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Seller Tips

Budget-Friendly Home Improvements That Increase Home Value

When selling your home, making it look attractive to buyers is one of the first steps to a quick sell. While a quick sale is great, selling your home for as much money as possible (while still on a budget) is next level!

Big home improvements can be costly and time consuming, but there are many affordable updates you can tackle on your own that will make your home more appealing and desirable on the market. This may mean more money in your pocket when it comes to closing time!

**Note that making any kind of small improvements to your home could increase the value of your home. As you make upgrades, both big and small, the desirability and value may also increase. 

Updates in the Kitchen:

Spruce Up Your Backsplash

If you have a boring backsplash and want a cheap update, there are affordable peel & stick tiles or overlays found on Etsy. Upgrading your backsplash will add instant appeal and can completely change the look of your entire kitchen! Check out these awesome peel and stick tiles on Etsy:

 

RePaint Your Kitchen Cabinets

Sure, this is a daunting one, but we all know how important kitchens are for buyers! Your kitchen has been well lived-in (and loved) and there are probably many memories, stains, and scratches that you may not notice, but buyers will.

Replacing the entire kitchen can be extremely expensive, but a DIY fresh coat of paint on your cabinets will make your kitchen feel new - something all potential buyers want! 

Upgrade Your Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

After you have newly painted cabinets, add new hardware. This is one of the best ways to upgrade your kitchen on a budget because it adds instant appeal. You can find affordable cabinet hardware at Home Depot

Change Out Your Kitchen Lighting

New decorative lights in the kitchen will instantly update the space and make your kitchen feel new and inviting. There are many affordable pendant lights at Home Depot for under $50, or, check your local thrift store, as you can sometimes find awesome vintage chandeliers, pendants, or other kitchen lighting!

If you're in New Hampshire, check out Revived Furniture & Home Decor. It's a great family business and they have very unique, vintage lighting for affordable prices! Check them out HERE.

$29.00 at Revived Furniture & Home Decor

 

Laundry Space Upgrades:

Most buyers look for a decent laundry space during their home search. While it may not be a deal-breaker in some cases, it never hurts to give it a little upgrade. Here are a few ways to upgrade your laundry space:

Add storage and/or shelves

If you have a large laundry room, add storage and shelving in blank spaces. If you have a laundry closet, add shelves in any space you have left :-)

Laundry Room Shelving or Cabinet

Add a Decorative Rod For Clothes - This is a cheap way to make your laundry space feel complete. Find a decorative curtain rod, or, install a hanging/shelve system!

 

Bathroom Upgrades:

Replacing an entire bathroom can cost you thousands, but there are many upgrades you can make on a smaller budget:

Change out the vanity

No, it's not as expensive as you think! You can find very affordable vanities at Home Depot for under $200! If you want a pop of color, purchase an unfinished wood vanity and paint it the color of your choice!

Add Storage, Medicine Cabinet, or Mirror

Buyers LOVE storage, so you can never have enough. Adding additional shelving, a medicine cabinet, or storage mirror in the bathroom will add instant appeal when buyers start exploring the home in person. In addition, if you have a small bathroom, a storage mirror will be a big bonus. You can find affordable storage mirrors and medicine cabinets at Home Depot

For powder rooms, add a decorative mirror to make the space feel spacious and inviting. You can find very affordable, decorative mirrors at TJ Maxx, Home Goods, & Marshalls!

Adding storage can be as simple as floating shelves or hanging cabinets (things that will stay with the home when you sell).

Update the Shower Head 

Adding a large, new shower head can make the shower, and entire bathroom, feel updated and new! Even better, this is an easy installation and DIY! You can find affordable shower heads at Home Depot or Lowes. 

Other Upgrades:

Update Your Closets

If your closets are boring and basic, you can upgrade the look of every closet in your home with a few budget-friendly changes! Adding additional storage, and optimizing space in all closets is key - we basically don't want to just be able to hang things.

Remember, buyers love storage! In bedroom closets, add extra clothing and shoe storage with shelving or install a DIY clothing system. These systems (shown below) can be found for under $200 and will instantly attract buyers when they open closet doors to explore! Add similar shelving and storage in coat closets!

Update The Thermostat

If you have central heat and air, this is a great way to make the home feel "new" to buyers. Especially in older or out-dated homes, when you have new technology, it helps make the home feel updated throughout.

A Nest Thermostat is very popular these days, and it can be purchased for under $200! Make sure to do your research and ensure you're purchasing a thermostat that works with your current systems. 

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Last but certainly not least, clean your home! Making your home spotless may not increase the value of your home drastically, but a dirty house will decrease the value - food for thought!

 

 For more seller tips, you can also check out our articles:

 8 Affordable Ways to Make Your Home More Attractive to Buyers

10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

12 Ways to Upgrade Your Backyard on a Budget

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12 Ways to Upgrade Your Backyard on a Budget

12 Ways to Upgrade Your Backyard on a Budget

Everyone loves a good backyard, but redoing your entire backyard may seem like a daunting job. The good news is there are many affordable upgrades you can make on your own! These budget-friendly upgrades will have your backyard looking cozy and inviting in no time, without breaking the bank!

In addition, if you're trying to sell your home, making these changes to your backyard will definitely please potential buyers! When spaces feel cozy and comfortable, that means a quicker sell!

1. DIY Patio

DIY Gravel Patio

If you already have a patio or deck, skip to #2. If you're in need of a patio or deck, keep reading!

Patios can be costly to build, however, a gravel patio is by far the easiest, and cheapest way to build one on a budget. A gravel patio is made by clearing your desired space, building a simple border, laying down landscape fabric, and dropping your gravel! Check out these easy instructions from City Farmhouse.

2. Add A Dining or Bistro Set

Large dining sets can be costly and set you back a few thousand. However, you can find more affordable larger dining sets at Ikea, Target, Wayfair, and Overstock!

If you're on a tighter budget, try searching for outdoor bistro sets. These 3 piece dining sets can seat 2 people, and can add instant appeal to any backyard nook, garden, patio, or deck! Check out some affordable dining & bistro sets below:

Wayfair Bistro Set

 

3. Build A Bar!

You may have to be a little handy to do this DIY, but making your own bar can save you a ton of $! You can buy pallets, or, you can search around for some stores who throw away their extra pallets. Some stores have certain rules that prevent them from giving their pallets away, but if you see a few next to a business, it never hurts to ask!

Check out this DIY pallet bar on Pinterest from 1001 Pallets:

DIY Pallet Bar

4. Add Comfortable Seating

No, we're not talking about fold up chairs! Having comfortable seating will immediately transform your space and make you want to be outdoors. Whether your budget is $30 or $300, you can find very affordable outdoor seating at Wayfair.com and Overstock.com (they give 10-15% off your first purchase online if you sign up for their emails!). You can also try Amazon.com - but make sure you check their reviews to ensure the product and seller is legit!

AMAZON TIP: If you're ever looking at a product on Amazon and start wondering if their reviews are legit, go to fakespot.com and paste the amazon product link into their website. Fake Spot analyzes every Amazon review and will give you a score from A-F on whether they're legit or not (A is the best, F is the worst).  

 

5. Add a Rug

Outdoor rugs are a great way to enhance any space! You can place a decorative mat at your backyard door - these are great for wiping off shoes when coming and going inside. You can find quality, large decorative mats at Home Depot for under $15! 

If you have a deck, check out Amazon, Overstock, & Wayfair for large area rugs. You can find 5'x8' area rugs (and larger) for $65 or less!

6. Build A Fire pit

DIY Firepit

You can purchase metal fire pits for under $50 - these are great for those who want to move the pit location around throughout the yard. However, for those who want a built-in fire pit, but don't want to spend a ton of money, check out this $60 DIY fire pit from Keeping It Simple Crafts

7. Add a Nook!

Everyone loves a good nook! Nooks can be anything from an outdoor mini garden, seating area (bench), pathway, reading area, or hammock space! Adding a nook to your backyard will split up the space, and make it feel more inviting and comfortable!

TIP: Design your nook to fit your hobbies and interests (e.g., reading nooks, garden nooks, nap spaces). 

 

8. Add a Walkway

This can go hand in hand with #7! Purchasing a lot of stones can be costly, however, there are many options to create a walk way on a budget:

  • Purchase fewer stones (at around $3 a piece from Home Depot) for a smaller pathway
  • Mulch pathway
  • Gravel pathway
  • Wood Pathway - planks or rounds

Place your new walkways in areas of need - empty space, entry to a nook, entry to a door, wrap to front of home, etc. Check out these DIY pathway ideas from Bob Vila

9. Hang Lights

Adding string lights will make your space feel comfortable and soo cozy! You don't need to go overboard and buy hundreds of lights. You can find very affordable outdoor string lights at Home Depot, and all you need is a few strands to light up your space in the night for a great outdoor vibe!

10. Add a Bird Feeder & Bird House

A cute bird house will add a nice touch to your backyard, and even better, you can attract all sorts of beautiful birds! Bird feeders are a little more complicated since different types of seeds will attract different types of birds. Either way, attracting more birds to your backyard will make your space feel like a natural oasis!

11. Add an Herb or Vegetable Garden

This tip will definitely make your backyard feel more homey, but it is surely a bigger task to take on than the rest! If you don't have a lot of time for gardening, trying planting something easier, such as an herb garden (Rosemary, Dill, Lemongrass, Thyme, Basil, etc).

If you're ready to take the next step and grow some veggies, make sure you do your local research to see what grows best in your area (and when it grows best). 

For beginners, check out the 10 Best Vegetables to Grow for Beginners by Our Inspired Roots.

12. Buy a Hedge Trimmer & String Trimmer

This one is worth it, and may sound more costly than it actually is. Hedge trimmers and string trimmers are game-changers, and you can purchase both for less than $100 at Home Depot or Lowes.

Hedge trimmers obviously trim hedges, bushes, etc. String trimmers tackles what your lawn mower can't, like that stubborn long grass or weeds around tree trunks and rock walls. Both of these tools are well worth the money and will make your backyard feel clean and landscaped!

 

10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Decor

Whether you're hosting guests or selling your home, curb appeal matters! A clean and inviting exterior makes guests (and potential buyers) feel warm and welcome.

Professional landscaping can be costly, but there are plenty of affordable ways to boost your home's curb appeal without breaking the bank.

Check out these 10 easy, budget-friendly ways to boost your home's curb appeal:

1. Light Up Your Gardens & Walkways

Dark homes feel uninviting. For a welcoming vibe, add some affordable landscape lighting! Line your walkways and/or gardens with solar powered landscape lights. You can find these at Home Depot for 6$ each (or less), and they're low maintenance and powered by the sun!

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Decor

2. Refresh the Front Door

A new coat of paint on the font door can make all the difference, and shouldn't cost more than $25 to DIY! If you're feeling bold, choose a color to make the whole exterior pop.  Make sure to purchase quality outdoor paint to prevent chipping and protect from harsh weather. 

When choosing a door color, choose a few options and bring the swatches outside in the natural light (day & night) before you make your final decision. To ensure you love your color, grab a few sample colors and paint them on your door. Look at the colors in all sorts of outdoor lighting (daytime, night time, cloudy, sunny, etc). 

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Decor

3. Add a Wreath

Wreaths are not just for Christmas! Adding a wreath to your door can make visitors feel more welcome, and there are many types of wreaths for all seasons. Some wreaths can be very expensive, but you can also make your own for cheap!

There are many affordable wreaths on Amazon.com. While most of these wreathes are bare, you can decorate them yourself with dollar store finds including: faux flowers, burlap ribbon, buttons, paint, seasonal decor, etc. 

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Decor

Amazon Wreaths

4. Update Your Outdoor Lighting

Outdated lightening can make your whole exterior feed drab. Updating your lighting will add instant curb appeal, and it can be done for an affordable price! Home Depot has many budget-friendly lights - see below:

Home Depot Lighting

5. Add Seating

If you have a porch, add seating to make the space feel more cozy! You can find affordable outdoor chairs, side tables, and benches on Wayfair.com and Overstock.com. If you sign up for their website updates, they'll give you a 10-15% off coupon for your first purchase!

If you don't have a porch, try adding a bench in a garden nook, or near the front door. Add a few outdoor pillows for more pops of color!

6. Add a Welcome Mat

Add a decorative welcome mat to create an inviting vibe right when guests step up to your door! You can find several affordable, large welcome mats under $15 at Home Depot, Wayfair, Overstock, Walmart, and Target!

7. Add Potted Plants or Hanging Baskets

Adding potted plants will boost your curb appeal immediately! If you have a porch, add a few hanging baskets to fill in empty space, and add vibrant colors to your exterior without spending a ton of money (and time) planting in the ground!

8. Update Your House Numbers and Mailbox

This is one of the cheapest ways to give your exterior an upgrade. Adding a new mailbox will help make the exterior feel fresh and new. You can also find affordable outdoor numbers at Home Depot, or, check out Etsy.com for some home made address signs!

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Decor

Etsy Address Signs

9. Add a Mini Mailbox Garden

This upgrade will add an extra boost to your new mailbox! First decide whether you want perennials or annuals. Perennial plants and flowers will come back each year and are low maintenance, but they're often less vibrant and colorful than annuals. Annuals are more maintenance, but you'll have more varieties and colors to choose from!

Perennials to Plant: 

  • Lavender
  • Verbenia
  • Rosemary
  • Hysopp
  • Daylilies

Annuals to Plant:

  • Geraniums
  • Petunias
  • Salvia
  • Zinnia

10. Decorate for the Holidays

Everyone loves holiday decorations! A few adjustments to your outdoor decor during season changes and holidays will make your home a fan favorite in the neighborhood.

We mentioned changing up wreaths during seasons and holidays, but try adding a few other decorations: pumpkins, holiday signs, and of course, winter and Christmas decor! Need some holiday inspiration? Pinterest is the place to go!

8 Affordable Ways to Make Your Home More Attractive to Buyers

Affordable Ways to Make your Home More Attractive to Buyers

You might be thinking - how can I sell my home faster? While staged homes usually sell much faster, staging can be costly. Instead of spending a ton of money on expensive updates and professional staging, check out these 8 affordable ways to make your home more attractive to potential buyers. If a home is more attractive to buyers, that means a quicker sell! 

1. Repaint

A fresh coat of paint on the walls, doors, and trim can make your home feel new, clean and well-maintained - things buyer's look for in a home! Even more, a newly painted interior is something your real estate will put in the listing description to help attract more buyers from the start.

And don't forget about the outside - we're not talking about repainting the whole exterior yourself, but a fresh coat of paint on the front door can do wonders!

Repaint

2. Update Cabinet Hardware, Lights, & Fixtures

New hardware can be a game-changer in kitchens & bathrooms, and even better, it's an affordable fix! Also, adding new light fixtures (pendants, chandeliers, wall mounts, etc) can make a home feel updated and inviting. You can find affordable hardware & fixtures on WayFair.com & at Home Depot!

Kitchen Hardware

 

3. Clean & Declutter

This is FREE (if you do it yourself)! Cleaning your own home will save you money, and will help make a good first impression with potential buyers. You also must declutter! When potential buyers see your home, they don't want to see "stuff" everywhere. They want to see open, clean, tidy spaces and rooms they can picture their own things in!

Declutter by taking down and storing away your personal items, including (but not limited to):

  • Family photos
  • Children's artwork and toys
  • Toiletries left on bathroom counters, bedside tables, and dressers
  • Piles of papers left in kitchens, office spaces, (and anywhere else!)
  • Messy wardrobes, clothes, & shoes - a good time to clean out the closet and donate clothes you don't want or need anymore!

While you're decluttering, also start organizing and storing things away - this will help with your own move! If you feel like you don't have enough space to store all your things out of sight, consider renting a storage unit. Small storage units have affordable monthly rates and can help you clear out your home without stuffing everything in closets, garages, and basements!

 

4. Spruce up the outside

Let's face it, curb appeal matters! When buyers pull up to your house, they want to see a clean exterior. Make sure you mow the lawn regularly, and ensure the yard is clean and free of debris, weeds, and unsightly brush! There are some very affordable trimmers at Home Depot for those who want to take the extra step in making the exterior look great!

Adding a few plants and pops of color (flowers) can also go a long way! It's always ideal to get a good first impression from potential buyers.

Porch

 

5. Power Wash!

We all know what a good power wash can do! Make your outdoor areas look new again by power washing decks, porches, siding, sheds, walkways, driveways, etc. This will add to the home's curb appeal and make a good first impression with potential buyers! And let's be honest, power washing can be fun, right?!

Power Washing

 

6. Bring the outside, inside!

Adding plants inside can help make a home feel "staged" and more inviting. It's also extremely trendy to have air-purifying plants inside your home these days, so plants will make potential buyers feel comfortable and homey.

If you don't want to take care of a bunch of plants, choose easy-to-maintain, resilient plants like succulents, spider plants, snake plants, or fig trees. 

Succulents

7. Hang Mirrors

Mirrors make rooms feel bigger! Placing mirrors strategically in your home (especially in smaller rooms) can make the room feel much more spacious.

Hang bigger mirrors on large, empty walls, and add a few smaller accent mirrors for show! You can find very affordable mirrors and accent mirrors at Marshall's, HomeGoods, or TJ MAXX.

   

 

8. Do-It-Yourself Staging!

Professional staging can be costly, but that doesn't mean you can't make your home look great! Check out these affordable DIY staging tips you can do on your own:

  • Rearrange your furniture to show SPACE
  • Open window treatments & blinds to show as much natural light as possible
  • Place succulents and smaller plants in bathrooms and on shelves and bedside tables
  • Place herbs in the kitchen, a fruit basket, & a few other decor items (store away any unsightly coffee machines, microwaves, toaster ovens, etc)
  • Clear your personal things and only keep decor - think about your home as a display!
  • Repaint old bathroom vanities (and you can even paint bathroom tile for an additional wow factor!) - Check out this before and after bathroom update - no professionals needed:

DIY Staging

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7 Real Estate Terms For Buyers & Sellers

As REALTORS®, we are often asked: What is a short sale? Should I buy a foreclosure? What is the MLS and why do I need to use it? So we put together a quick article to help you better understand some of these commonly-used real estate terms!

 

Check out the terms below for a quick definition and a few pros and cons:

1. SHORT SALE

A short sale is when the seller owes more on the mortgage than what the current market value is, or the sales price of the home when they are trying to sell. Short sales are sold for a price less than what is currently still owed on the mortgage by the previous owner. For sellers, a short sale is usually done to avoid a foreclosure.

Pros:

  • Sellers can avoid a foreclosure, while buyers can get a great deal on a home!
  • There is usually less competition with short sales than with foreclosures.

Cons:

  • Short sale purchases can be a lengthy process and involve more paperwork than a normal sale.
  • Special approval from lenders is required, adding to the lengthy process.
  • The property is most likely sold as-is, which may mean the house is not in great condition. 

 

2. FORECLOSURE

A foreclosure is a home that is that the previous owner defaulted on (stopped paying their mortgage) and the bank took possession of the property. Similar to how a car gets repossessed if someone stops making payments. These properties are often in a wide range of conditions and historically take more time to close on with banks, lenders, etc. While there are risks with purchasing a foreclosed home, there is also an opportunity to own a home for a very affordable price!

Pros:

  • Buyers can purchase below market value.
  • Banks often willing to give financing.
  • Higher return on your investment, as you re purchasing a home under market value
  • There may be an option to purchase in a "pre-foreclosure stage" - purchase from the seller at an affordable price, instead of the bank, before the bank reposesses the home. 

Cons:

  • Homes are sold As-Is, which can often mean the home has been neglected and not very well-maintained
  • Investors love foreclosures, so there can be a lot of competition for these types of properties in a desired area.
  • The process to purchase a foreclosure is usually a bit longer and requires more paperwork.

 

3. REVERSE MORTGAGE

A reverse mortgage is essentially a loan against the equity you've already built on your home. In other words, you can borrow from your home's equity. These types of mortgages are designated for the elderly who need cash, but do not want to, or cannot, sell their home. 

 

4. FOR SALE BY OWNER

7 Real Estate Terms For Buyers & Sellers

A for sale by owner is a property that is being sold by the owner, without a real estate agent. In this scenario, most people think they can save a lot of money by not using an agent. However, what sellers don't know is that there are a lot of costs associated with selling your home, and agents can actually save you a lot of money AND time. There are also a lot of risks for the seller and buyer as they take on liability and don't know the legalities involved.

Food for thought - would you show up to court to represent yourself after googling "how to practice law?"

 

5. A "COMP"

A comp is a home that is comparable to the specific property you're looking to buy.  Comps include recently sold homes that are in the surrounding area and are similar in size, layout, condition and features as the home you're trying to buy (or sell). Finding comps helps sellers price their home accurately, and it also gives buyers an idea of what a home for sale is worth. 

 

6. THE MLS

All REALTORS® use the MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, which is the database that provides information on properties for sale. Every property that is listed in the MLS is given its own identification number. When a listing has been uploaded into the MLS database, the MLS then shares its data (the listing) with EVERY real estate website that allows you to search its properties.

 

7. MLS NUMER

Ever wonder why almost every home that is listed by a REALTOR has an MLS number? Every property that is uploaded into the MLS is given its own identification number, or MLS number, to organize and identify properties. When a property/home is purchased/sold, that MLS number is then considered "used up".

 

So, what's the best website to use to search available properties?

This answer is easy, it’s www.Keelerfamily.com Keeler Family

In all seriousness, we are often asked what the best website is to search for available listings. In reality, all real estate websites use something called an IDX. Some IDX’s are better than others, but the IDX establishes a direct data connection between the MLS and the website using it. This allows you to search the MLS database on your website. It’s like using a search engine to help you sift through what you want to find on the Internet, but in this case, it's only properties.

Our IDX is ideal, and I like to consider keelerfamily.com the “GOOGLE” of real estate websites, but I could be bias!  

 

Paul Hrycuna

 

Excitement or Fear? How To Have Peace Of Mind When Pricing Your Home

Blog Post: How to Have Peace of Mind When Pricing Your Home

Featured Agent Article Written by KFR REALTOR®: David Lovlien

 

You are about to place your beloved home on the market, your REALTOR® called you yesterday about placing a sign on the front lawn, but you are filled with fear because you are unsure about the selling price.

 

First off, don’t panic and take a deep breath. Feeling nervous about selling your home is normal. Every Seller that I know wants to make sure they they receive top dollar for their casa in this booming real estate market.

 

The first step to making sure your home is priced right is by hiring a quality REALTOR® that you trust. You may like your REALTOR® but if you do not trust them how can you be sure that your home is priced right?

Trusting your REALTOR® is crucial to a smooth transaction. Your REALTOR® is the professional that has experience making deals in your market, has scoured the MLS data to see what comparable properties are going for, and is a master negotiator and marketeer.

Unless you have extensive experience, training, and licensing in the real estate industry, you need to rely on your REALTOR® to price your home. Not listening to your REALTOR® would be like going into court without an attorney. The result is you lose. Your REALTOR® wants you to win big on the successful sale of your home because that’s who we are.

A quality REALTOR® who knows the market is going to crunch the numbers using a comparative market analysis, run the CMA by their team for an extensive review, and reveal to you the best price to list your home. This is the price you should sell your home for if you trust your REALTOR®.

By Pricing your home strategically and at market value you are only receiving 60% of Buyer viewership in the market place. Many Sellers are astounded when they hear this Statistic.

Before consulting with a REALTOR® many Sellers think they are getting near 100% of Buyer viewership, but they are wildly mistaken. By listing your home for only 10% above the market value, you are eliminating your Buyer viewership in half leaving your home to only be viewed by about 30% of Buyers (Not good).

By listing your home 10% below market value you are going to receive around 75% of Buyer viewership. This can be a great strategy especially if inventory is tight which may lead to a bidding war. During a bidding war, you may likely receive more money than you are originally asking as Buyers compete for your home.

If your home is priced right the offers will roll in during this sizzling hot Seller’s market here in the 603. There will be no need to have any fear as you have trusted your REALTOR® and know you are going to sell your home for top dollar! 

Warmest regards,

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