Know More About Curb Appeal

What do people think of your house when they drive by? If you’re unsure, your curb appeal could probably use a quick overhaul. Fortunately, giving your home an outdoor update doesn’t have to require thousands of dollars and a professional landscaping crew. Here’s a quick checklist to help you improve your home’s curb appeal.

☐ Paint your front door. An alluring front door will light up your porch and give your home a stylish flair. Use leftover paint from another outdoor accent piece or choose a bright, new color. (Be sure to use outdoor paint.)

☐ Touch up your paint. If you haven’t repainted your home recently, it may be time for a refurbishment. If you don’t have the time or budget to repaint your entire home, just touch up the spots that need it most. Peeling paint, rotted boards and stained or moldy siding can ruin your home’s curb appeal.

☐ Repair your railing. If the railing lining your walk is leaning, damaged or looking bad, give it a quick update. For a leaning railing, reset the posts with a little quickset concrete. If your railing is rusted or peeling, sand it down and add a new finish or coat of paint.

☐ Replace your window frames. Replace your rotten or dated window frames with energy-efficient vinyl or wood models. New window frames will save you money and boost your curb appeal.

☐ Clean your windows. Dirty windows can make even a new home look rundown. Depending on the size of your home, you can have your windows looking spick-and-span in an afternoon.

☐ Straighten your gutters. Loose or bent gutters detract major points from your home’s curb appeal. Reattach loose gutters and replace any bent or damaged portions. If you’re not sure about tackling this project on your own, call a pro.

☐ Replace your house numbers. Are your house numbers missing or hard to read? Replace your dated or missing numbers with a new, tasteful set that’s visible from the street.

☐ Repaint or replace your mailbox. A dented or scratched mailbox is a surefire way to ruin your curb appeal. If your mailbox’s paint is scratched, give it a new coat. Visit your local hardware store to find a replacement for a dented or damaged mailbox.

☐ Clean up your yard. Place new mulch in your flowerbeds, cut the grass and sculpt (or just prune) your hedges and bushes to give your yard a fresh look.

☐ Add some lighting. Make sure your porch light works. If the fixture is broken, install an eye-catching replacement. Add some small lights along your front walkway as a finishing touch.

Steps to a Resale-Ready Home

If you’re selling your home, you’re probably hoping to sell it as quickly as possible — and to get top dollar for it too. Usually, it takes a little prep work to make that happen. Use this checklist to ensure that you’ve taken every step necessary to ready your home for resale. As they say in the realty business: The best-prepped homes yield the best returns!

  1. Cut the Clutter: Clutter makes it hard for potential buyers to envision themselves in your home, and it also detracts from some of your home’s best selling points — its square footage and storage space. Clear shelves, countertops, closets, garage space and storage areas prior to showing your home. Also, remove any bulky or distressed furniture and simplify any over-furnished areas. Be ruthless. Donate your infrequently used items or hold a yard sale. And, if necessary, keep overflow items in a storage area or a friend’s garage until you’ve sold your home.
  1. Perform Small Repairs: Now is the time to make the small repairs you’ve been putting off. Fix leaky faucets and broken appliances, repair holes in drywall, apply touch-up paint where needed, and attend to any creaky doors or stairs. If you’re pressed for time, hire a handyman. A good handyman should be able to perform any small repairs necessary to prepare your home for market, and it will cost less to hire a handyman than it will cost to hire multiple specialists for multiple small projects. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, the average national cost to hire a handyman is $387.
  1. Do a Deep Clean: Dirty homes send buyers running, so clean your house deeply and thoroughly before you sell. In addition to performing your usual cleaning routine, vacuum in hard-to-reach places, dust ceiling fans and light fixtures, and wash the walls and windowsills. If you haven’t done so recently, consider having your carpets, windows/window treatments, and kitchen and bathroom grout professionally cleaned. Potential buyers will absolutely take notice of your immaculate home. In fact, a number of buyers have put “clean” at the top of their wish lists.
  1. Kick Up the Curb Appeal: Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see. So, it’s important to do what you can to make a good first impression. Clear junk and clutter from the yard, remove faded or broken lawn furniture, and ensure that walkways and driveways are weed-free and clean. Touch up exterior paint, repair broken screen doors, and replace missing light fixtures or bulbs as necessary. Finally, spruce up your lawn and landscape; and use potted plants and flowers, seasonal wreaths, and other tasteful accessories to welcome your guests at the door.
  1. Stay On Top of Maintenance: It’s crucial that you stay on top of home maintenance once you’ve listed and started showing your home. Vacuum and dust daily, keep laundry and clutter out of sight, and be on the lookout for problems and unexpected repairs. If you don’t have time to stay on top of the cleaning, consider hiring a cleaning service. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, most maid services charge $25 and $35 per hour — money well spent when it helps to sell your home.

Know More About New Homeowner

When Carly Schuffler bought a charming, well-worn home in 2007, she had no idea what she had actually purchased: a money pit that forced her to take on some serious debt.

According to Carly, before she could even move in, she needed to rewire the house, replace the furnace and remove a tree from the roof. And that wasn’t all. Nearly everything leaked at one point or another — a sink, the basement, the roof — you name it.

“Of the thousands of things that could go wrong with a house, a great many things did go wrong with my house,” said Schuffler.

The truth is that when you’re buying a home, you often have to consider more than just the purchase price. Fortunately, if you’re a new homeowner there’s plenty you can do to stop a fixer-upper from becoming a house of horrors.

Prioritize

Before embarking on major renovations, make a list of what needs to be fixed and rank items by urgency. It can be tempting to prioritize renovations by cost or difficulty, but you’ll be better able to handle smaller issues once the big ones are out of the way. If you’re not sure what to tackle first, home experts from sites such as HomeAdvisor can tell you what needs to be repaired immediately, and what can wait until later.

Make a Budget

Once you’ve decided what needs to be done, create a budget to guide your renovations. Construction can sometimes seem daunting, but planning and communication can help you manage the project. If you’re unsure how to budget, seek out multiple bids from different contractors. There’s no downside to shopping around — most renovation experts say you should collect at least three bids for any new project.

Read Reviews

Reviews are the gold standard in home construction — they’re a solid indicator of whether a contractor will get the job done within your budget and timeframe. In addition to reviews, word-of-mouth references can help you identify the right person for your project. If a contractor doesn’t have reviews online, or if they can’t offer any references, think twice about working with them. Although it’s tempting to let price color your decision, the cheapest bid for your project may not be the best one.

Get the Funds You Need

If you haven’t saved enough for your renovations, or if you’re wary about taking on significant credit card debt, a remodeling loan through a peer-to-peer platform like Prosper Marketplace could be the best way to fund your project. Marketplace loans offer a speedy way to get going on your project, and it’s easy to get started online. You may even be able to secure an interest rate lower than what you’d find at a traditional bank.