitive noses. So keep it subtle. Opt for neutral aromas like lavender, vanilla or sage.

Choose Neutral Colors

If you have the time and means, it is always a good idea to outfit your home’s walls with a fresh coat of paint – and make it neutral. Neutral colors make a space look larger and more inviting. Potential buyers will also be more visually attracted to an interior with light or neutral colors than one with bold red or dark purple walls.

Organize, Declutter, Clean

Organizing, decluttering and cleaning aren’t always fun, but they are all a part of the moving process. They are also essential in staging and selling your home. A messy, cluttered house will instantly turn potential buyers away. However, storing personal items and removing excess clutter will draw them in; it will also increase the value of your home.

For rooms that tend to pile up with clutter, try cleaning it and turning it into a more useful space, such as an office. This is an inexpensive way to make your home feel more spacious. Simply rearranging the furniture in your home can transform it, providing it with a whole new look and feel.

Staging a home doesn’t have to be difficult – or expensive. But putting a little TLC into your home with these easy tips is a worthwhile choice that can make selling your home simple, smooth and quick.

How to Increase Your Home’s Curb Appeal

curb appeal - BLOG photoAre you looking to sell your home? Or are you just wanting to create a warm and inviting exterior for your house? Either way, there are many cost-friendly, fun and attractive ways to increase your home’s curb appeal. Here are some tricks to know.

The main thing to remember when working on the exterior of your home is this: keep it simple. Don’t go out of your way to build intricate and involved facades, and don’t spend huge amounts of money. Your best bet is to stick to one aesthetic that works for you and your family, as well as your space. Combining too many ideas will cause the exterior of your home to look and feel messy and disorganized.

To help keep your plans simple, ask yourself what you want the exterior of your home to look like. What styles do you like? Bright, brilliant colors? Country chic? Larger, leafy greenery? Modern? By answering these questions, it will be easier to create a plan and figure out what areas to focus on.

Have Fun with Doors

Neutral colors have been the common trend for quite some time. It’s almost as if homeowners want to blend in and become invisible. But now, homeowners are letting their personalities burst through withstatement door - BLOG photo bright and bold statement doors. If your home’s paint color is a neutral tone, play up the contrast by painting your door a rich red or vivid teal. Statement doors are a great – and simple – way to catch the eye of a prospective buyer or just a random passerby.

Other ways to play up your front door is by adorning it with cute, simple wreath or an elegant wooden letter (A for Adams or G for Griffin).

A nice welcome mat at the entrance of your home can also add a cheerful and inviting presence to your home.

Keep it Clean

clean home exterior - BLOG photoA home with a messy exterior makes its attraction level plummet from curb appealing to curb disgust. To keep the curb appeal of your home high, you have to keep it clean – especially if you want to draw in potential buyers. The exterior upkeep of a home greatly impacts how potential buyers feel about a place. When clean and kept, buyers can imagine themselves there, and in turn, are more apt to truly consider purchasing.

To make your home’s exterior clean, try power washing the walkways and patio spaces to make these areas more inviting. Also keep outdoor tools, bins and furniture to a minimum. Windows should be cleaned to give your home a squeaky clean presence.

Light it Up

well-lit house exterior - BLOG photoInadequate lighting casts a dark, even creepy tone upon a house. This is why exterior lighting is a must. A house that is well lit exudes a warm and inviting vibe. It also adds an element of safety and security – a must for potential home buyers and new residents.

Try low-voltage lighting near parts of your garden and lawn that you want to show off. Make sure to illuminate pathways and staircases. You can also use solar lights for low-rise lighting fixtures and add charming touches by hanging small lanterns from trellises and trees.

Tend a Garden

Flowers, flowers and more flowers. For the cherry-on-the-top in curb appeal, flowers are a must. In a garden, in clean and freshly-painted window boxes, flowers in window box - BLOG photoin pretty pots strategically placed on each side of your front door… there is no wrong way to enhance the exterior of your home with flowers. Adding these beautiful pops of color to your yard and the outside of your home is an excellent way to create a friendly, approachable feel to your house.

If you opt for certain types of flowers (hydrangea bushes, azaleas, camellias) they will come back every year without any work from you, which is a nice bonus.

Boosting your curb appeal can seem difficult at first, but there are plenty of ways to do it. Just remember to have fun and incorporate color and light, and you’ll create a space you and your family – and potential buyers and passerbys – will love.