Karen Lawley's Blog
Anyone who has ever gone out on a job interview or a date knows how important a good first impression is. First impressions can color the entire way we approach a person and environment. When it comes to your home, you want to create a positive setting that draws people in on first sighting.
But did you know that there are several common home staging mistakes that sellers do that actually have an opposite, polarizing effect; turning away potential buyers? The following is a look at those common faux pas to ensure you avoid them and instead sell your home fast:
3 Common Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid
Not professionally cleaning before the stage. Regular house cleaning, even if it's the best house cleaning efforts you've ever done, may not be enough to really appeal during home staging. This is one of those situations in which you want a deep clean done by the professionals. Professional house cleaning services will ensure everything is pristine from floorboard to ceiling corner, helping both get out stains and lingering odors. This is important both because a deep clean best shows off a property and it sends a subliminal message that the house has been well-cared for and maintained.
Forgetting about storage areas (including the garage). Storage areas can be make or break spaces for your future buyers. So it's important to not neglect these areas when prepping for photographs or open houses. If necessary, consider renting a storage facility to store all of your excess clothes, blankets, Tupperware, etc. Thus, whether it's a closet or garage, make sure it's included in your list of places to prep!
Not putting away personal items. This can be a very, very hard thing for home sellers to avoid but it is important. Remember, the goal of a home staging, both in pictures and when setting up an open house, is to get potential home buyers to imagine what the home could be like if it were theirs. You want to create a neutral canvas that allows your audience to paint in the details. As such, having too many personal items and personalized decor touches can turn off potential home buyers. So pack them up and send them off to the storage unit before the cameras come out and the buyers start a'knocking.
When it comes to home buying a home, there’s a ton of different information available out there. A lot of what has been presented as “fact” actually is quite false. These misconceptions could keep you away from achieving the very real dream of home ownership. Below, you’ll find some of the most common myths that you’ll find about home buying.
If Your Credit Score Isn’t Up To Par, You Can’t Buy
To get good mortgage rates, having a good credit score doesn’t hurt. You can still buy a home if you don’t have amazing credit. A low credit score means that your mortgage rates will be higher than the average. There are loans like FHA loans, that allow for you to get a loan with a credit score as low as 580. Don’t let a lower credit score discourage you from buying a home. If your credit score is low, there are plenty of things that you can do to help you fix the score in a short period of time.
You Need 20 Percent Down To Buy A Home
This is a long-standing myth about home buying. While putting down 20 percent on a home purchase saves you the extra expense of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), you can still be in the running to buy a home if your down payment is less than 20 percent. There are even some home loan programs that allow buyers to put as little as 0-3 percent down for the purchase of their home.
You Have To Make A Lot Of Money To Buy A Home
Your monthly income is one of many aspects of your financial life that’s considered when you’re buying a home. Home loans can be denied to those who make a large income just as easily as to those who have lower incomes. What matters is the debt-to-income ratio, which tells lenders how much debt a buyer has compared to the amount of income the buyer makes each and every month. Keep your debt down, and you’ll be in good shape to buy a home.
You Don’t Need To Be Pre-Approved To Get A House
Being pre-approved gives you an upper hand in the home buying process. Being pre-approved allows your lender and you to go through the entire process of getting a mortgage. When you find a home that you love, you’re able to breeze through the process of making an offer if you’re pre-approved. The pre-approval process is one of the most important aspects of buying a home.
If you’re prepared with knowledge, buying a home isn’t such a daunting process after all. Find a realtor you trust, understand your finances, and the rest will fall into place!
Tired of looking at a dated bathroom day after day but dread updating it knowing the average remodeled bathroom will set you back thousands of dollars? Even if you don’t have the budget for a complete makeover, there are several DIY ways you can update your bathroom.
1. Paint Tub & Tile
For many homeowners, the most outdated area of their bathrooms is the tub and shower. The good news is if your tub and tiles are in good shape, you don’t necessarily need to remove them—simply give them a refresh.
- Thoroughly clean tub and tile.
- Purchase a prepackaged tub and tile kit—it’ll give you a list of supplies and tools and the right epoxy, along with detailed instructions.
- Sand down all tub and tile surfaces so you establish a good clean base for adhesion.
- Use quality paint designed for this type of project.
- Thoroughly ventilate your working area.
- Give your tub a good amount of curing time before running a bath.
This project is a little trickier than simply painting walls, but with patience and know-how, you can give your old bathroom a completely brand-new look.
2. Refinish a Dated Vanity
If your bathroom vanity looks like it came straight out of the 1980s, you can easily remedy this by refinishing it.
- Remove all hardware, drawers and the cabinet door; put them aside to paint separately.
- Gently sand down the vanity's surface and then clean off any dirt, dust or grime.
- Using smooth strokes with a brush or roller (you can test to see which looks better), paint the vanity’s surface and let it thoroughly dry.
Once your newly painted drawers and cabinet door are completely dry, reattach your hardware and add on some sparkling new knobs. Voila!
3. Update Your Lighting
Many homeowners find they can easily swap out old fixtures for new ones and see their bathrooms in a whole new light. Or you can get crafty and create your own. Popular styles include:
Lighting can make or break a room. If you're seeking a more modern look, look to change out your fixtures.
4. Create a Unique Bathmat
Sometimes it’s the simple touches that add flair to a room. One easy thing you can do is ditch the regular bathmat and create one out of cedar strips. Cedar is great since it’s water-resistant and it gives your bathroom a spa-like vibe. You’ll need a 1x6x10 cedar board, measuring tape, circular saw, table saw, wood glue and teak oil.
Once you’ve put your cedar bath mat together, allow it time to completely dry before using it.
Giving your old bathroom a facelift, or even some new bling, can do wonders for its appearance. Identify your pain points, apply an update and see what a difference even the smallest changes can make.
There is no set amount that a homeowner should spend on a smart house device. In fact, depending on the smart gadgets you purchase, you may wind up spending only a few dollars, or hundreds, on these devices. But if you understand how to shop for smart home gadgets, you may be better equipped than other property owners to find high-quality and budget-friendly smart devices for your residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get the most out of your smart home device spending.
1. Choose Only the Smart Home Devices You Need
Although there are many smart home devices available, it is paramount to select only the ones you need for your house. That way, you can keep your smart home device spending in check. Plus, you can avoid the risk of buying smart home gadgets you ultimately won't need.
As you try to sort between smart device wants from needs, consider your day-to-day activities. For instance, if you require energy-efficient and economical lighting for your house, you may want to invest in smart light bulbs. Or, if you are concerned about security, a smart home security system may be an ideal investment.
2. Shop Online and at Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
Smart home devices are available both online and at brick-and-mortar stores. If you shop for smart house gadgets from a variety of retailers, you may find some that offer the optimal combination of affordability, convenience, and quality.
Don't hesitate to ask questions as you shop for smart home devices either. Remember, your goal as a homeowner is to find smart gadgets that can serve you well for an extended period of time. If you ask questions about smart home devices, you can gain the insights you need to make informed purchase decisions.
3. Consider Pre-Owned Smart Home Devices
Smart home device models are constantly evolving, and multiple generations of different gadgets may be available. Keep in mind, however, that an old smart home device model may suit you perfectly at a fraction of the cost of a new version.
Sometimes, you may find pre-owned smart home devices that work great and won't break your budget. If you search smart home device listings on Craigslist and other online marketplaces, for instance, you may find lots of terrific pre-owned smart house gadgets. If you browse these gadgets closely, you may discover a pre-owned smart home device that corresponds to your budget.
For those who want to buy a smart home device, it often helps to remain flexible, too. If you are open to shopping for smart house gadgets from a wide range of manufacturers, you may quickly find a smart home device that is both expertly constructed and affordable.
Ready to purchase one or more smart home devices? Take advantage of the tips above to shop for smart house gadgets, and find devices that fall in line with your finances.
Is a two-car garage a luxury or an essential feature of a home? While it may not always be a top priority for first-time buyers, many seasoned homeowners consider it a "must have" item. In a lot of cases, it all boils down to expectations and what people have grown accustomed to.
Climate also plays a key role in how important a two-car garage is to you and your family. However, even if your winters are mild and your snowfall amounts are slim to nil, there are other weather conditions that a garage can shield you (and your cars) from.
Being able to park your vehicles in a protected, enclosed area is especially welcome when you have an armful of groceries, inclement weather outside, small children in tow, or an elderly parent to care for. Once you start adding up the advantages of having a two-car garage, it makes you wonder how you ever got along without one!
- Crime deterrent: No matter where you live, if your cars are parked in your driveway or on the street overnight, they're going to be much more vulnerable to vandalism, car theft, and break-ins. From a personal safety standpoint, it can also be safer to drive into your garage, close the automatic door behind you, and go directly into your house. Even if you live in a low-crime neighborhood, safety habits are a good thing to cultivate, especially if you sometimes arrive home late at night.
- Valuable storage space: As you acquire more possessions and your family grows, storage space becomes more of a precious commodity. In addition to protecting your vehicles from the elements, spacious garages are also great for housing lawn mowers, bicycles, barbecue grills, golf clubs, yard maintenance equipment, spare tires, gardening supplies, firewood, tools, and lawn chairs. If you don't have a backyard shed, then garage storage space is indispensable.
- Protection From The Elements: Besides wind and rain and dark of night, other elements your cars don't need to be subjected to include the hot, baking sun, bird droppings, and air pollution. And speaking of the hot, baking sun: Keeping your cars in a cool, shady place during the hot summer months can help spare you the discomfort of having to sit down in a sweltering vehicle! For those who live in chillier climates, garages can make your morning commute just a little less bone chilling!
- Privacy: There are a lot of benefits to being sociable with your neighbors, but it's also nice to be able to pick and choose when those social interactions takes place! Parking in your garage can provide you with an extra measure of privacy when you don't have the time (or inclination) to stop and chat.