4 Real Estate Deal-Breakers and How to Fix Them Efficiently

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

The real estate sales process can be stressful and seemingly complicated. Even a relatively smooth process can take ample negotiations and may require weeks to pass before you can close on the transaction. Some deals are increasingly complicated, and major roadblocks may develop that threaten the entire project. These are a few of the more significant factors that buyers and sellers may run into during the real estate sales process that could potentially prevent the deal from going through as planned.

Unpleasant Decor
Unpleasant decor is something that buyers notice immediately, and some will only make an offer on the home contingent to some decorative updates being completed before closing. For example, some buyers may detest bold paint colors on the walls or may feel that the decor in the kitchens and bathrooms is too outdated; however, sellers may believe that the home is priced appropriately for the as-is condition and that they should not make concessions because of decor. Both real estate agents need to review sales comps in the area to determine if other homes selling in this price range have similar decor or if they have recently been upgraded. The agents should make the buyer and seller aware of realistic expectations based on market conditions, and one or both parties may need to make concessions based on a sales price and property condition that is justified by the market.

Major Repair Issues
Home repair issues may be known by both parties before a property inspection is complete, but the inspection report can potentially reveal more issues that have not been discussed. Many buyers may try to negotiate to have repair work completed before closing. You may consider taking a course on renovations (like Rules of Renovation) and other significant home improvement projects before you agree to take on any huge projects as a buyer or a seller. These courses can help you to better estimate the cost and time it will take to complete the work that is needed.

A Low Appraised Value
Many buyers will apply for a home loan to pay for their purchase. Mortgage lenders typically offer a loan amount that is a percentage of the sales price or appraised value, and they will take the lesser of these two figures into consideration. This means that an appraised value that comes in lower than the sales price could reduce the loan amount to an uncomfortable amount for the buyer. More than that, the buyer may not want to pay more money for a house than it is worth. The feasible options are for the seller to lower the sales price or to work with the appraiser to increase the appraised value.

Title Issues
It is customary to review the title history on a property before finalizing a purchase, and this is a required step for anyone who is applying for a mortgage loan. This process essentially determines if the seller clearly holds title to the property or what obstacles need to be cleared before the seller can convey title to the buyer at closing. Some issues are minor and can easily be dealt with prior to closing by the title company and the seller. In some cases, however, a real estate lawyer needs to be contacted to resolve the matter.

Many real estate deals will close without a hitch, but many others will develop one or several of these issues. Many issues can be overcome when the buyer and seller work together and when enough time and patience is given to resolve the issues. You may also have to use third-party services, such as a title company or real estate lawyer, to address the issue properly.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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From: Remax Real Estate Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Live in a Loud Area? Here’s How to Reduce Sound Inside Your Home

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Have you ever wished you lived on a remote island somewhere? A tranquil, calm and—most importantly—quiet place just for yourself? If so, you’re certainly not alone.

Depending on where you live, whether in an urban city or in the suburbs, overpopulation remains an issue, and dealing with noise pollution has become a real responsibility.

Whether sound comes from loud neighbors, lumber trucks, domestic animals or construction workers, we live in a noisy world which can affect us where we need it least—in our homes. These days, we barely even notice the sounds of everyday occurrences such as lawnmowers and nearby roads, but if you think back to pre-industrial times, this amount of external stimulation would have made our distant ancestors nervous wrecks.

Take a moment to consider what you deal with every day regarding external noise. Perhaps it might be time to take action through these easy steps to protect you and your loved ones from unnecessary stress, or even poor sleep.

Close Up Your Gaps
The old advice rings just as true today as it did when you first heard it: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” Ensuring as tight an envelope as possible is imperative to reducing the external noise in your neighborhood from invading your privacy and comfort, and this means closing all possible gaps.

Starting with the obviously visible holes and cracks, grab some flexible polyurethane or latex caulk to make your walls and window gaps airtight. Even the slightest of open areas around windows will allow sound to infiltrate. Be as thorough as possible in closing them all up. Perhaps you have an issue with exposure around the openings for pipes and wires where they enter the house—if so, use expanding foam or putty to tighten up your house.

Invest in High-Quality Windows
High-quality windows are one of the most important elements for a soundproof home. Opting for models with seriously thick glass will be your saving grace, and that’s why many noise-conscious individuals choose storm windows with sturdy frames and decent weather stripping.

Some things to watch out for: the larger the airspace between your original window and the storm window, the better (i.e., three to four inches). DIY-ers with double-hung and gliding windows tend to gravitate toward storm windows, as they allow the easiest installation; however, there are various options to make window installation an easier job, regardless of the category of your existing windows.

Shape Up Your Insulation
Not only for the sake of your heating and electricity bills, good quality insulation in your home will significantly reduce the internal disturbance from external noise pollution. Attics and walls are usually most vulnerable to noise infiltration due to under-insulation—start there first! Once again, quality, as opposed to speed, is of the essence with this procedure, as only meticulously installed fiberglass batt and blown-in insulation will ensure your sound pollution from the environment remains low.

Of course, installing insulation can still be a bit of a procedure, but there are plenty of guides online to help you perform a world-class job at a fraction of the price.

Homeowners with DIY abilities often choose to install insulation between floor joists, and as long as you pay particular attention to safety such as dust masks, safety goggles, gloves and protective clothing, you should be good to go.

Consider Your Own Noise Contribution
In the process of fixing up your house to protect it from future external sound infiltration, you will require the use of power tools. Spare a thought for your neighbors and choose your weapons wisely. We sometimes can be so accustomed to tolerating a noisy environment ourselves that we become oblivious to our own contribution to noise pollution.

The additions to your home can be a labor-intensive process, and power tools will certainly make your renovations much faster and easier. Chris Knuffman, reciprocating business line manager at Quincy Compressor, explains how you can be efficient while keeping home improvement noise to a minimum.

“Pneumatic tools powered by compressed air help complete tough and noisy jobs faster and more efficiently than manual options,” explains Knuffman. “Robust air compressors properly sized for such tools offer quicker recovery and are quieter work site solutions, delivering lower decibels and less fatigue than misapplied models.”

External noise has more of an effect on your quality of life than you think, and taking these simple steps will surely make a considerable difference to your comfort and sense of security in your own home. As the jobs are relatively easy within the world of active DIY-ers, the trick is ensuring you are as meticulous as possible with each alteration, as sound certainly does travel.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

5 Reasons Why Your HVAC Systems Aren’t Working Right

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

The wind is howling outside, and you’re curled up under four blankets. “It’s freezing in here!” you mutter as you push the up button on the thermostat yet again.

At times like this, you know your HVAC system isn’t working right, but you have no idea why. Here’s a little insight into what might be going on, and when it’s time to call an HVAC technician in for a little help.

Clogged Filters
If it seems like you’re turning the heat up, up, up or the air conditioning down, down, down but nothing seems to be happening, a clogged filter could be your culprit. Lack of proper air flow caused by clogged filters is the No. 1 cause of inefficient HVAC systems.

To keep clogged filters from becoming an issue, check your filter once a month and plan on replacing it once every 90 days. If you have pets in your home, you may need to replace the filter a little more often.

Worn Parts
Just like everything else, the parts of your heating system can wear out. Things like belts and motors can become worn and cause your system to work poorly. This problem can be hard to diagnose without a qualified HVAC tech to come in and check things out.

If your system seems like it’s just not working the way it used to, it’s probably time to call in the pros. The upfront cost might seem a little high, but if your system continues to work highly efficiently to heat and cool your home, you’ll save money in the long run.

Leaks in the System
Leaks in your HVAC system can be easy to diagnose but a little harder to fix. Still, it’s great information to give your tech before he gets started.

To diagnose a leak in the system, start with the obvious. Look for liquid coming from anywhere other than the condenser pipe (that’s the part where the water normally leaks from).

Check your filter for ice. Leaking refrigerant will cause your filter to freeze the moisture it catches, turning the filter into a popsicle.

If a pipe is leaking at a junction, a seal could be dry-rotted or corroded. Be sure to pass on the information to your HVAC technician before he or she comes out so he or she can be better prepared to help you.

Electrical Issues
Even if you have a gas or oil-powered HVAC unit, it still has electrical components. If these components are not working correctly, they can cause your system to waste fuel, not work correctly, or not work at all.

The biggest problem seen on the electrical side is with the ignition system. If your unit clicks a lot before it ignites or continues to click without igniting, this is a problem with the electrical igniter.

Age of the Unit
Even with regular maintenance and care, older units are going to start to fail. According to ENERGY STAR, replacing a unit that is 10-15 years old can save you up to 20 percent on your heating and air conditioning costs.

If you are unsure how old your unit is, you can use the serial number to figure out when your unit was made.

Leaks, clogged filters, and the age of your unit can all cause problems with your HVAC unit. Having a qualified technician come out and repair or replace your unit will save you money on your fuel bills and reduce your impact on the environment.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Energy-Efficient Home Hacks to Complete Before End of Summer

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Soaring temperatures comes with sky-high energy bills. If you’re looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency as your HVAC kicks into overdrive, consider adding these energy-efficient home hacks to your weekend warrior to-do list.

Increase Insulation
Air leakages can occur anywhere in your home, resulting in your AC unit having to work that much harder to keep your home comfortable. Adding a new layer of insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more energy-efficient. Best of all, you can do this easy hack yourself! Before laying any new insulation, be sure to plug up any large openings and seal off small cracks, especially around attic hatches, window frames, and electrical outlets.

Smart Home Automation
It seems like almost every electronic device now has a smart alternative on the market. Though it’s easy to write off this technology as a luxury, most of these devices can actually go a long way in helping to reduce your energy usage each month. Whether it’s a thermostat that learns your family’s habits or a dishwasher that only runs during off-peak energy hours, smart home appliances and devices can go a long way in helping curb your family’s energy demands.

Close Your Blinds
Sometimes the best hacks are also the easiest—and cheapest! By simply closing your blinds, especially for south- and west-facing windows, you have the potential to save upwards of 7 percent off your energy bill, as well as lowering the ambient temperature by up to 20 degrees. Considering that almost 30 percent of unwanted humid summer heat comes in from your windows, it makes sense to drop the shades on the afternoon sun. Better yet, if it’s in your budget, replace those worn-out windows altogether. ENERGY STAR has found that most homeowners can expect to see an average 12 percent drop in their home’s energy consumption after replacing single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR-qualified alternatives.

Landscape to Lower Energy
Think of landscaping as your exterior blinds, and plant a few trees along the south side of your home to help block direct sunlight from ever making it to your windows. Ensure that any tree you plant is a leafy variety, rather than an evergreen, so that you can get exceptional shade in the summer and plenty of warming sun in the leafless winter months. Similarly, plant evergreen shrubs around your home’s foundation to add year-round insulation.

Cooking Counts
Summer is virtually synonymous with grilling, but did you ever consider just how much energy you can save by sparking up some charcoal instead of your oven? Not only will you be sparing yourself any operating costs, but you’ll also prevent your HVAC from having to combat the added heat your culinary masterpiece is likely to create.

The best way to make your home as energy-efficient as possible is to have a professional perform an energy audit. The typical audit usually only takes a couple hours of your time, but it has the potential to save you thousands of dollars in reduced energy expenses year-round. With a little planning ahead and a few upgrades, you’ll be saving energy daily!

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Winning Over Weeds

By Susanne Dwyer

Gardening can be so idyllic—pruning abundant rose bushes, harvesting ripe tomatoes, nestling colorful annuals into window boxes…then there’s weeds.

Even the most enthusiastic gardener can become overwhelmed and disgruntled by an onslaught of weeds, taking the joy out of yard work and wreaking havoc on one’s back. Here are some strategies from FineGardening.com for winning the battle with weeds, both for your peace of mind and your garden’s good health.

Don’t awaken weeds. Every inch of soil contains weed seeds, but only those closest to the surface receive enough light to grow. Don’t unwittingly promote weed growth by turning and digging soil unnecessarily.

Don’t skimp on mulch. Not only does mulch make your garden beds more attractive, it helps prevents weeds by blocking out the light. Keep in mind, however, that chunky mulch allows some light in and certain mulch is full of weed seeds, so make your selection carefully. If you’re feeling ambitious, lay down a layer of fabric or cardboard and place the mulch on top. This will ensure no light and no weed seeds infiltrate your soil.

Weed after rain. Wet weeds come out much more easily than dry ones, so be sure to head out promptly after a storm. If you’re left to tackle dry weeds, use a hoe or steak knife to slice them right below the soil line.

Plant close together. Instead of spacing your plants out, place them closer together so that they’ll form a natural light barrier as they mature. This is a long-term strategy, but will help lead to weed-free gardens in your future.

Water selectively. Don’t accidentally encourage weed growth by watering them. Instead, employ soaker hoses and watering cans to water just your plants, as opposed to wide swaths of your garden where weeds lie in wait.

Most importantly, weed often. Letting the chore go will make weeds more prolific and more difficult to pull out. Arm yourself with these strategies and put weeds in their rightful place.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Save Money by Converting From Oil to Gas Heating: Here’s How

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

If you have an aging, oil-fired heating system and are dreading the day you’ll need to replace or service your heating system, you may want to explore converting from oil to gas. Heating your home with a cleaner, more fuel-efficient system will shrink your energy bill in the process.

Converting from oil to gas is an increasingly common move. Here are some of the many factors to consider when deciding which heating source is best for your home:

Converting From Oil to Gas Heat Saves Money
The numbers don’t lie: Heating your home with natural gas is cheaper than heating with oil. Comparing the current market price for the various fuel sources won’t tell the whole story; after all, oil and propane are measured in gallons and gas is measured in therms.

To accurately examine the cost of fuels based on the heat content they generate, the U.S. Energy Information Administration recommends using this formula: cost per million British thermal units (BTU).

Estimated Average Residential Winter Heating Bills for 2016-17
Natural Gas – $728
Fuel Oil – $2,171
Propane – $2,176

Homeowners who heat with gas are also less vulnerable to price swings. This is at least partly because a greater percentage of natural gas used in the U.S. is produced domestically, while we remain much more dependent on petroleum-producing nations for our oil supply.

Switching from oil to gas can also produce savings because gas furnace systems generally cost less than their oil-burning counterparts. Because oil burns hotter, the furnace must be built from more robust materials to withstand the heat.

Heating With Gas Is Cleaner Than Heating With Oil
Taking steps to reduce your impact on the environment is an increasingly important consideration for many people. There are also financial savings to be realized by converting to a cleaner-burning system.

For example, because heating with oil produces more carbon build-up than gas, having the system regularly cleaned is essential for safety, as well as efficiency. Studies have shown that a build-up of 1/16 of an inch of soot can decrease overall system efficiency by 7 to 8 percent.

The need to regularly replace oil filters also adds to annual maintenance costs, which can be as much as two to three times higher than for gas heating systems.

Does Your Home Have Access to Natural Gas?
To reap the potential benefits of switching from oil to natural gas heat, you’ll need to have access to the supply. Is there a nearby gas main? If not, are there plans to expand into your area?

If you do have access, you’ll need to contact your natural gas distributor to discuss running a line from the nearest gas main to your home and installing a meter to measure your usage for billing purposes. If not, contacting your area’s natural gas provider will help you determine if there are plans to expand access to your location.

The expenses involved in getting your home connected can vary. The utility may perform this function at little or no cost for homes that are relatively close to the nearest pipeline (after all, they want your business); however, if you live at the end of a long driveway or in an area that might present excavation challenges, the charge to get you hooked up can be fairly significant.

For homes that do not currently have access to natural gas, propane can be another option that burns cleaner than oil; however, because it is a more expensive fuel source (cost per million BTU) than both gas and oil, saving money on your energy bill is not generally a motivation for making the switch to propane.

One More Good Reason for Converting to Natural Gas
One additional quality of life consideration is that heating with oil requires you to have one or more unwieldy oil tanks, usually located in your basement. These tanks deteriorate over time, potentially causing a safety hazard. Plus, they produce odor and grime.

Many homeowners find that getting rid of those bulky fuel tanks creates an opportunity to make better use of your basement space for tool shops, laundry areas or family playrooms.

When you’re considering making the switch from heating with oil to heating with gas, start by getting some expert advice from a trusted home heating contractor who can conduct a thorough analysis of your home’s existing system and thermal design, and then have an in-depth conversation about your objectives and options.

Heritage PHCE is a New Hampshire- and Massachusetts-based home heating contractor with 30 years of experience installing, repairing and maintaining both oil and gas heating systems.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Achieving a Near Perfect Indoor Environment for Your Home

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Achieving the ideal indoor environment involves managing quite a few elements within the home. In addition to keeping you and your family comfortable, the right indoor air system regulates circulation and can keep allergens, various pests and irritants away from you, your family and your guests.

Though many homeowners want to achieve the perfect home environment, short of living in a sterile lab, the perfect indoor environment doesn’t exist. Fortunately, there are a number of technologies available today that make it easy to achieve near perfect conditions that let you live in comfort.

What Does a Near Perfect Indoor Environment Involve?
When it comes to indoor environmental quality, there are a number of factors involved. Interior factors taken into consideration when constructing a home involve lighting, external sound or vibrations, and air quality and temperature.

Given these factors, what should homeowners ultimately expect? For one, lighting should provide the right balance of natural and artificial ambiance for desired tasks. Interior illumination has taken a major step forward by covering a wide spectrum of light ranges that work with the body’s natural daily rhythms.

Second, sound dampening insulation should not only minimize noise pollution from the outside; it should also include activities from adjacent rooms.

Finally, the central air conditioning unit should provide a level of air quality that is pure and free from harmful pollutants, toxicants and contaminants.

As homeowners and/or their family members spend most of their time at home, air quality becomes a necessity to a good home life.

The Importance of Air Quality
The importance of indoor air quality cannot be overstated, especially in the cases of people with allergies, asthma or other respiratory diseases. Poor indoor air quality can have significant negative effects on one’s health. Ozone and particulates can worsen respiratory conditions, trigger asthma attacks and cause allergic reactions.

Multiple studies reinforce the impact of air quality on health. The National Institutes for Health concluded significant causal relationships between dust mites and cat allergens and asthma, for example. A 2014 study by the World Health Organization reported 7 million premature deaths annually from poor air quality.

How Can Homeowners Improve Air Quality?
Fortunately, there are a number of appliances and technologies that can help to improve indoor environmental quality. Each of these can have a significant impact on air quality in your home.

Smart Thermostat: These programmable devices let you cool or heat your home remotely via a smartphone, tablet or desktop. These devices let you save energy and adjust the temperature while you are en route home from work, for example. Some models even can detect outdoor allergens and adjust accordingly.

Air Purifiers: By cleaning the air, a purifier helps to eliminate dust, pollen and bacteria, all of which can trigger allergies. When the purifier uses a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, a purifier can dramatically improve air quality.

Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers: Dryer air can irritate nasal passages and the lungs while moist air can harbor bacteria and mold. Keeping the humidity levels regulated is important to keep the indoor air healthy.

By regulating your environment in the areas of sound, light and air, that near perfect indoor environment is now within reach of each and every homeowner.

Ashley Morse is manager of Operations at The Cooling Company, a provider of air conditioning, heating and plumbing repair services in the Las Vegas Valley.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Improvements for Independence: Make Your Home More Accessible

By Susanne Dwyer

(Family Features)—Being safe and comfortable at home is a large part of living well. Home modifications and repairs can help everyone, especially older adults and people with disabilities, maintain an independent lifestyle and prevent accidents.

Many older adults prefer to stay at home for as long as possible, but too often don’t think about whether their homes will meet their needs as they age. Making improvements for independence before they are needed is a good way to ensure that a home is ready for aging in place. Forward-thinking improvements may also help prevent falls, which often cause the need for long-term care.

Many changes, such as adding grab bars in bathrooms, can be done without a major redesign or full-blown renovation. Depending on your circumstance, it may also make sense to consider things like widening doorways and lowering countertop heights for someone who uses a wheelchair.

Here’s how you can get started:

Home Assessment
Before making any changes, assess the entire home. This checklist can help identify areas that might need improvement. Everyone has different needs, but in general, a “no” answer may be cause for action.

  • Are exterior walkways and entrances well-lit?
  • Is there a step-free entrance to the home?
  • Are entrance doors easy to lock, unlock, open and close?
  • Does the main floor include a kitchen, bedroom and full bathroom?
  • Are doorways wide enough for someone using a wheelchair, walker or service animal?
  • Are hallways, staircases, bathrooms and the kitchen well-lit?
  • Is wall-to-wall carpeting secure and in good condition?
  • Are area rugs secured to the floor with grips?
  • Are walkways free from obstructions and hazards like cords and furniture?
  • Do stairways have sturdy handrails on both sides?
  • Can bathroom and kitchen cabinets be easily reached?
  • Is there a step-free shower entrance?
  • Are grab bars available in or near the shower and toilet?
  • Do showers have non-slip mats or adhesive strips?
  • Will smoke detectors provide visual as well as audio alerts?
  • Are telephones and emergency supplies easily accessible on all floors?

Cost and Contractors
Minor improvements can cost between $150-$2,000, and major renovation costs vary depending on the job. However, many contractors offer reduced rates or sliding scale fees based on income and ability to pay. Public and private financing options may also be available.

If hiring a professional, remember to get a written agreement with specific tasks, a timeline and cost estimate. Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured for the specific type of work.

More information about home modifications, including financial assistance, can be found at eldercare.gov.

Source: Administration for Community Living

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

5 Simple Ways to Stage the Exterior of Your Home Before an Open House

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

If you’re selling your home, chances are good you’re familiar with the concept of staging your home. Real estate agents recommend your home look its best to prospective buyers, and home staging is a great way to ensure you receive top dollar.

Did you know you should stage the exterior of your home, too? Failing to update the look of your home’s exterior can cause buyers to get a bad first impression when they initially arrive to view your home. Whether your target is luxury homebuyers or you are selling your starter home, staging the exterior will have a major impact on the sale of your home. If you want to put exterior home staging to work, here are five elements you should consider tweaking.

Clean Your Exterior Windows and Screens
Nothing says poor maintenance like dirty windows and window screens. If your windows are caked with dust or muck from the last rainstorm, open house visitors are going to wonder what other maintenance jobs you haven’t attended to. Don’t give visitors the opportunity to question whether your home has been properly maintained or not; clean those windows and screens before hosting an open house.

Refresh Your Gardens and Walkways
Just like dirty windows are a real estate faux pas, so are unkempt flower beds. Weeds and overgrown bushes tell visitors you can’t be bothered with the small stuff. Spend a day removing weeds and trimming flowers, or hire a professional landscaper to refresh your gardens. It is amazing what a refreshed garden can do to your home’s curb appeal.

Refresh Your Home’s Siding
No, you don’t have to replace your home’s siding prior to an open house. A quick power wash could be all it takes to remove years of dust and grime. You can attempt this task yourself, but it might be worth your while to hire a professional—some homeowners have been known to damage their home’s siding by using too forceful a water stream.

Update/Clean Door Fixtures and House Address Signage
Something as simple as a new door knob or address signage can give your home a refreshed look. You needn’t spring for a new door; just update the face plate and/or door knob. Purchase new address numbers from the local hardware store and you’ll have tweaked the look of your home’s exterior in just a few minutes.

Clean Patio Furniture
Whether you have chairs on your front veranda or a dining set on your back deck, tired patio furniture can cost you big dollars when it comes time to negotiate with a potential homebuyer. Dilapidated patio furniture instantly gives a bad impression and can cause potential homebuyers to request replacement furniture as part of their deal. Spruce up your existing furniture with a quick power wash, or replace it if it is beyond cleaning.

Simple tweaks to the exterior of your home can have a big impact on your home’s final selling price. By spending just a few days improving the look of the outside of your home, you can increase the amount buyers are willing to offer and make your home the cleanest real estate listing on the block. Will you be trying these exterior home staging tricks when you list your home for sale?

Charles Muotoh is the owner of dcrealestateguru.com, a full-service real estate firm focused on leveraging digital marketing strategies to serve buyers and sellers of real estate in the Washington D.C. area.

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From: Remax Real Estate Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Tips That Can Prepare You for Bringing a Puppy Home

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Bringing home a puppy is exciting because he becomes a new member of the family, but raising one is hard work, so the whole family needs to pitch in and do their part. The new puppy needs to be fed, walked, bathed and more.

You’ll need to make sure each family member knows his or her job to help out. Plus, you’ll want to follow a few more tips to keep your puppy healthy and your home safe from any potential damage. This includes supplies to buy beforehand.

General Puppy Supplies
You’ll need to have some supplies on hand when the puppy comes home, such as:

  1. Crate
    Why is a crate important? The crate not only serves as a safe place for the puppy at night, but it can also help with the house and behavioral training. Learn more about crate training, so you’ll get the best use from this important tool.
  1. Leash
    Your puppy needs a leash for walks, but what type is best? A good start is buying a lightweight but strong leash at least 10 feet long. You can buy a longer leash as the puppy grows.

Use the leash to train your puppy to come back when called and obey commands when on walks.

  1. Food and Water Bowls
    You may think a bowl is just a bowl, but there are some things to consider. Plastic bowls often become chew toys. The chew marks left on the bowl can harbor bacteria that can make your puppy sick. Find a bowl that is dishwasher safe and chew-proof.

The shape of the bowl matters, too. Learn more about what shape is best based on the type of dog you’re bringing home.

  1. Toys
    Choosing safe toys for your puppy can get confusing. Keep in mind that puppies are aggressive chewers, and any toy he can tear into pieces becomes a choking hazard. Learn to recognize unsafe toys.

Care Supplies
You’ll also need several different supplies to specifically care for and keep your puppy healthy. Keep in mind the following:

  1. Bath Care
    Bath time can be stressful for both puppy and pet parent, and there are many things to consider. Should you bathe your dog in a sink or tub? Should towel dry or air dry?

Take some time to learn the best options for bathing your dog at home to avoid causing your puppy the anxiety of going to a groomer. As a bonus, this can serve as a great bonding time for you two!

  1. Puppy Pen
    Part of puppy care is making sure your pet gets enough exercise so he’s strong and healthy. If you don’t have a fenced area for him to run, consider a puppy pen that allows a little freedom to run outdoors.

A long line and tether can also be helpful to allow your dog room to run while remaining safe and confined to a certain area.

  1. Flea/Tick Treatments
    If you plan to take care of the pests yourself, you should take the time to learn about your options in flea and tick treatments for puppies. These treatments aren’t recommended until puppies are of a certain age, so make sure you know when and how to use these products safely.

House Rules
The house rules are for the family to follow. This way you know that each person understands what their responsibilities are to care for the new addition to the family:

  • Who will feed the puppy?
  • Is the puppy allowed on the furniture?
  • Who is in charge of training?
  • What correction is needed when the puppy makes mistakes?
  • Where will the puppy be during the day, and who in in charge?
  • Who takes the puppy for walks and where?
  • Where will the new puppy sleep?

Setting rules are the best way to ensure your routine is followed, so the puppy is cared for and learns to obey.

Puppies grow up to be loved family members, so it’s important to be prepared to care for your furry friend properly. Working as a team, the whole family can help make sure your new puppy is healthy and happy.

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The post Tips That Can Prepare You for Bringing a Puppy Home appeared first on RISMedia.

From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

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