How to Sell Your House in the Sluggish Winter Months

It’s not peak selling season, but these smart strategies will help you make sure your home looks good even when the weather is dreary. Here are a few tips to help you sell your home this season.

Crank up the heat

Cold houses don’t sell. If potential buyers shiver at your open house, they aren’t likely to stick around, let alone make an offer. This isn’t the time to save on the heating bill. Keep the thermometer at least at a steady 70 degrees. A cold house sends the wrong message. It doesn’t need to be hot; it needs to be not cold.

Get shoveling

Don’t let a little snow come between you and the next owner of your house. Get shoveling, and make sure the walkway is clear. If someone has to slip and slide their way into your house, you’ll lose the battle before they cross the front door.

Moreover, if you want buyers to attend your open house, make sure they have a place to park. This task can be challenging as snowbanks and drifts accumulate. Don’t clear just the driveway — shovel out some spaces on the street as well. While you are at it, make sure you don’t wind up with big piles of dirty snow near the front door. If they are concerned about breaking a leg, then they are not paying attention to your house in a good way.

Decorate, but don’t go overboard

Some Realtors suggest stripping a house of all holiday decorations to avoid turning off potential buyers. But that sends the wrong message. After all, buyers are trying to get a feel for whether your house could become their next home. If your house is cold, empty and sterile, that sends the wrong message.

This is not the time to go nuts with plastic lawn ornaments. It might be the season to stow Santa and his reindeer out of sight in your cellar. Better to focus on some lighter, classier touches, such as wrapping a garland around the banister on the stairs or putting up a wreath. It really makes the entryway pop.

Become a weather freak, and stay flexible

One thing you can’t control during the winter is the weather. It’s time to start tuning into The Weather Channel, at least while you’re trying to sell your house. When planning an open house, it’s better to be prepared for weather changes. If a big storm is headed your way, maybe it’s a good idea to reschedule for a new day or push a morning open house into the afternoon. Even if you can lure a few buyers out in the storm, a dark and dreary day is probably not the best backdrop for showing off your house.

Top Reasons Why You Still Need a Real Estate Agent

With a lot of information readily available online, most people think that they can save a great deal of money if they don’t hire a real estate agent and just do things on their own. While some do okay, it can make the process of buying and selling a house a lot more difficult, time consuming and stressful.

If you are one of those people who have wondered the same thing, here are some obvious reasons why you need the help of a real estate agent.

Education and experience

By hiring someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in this field, you don’t need to know the ins and outs of buying and selling properties. The key is to find the right person.

With the assistance of a real estate agent, you can get things done faster. Plus, these people have the skills to locate the hottest buys if you are planning to buy and to attract buyers if you are planning to sell.

Help in the negotiation process

With the endless negotiations between sellers and buyers, keeping your cool can sometimes be difficult.

A real estate agent provides an emotional buffer between the potential buyer and the seller. Mind you, a seller can reject an offer for a variety of reasons, especially if they felt insulted on your comment about their decorating skills. An agent can speak on your behalf and smooth things over so as to keep things from getting too personal.

Unbiased opinion

A good real estate agent will not only help you highlight the best features of your home, he/she will also pinpoint what will turn buyers off on your current abode.

If you want to sell your house fast, you’ll need to have a good first impression with buyers. Home staging is the key to building a good first impression, and an agent can help you with that.

Inside scoop on the market

Most buyers go online to search for homes for sale. Unfortunately, some sellers don’t want their home publicized. So, you’ll have to talk to an agent to get you in for a tour.

Compared to the web, a real live agent is a much better searcher when it comes to specifics like prices, office spaces, neighborhood etc.

4 Tips for a Stress-Free Moving Experience

One in five American families makes a move each year. This year, you and your family will be on the road and move into your dream house.

Whether you’re going across town or across the country, it would be best to begin the planning process as soon as you know that you’ll be moving. This way, you can be sure that everything will go smoothly and minimize stress.

Listed below are a few sanity-saving ways to get ready for the big move. Read on for a stress-free and organized move.

Get organized early

Start as early as 30 to 60 days to make a plan in order to ensure that everything will go as planned. In order to make sure that you won’t leave anything behind, we suggest creating a countdown list. This list should include the things that you have to accomplish every week until the day of the big move comes.

Choose the right transportation

How are you going to get from point A to point B? If you are moving a short distance, you may either rent a truck on the day or assemble some very nice friends with trucks.

Choosing the right transportation is of great importance, especially when moving farther away. You have to make sure to get the right size of truck to cart all your belongings in one go.

Streamline your belongings

Moving is a perfect opportunity for you to organize your belongings and let go of the stuff you no longer use. If time permits, feel free to hold a yard sale. Or better yet, take the time to sort through your stuff and donate some of them.

Take inventory

If you are hiring a moving company, this is an absolute must. Keeping a record of all your household items is beneficial so you would know if something is missing. Create a list of all the contents of each box. Assign a number for each and make sure that the boxes are labeled properly.

4 Ways to Get Your House Ready for Summer

Summer is just around the corner. Many of you are probably preparing to go on a road trip or planning a beach getaway. With the temperatures rising, now would be the perfect time to prepare your home for summer.

Summer is the hottest months of the year. As such, you want to make sure that your family stays cool and comfortable throughout the season.

Here are 4 ways to get your house ready for summer.

Change your ceiling fan direction

Ceiling fans are rotated clockwise in winter in order to pull cool air up. This is done to keep the room warm and toasty in winter. This summer, don’t forget to change the direction of your ceiling fan.

Ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise in summer. This will help make the room feel up to 8 degrees cooler. This way, you can lower the thermostat without compromising your family’s comfort. It can keep your home cool this summer while saving energy.

Have your air conditioner serviced

Your air conditioner has been sitting idle for a few months now. With the temperatures rising to 3-digits in some parts of the country, you want to make sure that your AC is in tiptop shape this summer.

Make sure that you have your air conditioner checked before summer comes to ensure that will function efficiently throughout the summer. The last thing you want is for your AC to break down on the hottest days of the year.

Summer is a busy time for HVAC technicians. It may take some time before they come to your home. Have your AC serviced to ensure that the entire family stays cool and comfortable this summer.

Change your air filter

The air filter plays an important role in your HVAC system. It traps dirt, dust, and other pollutants before they reach the vents. A dirty filter will not only affect the efficiency of your cooling system, it can also lead to poor indoor air quality.

Air filters should be replaced every 30 to 90 days. Make it a habit to check your air filters every month and replace them when necessary. Change your air filters regularly to improve indoor air quality and keep your AC running safely and efficiently.

Defrost the freezer

The rising temperature puts an added strain to your freezer and refrigerator. Clean and defrost your freezer to keep it running smoothly and keep your energy consumption low. If your freezer is always near-empty, we suggest that you fill jugs or plastic bottles with water and freeze them. Or better yet, stock up on freezies and burgers. Keeping your freezer stocked will keep it at a level temperature and consume less energy.

How to Prepare for a Home Renovation

You have probably thought of renovating your space. We all know it isn’t cheap, but it does provide several benefits. Not only will it help bring your house back to life, it can also boost your property value. Plus, it can improve the comfort and functionality of your home.

If you are considering having your home renovated, this blog post is for you. Prepare your home for renovation with these tips.

Set a budget

Knowing what you want to do and achieve in a remodelling project is the easy part. Knowing how much your remodelling dreams will cost is the tougher question.

Before you get started, it is important to establish a spending limit. This is one of the most important steps you need to take before you start envisioning your dream space. By determining how much you can afford, it will be easier for you to make a realistic plan for the project. The last thing you want is to end up having a huge debt due to poor planning.

Find the right contractor

Home renovations can be costly. Often, these home improvement projects cost thousands and thousands of dollars. As such, you want to make sure it’s done right. In order to get the most out of your remodelling project, you need to hire the right contractor.

Choosing the right contractor can mean the difference between a job done right and an utter nightmare. Ask family members, friends, relatives and colleagues for referrals. Also, make sure that you interview candidates and look at their credentials to ensure that they are the best person for your renovation job.

Renovate for the future

When planning for renovation, always think long term. You may not be interested in selling the house now, but there may come a time when you need to move or upgrade to a bigger house. Your goal is not just to beautify your home, but to increase the value of your home as well.

Kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor living renovations can give your home value a boost. Make sure, though, that you keep your budget in check. Otherwise, you may not be able to recoup your investment in the future.

Find a temporary place to live in

Your home will soon be a renovation site. It can pose numerous dangers for children and pets. You can’t have them roaming or running around the renovation site. As such, it might be best to find temporary place to live in. This is especially beneficial if the project will take a few weeks.

Clear the property

If it’s a major renovation, it is best to clear the property. Pack away as many belongings as possible. Start packing your things once you decide to have the house renovated. Since this will be time consuming process, it is best so start early. Tackle each room one day at a time. Get rid of things you no longer use or need. Also, find a place where you can place your belongings temporarily. If it’s just a minor renovation, simply empty the room that needs to be renovated. Make sure that you cover furniture that may be damaged by dust.

Tips to Avoid Holiday Plumbing Disasters

Christmas is such a joyous occasion. Everyone is looking forward to eating good food and spending time with their family. However, holiday meal preparation and clean up can lead to a lot of unwanted waste in the kitchen. Plus, extra occupants who require additional toilet flushes, hot water usage, showers, and washing can put a strain on your drain system. As much as you try to avoid plumbing problem during the holidays, you still end up with clogged sinks, toilets, disposals, and sewers.

Here are some tips to avoid holiday plumbing disasters.

Turn off water before going on vacation

There is nothing more frustrating than coming home to a flooded home. To prevent plumbing disasters, make sure that you turn off the main water valve prior to your trip.

Pipes are susceptible to freezing during the winter. Water inside them expands as the temperature drops. This causes the pipes to freeze and burst. Shut off the main water valve when you leave your home, even if it’s overnight. This is the best protection against catastrophic water damage.

Use a strainer screen

During the holidays, you cook more food and wash more dishes. Having guests also mean taking more showers. Hair and food particles that go down the drain can cause it to clog eventually. Using a strainer screen can help prevent these issues. They keep hair from clogging your bathroom sinks and bathtubs. Plus, they prevent food particles from going down the kitchen sink.

Give the garbage disposal a break

Your garbage disposal is not a trash can, so you shouldn’t treat it like one. Overloading your garbage disposal can damage the blades and create clogs. Never feed your garbage disposal with non-food items such as fibrous foods, fruit and vegetable peels, and bones.

Never dump grease down the drain

Fat and grease are common bi-products of any holiday feast. But they are a drain’s worst nightmare. Pouring excess grease down the drain may not seem like a big deal, but they tend to harden as they cool down. This can seriously clog the drain.

Be mindful of what you put down the drains. Pour excess grease in an empty container and then throw it in the trash can.

Get your trashcans ready

Throwing trash like cigarette butts, kid’s toys, sanitary napkins, and paper towels down the toilet can create a plumbing disaster you don’t want to deal with. Place trash cans in the bathroom, so guests won’t be tempted to throw trash elsewhere.

Update Your Home Needs Every Decade

As a homeowner, tackling home improvement projects and updating your appliances are the best things you can do for your home. This can benefit your home in a number of ways. Aside from improving your home’s aesthetics, these updates will increase the value of your home and make it more comfortable.

Here are 4 updates your home needs every decade.

Repainting

A fresh coat of paint gives the outside of your home a fast and impressive face lift. Some professionals will tell you that you only need to repaint your home’s exterior every 4 to 6 years to make sure it looks good. If you haven’t repainted your home in 10 years or more, we encourage you to start painting. Don’t wait until paint chips are visible from the street before you start painting.

Replace garbage disposal

Your garbage disposal is designed to break up food into smaller pieces, so that it travels safely through the sewer system. However, it tends to lose its efficiency overtime. Eventually, it will wear down to the point where repairs are no longer worth the effort.

Dull blades, lingering smell, and frequent clogs are the most common signs that your garbage disposal needs replacing. Often, these issues become evident on the 10-year mark. If you notice any of these issues with your garbage disposal, consider investing on a newer model.

Update ceiling fans

How old is your ceiling fan? Have you ever wondered when exactly do you need to replace your ceiling fan?

Ceiling fans have an average lifespan of about 10 years. This estimation depends on the frequency of usage and the quality of the fan you have. The more frequently you use it, the more likely is it to wear down early.

Although it’s normal to hear a sound while the fan is in use, too much noise can be a sign of a bigger problem. A humming noise can indicate a problem with the fan’s motor. Clicking or scraping noises can be the result of a broken or bent blade. If the light bulb seems to burnout more quickly, it can also be a sign that you need to get a new ceiling fan. If you still haven’t replaced yours in the last 10 years, now would be the best time to swap it out for a newer model.

Get a new carpet

Buying a carpet is not something most people do regularly. Depending on the type of carpet you have and the amount of traffic in your home, medium-grade carpets have an average lifespan of 5 to 15 years.

Regular cleaning and vacuuming can extend the lifespan of your carpet. But no matter how well you take care of it, there will come a time when it needs replacing. Old carpet padding, wear and tear on carpet, permanent stains and lingering smell are just a few signs you need to get a new one, ding carpet can negatively affect the look and feel of your home. An update wouldn’t hurt.

4 Simple Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Room

People prefer to live in a space that capitalizes on natural light. In fact, most homebuyers search for homes that are spacious and have adequate lighting. Not only will it make the house look bright, it will also affect your mood in a positive way.

Unfortunately, not all rooms in the house have adequate day lighting. Insufficient natural light is common in rooms that face north, basement, hallways and powder rooms. The absence of natural light makes these rooms look dark and cramped. Luckily, there are things you can do to brighten up a dark room.

Whether you live in a small apartment with only one window or a large home with a dark interior, these tips will help brighten up your space. Use these tips to make your space sunnier in an instant.

Here are 4 simple ways to brighten up a dark room.

Choose paint colors wisely

Choosing a paint color for your walls can be a daunting task. It becomes even more challenging when choosing paint for spaces that lack natural lighting.

Light, neutral colors like white, tan, gray, and mushroom can brighten up a dark room. They provide a contrast if you have dark wood furnitures, doors or wood floors. They reflect artificial light luminously without the risk of overpowering the space.

Clean windows

This is one of the simplest ways to brighten up a dark room. If your windows are extra dirty, you may want to use a diluted vinegar solution to clean your windows.

Combine an equal part of water and vinegar and transfer it in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto your window and wipe with a clean cloth. This is an easy and inexpensive solution to a lack of natural light in your home. Always keep your windows clean to let natural light shine through your home.

Rethink window treatments

Heavy, light-blocking window treatments often absorb precious natural light. Let light pass through more easily with sheer or translucent window treatments. They’ll provide privacy during the day while allowing natural light to enter your home.

Place mirrors strategically

Placing mirrors will not make a room brighter on its own. What they do is, they reflect more natural light into your space. When placed strategically, mirrors can really brighten up a space. To maximize the light, place a mirror directly across the window. Not only will it radiate light around a room, it will also visually expand a room so that it appears bigger.