Tag Archives: selling a home

master bath, renovation, flipped home

Easy Makeover Ideas for 2017

Homes sell best when they have plenty of modern updates and are move-in ready, but not every seller wants to spend a lot of money updating a house they are going to sell. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make a house shine without spending a fortune or hiring a contractor. Here are a few suggestions for an easy home makeover in 2017.

Paint the Walls

New paint makes a huge difference in how a house shows. A fresh coat of paint hides any signs of the previous owners’ decor while giving the house a fresh look. Avoid very trendy colors, as they might put off buyers who don’t have the same sense of style. Neutral colors are usually best, as they support almost any style of decorating, allowing buyers to more easily picture themselves living in the house.

Paint the Kitchen Cabinets

Is the kitchen an outdated eyesore? You can give this room a fresh new look with very little cost or hassle by painting the cabinets. For a professional look, be sure to remove all hardware before painting and take the doors off the cabinets so that you can paint them flat for a smooth, flawless finish.

Paint the Floors

Not to overdo it with the paint, but if you have unsightly floors, painting can fix them, too. You’d be surprised how good a painted floor can look, especially if you use high-quality floor paint to create an attractive pattern, such as a checkerboard with large, contrasting squares.

New Flooring

Another way to do an easy home makeover is by installing new, low-cost flooring. There are many inexpensive choices out there for thrifty do-it-yourselfers. There are vinyl self-stick tiles and cork flooring that comes in tiles that snap together for easy installation. As an added bonus, cork provides a smooth, cushy, and eco-friendly flooring option.

Update Light Fixtures

Updated light fixtures can make a huge difference in how a home shows, and they are fairly inexpensive and easy to install, making them a perfect choice for an easy home makeover. Outdated fixtures tend to give a home a neglected look, while bright, modern lighting will completely revolutionize the interior.

In addition, don’t overlook this opportunity to install ceiling fans. Replacing an overhead light fixture with one that includes a ceiling fan may not light up the room any better, but buyers do like ceiling fans for their ability to cool and circulate air.

Finishing Touches

Updating a home to sell it doesn’t have to be expensive. With paint and a few other supplies, a little attention to detail, and some creativity, you can make a property shine without having to spend a fortune.

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Budget Friendly Ways to Improve Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is critical to attracting buys and selling your house faster. Curb appeal is the impression prospective buyers get while driving by the house—from the curb, so to speak. If your property doesn’t have the curb appeal it needs and you don’t have the budget for a full-on facelift, don’t worry! There are a lot of inexpensive things you can do to improve curb appeal. Here are a few ways to boost your home’s selling power without breaking the bank.

Paint the Front Door and Trim

It doesn’t take a lot of paint or a lot of money, so painting the front door and/or the trim on the front of the house will really give you a lot of bang for your buck. Trim on the front of the house might include the trim around the front door, front-facing windows, and window shutters. The effect will brighten the front of the house and provide a small but substantial facelift.

Install New House Numbers

You’d be surprised by how much your old, dingy, and outdated house numbers detract from the overall appearance of your home. New numbers can do a lot to help freshen the look of the front of your house. You can get individual numbers, which are fairly inexpensive, or spring for more stylish and expensive ones. You can even have a custom placard made with your house number on it, though that will be pricier. Be sure to match the font and the finish to the overall style of your home for a pulled-together look.

Update Exterior Lighting

Good exterior lighting can have a powerful impact on your home’s curb appeal, adding to the overall appearance of the home during the day and lighting up the house more effectively at night. Modern outdoor lighting is made to look just as good during daylight hours as it does at night.  

Add the Floral Factor

One of the top ways to improve curb appeal is to add flowers. These charming, bright notes of color are a guaranteed draw. Don’t want to spend the time, effort, and money to landscape? Instead, add flower boxes under the windows and over the railings or put planters on the porch, the stairs, and along the walkway. They will brighten and improve curb appeal by giving your house a cheerful, trendy look.

Boosting Curb Appeal on a Budget

First impressions can influence how prospective buyers view your property, even long after they’ve been inside your house. You get only one crack at it, though, so don’t miss out! With a little strategic planning, you can give your home a facelift and improve curb appeal while staying on your budget.

More Than Just Looks

Selling a home is about more than just curb appeal. Make it fast and painless with our Simple Solutions To Selling Your Home.

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Simple Steps to Get your Home Ready for Thanksgiving

Isn’t the task of getting ready to sell your home overwhelming enough without also having to worry about hosting during the holidays? If you don’t think you have enough time to get your home ready for Thanksgiving, never fear. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish with a minimum amount of time and effort. Here are a few quick tips to get your home ready for Thanksgiving guests.

Clean the Bathroom

Thoroughly cleaning your entire home might not be possible, but at least do the bathroom. The bathroom is one of the places people will notice the most if it hasn’t been cleaned. Clean the toilet and sink, the mirror and counter. A full bottle of soap and fresh hand towels for guests will also be appreciated. Are guests staying the night? Clean the bathroom they will be using and be sure to set out a fresh towel for each guest.


Even if you don’t do much other cleaning, be sure to vacuum, especially where guests will be spending their time. Freshly vacuumed carpet not only looks cleaner but also feels fluffier and lends a cleaner smell to the home. If you need to save time, you can just vacuum around furniture instead of moving it to vacuum underneath. If you aren’t going to have any overnight guests, you can also get away with vacuuming only the main areas of your home.

Tidy Up the Kitchen

Even if you’ve spent the day prepping and cooking the meal, it takes only a few minutes to tidy up the kitchen. Wipe down the counters, sweep the floors, and load and start the dishwasher. Not having messes on the counter or dishes stacked in the sink can make a huge difference in the impression your kitchen leaves on your guests.

Straighten and Dust

Once the vacuuming is done, the bathroom is spotless, and the kitchen is tidied up, it’s time to do those last little things to get ready for your guests. Combine two steps into one and carry a duster around with you while you straighten up. Eliminating clutter, dust, and disarray will make a big difference in how your home looks, and remember to stick to the main areas to save time. Also, bring a basket with you for any clutter that needs to be returned later to its rightful place. You can put the basket in your room until your guests leave then put things back as you clean up after the holiday dinner.

Preparing to sell your home during the holidays is work enough without also having to get your home ready for Thanksgiving. Preparing a meal to feed your guests in holiday style often takes all day, if not several days of prepping and cooking. Therefore, you’ll want to clean as quickly as you can and still ensure that your home looks presentable. If you’ve found yourself with a shortage of time, remember to focus your efforts on what absolutely needs to be done in order to make sure that your guests have the best holiday possible.

Holiday Hustle

If you're selling your house over the next few months, you'll want our Tips for Moving During the Holidays.

moving at Christmas

Tips for Moving During the Holidays

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. Add moving to a new home on top of that, and you might find it hard to maintain the holiday spirit. These tips for moving during the holidays will help make your move as simple and stress-free as possible.

Plan Ahead

Almost every business closes its doors for a few days during the holiday season—either before or after Christmas. Take that into consideration when planning your move. Make arrangements in advance with all the services you might need, such as a moving company, so you aren’t left stranded.

Stay Organized

Organization is important when you move to a new home. It is, however, even more important when moving during the holidays. Group items for packing based on how quickly you will need to get to them after you’ve moved. That way, you won’t find yourself digging in box after box trying to find something you desperately need. Always clearly label every box.

Staying organized will not only make moving easier but will also give you the flexibility to take your time unpacking. Take out only what you need now and save the rest for after the busy holiday season.

Don’t Skip the Decorations

Holiday decorations may not be essential, but they are part of what make the holiday season fun. If you’re moving during the holiday season, it might not seem like the best time to go all-out with decorations, but don’t pack everything—leave out a few items that will put you in the holiday spirit. Pick items that are easy to clean up and pack at the last minute. Skip hanging ornaments on the tree this year. Instead, stick with simple, classic looks like tinsel, strands of popcorn, or just lights.

Small touches can help enhance the holiday mood. Burning cinnamon- or gingerbread-scented candles can bring the warmth of the holidays to your home. Playing holiday music while you pack is another easy way to create a festive atmosphere.

Take a Break

No matter how busy you may be with packing, don’t forget to take a break now and then. No one wants to feel like they completely missed this magical season because they were moving. Give yourself a little bit of quiet time in the house—send the kids to bake Christmas cookies with grandma or visit a local holiday event. 

Reassure Your Kids

Moving to a new home is a major, and perhaps sudden, change that can be scary for children. They tend to worry about things like giving up their old room, leaving behind their friends, making new friends, and moving to a new school. And when moving during the holidays, children tend to have one extra worry on their minds—how will Santa find me? Even if they don’t mention it to you, reassure them that Santa already knows about your move and will bring their presents to their new house.

You also need ways to keep your kids busy while you are packing their things. Reserve a box of small items to keep them occupied— coloring books, puzzles, and a few of their favorite toys.

Once you get everything moved into your new home, deck the halls  and get ready to enjoy the New Year!

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How to Choose the Home that is Right for You

Like any major purchase, trying to choose the right home when you’re looking to move depends on a number of factors. Unless you have limitless funds, you’ll have to fine-tune your expectations in order to get a home that fulfills your wants and needs. Even if you have an ample budget, you’re not always guaranteed that everything you’re looking for will be included in a single property. That’s why it’s important to sit down and clarify what you want and what you expect to get.

Choose the Right Home: Getting Started

What if you loved two similar houses in different locations? What if the house you liked the most lacked your most important feature? What if the house was perfect except it required a major, costly repair? Before you can even begin to answer these questions or begin your search, you have to answer the all-important question: What’s my budget?

Your budget is the most essential item in your search. Without setting a budget, you will be wasting a lot of time looking at homes that are not within reach. The budget gives you a window into realistic options so that you’re able to choose the right home. The financial parameters you set for yourself will help you look at homes within your range and give you insight into the actual costs of owning them.

One of the best ways to budget is to start by looking at your overall assets and your major expenses (i.e., cars, insurance, credit-card payments, and student loans). Then you will be able to determine how much you can afford to make in mortgage payments as well as whether you can cover the costs of your future home. You should have enough assets left over to keep you above water should something unexpected happen. Freddie Mac provides a worksheet to help you figure out your expenses and determine your budget.

Go with Your Gut

Once you start searching, your gut is going to be a great tool. Your instinct, intuition—whatever you want to call it—will guide you in making a good decision. If you walk into a house and it remains just that—a house—you may want to forget about it. If, on the other hand, you walk in and start envisioning yourself arranging the furniture in your new living room or your family eating together in the breakfast nook, that’s an excellent sign that it may be a good fit.

Focus on Features

When you’re mapping out what features you want, start by focusing on a few that are the most important. Maybe it’s the neighborhood or the schools, perhaps it’s a kitchen that speaks to your love of cooking, or perhaps it’s that guest room for your mother-in-law. Choosing the right home for you is just that—what’s right for you. Not what’s right for anyone else or what’s trendy and cool. It’s about you. A good fit will always happen when you choose a home that has the features you’ve always dreamed of or at least the potential to create them.

Wait a Minute—Don’t Buy Yet

The market doesn’t always allow you to hesitate, but if there’s even the smallest potential to wait a day (or three), take it. The perspective you gain from giving yourself the space to think clearly, and maybe even visit a second time, will go a long way toward cementing the right decision.

If nerves or stress try to take over during a house search, just breathe and remember—if you’re staying within your budget, plus leaving a little wiggle room, and the house and your gut are speaking to you, you’ll make the right choice.

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Hidden Costs of Selling your Home

If you list your home for sale with a real estate broker, the broker’s fees will be your most obvious expense. However, from the moment you start cleaning up the property until you’re haggling over the buyer’s final fees, most home sales involve thousands of dollars of unexpected expenses.

When estimating the cost of selling your home, you can be certain there will be plenty of nickel-and-dime costs but also be prepared for major unforseen expenses such as necessary repairs. A cash sale takes care of everything at once, but the real estate market can be very unsettling. Here are some of the hidden costs that sellers often report.

Various Closing Costs

Closing costs are not a simple lump-sum payment that you have to make. This catch-all term can include not only the cost of completing the paperwork involved in the actual sale but also hundreds of dollars in the form of various taxes and fees.

Cleaning and Storage

If you’re going to realize anything close to the market price of your house, you may need to spend a small fortune—and countless hours—cleaning, throwing things away, and organizing. A few trash bags might sound like a small expense, but what if you need to buy loads of supplies and containers or maybe even a storage unit?

Temporary Housing Solutions

Before you find your next house, you may need to stay for a while in a hotel or a rental home. You can cut down on this expense by staying with a friend or in an affordable motel that offers a weekly rate. But these additional expenses can easily add up to thousands of dollars.

If you sell your house for cash, you have more control over the date you move out, allowing you to carefully plan how and when you settle into your next home.

Staging for Showings

Staging a home, or preparing it for viewing, can be quite expensive. Landscaping, small furnishings like new throw pillows for the sofa, and other decorative touches can benefit the sale but do have upfront costs.

And don’t forget: kids and pets cannot be present during a showing. So you’ll need to take them somewhere—out to eat or to a movie or to a kennel (the pets, obviously)—which means further demands on your wallet.

Demanded Buyer Concessions

Buyers tend to ask for concessions—things here and there that they want you to throw in for free. These are yet additional costs of selling your home.

Deductions for Repairs

Expect buyers to nitpick while searching for flaws in your house. Naturally, they want to avoid buying a lemon, but this process often results in requests for repairs that can hit your wallet hard or even threaten to shut down the transaction. If you can’t pay for the repairs upfront, the buyer will likely knock down his or her offering price.

You can list your home “as is,” but “as is” homes tend to attract low-ball offers and endless haggling. If your goal is to sell the house for cash and move on, don’t even consider listing it on the market “as is.”

The Invisible Cost of Time

Hard to measure but perhaps most valuable of all is the cost of the hundreds of hours of your time that might be spent selling your house. From missed work to babysitters, consider all these indirect financial losses as further hidden costs.

If your priority is selling your home with minimal hassle and no out-of-pocket costs, a cash sale is a good alternative to playing the real estate game.

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6 Things to Consider When You Inherit a House

The death of a loved one is always difficult, and often the last thing anyone wants to think about is what to do with their loved one’s possessions. If you find yourself handling a property left to you or other family members, it doesn’t have to be a burden. Here are six important factors to consider when you inherit a house.

1. Emotional Moments

Many people consider moving into a house left to them by a loved one. While this can be a great idea, there are a number of factors to take into account. One of the most important is the possible emotional baggage that may be left behind with the home. If you are sharing the inherited house with a sibling or another family member, you’ll need to have a calm conversation about your respective intentions.

2. State of the House

If you’re considering selling the house, its condition is one factor that will determine its value. Older homes almost always require moderate to extensive repairs before they are marketable.

3. Existing Debt

Often, the sale of the estate will cover any debt left behind by a loved one. Outstanding medical bills, loans, and other types of debt are often difficult for those in mourning to pay. If you want to keep the house and are faced with such debts, you may have to sell a lot of the contents. If that will not cover the debt, consider selling the house and keeping some of the sentimental items. A picture that reminds you of one of your favorite memories can be more meaningful than an empty house.

4. The Neighborhood

The neighborhood can be a major factor in deciding whether or not to move into the house, sell it, or rent it. Check into nearby schools, local watch programs, and the closest stores. All these things can make or break a neighborhood.

Also look at the renter-to-owner ratio in the area. If there are a lot of renters and the house is in good condition, you may want to try renting it yourself. If the house needs a lot of work, you could market it to investors who have the money to do the repairs.

5. Moving Expenses

While it may make sense to move into an inherited house, consider if you’re financially able or ready. Owning and maintaining a home is difficult, especially if you have been a lifelong renter who is considering ownership for the first time. In addition to your regular bills, you have to consider the additional expenses of property taxes, insurance, and all repairs to the house and property for the duration of your ownership.

6. Cost of Realtor

If you are planning to sell the house, you’ll have to decide if you’re going to sell it yourself or hire a realtor. Consider the cost of a realtor compared to how much work you’re willing or able to put into the sale. It’s also important to remember that it is a loved one’s house and that you may not be able to handle the emotional attachments involved in selling it.

A Simple Choice

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