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TIP – HOW TO SELECT THE BEST CONSERVATORY BLIND FITTER

Dining Room With Blind

Extending a home and building a conservatory is usually a long, carefully thought two-step process.

First step focuses on the construction of the structural vision we have for the family home and the second step, focuses on both the functional and decorative fitting of blinds.

So, the construction of your conservatory has been successfully completed and you have increased its useable area, the value of your home and its saleability. So what about blinds?

Here are our 5 Steps to help you navigate through finding the right conservatory blind fitter

1.     List your goals

Blinds can provide us with a series of technical, functional and decorative solutions, and it all depends on what we wish to prioritise on, as they will ultimately impact the budget. So, what do you wish to achieve? Some ideas:

·       Year round thermal comfort

·       A desired degree of privacy

·       The right light level of light permeating through the conservatory

·       A modern versus classic feel

·       Manual versus motorized blinds

·       Will children be using the space

2.     Idea books for inspiration

If you are not sure on what look or style of blind to go for, use Houzz.co.uk and search the available Idea books for inspiration. This will help you build a portfolio for your ultimate look backed by your goals. It will also give you an understanding of the conservatory blind fitters that can provide you with the desired solution.

3.     Reviews

Once you have a list of possible conservatory blind fitters, read reviews. Many of us are more than happy to share our experiences after using various trades. Use sites such as Checkatrade, Feefo and Which that publish consumer reviews and use it positively to reduce your list to no more than 5 fitters. Read the most positive and negative reviews to help shape an image of the business. Review the businesses online pages and find out how many years’ experience they have and what makes them unique.

4.     Brochures

Armed with your list of no more than 5 fitters, request business brochures. If you are still undecided and have queries give them a ring. Ask them what kind of work they usually do, what is special about their products, fabrics and solutions. If you are feeling that this fitter is a serious contender, ask for a free no obligation appointment.

5.     Free no obligation appointment

This is the best way to experience the fitter. Ask all the questions you can think off. Look at fabrics, colour palettes, ask for before and after photos, lead times, after sales support, guarantees and of course their best quote.

Once you feel you have chosen the right partner to fit your conservatory blinds, then go for it and make sure you enjoy that newly created space!

Experts Round-Up: Top Tips to Increase the Value of Your Home

When it comes to selling your home (Or even just improving it), you want to get the most out of it, and so increasing your home’s value is important, but how do you go about increasing your home value? Well, we asked many experts ranging from real estate agents to landscape designers; all of which told us how you can go about increasing the value of your home! Check out how they answered below, and let us know if there’s any ways you know of, that haven’t been mentioned.

Allison Bethell

Allison Bethell

Allison Bethell is a staff writer at Fit Small Business, specializing in Real Estate Investment. Allison has fixed and flipped over 100 properties, including residential and commercial properties. She is a licensed real estate broker in Florida

When you resell your home you want to show the new buyer that you have increased its value especially since so many people want to know what you bought the home for and only want to pay more if there is some added value.

Landscaping including enhancing curb appeal with pavers, cutting the lawn, adding flowers and mulch can make a good first impression and enhance the property’s value since the new owners won’t have to spend money on landscaping. Some other inexpensive value adds are painting the front door, power washing the exterior of the house and painting the interior where needed, all walls should be free of scratches and marks. Add lights to rooms that don’t have adequate lighting and upgrade light bulbs throughout the house. If the kitchen cabinet hardware is outdated, replace them with more modern options. 

Big value adds are renovated kitchens and bathrooms and finishing the basement. Buyers also appreciate closet space so having ample closets with built ins can add value as well. When upgrading to add value, stick with more neutral color palettes.

Mark Ferguson

Mark Ferguson

Mark Ferguson is a real estate agent, real estate investor, author and the creator of Investfourmore.com. Mark’s real estate team sells hundreds of homes a year, he has flipped over 130 houses, owns 16 rental properties and has written six books. InvestFourMore is a real estate blog with over 300,000 views a month, over 35,000 subscribers and more than 400 free articles. 

Kitchen and baths are always a good place to spend money, but you want to make sure you do not over improve for the neighborhood. You also do not need to spend $50,000 or $100,000 on a kitchen, like they do on some of the remodel shows on TV. I had a friend who was selling her houses and she recently spent $100,000 on her kitchen! The house was selling for $325,000 and there was no way she would get close to her investment back. I saw her kitchen and could have done the remodel for less than $20,000 easily (hiring contractors not doing the work myself). Shop around stores for the best prices on counters, cabinets and appliances. There are huge swings in prices and most of the time, you will not need the most expensive materials. I have flipped many houses and in the lower end homes, we can have a kitchen installed for less than $7,000 with new cabinets, counters and appliances. 

Additions rarely pay off, unless you live in an area with incredibly high dollar per square foot, like San Francisco. If you add an addition, make sure you do it right and do not simply stick a room on the back of your house. Many times poorly done additions, will not add any value at all, or may detract from the value. 

Sometimes the basics add the most value and make the home more enjoyable to live in. Paint, flooring, fixtures can transform a home and add much more value than they cost. 

Landscaping can make a difference in value, but going overboard will usually not provide the ROI. Most buyers are looking at the home and not the yard. If the yard looks good, the buyers may like the house more. But if the yard looks absolutely amazing, it may not make the house worth anymore. You definitely do not want an ugly yard, as that will deter many buyers from even looking at the home. Some key items that buyers look for in a yard are; fencing, patio or deck (does not have to be huge), green grass (may vary based on location) & a sprinkler system (may vary in location).

Sacha Ferrandi

Sacha Ferrandi

Ferrandi is Founder & Head Principal at Source Capital Funding, Inc.

Trees as privacy: One of the easiest ways to improve the value of your home is by planting tall bushes or tree to help increase the privacy of your property. Homeowners generally prefer to create a ‘natural’ fence by lining the property with trees or shrubs. Adding greenery to your property not only adds value from a privacy perspective, but nice bush and tree can also be beneficial for the overall aesthetic of the home. 

Adding a bedroom: Given local regulations allow, adding an additional bedroom without expanding the home is a surefire way to improve your property value. In most cases, when adding a room, the only major requirement is that it must include its own doorway. However, some states also require the ceiling to be a minimum height. The most common ways to add a room to a home is to split a large room into two using drywall or converting an attached garage, basement, or attic. 

Pol Bishop

Pol Anderson Bishop is a well-known gardening and home improvement consultant in London.

Defining edges of your lawn and trimming it – an overgrown lawn is never a pleasant sight and gives the home a sort of run down image. On the other hand a neatly kept lawn with a luscious green colour can make the average property look good and the good property great. 

Get rid of weeds – the better maintained your lawn, the easier it will sell. New home owners don’t want a lawn which they have to start from the ground up. Instead they need a garden which won’t be too time consuming to maintain. 

Trim your trees – Properly trimmed trees look great, don’t block your vista and are healthier. Dead branches often cause the tree to catch a disease. Not only that, but they represent a hazard to people walking by. A simple trim can save all that. 

Clean patio and deck – most people ignore cleaning their patios and decks for a great many years. A power washer will clear away all the impurities and grime from your hard surfaces restoring their original colours. You might even be surprised to see your patio was never dark green, but instead gray. 

Iris Wingfield 

Iris Wingfield

Iris Wingfield is an Interior Design Consultant at Flat Pack Mates.

Invest in a bathroom renovation. The bathroom is, first of all, the bathroom is the room that costs the most to renovate. Second of all, the bathroom is a very important room and it can be only a positive thing to have a perfectly working and looking bathroom when you want to increase the value of your home. 

Improve the curb appeal. Mow your lawn and clean the pathway or the porch and around the entryway. The first impression is important and your home needs to look its best and catch the eye. And of course, the inside of your home shouldn’t be a letdown. If you want to increase the value of your home and sell it at a high price, it will need to look good on the outside and the inside. 

Cleanliness. If you will be having people coming over to look at your house you need to make it presentable. Steam clean all carpets, area rugs and curtains. Clean thoroughly and keep the windows open so fresh air can enter the house. Put some fresh flowers here and there. Refresh the indoors. If you have not had any renovations done in recent years and you can see on the walls, put some new paint here and there. 

Some people would rather buy an unfurnished house, but some would rather have some furniture and appliances go with the house. Houses are not cheap and it would be very nice if they came furnished, there’s no doubt about it. So, if you plan to leave all your furniture and appliances – good. But if not, my advice is to invest in a couple of pieces of furniture and appliances. Flat packs are an affordable investment that will increase your home value. Have professional inspections. Do all necessary inspection of your home – electrical, roof, basement, sewers. Make sure your home is healthy and ready to be passed onto another family. 

Bryan Raehl

Bryan works with Agronomic Lawn Management, a locally owned and operated lawn care company in Virginia Beach. 

Lawn maintenance and landscaping are one of the most affordable and simple upgrades that increase the value of your home. What’s more, landscaping is one of the few home upgrades that offers immediate satisfaction as well as continue to increase in value for years. 

A poorly maintained lawn can have a negative impact on your home’s curb appeal. Potential buyers may not even give your home’s interior a chance if they can’t see past the exterior. 

What’s more, many lawn and landscaping projects can easily be completed on your own with the help of the right products and some spare time! 

Dustin Heiner

Dustin Heiner

Dustin Heiner is a real estate investor, who also teaches others how to invest in rental properties with his blog.

The very best bang for your buck is to remodel two things; the kitchen and bathrooms. Nothing increases the appeal of a home than a new kitchen and bathroom with new cabinets, counter-tops, sinks, and fixtures. More than likely you will return double what you put into the property. 

In one property I owned, the value increased by $65,000 after I remodeled the kitchen, bathrooms, painted, and replaced the flooring. In all, I spent $20,000 for the entire remodel and sold the property for a great profit. If you want to sell a house fast, make the kitchen and the bathrooms look great for the new buyer. 

Matthew Prato

Matthew Prato

Tristategate are experts in designing custom, automated driveway gates throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Commonly work on celebrity homes, multi-million dollar properties, and gated communities.

We have direct experience with how an automated driveway gate boosts curb appeal and can raise property values.

Kitchens and bathrooms are often cited as top resale value investments, but the fact is that buyers start assessing value at the curb, and the driveway is a home’s first impression.

Crime Doctors states that a driveway gate can add as much as $50,000 to property values! A gated residence increases security and makes a luxury impression. Prospective buyers put a premium value on safety and curb appeal, and a residential driveway gate does both.

The same goes for gated communities. Gated entrances with security measures such as RFID (EZ-Pass style cards), security cameras, and keypad entry systems provide residents with assurance that solicitors and potential thieves will be deterred from entering their communities. This often translates into higher resale value.

Ed Ferry

Ed Ferry

Ed Ferry is owner of Exotic Gardens, a landscape designer in Morgan Hill

Curb appeal and backyard upgrades can both have a massive impact on your home’s resale price. First impressions matter in real estate and everything else, but your options for letting your home create stronger first impressions are limited. It may not be practical to repaint your house, and anything else beyond cleaning and small repairs can quickly become a big investment. Landscaping your front yard, especially when combined with new landscape lighting, can have a dramatic impact and provide a strong ROI. 

For your backyard, the impact of landscaping is a little milder, but the right hardscaping could add value in a much more concrete way. Consider adding a grilling station, pergola, permanent fire pit, putting green, or outdoor pizza oven to wow potential buyers and help your home stick out in a crowded market. Be sure to speak with a real estate agent to see which backyard hardscape features are the most in demand in your area. 

Brian Jacobs

Brian Jacobs

Brian Jacobs is a broker owner at Network Property Group, LLC

With 80% of shoppers looking for their home online, curb appeal is huge, good news it is also cheap bringing a huge return on investment. If you are selling in the winter months when it gets dark early invest in outdoor lighting as some showings will be in the early evening. Kitchen remodels generally do not pay off, however if the kitchen really needs a remodel they can be done on the cheap and while you may not get more money you may sell quicker which does have an inherent value. When hiring a realtor ask if they use a professional photographer shooting in HDR with blue sky replacement.

Dean Solis

Dean Solis is an editor at KitchenFaucetDepot

One of the fastest and most affordable ways to increase the value of a home is to improve its faucets and fixtures. Think about the last time you stepped into an older home – or even an older hotel room. The old faucets seemed tarnished, maybe dirty, and perhaps they didn’t seem to function very well.

That first impression of a faucet expands to the rest of the space. Faucets and fixtures are what catch the eye first when we enter a room. If they look fantastic and offer multiple features of functionality, then the rest of the space receives a positive vibe too.

Since the kitchen is often the busiest room in a home, it only makes sense to begin the faucet upgrade there.

Think about future use. Many kitchens have commercial-like faucets today because in 2007, people were cutting back on spending and cooking at home. Many of these faucets could use an upgrade more than a decade later. What will the average person need from their kitchen in 5-10 years?

Coordinate with a specific look. A kitchen faucet that looks out of place is one that will provide a negative first impression. Match colors instead of mixing them. An oil-rubbed bronze faucet in a white kitchen will look out of place.

Get the installation right. Buyers like to fiddle with the faucets and other fixtures during an open house. Make sure the kitchen faucet is properly installed and working as it should to keep the real and perceived value of the home high.

Buyers appreciate consistency with the simple comforts a home provides. Get that right and it will put their minds at ease about the quality of the home.

John Michael Grafft

John Michael Grafft

John Michael Grafft – Vice President | Top Producing Realtor 

One thing that is just as important as increasing the value of your home is reducing the amount of time it sits on the market when the time comes to sell. If you’re redoing your master bathroom, make sure to include a heated floor. While relatively inexpensive when remodeling, it is something that makes the property stand out from others. 

– Always use soft close cabinetry for cabinets. 
– Installing smart home outlets and switches at strategic points in the home. 
– Use Quartz for countertops.
– Porcelain tiles in 1/3 and 1/4 joint staggered patterns.
– Even consider removing your master bathroom tub and installing a large, luxurious shower. 

Beverly DePew Cook

Beverly DePew Cook

Beverly DePew Cook is an associate broker 

First of all, do not put in a pool and think your home will increase in value at the expense that you paid for a pool. This is a common misconception. Pools are not appraised for value, but only for function. A pool is a convenience, but not an added influence to the price of the home. 

But, you can increase the value of your home with simple upgrades. The interior paint keeping up with today’s trends is a simple fix. When a buyer looks at a house that needs paint, even though paint can be inexpensive, they think in their mind a total overhaul. Get rid of paneling and brass. Those items are outdated and headaches for the HGTV watching buyer. Kitchens and bathrooms can be costly, but upgrading hardware, paint, backslashes are all easily done and most of the time affordable hacks for resell. 

Value is tied to an emotion of appearance and how much work one feels there is within the home. A little paint and a few touch ups go a long way. Don’t spend your money on the wrong upgrades.

Zac Heisey 

Zac Heisey

Zac Heisey is Director of Marketing at Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remode. We’re a 4-generation home remodeling company serving San Diego homeowners since 1975.

Curb Appeal: Impressing prospective home buyers starts with enhancing your home’s curb appeal. To help your home deliver a lasting first impression, consider hiring a landscape architect to augment both your front and back yards to provide a major facelift to your entire outdoor living space. Failing to properly maintain your home’s landscape and exterior can decrease its value by 10%!

Heating, Plumbing, and Electrical: Outdated plumbing, heating, sewer, and electrical can be a major deal breaker when it comes to selling your home. These basic necessities may not be much to look at, but they certainly influence a buyer’s decision. They also go a long way towards helping to save money when it comes to energy use and utility costs, another selling point for prospective buyers.

Kitchens & Bathrooms: The kitchen has transformed from a single-purpose room to the main hub of the home. Nearly any kitchen improvement that you make to will add value to your home, even if it’s as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint. Upgrading appliances, adding custom cabinetry, and improving lighting are just a few mid-level kitchen enhancements that can seriously increase your home’s value.

The National Association of Home Builders reports that adding just another half bathroom can add as much as 10.5% to the value of the home. A full bathroom? As much as 20%. Buyers are becoming increasingly concerned with the number of bathrooms they are purchasing, along with bedrooms. In some regions, you can recoup up to 67% of what you spend to remodel or add a new bathroom.

Basements & In-Law Suites: Transforming your basement square footage into livable space is a smart way to increase property value without the expense of a full-scale home addition. Basements can be transformed into an extra living area, game room, or even a children’s play area. Even if you only convert part of your basement into a living area, you’ll still be adding value and enjoyment to your home..

The combination of an aging population, increasing real estate costs, and limited space for residential development has led to an increased interest in multi-generational housing options. Specifically, the building of in-law suites as a way to add square footage – and value – to one’s property. According to 2013 survey from The National Association of Realtors, The rooms that buyers were willing to pay the most for were a basement and an in-law suite. Thirty-three percent of buyers would be willing to pay a median of $3,200 more for a home with a basement, and 20 percent of buyers would be willing to pay a median of $2,920 more for a home with an in-law suite.

Aaron Norris

Aaron Norris

Aaron is a real estate investor, realtor, and hard money lender.

Increasing the value of your home is as simple as looking at your competition. There is such a thing as over-improving your property, or worse, making wrong changes that are really expenses that you’ll never recover when you go to sell.

Pay attention to sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin. You’ll see firsthand what is being listed and the prices the homes ultimately sell for. You’ll learn in just a few months what consumers in that area are willing to pay for and what they won’t. as an example, putting in a pool where I live in the Inland Empire would likely not fully recover the cost involved but doing so 45 minutes away in Palm Springs could not only recoup the cost but see prices increases on the value.

Or, you could just hire a local expert in the neighborhood. Pay attention to the names of Realtors that sell a lot of properties in your neighborhood because they’ll be able to give you specifics of what to do and what not to do. Time is money and you may be going down a rabbit trail you don’t need to go down. They’ll bring their listing experience and the feedback they’ve seen firsthand from appraisers and the lenders.

Laura Slawny

Laura Slawny

Laura Slawny is a Publicist at Pitch Public Relations.

If the home has a pool, adding something as simple as a pool fence will help sellers meet city codes and give potential buyers peace of mind. Life Saver Pool Fences made in the U.S.A with the strongest mesh on the market, plus self-latching and self-locking gates, rounded edges, and triple-reinforced solid poles. Unlike metal bars, Life Saver Pool Fences come in stylish colors and can be removed and reinstalled by the homeowner to adapt for growing families and rental units! DIY kits also available to save money. 

Lauren Haynes

Lauren Haynes is currently a cleaning and home organizing expert at Star Domestic Cleaners.

Declutter and remove the unnecessary and sentimental items. Nobody will like a messy property, so make sure it is properly decluttered. Remove all the things which don’t contribute to the overall look of the place or just don’t have any practical purpose. You should also take care of everything sentimental. You definitely don’t want the potential buyers to feel like in somebody else’s property.

Whether the floor is already covered, a rug can always bring more style, colour, and softness to the property. Available in different shapes and colours – rugs will make the place feel cozier than ever.

Focus on cleaning the top eye catcher places and things. When cleaning, always follow the top-to-bottom and left-to-right rule for each room in the house. Then you should focus on the top eye catcher places and things, where the potential buyers will look at first. Things like kitchen appliances, floors and bathrooms definitely get attention, so make them spotless and perfectly sanitized.

If the property feels dark and boring, opt for a floor lighting and lamps which will definitely bring a lot of ambiance and character to the place.

Clogged gutters can easily cause a water backup and a leaking roof. As a result, moisture will get inside and mold and mildew will grow. That is why you have to make a proper inspection and if necessary to call an expert to clean gutters and downspouts properly. When aware of this fact, the potential customer will definitely feel more confident about the property condition.

Karen Gray-Plaisted

Karen Gray-Plaisted

Karen Gray-Plaisted is the owner of Design Solutions KGP, LLC

As a professional home stager I see a lot of homes. My goal is to achieve the biggest bang for the buck for clients. One frequent recommendation is paint. Either correcting wall colors or giving walls a fresh coat, both greatly improve the perceived value. If the house has not been built or updated in the past 5 years, light fixtures are another improvement that make an impact. Employing a professional stager prior to selling is well worth the investment if you are not up on current design trends. They will be able to blend and update existing furnishings that will be desirable to buyers. The more desirable the house is, the more buyers will book appointments to view it. 

Lucas Machado

Lucas Machado

Lucas Machado is the President of House Heroes LLC. The company buys homes off the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), as well as from homeowners via internet and direct-mail marketing, fixes them and then aims to sell them on for a profit. As well as this, Lucas also provides lending to individuals buying homes to fix and flip for a profit themselves. He’s also co-owner of House Heroes Realty LLC, a licensed real estate brokerage that provides real estate agent services. Thus, his businesses purchase homes, sells homes, lend on the purchase and sale of homes, and provide realtor services in the purchase/sale of homes. Estimating home values after repairs is essentially what Lucas does for a living. 

Know your neighborhood! Some improvements pay off more than others.

Home sellers taking a “one size fits all” approach can waste thousands if not tens of thousands on property improvements. The goal of renovations is to increase property value, but spending exorbitant sums on renovations does not necessarily create a return on investment. For example, adding a 4th bedroom in a college town might not increase value at all. Luxury finishings in a regular neighborhood can appear out of place. Prior to expending thousands on fixing up a property, homeowners should look around the neighborhood to see what renovations “fit in.” High end materials in rental property are irrelevant to landlords. 

The key is to study comparable sales and active listings. Look at the highest and best sales to see how the renovations paid off. Also look at active listings that have been on the market for a while – this will tell you what is *not* paying off. 

Those delving into renovations beyond patch and paint must be careful. Every municipality has specific rules and regulations concerning how you may use your house and land. If you do major home renovations (such as a furnace, pool, or additional bedroom) most cities require getting a permit. If you don’t, the prospective home buyer may cancel the contract or demand that you get the permits before closing the sale. 

My two favorite tips for quickly increasing value that generally work are removing carpeting and re-surfacing. 

Modern home buyers are turned off by carpeting. Laying down a shiny new wood floor across easily pays for itself several times over. There are also good alternatives to traditional wood floors. Home renovators can buy engineered or laminate wood for a fraction of the cost of an expensive floor.

As to re-surfacing, just because something looks worn or beaten down *doesn’t mean* it needs to be replaced. Re-surfacing adds considerable market value – without breaking the bank. You can surface floors, cabinets, appliances, bathrooms.

Maria Nicholson

Maria Nicholson

Maria is the owner of Project Build Construction Group Inc based out of Laguna Hills, California. Over the past few years, Project Build Construction Group has been ranked as one of the top General Contracting companies out of Laguna Hills; and is highly regarded across many review sites like Yelp and others.

There are many ways to increase the value of a home and it depends on how much a homeowner is willing to invest. Homeowners who are trying to sell their house fairly quick may have a few things they can do without shelling out a lot of money. Most buyers like to purchase a turn-key type of property where they need not have to spend more to suit their needs and maybe wants. A fresh coat of neutral color paint that will allow them the flexibility to decorate or use their furniture and fixtures can make it more appealing. This may not add to the value of the home but it will be more marketable. Curb appeal is also important so it is a good idea to have the landscaping trimmed or pruned if the house has overgrown bushes, uncut grass, etc. Get the windows cleaned, clean and declutter the house so the potential buyer can have a good visual of the space.

For those homeowners who may not be selling or want to do improvements to increase the value of the home, the kitchen and the bathroom are areas that can give the best return on their investment. Open spaces, hard surface flooring, updating kitchen cabinets, countertops, vanities, bathroom wall and floor tiles, and fixtures can definitely give the home a fresh look and will make them fall in love with their home again. Kitchen and bathroom remodels may not be as draining to the pocketbook as most people think. Replacing old windows with more energy efficient ones is another good way to invest in the home.

The current trend is that of homes that are functional, energy efficient, and easy to maintain. Homeowners who have a realistic budget in mind and time to shop around can find great deals on finish materials that will help achieve that. Do not skimp on labor though because the most expensive materials will look like crap if not done correctly. Do not let price be your deciding factor when hiring tradesmen, cheap is cheap and there is a reason why. Check references, read their reviews online, and ask for photos of their work, and not to mention their credentials such as licensing, insurance, etc.

Adding square footage to the home either by expanding or going up with a second level is definitely going to increase the value of the home but be very careful that such addition does not put the home way out of range for comparables within the neighborhood. When doing so, bear in mind that this takes a lot of time and patience from obtaining plans, getting them approved, and the whole construction process. Questions homeowners need to ask are:

– Can they live through the construction, as it will cause disruption 
in their daily lives? 
– Do they have enough buffer in case there are issues that will come 
up which can drive the cost of the construction?
– Are they up to acting as their own general contractor to manage all 
aspects of the construction from start to finish while keeping a full-time job, or do they have enough budget set aside to have a general contractor oversee the whole project? 

Before investing on a remodeling or addition project, homeowners need to make sure that first, they will enjoy the improvements, and second, do as much research if the goal is to get returns on investment and increase the value of their home. Always remember that happiness has no price tag so if it will make them happy and they can afford it, GO FOR IT!

Tony Bai 

Tony Bai

Tony Bai is a real estate-agent

As a realtor, part of my job is to help clients get the most value from their home when they sell it. All of my suggestions are always based on the foundation that clients should spend the LEAST amount of money necessary to get the MOST value when they sell. This DOES NOT mean that the client will spend the least amount of money-that would be a sale where NO money is spent by the homeowner and usually called an as is sale(which is sometimes what I recommend anyhow). For example, this DOES mean that I advise my clients to NOT spend $40,000 for a remodeled kitchen because you will NOT recoup that value when you sell the home. 

Here is a list of things that in general can / should be done in order to maximize the value of your home when you sell it. 

Use a Real Estate Agent: To a select small group of the general public known as FSBO’s (for sale by owner) they do not follow this advice.

Professional FULL-TIME real estate agents do this for a living. They are aware of the ins and outs of the market because they follow it daily and make their livelihoods from that knowledge. You can look up your medical symptoms online and come up with a pretty good self diagnosis for your illness, but when push comes to shove and your life could potentially be on the line, aren’t you going to find the best professional possible? Your home should be no different. For most of us, it is the most valuable assets that we own and for all intents and purposes our financial life depends on it. Shouldn’t you find the best professional possible to take care of it for you? FSBO’s are consistently a very small percentage of the resale market. Why do you think that is? There are many savvy home owners who have fancy degrees, multiple properties, and maybe are even full time real estate investors, BUT even full time investors usually use an agent to sell their home for them. There has to be a reason, right? Think about it. If an investor whose livelihood depends on extracting maximum value from a property is using a real estate agent, what makes the average homeowner think they shouldn’t? 

Price It Right the First Time: This might seem obvious, but this does NOT mean price it as high as possible the first time. Value for seller can come in many forms-with the ultimate goal for most sellers is to get the most money at the conclusion of the sale. For example:

If the seller has already moved out of the home and it is vacant. He has already bought another home. Every day he does NOT sell the home, he is paying a carrying cost (usually a mortgage payment, property taxes, or utilities, but could include advertising costs, staging costs etc. In general, if the seller overprices his home he has already potentially lost 10-40% of his buyer pool. Now you MIGHT get away with it in a seller’s market if rising pricing catches up to the overpriced listing, BUT you might not and you still LOSE the carrying costs because of time and potentially might lose your buyer pool anyhow. Overpricing a home in a buyers market is the kiss of death for a home. You are playing catch-up the whole time and losing potential buyers, and carrying costs all the way down, all the while increasing the inventory of homes you are competing against. 

Deep Clean It: This might sound obvious enough, but a quick look through any listings provider like Zillow or Redfin and you are guaranteed to find some awful, disgusting, and even frightening listing photos. No one wants to see rings around your toilet bowl, or pink slime stains in the shower, or dirty bathroom vents, or dirty plantation shutters, or open a smelly closet, refrigerator. In fact, no one wants to smell anything other than clean and fresh when they come to view your home. Don’t forget to clean the windows! A bright home sells almost always sells better so make sure potential buyers see as much sunlight as possible without having to look through a filthy window. If you are selling your car and want to get the most money possible, wouldn’t you give it a car wash and get the bird poop off your windshield? Wouldn’t you vacuum the mats, and wipe down wheels to make them as shiney as possible to make the car look as new and in as good a condition as possible so you can get the most value for it? Most homes are worth a whole lot more than most cars. Please get a proper professional cleaning before selling your home. 

Stage It: Yes, even sometimes an owner who is a decorator might get some advice for me to stage their home. Why? Because the goal of selling the home is to get the potential buyer to feel and imagine that the home is already theirs. We want to appeal to the largest audience of buyers possible or to the targeted audience as much as possible. In order to successfully accomplish this, we usually want to present the home in a neutral palette and design. Meaning no jarring colored walls or decorations or furniture-even if that nude painting is worth a gazillion dollars it does not usually help sell the home. Or if your taste in decor is more Addams Family than Main Street, that might be great for your enjoyment while living there, BUT that does NOT help to sell the home – of course unless you are targeting that specific type of buyer. 

A few thousand dollars is very well spent money to extract the most value from your home when selling it. The return is usually multiple or exponential the investment, unlike most large remodeling costs which rarely if ever even break even on the investment costs. 

Do Some Small Remodeling/Repairs: Replacing out dated appliances or putting on a fresh coat of paint inside and outside the home are both relatively minor costs and can make a big difference in the overall feel of the home. Repairing and repainting old water stained ceiling/walls is usually a good idea. Obviously any holes in walls, broken windows or window screens, broken/damaged doors, are all minor costs that can go a long way in adding value to the home. Even freshening up the landscaping, getting rid of weeds in the lawn, reseeding the lawn, trimming the bushes, planting some blooming colorful flowers improves curb appeal with minimal costs and effort. 

List the home contingent free: Homes that are contingent upon the seller finding a replacement property almost always take longer to sell and turn away many potential buyers. Be willing to temporarily move somewhere else if you must, but make the sale of your home contingent free. This makes it a cleaner and easier transaction and gives the buyer less reason to walk away from the deal.

Janice B. Leis

Janice B. Leis, ABR

Janice B. Leis has been in the real estate industry for more than 25 years. She holds licenses as an associate broker in Florida and Pennsylvania and a sales associate license in New Jersey.

Ask buyers to make a list of items that need upgrading or cosmetically unappealing. Make a ‘repair a month’ or a year, but try and keep to that seasonal change. By seasonal I refer to painting or landscaping which typically is addressed in spring (depends where you live geographically). 

– Window replacements – looks better but main reason being for efficiency 
– Bathrooms – if tile is in good shape a simple switch of a sink/reglazing of a tub/painting/new handles on cabinets/faucets a facelift!! 
– Remove ugly wallpaper; try a neutral light beige colour. Make it warm with accessories, not loud with crazy paint colours.
– Add moulding to accentuate/define warmth of a room unless it does not fit the home style 
– Work on the exterior of your home; take away huge bushes around perimeter! Keep away burglars and open up the house to make it look larger & highlight! 
– Keep it painted and repaired! 
– Make the house stand out and be one that people admire; when the time comes to sell, everyone flocks to the beautiful house that has been updated smartly 
– Do a kitchen renovation with carefully thought out ideas, whether it is opening a wall or placing a farm style sink. Don’t ‘overdo’ it, make it functional and useful!

The Best Plants for Your Conservatory [Infographic]

British summers aren’t very good, and neither are the winter months. During the colder months, your conservatory can look a little dull, cold and unwelcoming. Well, there’s a simple fix for that! Add a little greenery to your conservatory. Plants are a great way to brighten any room, adding colour and personality with minimal effort. Most people use their conservatory to store outdoor plants during the winter months, but having permanent indoor plants is also a great idea! Choose the right ones and reap the benefits; from decreasing stress levels to improving concentration and boosting energy. Plants are an amazing addition.

Best Plants for your Conservatory