Selling in Spring: 3 Top Tips

For Sale: 652 Hulton Road in Oakmont

Spring is the busiest season for real estate; the grass is green, the sun is shining, the air is fresh, and buyers everywhere are looking forward to a summer move.Unfortunately, most hopeful home sellers have the same idea.

Ron Croushore, CEO of Prudential Preferred Realty offers the following 3 tips to make sure your property is at its best this season.

Manicure. Your lawn, that is. “Trim your bushes, rake any old leaves or debris, plant fresh flowers, repair fences, paint your garage—anything that will make your property look clean and bright,” Croushore suggests.

Use Shades of Spring. If the inside of your home is staged, try updating throw pillows, drapes and towels in subtle spring colors, like yellow, pale blue and lavender.

Wash Your Windows. “This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many homeowners fail to do this,” says Croushore. “Or maybe they washed their windows when they first listed back in December, and don’t realize they need to do it again.” With the sun shining through, streaky, dusty windows will be noticeable. Hire a professional or do it yourself. While you’re at it, clean the windowsills, too—both inside, and out. “When cold winter air hits the heat of your home, your windows sweat, which can cause mildew,” explains Croushore.

“On top of these things, you should also make sure to invest in heavy spring cleaning. Wash any carpets, throw open your windows, scour and polish the floors and get those surfaces gleaming. With competition high, you want to make sure your home is in the best possible condition for selling this spring,” recommends Croushore.

Thinking about selling your home? Get a free market analysis of how much your home is worth in today’s market.

Improving Your Home: Budget Basics

Whether you’re making renovations to the home you’ve lived in for years, refinishing a fixer-upper or making improvements to a property you have just purchased, there are a few things you should keep in mind when starting out on a new home improvement project.

Have a Plan
It’s always a good idea to have a home improvement plan. This includes any repairs you think your home could use in the future, from six months to six years. Knowing that in three to five years it will be time for a new roof will help you decide if you really need, or can really afford, to install a luxury shower or a new patio right now.

Know the Value
If you have a home improvement plan, and it shows that yes, you can budget in the renovation you are planning—say, adding an extra bathroom downstairs—next, you should focus on the value of your home. You will most likely recover at least two-thirds the cost of any upgrades on your home when you sell it. Knowing that might make your budget a bit more flexible. However, also keep in mind that it is possible to add too much value; meaning if your home is suddenly worth more than every other home in your neighborhood—because you added a master suite, a pool, patio and outdoor kitchen—it might be harder to sell later on. And if you are improving solely for the intent of resale, remember to keep all improvements neutral.

Professional or DIY?
Unless you have done the project you are planning before or have some professional training, don’t try and do a major project yourself. While you may think it will ease your budget, if you make a mistake you could wing up spending a lot hiring someone to fix it. Budget a little snug for a professional? Consider hiring someone to do the bulk of the job and then finishing on your own, like getting a contractor to put up the walls of your new mudroom, and then caulking, painting and decorating yourself.

How to Maintain Your Roof

Roof

Flickr iwona_kellie

A top quality roof is the biggest investment a homeowner can make. While a roof should be replaced every 20 – 25 years, proper maintenance can lengthen the life of your roof and proactively ward off common problems.

Many homeowners don’t realize that their roof requires regular maintenance but routinely inspecting and making minor repairs can pay off big in the long run. Inspecting your roof twice a year, and after any major storm or natural disaster, is a great way to expand the life of your roof, and you don’t need a professional contractor to do this.

Loose, worn or missing shingles is a common roofing issue. Check for and replace loose shingles, or any shingles that look particularly worn—patch faulty shingles with roofing cement, negating room for water leakage.

Cleaning debris buildup is a simple task that can have a major impact. Leaves, branches and other environmental matter can collect on your roof, creating extra weight and making way for water to accumulate and cause leaks. Also be sure to clean out gutters seasonally.

Roof flashing, the galvanized metal or aluminum placed over surface intersections and edges, provides extra protection from weathering. Most major flashing repairs should be left to a professional. However, there are some simple DIY tricks most homeowners can manage, including repairing or replacing bent, loose or rusted nails; replacing crumbled or dry roofing cement and recaulking.

Major roof repairs can be costly. Make major mishaps less likely and get the most out of your roof by inspecting it twice annually and making any necessary small repairs along the way. While you can conduct most of your inspections yourself, hiring a professional once every few years is a great way to ensure you aren’t missing anything, and elongate the life of your roof.

What your paint colors are saying about you

Agents frequently suggest that homeowners paint before placing their homes on the market. Don’t be offended! Using Paint Colors to Sell Your HouseAgents understand “color psychology,” which focuses on color’s effect on human behavior and emotion. Since people’s reaction to color is immediate, color has a tremendous influence on the choices they make every day.

“Color choices are very personal and when selling your home, it’s critical to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers,” said Allegra Dioguardi, president of Styled and Sold Home Staging in New York. “With so many people beginning their search for a home on the Internet today, your home and listing photos must stand out from your competition. Color is one very simple way to do this.”

Added Eric Brown, one of the authors of House Selling for Dummies: “Painting your house’s exterior before you put it on the market will give the biggest bang for your fix-up buck, as long as you are using colors that conform to the neighborhood’s decorating norm.”

Colors affect human beings in many ways, and by using the principles of color psychology, you can make your home stand out from the competition, sell more quickly, and at a higher price. In short, the stimulus and effect of colors normally cross cultures. Blues will feel cool, reds and oranges feel warm. Deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity.

Your home’s exterior color is the first thing most potential homebuyers see when they drive up or inspect the property on the Web. The correct color may be the most powerful and cost effective design tool at your disposal.

What is “correct” these days? Brown’s research shows that homes painted in pale yellows with cream or beige accents have sold fastest during the past few years.

In general, lighter colors are favored for exterior as they make the property seem larger. Conversely, painting your sideboards with a darker color will make the house seem smaller, though dark colors can draw more attention to home’s details.

For those painting an older home, you may want to consider historical accuracy, as this could be a big selling point as well. When choosing interior colors for the home, consider the purpose of each room. Kitchen and dining areas painted in “food colors” such as coffee browns, celery greens and scrambled-egg yellows will make the rooms feel more natural.

Hallways are a great place to bring in the exterior colors for overall harmony.

According to Jeanette Fisher’s book Joy to the Home: Secrets of Interior Design Psychology, since, deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity, she recommends painting master bedrooms a medium shade of green or blue for warm selling seasons, and rouge red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy tones of green, blue, or a pale shell pink.

For your bedroom and bathroom, cool colors can form a relaxing atmosphere with paint. Consider shades of blue, green or even lavender.

Of course, common sense should help you with any color choices. You need to match other things in your home and keep a comfortable environment as well.

What is your favorite color for an interior room?

4 Easy Ways To Make Your Backyard Distinctive

Easy backyard home improvement projectsToday’s prospective homebuyers are increasingly interested in a property’s outdoor living space as they are its interior. Savvy agents understand this powerful trend and are staging homes on two fronts – the terrific indoors and the great outdoors.

The following tips will help ensure that your backyard is as distinctive at your home itself.

• Make your Backyard Homey: Create a conversation area with some furniture. The area needn’t be elaborate; just two chairs pulled close together with a table between can make even the most basic concrete patio special. Just the idea that an outdoor eating option is possible makes a property more inviting. Adding accessories like a small table, an inexpensive outdoor rug or a few pots filled with flowers will make the area even more attractive.

• Remember the Kids: If you have an old tree house, fix it up and paint it bright colors or add sporty designs that will make other kids fall in love with it. Just make sure the tree house is safe. Add a tire swing to a tree and keep an orderly basket of balls, flying disks and a jump rope so kids dragged along on the showing can play in the yard. Swing sets that are old and unsightly should be removed or refurbished to look new.

• Fire is Hot: There’s nothing like sitting around a fire and enjoying the company of friends and loved ones, which explains the growing popularity of fire pits and outdoor hearths. Few home improvements create the “wow” factor that a backyard fireplace will, and many homeowners are adding a fireplace to their outdoor landscape to recreate all the appeal of their home’s interior outside in the backyard.

• Simple Fixes: You needn’t go overboard with the changes in your yard. Sometimes, the easiest fixes will create a look that people will remember. Do a thorough inspection and replace any damaged boards on your deck or fence, and apply a fresh coat of paint, stain and sealant if the finish requires it. You should also weed and groom your garden and add some perennials for color.

Creating a backyard sanctuary is one of the smartest things you can do to make your home stand out, so make your outdoor space a destination to remember.

Cheap Ways To Add Instant Curb Appeal

Making a good impression on potential buyers before they even step inside will assure that your property is memorable, but more importantly, making a bad impression will hinder your chances of selling your home—regardless of how charming it is inside.

Many homeowners who are trying to sell think that increasing their curb appeal has to be a pricey affair involving landscapers or a new front porch. But there are a great deal of small, inexpensive things you can do for the outside of your home that will make the overall appearance much more appealing. We suggest these simple do-it-yourself projects, all of which will take less than one afternoon, and cost you 100 dollars—or less!

Flower Boxes.
Putting flower boxes under your windows will give your home a pop of color and increase the overall charm factor of your property. All it takes is the boxes themselves—which are usually under $35—some soil, and plants. Not interested in flower boxes? A few potted plants lining your porch, steps or walkway will do the trick as well.

Repaint Your Accents.
Repainting the accents of your home—including the front door, trim and shutters—will give your house a fresh, clean look. Choosing a bold color will make your house stick out, but even playing it safe with a neutral tone will make your property appear clean and well cared for.

Replace Your Numbers.
Many houses have old, faded or rusted numbers. Buying new, modern numbers—or even customized numeral plaques—can really help the look of the front of your house. This is a small detail that is often overlooked but can have a really nice effect. Here is a great article on how to do it: http://www.lowescreativeideas.com/idea-library/projects/Address_For_Success_0410.aspx

Plant a Garden.
Planting a small flower garden in the front of your house will give your home a warm, inviting look. Foliage adds instant curb appeal. If you don’t want to tend to flowers, consider planting a tree.

Detailing.
Adding interesting details, such as a bird feeder or birdbath, will improve the appeal of your front yard. Inexpensive stepping stones trailed throughout a garden or up to the front door are also attractive touches.

Mailbox Makeover.
Getting an upgraded or customized mailbox adds great detailing to the front of your house. Whether you opt for a mounted box on the side of your home or a curbside container, having a mailbox that stands out is a nice touch.

There are many different low-budget options for bolstering your curb appeal. Doing so will immediately make your home more inviting, assure a great first impression and enable a faster selling time.

3 Spring Home Renovation Projects Before You Sell

Spring is widely known as the busiest real estate season for both buyers and sellers, as the weather brightens and more houses pop up on the market. Spring is also the ideal time for any last minute renovations that could increase your home’s value. In this market, buyers are pickier than ever, so embarking on a few renovation projects before putting your house up for sale will speed up its selling process and allow you to ask for a higher price. The following renovations are ideal for spring-time completion and are likely to give your property a competitive edge.

The average home loses 30% of its energy through its windows.
Installing energy efficient windows is a great way to improve your home’s value, because they lower your energy bills, provide quality insulation and are a much greener choice than your old, outdated single pane windows. Do the proper research before installing your new windows. We suggest choosing windows that have earned an Energy Star rating.

Curb appeal is crucial, especially in the springtime when local flora is in full bloom.
Installing a fence around your yard makes your home appear to have more privacy, and is appealing to buyers with children or animals. Additionally, planting a small garden and trimming trees and shrubs will increase the charm of your property. Try and declutter your lawn as well, removing that old swing set, rusted patio furniture or dog house that’s seen better days. It’s also important to pay attention to your front door—if the paint is chipped or peeling, give it a fresh coat. The front door is one of the first things buyers see upon arrival. If it looks neglected, buyers will be headed in the other direction before you can say “home maintenance.”

Spring is also the perfect season to give your old, cracked driveway a face-lift.
Pulling into a freshly paved driveway gives buyers the sense that you take great care of your property, both inside and out. And, because asphalt needs the perfect combination of temperature and moisture to properly set, breezy spring weather makes it an ideal time to pave. Extend your attention from the drive to the garage, making sure it is freshly painted, decluttered and free of cracks or holes.

Spring is the perfect season to make renovations before placing your house on the market. The weather is nice, making it less likely any contractors or builders will have to postpone a project, and as the market is stronger in the spring, your chances of a speedy sale are improved.

4 Remodeling Projects That Can Raise Your Home’s Value

1404 Langport Drive, Upper St. Claire

It is important for sellers to be cognizant of their own home’s market value, a concern for many current sellers. Whether planning to sell in a couple of weeks, months or years, value is crucially important. If you have concern about your home’s assessment, there are plenty of ways to give it a swift boost before listing it on the market.

1. Refurbish your basement. Refurbished rooms, such as basements, always go a long way in adding value to your property. Most basements are empty storage spaces that are rarely seen to any non-inhabitants. By turning the room into an entertainment area, bar or poker room, you add both value and character to the home — both traits that will be loved by buyers.

2. Add a deck. Some homeowners may want to consider adding a deck to their property. For warmer weather, decks offer a relaxing getaway for entertaining, grilling or simply expanding your living area. When a homeowner adds a deck, their return on their investment is estimated to be about 76%.

Take a look at other properties in your neighborhood and match the improvements of your neighbors. However, getting the right size is important. Make sure the deck isn’t too large for the home — it should not be any larger than a third of your home.

3. Remodel the master bath. Every buyer loves to see a bathroom remodel and adding a master bath with more space will be monumental for home value. Renovating without putting in an addition is completely possible as long as you rework the space you already have. Consider knocking out a closet to free up some more space. If that isn’t possible, skylights, new tile and a brand new tub will also give the bathroom a fresh modern appeal that buyers and appraisers will love.

4. Convert the attic to an extra bedroom. In the same vein as re-doing your basement, why not take the same approach with your attic? Create an extra bedroom or guest room, adding as many energy-efficient windows as possible for added sunlight. Consider adding hardwood flooring, custom seating and large closets for added value. This new room will surely make your home unique and appealing to buyers, while also adding the desired value you’re seeking.

There is no limit to the upgrades you can make when seeking to add value to your property. From room remodeling, fresh paint jobs, deck additions, and more, going the extra mile to bolster your home’s worth will provide you with an excellent and beneficial result.

Expanding Your Living Space Outdoors

Patio
Now that Spring is officially here, many homeowners will be spending more times outdoors. Expanding your living area beyond the walls of your home is a great way to increase square footage and, more importantly, increase your home’s value. When so many are cutting back on expensive vacations, an inviting outdoor area often provides a welcome escape from the challenges of today’s hectic lifestyles.

From small improvements to major remodels, some of the increasingly popular and creative ways homeowners are revamping their outdoor space, include:

  • Extending a lanai
  • Screening in a porch
  • Adding a wet bar or an outdoor family room; water resistant fabrics for outdoor furniture are now available in a wealth of styles.
  • Installing an outdoor kitchen – in fact, many manufacturers, such as Viking, Weber and GE are meeting the demand by offering commercial grade appliances for outdoor use. Many outdoor kitchens have small cabinets with under-counter refrigerators and some include sinks.
  • Building cabanas and/or a pool house in pool areas
  • Installing home theater accessories, such as projection screens for viewing movies outdoors
  • Adding an outdoor fireplace

Remodel your landscaping, as well. A well-maintained and landscaped yard not only adds important curb appeal to your home, it increases your home’s value. In fact, according to a Clemson University study, landscaping can result in more than a 100% return on investment.
Work with an experienced real estate professional to get a better understanding of what outdoor improvements and remodels will yield the highest return on your investment. But most importantly, turn your outdoor space into a place to enjoy with family and friends. Your yard should be an extension of your home — a sanctuary and a treasured gathering spot to enjoy year after year.

Home Sellers: 5 Tips to Make Your Bathroom Stand Out

5 tips to make your bathroom stand outEvery homebuyer has a vision of their perfect house and the rooms that are most important to them. Because of their relatively small size in comparison to the rest of a home, bathrooms are often overlooked in the staging process, but for many, it could be the most important room in a buying decision.

A bathroom is more than just a place for grooming; it’s a sanctuary. It’s a place one can relax in a hot bath and escape the stresses of daily life for a few moments at a time. Updating a tired-looking bathroom is one of the best things you can do to increase a home’s resale value and the fixes are not too costly or labor intensive.

Easy fixes include adding new, luxurious-looking towels, replacing the shower curtain and adding candles around a bathtub. However, with a little more money and effort, your bathroom can become a talking point of the house.

Here is a look at five great ways to upgrade a bathroom.

1. Beautify: By adding decorative glass, stone tile or accents to the bathroom, it will stand out among the other houses in the neighborhood that are for sale. Extra-wide wall tiles are popular these days and wood cabinets can be beautifully embellished with intricately carved wooden inlays.

2. Lighting: Add more lighting options around the room, especially around the vanity to reduce shadows and glaring. This is something that isn’t too expensive and can really highlight the positive features of a bathroom. Mood lighting around the tub area is also increasing in popularity.

3. Bath/Shower: It’s not too often you hear someone complaining about a bathtub being too large, and that’s because there’s nothing better than coming home from a hard day’s work and relaxing in a big soothing tub. By putting in a new tub and creating more of a spa-like atmosphere, you will have buyers imagining themselves washing their cares away. Adding a massage element to the showerhead or one that replicates rain showers is also something that will appeal to buyers.

4. Update Fixtures: Not as costly as some of the other tips, changing out the fixtures in a bathroom can add a great deal. From cabinet handles to faucets, the addition of brushed nickel or other metals that are polished and elegant are always a huge hit. And if space permits, add a second sink.

5. Think Green: The bathroom is a prime place to start putting those environmentally friendly devices to work. Installing fixtures that save water, such as a low-flow showerhead, a low-flow faucet aerator, and a dual-flush toilet, can save thousands of gallons of water each year. Adding energy-efficient windows is another easy option, since the size of bathroom windows are relatively small. Another fix that is both decorative and energy efficient is the addition of natural stone flooring, which helps the bathroom stay cool during the summer, and warmer during the winter.

When buyers walk into a renovated bathroom that exudes quality and offers an intimate, contemporary feel, it’s one of the top things that people will remember about a home.