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  • 5 Ways To Enhance Curb Appeal Through The Holidays

    You don't have to pretend the holidays don't exist if your home is on the market this time of year.

    Enchance your curb appeal 

    View this blog by Blake Miller online at Trulia.com

    Selling a home during the holidays can be tricky. Decorations could turn off potential buyers, who may have been interested in buying that home for sale in Sioux Falls, SD - if they hadn't been distracted by the huge collection of inflatable decor in the front yard.

    "Curb appeal is an important element of real estate at any time of the year," says professional home stager Krisztina M. Bell of Virtually Staging Properties Inc. in Atlanta. "During the holiday season, curb appeal often takes on a new meaning as people decorate their homes and landscapes to reflect the joy [of the season]. There is a fine line between attractive outdoor decorating and pushing the limits, especially when staging a home during the holidays."

    The good news is that you don't have to completely avoid holiday decor. In fact, says Justin Udy, a real estate agent with Century 21 Everest Realty Group in Midvale, UT, "homes can actually show better during the holidays."

    Here are five ways to enhance your home's curb appeal during the holidays.

    Light it up

    "A well-lit entryway provides a charming invitation for guests or potential homebuyers," says Bell. "Use LED candles or lanterns with globes to light entryway steps and walkways. If there is a wreath or arrangement on the door, place a spotlight on that area to highlight the festive accessory and create a warm, welcoming glow."

    If you must decorate with string lights, white lights are best, adds Bell. "White outdoor lights on the outside of a home are recommended, and are inspiring and beautiful," Bell says.

    Skip the kitsch

    While you may adore that waving Santa inflatable in your yard or shrubs covered in colored lights, rethink bold statement decorations when your house is on the market. "Avoid the blowup snowman, reindeer, and the like strewn about on the front lawn, as you don't want to distract and take away from the features of the home," says Bell. "Less is best."

    Keep it minimal

    Similar to when you're getting your home ready to sell when it's not the holiday season, the concept of less is more also holds true this time of year. (So keep the tchotchkes to a minimum.)

    "It is key to maintain a very clean and crisp appearance," says Josh Myler, a real estate agent with The Agency in Los Angeles. "Buyers want to feel comfortable but also have the room to envision their own belongings and decorations in what might just be their new home. Clutter is never a good thing, and the holidays have a tendency to bring out more of it."

    Create vignettes

    Focus on simple yet eye-pleasing holiday vignettes throughout your home. "Create a vignette in a wheelbarrow, or use a small section of patio," suggests Bell. "Use simple holiday decorations, plants, and other items to create an attractive scene to spruce up outdoor spaces."

    Fashion a welcoming entry

    If you decide to rid your home of all holiday decor except for a few key items, make it a wreath on your door. "One of the great things about wreaths is that they can easily be customized to match the personality of the home," says Bell. "A simple live wreath on the front door is classy. Add a big bow for major impact."

    - See more at: https://www.trulia.com/blog/winter-curb-appeal-beyond-christmas-decorations/#sthash.xEBO2gCN.dpuf

  • 7 Things Your Home Inspector Wish You Knew

    7 Things Your Home Inspector Wishes You Knew

     
    Home Inspection 

    No matter whether you’re buying or selling, the home inspection process can be somewhat terrifying: For sellers, it’s a stark reminder of the nagging issues you might have turned a blind eye to over the years. And for buyers, it’s a recipe for pure heartbreak—falling in love with a home that might just end up making no sense to buy.

    But don’t let the inspection stress you out. And remember, that’s not what your inspector wants either—all he or she wants is a comprehensive to-do list and a happy client.

    So form a team with your home inspector to make the process easier and more effective. Knowledge is key! Here are seven essential things you keep in mind.

    For sellers

    1. Move your pets

    We know your puppy is adorable—but even if your home inspector loves dogs or cats, pets running underfoot makes the job much more difficult.

    Inspections often require opening exterior doors again and again, offering pets far too many opportunities to dash to freedom. When you leave the premises for the inspection—and many inspectors ask sellers to do so—take your pets with you. Please.

    With animals out of the way, “every time I walk in or out, I don’t have to worry about losing a cat or a dog,” says Alan Singer of Sterling Home Inspections in Armonk, NY.

    2. Don’t forget to clean

    Whether you plan on being there for the inspection or not, make sure to clean up beforehand. No, you don’t need to scrub—an inspector won’t ding you because your stove’s grimy. But all that clutter? Yeah, that’s all got to go.

    “It makes a huge difference when I walk into a house where everything’s put away,” Singer says. “It’s a game changer not just for me, but for the home buyer.”

    Often, the inspection is the first time the buyers are (almost) alone in the house for an extended period of time.

    “If it doesn’t feel like how it did before—if we’re trying to dig through items—it can sour their experience,” Singer says.

    For buyers

    1. Your potential home will have problems

    Your home inspector will likely come up with a seemingly endless list of problems after the walk-through. Don’t panic!

    “I’m on their side, but still, I’m judging the house fairly,” Singer says. “Even my home has problems, issues, maintenance things.”

    Yeah, there are times when you should worry (we’ll get to those a bit later). But not every issue is mission-critical, and your inspector will know which problems you should tackle first.

    2. Almost anything can be fixed

    There are a few starkly frightening home inspection terms that seem to be in everyone’s vocabulary: mold, radon, and asbestos.

    And yes, they’re scary—but no scarier than a roof that needs replacing, home inspectors say.

    “People who write articles tend to scare homeowners about mold or radon,” Singer says.

    So let us—your humble (and rather defensive) writers—take a moment to correct that assumption: Don’t worry so much about mold and radon!

    Singer, who started his career in homebuilding, says, “everything is upgradable, fixable, or replaceable. You just need to have a list of what those things are.”

    Not convinced yet? Check out this Washington Post article about a couple who got a discount on a four-bedroom Colonial because they weren’t terrified by mold.

    3. One thing you should worry about is water

    Here’s one problem we give you permission to stress out about (just a little): water. No, it’s not a deal breaker (remember that part where we wrote almost anything can be fixed?). But it’s important to address any water-related issues before the deal closes—or at least immediately afterward.

    Make a note of issues such as puddles and leaky ceilings. And give special attention to the basement. Addressing water problems in the basement can be an expensive and difficult proposition, Singer says. “A wet basement can be hard to fix.”

    4. Home inspectors can’t predict the future

    You might want to know how many more years the roof will hold up—and while your inspector might be able to give you a rough estimate, he can’t give you a precise timeline.

    “People think that we as inspectors have a crystal ball,” Singer says. “Or that we have X-ray vision” to see through walls or examine the inner circuitry of your kitchen stove.

    Sorry, folks: They don’t, and they can’t.

    “We can’t tell you how long it will last,” Singer says. “We can just tell you if it’s in good shape.”

    5. Find the balance between your heart and brain

    It’s easy to forget your love for the home when you’re counting the dollar signs and hours you might have to spend on repairs. But just remember to take a deep breath, think rationally, and consider whether it’s a smart investment in your future.

    Singer empathizes: “The justification can sometimes be a horrible process, because our brains are all about money and time and (asking) ‘What kind of mistake am I making?’”

    Barring any major renovations needed—such as a new roof or mold removal—your inspector’s visit will simply provide a to-do list. But not everything needs fixing immediately, so don’t let a long list dampen your love for the home. Just take things one at a time.

    Jamie Wiebe has written about home design and real estate for House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Veranda, and more. She loves vintage furniture, collecting fluffy blankets, and DIY-ing everything..
  • Builders see slip in Consumer Confidence

    According to HousingWire.com "Homebuilder confidence fall in December".  This is following records highs in consumer confidence over the last few months.  Most experts claim that these numbers will do little to extinguish the high hopes across the markets in 2015.

    Read the full HousingWire.com article:

    HousingWire.com Blog

     

     

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