How To Make Your Home Sale “Smooth Sailing”

On a recent cruise along the Danube, we learned that rough waters can result in a miserable experience. Even on modern ships equipped with stabilizers, choppy seas and bad weather can leave you stuck below deck – and possibly sea sick!

In fact, the expression “smooth sailing” comes from a desire for calm waters.
When you sell your property, you’ll want smooth sailing too! You’ll want the experience to be as nondisruptive as possible, while also having plenty of qualified buyers interested in your listing. In the end, you’ll want the transaction to get done without a hitch.

So how do you ensure that happens? Here are some things you can do to help:

Think of your home as a product. Potential buyers are more likely to become interested in a product that looks clean, uncluttered and well-maintained.

Price it right. If your property is listed too high, potential buyers won’t come. If it’s listed too low, you may leave money on the table. (Potentially thousands.) Setting the price will be one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when selling your home.

Don’t be there during showings. As your real estate agent, I will take buyers through your property and show them all the great features. If you’re there, some buyers may not feel comfortable and may leave before they have had a chance to become interested.

Be flexible. This is especially important, when it comes to showing appointments, negotiations, home inspections, closing dates, etc. It’s okay to be firm on some things, just not everything!

The best tip of all? Use me as your real estate agent and I will make the entire experience of selling your home trouble-free and successful.

In other words, let me help make it smooth sailing!

Creating Quiet in a (Sometimes) Noisy Home

Does your spouse like to practice the drums in the evening? Does your teenager like to play video games, with the volume turned up high? Are there other sources of noise you’d like to minimize?
There are many ways to soundproof areas of your home to reduce noise. Here are some ideas:

Furniture placement. Surprisingly, where you place furniture can dramatically reduce incoming noise. For example, a bookshelf that covers one third of a wall can muffle sound from an adjoining room by 25%.
Noise harmonization techniques. Soft music, air fans, and other sources of rhythmic noises can actually reduce the unpleasantness of incoming sounds.
Area rugs. Adding an area rug, even on top of existing carpeting, can significantly reduce noise coming from the floor below.
Acoustic tiles and panels. These are special ceiling tiles and wall coverings that are designed to diffuse and reduce sound infiltration. There are some products on the market that are remarkably easy to install.

Pack Your Memories Away

Items that remind us of special people, events, milestones and interests are an important part of what makes a house a home. Pictures on the fireplace mantle, for example, showcase family and friends that are important to us. You might also have trophies, certificates, greeting cards, and other mementos on display in key places.

Of course, all of those things add warmth and meaning to your home. However, if you’re preparing your home for sale, it’s a good idea to pack those memories away – at least until you’ve sold your property and moved to your new home. Why? Those pleasant mementos that mean so much to you may actually turn off potential buyers.

You see, when buyers view your property, they want to be able to clearly picture themselves and their families living there. That’s difficult to do if they see reminders of your family everywhere they look!

So, to help sell your home quickly, make it look great, but not personalized. Think of the showroom displays you see set up in furniture stores. Those displays are most appealing when they enable you to easily picture yourself, with that furniture, in your home. You probably wouldn’t feel that way if it looked like the furniture belonged to someone else.

Of course, buyers will know you currently live in your home. But, helping them imagine themselves living there will help you sell your property faster – and possibly for a better price.

Need more tips on preparing your home for sale? Call today!

Doorways to Better Living Spaces

When people renovate or remodel a room, they almost always overlook the door. However, changing the style of an interior door, or adding a new one, can dramatically change the look of a living space – often for the better.

Although the most common type of door is the traditional solid 6-panel door, there are many other choices available. Want to add light and a greater sense of space to a room? Consider a door with glass panels. Do you have an interior door that gets in the way when opened? Change it to a bi-fold door, which cuts the distance of the swing in half.

There are also specialty doors that are designed to block noise, and sliding doors that tuck neatly into the wall when opened.
Interior doors are typically much less expensive than their exterior counterparts. So, making the decision to upgrade or add a door to a room is an affordable design option.

Visit a door showroom and explore the possibilities.

Photos courtesy Unsplash

Selecting the Right Mover

The last thing you want on moving day is a problem with the moving company. Ideally, you want them to show up on time, handle your possessions with care, and act professionally. Here are some tips that will help you choose the best mover for your needs.

  1. Get a recommendation from someone you trust. That could be a friend, family member or colleague. As your real estate agent, I can also recommend some reputable movers.
  2. Get everything in writing. Make sure you understand exactly what you’ll be paying. Ask about circumstances where extra charges may be applied.
  3. Ask if the moving company is certified.
  4. Reputable moving companies are fully insured. Ask to see the company’s certificate of insurance or some other proof of coverage.
  5. Avoid part-time movers who work weekends. Usually, they’re not professionals. You may save some money, but you’ll be taking a risk.

Have questions about making your moving day go smoothly? Call today.

Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash

Characteristics of a Desirable Street

Sometimes you know a desirable street when you see one. For example, it’s obvious that a home on a cul-de-sac is enticing mainly because there isn’t any through traffic.
What are the other characteristics of a desirable street that may not be as obvious? Here are just a few:

Sidewalks. A sidewalk in front of your home is not only handy, it also adds to the property’s curb appeal. In addition, if you have kids, a sidewalk makes it easier – and safer – for them to play and visit neighborhood friends.

Mature trees. Trees lining the street add depth and beauty. Most homeowners value front yard trees and would miss them if they were gone.

Safety. Unfortunately, some streets are more prone to crime and other issues requiring police intervention than others. Clearly, homeowners appreciate a street that’s known for being safe and located in a neighborhood with a low crime rate.

Pride-of-ownership. When considering buying a home, take a walk along the street. Do homeowners take good care of their properties? If so, that sign of pride-of-ownership indicates it’s a great place to own a home.

Location. Where the street is located is just as important as its characteristics. Are things you want, such as parks, schools, shopping, etc. nearby? Is the street in a desirable area overall?

Noise. This is a characteristic that can be invisible to the home buyer. If the street is in a flight path, or near a busy highway used by rush-hour commuters, you want to know!

A great street can dramatically add to the enjoyment of a home. As your real estate agent, I can answer your questions about the characteristics of streets you’re considering and the surrounding area.

Affordable Staging Ideas

Remember the last time you walked through a furniture showroom? You probably noticed that the sofa, chairs, tables and other furnishings were arranged – or staged – to make them look more appealing. You might have seen an attractive lamp on a sofa end table, or an appetizing bowl of fruit on a dining room buffet.

When preparing your home for sale, you should do much the same thing. Stage each room to make it look its best. Studies prove this will help sell your home faster and for a better price.
In fact, there are professional stagers who provide consulting and installation for home staging. As your real estate agent, I can also provide you with practical ideas to get your home prepared for sale.

Here are some simple, affordable staging tips:

• Make each room look as spacious as possible. This may mean putting some items, and even some furniture, into storage.

• Remove unnecessary items from countertops, tables and shelves.

• Keep decorative objects on shelves, tables and even sofas, in odd number groupings. According to Barb Schwartz, the originator of staging, this combination works best. So, put three pillows on a sofa, not two or four.

• Make an older-looking piece of furniture look quaint and stylish by adding a throw cover.

• Add life and good looks to just about any living space by adding flowers or a flowering plant.

• Have the table set with your best china. It makes the buyer want to move in and sit down for dinner!

• Consider replacing the sink, faucets and toilet to make an older bathroom look much better. It’s relatively quick and inexpensive.

Professional stagers look at your home through the eyes of the buyer. Do the same and you’ll be able to see what changes need to be made.

Kitchen Fires 101

Several of the biggest fire hazards in your home all live in your kitchen. The oven, the stovetop, your toaster… when you think of all of the heat sources your kitchen contains, it’s almost a wonder that it doesn’t burst into flames on the regular. Joking aside, the kitchen is usually a pretty safe place so long as you keep an eye on things. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore fire safety rules when in the kitchen, of course – knowing how to handle a kitchen fire can mean the difference between a scare and a tragedy.

Kitchen Fire Safety

There are a number of potential causes of kitchen fires. There are the usual fire hazards such as electrical shorts, but you also have kitchen-specific risks such as splashing oil or something falling onto a heating element. Because there are so many potential causes of a kitchen fire, your fire safety measures need to be a bit wider reaching than what you might use for other rooms in your house.

A smoke detector is important in the kitchen, as is a fire extinguisher that you can access easily. Make sure you choose the right fire extinguisher, though; opt for an ABC fire extinguisher if possible. These can be used on Class A (trash/wood/paper), Class B (oil and liquids) and Class C (electrical equipment) fires. Establish an area where you can put oven mitts, cookbooks and similar materials far enough away from the stovetop to prevent any of them from falling onto a hot surface. Inspect kitchen appliances regularly for damaged cords or other fire hazards and replace anything that could present a danger.

Oven Fires

If a fire breaks out in your oven, your first instinct is likely to open the oven and try to put the fire out. That’s one of the worst things that you can do, though; opening the oven provides much-needed air to the fire and can make it significantly worse. Just opening the oven door can cause the fire to explode outward, potentially burning you and spreading to surrounding surfaces.

Instead, turn off the oven and leave the door closed. This will limit the availability of oxygen, causing the fire to die down and eventually go out on its own. Keep an eye on the fire, though, since if it doesn’t start dying out or seems to be getting stronger, you’ll likely need to call the fire department to deal with it.

Fires on the Stovetop

Stovetop fires come in several forms. If something falls onto a hot burner, that can cause a fire. If oil or other flammable liquids get too hot or splash out of a pan, that can also cause a fire. Even letting a pan boil dry can cause a fire. Fortunately, the majority of stovetop fires are preventable by keeping an eye on the stove whenever there’s at least one hot burner.

If a fire breaks out on the stovetop, there are a few things that you can do. If it’s a very small fire such as a grease fire in a pan, simply putting a metal lid on the pan may be enough to put the fire out. Slightly larger fires can be doused using baking soda, but do NOT use flour… though you may have heard that flour is okay to use, flour is finely ground dried plant material and is actually very flammable. Your fire extinguisher is also an option, as is calling the fire department before things get too far out of control.

Keeping Your Kitchen Safe

One key part of fire safety is making sure that your smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment stays in good working order in case you need them. HomeKeepr can help you find the pros you need for preventative maintenance, fire extinguisher inspections and more essential fire prevention services.