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9 Easy Home Improvements To Sell Your Home Fast

You’ve been trying to sell your home and you did everything you thought was expected of you. You connected with a real estate agent, had professional photos taken of your house, and opened your home to numerous strangers as they paraded around your halls on private tours and open houses. But after weeks of your home being listed, not a single reasonable offer has been made. Sound familiar?

 

Currently, the median number of days a home sits on the market is 41 days. And, of course, the longer your home sits on the market the more control homebuyers have when it comes time for negotiations. So, take your house out of seller’s limbo by adding perceived value (and actual value) to your home. Here are nine easy home improvements you can do that will make your house more appealing to potential home buyers and help sell your home fast.

1. Upgrade Your Mailbox

Upgrading your mailbox might seem like a rather silly thing to do at first, but if we are talking about making a great first impression to potential home buyers, the mailbox is often the very first thing someone sees before pulling in the driveway. It’s also the easiest home improvement you can do.

 

It could just be a new mailbox that replaces the old, weathered one you’ve had for years. And let’s face it, most homeowners don’t put much thought into what their mailbox looks like, often becoming an eyesore to your driveway. Or, you could upgrade to a “Next Generation” mailbox that allows USPS to deliver large packages to your mailbox instead of your front door. And we all know packages that are apparently visible to any passerby have a better chance of not being taken.

 

In fact, with more and more consumer products being purchased online and delivered to homes, you may even consider upgrading to a security mailbox that keeps your mail and packages safe from theft altogether.

 

Either way, upgrading your mailbox is a simple, cost-effective method of bringing perceived value to your home.

2. Paint Your House Inside and Out

This cannot be emphasized enough, but painting the inside of your home with a fresh neutral color goes a long way with potential homebuyers. For example, your kids’ rooms may have very unique colors that they had insisted upon at one time, but not every potential buyer is going to enjoy that purple room as much as your kid does. You’ll want to put a fresh coat of paint on those walls so anyone touring your home can envision themselves living in your space.

 

In fact, everything you’re doing to prep your home for sale is making your home look its very best and allowing potential homebuyers to envision themselves in every room of your house. You want people touring your house to think, what if I bought this house? This room could be my office, nursery, guest bedroom, etc. However, it becomes hard for potential buyers to envision themselves in a room with purple walls.

 

Alternatively, painting the exterior of your home may be the best solution to getting your home sold faster. If your home’s color has faded from its former glory, the paint is chipping, or your house has always been that home on the block the neighborhood kids call the orange house, you may want to consider getting your home painted a more contemporary color. Though painting the exterior of your home can be pricey, when done by professionals, the process has a very quick turnaround time and the result will be sure to leave a lasting impression on potential buyers.

3. Enhance Your Curb Appeal

It doesn’t matter if you live in Dallas, TX or Portland, OR, enhancing your curb appeal can go a long way toward making a great first impression on potential homebuyers.

 

First, you’ll want to look at your landscaping in front of and around your house. How does your lawn, trees, and overall vegetation look? Make sure your lawn is freshly trimmed, all dead debris (like sticks and leaves) are picked up, and 2 to 3 inches of fresh bark mulch is placed around your shrubs, trees, and plants.

 

Do you have hedges that line your property or some other form of fruit or decorative trees on your property? Having your hedges trimmed and your trees cut back can make your yard go from something that resembles an unruly wilderness to a well-maintained and welcoming paradise.

 

Also, if you don’t already have decorative plants bringing color to your front driveway and entrance, a few well-positioned potted plants are an inexpensive and inviting sight for newcomers to your home.

4. Clean, Declutter, and Stage Your Home

Nothing turns potential homebuyers away faster than an unkept and cluttered home. If you’re looking to sell your house quickly, it might be a good idea to hire professionals to get your house in order. Decluttering and staging your home is a must if you want to make your home and all its uniqueness shine its best for potential buyers.

 

If your closets are overflowing with winter jackets, or you have too many large pieces of furniture in your living room, your spaces will not be showcased the way they should be. People touring your home like to look not just at the larger rooms, but also poke around in closets, drawers, and other storage areas to make sure their stuff will fit. If your stuff is in the way, that makes it much harder for buyers to see themselves in your space.

 

Furthermore, a deep cleaning is a must before any open house or home tour takes place. If you have a cat or dog (or both), you probably don’t smell them anymore. However, people that don’t have pets are acutely aware of homes that do, simply because it’s a scent they’re not used to. If you’re looking for a quick turnaround, a professional can help eliminate odors, stains, and any number of other things you may no longer be aware of and make your home feel brand new again.

5. Fence in Your Backyard and Refinish Your Deck

It’s amazing what a refinished deck or new cedar fence enclosing a backyard can do for a home. Not only is it functional and aesthetically pleasing, but the return on investment is nothing to shy away from if you’re looking for an easy project that will help you get your home sold fast.

 

In fact, the national average in 2019 for recouping the cost of a wood deck addition on a home is 75.6%. So, although you may take a small hit financially by adding a wood deck onto your house, you would recoup most of the cost and potentially sell your home faster because of the added feature.

 

Likewise, adding a fence to your property can do wonders for your home in a relatively short period of time. And according to a 2018 survey by the American Pet Product Association,67% of U.S. households own a pet,” meaning over half the people touring your home have a fuzzy little friend, and a fenced in backyard is a bonus to some homebuyers but a must for others.

6. Fix Your Light Switches and Update Your Fixtures

So it’s true, people touring your home will play with your faucets, open your drawers, and test ALL your light switches. If you have a light switch that doesn’t work (or an electrical outlet), now is the time to get it fixed. Light switches that do not work signify to homebuyers that your house may have electrical issues, when in fact, it may be something much more simple. Nonetheless, at that point, you’ve already lost that potential offer.

 

You’ll also want to replace all your burnt out light bulbs to make sure every room in your house is bright and inviting. Furthermore, all your interior lights should be the same color temperature for consistent lighting throughout your house.

 

Updating your light fixtures, ceiling fans, and even your hardware on doors and cabinets is an easy and cost-effective way of increasing the perceived value of your home. If you already have an electrician fixing your light switches, they could also replace your dated brass light fixtures with ones that have a more contemporary feel. Beyond making your interior appear more modern to homebuyers, you can take this opportunity to find fixtures that can help brighten your home and make it stand out among other homes for sale in your area.

7. Upgrade Your Garage Door

Installing a new garage door is one of the simplest and quickest ways to give your home a much-needed facelift and impress potential homebuyers. New garage doors recoup nearly all the money invested into them, and, in some areas like the west coast, a new garage door actually recoups more than its initial investment at 123.8% on average. Meaning your new garage door could actually put money back in your pocket.

 

There are several styles and designs to choose from, just make sure that you go with a style that fits the look of your house. Especially if you’ve recently painted your home a more contemporary color, a new garage door can be that easy home improvement that pushes home lookers into actual offers.

8. Get a New Front Door

Give others entryway envy by upgrading your front door and transforming the character of your home. Over the years, front doors see a lot of abuse and begin to look worn and tired. Luckily, a new front door is quick to replace and a very cost-effective way of making your entryway unique and aesthetically pleasing to anyone stepping up onto your doormat.

 

Solid wood doors are always a classic style for homes not to go out of style anytime soon. They’re solid and typically last much longer than alternative materials like fiberglass. Additionally, front doors with inlaid glass can also give your entryway more natural light for the interior of your home. Either way, a new door is a quick and easy way to impress homebuyers.

9. Update Your Kitchen Appliances for a Fresh Look

If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, updating your kitchen with modern and timeless stainless steel appliances is a great way to go. Though this can be costly, new appliances really appeal to first-time homebuyers, and as a result, you could see more competitive offers.

 

Furthermore, there is a good possibility your appliances probably need to be updated anyway. Typically, larger appliances like fridges and stoves should be replaced every 10 years, while smaller appliances it’s recommended to be replaced every 5 years. Nonetheless, updated appliances are a safe bet if you’re looking to sell your home fast.

 

Originally published on Redfin

Getting Ready To Sell Your House?

Getting Ready to Sell Your House?

Here are 11 Things Most People Forget to Do

 

You’ve started on your lists of small repairs, you’ve contacted a real estate agent, and now you’re in the final steps of getting ready to sell your house. But before you put your home up for sale, and certainly before having your first open house, here are 11 things to consider that most home sellers forget to think about and could cost you a sale.

 

  1. Declutter and Organize Your Closets and Cabinets

Sure, you went through your entire house and reduced the clutter in each room, organized your desk and other surfaces, and arranged your collection of antique ceramic kitty figurines to be facing perpendicular to the window. However, did you tackle your closets and cabinets?

 

One thing you should definitely expect during an open house or individual home tours is that potential homebuyers will be looking in your closets, kitchen drawers and cabinets. Will your walk-in closet fit all of his shoes and her summer dresses? Is there enough storage space in your kitchen for their cookware, bakeware, and all the kitchen gadgets that they seem to collect each year? These are all questions homebuyers will be asking themselves as they walk through your home.

 

Of course, you as a home seller will have no idea what the needs are of a potential homebuyer, but you can definitely showcase what your house has to offer in terms of storage. Start by decluttering your closets, cabinets, and drawers, and then keeping only enough belongings in each to really show off the potential that space has to offer. Think of it as an extension of staging your home, but for your storage areas.

 

  1. Clean Stains and Eliminate Odors

We should all consider small stains, marks, and other imperfections as badges of honor for a house that has been lived in for years. Nonetheless, these slight bumps and bruises your home has encountered over time will stick out to potential homebuyers, so tackle them head-on.

 

Begin by trying to put yourself in the shoes of a potential homebuyer and look at your house objectively. Start by going outside and then re-entering your house as if you didn’t actually own it but were an interested homebuyer looking at it for the first time. What do you see? Walk through every room and take note of all the imperfections you notice. You might surprise yourself with how quickly your list grows. You can then add them to your list of repairs so you can make your house truly be at its best before your first open house.

 

Also, if you have pets there is a strong possibility that your home has an odor which you can no longer smell. Deep cleaning your house is a sure fire way to help eliminate these odors, but also think about using an odor eliminating spray every day for about a week before your first open house. You can also place plugin room fresheners that offer a great crisp smell, like cucumber, to help infuse a sense of cleanliness throughout your house.

 

  1. Replace Light Bulbs

Walk through each room in your house and look at every light bulb to see if it’s working. As homeowners, we sometimes forget to immediately replace a lightbulb when it goes out. You want your house to be at its brightest when new homebuyers are touring your home and replacing old burnt out light bulbs is one of the easiest ways to do it.

 

Also, don’t forget to walk around the outside of your house to make sure all the lights of your home’s exterior are working as well. Depending on the time of year, your open house or home tours could happen when the sun is going down or when it’s already dark. So be sure to make your house shine inside and out!

 

Pro tip: Make sure all your light bulbs are the same color temperature inside your house as well as outside. A soft-white light LED bulb can create a bright but welcoming environment for new homebuyers.

 

  1. Think About the Small Details: Plants, Mirrors, Rugs

Consider each room’s individual characteristics, so you can really showcase the potential every room in your house can offer. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind while you start prepping every space for an exceptional open house experience.

 

Add a little green to your spaces

Nothing breathes life into a room more than a little greenery. A potted tree can work wonders in a living room, but for smaller areas think smaller plants such as a small potted herb garden in the kitchen or a miniature cactus on the mantel.

 

Open up even the smallest rooms

Mirrors can make small spaces seem large because they create the illusion of depth. Mirrors also work wonders in darker rooms as they reflect light deep into areas of a room that may not receive an abundance of natural light.

 

Add character to an otherwise unimpressive space

While staging your home, think about adding character to various spaces with rugs. However, keep in mind that you want to use rugs to enhance a space, not be the focal point of it. Also, if you have a strange space that you never really figured out a good use for, a rug could at least offer a little personality while leaving the space and its potential to the imaginations of homebuyers.

 

  1. Enhance Your Outdoor Space

You’re probably already aware that enhancing your curb appeal is one of the most impactful things you can do to create a great first impression. However, you don’t want to forget about your other outdoor areas, such as your front porch or entrance, your back entrance, side yard, and backyard. You want to enhance your outdoor spaces around the house so potential buyers can see themselves living as much outside your house as inside.

 

Simple enhancements like placing potted plants to your front entrance or adding fresh beauty bark around the base of your hedges and trees can go a long way. If you don’t already have a designated outdoor space for entertaining, think about building a DIY fire pit and adding four Adirondack chairs to create the idea of outdoor fun. Ultimately, your outdoor space can be just as important of a space as what your home has to offer on the inside.

 

  1. Get Professional (Aerial) Photography

By now your research has probably shown you that homes with professional photos sell for more and spend less time on the market on average. What you may not have considered is adding aerial photography to your listing photos.

 

Aerial photography can show off your entire property, a scenic view, and the surrounding area. If you have a lot of property, an aerial shot can easily put into perspective the full scope all your land has to offer to potential homebuyers.

 

Furthermore, aerial photography has come a long way thanks to the rapid development of drone technology, resulting in reasonable pricing that is accessible for many homeowners today.

 

  1. Don’t Forget About Your Gutters

Imagine that you’re having your first open house and despite the rain, foot traffic has been steadily increasing all morning. Your house looks immaculate, like one of those home’s off of an HGTV show, and your real estate agent has been messaging you updates every hour about how great it’s going. But then the unexpected happens. A small stream of water starts coming down right in front of your large bay window in the living room. The stream is outside the house, but your would-be buyers watch on as it grows into a miniature waterfall.

 

Red flags go up for the homebuyers touring your house as the foot traffic thins then disappears altogether. What they didn’t see was that the spillage was the result of a clogged gutter, nothing more, causing water to spill over in a very inopportune place and at the worst time.

 

Depending on where you live, you may not see as much rain in locations like Phoenix, AZ, but in many locations where rainfall is a common occurrence, such as Seattle, WA, this situation is more likely to happen. If you don’t have time to clean your gutters yourself—because you have a house to sell and a million other little things to do—there are professional services that can clean your gutters for you so this little oversight doesn’t drown out your hopes of selling your home quickly.

 

  1. Paint Your Baseboards and Crown Molding

It’s pretty common knowledge that you should paint the interior of your home a neutral color to appeal to more buyers. Homebuyers want to imagine themselves and their stuff in your space, so your red accent wall will need to be painted over with a more neutral hue. But what a lot of home sellers forget to do is pay attention to their baseboards and crown molding.

 

Where crown molding may just need some cleaning and touch-ups, your baseboards most likely have seen a lot more traffic, especially if you have kids. It may be a toy truck that has repeatedly crashed into your white baseboards, crayons that went rogue, or the black rubber wheels from bikes racing down the hallway, most likely your baseboards have been marked with years of life experiences.

 

To correct these homely blemishes, you can try cleaning your baseboards with simple dish soap and water. But if it has been years of wear and abuse, you most likely will need to paint. Use a paint with a semi-gloss finish that will offer a light sheen but not glossy enough to distract attention away from your floors. You can also match your crown molding using the same paint, making every room pop to potential homebuyers. Of course, if you end up hiring painters to repaint that accent wall of yours, you might as well have them paint your baseboards while they’re there.

 

  1. Focus on Your Floors

Your hardwood floors were once beautiful and one of the initial reasons you bought your home, but after years of traffic your hardwoods have since dulled to a shadow of their former glory. Likewise, your once plush carpet has also now matted down into obvious paths that lead from room to room.

 

One of the first things potential homebuyers look at when entering a new home is the floors, so make yours a statement.

 

If your carpet is approaching that 10-year mark, it is most likely looking pretty worn. Think about recarpeting your house to make it look fresh and ready for new homeowners. Such as you did with your walls, you’ll want to go more neutral in color to appeal to the majority of homebuyers. If your carpet is only a few years old, however, getting it professionally cleaned can go a long way in bringing your carpet back to life.

 

If you have hardwood floors bring them back to their former glory by refinishing them. Refinishing hardwood floors typically includes sanding down the floors to eliminate the original finish and stain, then restaining with the desired color followed by a coat or two of sealer. Your floors will look brand new and really stand out during the open house.

 

 

  1. Gather Your Documents

You might not be aware of this but you’ll want to gather all the documents you have in regards to warranties, manuals, service records, and repairs done to your house. These documents are hugely important for several reasons and certain ones are needed by different parties before you sell your house.

 

Your agent is your best friend during the home selling process. They are also your homes’ first line of marketing and the more information they have about your house, the better they can promote it. They will write out the specific details of your home as well as an enticing description that will highlight key features that homebuyers want. So, if you’ve made recent updates like a new deck, new roof, updated HVAC, or if your home has hot water on demand make sure your agent knows it and you have the paperwork to back it up.

 

During the home inspection process, home inspectors are going to go over your house with a fine-toothed comb. If your furnace or water heater hasn’t been serviced in years, they’ll let you know. Take a proactive approach by gathering all your service records so you’ll know ahead of time if something needs to be serviced before listing your home.

 

However, beyond the paperwork your agent and the home inspector would like to see, title companies require very specific documentation in order for you to even sell your home, including:

 

  • Mortgage loan information, which will show any outstanding mortgage balance and pay-off balance (if there is any)
  • Final purchase and sale agreement
  • Deed
  • Title report
  • Property tax information, including most recent tax statement
  • Homeowners insurance information
  • Lease agreement, if you’re currently renting the property
  • Any reports or documentation that relates to the property
    • Warranty paperwork, permits, service documentation, instruction manuals, dates of home improvement projects, and age of the roof, furnace, hot water heater, HVAC, and all the other major appliances.11. Pre-Sale Home Inspection
    • Originally published on Redfin
    • You may feel like spending a lot of time and money on your house is pointless because you’re just going to sell it anyway, right? Just consider that the more you appeal to the majority of homebuyers the more bids you’ll likely see and ultimately help you sell your house quicker and for more money.
    • A home inspection report will most likely turn up a list of repairs that will need to be fixed. Would you prefer to fix these issues now before you list your home, or after you’re in negotiations with a potential buyer? If you wait, you may push back the sale date of your house as repairs are being made. Or, homebuyers may ask for concessions on your asking price in order to cover the repairs and the time it takes to make them. Ultimately, getting a pre-sale home inspection will leave you in a better position when it comes time to negotiate with potential buyers.
    • Homebuyers will most likely get a home inspection of their own, right? So, why would you get one as a seller?
    • The last thing most people don’t think about before they sell their home is getting a pre-sale home inspection. Though it is not mandatory, a pre-sale home inspection is a proactive approach to understanding your home’s condition at that point in time, and if there are any repairs that need attention, you can address them now versus trying to do it during the home selling process.

5 signs it’s time to clean carpets and ducts

Seattle-area residents are known for living “green” lifestyles, striving to use cleaning products that leave a minimal environmental footprint and that don’t worsen allergies or medical conditions. But even the most diligent homeowners don’t always know how to recognize signs that a home needs serious duct or carpet cleaning rather than the usual once-over with off-the-shelf cleaning products.

“Many people in this region have pets and allergies, and more homeowners here are investing in air conditioning systems as summers heat up, which increases the risk of mold,” says Eric Moe, owner of Alpine Specialty Cleaning, a family-run business that has been cleaning homes around Seattle since 1969. “Without proper cleaning, these homes run the risk of accumulating and recirculating dirty air in ducts and developing unhealthy carpet conditions.”

As more homeowners use their forced-air heating system for heat in winter and to fan air in summer – or to circulate cooled air from an air conditioning unit – these ducts are in service all four seasons, Moe notes.

 

Is it time for a deep cleaning? Here are five signs.

 

  • Your home was built energy-efficient. Energy-efficient homes are sealed tighter than most homes, meaning air recirculates more frequently than in traditional-built homes. This makes duct cleaning more important, as a tightly sealed home with pets, kids or lots of wall-to-wall carpet may accumulate dust, mold or smells faster than in a home where outside air can leak inside more easily.

 

  • Carpets have black lines around their edges, matted fibers or numerous visible stains. If your carpet has black lines around its perimeter or where the carpet hits doorways, that means dirt is infiltrating through gaps in walls, beneath doors, or due to broken screens. Matted fiber may result from soil buildup. Heavy stains need treating for removal.

 

  • Dust has accumulated. If you clean and dust regularly but dust persists, it may be living in ducts and carpets that need a thorough cleaning. Additionally, if you need to frequently change furnace air filters because of dust or other accumulation, that may be a sign your ducts are dirty.

 

  • You’ve got allergies or respiratory health issues. If you’ve got asthma or other respiratory health conditions, or if you’re allergic to common substances like pollen, pet hair or other airborne particles, keeping carpets and ducts professionally cleaned can reduce exposure to irritants at home.

 

 

  • It smells! Smells may be a sign of mold, moisture problems, or soaked-in stains that need professional cleaning.

 

How often should you clean carpets? Moe says that most homeowners need professional carpet cleaning at least annually _ as often as every 6 months if pets, crawling babies or toddlers, or allergies or respiratory sensitivities are present.

Ducts typically need thorough cleaning every two to three years, but again, a more frequent cleaning may be necessary if pet hair or the above factors are present in the house. Moe encourages those in the market for a duct cleaner to carefully vet the outfit they hire, making sure that like Alpine Specialty Cleaning the company is certified by NADCA, a duct-cleaning association that holds member companies to rigorous standards.

“Most people clean their ducts first, then turn to their carpets,” he says. “September is typically our busiest month, as people prepare for fall when heating systems are turned on and rain begins. But you can clean carpets and ducts any time of year – they’re year-round systems, especially ducts which carry air for both heat, fans, and air conditioning.”

 

Alpine Specialty Cleaning was founded in the Seattle area in 1969 by Maurice Moe. Eric Moe and his wife, Bobbie, continue the “Tradition of Quality” and “5 Star Experience” that Alpine has been known for over the years. 

Certified air duct cleaning matters

What is NADCA?

NADCA is the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. It is the professional organization for companies engaged in the inspection, cleaning, and restoration of HVAC systems. It provides advocacy, education, certification, standards, and marketing for its members. It maintains an anti-fraud division to uncover and root out both those who falsely claim to be HVAC technicians or vent cleaners, and those vent cleaners who are only pretending to do work.

Why Is That Important?

When done correctly and thoroughly, cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system can be beneficial to your health and to the efficiency of your system. However, there are a lot of scammers who will pretend to do something and leave your system in a mess, or even damage it. When you think about choosing an air vent cleaning company, it is important to find one that is conscientious. But if you are like most people, this is not an area in which you have a lot of experience. How do you find a good provider of cleaning services? That is where NADCA comes in.

Members of NADCA are required to agree with and adhere to professional standards and ethics. Companies that are members of NADCA are required to have at least one NADCA certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (someone who has passed the NADCA Certification Examination) on staff, to maintain liability insurance, and to agree to clean according to NADCA standards and comply with the NADCA Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics includes requirements such as being honest and forthright in advertising, providing only necessary and desired services to their customer and not trying to sell them unnecessary services, staying up to date with equipment and training, and doing thorough work.

The United States Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) recommends using NADCA-certified HVAC professionals.

How Do I Find A Certified Company?

The best way to find out if the vent cleaning agency you are considering is a member of NADCA is to go to their website and use the “Find A Professional” tool. Current members in good standing within a particular distance of your search will be listed.

Alpine Specialty Cleaning is NADCA certified and qualified to provide you with excellent care for your HVAC system.