How to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

Ideally, you would like buyers to wait until they’ve viewed your whole property before they judge it. However, the reality is, buyers start forming an impression of your home as soon as they see it from the curb. So, it pays to do everything you can to improve your property's "curb appeal".

Here are some ideas:

· You can improve the impact of your landscaping by trimming hedges, removing any unsightly weeds, and cutting the grass. Planting just a few fresh flowers can make a big impact.

· If your main entrance door is old, a fresh coat of paint will make it look like new. In some cases, the effect is significant.

· Remove any items that might distract the buyer from forming a good first impression. For example, garbage cans, stored items along the side of the property, etc.

· Make sure the curtains and blinds on your front windows are open during viewings. That will make your home look more friendly and appealing.

· If your driveway has grease stains and other blemishes, consider renting a power washer and giving the driveway a thorough cleaning.

· Clean your front windows. If possible, also clean the exterior panes.

Finally, if possible, park your vehicles on the street and away from your home. Doing this will not only make your home look more inviting to buyers, it will give them a convenient place to park.

Most of these tips can be done in less than a day. Yet, they can make a big difference in your home's curb appeal. They are worth the effort!

Andrew MrozComment
Should You Renovate or Move?

If you need to upsize or you’re simply ready for a change, it’s tempting to consider a major renovation. After all, renovating means you don’t have to go through the process of selling your property and buying another more suitable home. You just fix up the one you’ve got!

However, you need to carefully consider the pros and cons of renovating before going this route. You don’t want to invest in a costly renovation only to end up with a home that still doesn’t meet your needs.

Say, for example, your current property doesn’t have a home office. Since all the bedrooms are taken, you decide to renovate a portion of the basement.

Building that new home office may seem like a simple project, but once you consider new electrical, flooring, lighting, etc., it really isn’t. Like most renovations, it will probably cost more than you think. Plus, you’ll need to consider whether you’ll really want to work in the basement. In this case, it might make more sense to find a new home with an extra bedroom that can be converted, or, better still, a dedicated home office space — with windows!

Of course, there are many circumstances in which a renovation may be the best way to go. If you don’t like your kitchen, for example, upgrading it may not only get you the kitchen you want, but also add value to your property.

Basically, you need to ask yourself: "Which is more likely to get me the home I really want – a renovation or a new home?"

If your answer is a new home, then there is probably a property on the market right now that would meet your needs. Let’s talk.

Andrew MrozComment
3 Not-So-Obvious Indicators it's Time to Sell

There are many good reasons to put your property on the market. Some examples include a relocation, the kids leaving the nest, the need for something bigger or smaller, and the list goes on and on.

However, there are also some less-than-obvious indicators that it may be time to sell. Consider the following:

1. Your Property is no longer a Good "Fit"

Your home may have been perfect for you when you bought it. But things change. Families grow. Needs evolve. For any number of reasons, your property may no longer be a good fit for you. If that's the case, it makes sense to at least take a look at what's available on the market. Who knows? Your next "perfect" home may be for sale right now — within your price range!

2. The Neighbourhood is Changing

You may have been in love with the neighbourhood when you first moved in. But, over time, the characteristics of any area can change. Those changes don’t necessarily mean the neighbourhood is getting worse. In fact, it may be changing in a positive way; perhaps becoming more urban. But, "more urban" may not be what you want. So take a look at the direction your neighbourhood is heading. Ask yourself, "Do I still want to be living here in two years?"

3. You're Ready for Your Dream Home

Remember when you purchased your current property? Did it have every feature you wanted? Was it your dream home? Or, did you have to compromise on a few things, such as the size of the kitchen? If you had to make some tough choices back then, it might be time for you to finally get the home of your dreams.

Those are just three indicators it may be time for you to make a move. Of course, there are many others.

Andrew MrozComment
Four Things You Should Know About Staging

You've probably heard about "home staging". As the name implies, it's all about arranging each room in your home in a way that will make the best impression on buyers. Here's what you need to know about staging if you're thinking of listing your property.

1. Staging can get you a higher price.

On average, a fully-staged home tends to sell for 17% more than an unstaged home of the same type in the same local market.

Depending on the current market value of your property, doing some staging in your home could put thousands of extra dollars in your pocket, post-sale.

2. It can speed up the sale.

A study by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) showed that fully- staged homes spend an average of 90% less time on the market. So, if you need to sell quickly – without dropping your price – or you just want the comfort of having offers come in sooner, staging will definitely help.

3. You don't have to go crazy.

Completely staging every room in your home is going to give you the full benefits of this strategy. However, you don't have to go that far. In fact, just implementing a few simple staging techniques to some key rooms can make a big difference.

4. Get professional help or advice.

When it comes to home staging, don't guess at it. Get professional help or advice. As a REALTOR®, I have a lot of expertise in this area and often provide clients with proven, do-it-yourself staging tips and suggestions. If necessary, I can also recommend a professional stager. Contact me anytime.

Andrew MrozComment
Watch Out for Carbon Monoxide In Your Home

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is invisible and odourless, so you can't actually "watch out for it". However, you should monitor for it because an excessive build-up of this gas in your home can be deadly.

Fortunately, there are many types of Carbon Monoxide detectors you can purchase — and most are effective and affordable. Some models simply plug into an outlet. (Many also have a battery backup.)

Carbon Monoxide is caused by the incomplete burning of fuel. It can be released by a faulty gas furnace, kerosene heaters, and gas fireplaces. That's why it's a good idea to install detectors in areas close to these fixtures, as well as near bedrooms.

Experts say you should always follow manufacturer's instructions when installing CO detectors, and test them regularly. You want to make sure you can hear the alarm from your bedroom.

CO build-up in homes is rare. So your detectors may never go off. But, if the alarm does sound, get everyone (including pets) out of the home and into the fresh air. Then call 911. Typically, the fire department will do an inspection and determine the source of the carbon monoxide.

A final tip: Never use your BBQ or outside grill in the garage or, especially, anywhere inside your home. The risk of CO exposure is very high and definitely not worth the convenience of a grilled burger!

Andrew MrozComment
What Type of New Home Are You Qualified to Buy?

When you think about looking for a new home, one of the first questions that probably comes to mind is: "What type of property can I afford?" That's an important question because your price range is a major determining factor in the types and sizes of homes you should be viewing.

You don't want to waste time looking at properties that are beyond your price range. At the same time, you don't want to purchase a less-than-ideal home, only to realize later on that you could have afforded more.

So how do you determine what type of new home you are qualified to purchase?

The first step is to find out what your current property would likely sell for in today's market. I make that calculation for clients all the time. It involves reviewing what homes similar to yours have sold for recently, as well as other data — such as special features your home may have that are likely to boost the selling price.

Once you know the current market value of your home, subtract any outstanding mortgages and estimated selling expenses, and you’ll end up with an amount that can be applied to the purchase of your next home. (You may also have other funds you want to use.)

The next step is to talk to a lender or mortgage broker to see how much of a new mortgage you qualify for. (Call me if you need a recommendation.) It's important to get a Pre-Qualification or Pre-Approval. That makes the offer you make on a new home more credible.

If you want to find out the types and sizes of homes you can get into, give me a call. I'd be happy to show you the possibilities!

Andrew MrozComment
The Basics of Do-it-Yourself Video-based Home Security

According to law enforcement experts, a video-based home security system is significantly more effective than a simple alarm system. The reason is obvious. Burglars don’t want their crimes captured on video, which can then be used as evidence in court.

So it’s no wonder that many homeowners have, or are considering, video-based security.

These days, most video-based home security systems are wireless. The cameras either record to your DVR (just like recording your favourite TV show), or to a cloud-based server provided by the manufacturer.

There are many do-it-yourself systems on the market. You simply place the cameras around your property and do some initial setup. Most of these have motion-detection that records automatically when someone comes into the frame of the camera. These are typically installed at your front door, patio door, main floor windows, and garage door.

Some systems will even alert you when a camera turns on, and let you see the action on your smartphone or computer. If it’s a burglary attempt, you have the opportunity to call the police.

Although most of these products are weatherproof, check and confirm before purchasing. The packaging will say something like, “Suitable for outdoor use” or “Suitable for all-weather conditions”.

Also look for night vision capability. Not all security cameras have that feature.

Andrew MrozComment
Landscaping Tips to Sell Your Home

According to a survey from the National Association of Realtors, curb appeal is important to 71% of buyers. Landscaping plays a major role in your home’s curb appeal. It can create a positive and inviting first impression, or a bad one. If they don’t like the look of the outside of the house, they probably won’t bother checking out the inside either. 

Here are some tips for upgrading your landscaping to sell your home: 

Simple yard and lawn maintenance can go a long way.

If you’ve decided to sell your home this summer, get a head start on your yard and lawncare this spring. Spring clean up should include raking all the leaves and clearing the yard of branches, dog poop, broken patio furniture and other debris. Remove any dead or dying shrubs, plants and trees. 

If you can’t commit to mowing and watering your lawn regularly, consider hiring a professional lawncare company to do it for you. If your lawn is aerated, seeded, fertilized, watered and mowed this spring and then mowed and watered throughout the summer, it should grow lush and green. Learn how to take care of your lawn. This will improve and maintain good curb appeal.

Add some colour to the landscape with flower beds and pots. 

If it’s in your budget, considering hiring the best landscapers in Winnipeg to install an attractive planter in the front yard. They can help you with plant and flower selection, making your front yard vibrant with colour and attractive to buyers. If new landscaping features are not in the budget, purchase a few flower pots and hanging baskets. Flowers in the yard can really improve the aesthetics of the home and create a very welcoming vibe. 

Create a functional outdoor living space. 

In general, people like the idea of spending time outdoors with their friends and family. Things like decks, patios, fire pits and outdoor kitchens can really transform a space from a boring back yard to an outdoor oasis perfect for relaxing, socializing and entertaining. A landscape company can install a fire pit area or a paved patio. Alternatively, you can purchase quality patio furniture and set up an outdoor living space using the landscape you already have. 

Not every landscaping project will give a return on investment. 

While cleaning up the yard and installing a few simple landscaping features can boost curb appeal and help you sell your home, spending money on large-scale and personal features will probably not have much of a return on investment. For example, installing an outdoor playground for kids or a swimming pool will not recoup their costs. You can’t assume that the buyer has children or even likes swimming. Stick to the more general landscaping upgrades and keep it nice and simple. 

Read more articles about landscapers

 

 

Andrew MrozComment