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.

Holiday Home Helper: 12 DIY tips for a fresh New Year

Nothing inspires a week long cleaning marathon quite like the impending threat of holiday houseguests. Everything from polishing the silver to vacuuming the curtains to dusting the light fixtures is on the to-do list, along with groceries, homework and an ever-expanding mound of laundry. The last thing we want to think about is costly, time-consuming home renovations. But what about not-so-costly, quick and easy living improvements that give your home a new look and great feel?

Give your home a holiday boost with these DIY tips and home improvements.

Replace old light fixtures with unique new chandeliers. It will brighten up your living space and make it feel more personal and complete.

New hardware is an inexpensive and easy upgrade for kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. Don’t forget the towel hangers and hooks!

Decorative window film adds a soft elegance to dining room windows in addition to subtle privacy.

Mount a row of hooks over your kitchen counter or inside cabinet doors to store hand towels, cooking utensils and other regularly used items out of eyesight but within easy reach.

Install new house numbers outside your front door, fence, or curb by the road to make you easier to find.

Hang a shelf above a doorway. Paint a shelf and two brackets the same color as your trim, then attach at the studs flanking the door. Use it to display decorative dishes, knickknacks or travel souvenirs.

Fix battery powered LED lighting to the underside of your kitchen cabinets to instantly illuminate your counter space.

Doorways aren’t the only place for shelves. Empty walls and cubbyholes will benefit from a slab or two, adding storage and making the blank space more visually pleasing.

Add finials to your staircase for a more elegant and finished look.

Repaint your front door a fresh, lively color to create an upbeat entry way.

Old and outdated backsplash can be given new life with a fresh coat of paint too. Just scuff up the tiles with a bit of medium grain sand paper and roll on one to two coats of paint.

Replace your old, worn out light switch and outlet covers with clean new ones. These can also be painted for a unique and more personal look.

Just a few of these small upgrades will make a noticeable difference in your day-to-day life, and add to the ease and joy of living and working inside your home.

Wishing you a cozy holiday season!

Don’t forget to contact us with questions or comments!

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.

Simple DIY Home Repairs You Can Try Yourself

While we wouldn’t recommend trying any of these DIY home repairs yourself if you lack confidence or skill, for many homeowners, simple DIY repairs are a part of owning a home, and are a great was of saving money.

Besides being simple, in most cases, these home repairs are minor and can pretty much be completed by anyone with even the most basic knowledge of home repairs and tools.

Annoying Door Squeaks

Squeaky doors are a nuisance, but are easily remedied. To fix them, simply un-tighten the screw hinge pin, then apply a thin coat of lubricant (petroleum jelly works). Tap it back in, remove excess lubricant, and breathe easy.

Leaks From Below

Leaks from under the sink can cause a headache, but the fix is a no-brainer. Place a bucket beneath for water collection, then unscrew the flange around the P-trap (it’s the curved pipe). Dump out the sediment, replace the trap, and you’ll have no more leaks. It’s really that easy.

Holy Drywall

Holes in the drywall are easy to make, but they are also easy to patch. To make quick work of unwanted holes, simply apply some spackling paste, let dry, sand smooth, then touch up with the same color paint. This solution works well on small holes that don’t require any other materials.

Ornery Drains

A clogged drain’s cause can seem mysterious, especially after you have made effort to unclog it and nothing has worked. First remove the drain cover, pull out the stopper or grate, then insert a plastic snake to remove excess gunk and build-up. After a bit of dredging, your water should then flow with no trouble.

The DIY approach isn’t for everyone. But for those who are handy, simple home repairs can be done for little to no extra cost.

However, for larger jobs that require a bit more knowledge, professional help is advised.

Interested in learning more about how we can help you? Please feel free to contact us to discuss your options.

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