By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR Magazine
More Americans are showing their love for the great outdoors with their homes, seeking more outdoor living spaces at home that can blend in with their indoor spaces too, according to the American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey for the first quarter of 2012. AIA surveyed nationwide architects to discover home preferences. The first quarter survey focused on home layout and the use of interior and exterior space.
“In the last few years, outdoor living spaces have become the new ‘great room’ in terms of must-have items for home owners,” says Kermit Baker, AIA’s chief economist. Continue reading »
By Kimberly McMahon, Let’s Organize/Let’s Move
No matter the asking price, simple curb appeal changes can set the scene to immediately attract buyers to a property. Data shows that a majority of home buyers look at properties online or drive by before contacting an agent. As a result, the exterior of the property is always a major selling point.
The decision to buy starts when the prospects step out of their car in front of the property. Prospects will immediately imagine what their friends and family will think when they drive up.
Here are 10 easy steps to make the most of your curb appeal. (It is well worth the expense to hire someone to make these changes if you do not have the time!)
By G. M. Filisko, contributing writer, HouseLogic
Sellers who replace their front door may get a full return on their investment or even turn a profit from the increase in their home’s value, according to Remodeling Magazine’s most recent annual Cost vs. Value Report. A new door will also boost their home’s curb appeal—and may even be eligible for a tax credit to boot.
Help sellers sift through their front-door options—steel, fiberglass, or wood—with tips now available in the June “Exterior Upgrades” package of articles at the REALTOR® Content Resource. Here are some of the pros and cons of steel doors:
1. If you’re looking to save money, a steel door may be a good choice, particularly if you have the skills to hang it yourself. A simple, unadorned steel door can sell for as little as $150 (not including hardware, lock set, paint, or labor) and typically runs as much as $400 at big-box retailers. Steel offers the strongest barrier against intruders, although its advantage over fiberglass and wood in this area is slight.
2. Replacing your entry door with a steel model actually reaps a profit in added home value. Remodeling Magazine estimates the total project cost of installing a 20-gauge steel door at about $1,200—and the project, on average, returns about 129% of cost or $1,400. Continue reading »
By Stephanie Decker, Staged Marin Homes
Curb Appeal in real estate terms used to mean how appealing your home is to potential buyers when they view the home’s exterior. It was the first time they were seeing your home, and it sets the stage for the rest of your home. But this has changed with the use of Web sites such as Realtor.com, Facebook, and the local and national real estate agency Web site that is listing the house for sale.
The appeal of your home comes long before a buyer even gets to your front door — it starts online. And it is not just your front door that sets the stage, it is your entire house that the buyer can see, long before ever getting to your house.
So the first item of business: Make sure your photos are capturing your listing from the very best angle!
The photographs real estate agents use for a home on the Web are crucial. It is best to use a professional photographer who specializes in taking photos of homes for sale but if you can’t afford one, there are several things to consider. Real Estate Blogger Web site recently released an article listing the Top 10 Tips of Photographing Your Home for Sale.
Among the blog’s tips:
- Try a tripod. It will not only help you keep the camera steady, but it will also allow you to concentrate on more important things—like getting that perfect picture.
- Watch your lighting. Don’t turn on all of the lighting in the room and close the drapes, you’ll get “halos” around the room’s lamps. Use the camera’s flash to get an even photo. Also, take photos of the outside gardens in the shade—it’ll look better than when taken in the bright sun.
- Haul the clutter away. Take down the personal photos, too.
Remember: The photographs are your calling card. So if the photos aren’t representative of your home’s appeal than the buyer will never get to your front door. There’s always another house just a mouse click away!
Once potential buyers are lured by your photos, you’ll want to make sure the home’s curb appeal doesn’t let them down when they’re there in person.
Take these steps: Continue reading »
By Charlene Storozuk
Once the holiday season is over, we all tend to hunker down for the cold months ahead (at least those of us not lucky enough to live in a warm locale). The long winter months can play havoc with your social life, mood, travel plans, and, dare I say it, your real estate listings.
How do you bolster potential buyers on the merits of your listing’s exterior when there’s 4 feet of snow outside? Well, here are a few things that just might help.
- Make sure all seasonal decorations have been put away. It’s time to remove the outdoor Christmas lights and Santa displays.
- Place a few frost resistant planters or urns outside. Dress them up with twigs, winter greenery, and sparkly “baubles.”
- Statues look great in an outdoor winter garden. Make sure that the pieces you display are frost resistant so they won’t crack. Strategically place them around your garden to help draw potential buyers’ eyes around your outdoor space.
- A few outdoor flood lights (clear, not colored) shining on statues, urns, and other interesting architectural features will give a hint of drama for nighttime showings. Continue reading »
According to a recent survey conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Boral Bricks, 59 percent of all home owners with a siding preference would choose brick for their homes. The study was commissioned by Boral Bricks, Inc. to determine current consumer preferences for siding.
The survey, conducted in October, asked participants which type of siding they prefer on a home. Possible answers included brick, vinyl, stucco, fiber cement/composite and other; participants were allowed to choose more than one option. For the 1,144 home owners with a siding preference, brick was the leading choice with nearly two of every three respondents selecting it. Vinyl came in second (37 percent), followed by stucco (19 percent), fiber cement/composite (14 percent), and other (11 percent).
“This research shows brick is still the overwhelming choice for home owners who have a say in their exterior cladding,” said Bob Kepford, president, Boral Bricks, Inc. “Coming out of the recession, home owners will likely be in their homes longer than in recent years, and they should insist their builders use the most sustainable siding option to ensure it holds up to the elements. Brick has also proven to help homes increase in value, which is important with slower real estate appreciation expected in the future.”
According to U.S. Census data on siding for new homes, builders have increasingly opted for lap siding products over the last ten years. These products may provide more ease of installation; however, they don’t offer the consumer benefits home owners appreciate with brick including the fact that it is virtually maintenance free, extremely durable, locally sourced and sustainable.
Visit BoralBricks.com for the complete survey results.
Harris Interactive fielded the Siding Preferences study on behalf of Boral Bricks from October 12-14, 2009 via its QuickQuery online omnibus service, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,073 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older of which 1,114 are home owners. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Brian Remsberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Boral Bricks:
Boral Bricks is the largest clay brick and paver manufacturer in the United States. Boral Bricks Inc. is the largest operating company of Boral USA, a holding company that owns Boralʼs U.S. operation. Boral Bricks Inc. is headquartered in Roswell, GA. For additional information, please visit www.boralbricks.com or call 800-5-BORAL-5.
By Erica Christoffer, Contributing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
There is no better time than fall to get yards looking great, according to the “Yard Doctor” Trey Rogers, a professor of turfgrass management in the crop and soil sciences department at Michigan State University.
Here are 6 tips from Rogers to help you and your clients take advantage of the seasonal weather and vibrant colors to add dramatic curb appeal.
1. For home owners in the northern portion of the United States, fall is the single best time to fertilize a yard. During the first 10 days of September, lay a complete nitrogen and potassium combination fertilizer.
2. Fall is also the best time to reseed grass. If you have bare spots from the summer, put down a seed mix that matches the yard during the first 15 days of September. Yards with crabgrass will notice the patches turn purple with the first frost. It is important to thoroughly seed and water those areas. Continue reading »
By Phyllis Harb, Dickson Podley REALTORS®
1. Trim shrubs and trees in the front yard; a homebuyer should be able to see your home’s architectural features (such as that beautiful picture window). Tidy up your yard; put away hoses, trash cans, etc.
2. Remove the screen door (if any), dress up the front porch with a plant (if there’s room), and wash your windows and your screens.
3. If the mailbox is visible from the curb, ensure that it is attractive.
4. Repaint any peeling trim or exterior paint. Continue reading »
A few weeks ago we asked the Styled, Staged & Sold blogging community to submit their best staging ideas and the responses flooded in! You can find some of your great responses featured in the April issue of REALTOR® Magazine. Find even more ideas online from your peers with the REALTOR® Magazine Online feature, Staging on a Budget. You can find ideas for sprucing up the living room, bedroom, bathroom, exterior, kitchen and more.
After you read the responses, tell us what you think! What’s the best tip you learned, or share your own favorite staging tip here!
By David Applebaum
In this market, selling a house can be more challenging than ever. As a real estate professional, I’m sure you have used many ideas to help make your property look its most attractive to potential buyers. As an architect for two decades, I have suggestions and tips to maximize your potential in selling the home.
Every house and every property is different, and I recognize that a “walk through” can inspire specific ideas for each property. But here are some universal suggestions that will make any house look more appealing for sale.
1. Clean everything. Eliminate damaged and soiled items, get rid of half of the furniture and rearrange the other half, and remove any personal items. It is important to give the buyers the ability to see themselves in the property.
2. Accent lighting. This can help make the home more attractive and accentuate the positives by highlighting the homes attributes and diminish the negatives of any setting. The key is to realize that you are playing with contrasts.
Some other lighting tips:
- A light along fabulous furnishings, an architectural element, or detail will show that element off.
- A light behind an object will frame the object in darkness and bathe what is behind it in a wash of light.
- Use highlight and contrast to make a room feel longer, higher, or warmer. Continue reading »