I’ve been in the real estate business for quite some time, and often clients hesitate to ask me questions about getting their home ready to sell because they may think the questions seem frivolous or silly. Well, there truly are no silly questions in real estate! Every home is unique, and every situation has its own set of intricacies. If you’ve never had a house for sale before, or if a problem arises that you may have never anticipated, that’s all part of the process. I’ve compiled some questions over the years that homeowners have asked me and thought I would pass the information on to you.
Curbside appeal. What do I need to do?
I’ve written about first impressions before, but did you know that people looking for new homes notice things about your entryway that you may assume they won’t notice? You’ve spent a lot of time getting the interior of your home ready, but what about the entryway? The threshold of your entryway, from the steps to the welcome mat, will be critiqued by new home seekers. Is it dusty and needs to be swept? Is your welcome mat old and tattered? Make sure your mailbox is standing tall and without chipped paint. Pay attention to everything from your front door windows being clean to the walkway being inviting. “Curb appeal” may begin at the curb, but buyers will notice so much more as they approach your front door.
Not sure? Yes, you DO need to do the windows!
Another recommendation I give homeowners that are trying to sell their home is to not neglect the patio doors and windows. This may seem like an obvious tip, but when people are walking through your home and open the blinds or curtains to get a view of the backyard, you really want the frames to be dust free and the window’s glass crystal clear. Patio doors and the door tracks should also be cleaned and any obstructions cleared away, especially times during the year that may be considered “unseasonal” for using outdoor spaces. Wondering if hiring a window cleaner is worth the additional expense? Most definitely, especially if you don’t have time to do it yourself. Having your windows professionally cleaned at a price range anywhere from $6 to $8 a window, which includes the inside, outside and the screens, is well worth the return on that investment. And also make sure your outdoor spaces are tidied up, too.
Should I think about a heating and cooling system check-up?
When trying to sell a home, don’t forget about one of the biggest expenses associated with home ownership…and that’s your home’s energy costs. Heating and cooling your home can be quite expensive, and well-informed people looking to buy may inquire about the last time your HVAC system has been serviced. If your home is newer, it’s easier to present them with any installation and warranty information. For older homes, it’s a good idea to have a certified HVAC company come to your home and give a check-up of your system. Whether you simply need to change your filters or have a bigger maintenance issue to resolve, it helps to know what you are dealing with before you put your home on the market.
What do I do about our pets, pet toys and kid toys?
Homes can get messy, and pets and kids can often be the culprits! Think about walking into a home that you know has pets. Are you preoccupied with the smell you’re noticing or the toys you’re seeing, scattered around the home? When getting your home ready to sell, it’s best to keep the smells as neutral as possible, and always pick up remnants of toys, whether from Fido or your 5 – year old. Think about investing in a toy box for your kid’s room, if you don’t already have one, because it’s an easy way to collect toys and keep them organized. If an interested buyer wants to see your house within the hour, think about ways to keep the stress level contained. Ideally, load up the car with kids and pets before a house showing with snacks, games, and videos ready to keep your family occupied while out of the house!
This is only a sampling of questions sellers and buyers ask me. Throughout the year, I’ll share those questions and some tips as they arise. Attention-to-detail can make the difference between a sale or a snub. Let me help you get your house ready for an open house that is sure to impress! Contact me with any questions that you have about any of your real estate needs. My number is (618) 978-2384 or email me at Sandie@SandieLaMantia.com.
When families decide to relocate into a different home, it can be for many reasons. People get new jobs in new zip codes, start a family, or bring an aging parent home. Sometimes additional space is needed, other times adult children move away to begin their own life chapter, making it time to downsize. Regardless, homes of all sizes offer lovely house upgrades that are not only desirable, but are affordable. In today’s competitive home-buying market, there are certain qualities in an upgraded home that transcend many geographical locations as well as the current trends.
Buyers walking through spec homes today will notice that many builders are adding features that were once considered upgrades. When buyers started to routinely ask for certain features in a new home, builders noticed. It started to make sense to include those features as standard instead of upgrades or optional ones. In a competitive market with skilled builders vying for business, it just made sense to streamline the building process for consumers.
You may have features in mind that are more important than others when thinking about your new home’s style. The following list of upgrades focus on the general upgrade options, often offering flexibility depending on the homeowner’s unique decorating taste or style preference.
Bath Upgrades that Impress
For many years, the master bathroom has been revered as the perfect oasis for couples to enjoy in their home. This remains true still today for homeowners! The tub and the shower are usually separate, with tiled showers versus standardized stalls. Luxury showers can provide you with a spa-like experience in the comfort of your own home, with dual showerheads and even steam. Bathtubs can also offer hot tub options with heaters, pulsating pumping action and oversized options. No matter what you prefer, many baths are being outfitted with beautiful, natural stones and finishes, making homeowners feel like they just stepped into a tranquil world away from any of the day’s stressors.
The Kitchen: Still the Heart of the Home
We all would love to have our very own island, and upgraded kitchens today boast an “island paradise” for anyone that loves to entertain and cook! Kitchen islands continue to be the centerpiece of the kitchen and are often being requested by homeowners looking to upgrade. When it comes to kitchen islands, many agree that bigger is better. Think about the last time you visited a friend’s home for a party and it’s quite likely you spent much of the time chatting over the island, snacking on food and drinks!
Not surprisingly, even homeowners that don’t cook a lot prefer upgraded kitchens. Stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, under cabinet lighting (and even cabinets lit from within), are increasingly popular. While granite is still popular, solid-surface countertops offer more of a modern look than the exotic patterns found in granite. Another recent trend includes countertops in lighter colors, like white. Marble offers that clean, modern look many homeowners seek. However, it really depends on personal preferences. No matter what countertop material is preferred, kitchens remain a key investment in the home. If you are unsure where to make upgrades, look to the kitchen and bathrooms first!
So Many Upgrades, So Little Time
There are other places in the home that benefit from upgrades. Ask anyone that has upgraded their old linoleum with tile or hardwood floors and they will tell you how the new flooring has changed the entire look of their outdated home. Whether you live on the West Coast or in the Midwest, hardwood flooring is an upgrade that many new homeowners desire. If you have some extra money to spend on upgrading your home, it makes sense to spend it on hardwood flooring.
There are other ways upgrades can transform a home. Looking for some flair in your upgrades? Lighting fixtures can transform your spaces from ordinary to extraordinary! Fixtures come in a variety of different styles and materials, offering a wide selection of price points. Adding stone to your home’s exterior is also a popular upgrade option that homebuilders are adding to more upscale brick homes. Another upgrade that homeowners often ask for involves the laundry room and the addition of a mudroom. Separate cubbies for book bags and sports equipment, enclosed cabinets and a sleeker overall “look” are especially important when your laundry room is right off of the garage for guests to see.
Not sure which upgrades make the most sense for your lifestyle? As a licensed Realtor, I know the local market and have first hand experience about which features are popular in our area. If you are planning on buying a new home, selling your existing home, or even are in need of expanding or building, I have the experience and knowledge you want from start to finish. Contact me for your real estate needs. I’d love to help you create the upgraded home of your dreams!