Many home sellers often overlook easy and relatively inexpensive fixes that not only increase visual appeal, but may also add to a home’s selling price. While major remodeling is costly and may not address the needs and tastes of prospective buyers, these repair and maintenance suggestions have universal appeal and may help a home sell more quickly – and for a better price.
Bathrooms and the kitchen must get a deep cleaning. Sellers should consider a cleaning company that offers “move in / move out” cleaning services to do the job.
If kitchen cabinet exteriors are in bad shape, refacing may be an option. Far less expensive than new cabinetry, refacing can give old and worn cabinets new life and can visually renew a kitchen. Alternatively, many cabinet materials can also be painted, for an updated look without costing a lot.
Consider replacing kitchen or bathroom counters with a neutral colored laminate surface if the current material is badly worn or stained. This gives the room a fresh appearance and, most importantly, prevents potential buyers from focusing on an eyesore.
Fresh paint on the walls and ceilings will do wonders for all rooms in the house. Stick to neutral tones so that buyers aren’t distracted by colors that make a statement. They’ll be able to imagine themselves and their furniture in the space much more easily.
If carpet now covers up hardwood floors, consider having it removed to expose the hardwood flooring. Hardwood floors are desirable, so they should be shown off. If carpet is to remain, it should be thoroughly cleaned.
If the home’s exterior needs painting, get it done. Buyers notice if paint is faded and peeling. If the paint is in good shape overall, renew the doors and trim with a fresh coat.
Clean the windows inside and out so they sparkle. It’s amazing what a difference this can make in a home’s appearance. Hiring a professional window cleaning company is the easiest and safest way to get the job done on a multi-story home.
Clear clutter from the yard, keep the lawn mowed, and trim any overgrown shrubs that detract from the home’s appearance. The home should look well maintained even at first glance.
Place pots of bright, colorful flowers along an entry path and near the doors to add a cheery, welcoming touch.
Homeowners should save major remodeling projects – and the budget required – for their new home, not the one they are about to sell. But implementing some of the steps above can increase the appeal to prospective buyers without a huge investment in time or money.
Why should your sellers consider a pre-listing home inspection? A pre-listing inspection can uncover previously unknown problems – major and minor – allowing sellers the opportunity to make repairs, updates or replacements as needed or as they wish.
Homes that are already on the market can be at a disadvantage if problems are revealed during a subsequent home inspection. Issues that you and the seller were previously unaware of could keep a property from selling at its highest potential price, when it’s too late to address them. A home in better condition will normally sell for more than one with problems that could have been corrected. Examples include a roof that needs replacing, heating that functions poorly and plumbing fixtures that leak.
By addressing these types of issues before the home goes on the market, you can list a home with greater knowledge of its condition. This can result in cleaner offers and a smoother transaction for both parties. Having well-informed sellers and buyers will work to everyone’s advantage, including yours.
Our Pillar To Post home inspections include a comprehensive report, complete with photos, printed on-site so there’s no waiting for results. This allows your sellers to get the information they need right away so they can decide on their next steps prior to listing. You can also share the report with potential buyers. This is especially important when it comes to issues that might not be addressed or repaired prior to sale. If repairs are made prior to listing, be sure the seller can present records of the work being done, including any necessary permits.
With a pre-listing inspection in hand, you can market your sellers’ homes with greater confidence and for a better price.
While “tiny houses” take storage strategies to an extreme, accessible, well planned storage will make daily life easier in any smaller home.
The Drop Zone
Most people use a back or garage entrance more often than the front door. These entryways can incorporate drop zones where everyone can unload their backpacks, shoes, outerwear and more. Baskets under benches provide both seating and storage. Some drop zones incorporate a dedicated shelf or cubby for each family member’s gear.
Beyond the Office
These spaces are often used not only as an office, but for homework, projects, and more.
Repurpose closets by replacing hanging rods with shelving and drawers. A dresser can be used to store project materials for easy access. With multiple users, this multi-function room, like the drop zone, needs to have a workable system that everyone can follow.
The smaller kitchens found in smaller homes need to at least accommodate kitchen staples and big, bulky items such as large mixing bowls, seldom-used small appliances and serving pieces. Pantry shelving for food items should be relatively shallow so that everything is easy to find and reach. This type of shelving can even be added to a niche in the wall between two studs.
Smaller homes aren’t going away, and continue to be especially popular as starter homes and with downsizers. With efficient and practical storage solutions, even a smaller home can accommodate the needs of most families.
HOME & LIFE
Easy Ways to Boost Your Home’s Cozy Factor
Try these surefire tips to warm up your home in the New Year and beyond.
Set up your own hot cocoa bar with cinnamon, peppermint and marshmallow add-ins. Don’t forget the whipped cream!
Keep a basket of soft, warm slippers or socks inside your entryway for guests.
Candles, scented or unscented, will add instant visual warmth.
Simmer cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peel in a pot of water. Reheat to keep your home filled with fragrance all day.
Zero Clearance Fireplaces
There’s nothing like enjoying a crackling, wood burning fireplace on a chilly evening or weekend. But what if your house didn’t happen to come with one? Enter the zero clearance fireplace.
Zero clearance refers to a prefabricated fireplace unit that can be installed against combustible surfaces such as walls or floors. A prefab chimney is then run up the inside or outside of the home.
Use a Qualified Installer
Not all types of zero clearance fireplaces are suitable for every situation, so consult an expert if you consider getting one. This is not a DIY project.
Is It Allowed?
Make sure you check local regulations to see if new wood burning fireplaces are approved in your community.
Most zero clearance fireplaces have glass doors. In some models the doors can be closed while the fire is burning and in others the doors must be left open.
Like its traditional wood burning cousins, a zero clearance fireplace can have dangerous creosote buildup in the chimney flue and must be cleaned regularly to avoid a chimney fire.
Burn only seasoned hardwood
Load the logs near the back of the firebox
Use a spark screen
Make sure your smoke and CO alarms are functioning
Never leave a fire unattended
Relax and enjoy!
Is Radon on Your Radar?
Radon is a naturally occurring odorless radioactive gas that seeps into homes from underground. Excessive levels of radon can be dangerous to your family’s health. Here’s what you need to know:
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
An estimated 1 in 15 homes in the US and Canada has an elevated level of radon.
High levels of radon can be found in any type of home – new, old, snug, drafty, with or without a basement.
Testing is the only way to determine if your home is affected.
A qualified radon inspector will:
Test for unsafe levels of radon inside your home.
Analyze the data and report on results.
Recommend steps to reduce excessive radon levels if found.
Get peace of mind for you and your family. Schedule a radon inspection today!
Try These 5 Favorite Tips and Feel Better Every Day
No matter what time of the year, these easy-to-fit-in ideas can make a difference every day – and not just for you.
Reach out to a friend or relative. Even a quick text to touch base will do.
Put your to-do list in writing to help clear your thoughts, especially at night.
Make a cup of coffee or tea and just listen calmly to the sounds around you.
Take a quick walk, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Greet everyone with “How’s your day going?” You may be the only one who asks.
All About Garage Doors
Overhead garage doors may be the largest and heaviest moving object in most homes. For safety and reliability, make sure it’s up to date and kept in proper working order.
Older garage doors can lack some of the safety features required in newer installations. Automatic openers must have sensors, usually a pair of electric eyes, that will stop and reverse the door if a person or pet moves across its path.
What about getting the door open during a power outage? Use the manual release – in most cases it’s a short red cord that hangs down close to the center of the door, inside the garage. Practice how to operate the release in case you need to get a car out of the garage during a power outage.
Maintaining the door is important for safety and for quiet, smooth operation. A garage door specialist can provide periodic maintenance, or you can do much of this yourself, including lubricating the springs and hinges. The track where the wheels run should never be lubricated for safety reasons. A professional can also check the door balance and alignment and make any necessary adjustments.
When moving into a new home, change the remote control code immediately for security purposes, just as you would re-key or change the home’s door locks. If the remote can’t be reprogrammed, chances are, it’s an outdated system, and should be upgraded for safety reasons.
A garage door and opener, with proper maintenance, will help ensure safe operation and should last for many trouble-free years.
Many of us make optimistic resolutions for the New Year. Whether it’s deciding to take a class, stick to a budget, or to finally drop those 20 pounds, we’re full of ideas on how to make ourselves and our lives better. Because your home is such an important part of your life, why not make some worthwhile resolutions for it as well? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Keep Current On Routine Maintenance
One of the most important things you can do as a homeowner is to make sure routine maintenance is part of your plan. Catching problems early can often help you avoid larger issues down the road. What is now a minor plumbing or roof leak can cause major problems if not detected and fixed promptly. Check around your home for cracked or peeling paint, have the chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned, and make sure the driveway and walkways are not cracked or lifting.
Update Your Home Inventory For Insurance Purposes
If you’re like many homeowners, it’s probably been a while since you’ve reviewed your home insurance policy and reassessed the value of your home’s contents. An updated home inventory of your possessions can help you determine if you have the proper type and amount of insurance. There are a number of mobile apps available to help you organize and record your inventory, and many insurance carriers offer their own apps. Should you have an insurance claim for property loss or damage, a current and accurate inventory can help make the process and correct valuation easier.
Audit Your Home For Energy Savings
There are simple things that every homeowner can do to improve energy efficiency and save on utility bills. Check around your home for any fixtures that still have incandescent bulbs and replace them with LED bulbs wherever possible. This saves money and makes things easier for you, too; for example, bulbs in awkward places will need replacement far less often. Make sure windows and doors are caulked and in good repair, which will save energy in both winter and summer. If you’re planning to replace any appliances this year, shop for and compare efficient, energy-saving models.
Create An Emergency Safety Plan For Your Family
Everyone knows the importance of having a plan in place for emergencies including fire, flooding, blizzards and more. But each year, tragedy strikes homes and families who didn’t think about it or who promised to make a plan “one of these days.” The basics include emergency kits, an escape plan for every room, and prearranging a meeting place for your family. GetPrepared.ca has tips and resources that you can use to keep your loved ones safe. Give yourself some peace of mind by making 2019 the year to put a plan in place.
For more information about home inspections and for additional resources, please contact your local Pillar To Post office.