If you are ready to list, but are worried about giving buyers the best first impression of your home, there are several ways you can upgrade curb appeal without spending a lot of money. Here are some great ways to clean up your home’s outward appearance without going broke!
Simple lawn upkeep is a DIY task that can add instant curb appeal. Keeping the grass cut regularly, trimming any bushes, and weeding flower beds will indicate that you have cared for your home inside and out. For a professional look you can even edge your lawn.
Paint the Front Door:
Make your front door pop and welcome guests with a color that contrasts to the front of your home. A gallon of paint costs as little as $25 dollars. A simple Google search of what color front door for a, (insert house color here), will give you lots of visual suggestions. You can also consider adding fancy house numbers, hanging a decorative wreath, or putting potted plants on the front step.
Wash the Dirt Off:
Simply use a garden hose on the strongest setting to get dirt and debris off walkways and siding. You can rent or borrow a power washer for any tough areas, but be sure to avoid the windows! Taking a scrub brush with bleach to any tough lime stains on stone or patio surfaces will also help clean up the look of your home for potential buyers.
Clean the Windows:
Start by cleaning the inside with Windex or other household cleaners. For outside, you can use your hose to spray off cobwebs or use a long-handle brush to scrub them clean. You might need to enlist the help of a neighbor and use a tall ladder, but cleaning both the inside and outside of your windows will make your home sparkle.
There are so many affordable options for exterior light fixtures these days you might consider investing a little to upgrade the look of your home. Any outdated front door or garage fixtures should be replaced. If you don’t feel like spending money on new fixtures, you can always touch up the paint on the existing ones, replace the bulbs for consistent light, and make sure the glass panels are all clean.
By completing any or all of these affordable upgrades, your home will stand out to potential buyers from the minute they drive up for their first look.
Today’s market has buyers bidding against each other for a low inventory of desirable homes. As if the prospect of buying a home wasn’t stressful enough, waiting to find out if your offer was accepted can heighten the emotions and make the waiting unbearable. Luckily, there are things you can do to better your chances of winning a bidding war.
Use a Pre-approval Letter:
A pre-approval letter is different than being pre-qualified. A pre-qualification verifies your income and how much your bank might lend you based on your credit. A pre-approval letter means that your lender has essentially underwritten your application and it is simply pending an appraisal. Submitting your financing documents to your lender before making any offers will allow you to act quickly when you are ready to make an offer on a new house.
Start with Your Best Offer:
You only get one chance to make a good first impression, which is why you should submit your best offer up front if possible. By doing your research and determining the value of comparable homes in the neighborhood, you can present an accurate and competitive offer. In an extremely competitive market, most houses will sell for over the asking price, so be sure to factor that into the price of the home you are considering.
Limit Your Demands:
Sellers want clean offers; not those that come with a lot of demands or contingencies. For example, if you can avoid asking the seller to cover your closing costs, or trying to get them to make repairs as part of the negotiations, you might have a better chance of having your offer accepted. Sellers have the advantage in a multiple-bid situation and the less complicated you make yours, the more likely they are to say yes.
Give the Seller More Time:
If you can be flexible with your moving timeline, it might give you the competitive edge to offer the seller more time to move out of the home. Not only will they be selling at a price they are comfortable with, but they now have the added bonus of making their own move less stressful. You can offer to have the seller rent back the home for a period of time, or push back the closing date.
Make it Personal:
It may seem silly, but some buyers are swayed by the personal touch of a hand written letter expressing why their home is perfect for you. You can introduce yourself in the letter, tell the seller all about your family, the things you love about the house, and the memories you hope to create there. If the seller is sentimental, they might appreciate the personal touch you’ve added to your offer and feel better knowing who is going to be living in their home.
Stay in Touch:
Even if you find yourself on the losing end of a bidding war, have your realtor keep in touch. A lot of things can happen between an accepted offer and the actual closing. If your offer was in top consideration, you might win out in the end should the initial buyer have complications
And just like that, the snow has disappeared and we are moving at rapid speed towards the end of the school year and warm summer months. If you have been thinking of planning a summer vacation, there’s still time to save and book a great deal. By following some of these tips, you should be able to get to your ideal destination, whether it’s local, or international.
Let the destinations and resorts compete for your business. By being flexible on where you will travel, you have the luxury of choosing the best deal. The spontaneity of not knowing where you’re headed can be fun!
Set a Goal
Even saving for two months can give you a head start on diminishing the costs of travel. Set a realistic budget and book your location and amenities with confidence that you aren’t going overboard.
All Inclusive All the Way
Pricing packages makes planning easy and many resort vacation destinations offer an all-inclusive option. Many resorts offer child daycare or so the adults can enjoy some down time by themselves. You can eat, drink, and enjoy your trip all for the best price.
Know the Trends
Determine peak tourist times for each destination you are considering and avoid the crowds. Research any special events that are scheduled like festivals, sports tournaments, and concerts to be sure you are avoiding a rise in pricing due to an expected increase in tourists.
Save on Flights
Another way to be flexible is to shift your flights to mid-week instead of weekends. Tuesdays and Wednesdays have been proven the best days to travel for international flights.
From room upgrades, to freebies, compare the extras that come with each destination or hotel and see what’s included in your costs. Many hotels offer small perks that don’t cost them much to enhance your experience and entice travelers.
Wherever you decide to travel this summer, you’ll have an even better time knowing you are getting the most for your money!
Many of the people who make up the first-time home buyer demographic have one thing in common; they also happen to be in the process of paying back large student loans. Roughly 70% of graduates leave college with debt, which can make the prospect of also buying a house seem impossible. But, with the help of a loan officer, and by following these tips, you can improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage despite your student loans.
1.) Start Early
It’s hard to know the exact right time to buy a home, which is why it’s best to be prepared for the idea early on. Staying organized and on top of your student loan documents, your other assets, and bank statements is a great place to start. Establish a safe place to keep all your paperwork and payment history so that when the time comes you’ll be prepared to present the necessary documents.
2.) Pay as Much as You Can
Work to decrease your student loan debt and any additional debts as much as you can. If the goal of owning a home is something you are seriously trying to obtain, then making large payments when you can will help decrease any outstanding balances. It does require sacrifice and diligence, but an aggressive strategy will pay off when the time comes to buy a home.
3.) Pay on Time
Being punctual with your payments on all debt is imperative to building your credit score and will help with income guidelines when you apply for a mortgage.
4.) Look into Refinancing
Many student loans can be refinanced or consolidated to reduce your monthly payment. A decreased interest rate can make the financial burden of student loans more manageable.
5.) Think Small
Many first-time homebuyers make the mistake of buying a house they simply don’t need or can’t afford. Working to buy a home that serves your needs without going overboard will save you money when it comes to your monthly mortgage payment in addition to taxes, repairs, and maintenance.
6.) Save for Your Down Payment
This goes back to starting the process early. If you can work to save as much as possible for a longer period of time leading up to the purchase of your first home, your debt to income ratio can be lower. The larger the down payment, the less you have to borrow. Getting pre-approved by a mortgage lender will give you an idea of the amount you can afford to borrow, and what you should be aiming for.
If you are looking to sell now, or down the road, it can be challenging to know where exactly to invest your money to increase the value and appeal of your home. By following some of these strategies, you should be able to get a good return on investment and have success with moving on to your next location.
Staging and Cleaning: Start with the basics and work diligently to declutter and clean your home. This is something you can do on your own with help from friends that does not cost anything. Throw out old papers, donate dated furniture that you don’t need, organize cabinets, closets, etc.
From there, look to stage your home. Realtors are a great resource of recommendations for how to best organize your furniture layout to make the biggest impact. You can also hire a professional to stage for you. This service is very different from decorating or designing and does not necessarily mean you need to paint or buy all new furniture. It’s simply about making your home appear more neutral and allowing a buyer to visualize their family in the home.
Work on Curb Appeal: You only have the first impression to get a buyer interested in your home so why not start with the outside; the first glimpse of the house they will get. Your outdoor space is free extra square footage and you want to make it look as appealing as possible. Even if you don’t have a lot of money for plantings, new stonework, new outdoor furniture, or paint, at the bare minimum focus on the entrance. Brighten it up with flowers or plants that trim the walkway and make sure the walk from the car to the front door looks as good as it can.
Invest in the Top Two: The two most important rooms in your home are your kitchen and your bathroom. If you have a limited budget of time or finances, you must get these spaces done to the best of your ability. Even if you can only afford a fresh coat of paint, it will make a big impact. Be sure to stick to a neutral palette with any changes you make to these rooms. The worst is when you invest in renovations and the new buyer does not like the style you chose.
Photography: With online listings being the popular place to search for new homes, make sure you have great photos of the interior of your home to nail that first impression. The easy solution is to a hire a real estate photographer, but if you really can’t afford to do that, there are free photo editing apps available like VSCO that can make a big impact.
No matter which of these tips you choose to apply to the sale of your home, it’s important to evaluate which projects you can do yourself and which are wroth investing in a professional’s help. Even though taking on projects alone can save money, if they are done poorly, the buyer will notice.