Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How to make a great first impression on a buyer

The idea that a first impression is vital is a huge part of staging and selling a house. That can include the state of your exterior wall cladding, the condition of the driveway or even the landscaping.

What a potential buyer first thinks about your house, before even coming in the front door, can color all of their opinions from then on. A poor first impression can easily overshadow any future interest in the new kitchen fixtures, the high-end living room flooring or the wonderful views from the bedrooms.

There are any number of household improvements you can do to boost your "curb appeal". Regardless of how you approach the exterior of your house, you need to consider these three things.

It is absolutely imperative that the exterior of your house and the yard are both clean. Sweep the deck, rake the leaves and pick up any outside clutter. Bags of garbage should not be visible, and see if any concrete or wooden areas could benefit from a quick scrub with a pressure washer.

In Good Repair
Offering a house for sale that needs work isn't that unusual, but you don't want to make it too obvious right from the get-go. Unless you are truly selling as a fixer-upper, invest a little time and money to fix the most obvious external issues. Damaged steps, cracked concrete, split siding and loose shingles will all give a depressing message to people coming to see the house.

Unless they are in good shape, many yard features are more of a detriment than a benefit. A screened gazebo is a fantastic selling point, as long as it doesn't have ripped screens or a lop-sided frame. In your hurry to improve your home, make sure you're not actually adding problems because of hasty work or second-hand quality.

Low Maintenance
Even if everything is spotless, people can be quickly turned off when they see things that are going to mean a lot of work for them in the future. Swimming pools can be a double-edged sword in this regard, as they can be a fantastic selling feature as long as the potential buyer doesn't mind all the expense and effort that goes into maintenance.

You probably won't want to actually remove any high-maintenance feature but think about this when you consider new renovations to sell your house. A fancy koi pond, elaborate yard lighting system or a huge flower garden will tell visitors that there is more work in store for them if they buy your house. Yes, these are lovely things that can be attractive, but are they going to potentially turn away some potential buyers? Instead, choose fixtures or features that may have less glam to them but don't represent too much work either. 

It's not necessarily about what your house has on display, but how it all looks. Follow these tips and you'll be impressing visitors before they even get out of their cars.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Creating a Home Suitable for Any Climate

While the rest of the world welcomes in the spring months, the temperatures are soon set to drop in Australia. Of course, our autumn and winter seasons won’t see the extreme temperature drops you’d experience in a place like New York City, but wooly socks and an extra layer are still usually in order in most parts of the country!

We’re going to take a look at a few things you can do around the house that will help keep some precious heat locked in. Of course, before we know it, the temperatures will be scorching again - so these suggestions are ones that will work great whatever the weather throws at your home!

Double glazing

A lot of people associate double glazing with keeping a house warm, but it can also prevent cold breeze infiltrating your home and making the temperatures drop! Our main concern right now is keeping the temperature up, and there are few home improvements you can make that are more effective at this than double glazing. It’s estimated that around 60% of the heat loss your average home experiences takes place through the windows, so if you haven’t gotten round to installing this handy extra insulation, now might be about the time to do it!


If you want to insulate these areas around your window further, then you should cover them. This, of course, means using curtains! The problem with curtains, however, is that it becomes difficult to control how much light comes in and where. Shutters combat this problem by allowing you to adjust the light levels that enter the house, as well as the air flow. This is also what makes them so useful during the warmer months, too, which is what most people associate their usefulness with. But just like double glazing, shutters can help in both temperature extremes!

HVAC check

Whenever the temperature is about to change from one ‘extreme’ to another, it’s always worth giving your HVAC system a good check. Dirt, dust, rust - all of these things can build up in there over time, severely damaging the efficiency of the system. When you need the heating on, an accumulation of foreign materials can create an odd odor. (There’s also somewhat of a fire risk; not big enough to make an immediate fuss over, but a fire risk of any size is probably not something you want around your house.) Of course, getting the system inspected and fixed up will also be good for the air conditioning and ventilation when things warm up again!

Vegetation hacks

Some strategically-placed vegetation can actually help with the temperature of your home all year round. The best kinds are tall and wide ones - trees are an obvious one that come to mind! These can act as a sort of awning, helping you block the cold winds (they’re essentially acting as windbreaks.) These help when the temperature rises back up because they keep the sun’s rays from hitting your windows and walls, which is basically what turns your home into an oven during summer!


Monday, April 3, 2017

Things You Always Hear When You Are Buying A House

It’s no real secret that buying a house can be stressful at the best of times. There is so much to think about, and often you may ask yourself why you are even bothering to move in the first place! Things only get worse when every man and his dog start giving their input to you about what they think you are doing right, and what they think you are doing wrong. While they may be only trying to help, this can wear thin pretty quickly and can only add to your stress regarding the situation. Your move should only involve you and the people you will be moving with – no one else is obliged to give you their opinion if you didn’t ask for it. Here are a few examples of the top things you’ll hear from other people when you are in the process of moving home, and how to keep your cool when you hear them!

‘But it’s a really dodgy area’

So, you’ve found the perfect bit of land for sale and are all set to put down your deposit when suddenly someone interjects with an opinion about the area. It usually refers to it being run-down in some way, or a crime hotspot. You can take this one of two ways. Your first instinct may be to take this statement pretty seriously and go into an immediate state of panic, but try and remain calm and impartial to a certain extent. All places, even some top luxury resorts, have good and bad in them. Plus, ask your friend who has said this when they last visited. If it was a number of years ago, the neighbourhood may well have completely transformed since then. The number one thing to remember is that this is just one person’s opinion, and not to knock it until you’ve tried it. Go on a daytrip to the area to get a feel for the place, and then you’ll be able to make a better judgement yourself.

‘Isn’t that a bit out of your budget?’

It is always astonishing how brazen people can be when it comes to poking about in your personal finances! You may have mentioned the kind of property you are looking to buy or you might have shown a friend some pictures of your dream home. Sure, you need to be realistic in your budget and you definitely don’t want to buy a home you can’t afford the repayments on. But you also don’t have to reveal the inner workings of your bank accounts to anyone who asks. If you say you can afford it, they should trust that you can afford it!

‘You’ll need to do a lot of work on that’

You hear this from a lot of people regarding homes that aren’t totally brand new. The reality is that very few people actually buy brand new builds, so you will probably expect to do a bit of work on your new property anyway. Don’t let comments like this spur you into unnecessary action, however. Unless you are literally buying to sell, there is no reason why you need to rush into any major renovations. Live in your new home for a bit first, and then you can decide what needs to change.


How To Grit Your Teeth And Get Through Home Renovations

In terms of house problems, there’s very little that’s harder to get through than house renovations. Not only does everything you own seem to be covered in dust, you also have to deal with a family full of kids who are in bad moods because their usual routines have been disrupted and an inability to shower because the water’s been cut off to your bathroom. But never fear - even through the madness there are a few things you can do to make your mid-renovation life a little easier...

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Budget Carefully

First of all, make sure that you budget your money carefully. There are a lot of different house renovations that you could go through so make sure that you’ve chosen the right one - different renovations add different amounts of money to your house. Conservatories and extensions, for example, can add huge amounts to the value of your home (although chances are, once you’ve lived through a renovation you probably won’t ever want to move or even consider making any changes to your living circumstances ever again!). It’s important to make sure that you talk to your workmen before the renovations happen to make sure that you know exactly how much you’ll be paying. Make sure that you have this in writing before the work begins, and also make sure that you put some money aside for any incidental expenses that might arise. House renovations are unfortunately unpredictable so you need to prepare for the worst.

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Plan Beforehand

Before the renovations start to take place, make sure that you’ve fully planned out how you’re going to handle them. You don’t want to wake up one morning with gross greasy hair and last night’s makeup all over your face and realise that you can’t have a shower but you’ve got a business meeting in half an hour. Make sure that if your bathroom’s unusable, you have somewhere else that you can wash, whether that’s at a nearby friend or family member’s home or even at the gym (you might be taking your kids to the pool more frequently at this point than at any other time in your life). Likewise, make sure that you’ve planned what exactly you’re going to do for meals, whether that’s buying pre-packaged salads on your way home from work, ordering takeout most nights, or investing in a mini fridge to hold your milk and any other essentials until the work is complete. You’ll feel a whole lot more secure if you’ve planned everything out.

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Prepare For Disaster

The course of true love never did run smooth and neither did the course of house renovations. No matter how carefully you plan or how excellent your workmen are, something will go horribly wrong at some point. There will be a storm and tarpaulins will be ripped off the top of your house by raging winds, or a well-meaning apprentice will accidentally hack into the wall in the wrong place and cause a mini flood in your spare bedroom, or the workmen will insist on using your favourite bathroom and never, ever flushing the toilet (a problem that might not be as major as the others but which, let’s face it, would really bother you). It’s important to make sure that you’ve planned for any emergencies. Make sure that you have the number of a plumber on speed dial - look online at sites like to find one - along with a good electrician. If the worst happens, they’ll put your home right in no time. No one wants to have to climb up to the roof of their house in the middle of a thunderstorm amid flapping tarpaulins with nothing but a stapler and a hopeful attitude. Get the professionals in to help.

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Put Your Stuff Into Storage

No matter which renovation is happening around you, chances are it will get messy and dusty and somehow everything you own will get coated with a thin but impenetrable layer of dust. Before your workmen come to your home, cover items like rugs and couches with dust sheets if your downstairs is getting renovated. If you’re getting a new bathroom, remove all cloths like towels and sheets, and if you’re getting your kitchen done, remove all food that isn’t in properly sealed containers. If you have a lot of ornaments and knickknacks, you could consider hiring a storage area for the duration of your renovation - or you could pack them carefully into boxes and move them into other areas of your home. Remember to use plenty of newspaper and bubble wrap to keep everything precious safe. After the renovation is done, be careful to vacuum all your rooms to remove the dust, particularly if you have young kids or pets.

Shallow Focus Photography of Silver Faucet
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Keep Your Kids’ Routines The Same

Speaking of kids - let’s face it, home renovations were much simpler when they were around. Gone are the days when you and your partner could just check into a cheap hotel for a week and come home to find a new bathroom in your home. Instead you have to do your absolute best to make sure that your kids’ daily routines stay the same and they aren’t too unsettled - because boy, if they are unsettled, they will absolutely let you know about it, as vocally as they possibly can. Make sure that they have dinner at the same time as usual and that you pack plenty of nutrients into their diets. Even if you have takeout pizza, chop up some carrots and bell peppers as well for some extra vitamins. Make sure that they go to bed at the same time as usual so that they don’t get over tired.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

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Finally, make sure that you cut yourself some slack. It’s a busy and stressful time so you don’t need to beat yourself up for snapping at your partner a couple of times or crying because of a broken vase. Make sure you get plenty of early nights, that you practise deep breathing, and that - most importantly - you remind yourself that it’ll all be over soon.