Kitchen renovations tend to be the biggest, most complicated home makeover projects, mainly because the kitchen is the most frequented and most multifunctional room in modern homes. But sometimes a kitchen makeover can be achieved with some simple cosmetic changes, rather than a complete redesign of the actual floor plan.
Beyond a basic color scheme change, the next makeover level involves replacing cabinet hardware. Remove a set of hinges, knobs and/or pulls to identify the type of screw/bolt settings that will be needed. Then, choose from the many options available at home building centers or specialty knob stores. Similarly, consider a new faucet and sink, upgraded countertop or a fresh tile backsplash. Each will contribute to a dramatic change. You may want to consider replacing or refinishing the drawer and cupboard facings as well, although that would likely require professional help.
Improved lighting is another important way to change a kitchen’s look and functionality. However, general overhead lighting, strategic task lighting and ambient mood lighting could involve rewiring. Finally, replacing the flooring will result in a significant change to any kitchen. Choices range from recycled cork to indestructible granite. Remember to consider not only appearance but also practicality.
When you’re viewing a property that’s on the market, you’ll probably try to imagine how your furniture will fit and look in that space. Where will your desk go in the home office? How will you position the sofa and chairs in the living room?
First, it’s often larger furniture that creates the most concern. Make sure you have those measurements on hand when viewing a property. That way, you can use a measuring tape to get a clear idea of how that particular piece of furniture will fit in the room.
Second, there are many online tools you can use to plan and position furniture for a particular size and shape of room. By using a site such as http://www.roomsketcher.com, you can position your furniture – and see how it fits, in just a few minutes.
Finally, when viewing a home, confirm that larger pieces of furniture can be moved into the rooms. A large, wrap-around sofa may not easily make it up or down narrow, winding steps. Knowing that in advance gives you the opportunity to plan accordingly.
You’ve probably heard the expression, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” When it comes to selling your home, that is definitely true. In fact, a buyer will come to several conclusions about your property within the first few minutes of seeing it. That’s why it’s so important to make a good first impression.
How do you do that?
One of the best techniques is to pretend you’re a buyer. Drive up to your home. Open the door. Step into the foyer. Take a quick look around. Then ask yourself, “What impressions am I getting from this property so far? What stands out? What impresses me? What concerns me?”
Of course, you want to get a sense that the home is attractive, spacious, and clean. You want to emphasize the enticing features, while minimizing the less desirable qualities. There are many great tricks that can help.
For example, if your foyer is small, eliminate furniture and other items in that area in order to make it look a bit more spacious.
If you have a fantastic kitchen, show it off to the buyer. Make sure the appliances sparkle. Set the table with your best dishware. Make it look like a showcase in a kitchen store. You want the buyer to see it and say, “Wow.”
Buyers make judgments about your home very quickly. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a buyer to make a comment about your property, like – “I love the high ceilings” – within the first few seconds of coming in the door. Don’t underestimate the importance of that first impression.
Of course, serious buyers will scrutinize your property more closely, especially if they have an initial interest. What you want to do is to make sure to peak that initial interest.
Have you ever driven by a For Sale sign and wondered, “That house has been on the market for a long time, I wonder why it isn’t selling”? You might have asked that question because you were worried the same thing would happen when you put your own house on the market!
Often a home doesn’t sell for one of three reasons:
The price is too high. Sometimes a homeowner will set the listing price exceptionally high in the hopes of getting lucky. What happens instead, however, is potential buyers stay away. In today’s real estate market, a house usually sells at a price that is near or over its market value. Fortunately, the current market value of your house – and, hence, its approximate selling price – may be higher than you realize. It’s worth getting a free market assessment.
The house doesn’t show well. Sometimes a house is strategically priced for the market but doesn’t show well. It’s difficult for buyers to look past issues, such as clutter, and see the potential. In those cases, prospective buyers who view the property, don’t like what they see, and move on. If you put your house on the market, make sure it looks its best for prospective buyers.
The listing is poorly promoted. Clearly, buyers won’t become interested in a property if they don’t know about it. The listing must be promoted effectively, and that involves more than a For Sale sign.
If you’re planning on putting your home on the market, you probably know the basics of what buyers want to see. Clean and uncluttered rooms. Comfortable living room. Functional and spacious kitchen. Bright, modern bathrooms. However, there are some things that today’s buyers are looking for that you might not have considered. Here’s the rundown:
• Smart storage space. Today’s buyers love to see organized closets, attractive shelving, storage nooks, built-in bookshelves, linen closets, and other storage options that are as functional as they are attractive. • Energy-efficient fixtures. Buyers are impressed by lighting that is good-looking but is also the latest in energy-efficiency. At the very least, energy-efficient bulbs and table lamps are a good idea. Solar-powered soft lighting in the garden, or on the deck or patio, will impress many. • Modern appliances. Buyers will notice kitchen and laundry room appliances that are modern and energy-efficient. In fact, according to a survey, 36% of buyers consider Energy Star rated appliances to be “essential”. • Work spaces. Home offices are in demand. Buyers will notice if there is a work area that is functional and attractive, even in the corner of the living room. • Outdoor living space. If you have a deck or patio, buyers love to see it well furnished and inviting – even if the outdoor furnishings don’t come with the home! Buyers will at least see the potential.
Of course, your home doesn’t need to have all of these features. Having some will help your home sell faster and for a better price.
If you’re planning on finding your next dream home, then you’re probably going to view several homes on the market that meet your criteria. You will want to make the right purchasing decision for you and your family. So, it’s wise to be savvy when viewing properties for sale. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
• Bring a notepad. Take notes, not only of the home’s characteristics, but also of how you feel. For example, can you imagine yourself happily cooking up a storm in the kitchen? Do you see yourself entertaining family on the back deck? • Bring a measuring tape. Will the furniture you plan to bring fit? Your dining room suite? Your home fitness equipment? • Ask about maintenance. Is the property in a good state of repair? Will anything need to be replaced soon, such as the windows? • Check out the area. Do other homeowners take good care of their properties? This shows pride of ownership. How is the noise level? Is there a playground, or another area feature nearby? • Make a list of compromises. For example, are there only two bathrooms instead of three and, if so, can you live with that? • Make a list of bonuses. What features does the home have that are not a necessity, but would be nice to have? For example, an entertainment bar in the recreation room. • Remember your budget. Is the price within your range? Can you afford to buy this home?
The savvier you are when viewing properties on the market, the more likely you will be to find your next dream home.
There are several reasons why you may need to sell your home quickly. For example, a job change may require a speedy relocation to another city, or you may have purchased another property and don’t want to be stuck too long with two mortgages.
Here are some tips that can help get the sold sign on your front lawn sooner:
Be realistic with price. If you set the listing price higher than the current market value of your home, then you’re not going to get many, if any, viewers. You want the list price to be attractive, which means listing at the current market value.
Get things fixed. You probably don’t have time for a major renovation. So just make sure everything in your home is in good working order. Deal with any obvious maintenance issues, such as a leaking faucet or a gate hanging precariously on one hinge.
Ensure your home shows well, inside and outside. Eliminate clutter. Trim hedges. Make sure every room has adequate lighting. Imagine that a special guest is visiting your home, and clean up and prepare accordingly.
Be flexible with viewing times. You want as many potential buyers as possible to see your home. So, don’t restrict viewing times to just Saturdays. Make sure your home is as “available” as possible for showings. This may cause you and your family some inconvenience, but the reward will be selling your property sooner.
When you walk into a nice hotel room, what do you usually notice first? It may be the large, often beautiful picture hanging above the bed. You’ll probably find a smaller, equally attractive picture hanging in the bathroom. Often there will be at least two more adorning other walls.
That’s no accident. Hotels know that pictures are the simplest, surest way to make a good-looking room look great.
The same thing holds true when preparing your house for sale. According to home staging experts, hanging a few quality pictures can transform the look of just about any room – even a washroom!
Chances are, you already have pictures hanging in your home. Do you need more? That depends. If you have a room that seems dull, and there is open and empty wall space, try adding a picture. You don’t have to buy one or hang one – just have someone hold up an existing picture. If the look of the room improves, consider adding a picture in that spot.
Pictures don’t have to be expensive; they just need to be of good quality. Many retailers sell good-looking, nicely-framed pictures at affordable prices.
Most real estate experts agree that being too emotionally attached to your home can lead to poor decision making, such as over-pricing the listing and making hasty choices based on feelings rather than facts.
Of course, removing emotion from the home selling equation is easier said than done. After all, it is your home. It’s only natural to be emotionally connected to it. So, how do you ensure that emotions don’t get in the way of selling your house quickly and for the best price? Here are some strategies:
Think of selling your property as a business transaction only. Focus your emotions on the new home you’ll be moving into soon.
Stow as many personal items as possible, such as trophies and family pictures. Turn your home into an attractive product.
If a buyer makes a negative comment about your property – “I hate the deck color.” – don’t take it personally.
Avoid judging offers to buy your house based on whether or not you like the buyer.
Finally, whenever you make a decision during the home selling process, ask yourself: “Am I making this decision based on fact or emotion?” If the answer is “fact” then, chances are, you’re on solid footing.
Ideally, you want to be the only buyer who makes an offer on a particular property. That way, assuming your price is acceptable to the seller, you’re almost certain to close the deal.
But, it doesn’t always work out that way. In the case of highly desirable homes, it’s very common for there to be competing offers.
So, what do you do if there’s a competing offer on a home you really want?
First, don’t panic. Just because there are other buyers interested in the property doesn’t mean you won’t get it. There are many factors that influence a seller’s decision to choose one offer over another.
For example, sellers are generally skeptical of offers from buyers who do not have a pre-approved mortgage, or have not yet put their own home on the market.
Conditional offers based on these factors are often a red flag. Most sellers will readily accept an offer conditional on a satisfactory home inspection. However, if there are other more stringent conditions – such as an offer conditional on the buyer selling his own home for a particular price, or an offer conditional on arranging satisfactory financing – many sellers will be reluctant to accept the offer.