April 23, 2012

5 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid

Before you purchase any big-ticket item, you should do your homework. Buying a home for the first time is no exception to this rule. Fortunately, many homebuyers that have come before you have paved the road of success. Learn from their mistakes so you can avoid making the same ones. It’s All About the Mortgage Payment Many first time homebuyers make the mistake of focusing on the mortgage payment. They figure that if it’s in the same neighborhood as what they’re paying in a rent, they can afford to be a homeowner. Not evaluating the costs of homeownership beyond the […]
April 17, 2012

Kitchen and Bath Design Trends – Part 2

Continued from last week’s post…. Earth-Friendly Features Perhaps the hottest trend in kitchens and baths is the move toward sustainable products. But while more people are asking designers about going green, they’re “willing to stick their necks, and their pocketbooks, out only so far,” says Garvey, the 2008 grand prize winner of the Real Estate Staging Association’s national competition. As prices drop on green products, it’s certain that green elements will become more widespread, says Trauthwein. This is especially true of sustainable woods used for flooring and countertops. Fast-growing bamboo is the eco-material of choice for cabinets and floors, but […]
April 2, 2012

Kitchen and Bath Design Trends Part 1

The two rooms that consistently make the biggest impression on buyers are—without a doubt—kitchens and bathrooms. Even in today’s uncertain economic times, home owners and buyers are willing to spend on upgrades to these two essential rooms. Their goal: Create that polished high-end look they’ve seen in magazines and on TV. “We’re seeing more of a ‘save and splurge’ mentality in kitchen and bath remodels,” says Linda Eggerss, editor of Kitchen and Bath Ideas magazine. “Home owners may give up the granite countertops to get the island, or vice versa, but they still want a certain look.” The growing importance […]
March 26, 2012

Maintenance Must-Dos

First-time buyers often don’t know much about home maintenance. You can help by giving them a maintenance schedule that’ll prevent small problems from turning into big headaches. Change your furnace filters monthly. “It’s so easy to do but so critical,” says Lesh. Clogged filters decrease furnace efficiency and can cause breakdowns. Drain your water heater at least once a year. Sediment will drain out along with the water from the water tank. Removing sediment can prolong the heater’s useful life. Clean the coils. If you have baseboard heating units that use hot water, clear dust from the coils inside the […]
March 19, 2012

4 Common Home Inspection Problems

The following are common hazards home inspectors often find: 1. Faulty wiring: Overloaded circuits, loose wires, missing covers on distribution boxes, abandoned appliances, or aluminum wiring, which can become problematic with age. 2. Loose guard rails: Stairway guardrails, especially on exterior stairways, that are not securely connected. Decks — often installed by home owners unfamiliar with building codes — that have loose boards. 3. Shower doors: Shower doors that lack safety glass and are not properly secured. A home owner who slips when stepping out of the bathtub and grabs a glass door that isn’t properly fastened could be severely […]
March 12, 2012

Low Cost Ways to Freshen Your Home

Chances are the decor in your home is a lot like most people’s wardrobes: There are a few items that went out of style a decade ago, but they’re so comfortable that it’s impossible to see them go. “We grow accustomed to our space, and we stop seeing it,” says Melissa Birdsong, vice president of trend, design, and brand for Lowe’s, the home improvement giant. “People tend to become blind to their own things.” But everything needs updating eventually. Birdsong suggests home owners cast a fresh eye on their living space, pretending that they’ve just moved in and are assessing […]
March 5, 2012

4 Interior Painting Tips

1.Get the surface ready. You want the paint to glide on smoothly, so be sure the surface is clean before you start painting. Remove any handprints, dirt, or scuff marks. Lightly sand any glossy spots to avoid streaks. 2. Select a paint sheen and color. Ah, the choices! Many paint stores are making it easier to narrow down your choices by offering small trial sizes so that you can test the color at home and look for any variations in daylight and night. Lighting has a big effect on the way color appears. Remember: Higher sheen paints tend to offer […]
February 27, 2012

6 Landscaping Tips to Wow Buyers

Landscape designer Michael Glassman has cooked up a recipe for guaranteed curb appeal. 1. Add splashes of color. With every changing season, a landscape should provide a new display of colors, textures, and fragrances. “It’s best to use one or two and repeat them,” Glassman says. Example: white iceberg roses that bloom in spring, summer, and fall as a backdrop; in front, a contrasting punch of purple salvia or lavender that will flower at the same time; and as an accent, a crape myrtle tree that provides changing leaf colors in fall and interesting branches come winter. 2. Size trees and […]
February 20, 2012

Make Small Spaces Bigger: 5 Ways to Show Off Space

Size does matter when it comes to the perception of space in a home. That’s why it’s important to make sure you show off every square foot of your listing so that buyers can visualize enough room for all of their belongings. However, home owners often crowd spaces with oversized furniture, bulky accessories, and piles of clutter that wind up making a room look much smaller than what it really is, says staging pro Jennie Norris, president of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. So how can you show off that space in your listings? Besides the obvious of removing […]
February 13, 2012

How to Spot Common Energy Leaks

It can be pricey to heat or cool a home. By checking the home’s energy efficiency, you might unveil some ways to trim monthly costs. You don’t necessarily need a pro to assess your property’s energy deficiencies. With a little elbow grease, you can get a good sense of where your home is leaking hot and cool air. Inspect exposed ducts. They may not work efficiently if they’re dirty, have small holes, or if they pass through unfinished portions of the home and aren’t insulated. Look for whether intersections of duct pipe are joined correctly. Since ducts are typically made […]