Cheryl Phelan's Blog
All house buyers have different pet peeves when it comes to evaluating homes, but there are a lot of easy fixes you can do to reduce the chances of losing a sale. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Squeaky doors: Lubricating squeaky hinges is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your chances of making a positive impression on prospective home buyers. A seemingly small thing like squeaky door hinges can make your house seem old, poorly maintained, and in disrepair. A squeaky door hinge is probably not going to make or break the sale of your house, but in combination with other little flaws that prospects might notice, it could have a major impact.
Weeds cropping up: Another clear signal to prospects that your property hasn't been properly maintained -- at least in their minds -- is the existence of weeds. Other than an overgrown lawn, nothing detracts from curb appeal more than weeds coming up everywhere, especially in driveway cracks, walkways, and front steps. If your home is on the market or you're considering selling it in the near future, getting rid of noticeable weeds will help improve your property's curb appeal and make a better impression on prospective buyers. If you hate the idea of handling or applying commercial weed killers, non-toxic household items like vinegar or salt have been known to nip the weed problem in the bud. Whether you use store-bought herbicides or natural remedies, make sure you don't damage any nearby plants that you want to protect. In some cases, manually pulling out weeds and carefully digging out the roots is the most risk-free approach, although it's also the most labor intensive!
Dust and cobwebs: No matter how thorough you think you've been in cleaning your house, you're probably going to miss a few spots that prospective buyers will notice. In small amounts, a little dust is not going to make or break your sale, but like squeaky door hinges, small problems add up! Areas that homeowners and house cleaners often overlook include baseboards, ceiling fans, and corners of ceilings.
Unpleasant odors: If your house smells like pets, mold, or mothballs, that sometimes can be a deal breaker. Bad odors are a major sensory turnoff that could easily sour people on the idea of making an offer on your house. Musty odors are often indicative of a larger problem, such as a damp basement, leaky pipes, water damage, or mold infestation. Eliminating odors prior to having your house shown can be as simple as doing a thorough cleaning, or as complex and expensive as hiring a mold remediation service.
The good news about preparing your home for sale is that a seasoned real estate agent can provide you with the advice, guidance, and help you need to maximize your chances for attracting offers and selling your property for its full market value.
Hanging baskets add personal enjoyment as well as curb appeal to any home. If you're the creative type, you may prefer to make your own rather than purchase ready-made hanging baskets from home and garden retailers. However, DIY hanging baskets sometimes fail to thrive. The following tips and tricks help ensure that your baskets look and perform their best from spring through fall.
Choose Plants According to Sun/Shade Requirements
Sun-loving plants such as petunias languish and eventually fail to even bloom if placed in areas that don't meet their sun requirements, while shade-lovers such as impatiens and fuchsia may literally burn up if they're exposed to hours of hot sun on a regular basis.
If the sun requirements aren't listed on the tag that comes with the plant, check online or in your favorite encyclopedia-style gardening book and make sure that you select appropriate locations for your baskets. Also, keep in mind that varieties that thrive in shaded locations often do quite well in morning sun
Choose Plants That Bloom All Season
Most annual plants bloom from spring or early summer until frost, so stick with them rather than using perennials for your hanging baskets. You'll have to replace them every spring, but that helps keep things interesting and fun.
Pick Off Spent Blooms
When flowers go to seed, that sends a signal to the plant that it's time to start slowing down on the blooming process and focus its energy on seed production. Picking off spent blooms, or deadheading, helps fools the plant into continuing to produce flowers. Some annual varieties, such as Wave petunias, have been bred to keep producing even after individual blossoms go to seed, so these make good choices for busy homeowners who may not have time to pay meticulous attention to their hanging baskets.
Use Potting Soil Designed to Retain Water
Plants growing in hanging baskets require more watering than their counterparts growing in cultivated flower beds because their roots can't reach down deep to access water sources. Using a potting soil designed to retain water helps hedge their bets against drying out before you can get a chance to water them.
Use Potting Soil With a Slow-Release Fertilizer
Fertilizing hanging baskets with traditional products is tricky — if you apply too much, you run the risk of damaging or even killing the plants, and if you use too little, the fertilizer won't provide the desired benefits. Using potting soil that's infused with a slow-release fertilizer circumvents both of these problems.
Making your own hanging baskets not only saves you a bit of money at the home and garden center, it also helps you avoid the mass-produced look of the majority of ready-made hanging baskets.
You might believe that your house is real estate market-ready. However, if you fail to allocate the necessary time and resources to boost your house's curb appeal, you may miss out on opportunities to showcase the true beauty of your residence to potential buyers.
Fortunately, there are many proven ways to enhance your house's curb appeal, and these include:
1. Perform Home Exterior Maintenance
Consider the homebuyer's perspective as you assess your residence's exterior – you'll be glad you did. Because if you approach your residence like a homebuyer would, you may be able to identify "hidden" problem areas faster than ever before.
For example, if you notice damaged home siding or a messy front lawn, you should perform assorted home exterior maintenance and repairs. This will enable you to eliminate any home exterior eyesores before you list your residence.
2. Conduct a Property Inspection
If you want to go above and beyond the call of duty to assess your home exterior, you should conduct a property inspection. That way, you can work with a house expert to detect and resolve any home exterior issues.
During a property inspection, a home expert will evaluate your residence both inside and out. Then, the home expert will provide a report that outlines his or her inspection findings.
Review the results of a property inspection closely. The inspection report likely will contain valuable insights that you can use to prioritize myriad home exterior upgrades. And if you complete these upgrades, you may be able to transform an ordinary home exterior into a stunning one.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
The real estate market can be difficult to navigate, particularly for a seller who wants to improve a house's exterior as quickly as possible. Luckily, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it simple to find ways to enhance your residence's exterior.
A real estate agent is happy to provide recommendations about how you can upgrade your residence's exterior without breaking your budget. Thus, this housing market professional can help you get the best possible results from any home exterior improvement projects.
Of course, let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the home selling journey, either.
A real estate agent will help you list your residence and promote it to potential buyers. He or she will even review offers on your house and negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. With all of this support, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to maximize your home sale earnings.
If you're unsure about how to improve your home's curb appeal or perform various home selling tasks, you should hire a real estate agent. By employing a top-notch real estate agent, you can speed up the home selling process and increase the likelihood of a profitable home sale.
You have heard it said that the eyes are the window to the soul, for your home, the front door is the entrance to its heart. A quick and easy way to up your curb appeal without much expense is to highlight your front door. Here are some simple projects you can do even if you are not too handy.
Keep it clean
Doors take a beating. They carry grubby hand and paw prints, marks from shoes and boots, grime from wind, rain, and sun exposure. Clean your door based on its material and surface. Wash down a wood door with a wooden floor cleaner and a soft sponge. Wipe a painted wood or metal surface with an all-purpose cleaner. Once you have the dirt and dust removed, give a wooden door some love with a furniture polish or citrus- based oil. Remove fingerprints and polish the metal hardware.
Give it a new color
If cleaning it is not enough to give it new life, painting a door is an afternoon project. Choose a darker or deeper hued color so that you do not have to prime it. Alternatively, if you want that bold lemon yellow or sunset orange, buy a primer-based exterior paint, and give it two good coats. Pick a feel-good color that makes your home a stand-out success but does not clash with the rest of your home.
Upgrade the hardware
Changing out your standard knob for a lever or latch, or a rusty metal plate for a new satin finish is a low-tech way to upgrade your door. Alternatively, consider hiring a locksmith to install an entryway keycode or a video doorbell option that adds safety and security to your home. If your home has a historic vibe, add a charming and unique door knocker or another adornment to up its attraction.
Give your door some décor
Brighten up your entry with a seasonal wreath that you can replace as you move from spring to summer, fall to winter. Buy one pre-made or take a class at your local hobby store and make your own.
Spruce up the entryway with a cheerful, inviting doormats too. A charming floral or welcome mat greets your guests and gives them a place to wipe off the dirt, keeping it out of your house.
If you are looking for ideas to brighten up your entrance, ask your realtor about what is trending in your community.
Everyone had something ugly in their yard that they want to hide. For many, it’s the oversized trash bins that don’t really fit in the garage but are big and distracting when left out. Others may have utility boxes that mar your lovely landscaping. In some cases, it’s lawn equipment or gardening tools that don’t have a place you can tuck them away.
Here are some ideas of ways to hide your ugly stuff and beautify your home.
If your oversized cans must be outdoors, create a trellis enclosure to surround them. Place pots with climbing plants such as ivy and trumpet vine along the sides so that they grow up and over the trash cans. However, remember to leave enough space for you to open the lids conveniently.
Another option for trash bins is to make a raised planter box that rises above the cans. Plant bright annuals, vegetables, or succulents in the box.
To cover a utility box, vent pipe, or other smaller eyesore, purchase a faux stone or cluster of rocks to set on the street-side of it. Surround it with flowering plants or small bushes to give it a more pleasing look.
Disguise utility boxes with raised beds and fill them with taller perennials such as Iris or Agapanthus. The beautiful blooms distract from the ugly utility boxes and hide them in plain sight.
When a full toolshed is not an option, hide your tools in a patio chest. These chests double as extra seating for entertaining and can even hold a small lawnmower if necessary.Or, create a hideaway cabinet under the deck landing. Just wrap the area with siding to match the deck, add access doors and voila, your tools are hidden in an area that looks like it was meant to be there.
When you have a wood-burning fireplace but don’t know where to store the logs, build a bench seat similar to a crate and stack the wood under it. Use the bench for extra seating or as a display shelf for your favorite potted plants.
Use two pillars of your patio cover to stack the logs between, but place lattice on the patio side to hide the wood. Hang planters from the trellis to create a walled garden to bring cheery greenery to your patio area while hiding the logs.
Hide your hose in a lovely pot situated near to the faucet. Most garden centers and DIY hardware stores offer choices specially designed to keep unruly hoses in check.
Whatever the problem area, you can find a way to keep it hidden from view with a little ingenuity and effort. Doing so improves your home’s curb appeal and increases your enjoyment of your outdoor living space.