Maintain Your Homes’ Style – in Style

Home remodels offer an opportunity to change the look and feel of your home. This can be great if you live in an older home with outdated fixtures and other hardware. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t take the time to match their remodel to their house and end up with a look that’s a bit less than optimal. The remodel won’t necessarily look bad, but it may be unsatisfactory because it doesn’t quite match the architecture and style of the house itself.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to redo everything in its original style when remodeling your home. That would all be rather boring, wouldn’t it? You simply need to make sure that you fully take your home into account when designing your remodel. This is easier than you might think, once you know what to plan for.

What Style Is Your Home?

Before you can plan out a remodel based on the style of your home, you need to figure out exactly what that style is. There are a lot of possibilities out there, ranging from Victorian and Colonial designs to Craftsman homes, Ranch homes and other more modern styles. You may already know which architecture style your house was built in, either from existing architecture knowledge or discussions with your Realtor before buying the property. If you aren’t sure, though, there are a number of resources that can help you find out. You can research home styles online, talk to fans of different architectural styles or even look at the original listing for your home if you have a copy. Regardless of how you find out, learning about your home’s architectural style is the first step to accenting it with your remodel.

Learning Your Style

Once you know your home’s style, take the time to learn a bit about it. Learn the key points of the architecture, distinguishing features and everything else that makes it stand out from similar home designs. If there are fixtures, doors, windows or other home features that are commonly associated with your home style, you should learn what those are as well. This may seem like a lot of work, but the details about your home style that you learn now will go a long way toward helping you design a remodel plan that really accentuates the best things about your home.

Adapting Your Style

Once you have a good idea of what works with your home’s architectural style, it’s time to start planning your remodel to work with that idea. You can look for fixtures that are similar to more traditional offerings but that better match your personal taste, or for example select a traditional door but opt to paint it in a color that will go better with your new siding choices. Your goal should be to find a balance between more traditional offerings for your home style and your personal decorating preferences. That way, the choices you make will fit in beautifully with the overall design of your home and its existing accents.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean everything has to match perfectly, either. There is a lot of room for you to express yourself through choices that might otherwise clash with your home style, using that disparity to draw attention either to your choice or to the design of the home itself. There are many options available to you, and because you know what’s expected for homes like yours you are free to go with the traditional or to shake things up as you see fit.

Perfecting Your Style

If you want to find a style that’s a perfect match for your home but aren’t quite sure what works best, it may be time to call in a pro. Whether you need a contractor to bring it all together or a designer or decorator to make sure everything works with your architecture, we can connect you with the right pro for the job. Give us a call!

The Arizona North Chapter of ASID runs a promotion each year where you can get an hour or two hour package of interior design help at a discount. All funds raised go toward student programs and education. Visit azn.asid.org for more information.

Choosing a “Seller-Friendly” Contractor

Although there are many terrific contractors out there, there are always a few bad apples. When preparing your home for sale, you need a contractor that gets your job done on time, on budget and without creating a big mess.

To help make sure that happens, ask prospective contractors these questions:
• “Will I be issued a receipt detailing the work done?” This is handy to have as you might want to show it to buyers.
• “Do you thoroughly clean up the work area each day?” This is especially important if your home will be shown to buyers during this period.
• “Is the project schedule realistic? Is there a chance the work might take longer than expected?” Delays can negatively impact the sale of your home. It’s better to get a realistic timeline from the contractor, rather than an ambitious one.
• “Under what circumstances will the final price be higher than quoted?”

Of course, you also need to check references and do other due diligence to ensure the contractor is a “good apple”.

Looking for a contractor recommendation or an interior designer to guide you through the renovation process. Call today.

How to Quick-Prep Your Home for Sale

Ideally, you should plan to have plenty of time to prepare your home for sale. You want to be able to get everything fixed and cleaned up, and perhaps even make a few improvements, such as installing a new countertop in the kitchen.

For any number of reasons, that’s not always possible. If you have to suddenly relocate for work, for example, you may have only days to make your home “show ready” for the market.

What should you do? The answer is: the essentials.
First, arrange to get any maintenance issues dealt with immediately. If you have a clogged shower drain or cracked windowpane, call a professional repair person. Even if those items don’t get fixed by listing day, you can inform buyers that the repairs are scheduled – and that receipts proving that the work was done professionally will be available.

Next, you need to do a thorough clean-up. Staging experts (those who professionally prepare homes for sale) unanimously agree that making each room look neat and tidy is essential. Even something as seemingly minor as dust accumulation on blinds can impact buyers.

If you still have time available before the For Sale sign goes up, consider doing some redecorating. Stand in each room and ask yourself, “How can I make this room look more spacious and appealing?” Oftentimes, simply rearranging the furniture and moving a few items into storage will make a dramatic difference.

Yes, prepping your home on a tight schedule takes some work. However, in just two or three days, you’ll have a property that is more attractive to prospective buyers. It will show better, and, as a result, it will likely sell faster.

Looking for more ideas for selling your home, quickly? Call today.

Should You “High Ball” Your Listing Price?

One of the most important decisions you make when selling your home is setting the listing price. It can be tricky. After all, if you price your property too low, you leave money on the table – perhaps thousands of dollars. On the other hand, if you price your home too high, many buyers won’t even bother to view it because they believe it is too expensive.

Even with that reality, there are some sellers who contemplate setting a high listing price in the hopes of a windfall. They want some unsuspecting buyer to fall in love with the home and buy it – even though it’s overpriced.

That rarely, if ever, happens.
Instead, the listing often languishes on the market because its listing price is conspicuously much higher than its market value.

Think about it. If two similar homes, side-by-side, are for sale, and one is priced $40,000 higher than the other, wouldn’t you wonder what was going on? That’s exactly what the market thinks. “Why is that home priced so high?”
Of course, many buyers, who might otherwise be interested in the property, won’t even consider seeing it, simply because it’s outside their price range.

It gets worse. When an overpriced home sits on the market with no offers for several weeks, the price will often need to be adjusted down. That helps the situation a little. However, you’ve lost the excitement created by a “new listing.” Yours is now an old listing struggling to get attention.

There’s a better way…
Set your list price at or near the market value and it will be much more likely to generate interest from qualified buyers and maximize how much you make on your home.
That market value may even be higher than you think!
Interested in finding out what that value is in today’s market? Call today.

Four Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Current Home

It’s not uncommon for couples with growing families to trade in their compact cars for something roomier, like a mini-van. The same thing happens with homes. Sometimes families simply outgrow them.

How can you tell if that’s happening with your property? Here are some sure-fire signs:

  1. You need more space.
    This is the most common reason people upgrade to a new home. They need more room. For any number of reasons, you might want an extra bedroom, a larger living room, a bigger backyard, or a more spacious kitchen. Rather than put up with feeling cramped, consider exploring the extra space a new home can provide.
  2. A renovation won’t fix it.
    Sometimes, when a property doesn’t fit its owners’ needs anymore, they consider a renovation. For example, if they need more space for a home office, they convert a spare room. However, a renovation doesn’t always fix the problem. For example, building a double, rather than single driveway and garage, may not be possible given the constraints of your property. Only a new home can solve that problem.
  3. You’re interested in a new neighborhood.
    The neighborhood may have been perfect for you at one time. But needs evolve. You may now be looking for something the area doesn’t provide – like closer access to a recreational activity your family enjoys, or a more convenient commute to work. If that’s the case, it might be time to look at other neighborhoods you’d like to consider, and see what types of homes are currently available there.
  4. It’s time for a change.
    Sometimes you simply feel it’s time for a change. There’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t feel you need a practical reason to sell and find a new home. If this feels like the right time for you and your family to move, go for it.

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!

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!

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

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.

What Can Smart Switches and Light Plugs Do For Your Home?

“Siri, how much water did I drink today?”

“Alexa, what’s on TV tonight?”

“Google, turn off the lights!”

You know the drill. We’re all starting to talk to ourselves under the guise of speaking to our smart speakers and voice assistants. There’s nothing at all wrong with this, but it’s a future no one could have conceived even a decade ago. Smart speakers were cool for creating grocery lists, but that’s just a fraction of what they’re capable of now.

Your computer friends can control your lights and outlets from anywhere now. How cool is that?

The Power of Smart Switches and Plugs

Smart switches and plugs are among the most underrated components of a smart home. In fact, they’re a cheap way to get into the smart home world if your home wasn’t built with this type of equipment in mind.

They’re simple to install and essentially disappear after a few days. After all, they’re just boring plugs and switches, right?

Well… that’s one way to look at it. But, then again, how long do you go in a day without interacting with an outlet or a switch? Are you using either right now?

Behold the Handy, Hidden Household Helpers

If you really think about it, you use outlets and switches all the time for a wide range of reasons. Smart switches and smart plugs are no different, they’re a frequent touch item in your home. But they’re so much more than power regulators. Smart switches and plugs can do things for your household like:

  • Making mornings tolerable. Most people have heard of the coffee pot that’s powered using a smart outlet. You fill it up at night, then your programmed smart outlet switches on in the morning and starts the coffee cycle. It’s a popular trope, but it’s also a real thing… so you have that to look forward to.
  • Proving peace of mind. Whether you’re across town or across the state, it’s not a great idea to advertise that you’re not home at night. Your smart switches and plugs can be programmed to flip on and off at different times to make it appear that you’re just hanging around the house.
  • Conserving resources. Believe it or not, a lot of homeowners find that they save a lot of energy with smart plugs. The better units have use reporting built in, all you have to do is check your app to see which ones are using up the most juice. Create a schedule for those plugs, then check your usage again in a few months. Adjust the whole thing as necessary.
  • Creating a safer indoor environment. Are you the kind of person who doesn’t like to walk into a dark house, even when it’s yours? Then smart switches and outlets should definitely be on your shopping list. You can turn all the lights in the house on when you pull into your subdivision or driveway, making it clear that you’re home, in case any ghouls (or burglars) happen to be lurking.
  • Assisting people with handicaps. You may not need the help now, but even a debilitating sports injury can be enough to make you want to scream when you forget to turn a light on or off and are already across the room. For people who are permanently disabled, that’s an every day event. Today with the help of Siri, Alexa and Google Home Assistant, all anyone needs to do is shout, “Siri, turn off the kitchen lights!” and it’s a done deal.

Those little almost-invisible switches and outlets are pretty busy, looks like. They’re also an inexpensive way to jumpstart your smart home transformation. For example, if you wanted a way to turn your bedroom’s ceiling fan light off at night, you would save a bundle to install a smart switch versus using smart light bulbs and the switch won’t burn out any time soon, so bonus!

Ready to Make a Move Toward a Smarter Home?

Even if you have an older home, you can start transforming it into a smart home with switches and outlets. Every home and family will have different needs that a smart home can service, but due to the dizzying array of equipment out there, it can help to speak to a home pro about your plans. Not sure where to find one? Start in your own backyard with HomeKeepr. Your real estate agent can recommend a smart home consultant or installer to help you pick the right bits and pieces to build the perfect, smartest home on the block.