Let me nurture your knowledge in the housing market garden.
Pool water should be tested regularly to make sure it's clean and healthy. The pH scale is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity that runs from 0 to 14. A reading between 7.2 and 7.8 is ideal; this range is safe for swimmers and helps sanitizers work at top efficiency.
You can monitor your pool's pH level with a testing kit. There are many kinds of testing kits available; however, most homeowner versions are either reagent kits or test-strips. Reagent kits aren't too difficult to use. You take a sample of pool water, then add liquids or tablets to it. The water changes color, indicating its chemical balance. Test-strips work differently. When you submerge them in the pool for a few seconds, dyes they contain cause them to change color. Next, match up the strip to a color chart to determine the pool's pH level. Use this information to gauge what kind and how much of the chemicals your pool needs.
Organic contaminants like ammonia or nitrogen build up in a pool over time. Massive amounts of such contaminants can interact with a pool's chlorine to form chloramines, which give off that potent chlorine smell that many people associate with pools. To get rid of this harsh odor, it's necessary to superchlorinate -- or shock -- pool water back to normal chlorine levels. While it may seem counterintuitive, adding a large amount of chlorine to a pool can make the undesired odor go away. Some pools should be shocked once a week, while others can go a significantly longer time. Follow manufacturers' instructions before superchlorinating your pool to get the best results.
Dress up the front door
Your home's front entry is the focal point of its curb appeal. Make a statement by giving your front door a blast of color with paint or by installing a custom wood door. Clean off any dirty spots around the knob, and use metal polish on the door fixtures. Your entry should also reflect the home's interior, so choose a swag or a wreath that reflects your personal style.
Replace old hardware
House numbers, the entry door lockset, a wall-mounted mailbox, and an overhead light fixture are all elements that can add style and interest to your home's exterior curb appeal. If they're out of date or dingy, your home may not be conveying the aesthetic you think it is. These elements add the most appeal when they function collectively, rather than as mix-and-match pieces. Oiled-bronze finishes suit traditional homes, while brushed nickel suits more contemporary ones.
Create perfect symmetry
Symmetry is not only pleasing to the eye, it's also the simplest to arrange. Symmetrical compositions of light fixtures and front-door accents create welcoming entryways and boost curb appeal. This door is flanked by two sidelights. The lantern-style sconces not only safely guide visitors to the door, but also coordinate with the door hardware and urns.
Create an instant garden
Container gardens add a welcoming feel and colorful curb appeal to any home exterior -- quickly and affordably. You can buy ready-made containers from garden centers or create your own with your favorite plants. For most landscapes, a staggered, asymmetrical arrangement works best to create a dynamic setting.
Install outdoor lighting
Low-voltage landscape lighting makes a huge impact on your home's curb appeal while also providing safety and security. Fixtures can add accent lighting to trees or the house or can illuminate a walking path. If you aren't able to use lights that require wiring, install solar fixtures (but understand that their light levels are not as bright or as reliable).
Do a mailbox makeover
Mailboxes should complement the home and express the homeowner's personality. When choosing a hanging drop box, pick a box that mirrors your home's trimmings. Dress up mail boxes for curb appeal by painting the wooden post to match the house's exterior color, or by surrounding it by a beautiful flowering garden.
Renew planter beds
Get garden beds into shape by pruning growth, pulling weeds, planting flowers, and adding new mulch to restore color that was taken away by sunlight and harsh weather. If stone or brick borders your bed, consider cleaning and resetting any pieces that are soiled or dislodged. If your border is old or tired-looking, try upgrading to stone or a decorative cast-concrete edging system for improved curb appeal.
Make a grand entry
Even with a small budget, there are ways to draw attention to your front door and improve curb appeal. Molding acts like an architectural eyeliner when applied to the sides and top of the doorway. Notice how the white door casing makes this door pop
Make a grand entry
Even with a small budget, there are ways to draw attention to your front door and improve curb appeal. Molding acts like an architectural eyeliner when applied to the sides and top of the doorway. Notice how the white door casing makes this door pop.
Create a new planting bed
Add contrast and color to your home exterior with a new planting bed. Prime spots for curb appeal are at the front corners of the yard, along driveways or walkways, and immediately in front of the house. When creating a new bed, choose features that will frame your home rather than obscure it. Opt for stone or precast-concrete blocks to edge the bed. Include a mix of plant size, color, and texture for optimal results.
These 10 low cost tips will get you started on turning your house into a "show home". This is critical because if you want to get the most money for your home and sell more quickly, you need potential buyers (and their agents) to feel it's a "hot property".
Even if you're not moving, you will find these tips also make your home more relaxing and enjoyable to live in.
1. Consider the curb appeal.
Landscaping is nice, but not in everyone's budget. At minimum, lawns should be freshly mowed, leaves raked, or snow shoveled. Consider a hanging or potted plant for the entrance. Sweep the porch, deck and all walk ways and ensure garbage and recycling are tucked neatly away from the front of the house.
Scrub your front door, porch, outside railings and steps. This is cheaper than repainting and makes a world of difference. Once the outside entrance is clean, decide if the paint really needs a touch up.
2. Get rid of clutter!
Pick one closet or area at a time so the task isn't as daunting. Look at every item with a very critical eye and ask yourself why you're keeping it.
Forget about hanging onto items for a garage sale. Pick your favorite charity and donate it. You paid for these things long ago, why not just give them away to others who REALLY need them?
You'll probably have to edit the same closets a number of times to really whittle them down to the "essentials". If rooms and closets still look cramped, rent a storage locker.
3. Turn excess inventory into cash.
If you have a collection of items for projects you never got around to, return them. This also applies to the two-year supply of light bulbs, canned goods or paper products sitting in your basement.
Without a receipt you won't get cash, but you will have a store credit that you can use once you move. Less clutter and less stuff to pack, move and unpack again!
4. Watch where the eye goes.
There are speedy and low cost solutions to many of the little problems that together make a home seem shabbier than it needs to.
Walk along each corridor and into every room and check where your eye is drawn (better yet, ask a critical friend or family member). If the eye is drawn to the chipped white paint on the door frame, take some "white out" and fill it in. If it's those old nail holes in the wall, see if you can hang a picture to cover them.
Glue any peeling wallpaper. If it's really horrible and you can't afford the time or money to fix it properly, hang pictures and strategically place baskets. You won't cover the problem entirely (which would be wrong anyway), but you will draw your audience's attention away from the problem and onto something more visually pleasing to focus on.
5. Find a fix-it person.
Ensure cupboards open and shut and that no taps are dripping. Look in all rooms for things you never got around to fixing and decide which ones might be distracting to potential buyers. No, it's not OK for door handles to fall off, even if you have learned to ignore it!
6. Clean, clean and clean again.
Most mortals can't live in a spotless environment all the time. This can be one of the more stressful aspects of having your home on the market— but it's worth the effort to sell your home for top dollar. You can hire a professional service to come in and deep clean everything; then take 20-30 minutes each day to maintain it.
Appliances should sparkle even if you're not including them with the house. After all, you might throw them in later as a negotiating tool. Counter tops, taps, sinks and bathtubs should be shiny and free of water spots.
If you have a pedestal sink, don't forget the dust that collects on top of the plumbing where it attaches to the wall. If the whole sink is spotless and the taps aren't dripping, it will look new!
Dust shelves and vacuum or "Swiffer" the floors. Naturally, all beds should be made. At a recent open house for a home listed over $500,000 (and over 60 days on the market), they hadn't even bothered with these two simple steps! It made you wonder what bigger things had been neglected.
Remember clean windows let in more light and look newer. Hire a service if you have to— it's worth the investment.
If all this attention to detail seems over the top, remember that a very clean home leaves the impression that the house is well cared for. This helps put buyers at ease— especially a first time buyer who may be worried about the responsibilities of owning a house.
7. Let in some air.
Open some windows for at least 10 minutes. There is nothing worse than walking into a stuffy house or one that smells of smoke and pet odors.
8. Let in some light.
|It might be mood lighting to you, but if you're trying to sell your home, keep it bright! Dimly lit rooms tend to look small and dingy— especially during the day.
If you have a particularly dark room, consider investing in a floor lamp that will bounce light off the ceiling.
If your walls are so dark that they're sucking up all the light, consider repainting. You can even buy a small can of a lighter shade of your wall color, mix it with glaze and rub it onto the wall. It will reflect light and give the room a more open feeling. This approach saves much of the preparation and clean up involved in repainting.
9. Don't forget fresh flowers.
|You don't need to spend a fortune to have fresh flowers throughout your home. Even a daisy in a bud vase brightens a bathroom counter. Ask your florist which blooms last a week. You can also use potted flowering plants that are in season for a low-cost solution.
Don't use plastic or obviously fake flowers, especially in an expensive home!
10. Carefully consider music.
Soft background music can help create a soothing environment and camouflage neighbor and traffic noise. But make sure the volume is very low. Blaring TVs are definitely a no-no, but you'd be surprised how many people leave them on for showings!
The importance of using ME as YOUR Realtor vs. YOU selling or buying your home!
An expert guide. Selling a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes. Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved, so you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.
Objective information and opinions. I can provide local information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. I also have objective information about each property and can use that data to help you determine if the property has what you need.
Property marketing power. Property doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. A large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts with previous clients, friends, and family. When a property is marketed by me, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. As your realtor I require prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
Negotiation knowledge. There are many factors up for discussion in a deal. As your realtor I will look at every angle from your perspective, including crafting a purchase agreement that allows you the flexibility you need to take that next step. I am a Master Certified Negotiation Expert.
Up-to-date experience. Most people sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each sale. Even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change. I have handle several transactions over the course of my 12 year career.
Your rock during emotional moments. A home is so much more than four walls and a roof. And for most people, property represents the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on the issues most important to you.
Ethical treatment. Every REALTOR® must adhere to a strict code of ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As your realtor.. you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters from ME.
It can be easy to get lost and confused during the home buying process. Proper planning is paramount. It’s also helpful to learn from other people’s mistakes. Here are some of the most common errors people make when shopping for a new home.
Not budgeting for everything: Yes, this sounds obvious, but many people forget about some of the costs of buying a home. There are added costs such as furniture and appliances, DIY projects, moving fees, or your first mortgage payment. This last one is especially important—setting a budget may help you determine how much you can comfortably afford to pay for your mortgage.
Neglecting your credit score: Your credit score will play a major role in the home buying process. This 3-digit number might be the thing that keeps you from your new home! Credit reports often contain errors or misinformation, so it’s important to retrieve your report ahead of time and fix any errors before sending it out to lenders. Looking at your credit reports may also give you a better idea of what interest rates you can expect so you can make room for them in your budget.
Trusting verbal agreements: A home seller can verbally accept your bid and still turn around and give it to someone else if a higher bidder comes along. So before you celebrate your new home, make sure you’ve signed paperwork!
Skipping the home inspection: You can’t expect the seller to tell you about all the potential problems you might face if you buy their home. There might even be issues with the house that the seller isn’t aware of, which is why it’s crucial to hire an inspector to take a look through the house. An inspector will examine the overall foundation and structural features of a house. It’s their job to find these areas of concern so that you don’t have to worry about them later on! (Tip: Don’t be too reliant on the inspector. You may catch these problems that they sometimes miss.)
Sweating the small things: Don’t like the color of a house or the wallpaper inside? Is there something about the kitchen that you just can’t stand? Don’t sweat the small things! Focus instead on the location and the overall structure of the house. Once you move in you can change the small things you don’t like and make your house a home!
If you avoid these mistakes and work closely with a CENTURY 21® Affiliated Sales Associate, you may just find the home you’ve been searching for!
CALL ME FOR YOUR FREE COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS 713-299-5391.
Once you’ve made up your mind to sell your home, you need to do your “homework” – and century21.com is a great place to start! Getting a signed contract is a great accomplishment, but that's only half the journey. The typical home sale today involves more than 20 steps after the initial contract is accepted to complete the transaction – which will have my undivided attention.
Being your real estate professional I can provide the experience, knowledge, expertise and resources to guide you through the entire process, and selling your home within the ideal time frame and at the most effective price point. Your best interests is taken to heart and CENTURY 21® has state-of-the-art marketing resources to showcase your home’s best assets, and help you determine what improvements will make the biggest difference.
Much of what needs to be done before the closing is the responsibility of appraisers, loan processors, attorneys, and inspectors. It is also my responsibility to coordinate those responsibilities, helping to ensure that others do their jobs promptly and correctly.
Many steps between contract ratification and closing involve the cooperation of both buyer and seller, and attentive real estate professionals on both sides of the transaction will troubleshoot and keep everyone on track.