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Easy Updates Before You Sell in Chester County, PA

by Scott Darling

Once you decide to sell your home, you want it to look its best, and a total remodel may be out of your budget.  Thankfully, there are some quick and affordable updates to add to your home to give it some extra style and character, not to mention the added value! 

 

  • - You can add crown molding to your rooms with little carpentry know-how.  Plaster-covered foam molding is available in many styles, and anyone with a measuring tape, hand saw and some paint can install it.  This Old House has a how-to for this easy update. 

  • - Clean up and, if necessary, paint your front entry door.  Add a new light sconce, and get a new welcome mat. 

  • - Electrical outlets are usually not something you think about upgrading, but outlets with a built-in USB port are available at home centers, and are impressive to potential home buyers because of the convenience they offer.  Put them near the kitchen counter, and a few in the bedrooms for easy access. 

  • - Cleaning the grout in the bathrooms, or even re-grouting can make your floor and tile look shiny-new. 

  • - Upgrade your doors’ and cabinets’ hardware for every room if it’s outdated. 

  • - Paint rooms a neutral color; grey and beige--even a mix called “greige”--are trendy right now if you don’t want all-white walls. 

  • - Add potted flowers or plants to your front entry for a welcome sight--just don’t forget to water them! 

  • - Check your crawl space for any falling insulation, and replace it. 

  • - Change out any dated light sconces and chandeliers. 

  • - A new shower curtain and decorative towels can do wonders for your bathroom. 

  • - The right backsplash in the kitchen can really make it stand out and look like new.  There are many DIY options, and the self-stick products on the market now make this task go much faster for the novice. 

  • - A chair rail and wainscoting in the dining area adds a nice eye-catching architectural detail. 

  • - Most experts advise taking down your window curtains while your home is on the market, but you want some color on the windows. A cornice box is an easy project to try, and cover them with your (now) old curtain fabric. 

 

You want your home to make a great impression as soon as a possible new owner walks to the front door.  Small details can make a big impact on their decision, and as the seller, it’s your call on what makes your home sell.  Walk through with your Realtor, and ask for suggestions from them, as they are the expert.  Tackle what projects are within your budget, and hopefully you’ll soon be reaping the rewards! 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: imailhk.com

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for April 2018

by Scott Darling

Chester County PA Real Estate Market Trends for April 2018

Chester County PA single family homes saw pending sales increase by 11.3% in April 2018 when compared to April 2017. 513 homes sold in April with a median sales price of $318,000, a 2.6% increase from April 2017.  The average sales price increased by 1.1%, and homes were on the market 15 days less.

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Warm Weather Water Savers in Chester County, PA!

by Scott Darling

Days of lounging by the pool or in a hammock with a good book while the children play in the sprinkler are on the horizon, and you can’t wait to wash the pollen off the car, not to mention the grime from Winter on the car tires.  Spring and Summer is probably when we use more water than other times of the year, and there are ways we can conserve and avoid a high water bill for the next few months. 

 

  • - We shower more in the Summer, so conserve by shortening your shower time by just two minutes, and save 150 gallons of water per month! 

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  • - Keeping our landscaping green uses a great deal of water, and if you have a sprinkler system, make sure the timer is set for morning or evening, and that the showers aren’t falling on the driveway.  Pay close attention to the weather, and turn off the timer whenever a good chance of rain is predicted. 

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  • - Keep a pitcher filled with water inside the fridge for a thirst quencher instead of running the water from the faucet and waiting for it to get cold. 

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  • - Cut your grass on a higher setting, because the longer blades help shade the turf, and in turn, holds water better, so you’ll have to water it less. 

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  • - For the garden, landscaping and lawn, use a drip irrigation system instead of sprinklers or hand-watering with the hose.  Water is directed to the roots, where it needs to be. 

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  • - When the car needs cleaning, take the bucket and sponge to a car wash instead of washing it at home, and save about one hundred gallons of water!  

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  • - Purchase and set up rain barrels under gutter spouts or areas of the house where water runs off the roof.  You can get some very sophisticated barrels with faucet attachments for gravity-watering with the hose, and covers to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. 

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  • - Placing a cover on your pool not only helps keep it clean, but it can save the pool water from evaporating.  The Spruce lists several swimming pool water-saving tips. 

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  • - Instead of washing fresh vegetables from your garden under running water, fill a large bowl with water, and give them a bath.  Once they’re clean, use the leftover water for houseplants or potted plants outside. 

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  • - Growing native plants will help cut down on water usage, as they are adapted to your local climate.  Contact your local cooperative extension agent to find out how to plant a native plant garden. 

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  • - Place a five-gallon bucket with small holes in the bottom near plants or a tree that need a drink, and fill it with water.  The holes will allow the water to trickle out at a slow pace, and soak the soil, where the water should be, instead of the leaves. 

 

Water conservation isn’t just good for your wallet, it’s good for the environment. If you’re interested in learning more about using less water year round, check out the Water Calculator website to calculate your water footprint, and what you can do to use water more efficiently. 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: monarchpoolsandspas.com​

Improve Your Credit Score for Chester County, Pa Homebuyers!

by Scott Darling

The main consideration in a home-buying decision is financials. In order for a lender to see you as a good prospect, the first thing they look at is your credit score.  No one’s is perfect, and even if your score isn’t ideal, you can (and should!) take the time to improve it before you start looking at prospective homes. 

 

  • - To see what your credit score is, request a free credit report from all three reporting agencies.  Check each report for errors, and report them to both the credit bureau and company that reported it. 

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  • - If there is a legitimate collection on your credit report, pay it as soon as you can, but it will not be removed from your credit history for seven years, although it will be marked as paid. 

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  • - Old debt on your report that was paid in full and on time is better for your score than having it removed.  So if you’ve paid off an account in good standing, leave it as long as possible. 

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  • - If you have a history of keeping your payments on time, that’s great, because late payments hurt your score.  Stay current by setting reminders to mail payments before their due date, or set up automatic payments through your bank. 

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  • - Pay off your credit cards!  This is so important, because the more outstanding debt you have, the lower your score.  Pay off the smallest balance first, and the larger balances can be paid off sooner by increasing your payments, or send equal payments twice per month if the creditor allows. 

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  • - Canceling a credit card that you’re trying to pay down sounds like a great idea, but it isn’t, according to FICO™.  It’s better to simply pay off the card, and use it as minimally as possible--charging to it once a month for a take-out dinner keeps it active. 

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  • - Don’t have a credit card?  Shop around for one with a good interest rate, and apply.  Having at least one credit account in good standing is better than none at all for those who haven’t really started establishing a credit history. 

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  • - Applying for loans or credit with multiple agencies can hurt your score.  Avoid new credit accounts while you’re trying to bring your score up. 

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  • - If you are truly hurting financially, and don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, contact a reputable credit repair agency that can assist you in getting your bills paid, manage your finances, and increase your home purchase chances. 

 

There is no hurrying when it comes to improving your credit rating, so plan on taking several months to a year to bring your score up to a number that will impress lenders.  It’s not all about the loan, it’s also about getting a good interest rate.  Much like taking up jogging to get into shape, take it slow, increase your efforts every month, and you’ll soon be showing off the results! 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: shawsystems.com

Getting Ready For Outdoor Time in Chester County, PA!

by Scott Darling

Warmer days are on the way, and when the weather cooperates, home owners are outside preparing their yards, gardens and pools for the coming Summer. But is your patio looking a little sad?  Do you want to utilize your front porch more this season?  Your outdoor spaces only need a little TLC and elbow grease! 

 

  • - Sweep patios to remove loose debris.  Use a pressure washer on concrete, or a long-handled stiff brush and warm water mixed with bleach--a 10:1 mixture is strong enough to clean the area well.   

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  • - For porches, sweep the flooring, as well as ceilings and posts, and a shower of water from the garden hose should remove the dust and cobwebs.  If something needs more attention, use a soft bristled brush or flat mop dipped in a mixture of warm water and mild dish detergent. 

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  • - Wood decks may only need a simple sweeping and washing down with a hose and soft scrub brush. If you’re thinking about staining or painting the woodwork, a pressure washer would be the best tool to prep it for its makeover.  

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  • - Screening should be checked for holes and rips that can be eventually be big problems, and is easy to replace for little cost. 

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  • - Check for any cracks in cement patios.  Fill them with caulking or even quick-drying concrete.  Many easy and affordable repair kits are in local home stores. If the problem goes deeper than just a crack, call a contractor to come and make sure the problem isn’t structural. 

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  • - Bricks and pavers can become loose over time, and filling the spaces between them with sand is one way to sturdy them.  According to Neave Masonry, after filling in between the pavers with sand, use a broom to distribute it evenly, wet the pavers, and once it’s settled, add more sand and repeat.  Continue to add sand until the spaces are filled with sand. 

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  • - Keeping outdoor furniture covered when not in use is great, but it still would be a good idea to give it a good cleaning since you’ll be using it soon.  Today’s Homeowner Danny Lipford has great tips for cleaning your pieces, from wrought iron to plastic. 

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  • - Get your planters ready for flowers by removing soil from them and clean with a spray from the water hose.  Soak them in a mixture of 9 parts water to one-part household bleach to get rid of any bacteria that could’ve grown in the Winter, and rinse well. 

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  • - Outdoor pillows can take a beating, so if yours are looking grim, you can purchase new covers more inexpensively than completely replacing the pillows.  If they have been in outdoor storage, wash them, hang them outside to air dry, and add the new covers. 

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  • - Spruce up the seating area with fragrant plants, an outdoor area rug, hang pretty sheets or shower curtains on tension rods to add some drama, and some DIY lighting--check out these ideas from BuzzFeed.   

 

Don’t wait until it gets steaming hot or two hours before your cookout guests arrive to get your yard and outdoor seating area in order.  Doing it now will encourage you and yours to spend more time in the outdoors to dine al fresco, relax with a good book, or spend time winding down after a long day at work. 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

Photo credit: porch.com

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Photo of Scott Darling Real Estate
Scott Darling
RE/MAX Action Associates
403 W. Lincoln Highway #101
Exton PA 19341
(610) 594-SCOT
610-363-2001
Fax: (610) 363-5275