Ten Home-Staging Ideas When Selling Your Home

Home Staging IdeasWhen selling your home, having it strategically staged to appeal to a wide variety of buyers is highly recommended. Buyers will be able to mentally move in and leave them with a lasting positive impression. Here are 10 staging ideas and tips to make your home look its best:

(1) Clean Your Home
We are talking extreme cleaning. Do not skimp on making sure your home is spotless from top to bottom. The cleaner your home is, the more appealing it will be to home buyers.

(2) Get Rid of Clutter
We understand you love your “stuff.” Keep in mind people touring your home will not love it as much. When selling, it’s time to store all family photos, collections and other items that make your home look cluttered and crowded.

Are your closets full, too? Clean them out to make them look more spacious.

(3) Group Furniture
Rooms will look larger when when furniture floats away from walls. Position chairs and couches into groups. If you have too many pieces of furniture in a room, consider storing a few chairs or a couch. Or, use that extra chair from the living room and place it in an almost-empty guest bedroom or study.

(4) Get Rid of the Junk Room
Many people have one room designated for storage – aka the “junk room.” Convert that space into a room with purpose by transforming it into a reading room, zen room, study or exercise area.

(5) Don’t Block Your Windows – Let There be Light!
Natural light is a good thing to show off in your home. Open all heavy curtains and let the light shine in. If you have any furniture blocking windows, now is the time to move pieces away from obstructing window views. If your room is still dark, be sure to add lighting. (Aim for 100 watts for each 50 square feet.)

(6) Master Bedroom
Make the master bedroom into a retreat. Consider a neutral bed covering with a throw blanket and several pillows.

(7) Decorate in Threes
Although you do not want to showcase clutter, a bit of home decor is pleasing. Groupings of three are appealing to the eye. Vary your items in height and width with the largest item set in the back and the smallest placed in the front.

(8) De-Personalize Your Home
When your home is for sale it is a good idea to make wall colors neutral to appeal to most buyers’ taste. If you have rooms with bold colors, consider repainting them to something neutral. Remember, you can add back your personality with color when you move to your new home!

(9) Painting Tip
If your goal is to make a room look larger, paint it the same color as an adjacent room.

(10) Outside Rooms
A patio or porch is a great place to show off “outdoor” rooms. Be sure to stage those areas and make them look special

Need professional help with staging your home? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can put you in touch with a vetted company experienced in home staging, painting or other home-related needs.

Seven Tips to Prepare your Home for Winter

Fall is the best time to take advantage of the weather to winterize your home. A handful of quick and easy projects can help avoid serious issues and potentially even save money. Here are seven tips for getting your property ready for the snow and sleet, whipping winds and frigid temperatures that come with winter:

1) Start with the Heat
Perhaps the easiest way to prepare a home for winter is to look at the furnace and make sure it’s in good working order, according to Popular Mechanics. We recommend hiring a professional to review your heating system yearly.

Additionally, you should swap out old air filters at this time of year. Why change them regularly? Fresh filters will not only make the heating system run more efficiently (which can save a lot of money), but also improve overall air quality in your home.

2) Look for Drafts
A critical aspect of keeping a home well-heated when winter weather arrives is making sure the whole house is as efficient as possible. It’s important to confirm there are no parts of the home where heated air is leaking out. Some home experts note that all the little cracks, fissures and holes around doors and windows in an average house can add up quickly, becoming equal to the size of an open window. Inspect every window for fissures that can be easily patched with caulk or other sealants.

3) Take Care of the Water
Many homes have water lines that run outside of them to spigots on the side of the house or into lawn sprinkler systems. Shut off water access to these water spigots and then flush them out so they’re completely empty to help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

If basements aren’t kept at warmer temperatures or some plumbing runs along the outside of the house, it’s important to properly insulate any pipes in those places to reduce the risk of rupturing or bursting.

4) Up on the Roof
The average homeowner might not put a ton of thought into the condition of the roof simply because there is not an occasion to get a good look at it. Now is the time to get out the ladder and inspect it, because things like missing tiles and damaged shingles can become big problems. When snow piles up on a roof on top of a damaged or missing protective material, the weight and the wetness can combine to cause leaks and even collapses in some extreme cases.

Fall is also the time to clean out gutters so nothing gets clogged during winter months. Ice dams can build up quickly and create some potentially serious water damage that compromises the integrity of that part of the roof.

5) Invest in a New Thermostat
For those with older homes, now is a good time to install a new, advanced thermostat that’s programmable (and possibly Internet enabled). These devices give homeowners a lot of control over their home’s temperature on an ongoing basis. Homes can be programmed to turn down the heat when no one is home – during the school or work day – while maintaining a safe level for the plumbing system. This reduces heating bills and doesn’t strain the furnace. This will save a lot of money in utility bills.

6) Bring it Inside
Homeowners should store lawn furniture and other items to keep them in good shape for upcoming warmer months. Portable generators, grills and lawn equipment shouldn’t be left to the elements and need to be stored safely in the garage, shed or basement.

7) The Fireplace
For anyone with a fireplace, it’s a good idea to make sure it is free of debris for winter. The residue from having too many fires can build up in the chimney or there may be problems from animals nesting there. These issues could lead to some backup of smoke or fire.

Need Assistance with your fall home projects?
Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for assistance with your home-related projects. They can recommend vetted local service vendors to you.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

 

 

Quick and Easy Home-Maintenance Tips

DIY construction toolsA properly functioning house can save homeowners a lot of headaches and money. Not all home repairs have to be complicated with a little know-how. A bit of online research and some elbow grease is more than enough to tackle many issues that can arise. And, there are many home repair and maintenance jobs that can be accomplished in less than an hour with minimal investment

Just like any other kind of home DIY project, home owners should take all due caution when picking up these tasks, investing in the right safety equipment and tools, and proceeding carefully to ensure everything is done safely.

Quick Fixes
If you have a garbage disposal that is not working properly or has smelly odors, simply disconnect it from the power source. Usually it’s a matter of taking it apart and cleaning it out thoroughly.

If you have growing stains on your home’s ceilings, there are a number of products that will cover up stains and reinforce those areas of potential weakness. A hardware professional will be able to recommend which will work best for specific situations. Be sure to put plastic covering and drop cloths in place so the products don’t drip.

Need a new commode in your bathroom? Replacing a toilet is another DIY project. It requires a few tools and materials.

Cut the Noise
If you have a creaky staircase or a floorboard that just won’t stop squeaking, the “know how” needed to fix it is usually minimal. All it takes is locating the joist with a stud finder and applying a small screw to the area (right through the carpet). If one doesn’t work, try adding one or two more until the floorboard is more firmly in place and not making noise. This is the kind of job can be completed in a matter of minutes.

If your kitchen cabinet doors slam unpleasantly when being closed, simply attach little rubber bumpers to their corners. If you prefer to install “soft-close” fixtures, they are a little more expensive but add a nice element to the way closing a cabinet feels. In either case both are relatively easy to install.

Wall maintenance

Other DIY Home-Maintenance Projects
There are many other projects that can be done by a DIYer, such as adding weather stripping, patching a damaged wall, etc… Go here to learn about these and even more more DIY home-maintenance tips.

If DYI is not appealing to you, be sure to contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for recommendations of vetted home-related vendors and services.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

 

Take Care of these DIY Home Projects Before Summer Ends

Ceiling fanHomeowners often run out of free time once summer ends, so now may be a good time to complete a number of do-it-yourself home projects. Here are our suggestions:

Ceiling Fans
One task many homeowners might not realize is helpful all year long is installing ceiling fans, specifically those that rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise. Installing them now, while the weather is still hot, can significantly reduce cooling costs.

Because hot air rises, a ceiling fan that runs clockwise will pull cooler air up from the floor and redistribute it from the top of the room. This can have the effect of cooling a room by as much as 10 degrees in the summer, without the use of an air conditioner. Likewise, a ceiling fan running counterclockwise in the winter will push more of the hot air coming out of heating vents and radiators back toward the floor.

Your Home’s Exterior
Great summer weather for most folks won’t last and it’s always a great idea to ensure your home is completely prepared for fall and winter. Pressure-washing pathways, decks and siding is a great way to beautify your home in just a few hours, without the need to repaint or repave. Renting a pressure washer for the day will usually cost less than $100 from a local hardware store.

Taking the time to clean out gutters and repair them before leaves start to fall and potentially clog the drainage. Getting this done ahead of the winter months, when melting snow and ice can create major problems if left unaddressed, is vital.

The Right Approach
Now might also be the time to make sure you have the proper guidelines to actually do the DIY jobs you set out to do. For example, using a power washer is a great way to keep a home looking beautiful, but if operated incorrectly, this tool can be dangerous both to the user and the property. Study up on how to use your tools properly and have the right safety equipment on hand.

Likewise, when cleaning out gutters, having another person there to hold the ladder is a minimum safety measure that should be undertaken.

Furthermore, there are some home improvement jobs that should not be undertaken by inexperienced homeowners under just about any circumstances, and a little research can go a long way toward determining what’s a reasonable project to DIY and what’s better left to the pros.

Need help with your project? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for recommendations of vetted home-service professionals!

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

 

Tips to Save on Cooling Costs at Your Home

Air conditioning programmingWith hot weather gripping most of the country, many homeowners are cranking up their home air-conditioning and this can be costly and expensive. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to bring cooling costs down as the summer heat continues. Here are a few tips to save money while staying cool:

Install Ceiling Fans
It may seem counterproductive to add even more electric appliances in an attempt to reduce power consumption, but a ceiling fan provides a good alternative to air conditioning as well as can assist your AC unit. A ceiling fan can help reduce the temperature in a room by as much as 10 degrees by pulling hot air away from inhabitants and constantly circulating it. Using it on its own may help on days that aren’t too hot, but using it in concert with an air conditioner set on low can make the AC work less hard.

As a bonus, ceiling fans that are able to spin both clockwise and counterclockwise can also help reduce heating bills in the winter. This is because as hot air rises, running the fan in the opposite direction helps redistribute it back down to the floor of a room.

Go Higher
It’s a good idea to turn the AC temperature setting up a few more degrees than normal to reduce costs as well. People usually won’t notice the difference between 68 and 72 degrees, but for every degree higher it goes, cooling costs are reduced by as much as nine percent.

Keep the Sunshine Out
Many homeowners may want to let the sun into their homes to make their living spaces bright, but doing so can increase costs significantly. The greenhouse effect applies to all types of glass, so letting in sunlight heats up a room. And even if it’s only just by a few degrees, the cost can add up, especially for homes that receive direct sunlight throughout the day. Instead, it’s smart to keep the blinds closed at this time of year.

Check Under the Hood
Whether a home has a central air conditioning system or relies on a number of window units, it’s important to make sure these devices are running properly. Checking air filters as well as clearing out any nearby debris will help ensure the AC runs as efficiently as possible.

For homes with older units, it might simply be a better idea to replace them with newer and more efficient options. As with installing ceiling fans, that will require some up-front investment, but the cost benefits will really add up over time.

Start Programming
For homes with a central AC system, it’s also a good idea to invest in a smart programmable thermostat. Most people know it’s not efficient to run the AC all day – especially when they’re not home – but may forget to leave it running when away at work.

With a wireless-enabled smart thermostat, you control your home’s temperature from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

Get an Expert Opinion
It might be wise to have an efficiency audit on your home. Trained professionals check to make sure there are no issues with the structure of the home hat would lead to inefficient operation of an HVAC system.

These audits can identify even the tiniest cracks in seals around doors and windows or in a home’s foundation that, if patched, can dramatically boost a home’s ability to keep cool air in and hot air out. Some estimates show a typical home may have enough of these little cracks and holes to add up to the equivalent space of leaving a window open 24/7. Sealing them up is often as simple as applying a bit of caulk other sealants.

Be Smart About Food Prep
Many homeowners love to cook, but doing this activity during the summer isn’t always a good idea. Running the stove can really heat up a kitchen and that’s going to make the air conditioner work overtime to keep a desired temperature. Instead, prepare foods that don’t need to be prepared in the oven or stove.

When you did need to turn on the oven,  it’s a good idea to only use it at night, when the temperature is lower.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com

 

7 of the Best Home Improvements that Pay Off when Selling

Seven best home improvements that pay offThinking of making updates to your home? Here is a list of projects that add value to your home from the National Association of Realtors Remodeling Impact Report:

1. Wood Floors
If you have existing hardwood floors covered by carpet, it might be a good idea to refinish them. Costs may be around $3,000 but you should recover 100% of that cost when selling.

If you are installing new hardwood flooring, the cost could be around $5,500 and you should be able to net $5,000 back.

2. Insulation
When you insulate your home, you not only benefit from lower utility bills, but you should be able to recover $1,600 of a $2,100 investment.

3. HVAC
Replacing your HVAC system is expensive ($7,500+). You should expect to recover 67% of that money back as well as enjoy the savings from a new, energy-efficient system.

4. Garage Door
A new garage door not only makes your home’s appearance look better, but you should be able to recover 87% of its cost. (The average cost is $2,300.)

5. Siding
Siding is another expensive item. It can cost $18,000 or more. When completed, your home will not only have a long-lasting exterior, but you should be able to recover 83% of its cost when you sell.

6. Deck, Porch or Patio Addition
A 16×20 wood deck costs around $11,000. You should be able to recoup $10,000 or 90%. Outdoors rooms are very popular and make living more enjoyable.

7. Replacement Windows
Ten 3×5 windows cost around $9,700. You should be able to get back 90% when selling!


Other Improvements to Consider
Although the return is not as high on these items, you may still want to consider updating a bath, the kitchen or your basement:

Bathroom
A full remodel on a bathroom is about $30,000. Your recovery on this item when selling is only 50%. However, a new bath is an important room to buyers. A minor bathroom remodel might be better for you. This cost will come in around $11,000 and the recoup rate is 102%. 

Kitchen
For a $35,000 investment expect to recover $20,000 or 57% of your cost. Again, the recoup is not as high as other projects, but home buyers do desire up-to-date kitchens.

Basement Conversion to Living Space
This project is a big one and can cost $40,000+. Expect to recover 63% when selling.

Need help with your home-improvement project? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services for recommendations of vetted vendors.

 

 

10 Tips on How to Stage Your Home to Sell

10 home-staging tips when sellingHome staging is a process to make your appealing to potential home buyers. Here are 10 staging tips on how to make your home look more desirable and larger:

1. Clean Your Home Throughly
Before staging your home, you need to make sure it is immaculate from top to bottom, inside and out. (You may need to hire professionals to help with this activity.)

2. Just Say No to Clutter
Your belongings should not interfere when buyers are looking at your home. Photos, collectibles and keepsakes need to be kept to a minimum. You do not want bare walls or shelves, but restrict items to sets of three items of varying height.

Children’s toys should be kept to a minimum and organized.

3. Furniture Placement
Arrange furniture in a way that focuses on flow from room to room. Also make sure there is a focal point on the furthest wall from the doorway and place furniture in a triangle around that focal point. (In the bedroom, the bed is the focal point. In a living area, it might be a fireplace.)

4. Too Much Furniture?
If a room is stuffed with furniture, the size of the room will appear smaller. Furniture needs to be scaled back to fit the room.

A trick used to make rooms look larger is to paint them the same color as an adjacent room. This fools the eye to think both rooms are one larger space. Another tip is to paint the walls the same color as the drapes. This creates an illusion of more space.

5. Make Rooms Brighter
Walls should be a neutral color, but you can add brightness with the right accessories to make a room appear larger. Remove or open dark curtains or shades or replace with sheer versions.

High-watt light fixtures will also add more light in the room. (Aim for 100 watts per 50 square feet.) If possible, it is preferred to have three types of lighting in main rooms: ambient (overhead), task (pendant, reading or under cabinet) and accent (table or wall.)

6. Closets
Buyers will peer into your closets. Make sure they look neat and spacious. Twenty to 30 percent open space is recommended.

7. Rooms with a Purpose
If you have an empty room, it is best to stage it for its intended purpose. A spare bedroom could be either a guest bedroom or a home office. You want to avoid showing off a “junk” room. If you do not have a spare bed, consider buying a frame and adding an inexpensive air mattress that will then be covered with bed linens.

8. Designer Touches
Vignettes can add charm to rooms. Just like model homes, think about setting the table and include fresh flowers. Add fancy soaps near the tub along with fresh towels. Master bedrooms should be gender neutral. A blanket folded at the end of a bed is a nice touch. When adding your edited accessories, think in terms of three. This number is pleasing to the eye especially when grouped as a triangle.

If you have a porch or patio, consider staging those areas to make them more appealing to buyers. A small cafe table with a tablecloth and a few dishes can inspire someone to think about having breakfast there.

A fire pit in autumn and early winter can be very inviting.

9. The Outside Counts, Too
The view of the front of the home is the first impression. Make it count! The lawn should be cut and edged. Add pots of flowers in warmer months. Read more about adding curb appeal to your home here.

10. Got Pets? Beware of Odors
If you have a pet, be sure to be very careful about cleaning to remove any lingering odors. Many people remove pet food bowls and toys for showing appointments.

Need help staging your home? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. They can recommend professionals such as home stagers, painters and cleaning pros to help get your home looking its best to sell.