Carol George's Blog
What makes you happy? Do you love to sit and read? Or are you more of a hang-out-with-friends kind of homeowner? Regardless of what moves you, there's a way to create space for it in your own backyard. Even better -- you can increase your home's resale value in the process. Use these tips to inspire you:
Plant a Perennial Garden
Perennial gardens are low-maintenance, especially if you use plants such as purple coneflower or coreopsis that began life as hardy, native wildflowers. Plant once, and you'll enjoy blooms for years to come. And if you plant according to bloom-times, you can have flowers right up to frost. This option will scent the air beautifully, too. It may even help repel flies and mosquitos. The prettiest gardens combine plants with other features, such mulched walkways or small ponds filled with hardy goldfish, paradise fish or white cloud mountain minnows.
Add a Hardscape
Hardscapes are the manmade features that complement your landscaping. They include rock walls, paved walkways, stone benches, concrete steps and more. All Hardscapes add elegance to your outdoor getaway, but they can also be functional by adding extra seating for guests.
Mature, well-positioned shade trees such as maple or magnolia are always a selling point for future buyers. They can actually increase your home's resale value as much as 19 percent, says HGTV. So consider planting one or two if you have vast expanses of shadeless backyard. Position them away from foundations, wells and septic tanks so roots won't damage anything costly. Additionally, don't plant them where they will someday block the view to your home's entrance. And when you need immediate shade for yourself, consider adding a pretty pergola, arbor or gazebo.
Fencing is another home improvement that will send property values soaring. Metal and stone top the list of fencing materials that provide the biggest ROI, but they're also pretty costly to construct. If budget is a concern, consider blending the two into a fence that features occasional stone pillars or posts, joined by metal sections of fencing.
Most importantly, your outdoor getaway needs to provide a comfortable space for family and friends to congregate. This means investing in some nice-quality outdoor furniture such as chairs, sofas, and love seats to help everyone settle in. Purchase furniture that's made from materials easy to maintain, such as synthetic wicker, teak, concrete, stainless steel or aluminum. For upholstery, buy fade-resistant and waterproof fabrics.
Additional tweaks to make your outdoor getaway more enjoyable include string lights, fire pits, an outdoor kitchen, a bubbling fountain, and outdoor art pieces made of mosaic tiles or driftwood sculptures. Whatever makes you happy, whatever inspires you -- these are the most important elements to include in your new backyard oasis.
Selling a house may prove to be a high-pressure situation, particularly for an individual who is listing a residence for the first time. However, if you share your home selling plans with family members, friends and other loved ones, you may be able to receive additional support throughout the home selling journey.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to inform your loved ones about your plans to sell your house, and these reasons include:
1. You can respond to any concerns or questions before you finalize your home selling decision.
Loved ones have your best interests in mind, and as such, they probably are unafraid to tell you exactly what they think and how they feel. Therefore, it may be beneficial to tell your loved ones about your intention to sell your house, as you'll be able to receive unbiased feedback about your decision.
Although loved ones might not always agree with your decision to sell your home, it is paramount to open the lines of communication with them. And if you tell loved ones about your plans to sell your house, you can clear the air with them before you list your residence.
2. You may be able to gain extensive home selling insights.
In many instances, loved ones may have sold a house in the past, and you may be able to learn from their prior home selling experiences.
Loved ones may provide you with home selling insights that you might be unable to obtain elsewhere too. Then, you can use these insights to increase the likelihood of a successful home selling experience.
3. You can take the first step to promote your house to potential buyers.
Loved ones can help spread the word about your house to dozens of potential buyers. Thus, if you give loved ones advanced notice about your home selling plans, you may be better equipped than ever before to stir up significant interest in your house.
Of course, once your house is listed, it usually is a good idea to share your home listing with loved ones as well. Loved ones then can share your home listing with co-workers, friends and others, thereby improving your chances of a fast, profitable home sale.
As you get ready to list your residence, you also may want to seek out a real estate agent. Because if you employ a real estate agent, you can get the expert help you need to accomplish your home selling goals.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and will help you put together a successful home selling strategy. This housing market professional can help you showcase your residence to interested buyers. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any of your home selling concerns or queries throughout the home selling journey.
Want to achieve the optimal results when you list your house? Collaborate with your loved ones – and a real estate agent – and you should have no trouble getting the best price for your residence.
When you’re buying a home, it’s important to offer a good price to be able to land the property of your dreams. You also don’t want to overpay for the house you’re buying. If you want to know for sure that you’re paying a good price for a home, you’re going to need to do some price comparisons. Take a look at recently sold homes in your neighborhood of choice and see what the going rate is. If all of the homes are similar in the area, it will be easy to find out how much the home you’re buying is worth. There are a few ways that you can do comparisons to make it easier for you to determine the right price for the home you want to buy.
Take A Look At The Neighborhood
There are certain features that attract nearly everyone to certain neighborhoods. From the safety and friendliness of an area to the schools that are nearby, to the stores, and public transportation access, people are attracted to what makes their lives easier and more enjoyable. The bottom line is the more desirable the neighborhood, the higher the price of the homes in it.
Check Out Public Records
With the Internet, it’s pretty easy to access public records these days. You can take a look at what properties have been bought and sold for in recent times int the area of the homes that you’re looking at. You can even take a peek at some historic information to help you see if the area is up-and-coming.
Is The Neighborhood Going To Become Trendy?
Sometimes, you can find a great property for less in a neighborhood that hasn’t quite reached it’s full potential yet. If there’s a slot of new construction going on, that’s a good sign that the neighborhood is moving on up! Especially attractive features in a neighborhood are new schools, new shopping centers, or new parks.
There Is A Tipping Point To Growth
If it seems that a neighborhood is growing a bit too much, it may actually decrease the value of your home. Huge commercial developments can actually be detrimental to the value of a property. Where there’s a lot of people, there’s also a lot of noise and traffic. That’s usually not a desirable factor in a neighborhood.
Meet In The Middle
When you’re looking at the price of properties, the best bet is to meet somewhere in the middle for what is reasonable. While you don’t want to buy the highest priced home in the neighborhood, you probably don’t want to lowest price for that neighborhood either. Working with a more average number is a good option because your home helps any home lower priced than yours, while any higher priced homes help to increase the value of your home. It’s a win-win situation when you choose a property based on price and keep this strategy in mind.
You can extend your living area by activating your outdoor spaces. Whether your yard is large or small, you can create a spot to entertain, read, or just relax with these tips:
Most outdoor spaces can accommodate some type of seating option. If you’re working with a smaller porch space, try a hanging swing or a bistro table and chair. Add a dining table to a larger patio area or deck if you plan to host outdoor dinner parties or game nights. If you’re looking for something more relaxed and flexible, opt for outdoor living room pieces. Search for weather-resistant, modular options that can be easily rearranged.
Sun and Insect Protection
If you have an uncovered patio space, consider introducing a pergola or a canopy. These options offer protection from the sun and wind which will make your time outside more enjoyable, especially if you live in a warmer climate. A canopy can be beneficial because it will often include netting options that offer protection from mosquitos and other flying insects.
Add some lighting to your space to boost evening ambiance or to accommodate outdoor dining and games. If you opt for a canopy or pergola, consider introducing strings of twinkle lights, placing candles on tables or installing bug-repellant torches. For something more substantial, you may introduce a firepit. Wood, natural gas, propane and gel fuel options are readily available. Select the source that works best for your location and budget.
Introduce Color and Texture
You can liven up your space with pops of color and texture. Some options could be an outdoor rug, bright cushions and pillows for your chairs or planters filled with flowers and foliage. Hang a mirror on a wall or fence to create the illusion of extended space and depth whether your space is large or small.
The homebuying journey may prove to be long and complex, particularly for an individual who fails to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do to get ready to pursue your dream house, such as:
1. Make a Homebuying Budget
A homebuying budget will give you a good idea about how much money you have at your disposal to find your ideal residence. Thus, if you craft a homebuying budget, you can hone your house search to residences that fall within your price range.
As you craft a homebuying budget, you should consider both your house mortgage and closing costs. That way, you can prepare for myriad costs that you may encounter as you try to acquire your dream house.
You also may want to meet with various banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can help you budget for a home purchase. Perhaps best of all, they can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.
2. Narrow Your Home Search
You know you want to purchase a house, but it usually is beneficial to understand what you want to find in your dream residence. If you put together a list of home must-haves and wants, you can narrow your house search accordingly.
Consider your short- and long-term aspirations prior to launching a home search. For instance, if you need a home that is close to your office in the city, you may want to check out residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you aspire to own a residence that includes a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system, you should explore homes that offer this feature.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a must-hire, especially for an individual who wants to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing your dream residence.
Typically, a real estate agent learns about a buyer's goals and crafts a personalized homebuying strategy based on his or her aspirations. If you want to purchase a budget-friendly house as quickly as possible, for instance, a real estate agent will help you accomplish your goal. Conversely, if you are operating on a tight homebuying budget, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you find a first-rate house that won't put you in the red.
Let's not forget about the homebuying expertise that a real estate agent possesses, either. A real estate agent understands all aspects of the homebuying journey and will share his or her industry insights with you. Therefore, if you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent will respond to them at your request.
Those who understand what to expect during the homebuying journey can boost the likelihood of finding a terrific house at an affordable price. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you could reap the benefits of a successful home search.