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4 Ways to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring Planting

The end of winter is finally in sight. It’s time for your garden to come back from the winter weather.

If you’re new to gardening, this guide is here to help. These tips will help you get a head start on preparing your garden for spring planting.

Have a plan

Start planning in early spring and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful, blooming plants in the summertime.

In addition to planning what types of plants and flowers to fill your garden with this year, there are also some important things you need to take into consideration. First, you need to consider how much space you have and how much sun your garden is getting. It is also important to decide how you’ll take care for everything.

Clean up

Clean up your garden about a month before planting. Get rid of those pesky plants that have sprung up during the winter, as well as the weeds left over from fall.  Rake the lawn to remove dead growth and winter debris.

Decaying leaves choke off your soil, so be sure to clean up your lawn before you pick out your seeds. Make sure that you have a tidy plot of soil for your new plants.

Give your soil some TLC

The best way to prepare your soil for planting is by adding organic matter in the form of compost and aged manure. Also, prepare the garden bed by digging to loosen the soil. Do this before planting anything in your yard.

Healthy soil is the basis of healthy plants. You are likely to produce beautiful flowers and healthy, nutritious vegetables year after year if you grow on a strong foundation.

Plant for all 4 seasons

Identify the plants that will bloom each season in your garden. This ensures that your home is surrounded by color and interest through all four seasons. Or better yet, choose plants that bloom all year long. Sweet alyssum, Asters, Achillea and Chinese hibiscus will continue to blossom throughout the year.

Home Staging Ideas to Avoid When Selling Property

In the age of online real estate listings, potential buyers decide whether or not they like the house based on the photos you include in your listing. Proper staging, along with good quality photos, are vital for attracting potential buyers. If they like what they see, that’s the only time they’ll go out and really look at your house.

When done right, home staging often leads to homes being sold faster and for more money. If you are considering selling your home, you want to make sure that it is well-staged. To make staging more effective, it is important to avoid these pitfalls.

Too personal

While you may have a soft spot for your grandmother’s vintage armchair and needlepoint pillows, some people may not find them attractive.

When selling a house, you want buyers to envision themselves living there. But if the house is filled with your personal belongings such as personal photos and heirlooms, they may have a hard time picturing it as their own. Your goal is to establish a blank slate. Get rid of any items that would suggest that the house isn’t theirs. You must remove yourself from the equation.

Confining furniture to walls

Far too many people feel obligated to push their furniture against the wall. If every piece of furniture is up against the wall, it creates an awkward, empty space in the middle of the room. Furniture spacing and placement are keys to function and comfort.

Overstaging

Staging is supposed to enhance your home’s features. It makes your home look nice and more attractive to potential buyers. However, some sellers get overwhelmed and add too much furniture in each room.

When you add more items to a room, it becomes cluttered and cramped. If an object doesn’t serve a purpose, get rid of it. It’s better to have too little than too have too much.

Make Home Buyers Fall in Love with Your Kitchen

There are many home features buyers want in a home. An updated kitchen ranks high on a home buyer’s priority list.

While an updated kitchen can drive up your home’s selling price, a major kitchen overhaul can cost a fortune. Most sellers are hesitant to remodel the kitchen because they’re worried that they might not recoup their investment. Luckily, you don’t need to spend a huge sum of money to spruce up the kitchen and make it desirable to prospective buyers.

Make homebuyers fall in love with your kitchen with these easy tips.

Keep it clean

When it comes to cleanliness, buyers are more sensitive than mothers-in-law. Before putting your home on the market, clean your kitchen from top to bottom. This means cleaning the windows, inside the cabinets, inside the fridge, the stovetop, countertops, sink and taps, as well as the floor. Deep cleaning may be a chore, but it’s worth the effort.

Fresh paint

Give your kitchen a fresh coat of paint. Make sure, though, that the color you choose complements with the color of your cabinets and counters.

If your cabinets are in good shape, there is no need to spend a lot of money on new ones. Freshen up and modernize those cabinets by applying a fresh coat of paint and replacing old hardware. This will dramatically enhance your kitchen space.

Be aware of odors

Nothing turns off a buyer faster than a dirty kitchen and foul odors. Litter boxes, pet odors and cooking smells lingering in your home can really turn buyers off. You may be immune to the smell, but potential buyers are going to notice.

Empty all trashcans and move them out of sight. Remove oil and grime regularly from objects near the kitchen stove. Also, make sure there is good air circulation in your kitchen. Don’t risk losing buyers because of kitchen odors.

Declutter the counters

Buyers love lots of countertop space in the kitchen. Show off your countertop and keep it clean and organized. Before showing your home to prospective buyers, be sure to clear off the countertops. Appliances such as blender, toaster, microwave and other items should be put away in a cabinet.

Keep the windows clean and clear

A bright, cheery room looks bigger and more inviting. Open up all the windows to let as much natural light in. Fabrics absorb odor more than any other material. Clean window treatments and curtains regularly.

Home Features Millennial Buyers Will Pay Extra For

The wave of millennial homebuyers is coming. According to a survey that was conducted by realestate.com, more than half of the homes in the market will be bought by first-time buyers. A huge percentage of those buyers will be millennials.

If you are looking to sell your house fast and for top dollar, make sure that it has the features home seekers want the most. To make the most out of your remodeling budget, here’s a list of home features millennial buyers will pay extra for.

Energy efficient appliances

Energy efficiency is among the characteristics homebuyers are increasingly looking for in a home. In fact, Energy Star rated appliances are high on their list of features they want in a home. Because they know they’ll be able to save a huge amount of money in the long run, many of them are even willing to pay 3% more for an energy efficient home.

Exterior lighting

According to the National Association of Home Builders, exterior lighting is one of the most sought out outdoor features in a home – with about 90% of buyers including this on their list of must-have features.

Illuminating a well-manicured lawn will significantly increase your property’s curb appeal; hence, making a good impression on potential buyers. It’s also an easy and inexpensive way of adding security to your home.

Security system

Safety and security is one of the most important features buyers look into when shopping for a home. Naturally, they want to make sure that the neighborhood they’re moving into is safe. In addition, they also want to keep their home, family and belongings protected. A house with a security system will give them the peace of mind, knowing that they are safe from intruders and burglars.

Hardwood floors

Not so long ago, buyers find homes with carpet more desirable. After all, it makes their home a bit warmer during the winter and they feel more comfortable. Today’s homebuyers, however, find homes with hardwood floors ideal. In fact, a survey reveals that buyers are willing to pay an additional $2,000 for this feature. The good news is that wood flooring can last for several decades up to a century with proper care and maintenance.

Creative Ways to Maximize Limited Living Space

The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet. But with energy bills and living costs rising, more and more people are realizing that small is beautiful.  While there are a lot of different reasons why people choose to downsize their homes, the majority of them do so due to financial concerns.

Smaller homes feel cozier, are easier to keep clean and are more affordable. Of course, living in a small home doesn’t come without its challenges. Everything, from your furniture to decorations, should be in place. Every item should have a specific purpose and place. Otherwise, you won’t have enough space to move around in.

Whether you live in a quintessential studio apartment or just want to make your home feel spacious or welcoming, this guide will help you maximize your living space.

Put a shelf on it

When you need a lot of storage in a tiny space, going vertical is always the best option. There are always some high spots you can take advantage of. Is there wasted space above your clothes rack? Is there space above any doors? What about the area above your cabinets? Get creative when it comes to finding extra storage in your space.

Use multi-purpose furniture

Multipurpose furniture is a smart option for homes that lack space. They can help expand storage and keep clutter at bay.  For instance, an ottoman with hidden storage can serve as an extra seating or a footrest and can easily double as storage space. A day bed can double as a guest bed. A bed with drawers underneath where you can store your stuff would be a great addition to your bedroom.

Avoid unitaskers as they take up space. Plus, you couldn’t do anything else with them even if you wanted to.

Consider a loft

Adding an extra room can increase your property’s value by up to 20%. But if you’re short on space, we recommend that you take advantage of your roof space and add space with a loft conversion.

Loft rooms are one of the most cost-effective ways to add extra space to your home. You can use it as a guest bedroom or a study room for your children. It can help boost your home’s value without having to spend a fortune. Plus, it provides you a suitable and tidy space, making your home clutter-free all the time.

Tips to Get the Best Price When Selling Your Home

Spring is considered the best time to sell a house. But given a number of homes in the market during this time of the year, it can be difficult to achieve the asking price for your property.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to speed up the sale of your home without sacrificing the profit. Here are some tips for selling your home fast and for the best price possible.

Take quality photos

First impressions matter when selling your home. Living in the digital age, first impressions typically happen online. This is because most buyers start their search online. Grabbing the attention of these web-savvy buyers requires good quality photos.

If buyers don’t like what they see, they’ll move on to the next listing. Be sure to take a lot of photos and capture your home’s best features. If possible, schedule picture-taking day on a sunny day. Nothing is better than natural light.

Give your yard some TLC

Remember that it is the curb appeal that entices buyers to get through the door. Take a good look at your home from the outside and view it from a buyer’s perspective.

Curb appeal makes your home easier to sell. If your home looks nice and the lawn is well manicured, it will give potential buyers the impression that the house is well maintained. The more attractive the exterior of the home is, the higher the asking price can be. Focus on improving curb appeal if you want to maximize your property’s value.

Make sure it’s in top shape

Buyers are looking for the perfect home. That said, you need to ensure that your home is at its best when it hits the market. This will not only ensure your property sells fast, it can also make your home more valuable. Tending to repairs and maintenance can make a big difference.

Be realistic about the price of your property

Some sellers are tempted to set a higher price in the hopes of maximizing their profits. However, this strategy can backfire.

More often than not, buyers ignore homes that are overpriced. As a result, it ends up staying on the market for an extended period of time. At this point, buyers may think that there is something wrong with the house and try to submit a lowball offer. Sellers, getting desperate to sell their home, often agree to a lower price. If you want to get the best possible price, assess the real value versus the perceived value of your property. Look up similar homes in the area and set an appropriate price for your house.

Reasons to Sell Your Home This Spring

Spring is traditionally a busy period for the real estate industry. With the weather warming up, homebuyers are coming out of hibernation to take advantage of the weather and the hot market.

If you are looking to sell your home this year, we urge you to act fast to capture the early momentum of this spring market. Here are 3 good reasons to sell your home this spring.

Serious buyers

During this time of the year, a large number of buyers are actively searching for a new home. They start looking at homes early in spring so they can move in and settle in their new home before the school year starts.

If you are serious about selling your home, be sure to act fast and list your home before everyone lists their home this spring. But because inventory almost always rises in March and April, you need to make sure that your home stands out among the sea of new listings to improve the odds of selling your home.

The weather is great

During this time of the year, the sky is blue, the flowers are in bloom and the sun is shining brightly; thus, making it a great time to show your home. Plus, the weather encourages buyers to get out of into the fresh spring air and start looking at houses.

In order to ensure your home stands out from the competition, you need to focus on your curb appeal and take great photos. Plant colorful plants and flowers and mow your lawn regularly. With a home that looks impeccable inside and out, you have a great chance of selling your home this spring.

Bigger sale price

Spring season brings a lot of new listings. The housing supply is expected to rise through early summer. Unlike other markets, more inventory doesn’t necessarily equate to lower prices. In fact, a lot of buyers often find themselves in bidding wars; hence, resulting in higher selling price.

 

Using Social Media to Sell Your Home

Let’s face it. Selling a home is a complicated process. While a real estate agent can help you market your home and negotiate with potential buyers, you can’t just sit there and let him/her do all the work. You can increase the chances of selling your home by incorporating social media in your home selling arsenal.

With millions and millions of people logging into their social media accounts every day, big businesses and local entrepreneurs alike have realized how powerful social networking channels are in marketing their businesses. If you are planning to put your home on the market, we suggest that you include social media as a part of your marketing strategy. When done properly, this will not only broaden the reach of your listing, it can also help sell your home faster.

Be creative

With so many businesses vying for people’s attention, a little creativity is a must if you want to boost your post’s reach and capture the attention of your target audience. Rather than simply saying, “home for sale”, make your caption more interesting. Remember, people are likely to share posts that are quirky, funny and unique.

Put family and friends to work

To boost your post’s reach, ask family and friends to share them. These people may not be in the market for a new home, but they may know someone who is.  Recommendations from family and friends can hugely affect a buyer’s decision.

Use images

You already know that real estate listings with good quality photos attract potential buyers. In social media, posts with relevant and high-quality images get the most likes, comments, and shares.

Natural light and space are the 2 most important qualities people are looking for when looking at houses online. Use a wide-angle lens to capture the full essence of a space. Also, be sure to take photos in the morning. Use natural light to your advantage.

Smart Tips to Make Moving a Breeze

Whether you’re moving across the street or across the country, there is so much to do in preparation to for your move. While everyone’s experience and needs vary, there is no denying that moving can be very stressful.

Here’s a look at our recommendations for an easier and more efficient move.

Lighten your load

When moving, most families would relocate nearly 100 boxes or 7,400 pounds of stuff. All these can lead to one massive undertaking. Considering that movers charge depending on the weight or volume of your stuff, packing all your things will definitely cost you thousands and thousands of dollars.

Moving is a great time to organize your belongings. Take time to sort your them and get rid of those you no longer need. You can give them to your friends, donate them to charity or hold a yard sale if you still have time. A lighter load makes packing, moving and unpacking a lot easier.

Switch your utilities

If you are moving to a previously vacant or a newly built property, it is important that you call the utility company and setup a service switch. Do this as soon as you have a closing date.  You want to make sure that the utilities are active when you move in to your new home.

Label the boxes properly

When packing, it is best to pack your things by room. This will make packing quicker and the unpacking process easier and more manageable. Don’t forget to label the boxes properly. In addition to labeling what room they’re going to be in, have a corresponding list of what’s in each box.

Place the labels on the side of the box, not on the top. So, it would be easier to see the labels, even if they’re stacked.

Pack an overnight bag that contains your essentials

Set aside basic supplies like toiletries, clothes, and pajamas for the next two days. This is especially important if you need to go back to work the next day.

Moving can be stressful and exhausting. Chances are, you’ll be too tired to unpack your things by the end of the day. By packing an overnight bag, you’ll have your essentials ready and within easy access. Now, you can take a rest and worry about unpacking in the next few days.

Things to Do Before Closing on a Home

Over the course of a few months, you have scoured the internet and attended every open house in your area in the hopes of finding your dream home. Now, the house hunt has finally come to an end. You can’t wait to get the key to your new home.

We know you’re excited. You probably can’t wait to invite your friends for a housewarming party and dance around in your empty living room. But before you get too excited, there are some things you might want to do ensure a smooth experience.

Hire an attorney

While some states do not require that you work with a real estate attorney, we recommend that you hire one early in the home buying process.  If you still don’t have one, now is the best time to hire one.

Make sure that he/she has enough experience with real estate transactions as he/she will be the one to review your documents before you sign them and represent you at closing. Having both a real estate attorney and agent by your side will protect your interests.

Collect and review the documents  

Some people are just so excited that all they want to do is to sign the document and get the keys. But signing the document without even reviewing it will get you in trouble. That’s not a great way to start your journey to homeownership.

Before closing, tell the lender that you wanted to review the loan documents. Have all the documents you’re going to sign on closing day and take a close look at it. Review the HUD-1 form or the closing settlement statement and compare it to the GFE form that you received when you applied for the loan. Being prepared in advance will help ease the stress of closing day.

Visit the property

With closing day just a few days away, you might have trouble falling asleep. Dropping by your future home might help with the restlessness. Conduct your final inspection shortly before closing to ensure that the property is in the same condition as when you signed the offer. This will help ensure that everything will be going as planned.

Ensure that you have the necessary closing costs

The balance needs to be settled at least 2 days before closing. To ensure that you have sufficient funds available, you should have this discussion with your lawyer and know in advance how much money you will need to have on closing.