Michael Leary's Blog
Home staging is one of the most tried-and-true methods of selling your home faster. It can also help you increase the purchase price of your home by between one and five percent.
However, working with a professional home stager--while a good investment--is not always in everyone’s budget.
The good news is, there are a lot of simple and inexpensive ways to stage your home that will give visitors a good first impression, make for great photos for your online listing, and hopefully help speed up your home sale.
In today’s post, we’re going to break down six of the most effective and inexpensive home staging tips to help you sell your home faster.
1. Declutter everything
Cleaning out your home is one of the best ways to make it appear more spacious and welcoming. It gives you the chance to start packing items you won’t need until you move into your new home, and it opens up space to use a few choice decorations around the home.
For things like cabinets and closets, remove all of the items you won’t need until you move. A closet that is half-full will look much larger for guests viewing your home.
2. Clean carpets and polish wooden furniture
Carpets, flooring, and furniture make up a large percent of the visible space in your home. Leaving these items dirty or worn when selling your home is missing out on a huge opportunity to make your home look up-to-date and well-maintained.
You can rent a carpet cleaner for as little as $20, and a gallon of wood polish costs around $15, making these two items a solid investment for staging your home.
3. Paint with bright colors
When we paint our homes we usually choose colors that we like, rather than ones that appeal to the largest number of people. And although that’s a great thing while you own a home, it can be detrimental when it comes time to sell. Repainting dark walls in bright, neutral tones will make the room feel larger and well-lit.
4. Paint the front door while you’re at it
A freshly painted, bright colored front door can be the secret weapon when it comes to making your home stand out amongst your neighbors. It is a cheap way to quickly freshen up the exterior of your home and increase curb appeal.
5. Purchase a new welcome mat and mailbox
Welcome mats tend to get a lot of use and wear down. Similarly, mailboxes often get dented and faded over the years.
These two items can be excellent accents to improve the curb appeal of your home. Choose colors that match the overall color scheme of your home to establish a sense of continuity.
6. Rearrange furniture to allow foot traffic
When someone comes to view your home, you’ll want to sure they have ease of access to each part of the house. Rearrange the furniture in your kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms to make it easy to tour the home.
Kitchens have become the new hip gathering spot in the home. With open floor plans, kitchens are combining the cooking, dining, and hanging out areas of your home and meshing them into one big room. Counters and islands have become tables, trading for fancy dining tables. People tend to congregate in the kitchen, allowing it to be the center of food, fun, and conversation. How can you make your kitchen ultra inviting? Below, you’ll find a few tips to help bring your kitchen to a new level of trendy.
Bright, Attractive Cabinets
Cabinets are one of the focal points of the kitchen. If you have bright cabinets, it attracts people to the room. The type of cabinets that you have also establish the type of style that you’re looking to create in the kitchen and possibly throughout your home. You’ll want to work the entire color palette of your kitchen around the color and style of your cabinets. As a bonus, good cabinets equal good storage. If your kitchen is organized, you’ll feel a lot happier and at ease in the room as well.
Kitchens are becoming increasingly technological. From smart, energy efficient appliances, to features of the kitchen that you can control with your smartphone, a kitchen can truly have it all. This makes entertaining a breeze. You could even get dinner going before you ever leave work! All of the new technologies that are being introduced surely make life much easier.
The type of lighting that you employ in the kitchen can set the tone for the whole room. Not only do you need good task lighting, but ambient lighting is important as well in order to attract guests to the main gathering place of the house. Whatever vibe you want your kitchen to give off works with the lighting that’s available. The kitchen certainly should never be a dark room. Consider the safety factor that’s needed in the room, then realize just how inviting a room is that is bright and airy. It’s important to plan out your lighting scheme accordingly when it comes to your kitchen.
One thing you’ll want plenty of in your kitchen is storage. This helps to reduce clutter, increase organization and makes entertaining an easier undertaking. Guests will feel more welcome as there will be ample room to sit and hang out while prepping and cooking are going on.
It seems that trends in kitchens are always changing, however, many things remain constant. The need for a clean and organized gathering area in your home will never go away.
It’s a difficult time to be a first-time home buyer. Post-recession buyers are wary--and for good reason--of how and when to save money for a down payment on a house. One thing to remember, however, is that it’s always a good time to start saving.
In this article, we’re going to cover the four most useful methods of saving for a down payment on your first home. That way you can feel confident in taking the first and most important step toward homeownership.
Choosing the right savings account
Unlike riskier investments, a savings account is a safe and proven way of building interest and saving for a home. However, not all savings accounts are created equal.
Typically, brick and mortar banks offer interest rates that are low--the current national average is only about 0.06% annually. While these banks offer conveniences such as in-network ATMs and check-cashing, their physical locations make them expensive to run.
Enter the online bank. Since online banks don’t have all of the costs associated with running branches, they can afford to offer better rewards--namely, high-interest returns on your savings accounts.
So, should you take all of your money out of your current savings account and transfer it to an online bank? Maybe. But let’s talk about the benefits of having multiple savings accounts.
Open a dedicated account with automatic deposits
Saving isn’t just difficult due to financial reasons. Managing money also takes time and effort. To simplify this process, it’s preferable to direct deposit or automatically transfer a percentage of your weekly income into your down payment savings account.
While it may seem like pinching pennies at first, even small weekly deposits add up, and within a few years the compounding interest can earn you enough for a higher down payment than you thought possible.
Prioritize high-interest debt now
Have student debt or a car loan that’s keeping you from focusing on saving for a down payment? Oftentimes the best coarse of action is to aggressively pay off high-interest loans. In the long term, this will save you money that can then be used toward a down payment.
For debt that will take several years to pay off, consider refinancing for a lower interest rate, or consolidating your student loans. Speaking with a student loan adviser or financial planner is a good first step to take toward managing your debt.
Make a real budget
Most of us think of a verb when we hear the word “budget.” However, it’s more useful as a noun.
Creating a real budget, whether it’s in Excel, Google Sheets, or with the help of an app, having a budget you can refer to once a week is vital to making good savings decisions. It will help you monitor your spending and stay on top of your savings goals.
Looking to sell your condo? With assistance from a real estate agent, you can maximize the value of your property.
When it comes to selling a condo, hiring a real estate agent is a must. This housing market professional will set up condo showings, negotiate with condo buyers on your behalf and much more.
As a condo seller, it is important to do everything possible to get the best price for your property. And if you understand what it takes to find the right real estate agent, you may be able to streamline the condo selling journey.
Ultimately, there are many factors that condo sellers need to consider when they evaluate a real estate agent, including:
1. Condo Selling Experience
It is essential to hire a real estate agent who possesses condo selling experience. This housing market professional can take the guesswork out of selling a condo.
A real estate agent with condo selling experience will promote your residence to the right groups of property buyers. This will ensure your condo will stir up plenty of from interest from property buyers as soon as it becomes available.
Plus, a housing market professional can teach you about the real estate sector and help you plan accordingly. He or she will ensure you can avoid any potential hurdles as sell your condo too.
2. Communication Skills
Does a real estate agent go above and beyond the call of duty to stay in touch with condo sellers? If not, he or she may struggle to sell your condo.
A real estate agent should keep you informed at each stage of the condo selling journey. This housing market professional also should respond to your condo selling concerns and queries – without exception.
Perhaps most important, a real estate agent should be unafraid to be honest with you. With an honest real estate agent at your side, you can receive unbiased condo selling recommendations and make informed choices throughout the condo selling journey.
3. Client Referrals
How do past condo sellers rate a real estate agent? Ask a real estate agent for client referrals, and you can receive unparalleled insights into what it's like to work with this housing market professional.
Client referrals are great tools to help you decide whether a particular real estate agent is the best person to guide you along the condo selling journey. These referrals can provide you with insights into a real estate agent's professional demeanor and personality that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. As a result, client referrals may prove to be exceedingly valuable to condo sellers.
If you need help selling a condo, allocate the necessary time and resources to hire a real estate agent – you'll be glad you did. Real estate agents are available nationwide and understand what it takes to sell a condo in any housing market. Therefore, working with a real estate agent may help you speed up the condo selling process and optimize the value of your property.