Debbie Chase's Blog
Creating the curb appeal that you want does not have to be as complex as a full-scale remodel. If your home’s exterior is in decent condition, spend your time and budget on things that pack a big punch. Upgrade how your home looks from the street with these simple exterior, lawn, and garden hacks.
Fill planter or window boxes that hang off porch railings, or under the front windows with colorful annuals such as impatiens, begonias, or petunias. Add smaller pots of greenery into the boxes such as maidenhair fern or ivy so that you have an abundance of flora draping over the side. Adding cheery blooms to your exterior catches the eye and enhances your street-side appeal.
If installing window boxes is out of your comfort zone or might damage stucco or another exterior finish, add drama with a collection of larger and smaller pots. Fill some with plants that grow up and others with flowers that bloom in a bushy shape. Still, others can flow over the sides. Try easy-to-maintain succulents in container gardens or colorful native grasses or cacti if your climate permits. Choose pots with colors that complement the exterior of your home. Place some pots on wider steps leading up to the porch and others filled with shade-friendly plantings to either side of the front door.
Plant a fruit or flowering tree. Depending on how large the front yard is and the area available away from the foundation, an ornamental tree can boost your home’s charm. Determine the potential size the tree might grow by conferring with a nursery or arborist so that the location you choose allows the roots to take hold and not encroach on sidewalks, foundations, and drainage areas. If your home is symmetrical, consider flanking your entry or driveway with a pair of trees or bushes.
Upgrade your lighting. The porch light and carriage lamps on homes take much beating from the sun and weather. Replacing them with new fixtures that have LED bulbs might be just the thing to set your home apart from the rest. Choose a design that complements the architectural features of your home. If you cannot afford new fixtures, take down the existing ones, clean and repair them, and even spray-paint the metal before putting them back up. Replace the incandescent bulb with a soft-white LED bulb rated for outdoor use. If possible, install a lamp post in your yard that turns on at dusk and off at dawn. Select a design that enhances your home and casts a soft glow. Alternatively, add solar path lights along the walkway or to highlight a flowerbed.
Replace your mailbox. Unless it is a bricked-in version that matches the home, most curbside mailboxes end up battered and bent out of shape over time. Even bricked in boxes might have missing mortar or chipped bricks that you should repair. Replacing your dented, rusted, or old mailbox with a new one gives you an instant upgrade. Make sure to check with your local carrier, city, and neighborhood association for regulations and requirements before buying your new mailbox.
When considering whether or not to place your home on the market, talk to your real estate agent for ideas and information on making your home the most attractive in the neighborhood.
Making a good first impression on prospective home buyers is the key to getting your house sold within a relatively short period of time. Once your house is on the market, you'll want to make sure any major flaws, aesthetic issues, and potential buyer turnoffs have been fully addressed before the first prospects walk through your front door.
Although serious house hunters often return for a second -- and sometimes third -- walkthrough of your home, first impressions determine whether they'll be back for another look.
Since time is of the essence and you may be on a limited home improvement budget, it's necessary to prioritize the projects that will have the most impact on the image you project. When it comes to making cost-effective decisions on preparing your house for showings, your real estate agent can provide helpful insights and objective advice. Seasoned agents can size up a property within minutes and identify ways to improve the look and feel of your home. Although every homeowner is going to have a different set of priorities and issues to deal with, there are a few focal points that would apply to just about everyone.
Curb appeal: To attract the maximum number of prospects to your home (and to put them in a receptive state of mind when viewing your house), it's essential that your property looks well maintained. In addition to having a manicured lawn and bushes that are neatly trimmed, your curb appeal also depends on the condition of your driveway, walkway, and house foundation. The appearance of weeds, cracked surfaces, and peeling or faded paint are sure to be seen as "red flags" to many people and will detract from the impression your home conveys.
Clutter control: Getting a handle on clutter in and around your house is a vital aspect of enhancing its appearance and marketability. Whether you're dealing with storage areas that are jam-packed to the hilt, too much furniture in your living room, or a front yard that's littered with bicycles, lawn equipment, toys and junk vehicles, clutter is a visual cue to people that "something is wrong here!" Clutter inside your house can cause rooms to look smaller and living space to appear as chaotic and uninviting. Even clutter in garages, basements, closets, and attics can send the wrong message to potential house hunters. On the other hand, uncluttered space is like "a breath of fresh air," and can go a long way toward winning over one or more interested prospects.
General recommendations: While everyone's situation is different and unique, cleanliness, proper room lighting, and basic home staging techniques can help maximize your chances for a successful showing. Applying a fresh coat of paint, where needed, also increases the eye-appeal of everything from your front steps and hallways to bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen areas. Thoroughly steam-cleaning carpets and refinishing faded hardwood floors can also be cost-effective ways to bring out the full potential of your home
Putting your home on the market is not for the faint-hearted! As many people discover along the way, the road to selling a home can be rather bumpy -- especially if you attempt to sell it on your own.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do, right away, to make the journey shorter, smoother, and more rewarding. Here are three strategies that will greatly increase your chances of success.
Find a seasoned real estate agent. An experienced real estate agent will not only help you navigate state and federal regulations, negotiate with buyers, and get a handle on paperwork, but they'll also schedule showings of your home and provide continuous marketing help.
Enhance your curb appeal: When it comes to finding prospective buyers and setting up appointments, your real estate agent will do the lion's share of the work. However, it's mostly up to you to make sure your house looks its best and that the appearance of your property catches the eye of house hunters.
Once your home is listed online and a "for sale" sign is planted in your front yard, potential buyers are going to immediately take notice of how your house looks from the outside. Sometimes people browse listed houses from their cars, so it can really pay to make a great first impression from the street.
Some of the things that matter the most are a meticulous-looking yard, a clutter-free property, and a house that looks like it's well maintained. Adding a fresh coat of paint, displaying some colorful potted flowers, and taking care of unsightly weeds and overgrown bushes are a few things you can do to make your property look a lot more inviting.
Stage your home's interior: Once you've cleared the first big hurdle (curb appeal), your next priority -- or perhaps a simultaneous priority -- is to make the interior of your home look inviting and appealing. As is the case with boosting curb appeal, your real estate agent can provide you with cost-effective advice on how to get the most mileage from your efforts.
Some of the tried-and-proven methods of staging a home include reducing clutter, arranging living room furniture in "conversational groups" to depict a cozy, intimate environment, and letting plenty of natural light stream in to make your home appear as cheerful and bright as possible.
Fresh coats of neutral-colored paint should be applied to walls and ceilings on an as-needed basis, and all floors, tables, and counter tops should be kept immaculate. Home staging consultants often recommend removing (or toning down) certain decorating themes -- such as sports, religion, or even too many family photographs -- which may alienate some potential buyers.
The overall objective is to make it easy for house hunters to imagine themselves owning and living in your home. If there's anything about the appearance, decor, or smell of your home that makes people feel in any way uncomfortable, that could make it more difficult to find a committed buyer -- which, of course, is your ultimate goal!
Your sofa, a comfortable chair or a quiet room could turn your home into a perfect meditation spot. You wouldn’t be alone if you set aside 10 to 20 minutes in the morning or evening to sit in silence and watch your breathing and still your thoughts.
Meditating is no longer considered to be a practice only for people who are consciously committed to taking a focused spiritual journey. Rewards gained from meditating have changed perception. In fact, if you developed an illness, your physician might recommend that you meditate.
Benefits of meditating are broad and include stress reduction, improved immune system,lower blood pressure, increased energy, improved memory and more intuitive guidance. Because meditating takes time, you may be “put off” by the idea of sitting still in a room at your house, closing your eyes and engaging in guided or open meditation.
Zen Like Benefits Right In Your Back Yard
If you have a type A personality or rarely sit still. You might feel as if you’re doing something wrong if you sit down and do absolutely nothing. If that’s the case, your front or back yard may offer you deep relaxing rewards.
Gardening may prove to be more relaxing and easier to stick with for you. There are people who actually plant and care for flowers simply as a way to relax. A side benefit if that gardening boost your home’s curb appeal.
Tools needed to garden can be picked up from a nearby house goods or department store. General gardening tools include a rake, gardening gloves, shovel and water hose.
Plant annuals and you’ll only have to treat and care for your flowers after you drop the seeds in the ground. These flowers break forth through the earth and bud without having to be replanted each year. If you plant a vegetable garden, put up a mesh fence to help keep pests away. You can also use environmentally sprays to keep pests away.
As you start to work in your garden, don’t be surprised if you stop worrying about issues at work, your child’s school or at home. Also, don’t be surprised if you start to feel a sense of fulfillment and completion. Like meditating, gardening offers a host of rewards; a few are noted below:
- You’ll be close to nature and may feel more grounded
- Your heart rate may slow to a nice, calming pace
- An appreciation for natural colors and sounds may strengthen within you
- Healthy eating could become a habit, if you garden and grow your own food
- Curb appeal at your home will rise
- You’ll get out in the sun and soak up natural vitamin D
- Mood booster – relaxing boosts mood, so too does natural vitamin D
- While gardening, you’ll definitely get to know your yard better
- As you spot areas for improvement in your yard,you’ll know just where to treat your lawn
- Gardening is a great way to get to know your neighbors
- Beautify the entire neighborhood by planting colorful flowers at the edges and center of your back yard
- Grow a flower garden and you could increase your property value
After you garden, sit in a chair or on a back porch swing for as little as 15 minutes before or after work. Close your eyes. Take in and release slow, deep breaths. Make it a habit, and see if you don’t start to sleep better. You may even decide to find a peaceful spot inside your home and start meditating.