by Kathe Barge | May 8, 2023 | Buyers, Design, Helpful Tips, Home Improvements, Home Staging, Listings, Market Trends, Marketing, Property Updates, Property Value, Real Estate, Sellers, Selling Conditions
We are planning to update the color palette in our home. What are the “in” colors these days?
Gray (and its many shades including greige) have been in-style for so long now that its hard to imagine it still holds its alure, and many homeowners are venturing into different color palettes. However, gray is still extremely popular with buyers – homes painted in a gray/greige and white color palette almost universally fly off the market. And if you have to choose between gray/greige and any other color (except white), always choose gray! If you need a break from gray, however, the incoming trend is strongly leaning towards the whites. White comes in so many shades – and even straight out of the can white is quite a nice and refreshing color. In some cases white is being combined with an accent wall in a gray tone or other neutral, and this can work quite well.
Of course, like any other color, it is critical that you choose the correct shade of white to compliment your trim. It is easy to end up with the walls clashing with the trim if you are not careful! An easy solution is to paint the walls the same color white as your trim! Don’t let the whites fool you – there are so many shades of white, and before you paint be sure to look at the undertones in the white to determine which undertone you prefer – a tiny hint of gray? Pink? Green? Unless you use the white straight out of the can, there will always be an undertone.
Where to start your painting? Strong colors and yellow tones are not currently where the buying market is, so its best to start be repainting rooms that are currently wallpapered (also not popular with buyers unless the wallpaper is pretty new and very trendy) and rooms that are painted the strongest colors. In an ideal world, you will ultimately create an interior aesthetic that, while ever room does not need to be the same, the colors blend nicely together.
by Kathe Barge | Apr 19, 2023 | Buyers, Helpful Tips, Home Improvements, Home Staging, Listings, Market Trends, Marketing, Property Updates, Property Value, Real Estate, Sellers, Selling Conditions
With the weather warming up outside, any tips for selling our home?
Spring is in fact in full swing! With the bright sunshine and warming temperatures, it’s a great time to be focused on making sure the outside of your home is looking it’s best. Whether you are thinking of selling your home or not this year, a yearly exterior audit of your home is always a good idea to keep it in its best possible condition. But if you are selling, curb appeal is critical to attract buyers. Start with the front of your home and work your way back to your non-public spaces. Make sure you have cleaned out your planting beds from the fall. Rake out any leaves, trim back shrubs. Order fresh mulch. Plant colorful annuals in your planters. Review your lawn and make sure it is in good shape. If there are bare spots, reseed them. If you have large trees on your property, make sure they are all healthy and any dead limbs are removed.
This is also a great time to make sure your gutters are clean – gutters full of leaves suggest a homeowner isn’t up on their maintenance. Be sure to have your windows cleaned inside and out. With the sun streaming in through the windows, all of the winter dirt is very apparent so its important to make sure they are crystal clear (this will also improve your photos!) Take the time to put out your outdoor furniture. Be sure patios and porches are well swept. Step back from your home and see whether your paint is in good shape- – if there are areas that are peeling, have the scraped and repainted. Be sure the front door is clean and nicely painted. Remove all seasonal décor (Christmas wreaths and lights). Ask a friend to stop by and do a quick walk-around for any areas that need attention – a fresh eye is always likely to catch those things you have gotten used to and overlook. Need help finding service providers? Reach out and I’m happy to share my lists.
Spring has in fact sprung! Make sure your home is well-prepared for the strongest market of the year!
by Kathe Barge | Sep 13, 2022 | Blog, For Sale By Owner, Helpful Tips, Home Improvements, Home Staging, Listings, Market Trends, Marketing, Property Updates, Property Value, Real Estate, Sellers, Selling Conditions
Do we really have to have our home professionally deep cleaned before putting it on the market?
The short answer is yes, but here is why! When we live in our homes, we don’t see the dirt and the grime build up. Even if you have your home cleaned every week, it is impossible for a weekly cleaning to keep up with the little things. And when you want to sell your home, to achieve top dollar, it is important that your home sparkles at the highest possible level. We are no longer in a market where buyers are happy to get any house. We have moved back to a more traditional market and that means that sellers must take the time and incur the expense of a deep cleaning to make sure your home is squeaky clean and showing its very best.
Deep cleans are expensive and when done properly take many days of work. It is unlikely that your weekly housekeeper (if you have one) is going to have the time to clean at this level. Should you choose to take on the task yourself, you will soon see why deep cleans are costly and time consuming. So what is involved? In every room of your home, every surface must be thoroughly cleaned. Light switches and plugs should have all grime completely removed and restored to new, all vent covers (heating, ceiling fans, appliances) must be removed and washed (some may need to be repainted), all lighting fixtures must be carefully cleaned (including removing any glass bowls to clean inside) and should sparkle, all cabinets and drawers should be cleaned inside and out, windows should be washed inside and out including screens and tracks, carpets should be steam cleaned, shower grout needs to be cleaned, mineral build-up should be removed from shower/bath glass and all plumbing fixtures (try CLR and a scrub brush, or Stanley Steamer if the deposits wont budge), fireplaces need to be swept out and scrubbed down (if you burn wood in them, call a chimney sweep for a professional cleaning). All wood work needs to be washed down or repainted as needed to look fresh. Any smudging on walls needs to be cleaned or painted away.
Outside your home be sure that all doors are clean and fresh, that your porch/deck is clean (power wash if needed), that all lighting fixtures sparkle and that all patios and walkways are freshly power washed.
You may of course find it helpful to employ additional service providers, such as a power washer, carpet cleaner and window washer to get the job done right! It’s a big task cleaning up after years of enjoying a home, but it will absolutely pay dividends when you go to sell.
by Kathe Barge | Aug 26, 2022 | Buyers, Buying Conditions, Contracts, For Sale By Owner, Helpful Tips, Home Improvements, Inspections, Listings, Property Updates, Property Value, Real Estate, Sellers, Sellers-Contracts
We find the inspection process confusing – do we have to fix everything in the inspection report before we close on our home or just the repairs the buyer requested?
The home inspection report is the document from which your buyer works to make their repair requests of you. Some buyers will ask for everything and others will ask for only those items that they think are important. They may let some things go, for example, if they are planning on renovating an area and anticipate fixing those items as a part of the renovation.
Once you and your buyer agree on a list of repairs, these are memorialized on an addendum. It is that addendum, called a Change in Terms Addendum (“CTA”), from which you work when completing your repairs. You need not refer to the inspection again unless the CTA references it. You do, however, need to make sure that you do everything on the CTA exactly as specified, so be sure to read it carefully and provide a copy to your contractor(s). For example, if the CTA says that you will have GFCI outlets installed by a licensed electrician then you need to make sure you hire a licensed electrician, and not your favorite handyman, to make the repair! If the CTA says you must paint to match existing then you need to take a sample of the existing paint to the paint store and color match it – don’t rely on old paint in cans – paint fades with age and it won’t match. Be very careful to be sure you are complying with the terms of the CTA – if you do not, or if your contractor does not, your closing may be delayed or postponed until the work is done as specified. Along those lines, be sure to review your contactor’s work when complete and make sure that he actually did what you agreed to do on the CTA. If not, request that he return before it becomes a walk-through issue.
And of course, be sure to get paid receipts from all contractors, or if they have not been paid, notify the closing company so that they can be paid at closing. All repairs must be paid for before ownership changes hands so be sure to stay on top of your bills, and provide receipts to the buyers agent.
by Kathe Barge | Aug 8, 2022 | Buyers, Buying Conditions, Design, Downsizing, Helpful Tips, Home Improvements, Home Staging, Inspections, Market Trends, Property Updates, Property Value, Real Estate, Sellers, Selling Conditions
We aren’t ready to move but want to update our home – what are the best choices for paint colors and flooring changes, assuming we may want to move in the next few years?
New paint colors must harmonize with the rest of your home, unless you plan to repaint the entire interior of your home, so any suggestions need to be taken in the context of what else is going on inside your home. My best suggestion for a currently fairly timeless paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray. This color blends with virtually every shade of white that might be on your trim and nearly every color flooring that might be in your home. It is really more of a greige than a gray and, like a chameleon, changes color a bit depending on what is in the space and what kind of light is filtering in through the windows. However, if your home is a palette if golds, for example, this color might not be the right choice! Trending now is white on white (with trim and walls painted the same or nearly the same shade of white), but this is a design style that is best incorporated throughout the entire home, and not just a singular room. If you have wallpaper in your space, then it’s a very good investment to have it removed (do not paint over it, no matter what the painter tells you) and painted in a color that coordinates with your design aesthetic. Wallpaper overall remains a difficult sell.
As to flooring, real wood floors remain the best investment you can make. They are timeless and easy to refinish if they become worn or if the buyer prefers a different color. I highly recommend choosing a medium tone brown, not too yellow, red or dark and preferably in ¾” thickness. If engineered wood floors are what your budget requires, choose one that the manufacturer indicates can be refinished at least once, and keep a few extra pieces on hand in case you damage any through normal wear and tear. Bamboo is another great option and there are on-line suppliers that offer a variety of shades in ¾” planks – it is very resilient, environmentally friendly and installed can look like hardwood. I do not recommend that you choose the latest trend, “LVL” (luxury vinyl flooring), for anything beyond the basement level of your home. These are plastic floors, and if your home will likely sell for over $500,000, these floors will not be appreciated on the main or upper levels. Finally, carpet in a neutral tone plush (no berber, no mixed colors) is acceptable as long as they are clean and stain free. If you stain them during the remaining time in your home, you would need to replace them again before you sell your home.