Is Summer or Winter the Best Season to Buy a Home?

You hear it a lot – there are best and worst times to make any sort of purchase. Whether it’s a television, a car, or a home, statistics are available that may influence your decision on when would be the best time to make a purchase.

Numerical data isn’t the only thing you should be taking into consideration, though. Each season has something different to offer in terms of making the home buying process easier or more challenging. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying during the summer or winter.

What to Think About When Buying a Home During the Summer


Did you know there are more homes on the market during summer? According to the National Association of Realtors, inventory in the U.S. is actually 15% greater in the warmer months than in the colder months.

If you have a lot of items on your home wish list, you might be better off searching during summer as you’ll have more homes from which to choose. The only disadvantage (depending on the climate where you live) is that summer results in more competition, as a greater amount of people are likely to visit open houses in nicer weather.

It probably goes without saying, but moving during summer is a bit more pleasant than moving during winter. For many, sweating beats freezing while trying to pack and unpack a moving truck. You can always cool yourself down, but it’s usually harder to warm up. It also tends to be safer if you reside in or are moving to an area that gets snow or ice.

If you have school-aged children, moving during their summer vacation offers more flexibility than trying to move during the winter holidays or spring break.

Lastly, one nice thing about summer is the lack of snow. That can be a huge obstacle when trying to look at the exterior of a home. You might miss the fact that a few shingles (or the entire roof) need to be replaced when there’s a pile of snow on top of it. The same goes for cracks in the driveway, and curb appeal in general.

What to Think About When Buying a Home During the Winter

There’s less competition in the winter as most people are busy with the holidays, their new year’s resolutions, or getting back into the swing of things at work. At this time of the year, buying a home isn’t typically at the forefront of most people’s minds.

What does that mean for you? No bidding wars, and more room to negotiate if a seller is feeling a bit desperate.

They might be if the reason why they’re moving is a pressing one. Combined with having to work around their real estate agent’s holiday schedule, having less showings, and subsequently, less interested buyers, sellers might be willing to give you a better deal or include more bonuses in the offer.

Again, depending on where you live, the weather during winter can be brutal. You’ll be able to easily identify drafts from windows in a house, and you’ll notice how effective the heating system is.

While snow can work against you, it can also work for you as you’ll be able to see how well the roof and driveway handle several inches of accumulation. Are there noticeable dips in the driveway? Have ice puddles formed on the property? These fairly major repairs can give you an advantage during negotiations.

Considerations for Both Seasons
There are a few factors to be concerned with during both seasons – namely, your real estate agent’s availability, and your neighbors.

Obviously, real estate agents may take time off during the holidays in the winter, but if they have children, they may also be likely to take off during the summer as well. Before you work with an agent, ask them about their availability over the next few months. You want to ensure that their planned absence won’t negatively affect your intentions to buy.

On the other hand, an agent looking to work through the winter holidays may be more motivated to help you, given the number of prospective buyers is lower.

Additionally, when you buy a new home, you’ll want to be surrounded by good neighbors, right? Summertime is great for seeing which neighbors excel at lawn maintenance and which ones let their grass grow for weeks on end. If you’re someone that cares a lot about a home’s upkeep, this might concern you.

At the same time, you’ll be able to see if neighbors work together to get rid of snow during the winter, or if houses on the block are nicely (or obnoxiously) lit up with holiday decorations.

Which Season is Better for Buying a Home?
As you may conclude, there’s no right or wrong answer. There are benefits and impediments to searching for a home in any season. You shouldn’t let weather or the trending numerical data hold you back. When you’re ready to buy, you’ll know it.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Posted on August 16, 2017 at 8:40 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appraisal, backyard, bid, Bidding War, Buyers, buying, closing costs, community, curb appeal, Homeowners, mortgage, neighborhood, real estate, Spring, summer, trends, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pare Down and Declutter By Knowing How Much Stuff Is Enough

So you want to pare down your belongings. But how much, exactly, do you get rid of? And how can you prevent stuff from simply piling up all over again? Part of the solution to a lasting clutter-free existence may lie in numbers. As in, the number of pairs of shoes, towels, place settings and so on that you decide to keep in the house. By deciding how many items in each category of stuff you really need, those numbers become a sort of fail-safe, preventing your home from free-falling into its formerly cluttered state. Check out these ideas on how to get started, then share your own numbers in the Comments.

The “sometimes” dilemma: What to do if you use something but only occasionally? Fancy china and highly specialized cookware come immediately to mind. If you really do love to have these things when the occasion calls for it, and you have storage space for them, by all means keep them. Just be intentional about what and how much you are keeping, and know why. Try to avoid keeping large sets of anything purely out of guilt — if you’ve inherited something you don’t want, see if someone else in the family wants it, sell it or donate it to charity.

More tips on what to do with sentimental pieces

How much to keep? Set a space limit. One way to keep rarely used items in check is to limit the amount of storage space you afford them. Instead of allowing your entertaining arsenal to multiply indefinitely over time, taking over not only cupboards but basement shelves and the attic too, decide on one space to store these items in and stick with it. For instance, keep all china in one nice china hutch — if you acquire more down the road, give away or sell something to free up space.

The Rule of Three: One in the wash, one in the cupboard, one in use. You may have heard this one before, but it bears repeating because it really works. It can be difficult to come up with what seems to be a rather arbitrary number of items to keep, but sticking with one for the shelf, one to use and one to wash keeps things simple. I follow this rule for sheets (per bed) and towels (per person).

What about guests? Unless you are running a boarding house, two sets of sheets for each guest bed and two sets of towels per guest are plenty.

The seasonal exception: Even minimalists may want to keep extra stuff on hand to rotate in depending on the season — and that’s whether or not there are chilly winters.

It can be a nice change of pace to bring out thicker blankets in warmer hues for the winter and light, airy linens in summer. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should double the number of sets you have, if some sets work well year-round. For instance, you could decide to keep one set of sateen sheets for year-round use, two sets of flannels for winter and two cool, crisp sets for summer.

Special case: Clothes. Clothes and shoes may be the most personal (and difficult) category of stuff to put limits on. That said, even those with intense attachments to their wardrobes can find it worthwhile to do a proper inventory.

After figuring out that you actually have 100 pairs of shoes or 20 nearly identical black tops, you may decide to bring that number down … or you may not, but at least you will be informed.

Special case: Kids’ stuff. When a child’s room is overflowing with stuff, it’s hard to focus on any one thing, and pretty soon all of those lovingly chosen toys become just part of the mess. Setting space constraints is a smart way to handle this situation. Dedicate certain shelves, plus perhaps a toy closet (for toys not currently being used in the rotation) for your child’s belongings, and keep it at that. When a bin or shelf begins to overflow, or you notice that stuff is piling up on the floor (because it has nowhere else to go), take that as a cue to give something away.

The everyday stuff: Count it out. Do you know how many basic plates, bowls, cups and wineglasses you own? If you’re not sure, go count them — you may be surprised at just how many pieces of “everyday” tableware you have. Of course it’s nice to have enough of everything that the whole household can eat a meal or two and not worry about getting everything washed and dried, and you’ll want extras on hand for bigger casual dinners with family and friends if you host that sort of thing, but you won’t likely need more than that.

Not everyone wants to stick with one set of white dishes (although for simplicity’s sake, that’s surely an easy way to go). But you can still set a limit at a certain number of sets. If you go over your number, it’s time to start culling.

Special case: Tupperware. What is it about plastic containers that makes them seem to multiply when you’re not looking (but hardly ever with a matching lid)? Start by removing any lids that don’t have mates, then count what you have left. Most of us probably have too many food storage containers — really, how many leftovers are you likely to wrap up at any given time? Three? Four?

Special case: Your passions. Book lovers, athletes, outdoorsy types, musicians, crafters … you know who you are. And more important, you know how easy it is to collect more and more stuff to support your passion.

Being aware of exactly what you already own is a good first step toward reining in your collections — perhaps your yarn stash is in such disarray, you end up buying yarn you already have.

But it’s also a good idea to start paying attention to what you actually use. If you treasure your books, notice which ones you actually pick up from time to time — I realized a while ago that I rarely pick up novels after I’ve read them, so I decided to let go of most books in that category.

Pain-free ways to declutter your library

Just because you have the room to store it doesn’t mean you should. Extra space is deceptive. If you are blessed with large closets and ample storage space, you may be thinking you’re off the hook — but the truth is, everyone can benefit from paring down a little. Having fewer belongings means less time spent cleaning, moving and mending them; less time looking for things; and generally less to worry about. And if you ever need to downsize in the future, the process will be far less gut wrenching if you have already chosen to live with less stuff.

Set your own rules. The point of this ideabook is to help you gain awareness of what kind of and how much stuff you need, so you can tailor your stuff to fit your life. And no one else can really do that for you. It may take a while to figure out exactly the right amount of stuff for you, but once you do, it’s bound to make your life a little easier.

Tell us: What are your numbers? How many sets of sheets, dishes or pairs of shoes are enough for you?

Related Reads
Keep All Fancy Dinnerware in a China Cabinet
Dedicate a Toy Box for All the Kids’ Stuff
Get Help From Local Professional Organizers

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on August 10, 2017 at 2:28 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, buying, cleaning, community, credit cards, curb appeal, DIY, Fixer Uppers, gadgets, inspections, interior decorating, maximizing space, moving, organization, real estate, remodeling, selling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Tips to Selling an Inherited Property

Selling an inherited house can be draining. Coldwell Banker gives 4 tips on how to successfully prepare, organize and sell your inherited house.

One difficult topic real estate agents routinely have to discuss is about selling an inherited home from a parent when they pass away. It is a situation that is an overwhelming experience, one filled with emotions and many questions. While talking about it is difficult, it is smart to be prepared. This includes having conversations as a family to determine who will be included in the will to inherit the home, where the deed to the home is kept and where other paperwork is located.

After the estate has been settled and the home received as an inheritance, deciding to sell, rent or keep the home is the first step which will help determine what to do next. For those who decide to sell the home, it is a good idea to work with a team of professionals including a lawyer and a real estate agents who can offer advice and guidance throughout the process.

Although each situation is unique, the professionals at Coldwell Banker have provided the following four tips to help prepare to sell an inherited home:

Assemble a strong team of professionals. Working with a real estate agent, lawyer and potentially a tax specialist can help make the process of selling an inherited property go more smoothly. A team of professionals can give the guidance necessary to prepare the home for sale and get all of the affairs in order. A real estate agent can offer crucial, local market information that is especially helpful if the heir does not live nearby. Lawyers and tax specialists can help put all of the processes in order to ensure that selling the home is as easy on you and your family as possible.

Do a home walk through and get organized. Going from room to room and looking at everything from the condition of the floors to how fresh the paint looks can help determine what may need to be done to the home to help it sell more quickly. If the inherited property is older, a home inspection is important before making any decisions as there may be certain systems that need renovations. Equally important is to gather all of the necessary paperwork such as the deed to the home as well as researching whether there are any mortgages on the inherited property that need to be paid. Even if the original mortgage was paid off, a reverse mortgage may have been negotiated to help cover expenses. Also looking into local property taxes and when they were last paid is important.

Have the home appraised and price it correctly. Property received as an inheritance is not considered to be income by the beneficiary. The adjusted basis of a home is its fair market value at the time it was inherited, so it is important to get an accurate appraisal of the home. A real estate agent can also provide counsel on an appropriate listing price to match market value. Out-of-town beneficiaries can also find it difficult to select competent appraisers, inspectors and other professionals to assist in the home selling process, all of which a real estate agent can assist with.

Consider staging or other cosmetic improvements. Although not necessary in all markets or price ranges, home staging can be the difference in getting a home sold in a price-competitive market. An inherited property may not be furnished in the style of other local homes on the market selling at a similar price. A real estate agent can help determine whether or not home staging is a good fit for a specific situation. They may also suggest making home design improvements such as repainting rooms and/or landscaping the yard or other parts of the property. Make sure the lawn and landscaping look good and that the exterior of the house is in good condition. Low curb appeal can keep potential buyers from researching a home they may otherwise love. Perhaps most importantly, having an experienced real estate agent to answer questions quickly and accurately frees up time to devote to other activities and events.

Find more information on selling your home on the Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog

Posted on August 8, 2017 at 9:45 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appraisal, Bidding, buying, Charity, closing, closing costs, curb appeal, distressed properties, Homeowners, investor, market trends, mortgage, open houses, real estate, Sellers Market, selling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer Fridays: Urban Yards and Terraces

Living in a big city doesn’t mean you don’t have great outdoor spaces. Take a look at some of our favorite urban backyard and terraces on coldwellbanker.com tailor-made for summer entertaining.

How alive the city is, how alive, how alive, how alive.”

– Alfred Kazin

Contrary to popular belief, there is no better time of year to be in a big city than during summer.  Sure, the subway stations feel like they’re 123 degrees, but apart from sweltering train commutes, the city is a magical place during this time of year.

In a big city anything can happen, especially during summer – and only in the best ways. A trip to the farmer’s market can lead to day long expeditions to unexplored neighborhoods in town, and a cup of coffee with friends can lead to great conversations with strangers at a rooftop party later in the day. The great weather and relative calm that comes with a less congested city make summer a time for coming together, meeting new people and discovering new reasons to fall in love with your city and your home.

While we may not have sprawling residences or acres of backyard space, we do in fact have outdoor areas tailor-made for entertaining come summertime. Our yards are our little havens from busy city life, and our terraces are where we sit and admire the ingenuity of man.

In honor of summer in the city, our latest “Summer Fridays” post pays homage to a few of our favorite urban yard and terraces from homes listed for sale on coldwellbanker.com. Let’s take a look!

$12,500,000 – Seattle, WA

This urban refuge offers up sweeping views of Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, The Olympic Mountains and downtown Seattle! Featuring not just one but two outdoor terraces, this home gives you plenty of space to enjoy beautiful Summer nights with good company.

$3,499,000 – Hoboken, NJ

Sometimes the best views of New York City come from just outside New York City. This meticulously renovated brownstone on the Hudson River features a sprawling terrace that offer up some of the best Manhattan skyline views you’ll find anywhere!

$1,980,000 – Chicago, IL

This home really does have it all. You’re located in the heart of Chicago, but it also feels like you’re tucked away on your own little private island. It doesn’t get more zen and restful than this sprawling rooftop terrace with ample spaces for relaxing and enjoying that great Chicago summer weather.

$12,000,000 – Chicago, IL

This penthouse residence at the Park Hyatt has the tallest balcony in the prized building, offering you unobstructed water and glitzy downtown Chicago views.

$6,700,000 – Miami, FL

Miami!! The city where you can at once feel like you’re living in a city and right on one of the finest beaches in the world at the very same time! This beautiful home offers up stunning waterfront views and even a pool out on the terrace..because it is Miami.

 

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Join us next Friday for another installment of our “Summer Fridays” series.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on August 4, 2017 at 8:57 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, BBQ, community, curb appeal, decorating, Fixer Uppers, Homeowners, interior decorating, Location, maximizing space, neighborhood, outdoors, Privacy, projects, real estate, remodeling, staging, Uncategorized, views | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 Reasons Why Your Home Isn’t Selling

Your home is on the market and you really thought it would go into contract that first month, but it didn’t. Its not. No offers. Nada.

What’s up with that? Read on!

When you first put your house on the market, you might be hopeful for a quick sale—especially if you’ve put a lot of money into improving the house over the years and if the neighborhood is one that has historically attracted a lot of buyers. While you shouldn’t panic if the house doesn’t sell the moment you list it, you should begin to worry if the months start flying by without any real offers. If this is the case, here are 11 reasons why your house may not be selling.

1. You overvalued your property. If your house is overpriced, it’s simply not going to sell. Compare your property to similar properties that recently sold within your area to get a better idea of its true value. An experienced real estate agent can give you an accurate value of your home. Additionally, don’t make the mistake of tacking on the cost of any renovations you made. You can’t just assume that the cost of a renovation translates to added value.

2. Your listing is poor. If the listing of your home includes a poorly written description without any images, a lot of buyers are going to skip over it. Make sure you and your REALTOR® put an effort into creating a listing that attracts the attention of buyers. Make sure to add high quality photographs of both the interior and exterior of your home. Don’t forget to highlight unique features, as well.

3. You’re always present at showings. Let your agent handle your showings. Buyers don’t want to have the seller lurking over their shoulder during showings, especially during an open house. This puts unwanted pressure on the buyer, which will make them uncomfortable and likely chase them away.

4. You’re too attached. If you refuse to negotiate even a penny off your price, then there’s a good chance that you’ve become too attached to your home. If a part of you doesn’t want to sell it, or you think your house is the best house in the world, odds are you’re going to have a lot of difficulties coming to an agreement with a potential buyer.

5. You haven’t had your home professionally cleaned. A dirty house is going to leave a bad impression on buyers. Make sure you have a professional clean your carpeting and windows before you begin showing your house.

6. You haven’t staged your home. If you’ve already moved out, then don’t show an empty house. This makes it difficult for buyers to imagine living in it. Stage your house with furniture and decor to give buyers a better idea of how big every room is and how it can be used. You want the buyer to feel at home when they are taking the tour.

7. You kept up all of your personal decor. Buyers are going to feel uncomfortable touring your house if you keep all of your family portraits up. Take down your personal decor so that buyers can have an easier time imagining themselves living there.

8. Your home improvements are too personalized. You might think that the comic book mural you painted for your child’s room is absolutely incredible, but that doesn’t mean potential buyers will agree. If your home improvements are too personalized, it can scare off buyers who don’t want to pay for features they don’t want.

9. Your home is too cluttered. Even if your home is clean, clutter can still be an issue. For example, maybe you simply have too much furniture in one of your rooms. This can make the house feel smaller than it is.

10. Your home is in need of too many repairs. The more repairs that are needed, the less likely a buyer will want your house. Many buyers simply don’t want to deal with the cost or effort of doing repair work, even if it’s just a bunch of small repairs, such as tightening a handrail or replacing a broken tile.

11. You chose the wrong real estate agent. In our opinion, choosing the right real estate agent is simply the most important decision you make in selling your home. A good REALTOR® makes all the difference in selling your home within a reasonable time.

All these things can be fixed once you realize your mistake; however, the longer your property stays on the market, the less likely it will sell at listing price. One of the best ways to avoid making these common mistakes is by working with a professional real estate agent.

Source: RisMedia

Posted on June 16, 2017 at 11:05 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: cleaning, curb appeal, maintenance, overpricing, real estate, selling, staging, Uncategorized, value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Easy DIY Projects That Will Boost Your Home’s Value

 

Not only will these DIY’s boost your home’s value, but you get to enjoy them too.

The satisfaction of creating something productive is powerful!

Your house is likely to be the biggest investment you make in your entire life. Whether you’re planning to sell it or you’re there for the long haul, it is important to take care of your investment. As any real estate agent will tell you, the first thing people notice about your home is the exterior. You need strong curb appeal to make a good first impression.

With that in mind, here are six simple DIY projects to help boost your home’s value:

Invest in Your Landscaping
Landscaping is often regarded as one of the top three ways to add value to your home in terms of return on investment. HomeGain.com conducted a survey of 2,000 brokers in 2007. The results indicated you could possibly quadruple an investment of $400-$500 on well-planned landscaping.

That said, just throwing a couple hundred dollars at plants is not a good approach. Instead, focus on creating a healthy, vibrant lawn. Fill in dead or sparse areas, fertilize, and clean up edges along your sidewalk, pathways and gardens. Trim overgrown bushes and shrubberies and cut down tangled tree branches. Plant flowers and plants to brighten up your landscape—just be sure to plant perennials that will come back year after year, not annuals that will die within a year and never return. Also, look for plants that are native to your region or are drought-tolerant. They need less water and maintenance, saving you money in the long run.

Upgrade Your Front Door
Your front door is the entryway to your home and it sets the tone for the rest of the house. Make a good impression by ensuring your home’s entry point (including the area directly surrounding the door) is attractive and eye-catching.

The first thing to consider here is whether to replace your existing door or not. If the door you have is good quality and a style you like, you can save some money by just freshening it up a bit. Refinish the wood or paint it for a pop of color; clean and polish the hardware or replace it with something that will add more of an accent; and replace the hinges if they are worn. If you decide to replace the door, look for a well-insulated, energy-efficient, secure door; this is not something you want to cut corners on by going with a cheap alternative.

Illuminate With Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor/exterior lighting adds value to your home in three important ways. First, it helps keep you and your family safe. It’s important to be able to see where you are going to avoid a fall. Second, it adds a layer of security. Keeping your property well-lit is a good way to deter a would-be thief from targeting your home. Third, it enhances the aesthetics of your property. Show off your beautiful home and well-maintained landscape.

Consider which of these aspects are important to you. If safety is your goal, focus on pathways, entryways and steps. If you are more concerned with security, perimeter lighting set on timers and motion-activated flood lights are your best bet. If you want to add curb appeal, light up your trees, unique landscape elements, and water features.

The second thing to consider is what type of lighting to go with. Solar is great because you don’t need wiring and don’t have to pay for power. LED lights produce a bright, crisp light and are energy-efficient. Halogen lighting, though affordable, is being phased out for the most part. Consider replacing existing halogen bulbs with LED replacements (also called LED retrofitting).

Discover the Magic of Pressure Washing
You see your home every day, so you might not notice as it slowly gets dirty and the colors and features become dusty and dim. Just spending an afternoon with the power washer can dramatically add some pop and resuscitate your curb appeal.

First and foremost, read the instructions and specifications of the pressure washer you purchased or rented. Check the water flow in gallons per minute in addition to the PSI, and get one with different pressure settings if possible. Confirm it is okay to use on all the areas you are planning to wash to ensure nothing will be damaged. You’ll probably be okay on things like sidewalks and driveways, but double check that your siding and windows can withstand the pressure. Turn off power to electrical outlets and fixtures and cover them. You may also want to cover plants and flowers if they are close to your house or the area you’ll be cleaning. You’ll likely want to use detergent (only use detergent that is specifically made for pressure washers) for the grimier parts of the job.

Create a Beautiful, Functional Space With a Fire Pit
Adding a fire pit is a cheap, simple way to help get the most out of your outdoor space by breaking it up into different areas. Fire pits consistently poll well among potential homebuyers (especially younger ones), and came in first in expected popularity of design elements, according to the Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey. One of the great things about taking on this project is that it can be as simple or as grand as you like. You could DIY a very basic one for as little as $150, or you could go all out and include a gas line (with professional help) and a fancy fixture if you have a bigger budget at your disposal. If you are not as handy, you can get a kit with everything you need and step-by-step instructions. However, building your own fire pit is not overly complicated and will allow you to completely customize it to fit your personal taste.

Upgrade Your Home’s Technology
These days, homebuyers want the latest technology. It’s easy to understand why when you look at all the amazing things technology can do for your household. Having these advanced features can be what sets your home apart from similar ones on the market.

You can install smart locks for added safety and convenience. You’ll never have to stumble around trying to get your keys out of your pocket while carrying groceries again, thanks to Bluetooth technology that will pick up on your phone approaching—and you’ll never stress again wondering if you forgot to lock the door when you rushed out. Smart sprinklers can save time and money. The sprinkler system can adjust based on weather patterns and temperature so you’ll save money by not wasting water.

These are all projects that offer a good return on your investment and can be done without a professional, saving you around 40-60 percent of what you might be charged. Plus, these projects can be wrapped up within a couple days, meaning you could conquer them over the course of a weekend or two. Get out there and start building some sweat equity the smart way!

Source: RisMedia

 

Posted on June 16, 2017 at 10:36 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, curb appeal, DIY, landscaping, maintenance, real estate, Smart Homes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Photography and Real Estate: Why Taking Professional Photos of Your Listings is Essential

I don’t like watching a blurry movie, do you?  Then why would you like to view a potential purchase with blurry pictures?

Makes perfect sense to us!

When it comes to listing your home, posting high-quality photos online is probably the most powerful marketing tool at your disposal. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyers consider online listing photos to be more valuable the the home’s written description. Due to the fact that nearly half of all prospective home buyers first step in the home shopping process is searching online, posting high-quality pictures of your home is an absolute must.

You wouldn’t buy a car online without knowing what it looks like, why should a home be any different? Read on to learn some of the most important reasons why hiring a professional to take online listing photos can make or break a sale.

Giving the Right Impression

When potential home buyers look at listings online, any photographs give a powerful first impression. If listing pictures are out of focus, off-center or blurry, it can create a false impression of the home.  For example, dark dingy photos of a home’s bathroom can make it appear dirty, old and undesirable. Sometimes out of focus photos of the exterior of a home can make it look creepy and decrepit.  If photos are of poor quality, they can often be more damaging than posting no pictures at all.

When taking pictures of your home, a bright, sunny day and a steady hand go a long way that’s why professional photographers are a worthy investment when trying to sell your property. Make sure to have your home’s photos taken on a day that is bright and dry to minimize haziness and shadows.  Professional grade lighting used in the interior of your home help to brighten up your room and make them appear more clean and spacious.

Painting a Picture for Buyers

One of the most important parts of showing your home to potential buyers is creating an environment that helps them imagine how great their life would be if they lived there.  That’s why it’s crucial to stage your home in a way that’s simple, inviting and pleasing to the eye.

Many sellers hire professional home stagers to arrange their home’s furniture before taking listing pictures.  Staging your home is a great way to accentuate certain aspects of your home and show off its best assets.  Even small touches like changing out old light fixtures for newer ones and updating kitchen and bathroom hardware can add value to your home resulting in a higher selling price.

Giving Buyers the Full Experience

Just as pictures are an integral part of creating a home’s overall appeal, online video tours can really make an impression on potential buyers.  Watching a virtual tour of a home from the comfort of their own couch is an extremely enticing aspect of online home-shopping. Seeing a tour online before attending an actual showing can really give buyers an idea what to expect and helps them prepare any questions they may have about the property; making the showing a more productive experience.

Source: Dream Casa

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: curb appeal, decorating, interior decorating, organization, photography, real estate, selling, staging, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

What Will Give Your Home the Most Curb Appeal?

 

The Jury is IN!  You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Curl Appeal is one of the single most important details you need to address when putting your home on the market!  If your home looks amazing on the outside, Buyers will naturally assume that it looks equally as awesome on the inside. Here’s how:

How attractive your property looks when viewed by passer-byers can make all the difference in today’s market. To make sure potential homebuyers get a great first impression, consider improving your place by doing the following:

1. Revamp the front door.

Never underestimate the impact the main entrance of your house has on its curb appeal. Make sure it looks great by giving it a new coat of paint that stands out but still fits in with the rest of the home’s color scheme. Unless it’s worth replacing, in which case we recommend a custom wood door, be sure to give the door a good cleaning and polish before painting it.

2. Include nice porch furniture

If you have a porch that’s visible from the street, you can make your place look more inviting and homelike by adding some furniture. Things like nice wooden benches and a wicker patio set can make your curb appeal skyrocket. If you have the money, swap out your ruined rockers and other old porch furniture in favor of something new gliders with matching ottomans, for example.

3. Redo the house numbers

There’s just something about neat, eye-catching house numbers that leaves a good impression, especially to people on the hunt for a new house. If you don’t believe us, walk around your current neighborhood and you’ll see the difference big, bold house numbers make. It also helps to make them stand out by using aged copper, hand-painted tiles, or something unique when compared to other nearby houses.

4. Light up the place

Making sure the front of your place has great landscape lighting can improve your home’s curb appeal while making it a safer place. Switch out old lamps, pendant lights, and wall sconces with new ones that look better and offer more lighting. Pathway lights, especially solar-powered, that illuminate the walking path in your home will make the property appear better and more secure.

5. Spruce up the verdure

While there are exceptions, most people find a house with no plants outside boring-looking. If your front yard is lacking in the foliage department, invest in some new plants to give your home some vibrancy. Plant flowers, add potted plants, replace ugly weeds with a fresh lawn whatever it takes to make the area look lively and attractive.

6. Tap into your artistic side

Add a touch of style and class to your front yard by including outdoor artwork. We’re talking about things like birdbaths, fountains, and sculptures that leave a lasting impression on passer-byers. If you’re on a budget, even a few wind chimes or home-made wheel planter can do their part to improve your house’s curb appeal.

7. Doll up your windows

Unless your windows are already gorgeous and just need a good cleaning, consider investing in attractive shutters made of materials that complement the rest of your house These days exterior shutters can be made of anything from vinyl and wood to aluminum, fiberglass, and wood. You’d be surprised by how much your home’s curb appeal goes up thanks to beautiful windows.

8. Replace (or touch up) anything else that looks old

At the end of the day, it may just be an old gutter system or exterior walls in serious need of repainting that’s dragging down your property’s curb appeal. Cracked walkways, time-worn fences, and even a rusty door knocker are all things you should look out for. Instead of adding to the front of your porch, sometimes all it takes is revamping the old to significantly improve your home’s look.

Source:  Dream Casa

 

Posted on May 23, 2017 at 12:20 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: curb appeal, decorating, remodeling, selling, staging, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Steps You Need to Know Before Redecorating Your Home

Breaking out the paintbrushes, fabric samples and hitting Home Goods and Pinterest for some good ideas?  Here are some 8 steps you need to know before you get started!

Here’s how to prioritize your game plan for your room makeover.

If you have a DIY decorating project on your horizon but don’t know where to start, here’s a practical guide to help you navigate the process.

1. Commit to a Budget and Timeline

First, figure out your total project budget. If you skip this step, you’ll likely spend much more than you anticipated and make poor purchasing decisions you’ll later regret.

Also pick a date to complete your project by, even if you don’t have a looming reason to do so. Creating a complete-by date will fuel your project so it can take flight. Completing one stage of a project informs the next and the next. Otherwise, approaching your project piecemeal will delay completion, if you even complete it at all.

By Mitchell Parker 

Set up a good system to keep track of your expenditures. I use an Excel spreadsheet, but even a spiral notebook can work for smaller projects. The key is to keep it updated.

Here’s an example of how I keep a running log of project expenses. While the main goal is tracking the total amount spent, I also indicate the store (which I left off here because stores will vary based on your location and preference), method of payment, general description and any notes, such as delivery fees — useful information that may come in handy later.

Keep all of your receipts together in one location. You can refer to them easily for warranty information and returns, if needed. I use a small zip pouch made for holding pens and pencils while I’m out shopping. After I return and enter them into the spreadsheet, I stapled each receipt to a piece of paper and store that neatly in a project folder.

Photo by Dina Holland Interiors 

2. Evaluate Your Needs and Lifestyle

Separating wants and needs is a hard one. Prioritize your needs by first creating a list of the furniture and accessories you envision going into your space. List any work you want to do, like painting or wallpapering, too. Then rate each item 1 through 5, with 1 indicating an absolute must and 5 reflecting a nonnecessity. Reorder the items on the list with the necessities at the top and the more wishful items at the bottom. Involve other family members in this process. They may identify overlooked items.

Also, be honest about your family’s lifestyle requirements today instead of at some far-off idyllic future date. For example, if the kiddos use your family room as a playspace, include toy storage on your list. You may have some child safety needs too. Also note any special concerns about pets, such as shed fur or the potential for furniture to get clawed.

3. Decide What Stays and What Goes

Based on your list, identify any pieces of furniture or accessories that you absolutely want to keep in the space. Remove the pieces you don’t plan to reuse; consider donating them if they’re in good shape or selling them online or through a local consignment store.

4. Draw a Preliminary Furniture Plan

If your project is small, this step may not be necessary. However, if you’re buying new furniture or just considering a new configuration, it’s extremely helpful to try out pieces in different locations to see what fits and what doesn’t. The last thing you want is to end up with a too-big piece of furniture. You’ll need a tape measure or laser measuring tool to measure your space and a scale ruler to draw it to scale. A simple sketch illustrating only the outside dimensions is all that’s necessary.

If you don’t have these items or don’t feel comfortable with drawing to scale, an alternative is to “draw” the outlines of furniture with masking tape on your floor or cut furniture-size shapes out of butcher paper to maneuver around on the floor.

Don’t forget about circulation space. Ideally, you’ll want to keep 18 inches between the edge of the sofa and the coffee table. Maintain 36 inches for comfortable general circulation. Since you may not have found specific furniture pieces yet and don’t have detailed furniture dimensions, you may need to revise the size of some furniture pieces as your project progresses. Nonetheless, this exercise is a good starting point.

Also measure your entrance door and the pathway to the room, including building elevators if you live in a high-rise. Bring these notes with you when shopping. If there are any delivery dimension concerns, you can address them then and there.

Photo by Colordrunk Designs

5. Concentrate on Big Items First

Focus first on the big-impact items, then concentrate on smaller accessories. Too often people get hung up on a small detail that can derail the flow of the bigger items. The idea is to work from large to small.

Find furniture. Unless you’re lucky to find the furniture you want in stock, most furniture takes eight to 12 weeks for fabrication. However, even in-stock furniture may not be delivered right away. If available, get a swatch of the upholstery or finish sample to help with other room selections.

Unless you’re comfortable working with a complex color palette, minimizing your scheme to two colors, as in the space here, will make shopping easier — and your space will look sharp and put-together.

Work the walls. Compared with any other design material, wall paint gives a room the most bang for your buck. I find it easiest to select a wall paint color or wallpaper after the furniture is selected. You have much more leeway with paint color choices than furniture upholstery. Plan to get your space prepped and painted prior to the furniture delivery.

Photo by Sroka Design, Inc. 

Hit the ceiling. Color instead of conventional white on the ceiling is another cost-effective attention-grabber, especially if you have crown molding to separate it from the walls, like in this living room.

6. Move Toward the Mediums

After you’ve figured out your furniture layout and color scheme, focus on finding the midscale items that will pull your space together, such as an area rug. Your scaled drawing will also come in handy to see how prospective rugs will work with your furniture layout.

Photo by Country Curtains

Window treatments like Roman shades and drapery can offer lots of style compared to run-of-the-mill Venetian blinds. They can minimize less-than-perfect windows and help save on energy bills, too. New window treatments don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, either. Ribbon-trimmed cordless shades like the ones shown here here can be ordered online for $100 to $125.

Photo by Meg Adams Interior Design 

A feature light fixture, like the one in this dining room, can become a stunning design focus.

7. Save the Small Stuff for Last

Fill in your scheme with decorative accessories toward the end of your project. You’ll be able to see what areas need attention and have a better sense of scale, especially with artwork. With the furniture in place, you’ll also have easy access to key dimensions, like the clearance between shelves.

I also like to shop for table lamps, particularly lamps that will sit behind a sofa, after the furniture is delivered so I can see how all the heights work or don’t work together. Cord lengths and switch locations are also easier to evaluate when the furniture is in place.

Photo by Larette Design 

8. Leave Room for the Unexpected

You may come across something surprising in your decorating journey that has special meaning or even adds a bit of humor, like these Hulk hand bedpost toppers. Don’t discount originality or quirkiness; it’s what makes your home truly yours.

Source:  CB Blue Matter / RisMedia

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 3:29 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: curb appeal, decorating, DIY, interior decorating, projects, real estate, staging, trends, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Light in, Prying Eyes out: Benefits of Light-Filtering Window Shades

Light and airy rooms but still worried about people sharing your indoor privacy?  Then this is the read for you!

 

Want to let light in while keeping your nosy neighbors out? Special types of light-filtering window treatments enable you to illuminate your home with natural light while preventing others from viewing your personal space. Ultimately, these window shades may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for homeowners who are searching for high-quality window treatments that are both stylish and practical.

Benefits
In addition to offering maximum privacy from passersby and neighbors, light-filtering window shades provide many benefits, including:

Energy Savings: The U.S. Department of Energy points out properly installed window shades offer some of the “simplest, most effective window treatments for saving energy.”

Improved Insulation: Some light-filtering window shades have been shown to act as both insulation and air barriers, and control air infiltration more effectively than other types of window treatments.

Exceptional Value: Homeowners can enjoy light-filtering window shades that consist of UV-resistant and antimicrobial materials for superb quality, maintaining their value over time.

Eco-Friendly Styles: Some light-filtering window shade options are partly constructed from biodegradable materials.

Unparalleled Convenience: Light-filtering window treatments can be motorized or manual, allowing for ease of use both day and night.

Types of Light-Filtering Window Shades
Light-filtering window shades provide varying degrees of light infiltration. The most popular options include:

Cellular Shades
Cellular shades deliver year-round insulation and privacy. Meanwhile, they are constructed to allow small amounts of light to enter a room. Typically, cellular shades are sold in single or double thickness. They are available in multiple vibrant colors, along with various cell sizes and fabric styles to match your home decor.

Cellular shades also boast immense durability. They include an aluminum headrail and bottomrail and take only minutes to set up in any living space.

Roller Shades
Roller shades are easy to use and come in a wide range of lifts to complement any home’s decor. Light-filtering roller shades are top choices for many homeowners, as these shades block visibility into your personal space. In addition, blackout roller shades are great choices for those who prefer extra privacy and will help you maximize light control consistently.

Roman Shades
For those who want to add a hint of luxury to th eir decor, there may be no better option than Roman shades. Top-down/bottom-up Roman shades allow you to control whether light will enter from the bottom or from above. The versatile options in fabric range from every color of the rainbow, as well as prints.

If you require additional privacy, select Roman shades that feature a thermal liner. Or, if you need total or near-total darkness (like in a bathroom or media room), Roman shades with a blackout liner may prove to be ideal.

Pleated Shades
Pleated shades are available with light-filtering and room-darkening liners, maximizing light control and privacy needs. With a light-filtering liner, pleated shades can deliver daytime light transmission indoors. To maximize privacy, use pleated shades with a privacy liner, so that only minimal shadows are visible from the outdoors.

On the other hand, a blackout liner offers maximum light obstruction. This liner may serve as a great selection in a child’s bedroom or other settings where complete darkness is needed.

Vertical Cellular Shades
Ready to take your vertical window treatments to the next level? Thanks to vertical cellular shades, you can block harsh sunlight from entering large windows and patio doors.

Vertical cellular shades have been shown to deliver year-round insulation, sound absorption and ultraviolet protection. Moreover, they can include blackout fabric to provide you with the total privacy you need to get a great night’s sleep. Keep in mind that the blackout fabric of vertical cellular shades features an opacity that prevents light from filtering through at all times.

Vertical cellular shades are ideal in climates with extreme hot and cold temperatures and can be specified to stack on either side, split down the middle or stack in the center for added convenience.

Examine your window treatment options closely, and you’re sure to find window shades that match your personal style and budget perfectly, while offering privacy from prying eyes.

Source: RisMedia

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 3:04 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: curb appeal, decorating, DIY, interior decorating, Privacy, projects, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,