Home-Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your home on a regular basis not only keeps it in its best shape, but will also make your home more desirable when it is time to sell. Here are some maintenance tips to follow:

Air Conditioning Repair

HVAC
Heating and cooling systems should be professionally maintained twice yearly. On a monthly basis, be sure to check the filter to see if it needs to be replaced.

Drains
Maintain a clear pathway in your drains with this monthly activity: Pour one tablespoon of salt down the drain, then slowly pour one quarter cup of white vinegar. Let this set for one hour and then flush with hot water. For more serious clogs use a drain snake to pull debris out. Be sure to flush thoroughly with water.

Garbage Disposal
Flush out the disposal on a monthly basis with hot water and baking soda. This will eliminate odors and avoid chances of clogs in the system. To clean the teeth of the grinding blades, drop in a half dozen ice cubes along with a couple of lemon wedges. Run cold water into the disposal for a minute until the wedges are ground up. The ice will clean the grooves of the blades and the lemon freshens the disposal.

SmokeDetector

Smoke Detectors
Replace smoke detector batteries twice a year.

Hot Water Heater
Flush the buildup in your hot water heater twice yearly.

washing machine

Clothes Dryer
Remove lint from the exhaust duct once a year.

Refrigerator
Once a year, vacuum the refrigerator coils underneath this appliance.

Fireplace Chimney
The chimney should be inspected and cleaned every year.

Need help with your home-maintenance needs? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services.

 

Do Not Turn Off Home Buyers with these Home Design Trends

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Your home should reflect who you are and your personality. But, if you are planning on selling your house, your home decor also needs to appeal to the masses. Here are some popular home trends that should be avoided:

Bold Paint
If your favorite color is purple or another bold color, that is great. Use this color in easy-to-remove accent pillows or accessories. Do not use such bold colors on your walls. Buyers prefer neutral walls and may not want to bother repainting them.

Wallpaper
Wallpaper with graphic patterns is to personal taste. What you may like may not appeal to others. Instead of using wallpaper, consider painting that accent wall in a neutral color.

Unique Lighting
Sometimes light fixtures can resemble works of art and are selected based upon personal taste. Lighting that is more demure and provides great light is a safer choice.

Finishes
Gold fixtures look outdated. If your home has a lot of gold, consider changing to brushed nickel – which looks more in style to current tastes.

Garages
A garage is for parking cars. If you use your garage for other purposes, change it back.

Bedrooms
A bedroom that cannot be easily converted back into a bedroom should be converted back when you are selling your home.

English Garden
If your landscaping resembles a large, lush English garden, potential buyers may not want to maintain such an overly landscaped property.

Pool and Hot Tubs
Some people will view a pool or hot tub as a benefit and others will look at them as headaches.

Need help with making home decor decisions that will be buyer friendly? Contact your real estate agent for an opinion. That person looks at homes every day and will have a good feel for buyers’ likes and dislikes.

Make Your Bedroom Look Larger When Selling Your Home

BedroomLampDresser
Large, roomy bedrooms are very desirable to home buyers. If your bedroom chambers are tight, here are some tips to make them look larger when selling your home:

Furniture selection
Do not squeeze larger pieces of furniture into a small bedroom as this will only accentuate the lack of space. Instead, consider using only one dresser and one nightstand in the bedroom. Wall-mounted nightstands give breathing room to a small space. Also, consider furniture with “legs” as these type of pieces look airier in a small room. Furniture that offers several functions (such as an ottoman with storage inside) is another good consideration.

Color
Make the room look more airy by using lighter-toned colors. And, let in plenty of light so it does not feel dark and cavelike.

Storage
Use shallow-type storage (limited to 12-inches deep) to maintain plenty of floor space. Consider storage that rises up to the ceiling to maximize space vertically. If the built-in shelving surrounds the bed, it can also serve as the nightstand.

Mirror

Mirrors
Mirrors can make a room look more spacious especially when they reflect floor-to-ceiling space.

Drapes
Hang your drapes high above the window to draw the eye up.

Bed Choice
If possible, consider switching a king-sized bed for a queen. In a spare bedroom, consider a day bed as an option to create more space.

No Clutter
Small bedrooms will look larger when clutter is minimized.

Go here for some inspirations photos from Houzz. More ideas are available here.

 

Keep Your Home Organized – It Will Show Better When Time To Sell

Changing word Unorganized into Organized

Homes with organization show better and are more appealing to buyers. And, an organized room looks clean and fresh. Here are some tips to keep your home organized:

Clutter is Exhausting
By organizing your belongings, a room will look more pleasing to the eye and avoid that uneasy feeling that clutter instills. A cluttered room is also difficult to maintain and clean.

Less is More
When organizing and staging shelves, you should not have things covering every inch of space. Have restraint.

No Matchy Matchy
Things displayed on shelves do not need to match. It is more pleasing to the eye to see various items, shapes, colors and sizes. Set some of your books horizontally on their sides.

Grouping Things Together
Smaller items look better in a group. And, speaking of small things, try to avoid displaying items that are so small that you have to get really close to see them. It is more impressive to have a few larger items on display.

Heavier On Bottom
When displaying items, place heavier items on the bottom and lighter pieces on the top.

Create Interest
If you need bookends for the display of your things, use heavy items such as decorative vases.

Hugging the Walls
When making your room organized, it is not ideal to have everything against a wall. It is much more interesting for the eye to see some space along the walls.

Need to Cheat
If you do not want to organize a bookshelf, you can do the next best thing – hide the clutter with a spring-loaded curtain rod and a set of curtains or material.

Launchpad Near A Door
If you do not have a mudroom for coats and boots, you can create your own transition zone that neatly holds jackets, purses and keys. Each household member can be assigned a crate or basket to hold items.

Behind-the-Door Shoe Holders
Clear plastic shoe holders are perfect to hold small items. This blogger uses one to organize winter mittens, hats and scarves. It can also be used to store small items such as cleaning supplies, craft items, tools or toys.

Containers

  • Square containers hold more items and are very stable when stacked
  • Clear containers are best used for visability
  • Labeling containers helps to maintain organization

Organized

Want more ideas for home organization? Check out Sibcy Cline’s “Be Organized” Pinterest board here.

 

 

 

Six Reasons To Sell Your Home Now

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Thinking of selling your home? Here are six reasons to do so now:

  1. There are buyers out there! It’s spring and people are looking at and buying homes.
  2. Traditional market selling time. Spring and summer is when most homes are sold.
  3. Mortgage rates are still low. Predictions are that these rates will rise.
  4. Home prices are starting to rise. 
  5. Bidding wars. There are not enough homes on the market and some listed homes in certain areas are experiencing bidding wars.
  6. The dream home that you buy will be affordable. Home prices are rising, but homes are still affordable. You can sell your home and purchase that dream home.

Make the Outside of Your Home Appealing When Selling

Landscaped flower garden

When your home is for sale, focus on making the outside as attractive as possible to lure in buyers. You want your home to look its best and have strong curb appeal. Here are some tips:

Paint It
If your home’s exterior is old and tired, you need to paint it. Be selective about the color. It should be a hue that appeals to many and not only to your personal taste.

Front Door
Your door should be in great shape and look new. You may not need to replace it – simply paint it with a fresh color and either shine up or replace the hardware. Doors that have a contrasting color to the exterior house color stand out.

Flowers
Freshly planted flower beds make a home look finished and well taken care of. This is an easy way to add some “wow” factor.

Trees and Bushes
Bushes should be well trimmed and not blocking the view of your home. Trees might need be to be trimmed if they block views.

Lawn
In warmer months, the lawn should be neatly trimmed and manicured. If the time of year is right, the lawn can be greened up with water and fertilizer.

Walkways, Steps and Foundation
Fix all cracks to make the home look well cared for.

Personal Items 
If you have personal items (such as odd furniture or other belongings) stored outside your home, you need to move them. They need to be stored, donated or thrown away. Lawn ornaments should be used minimally. There should be no clutter.

Think Low Maintenance
Buyers can be overwhelmed by high-maintenance yards. Although you may enjoy your koi pond, others may see this as too much work. If you are making landscaping improvements, consider plants and trees that are easy to maintain.

Swing Sets, Tree Houses and Sheds
If swing sets, tree houses or sheds are in great condition, you can leave them be. However, if these items have seen better days, it is best to either remove them or repair them.

Windows
Clean your windows and make them shine!

Roof
The condition of your roof is one of the first things buyers will notiice. If your roof is in poor shape, you have two choices: replace it now or have the value of your home marked down in value by the cost of the repair.

 

Make Your Home Move-In Ready When Selling

LIvingRoom_White
Thinking of selling your home?
It pays to do a bit of work ahead of time to make your home move-in-ready:

Curbside Appeal
We have written about the importance of first impressions previously, but it is worth repeating. You want your home to have appeal on the outside so potential buyers do not drive by. This means cleaning up the yard and garden, planting flowers, laying mulch and making the drive way clean.

Unclutter
Once the buyers are in your home, the goal is to have them navigate the rooms and imagine their belongings there. Too much furniture, knick knacks or other clutter will confuse them. Rent a storage unit and store your things in order to present attractive, streamlined rooms. Your home will also look larger without as many things – adding to its appeal.

Fix It
Your home should be in good working order. Loose shingles should be replaced, hardware should be shiny and everything needs to work.

Organize
You want buyers to feel confident that their belongings will fit well in your home by seeing organized closets, cupboards and pantry. Show off the maximum storage space.

Staging
A buyer does not want to think about doing additional work to a home. Stage rooms that will appeal to many buyers. Colors should be neutral and rooms should represent their original purpose.

Show Off Features
Have a large deck or lots of countertop space in the kitchen? Be sure to show off all of your home’s finest features.

Talk To Your Agent
Be sure to consult with your real estate agent on getting your home “show and move-in ready” to sell!

 

Home Improvements That Do Not Add Value To Your Home

Work tools

Home maintenance and improvements help to keep up your property value. However, there are some projects that will add enjoyment for you, but will not add value to your home:

Excessive Renovations For Your Area
Before making an major renovation to your home (new kitchen or lower level), be sure to do research to make sure the value of your home will fit the value standards of other homes in your community. An over-the-top renovation could not result in a strong return-on-investment when it is time to sell. Contact your real estate agent for a consultation about home values in your area. (Major home projects should be limited to 20% of a home’s value as a rule of thumb.)

New Roof
A new roof may be a necessity especially if yours is in poor condition or leaks, but it does not add value to a home. Install a quality roof, but do not go overboard with materials.

Sunroom
Sunrooms look very nice, but some people desire more functional additions. A new sunroom usually recoups less than 60% of the investment. A deck, on the other hand, usually brings an 80% return on the money spent.

Home Office and Other Special Purpose Rooms
Building a new home office addition can be expensive. Expect to get a 50% return on the money. Most people do not work from home and do not need a separate office.

The same is true for other special purpose rooms such as a play room.

Pool
Many people view pools as a hassle and do not want them. Install a pool only if you want to  enjoy it and plan on living in your home for a while.

Creative Bathroom Upgrades
Many home buyers will not appreciate a bidet or a steam room/sauna in a bathroom.

Learn more about cost versus value for remodeling your home here.

 

 

Affordable Home Improvements

Construction tools

Thinking about making some home improvements? Keeping your home up-to-date will make it easier to sell when the time is right. Here are some projects to keep in mind that are affordable to do:

Carpeting
If your carpet is worn or has stains, you can replace it for a few hundred dollars per room. (Or, you might want to install hardwood floors in lieu of carpet. This will more expensive and the price depends upon the size of your room and the type of hardwood used.)

Bathroom
Instead of a total remodel in this room, you can update one or two things to make it look more up-to-date. A jetted tub costs between $1500 and $4000. A sink and cabinet costs $500-$1500. Lower cost improvements include: new mirror, new faucet, added shelving and updated showerhead. Heated towel bars are a nice touch and cost about $100 each. Another economic activity would be to replace the grout in this room.

Paint
Probably the most affordably improvement you can do is to paint a room.

Replace Hardware
Hardware updates can make doors and light switches look new.

Light Fixtures
Updating light fixtures is great way to make a home look stylish and up-to-date. Lighting comes in all price ranges starting with economic Ikea.

Ceiling Fan
An attractive ceiling fan will cost between $100-$300 depending up the style and size.

Make Windows Look Larger
Make small windows look larger by hanging drapes at ceiling height.

Cover a Scuffed Toekick
You can cover a toekick by adding stainless-looking peel-and-stick laminate strips. They sell for about $12 per foot.

New Door
If your front door looks like it has had better days, think about painting it, re-staining it or replacing it.

Technology Update
Update your thermostat to a programmable one for under $100. Your home can be wired for a single remote system for lighting, air, heating, audio, etc… for $500 to $5000.

Organize
Simply organizing belongings can make a big difference in your home. The price to do this will depend upon the type of organization systems you invest in for this project.

Need help with your home-improvement projects? Contact Sibcy Cline Home Services!

 

13 Things To Avoid When Selling Your Home

13Tips

When preparing your home to sell, you need to spend time and effort to get your home staged and updated to appeal to buyers. You want your home to stand out and shine among all other homes for sale.

Here are 13 mistakes to avoid when listing your home ready to sell:

1. Clinging to Clutter 
We know you love your stuff. It has meaning to you. Buyers, however, will not appreciate your things. Clutter makes it difficult for buyers to imagine their things in your home. You need to either throw things away, sell them or store items away offsite while your home is on the market.

2. Not Upping Your Homes Value with Updates
We are not talking about tackling major home projects, but updates such as a new backsplash in the kitchen, replacing faucets or light fixtures or simply repainting a room or two can add more appeal to your home.

3. You Have Blocked Light and Views 
If a piece of furniture is blocking a window in a room, you need to move it – especially if the outside view is attractive. Make rooms sunny and light filled by opening curtains and blinds.

4. Painting Only To Your Taste 
You loves the deep purple accent wall in your family room – but will others adore it like you do? Probably not. Walls should be painted in neutral colors with beige, grey or pale green tones.

5. Staying Emotionally Attached
Selling your home can be an emotional time, especially if you have spent many years enjoying it. When your home is for sale, you need to have a thick skin as others may not feel the same as you do about its features. Do not take criticism about your home personally.

6. Staying Home When Your Home Is Shown
When buyers tour your home it is awkward if you are in the home. They may not want to stay and see what your home has to offer. You need to leave for all showings.

7. Pets in the House
Take your pets with you when your home is shown. The buyer touring may have a fear or allergy of your pet and be turned off or even refuse to enter the home with the pet inside. (And remember, all pet food bowls and toys should be hidden away. Pet stains and odors also need to be addressed.)

8. Overdoing It With Decor
Staging a home to sell is different from decorating it. Accessories need to be kept to a minimum.

9. Not Neutralizing Your Personal Style
Your home needs to show in a neutral style to appeal to the masses. If you have a special collection or a room that was converted for a special hobby, you need to remove the objects and bring that room back to its original purpose. Think luxury hotel room or new home model.

10. You Do Not Have a Green Thumb
The front yard is the first thing people will see when entering the home. You need to make the landscaping look fresh and neat. Flowers and outdoor furniture add to the ambiance of an outdoor space.

11. Your Closets are Stuffed
Yes, buyers are going to check out your closets. They need to be de-cluttered and organized. The same goes for the bathroom and kitchen cupboards and pantry.

12. Putting Off Cleaning
If cleaning is not at the top of your list of things to do, it needs to be when you home is on the market. All things need to be put away. Dishes are to be washed. Beds should be nicely made. The kitchen and bathrooms are to be spotless.

13. Neglecting the Garage and Basement 
The garage needs to be clean and tidy. So does the basement.