Home Selling Tips: 4 Steps to Decluttering with Kids

The number one recommendation that real estate experts offer when asked about home selling tips is simple: declutter. Getting rid of excess belongings will make your home appear larger and more inviting, which often translates to selling faster and for more money.

But if you’ve got kids in the house, decluttering often seems like a monumental task, if not an impossibility. Between toys, video games, clothes, shoes, papers, and art supplies, kid stuff seems to take over the house, and if you’ve got more than one child, the “stuff” seems to multiply exponentially.

But decluttering is essential and important, so follow these simple steps, and house hunters will hardly know that children live there.

  1. Go through everything and get rid of broken toys and outgrown clothes. Be prepared, because this is a big task, but well worth it in the end. You’re not going to want to take these things with you anyway, so why not do it now and reap the benefit? The several garbage bags full of stuff you’ll take out of the house will motivate you to keep going too.
  2. Pick out one weeks worth of clothing and put the rest in storage bins. Remember, it’s only temporary, and putting extra clothing away will free up closet and drawer space to hide other items.
  3. Put half (or more) of the toys that are left in storage containers. Take these and the ones with clothing and put them in a storage unit or ask to use some space in a nearby friend or family member’s garage. Things will be close by if the children get tired of wearing the same things or miss some of their other toys. You can easily swap them out for different ones.
  4. Invest in double-duty furnishings. When someone wants to see the house, you never want to say no. So if your house is a mess, you want to have places you an easily stash toys and clutter. Think about getting a coffee table with some sort of built in drawers or storage in it for the living room. A bench with a lift-up seat by the door can hold shoes, hats, and other things that get dropped by the entryway. And a toybox with a lid can make cleaning up bedrooms fast and easy. There’s a little bit of a financial investment for these items, but remember they will be going with you to your new home, and you can put them to good use there.

Decluttering with children in the house is definitely a challenge, but it is possible. If you’re trying to sell your house, it’s well worth the effort. For more tips on selling your home, contact us.

Home Selling Tips: Finance Your Own Property

We recently talked about how buyers can benefit from using seller-based financing. The truth is, it’s often a very smart move for sellers as well. Here are a few reasons that you should seller finance your property.

More money

Arguably, the best part of seller financing for the seller is the extra money. If you choose to send the buyer to a bank for a mortgage, you’ll get the price of the property right away. On the other hand, if you allow them to finance through you, the price will be paid to you over the course of the loan, but it will come with interest, which is often worth almost as much as the loan itself. This means that, even if your property is only worth $60,000, you may be able to get $100,000 out of if, if you’re willing to wait for it.

Flexibility

Seller financing makes the entire process more flexible for both the buyer and the seller. If you finance your own property, you can ask for just about whatever you want. This gives you a lot of extra power in negotiations. You control all aspects of the loan, and can use that to your advantage.

Options

Once you’ve agreed to finance the property yourself, you still have other options available to you. Even years later, you could still sell the loan to an investor. For example, if you were to decide a year after the sale that you needed the cash, you’d probably still be able to sell the note for more than the house was worth.

Looking for more information about seller financing or anything else related to real estate? Contact us.

BRRR… It’s Cold Out There! Sell Your Home Before Winter

Ah, winter… Snow, sleet, and slush is on its way and this is when you’ve decided to sell your home! Well, not all is lost. It might be a little more difficult to sell your home before winter, but it isn’t impossible.

When flowers aren’t blooming, and the lawn is withered and brown, your house loses some of the curb appeal that draws in buyers. You’ll need to replace that curb appeal with something, so this is the time to get creative. Pinterest offers boards with lots of inspirational photos of homes with great winter curb appeal. At the very least, hang a welcoming winter wreath on your door and put out a nice, new welcome mat for visitors to wipe their feet.

Once potential buyers are inside, greet them with the warm, homey scent of something yummy baking. You can achieve this without the baking mess (or the calories!) by using a great scented candle in a candle warmer. Scatter appropriately scented candles throughout your home for a subtle ‘welcome home’ to every area. How about the scents of freshly fallen rain in the bathroom or fluffy, warm towels in the laundry?

Invest in whatever you need to keep things organized and neat around your house. This is particularly important around the entryways. If potential buyers see a mess of muddy boots, slushy puddles, and tangles of mittens and scarves, they’re going to assume your home lacks storage. Instead, greet them with large, pretty baskets and a boot tray with all the mess tucked neatly away.

Finally, understand that you’ll be better off getting your home sold before the depths of winter. That might mean accepting a lower offer than you wanted, paying closing costs, or agreeing to make repairs. The alternative is keeping your home in showable condition in the face of slush, mud, holidays, winter break, housebound pets… 

Let us help you sell your home before the depths of winter; contact us now to find out how.

DIY Tips: Eight Clever Bathroom Remodeling Ideas When You Are on a Budget and Want to Sell Your Home (Part II)

“We need to have our bathroom remodeled so we can put this house on the market,” you say to your significant other. But a bathroom remodel doesn’t come cheap when you’re on a budget; the cost ranges between $10,000 and $15,000—and that’s just an ordinary renovation. That’s money you don’t currently have, but it’s okay. Last week we checked out the first four of the eight DIY tips for updating your bathroom when you’re on a budget. Now, let’s look over the last fabulous four ideas.

Use Less Tile

Let’s face it, tile is really expensive—particularly if you employ a contractor to put it in for you. To save the green stuff, use tile sparingly. Apply a horizontal strip of tile on one wall and paint the other walls. You could also only install tile on your floor which is a high-impact area.

But if you have to have that expensive, artistic tile you’ve had your eye on for months, then just purchase a few of them and use them as an accent piece beside less expensive tile. You’ll save plenty of money and the artistic tile will really pop.

Paint to Your Heart’s Content

You don’t have a pile of money to spend? That’s okay, painting is a terrific way to give your bathroom a fresh look and it’s the least expensive. Buy a satin finish, top-quality paint because a bathroom can become humid and mildew and mold like to grow there. Applying a special bathroom ceiling paint is a good investment as it aids in resisting mold growth.

Keep in mind, though, that this won’t be a quick paint job—even if your bathroom is the smallest room in your home. You’re going to need a healthy supply of painter’s tape and patience as you paint gently and slowly around the tub or shower, mirror, switch plates, floor, window, sink, toilet and wall corners.

Renew Grout and Caulk

This is a great—and often neglected—way to update your bathroom at a low cost. When grout and caulk gets dirty, it looks disgusting. For just a few bucks you can make your bathroom glisten by applying clean, straight lines of caulk around your sink and tub and washing the grout

Upgrade to “Green”

When creating an up-to-date bathroom, remember the environment. By purchasing repurposing materials you can look for good ideas. A brilliant idea is to make soap dispensers out of mason canning jars.

Low-flow shower heads, toilets and sinks will save money in addition to saving water. Additionally, traditional faucets and shower heads are priced less than or the same as water-saving ones.

Would you like another awesome idea? Search for three antique, cool-looking tin cans. Grab an old, 2-foot plank and drill the tin cans beside one another into the plank. Next, drill the plank into the bathroom wall. Now you’ve got really neat storage for your bathroom amenities such as toothpaste, Q-tips, toothbrushes and combs and brushes. Likewise, you can utilize old barn wood for shelves.

Whenever you use something old, you’ll decrease your consumption and will most likely save money. But remember to give back; donate any items that you remove from your bathroom to Habitat for Humanity ReStore or your neighborhood Goodwill store.

In addition to these wonderful ideas, there’s more good news! When you want to sell your home, the bathroom upgrade will add value. You could receive a good amount of money that you put into the remodel.

So, you see, you don’t need to take out a second loan on your house just to pay for a bathroom upgrade. These eight fantastic ideas will spruce up your bath and make it look like you went all out with renovations. Please contact us when you’re ready to sell your home.

DIY Tips: Eight Clever Bathroom Remodeling Ideas When You Are on a Budget and Want to Sell Your Home (Part I)

You know your bathroom is in desperate need of a makeover before you can even attempt to sell your home. However, the average cost of a renovation is between $10,000 and $15,000; yet if you want an upscale bath, you’re talking about $20,000 to $25,000. Sadly, you know that throwing down even $10,000 to create an ideal bathroom is nothing but a fantasy right now. But don’t despair, you won’t need to win the lottery to make that bathroom remodel wish come true; there’s lots of ways to redesign your bathroom into a cool, comfy space. In fact, if you do the job yourself or have willing friends that have remodeled their house, you can just spend about $3,000 or even less than $1,000. It all depends on how much remodeling you want to do and how much you can safely afford to spend.

Let’s explore the first four of eight DIY tips that you can do to remodel your bathroom when you’re on a budget.

Save Money on Countertops

Granite countertops have been all the rage for a few years and are a pretty low investment for a bathroom. But how in the world can you be frugal when buying granite? There are slabs of granite that contain imperfections. The slabs that have the most imperfections will be the least pricey. Don’t forget that your sink—or sinks for a master bathroom—will be taking up much of the space; the imperfection may end up being near the faucet or sink which means you might not be able to see it anyway. Survey a wide range of color strips for your countertops. The neutral colors such as light beige, tan and brown are favored making them steeply priced.

Another easy way to save on your countertops is to create “dresser sinks” by utilizing an old dresser as a sink pedestal. To make one you just have to cut into the back of the dresser for the sink pipes; for the sink, you’ll need to cut out a hole in the top of the dresser, removing an inside drawer or two as needed. In retail stores, these same “dresser sinks” go for thousands of dollars. But with the correct tools, a bit of patience and an old dresser, you can design your own.

Modernize Your Fixtures

Never overlook the little things. Items such as sink faucets, drawer pulls, light fixtures and towel racks might seem meaningless, yet they can create a whole new look for your bathroom. The best news is that these things aren’t very expensive to upgrade.

Think of unique ways to obtain your fixtures rather than going to IKEA or an expensive home improvement store. If you want an industrial look to your bathroom, consider using old plumbing for towel racks. They won’t cost a penny if you’re lucky enough to grab some old plumbing out of an old home that’s about to be demolished.

Don’t Purchase New—Do a Makeover

It would cost you an arm and a leg to have your old shower or tub replaced; so a cheaper way to go is have a professional refinish it for you. Don’t do this for shower and sink fixtures, however, since it’s cheaper to just replace them. Why is it more expensive to refinish shower and sink fixtures? Contractors who offer this type of service do so at a high price because the few people that do use the service have antique fixtures.

But there’s good news! If you’d rather not part with your old-fashioned tub or fixtures that are made from fiberglass, porcelain or cast iron, you could do the refinishing yourself. It will require a small investment and lots of time. A simple do-it-yourself refinishing kit costs about $100 to $150; don’t forget that you’ll need other things as well: a high-volume/low pressure spray gun, plastic tarps, paint brushes, a fan, masking tape, a top-quality sander, safety goggles, gloves and face masks. There are plenty of bathroom refinishing instructional videos on the internet for you to view.

Acquire Used Products

To save more of your money, consider purchasing used items like sinks or fixtures by exploring Etsy. Attempt to search with words such as “upcycled” or “bathroom”. The possibilities are endless as to what you could find there to accessorize your bathroom. For example, you may find metal shelving in the shape of a check mark which would be neat for storing folded towels. You might also discover an artist that uses old, colorful Tupperware as lamps—what a fun way to brighten a bathroom!

Other terrific place to get items for your bathroom are by perusing Craigslist or eBay as well as your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore which sells necessary home items like mirrors, doors, sinks and much more.

So what do you think? They’re pretty cool ideas so far, right? Please join us in next week’s blog to examine the last four bathroom remodeling ideas. In the meantime, please contact us if you want more information.

Curb Appeal: Crucial for Home Selling

The first impression may be the only impression a prospective buyer has. If they don’t like the way your home looks from the outside or immediately upon entering, they may cross it off the list of possibilities. Therefore curb appeal is crucial. In the fall and winter it can be more difficult to provide an appealing exterior. Consider the following home selling tips to improve curb appeal during these seasons.

Maintenance

Continue to maintain the lawn even in the fall and winter. Keep the grass cut, clear the leaves, and sweep the walkways. Remove the dying summer flowers and replenish mulch to make gardens look like they are ready to be planted in the spring. If it snows be sure to clear the snow from your driveway and all walkways.

Decorations

While it is OK to decorate for the upcoming holidays remember less is more. Choose a few items but don’t over do it. You want the prospective buyer to envision a home they could live in. If they aren’t excited about inflatable turkeys they may be turned off to your house based on the 3 you have in your front yard. It is best to use outdoor decorations that are inspired by nature as opposed to those that are commercial in appearance. Potted mums are a simple choice that will add color without being overwhelming.

Lighting

The daylight hours are shorter. It is important your home is well-lit so prospective buyers can find it. A well-lit home will also be more appealing. While you are inspecting the lighting outside your home also verify that your house number can be clearly seen from the road.

Taking the above steps will make your home more appealing in the fall and winter months. For additional home selling tips please contact us.

5 Home Selling Tips to Help Sell Your Home

Real estate in Connecticut and most of the country has experienced a dramatic upswing. Now just might be the ideal time to sell your home for top dollar. Here are a few home selling tips that are sure to help make your house marketable and clear a path for a quick sale.

  1. De-clutter — If you have made the decision to sell, then it’s time to start packing and de-clutter your home. A cluttered residence does not show well. You want your house to appear spacious to any would-be buyers so packing up personal items is an ideal way to make your home more appealing to home shoppers. You may want to consider hiring a professional home stager to make sure your truly house shines.
  2. Time of Year — The time of year you decide to sell might impact how quickly your house sells. Connecticut often experiences extremely cold winters which can slow the house selling market. Buyers often don’t like to acquire family homes during the school season. Spring and summer are the most popular months to sell a single family residence.
  3. Flexibility — Always be flexible to a would-be buyer’s schedule. Often buyers give little or no notice when they want to view your home, so always have the residence in tip-top shape and ready to show.
  4. Know the Market — Familiarize yourself with the local market and use an agent that knows what homes are moving in your area. You want to price your home right so it attracts buyers and brings in offers quickly.  Your agent will present you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that will give you a good idea what local homes are selling for and how quickly. The CMA provides you with an idea of what your home is realistically worth.
  5. Curb Appeal — Many buyers do a drive by before they schedule an appointment to see a home’s interior. Make sure that the residence’s exterior shines and the landscape looks well-kept.

To talk more about this, or anything else, please Contact Us. Thanks.

Fun Real Estate Facts: Study Reveals Home Ownership Dream

Whether you are buying or selling a home in Connecticut, you can learn a lot by looking at the fun real estate facts revealed in a study on housing and homeownership. According to a survey by Trulia.com, home ownership dreams differ depending if you are a millennial in the 18 to 34 age category, a member of Generation X age 35 to 54 or a baby boomers 55 and older. By knowing who is in the market for a new home and when people plan to buy a home, you can make better educated decisions about the listing price, timing and targeted home improvements. According to the survey, 40 percent of baby boomers, 77 percent of Gen-Xers and 89 percent of millennials who currently rent plan to buy a primary residence.

Staging for people with children

If you are trying to sell a home in Connecticut, it’s a good idea to stage the home as a family friendly house. According to the Trulia.com survey, most people buy homes when they have children under the age of 18 living at home. Some ideas for creating a family friendly home even if you are single or married without children include setting up a playroom, decorating bedrooms for children and creating an outdoor play area.

Timing your home purchase

If you are hoping to buy a home in Connecticut, it is an excellent time. The survey showed other fun real estate facts such as the fact that 4 percent of millennials want to buy a home within 6 months; 7 percent plan to buy within 7 to 12 months while 17 percent want to buy within 13 to 24 months. Because interest rates will likely rise, it pays to lock in on a lower rate while also getting ahead of the home buying wave that will likely push up home prices.

Choosing an architectural style

The survey revealed the different architectural style of homes that people prefer. Members of Generation X and millennials like the modern home best, while baby boomers prefer the ranch style home. Three perfect of people want a penthouse apartment, while 2 percent want to live in a converted loft. Some of the most popular styles of home include farmhouse, Victorian, Craftsman, Plantation and Colonial as well as the ranch and modern styles.

Other fun real estate facts relate to the size of a home and the features. Those surveyed prefer homes more than 1,400 square feet but less than 2,600 square feet. Easterners prefer living in the suburbs. Favorite amenities include decks, gourmet kitchens, open floor plan and balcony. For more information on Connecticut real estate and fun facts, please contact us.

What to do if Your Pipes Burst and How to Prevent It.

pipes burst

Freezing weather can wreak havoc on your plumbing. When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, your pipes stand a chance of bursting due to the frozen water expanding. This, of course, can lead to flooding and damage to your home and property. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces, garages, and next to exterior walls are prone to bursting.

While it may seem like we’re out of the woods for most of the country, here in CT we can still get below freezing for a good part of spring. So we thought we’d pass along some DIY tips to help you prevent and fix burst or leaking pipes.

Prevention 

– The night before a deep freeze, wrap vulnerable pipes in insulation or old newspapers, covering the newspaper with plastic to reduce moisture. This will act as a blanket and keep the chill out.

 Locate the faucet farthest from your water meter and allow a trickle of water to run from the cold side. This simple task will keep the water flowing so it will not freeze, and will help to relieve the pressure if it happens to do so.

– If possible, provide your pipes with access to warm air. Open cabinets or doors from areas that are heated and let that warm air hit the pipes. A little warmth can go a long way.

Solution

– If you turn on your faucet after a particularly cold night and nothing but a trickle comes out (or nothing at all) you have a frozen pipe. It’s important to keep the faucet open while you treat the problem.

– Apply heat to the section of pipe that is frozen. Use towels soaked in warm water, a heating pad, or a hair dryer (avoid if there is standing water). Never use a blowtorch, kerosene, or anything with an open flame to thaw your pipes. This can cause explosion and/or the release of dangerous and lethal carbon monoxide.

– Only apply heat until the pressure is restored. Overheating can damage your pipes and lead to future problems. If there is damage, or you require assistance, call a plumber immediately.

Although we hope this never happens to anyone, applying any or all of these solutions/applications can help save you the cost of a very hefty plumbing bill.

For more information, please contact us any time.

Snowbirds: Is it time to Downsize?

downsize homes

Are you a snowbird? Thinking of being a snowbird? A move to warmer weather each winter sounds lovely, especially that the cold weather in New England can be taxing. Of course, during the months you’re gone you’ll miss your friends, family and neighborhood, which is what keeps bringing you back here each spring. But what about your house in Connecticut?  Are you starting to think it’s a lot to take care of? Downsizing might be a consideration.

 

  • Save money. Downsizing to a smaller winter home could mean savings in many areas. Property taxes and sewer taxes could all be lowered giving you extra money to spend on those southern beaches and golf courses.
  • Summer maintenance. A smaller home means less time cleaning and fewer repairs to manage. A smaller yard still gives room for gardening and entertaining but allows you to spend more time with family and friends when you return home.
  • Winter maintenance. Even though you should be relaxing in the nice southern weather, you still have concerns about your northern house. You might be concerned about the older roof and the heavy snow. Maybe you pay to have your driveway plowed and sidewalks shoveled while you’re away. By having a smaller, even newer home, these concerns will lessen.

 

What type of home will suit your future needs? Downsizing could mean moving to a single story, smaller house.  It could also mean moving to a condominium or renting an apartment. As a professional realtor with a team of specialists,  we can help you sell your home or find a home that fit all your needs. Ask about our snowbird specials that could pay your moving costs in full!

Contact me, Michelle Manter Gigliette for more information.

Four Do it Yourself (DIY) Tips For Renovating Your Bathroom

bathroom_renovation

Doing bathroom renovation’s yourself can scare many homeowners, but you might be surprised at just how big a difference you can make to your bathroom without bringing in the professionals. Whether your bathroom needs renovating because it is too cramped or because you haven’t yet been able to give it any definite sense of style, these do it yourself (diy) tips can come in handy.

Fixtures

Courtesy of the Manter Realty Group

Courtesy of the Manter Realty Group

 

Courtesy of the Manter Realty Group

Courtesy of the Manter Realty Group

When considering bathroom renovations, one of the initial steps to take is scanning the room’s fixtures.  The first step toward an utter transformation of a bathroom with a serious case of the blahs can be accomplished all by yourself with the replacement of every last tiresome bit of chrome and each cabinet handle that lacks personality. Just think what a difference you can make with this DIY tip for renovating the bathroom: instead of the same old traditional chrome fixtures, you can walk into a bathroom shining with antique brass, polished nickel, baked enamel or even gold plate. As for cabinet handles and pulls, well, the limit of your budget will reach a breaking point far before the limit of your imagination. And the best part is that replacing faucets, handles and pulls are very much within the do it yourself limitations of most homeowners.  Another do it yourself tip: don’t forget to s wap out the old shower head that was there when you moved in for the latest in shower head misting technology. Wait till you see the dazzling array of shower heads that massage, mist and do just about everything except buff the corns on your feet.

Molding

Courtesy of the Manter realty Group

Courtesy of the Manter realty Group

Among all the do it yourself (DIY) tips for renovating your bathroom that you may be likely to overlook or put off as beyond your capabilities, adding or replacing molding is the one most likely to make a dramatic impact, A sense of elegance, wealth, taste and even that indefinable thing called style can be accomplished with nothing more difficult than stripping existing trim and nailing in something new. Moldings capable of transforming the very essence of your bathroom are readily available in a dizzying choice of materials, colors and design.  Here’s a couple of do it yourself tips for achieving a distinct character: go with hardwood molding to achieve a traditional sense of style and opt for high-density polyurethane trim molding if you want something more contemporary or, paradoxically, more ornate.

Tiling

Courtesy of the Manter Realty Group

Courtesy of the Manter Realty Group

 

One of the do it yourself tips for renovating your bathroom that you will discover offers nearly unlimited opportunity for creative expression is tiling Tile is available for bathroom floors, walls, showers and just about anywhere else you might want to place it. And just in case you think that tiling any spot in the bathroom hardly qualifies as a DIY project, you should know that you will be presented with a quite a choice when you go shopping for tile. Some of them will require a lot of more work to achieve your dream bathroom while other types will easily wind up not even taking up an entire weekend.  And here’s two DIY tips for using tile to renovate your bathroom: buy individual colors of vibrancy that you randomly place into your tile design or get really imaginative and design a complex wall tile mural.

Small Bathroom Renovation

Courtesy of the Manter Realty Group

Courtesy of the Manter Realty Group

 

Paint… Paint…..Paint. When it comes to renovating a small bathroom, a number of do it yourself tips can all do wonders depending on the situation. If an overabundance of white is contributing to the sense of confinement in your bathroom, a very dramatic makeover can be accomplished with something as easy to turn into a DIY project as introducing vivid new colors via paint or wallpaper. Speaking of wallpaper, using the small border type can make a small bathroom’s ceiling seem higher. If you don’t like wallpaper, the same sense of height can be created with a paint job that bleeds down the wall. Putting up a larger mirror can expand the horizontal line of a small bathroom. A total paint makeover using soft greens, pinks and blues will instill a greater sense of space in a small bathroom. Replace a standard cabinet sink with pedestal model to actually create more room.

 

To talk more about renovation ideas, or anything else, please Contact Us. Thanks.

4 Home Selling Tips You Do Not Want to Look Over.

tips and tricks home selling

The decision to list your home on the market means paying attention to all the home selling tips you may come across. Some will be invaluable while some will be an utter waste of time. As with food, preparation is at least half the battle when it comes to achieving ultimate success in selling a house. To ensure the most profitable return possible, you need to make every effort possible to spruce up the homestead in order to increase its appeal to potential buyers. Always remember that curb appeal should refer to the interior as well the exterior. Check out Our staging articles for great ideas as well.

 

Four Home Selling Tips For Maximum Profit!

 

1.) Squeaky Floors and Steps

The old saying about the squeaky wheel getting the grease is not typically used in relation to home selling tips, but it most definitely applies If your home’s floor or stairs produce a noticeable squeak you should do whatever is required to eliminate the noise. Even though you may be used to the squeaking after several years of living with it, to potential homebuyers that innocuous little noise can serve as a warning alarm about everything from your home maintenance to structural flaws. Want to learn how to fix squeeky floors. Check out DIY networks article Fix my Squeeky Floor.

2.) Electrical Problems

Some home selling tips may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be quite easy to forget about the obvious when you are focusing on the hidden. Your doorbell hasn’t worked in years? Well, the decision to sell your house has now made that thing you can live with become something you must immediately address. Go to your main service panel and label each circuit in your home’s wiring system. Test all the outlets with a receptacle analyzer. Call in a professional electrician if you must, but by all means do not allow even the smallest electrical problem to remain unfixed. Also please make sure you electrical is on breakers. Read more About why Here…. Why should I upgrade my panel.

3.) Cracks in Exterior Surfaces

Connecticut gets cold. Cold causes cracks in driveways, walkways, steps, patios and other outdoor foundations. Minor cracks are understandable to all natives and even most new residents from the South. Great big cracks are another thing altogether. Big cracks in driveways and walkways and the like can easily grow big enough to cause concern. Home selling tips always include repairing major foundation flaws, but it can be easy to write off cracks in driveways as something to be expected. Don’t expect every homeowner to see things in that light

 

4.) Interior Walls

Home selling tips related to preparing your house in advance of the arrival of looky-loos means take a closer look at your walls than you’ve done in years. Let’s face it: most people don’t really look that closely at every wall in their house unless they are decorating it. Give your wood paneling a solid cleansing with oil. Replace old electrical wall plates that have gone out of fashion or have become damaged or broken. Get those cobwebs out of the corners and dust any fixtures attached to the wall. Be ruthlessly honest about whether or not it makes financial sense repaint, replace wallpaper or otherwise engage in more serious redecorating.

Home Selling Tips: A Properly Staged Kitchen Sells Homes Quicker

 

staging tips

Highlighting your home’s strong points (and downplaying the weak ones) to a potential buyer is important to making sure that it sells quickly. People shopping for a new home will be looking for particular things in every room, and it can be difficult to please everyone. But one room that can make or break a sale is the kitchen, the center and heart of everyone’s household. Having a warm, bright and inviting (oh, and somewhat modern) kitchen will speed up the sale of your home dramatically.

 

Here are some basic tips to stage your kitchen:

1.) Keep if functional

 People looking to buy a new home want to see a kitchen that is ready and waiting for their family, so you’ll want to make sure that everything functions as it should by keeping drawers workable and smooth, fixing those floor tiles, and so on. No one wants to fix a problem the day they move in.

Recent Staging Project

*All photos are from a Manter Realty Group staging at 55 mckenzie ave, South Meriden, CT

2.) Focus on the details

Not everyone is going to be able to run out and buy brand new appliances, granite counter tops, etc, when they stage their house (that’s for the new house!) But what you can do is add a fresh coat of paint, some new hardware on the drawers and doors, and perhaps some new lighting fixtures. You’ll be surprised at how much the little things help to sell your house.

Recent Staging Project

*All photos are from a Manter Realty Group staging at 55 mckenzie ave, South Meriden, CT

3.) Tidy Up

During the selling process you are going to want to keep your kitchen clean, uncluttered and move-in ready. Homebuyers are going to be looking for things that stick out to them, and too much stuff on the counter, an inordinate amount of magnets or pictures on the fridge, and old sink rags or sponges lying around won’t help your cause. The more organized the space is, the more potential buyers will see, and the quicker it’ll sell.

Recent Staging Project

*All photos are from a Manter Realty Group staging at 55 mckenzie ave, South Meriden, CT

 

Ready to sell your house? Want more tips on how we can help you properly stage all the rooms in your home for a quick and easy sale? Please contact us (860-716-2227) any time.

free-home-valuation

Home Selling tips: Showing your home off in the Fall and Winter

tips and tricks home selling

Long daylight hours, clear skies, and warm weather make summer the best season for real estate. But just because those ideal months have passed, that doesn’t mean that you can’t sell your home. In fact, fall and winter offer two advantages for the property market that summer does not. For one, your competition will have pulled their homes for sale. And for another, all those out-of-state Connecticut natives come back home for holiday celebrations and alumni games. They may want to make their return permanent if they can buy your home.

 

Home-selling during the colder months does present its own set of challenges. Use the following tips to make your efforts more effective.

What to do to make sure my home Shows well?

 

  • Clear a path. It’s tempting to let outside maintenance go because it’s just too cold. But if the path to your door is blocked by fallen leaves or snowdrifts, how are homebuyers supposed to check out your interior? Don’t forget to clear any areas around your outside spaces as well, such as the deck or fountain, that you want visitors to look at.
  • Seal the cracks. A whisper of cold air is quite noticeable inside a warm room and will make buyers wonder if you have enough insulation or if there are hidden cracks in the walls. They’ll begin to see all the dollars it will take for them to make repairs. Prevent this speculation by sealing all windows and vents with weatherstripping, and caulking any cracks responsible for the drafts.
  • Remind them of home. Remind potential homeowners of their childhoods by decorating for the holidays. Keep a crackling fire going in your fireplace. When appropriate, add carved pumpkins by the front door, cornucopias on the dining room table, and a Christmas tree in the living room. Keep a warm crackling fire going and fill the kitchen air with the aroma of pumpkin pie and gingerbread cookies. Having a bowl of spiced apple cider can warm your visitors and please their palate at the same time.

 

 

 

The Importance of Home Staging.

home staging

Selling your home can be an emotional time. You may be selling a house that’s been in your family for decades or a house you spent years fixing up. You may not want to sell, but need to due to life changes.

Emotions and home selling go hand in hand. But keep in mind, it’s also a business transaction; one of the biggest in your life.  You’re selling an item another person wants to buy; and it’s expensive.

Compare it to visiting a car dealership.  Admit it, you’re automatically drawn to the new, shiny cars with clean, uncluttered interiors. You’ll most likely test drive one and may even figure out a way to move forward with the purchase.

Well, why not give your house the same type of service? Make your house clean, shiny and uncluttered to attract buyers. Check out a recent blog I wrote about picking paint color and why color matters. Granted, a house is larger than a car. It’s a much bigger job to clean and declutter. But you need to make it as desirable as possible to get the best price and the fastest sale. And that’s where home staging can help.

According to the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, homes staged by professionals can sell 95% faster than non-staged homes. The selling price can also be increased by thousands.

The cost of a professional home stager varies according to location and services. For example, a consultation only will be less expensive than having your entire house staged by a professional. You can decide what you can afford and what you’re able and willing to do on your own.

Home stagers can also help relieve stress from what can be a stressful time. By letting someone else help with making your house look resistible, you can focus on packing and other details involved with moving.

Contact me, Michelle Manter Giglietti or visit my home staging tip section on my blog for more ideas on preparing your home for sale. And remember that Home staging services are free to all my clients who list with me!

 

3 Basic Steps in Choosing the Perfect Room Color

paint color 2

So you’ve found the perfect home. The price was right, the size and layout were right, but the color the previous owners used for the living room walls makes you choke. You probably already have a good idea of how you want to live, and how you want to feel in your rooms. Many new homeowners are a little afraid of color, especially after living in apartments with stark white walls for many years. Choosing the right color becomes less fun and more of a chore. But it doesn’t have to be.

So how do you choose the right color to fix that living room so you can live there comfortably? The following three easy “do it yourself (DIY)” tips will help you avoid huge investments of paint in colors that just don’t work for you.

Color psychology

  1. Mood and room use – Think about these things first. Do you want the room to be peaceful and calm after a busy day? Or would you rather have something that energizes you and the kids to have more fun? Choose calm and peaceful light blues or creamy yellows. Or brighter, warmer colors for more energy.
  2. Lighting – Lighting can change colors. Natural light from a window will give you the truest color. But if you spend a lot of time in the room with artificial light, keep in mind that incandescent bulbs tend to shed warm, yellow light. Flourescent bulbs tend to shift everything toward the blue side. This can be important, especially if you have colorful artwork. For more accurate colors, choose “daylight” bulbs for your lamps and sconces: these imitate that natural light from the window.
  3. Test your color choices – no matter what color you’ve chosen, it sometimes looks completely different when it is on the wall and dry. Decide on a few options and pick up small tester jars of the paint colors. Take large pieces of poster board and paint one with each color you are considering (remember to label it!). Then hang them in the room you want to paint and live with them for a week or so. Look at them at different times of day and under different lights.

Following these three tips will give you a good chance that your wall color will be exactly what you want it to be. But even if it isn’t (you may find that you actually wanted calm when you thought you wanted energetic, after all), remember that changing paint color on the walls is one of the easiest and least expensive decorating changes you can do. And it can change the entire look of your home!

If you’re ready for new walls to go under that paint, contact me for real estate opportunities in the Connecticut area.

Connecticut Real Estate News: Drones Used As Real Estate Marketing Tool?

real estate drone

Sellers are trying every trick in the book to get their home sold.  Now Connecticut is trying something different.  Its remote controlled and camera ready to give your home a different feel before seeing it in person.  However, it’s not photos or video taken from your camera, camera phone or camcorder; it’s DRONES.

Recent Connecticut real estate news has mentioned how drones are the “next big thing.”  These drones are nothing to fear, so don’t run for cover.  The drones you’re thinking of are known in military combat.  It doesn’t spy and attack you.  Inventors turned this invention into something positive.  This new version of drone is used for your benefit.

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Robotic agent assistants, or drones, are the newest tool to sell your luxury home.  This type of drone is the newest marketing strategy that brings a unique perspective to separate homes from the pack.  Drones can take pictures in different angles, show video of the entire exterior home 360 degrees , and go in places photo and video can’t (the roof, the surroundings, etc).  The video and photos from drones are added on realtor websites to give buyers more information about the property of interest.  It’s a new way to look at real estate without driving in different neighborhood.

With laws surrounding the cease operation of drones in the state for commercial use, realtors are finding ways around this rule.  The real estate use of drones is one of them.  Another way is to use a contracted and insured vendor to operate the drones for them.  A third alternative is to drop drones altogether and use mini helicopters instead.  They perform the same tasks these drones do without the hassle.  Either way Connecticut realtors aren’t backing down on the latest cutting-edge marketing trend.

Next time you hear a buzzing sound overhead look for a drone.  This is a way for home owners to stand out.  Buyers are getting more knowledgeable about real estate through computers and mobile devices, so drones will fit right in.  Since it just became a trend it won’t come cheap.  For the ones that can afford it, this is a new way to present your home.

Connecticut Real Estate News: Home Improvements with the Best Returns

remodeling cost vs value

Remodeling Magazine just released its “2013 Costs vs Value Report,” which talks about how much common remodeling projects costs and what they’re worth in the Hartford, Connecticut market. Some of its findings may surprise you, although keep in mind that these figures represent the middle range. Your actual prices will vary. These prices in my opinion are very high.

We would figure about half of the job cost for our median homes in Connecticut in the 200,000-400,000 price point.

New England — Midrange

2013 National Averages
Job Cost Resale Value Cost Recouped Project Job Cost Resale Value Cost Recouped Change vs. 2011-12
$49,719 $32,278 64.9% Attic Bedroom $47,919 $34,916 72.9% Change
$11,659 $5,547 47.6% Backup Power Generator $11,410 $6,014 52.7% Change
$63,919 $33,877 53.0% Basement Remodel $61,303 $43,095 70.3% Change
$38,781 $18,255 47.1% Bathroom Addition $37,501 $20,569 54.8% Change
$16,451 $9,697 58.9% Bathroom Remodel $15,782 $10,295 65.2% Change
$15,346 $9,634 62.8% Deck Addition (composite) $15,084 $10,184 67.5% Change
$9,825 $6,659 67.8% Deck Addition (wood) $9,327 $7,213 77.3% Change
$2,777 $1,808 65.1% Entry Door Replacement (fiberglass) $2,753 $1,813 65.9% Change
$1,153 $986 85.6% Entry Door Replacement (steel) $1,137 $974 85.6% Change
$82,569 $48,488 58.7% Family Room Addition $79,006 $50,013 63.3% Change
$50,385 $29,577 58.7% Garage Addition $48,806 $31,091 63.7% Change
$1,532 $1,153 75.3% Garage Door Replacement $1,496 $1,132 75.7% Change
$28,170 $11,113 39.4% Home Office Remodel $27,292 $11,911 43.6% Change
$55,522 $35,417 63.8% Major Kitchen Remodel $53,931 $37,139 68.9% Change
$106,278 $62,859 59.1% Master Suite Addition $101,873 $64,390 63.2% Change
$19,066 $14,430 75.7% Minor Kitchen Remodel $18,527 $13,977 75.4% Change
$19,850 $12,256 61.7% Roofing Replacement $18,488 $11,633 62.9% Change
$11,447 $8,579 74.9% Siding Replacement (vinyl) $11,192 $8,154 72.9% Change
$74,244 $32,521 43.8% Sunroom Addition $72,179 $33,529 46.5% Change
$156,044 $98,468 63.1% Two-Story Addition $152,470 $99,674 65.4% Change
$9,982 $7,208 72.2% Window Replacement (vinyl) $9,770 $6,961 71.2% Change
$10,962 $7,873 71.8% Window Replacement (wood) $10,708 $7,852 73.3% Change

New England — Upscale

2013 National Averages
Job Cost Resale Value Cost Recouped Project Job Cost Resale Value Cost Recouped Change vs. 2011-12
$72,860 $37,832 51.9% Bathroom Addition $70,969 $39,730 56.0% Change
$50,970 $27,646 54.2% Bathroom Remodel $50,007 $29,162 58.3% Change
$35,330 $19,217 54.4% Deck Addition (composite) $34,403 $20,532 59.7% Change
$82,452 $39,705 48.2% Garage Addition $80,511 $44,034 54.7% Change
$2,767 $2,119 76.6% Garage Door Replacement $2,720 $2,046 75.2% Change
$7,156 $4,418 61.7% Grand Entrance (fiberglass) $7,088 $4,528 63.9% Change
$109,524 $63,611 58.1% Major Kitchen Remodel $107,406 $64,113 59.7% Change
$225,527 $108,605 48.2% Master Suite Addition $220,086 $114,569 52.1% Change
$37,553 $20,065 53.4% Roofing Replacement $33,880 $19,194 56.7% Change
$13,329 $10,343 77.6% Siding Replacement (fiber-cement) $13,083 $10,379 79.3% Change
$14,140 $10,159 71.8% Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl) $13,818 $9,926 71.8% Change
$13,240 $9,322 70.4% Window Replacement (vinyl) $13,055 $9,295 71.2% Change
$16,597 $11,137 67.1% Window Replacement (wood) $16,361 $11,194 68.4% Change

If your curious about turning homes for a profit or getting the most bang for your buck with upgrades before selling contact Michelle Manter Giglietti.

5 Plumbing Do It Yourself (diy) Tips to Keep You Safe

plumbing tips

When selling your existing home, you probably thought about the plumbing at least a little: was it sturdy enough to pass home inspections for the new buyers? You might even have been asked to fix something minor that you can do yourself.

If you are doing it yourself, remember that risks can sneak up on you, even when you are just repairing a clogged drain. Professional and amateur plumbers alike have to think about safety on the job.

The following do it yourself (diy) tips will keep things safer for you as you work, but they are just an overview. If you do a lot of plumbing work, make sure you keep informed about current requirements by checking with your local planning department.

Stay informed

Be aware of the codes in the area where you are working, and always read the instructions for all the tools, parts, and chemicals you use. Be sure you are prepared for the procedures required in an emergency.

Wear eye and hand protection.

Gloves may be something obvious, but hazards to the eyes are something people rarely think about when considering plumbing. Any number of small things can fly into your eyes when snaking a drain, sawing, hammering, or even just looking up under a sink.

Take Care with Electricity

Turn off the water and be doubly cautious when using power tools. Use power tools that are rated for use in wet areas, or work away from the plumbing to do your cutting and drilling. If you are working on metal pipes, call a professional if you feel any tingling when you touch the pipe as this can be a sign of electricity in places it shouldn’t be.

Stay Alert in Confined Spaces

Confined spaces make dangerous areas. Follow proper procedures for confined spaces, and avoid areas that are deficient in oxygen: byproducts of sewage as it decomposes, in particular hydrogen sulfide, can grow and become suffocating. Use air monitors to remain in the safe zone.

Work with Help

Make sure you have a helper or runner who can get things for you, give you an extra hand when needed to brace a pipe, and who can call for emergency services if something goes wrong.

These tips are a good start, especially for the amateur who just needs to fix a clog at his work site. But be aware that plumbing is licensed for a reason: many safety codes exist to keep both the plumber and his customer safe. Keep your own limitations in mind, and don’t be afraid to call a professional if a job seems just a little big, or gets out of hand.

Home Selling Tips: Making Your Home Shine for Buyers.

home staging

Your home must be available for showings at all times.  One inconvenience and you have lost a customer–a customer who could have purchased your home.  When showing off your home make sure you keep to basics.  These home selling tips are crucial for success.

Turn on the lights—even if it’s the middle of the day.  Lights are a cheery and open invitation to come in.  Rooms become spacious and appealing.  Every buyer that walks in during the day will see everything without harsh sunlight shadows and dim areas.  Viewing it from the street at night, turning on lights brings a ‘home’ atmosphere.  Keeping the light on day and night also keeps your home secure.  Vandals won’t steal anything or damage your property because it gives off the impression that someone is home.  Open up windows during the day to bring natural light in.  Give dark rooms an extra lamp to open it up more.

Use natural fragrances to make the home smell good.  Perfect examples are potpourri and food smells.  Sprays and perfumes may smell good to you, but it may smell bad to the buyer.  On top of that, buyers may be allergic to those perfumes and sprays.  If you’re using food to attract buyers, you have to deliver.  If they smell cookies, for example, the buyer expects cookies on a table to eat.

Keep it comfortable.  Making the home feel too hot or too cold is a distraction to buyers.  It has to feel shirtsleeve comfortable.

Get pets and children out of the house.  If you can’t take your pet with you during a showing, keep them fenced in the backyard.  Not all buyers are pet lovers.  Children should be out of the house because they are a distraction to some buyers.

Keep the house clean.  Sweep, pick up papers and empty the trash.  No one wants to walk in a dirty or smelly home.  A home with an odor makes it hard for buyers to concentrate on the home and turn them off completely.  Dirty homes make it look like someone lives there.  Most homes for show have no furniture or belongings in the home, so remove it.  If you haven’t found a place to put them yet, make it look like a model home.  A model home has furniture, but no one lives there.  However, that still requires cleaning up the place.  Walk though the house to make sure nothing else is out of place.

When the buyer is looking at the home with a realtor, don’t be at home.  Buyers will feel pressured to make a decision and be too scared to ask questions.  Buyers will not feel welcome, and the property will automatically be crossed off the buyer’s list.  There are too many homes for sale for buyers to put up with sellers watching their every move.  If you are showing off the home, don’t allow anyone else in the house.  They are a distraction to buyers.  Tell your family and friends that they can’t come to the house because you’re showing the home to a buyer.

Don’t overcrowd and get personal with buyers.  Buyers need space to look around, so give it to them.  Don’t hover where they are and cramp their style.  Don’t talk to buyers about home family history and home family events during showing.  Talk about the home and its features.  Promote the surrounding neighborhood and attractions.  Let them know about local schools and shopping areas.  Talk about amenities in the neighborhood.  Keep it professional and informational.

 

Listing information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. This IDX solution is (c) Diverse Solutions 2013.
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