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 , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Things to Know About No-Interest Credit Cards

If you have been contemplating getting one of these, then this article is a must read!

Tempted by that offer for a new credit card with an interest-free grace period? Don’t succumb to the first attractive zero percent interest credit card offer that comes your way—unless it’s the right card for you.

First, come to understand your own motivations. A credit card with a no-interest introductory offer may be a good choice if you’re looking to consolidate debt through a balance transfer or if you’re contemplating a vacation or big purchase but don’t have the cash to immediately pay for it. Then, compare the terms of the cards you’re considering. Doing so can help you avoid potential pitfalls and choose the best offer for your circumstances.

Before you take the zero percent plunge, consider these five tips to make sure your decision is the right one.

Look Beyond the Offer
Zero percent interest cards offer a free promotional period on purchases, balance transfers, or both for a set time, typically anywhere from 12 to 21 months. After that teaser period, the card’s standard annual percentage rate will kick in.

Examine that go-to rate closely.

If the standard APR is higher than the rate you’re charged on your current cards—and you even occasionally carry a balance—it probably doesn’t make sense to use the new card after the intro period expires.

Some zero percent interest cards double as a rewards credit card and charge an annual fee. Make sure you’ll be able to take advantage of the rewards you’ll get in return for paying that fee. Otherwise, move on to another card.

Although it’s possible to close the card after the promotional period is over, it’s not recommended. Like all credit card applications, before you’re approved, the issuer will do a “hard” credit check, which can adversely impact your score. And every time you close an account, you reduce your available credit, which can also ding your credit rating.

Have a Plan
The best way to take advantage of a zero percent credit card is to pay down a huge debt transferred from an existing credit card during the introductory period.

Use that interest-free time to pay off your debt entirely (or reduce it substantially) before the intro rate expires and you begin paying interest, possibly at a higher rate than your original card. Paying the maximum monthly amount you can afford, without accruing interest, can give you a leg up on wiping it out completely.

A balance transfer calculator can help you determine how much you’ll have to pay each month to retire the debt before the end of the introductory period.

“A balance transfer is just the first step in a two-step process,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst. “The second—and more important—step is to use that lower rate to accelerate debt repayment and get the balance paid off for good. Otherwise, you’re just moving money around.”

Even if you can’t pay the debt in full by the end of the intro period, always make sure to pay on time. A late payment could void the promotional period, possibly trigger a penalty APR and cost you a princely sum in late fees.

Mind the Fees
Don’t be fooled: When it comes to balance transfers, a zero percent offer doesn’t mean you’ll be able to pay off your debt for free.

Balance transfer offers typically come with a one-time fee that ranges from 3 to 5 percent of the amount being transferred, although there are cards that charge no fee. Most of the time the math will work in your favor, even if you’re moving a substantial sum to a new card, but it’s smart to ensure that what you’ll save on interest payments is greater than the upfront fee.

Let’s say you want to transfer $5,000 to a card that charges no interest for 12 months. If the card charges a 3 percent transfer fee, you’d pay $150 to move the balance to a new card. Use a calculator to determine what you’d pay in interest on your current card over the course of the intro period.

Even if you have a cheap zero percent APR on your current card, your interest payments during that year would be much higher than the transfer fee—even assuming you paid off your entire balance.

Alternately, you may find that the best balance transfer credit card for you is one with a shorter promotional period but doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee. In some cases, it may be a better option than a card with longer terms that has a hefty upfront charge.

Beware the Purchase APR Pitfall
It might be tempting to splurge a little with a new card—especially if you won’t get charged interest on new purchases for a year or longer. Spending beyond your means is how debt accrues in the first place, and even an interest-free purchase still has to be paid for.

So, if you get a zero percent credit card to help manage your debt, be cautious about spending.

“Don’t get too enamored with the zero percent on new purchases,” says John Ulzheimer, a nationally recognized credit expert formerly with FICO and Experian. “Make purchases you normally would have made anyway like dry cleaning, gas, groceries—and pay it off so you don’t get into more debt.”

If you carry no credit card debt and want the card to finance a big purchase that’s beyond your monthly budget, like an appliance or furniture, proceed with caution, as well. Do this only if you can pay off the purchase during the intro period.

Make Sure You Qualify
Like most of the best credit card offers available, the better your credit score, the more likely you are to qualify for a great offer on a balance transfer card.

“Because of the structure of the cards, they’re really reserved for people with great credit. Even though you may want one, you may not qualify,” says Ulzheimer.

Overall, issuers rejected 17.7 percent of credit card applications between October 2016 and February 2017, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Even if you are armed with a high enough credit score to qualify for the best offers, in some cases, there may be a cap on the balance transfer amount. Check the fine print to see if the balance transfer card will meet your needs before applying.

“Your balance may be (so) large that the new issuer won’t accept it,” says Linda Sherry, director of National Priorities at watchdog group Consumer Action.

Source: RisMedia

Posted on June 16, 2017 at 10:56 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: credit cards, credit score, debt, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

9 Home Gadgets to Save Energy and Entertain

Who doesn’t love a great gadget?!  Isn’t it interesting what sort of great ideas these companies come up with?

So you’re up for making your home truly state-of-the-art? I’ve got a great list for you. Here are nine gadgets to be on the lookout for:

Moen’s U lets you customize the perfect shower before ever stepping in with just a few taps on your smartphone.

Smart and Blue’s Hydrao smart showerheads let you instantly control your water consumption and energy needed to heat it by lighting up the water spray with different colors depending on the amount of water used—and it’s powered by the shower’s natural water-flow.

Luke Roberts Smart Light – This LED pendant lamp, from Austrian startup Luke Roberts, lets you place light in any direction, illuminating only certain areas of a room through simple gestures on your phone.

Kuri – Created by Mayfield Robotics, this app uses a camera to check on pets, kids, or guests when you’re away. It sets reminders, uses Wi-Fi to connect to things like weather reports, and works with IFTTT to control some connected devices, according to CNET.com.

Hello Egg – From RnD64, this works with the Eggspert web and mobile application to fully automate planning weekly meals, supervising the pantry, organizing shopping lists, and even ordering grocery delivery. Hello Egg also projects voice-navigated video recipes and answers cooking-related questions with a connected 24/7 support team of cooking experts.

CUJO creates a guarded firewall gateway between your devices and their connection to the internet by analyzing for malicious intent, whether it’s coming in from the internet, going out to the internet, or making moves across your network.

AirTV is the only major streaming platform that integrates local over-the-air (OTA) programming with your streaming services. Just add an AirTV Adapter and an OTA antenna to get local channels in HD, without a monthly cable bill.

Sony A1E – Unlike most TV speakers, sound comes to you from the entire screen, immersing you in a new entertainment experience—if there can be such a thing!

LG W7 – Capturing Best of the Best recognition at CES 2017, the W7’s picture-on-wall design allows the television to lay virtually flat so it seems blend with the wall and disappear.

Source: RisMedia

Posted on June 16, 2017 at 10:49 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, energy, Entertainment, gadgets, real estate, security, Smart Homes, television, Uncategorized | 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 , , , , , , , , ,

10 No-Grass Backyards You Can Pull Off Anywhere

It’s not just you…who ever said “I just love to mow the lawn and pull weeds”!  Here are some fab ideas for a grass free, easy maintenance yard!

While we can all agree that a lush, green backyard looks gorgeous, grass just doesn’t work for everyone. And grass is definitely not a requirement for a chic and stylish outdoor space. Whether you skip the grass because of your climate, the care and upkeep reasons or simply because of your personal style, there are lots of great options for creating a fabulous grass-free outdoor space.

Joslyn Amato
We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite concrete backyard spaces to help get you inspired for your summer outdoor makeover.

Dining Area

COLES HAIRSTON
Paula Ables Interiors created this shady outdoor dining space using a variety of textures and materials. The combo of gravel and concrete pavers, paired with the painted brick walls and overhead wood slats, helps bring a modern, fresh feel to this backyard.

Fire Pit

Peter Lyons
This outdoor space by Baran Studio Architecture is an easy, inexpensive solution for unused space in your backyard. Instead of grass, use pea gravel to cover the ground. The homeowners have a built-in fire pit; however, you could easily add a portable fire pit or chiminea for a similar look.

Outdoor Living Room

Coreen Schmidt Photography
If you’re lucky enough to live in a milder climate, you might want to create an outdoor living room like this one by Project Groundwork. With a couple of well-placed pieces of outdoor furniture, you can set up a hangout area. Using gravel and some plants and shrubs, this outdoor space feels super cozy and inviting.

Pool Surround

Chang Kyun Kim
Concrete and gravel are also a great choice of materials to use as a pool surround, like this one by Synthesis Builders. They used large concrete pavers to help create a visual distinction between the pool and seating area. The gravel provides a beautiful texture to the backyard.

Plant Pockets

Zack Benson
Here’s an example of a really clever way to break up a larger concrete outdoor space by landscape architect Angel Carrasco. These small cutouts in the ground filled with plants and shrubs create a break for your eyes and add beautiful pops of color and texture.

Backyard Studio

Joslyn Amato
If you have a larger backyard and want to add a studio, office or guest house, consider setting up your space like Landwell Design.

Source: HGTV.com Blog

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 3:50 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, BBQ, decorating, DIY, Entertainment, grill, landscaping, lawn, maintenance, Pools, projects, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

New Neighborhood? 15 Things To Do Your First Week, Month, And Year

So you have settled in and ready to start exploring your new neighborhood?  Check this out!

Ready or not, it’s time to jump into your brand-new lifestyle. These tips will help you find your place within your community and make it feel even more like home.

After the hard work of finding and moving into the perfect home, you’re finally ready for the best part: exploring your new neighborhood and city! Here’s what you should do in your first week, month, and year in a new place to help make it your home sweet home.

The first week: Organize and settle in

  1. Get your bills in order.

    You probably had the essentials switched over to your name so you wouldn’t be without them on move-in day. But you’ll need to make appointments for other services, like cable or home security, right after you move in. Other essentials may also have slipped off your radar, like neighborhood trash pickup dates, suggests Michael Kelczewski, a real estate agent with Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Wilmington, DE.

  2. Find your local resources.

    No matter how organized you are, there will be items, like extension cords and towel rods, that you will need to pick up quickly to make sure that you feel settled, says Joan Kagan, sales manager at TripleMint Real Estate in New York, NY. Your first week is the best time to seek out these essentials and more. You’ll no doubt become well-acquainted with the nearby hardware store, but you’ll also want to stock that new fridge at the local grocery store, make friends with the barista at the neighborhood coffee shop, and hit the closest post office to have your mail forwarded.

  3. Meet the neighbors.

    This will give you some comfort in knowing who is around you, says Pat Eberle of RASO Realty in Cape Coral, FL. Neighbors are a great resource for [discovering] where all the local hot spots are, where to go for necessary services, and more. If you have children, this will also help them meet the neighborhood kids their age and start making friends.

  4. Find your community online.

    Nextdoor and neighborhood or community groups on Facebook are an easy way to start following what’s happening in your new neighborhood. A subscription to the local city magazine can’t hurt either. This way, you can stay on top of community events, safety issues, and meet more neighbors! says Lisa Sinn, a real estate agent with Keller Williams in San Antonio, TX. Want to untether from the laptop? Head to your local library or coffee shop and scope out the bulletin boards for upcoming events or local businesses to try.

  5. Study the rules.

    Before you jump into those home improvement projects, make sure they’re not against the rules of your homeowners association (HOA) or local zoning laws. If you live in a historic district, you may even have to get your paint colors approved! And be careful not to overlook those easy-to-forget loose ends. During your home-buying process, there are lots of deadlines and time frames to be aware of, explains Eberle. After closing, you will also need to check on items like your property taxes, can you request a homestead exemption, etc.

The first month: Explore and grow

  1. Dine like a local.

    Try different restaurants, supermarkets, coffee shops, and bars in the neighborhood, says Kagan. One of the great things about living in a city like New York is the great variety of resources within walking distance. You can choose your favorites and start to build a community.

  2. Extend invites.

    The sooner you make friends in a new city, the sooner it will start to feel like home. When people find out that you are moving to New York, they will tell you about their college roommate’s niece, their brother-in-law’s cousin, their former baby sitter, all of whom have moved to New York, says Kagan. Whether you live in the city or in a more suburban area, don’t roll your eyes at these connections. Make the effort to get together with all of them they will invite you to meet others and share their tips.

  3. Follow your interests.

    Local charities are always looking for volunteers and church groups are always looking for new members. City recreation facilities often offer classes for kids and adults. This can also be a great way to meet other locals that have similar interests.

  4. Pitch in.

    Offering to assist a neighbor with a project can also be a great way to break into the neighborhood. If you are in a cold area with snow, help with snow removal. If you are where the weather is nice, help with lawn mowing, trimming, raking leaves, or other projects. The favor will likely be returned in the future!

  5. Meet your HOA president.

    This person can be a great ally when it comes to neighbors breaking the rules (ahem, not mowing their lawns, partying too loudly, etc.). Get to know them well, advises Sinn, so you can get your voice heard.

The first year: Practice good citizenship

  1. Take advantage of your city.

    You chose your neighborhood for its character, proximity to work, or its other perks. Now’s the time to explore other neighborhoods nearby for hidden gems. Go to the theater! Visit museums and concerts. Take advantage of your town’s amazing parks! says Kagan. Explore a different neighborhood every month. Knowing your city better will help you feel more connected and give you even more favorite places to come back to again and again.

  2. Start a group.

    Make an effort to stay connected with your neighbors, even if you don’t click right away. In the first year in a neighborhood, you will find that some of your neighbors and you will click and they will become friends. They’re a built-in source of information and support nearby. To stay in touch, launch a book club, dinner club, or other type of regular get-together on a schedule that works for everyone. It’s a low-pressure way to forge a deeper connection with those around you.

  3. Host for a holiday.

    Pick a holiday and plan an event in your home. Invite the neighbors or friends from unconnected groups. Think of it as your own mixer. Who knows? Maybe you’ll inspire some more friends to move to your neighborhood  and make next year’s parties even better.

  4. Attend HOA meetings.

    Attend as many as possible so you’re aware of exactly what’s happening in your community regularly, says Sinn. If you have time, you might consider joining in a more official capacity, which lets you contribute to future plans and provides insights into neighborhood changes.

  5. Make goals for next year.

    Reflect on your first year in your new neighborhood and make goals for the next one. Would you like to get more involved, perhaps in a leadership role with your HOA? Have you noticed congestion or traffic issues that you could work with your neighbors to resolve? Maybe you’d like to support a local nonprofit or school by organizing a 5K race through your neighborhood. Or perhaps there’s a beautification effort you could launch. Whatever you choose, you’ll be on a path to deepen your involvement in your community.

Source: Trulia Blog

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 3:37 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: family, HOA, Homeowners, neighborhood, neighbors, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Know How to Prep Your Home For Summer?

 

Summertime….and the living is easy! If you know how to prep for it!

Our friends at HomeAdvisor 5 important steps for prepping your home for summer.

While summertime is perfect for outdoor gatherings with friends and family, it can also be a dangerous, and inefficient, time for your home. That’s why it’s important to have a preparation strategy in place before the hotter months arrive. These quick tips will help you prep your home for summer, and ensure it stays safe and inviting all summer long.

Schedule an Air Conditioning (AC) Inspection

Suffering through the hottest summer months with no AC isn’t fun, especially if you’re playing host to friends or family. Having an AC professional look at your unit before summer officially arrives will address any potential problems before they become major headaches. You can also DIY some preliminary maintenance. Clearing saplings, grass and other underbrush away from your unit will improve airflow and help prevent clogs. Replacing the air filters in your home’s HVAC will also help your AC function at its peak efficiency.

Look for Insulation Leaks and Inefficiencies

Poor insulation will allow cooled air to escape, resulting in a hot home and enormous energy bills. Fortunately, spotting faulty insulation isn’t difficult. Begin by looking for deterioration around your doors and windows. Caulk, door sweeps and weather stripping should address the majority of your door- and window-related leaks. It’s also a good idea to have a professional perform an energy audit. Pros will be able to identify hard-to-spot inefficiencies in other parts of your home and HVAC system.

Prep for Pests

It wouldn’t be summer without pests. And in addition to being an annoyance, some pests can actually damage your home  and even present health problems. Spraying insect barriers around the exterior of your home is a good beginning, but it’s also important to prep the interior of your home. Sealing all food sources and potential entry points like window frames and doors is an important part of finalizing your pest proofing.

P.S. Be sure to read any warnings or instructions that come with pesticides. Improper applications can threaten the safety of your home, especially if you have pets or small children.

Inspect Your Roof

Summer is mostly known for its beautiful weather, but it can also be a time of severe thunderstorms or worse. This makes having a sturdy roof very important, especially during inclement summertime weather. Begin your inspection by looking for loose shingles, faulty flashing or other clear signs of damage. Your attic can also be home to leaks, rot and other problems not obvious from the outside of your home. Examining your attic insulation, walls and rafters for signs of moisture will help you prevent water damage and structural deterioration. If you notice signs of damage, it’s best to call a pro. Roof repair can be extensive and are rarely DIY-appropriate.

Reinvigorate Your Outdoor Spaces

Wintertime can take a toll on the appearance of your yard, patio and other outdoor living areas. Removing downed tree limbs, replanting dead flowers and power washing your patio and decking are simple ways to jumpstart your home’s summertime exterior. Your grill can also accumulate gunk during the colder months. Be sure to clean its interior and exterior before your first BBQ. Updating your tired outdoor furniture will also improve the looks and comfort of your entertainment areas. Wrap-around sofas, comfy loveseats and luxurious hammocks are ideal additions to any outdoor space. You can perfect your entertainment areas with colorful throw pillows, planters, hanging candles and outdoor lighting.

Source: CB Blue Matter

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 3:23 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, Family Fun, Homeowners, maintenance, Pools, real estate, summer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Coldwell Banker Real Estate Gets Vocal – Announcing Our First Amazon Alexa Skill

Smart Home Ready!  Meet Alexa and Coldwell Bankers first Alexa skill!

Coldwell Banker teamed up with Amazon’s Alexa to create its first Alexa skill, an extension of the popular Home of the Week series.

We’ve all heard that real estate is local, but Coldwell Banker has put its own spin on the adage, declaring all real estate is Vocal by announcing its first Amazon Alexa Skill, which will be available by the end of June.

What’s a Skill? An Amazon Alexa Skill is essentially an app for Amazon’s voice controlled Echo speakers.

How does it work? By prompting Amazon’s voice assistant with Alexa, Ask Coldwell Banker for the Home of the Week,users will hear a one-minute description of a featured Coldwell Banker listing and can be connected to their local Coldwell Banker office. The Skill is an extension of the Home of the Week video series which profiles the hottest Coldwell Banker listings each week.

Why develop the Skill? Consumer demand spurred development of the skill after a January Coldwell Banker survey found that 72% of consumers with smart home tech wanted voice control products. Coldwell Banker also surveyed nearly 1,000 Coldwell Banker real estate professionals and found that 79% of respondents report that home buyers are interested in smart home technology, underscoring growing demand for voice controlled assistants and other smart home devices.

Not only will this fulfill consumer demand, it will also provide agents with the ability to market their listings in a new and exciting way. Alexa users will be connected with their local Coldwell Banker office through the Alexa smartphone app.

How can I try this out for myself? If you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you can search for the Coldwell Banker Home of the Week Skill in the Amazon Alexa smartphone app, or simply ask Alexa to Enable Coldwell Banker Home of the Week later this month.

If you don’t already own an Echo or Echo Dot you’re in luck! Coldwell Banker is thrilled to announce that the Echo Dot will be joining its existing Smart Home Staging Kit alongside products from Nest, August and Lutron. Now homeowners and agents showing smart homes can control the house’s core functions through simple voice commands.

Interested in buying your own kit? Be sure to visit SmartHomeStaging.com and speak to your Coldwell Banker agent to take advantage of the exclusive promotional pricing!

So what’s next? Coldwell Banker looks forward to expanding its voice control capabilities for agents, buyers and sellers in the near future. Stay tuned!

Source: CB Blue Matter

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 2:55 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, real estate, Smart Homes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Paint Colors That Sell—and the Ones That Don’t

Paint can make or break a room…here are some handy tips before you pick up the old paint brush!

Paint colors play a crucial role in successfully selling a home, having the power to influence a homebuyer’s decision to make an offer or move on and the best colors, according to a new Zillow  analysis, are blues and grays.

Homes with bathrooms that have soft blue walls (e.g., periwinkle, powder blue), specifically, sold for $5,440 more than expected in the analysis, as well as homes with a “greige” (beige/gray) exterior, which sold for $3,496 more than homes with brown or tan stucco exteriors. Homes with dark navy blue and/or slate gray front doors also sold for more: $1,514.

Certain colors, though, have the opposite effect, lowering sale prices by a few thousand dollars or more. In fact, homes with bathrooms that have white walls sold for $4,035 less than expected, while homes with darker walls (e.g., brick red, terracotta) sold for $2,031 less than expected.

“Color can be a powerful tool for attracting buyers to a home, especially in listing photos and videos,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray, not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space. Incorporating light blue in kitchens and bathrooms may pay off especially well, as the color complements white countertops and cabinets a growing trend in both rooms.”

The analysis considered over 32,000 photos of sold homes across the U.S.

Source: RisMedia

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 10:42 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: decorating, interior decorating, Paint, real estate, staging, 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 , , , ,