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What to Renovate When Selling Your Home

by Scott Darling

renovate to sell

It can be hard to set a budget and stick to it when it comes to renovating your home.  If you are planning on selling your home soon, you should go ahead and do a few renovations that may need to be done but do the ones that don’t cost a lot of money.  Of course if your home has some issues and you feel you can get a lot more money out of your home if you make those renovations now, you may want to go ahead and do so.  Below are a few tips on what exactly you should consider when renovating your home to prepare it for sale.

  • One of the best ways to prepare your home to sell is by renovating your walls and floors.  You can add paint to the walls of your home for a quick “pick me up” that will help your home appear newer than it is.  Refinishing hardwood floors or pulling up carpet to reveal hardwoods is also a great way to spruce things up around your home.  Be sure if you are painting to do so with neutral colors that will be pleasing to everyone’s pallet.  Likewise if you are putting down carpet, be sure to choose a neutral color.  If you are refinishing hardwoods, be sure to stay away from any dark stains that may turn some buyers away.  Stick with the natural light wood floors that seem to be so popular these days.
  • Doors are another place you may want to consider during your home renovations.  Replacing your front door with a steel door adds a great deal of value to your home.  Adding some new garage doors may help to add value as well.   Keep in mind you don’t have to spend a ton on these types of things, just replacing old with new will likely be enough.
  • If you don’t have the money to redo your entire kitchen, try upgrading by replacing old worn out drawer pulls or cabinet knobs.  You may also want to put a little paint on your old cabinets to lighten and brighten things up a bit.  Keep in mind if money is not an issue that kitchen renovations  can sometimes make or break the sale of your home.  If you need to” bling it out” and you have the funds to do it, go for it. 

Any and all renovations you do to your home in an effort to get more money out if it during a potential sale is a good thing.  Don’t go crazy spending a lot of money for cosmetic fixes but ‘DO’ do your best to make your home look like a shiny new penny!

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling!

7 Steps to Patio Perfection

by Scott Darling

Daffodils bloom brightly by the back door, temperatures are balmy, cookout season is on the horizon and you’re ready to give your outdoor living space a breath of fresh air. Great patios and decks enhance your enjoyment of spring and summer, and boost home value, so it’s well worth the investment to update and upgrade your home’s exterior living space.

Patio (or deck) perfection can be within your reach this season. Simply follow these seven steps to create an outdoor environment where you’ll be proud to entertain all summer long.

1. Update your patio furniture.

Whether your current patio set is worn out, you need more seating or are just in the mood for a whole new look, new patio furniture can change the way you feel about your outdoor environment — and how much time you spend there! Whether you want traditional wicker, durable metals or exotic woods like Eucalyptus, there are thousands of options to choose from.

2. Replace cushions on your current set.

If your current patio furniture is in good shape but just in need of some freshening, it’s easy enough to give it new life with small tweaks like updated patio cushions. Cushions are the crowning touch to catch the eye on patio furniture.

3. Add a water feature.

One of the best ways to create your own oasis can be with a water feature. Easy to find and simple to set up accessories like a fountain can bring the harmony of water to your outdoor environment. For example, those with a waterfall feature immediately create a feeling of Zen and help drown out the noise of everyday life.  

4. Make some shade.

When you need a break from the sun, but aren’t ready to head indoors, shade can help you stay outside so you can enjoy the fresh air longer. You can add shade in many ways, from installing a retractable awning over the deck or patio to strategically planting trees or climbing vines on a trellis. And of course, the simplest way to add shade is to use patio umbrellas, which are available in a wide range of hues, patterns and styles.

5. Heat up your grilling station.

What outdoor environment would be complete without a great grill? Accessories make grilling fun and easy, and ensure you’ll look and operate like a pro when whipping up summer fare. From grilling mitts to barbecue tool sets, burger and kabob grilling baskets, grill toppers and even taco shell baskets, you can outfit your grill station with everything you need for a great grilling experience.

6. Lighten up.

When you’re having a great time outdoors, who wants to go inside just because it’s dark? Add some lighting to your outdoor living space to create ambiance and allow you to enjoy your patio long after the sun goes down. You can invest in hard-wired patio or deck lights, go eco-friendly and easy with solar lights, or choose from an array of battery-powered or candle-fired lanterns.

7. Use decor to create a theme.

Just as your home’s interior has a design theme, choosing a theme for your patio or deck can pull the look together. Whether your taste is Boho Chic, Tribal or Weekend Getaway, you can find decor items that underscore the theme. Wall decorations, outdoor rugs, decorative planters and flower pots, wind chimes and statuary all work together to create a look you’ll love throughout the spring and summer.

real estate

Homebuyers and sellers today can instantly check listings, monitor price fluctuations, research their credit scores and find lenders - all from their smartphones.

The advent of mortgage industry apps - which mingle aggregated data with complex algorithms in easily accessible formats - enables many shoppers and sellers to approach the process with more confidence.

While technology empowers consumers to shop and sell smarter, it can't replace the service and expertise of an experienced agent. Real estate agents know the local market and have access to the freshest sales data.

For sellers, real estate agents can price a house in line with the market to maximize earnings. According to recent data from the National Association of Realtors, sellers using an agent earn $40,100 more per transaction. The median sale price for the 88 percent of sellers who worked with an agent was $215,000, versus a median sale price of $174,900 for the 9 percent of sellers who didn't use an agent, according to the association.

Buying a home is not like purchasing a plane ticket according to Greg Jaeger, president at USAA Residential Real Estate Services and a former real estate agent. He said buyers and sellers often fail to account for the psychological side of a transaction.

"An agent can help prepare the seller for offers that are intentionally too low," Jaeger said. "You're asking $250,000 for your home; I offer $200,000 and you're immediately insulted. An agent can keep you calm and focused on the end game."

Agents also help buyers navigate the rollercoaster of emotions in getting credit approved or viewing a home inspection report for the first time.

Jaeger knows of this psychological value not only as a former agent, but also as a father of a first-time homebuyer. His 24-year-old son recently bought an older home that was initially chockfull of cheaply done rehabilitation projects.

"The seller was pretty irritable about some items and flat out embarrassed about others," Jaeger said. "My son's real estate agent really earned his commission in making sure the proper repairs were on track and protecting my son from the ire of the seller."

Homes, neighborhoods and their governing state laws are as diverse as the people living in them. Real estate agents are entrenched in those ever-changing state regulations, contracts, laws and practices.

"When making one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, it's important to have a trusted, experienced counselor by your side," Jaeger said. (BPT)

Preparing Your Home For Your Summer Vacation

by Scott Darling

summer vacation

Summer is just around the corner!  Many families plan for their summer vacation months in advance but did you know that you need to prepare your home for your vacation as well?  Below are a few tips on what you should do to prepare your home for your summer vacation.   

  • Mow your grass before you leave for your vacation.  I would suggest that you set the mower on the shortest cut you can get so that you don’t have to worry about it growing up while you are gone.  If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time you may want to arrange to have a family member mow your yard at least once while you are gone.  Mowing your yard before vacation makes it look like you are still at home and therefore may keep away potential intruders. 
  • Another thing you should do before you leave on vacation this coming summer is to contact the post office and have your mail canceled while you are gone.  You can pick your mail up at the post office once you arrive back home and start your service back up.  This may sound like a huge ordeal but it really is an easy way to keep things neat and tidy while you are away from home.  This simple act will also deter intruders.
  • If you don’t want your house to stand out as if no one is home, you may need to install a flood light that is activated by motion outside of your home.  This way if someone walks up to your house that is not suppose to be there the neighbors will be able to see them and can report anything out of the ordinary.  Another thing you can do with lights is to set a few inside lights on a timer so that it looks like you are home.
  • Some water heaters have a VAC mode otherwise known as a vacation mode. If you have this setting on your water heater it’s a good idea to use it while you are away.  Doing this is not only a good way to save on your bill but it is also a good way to avoid any type of flooding that may occur while you are gone.  The last thing you want to come home to is a flooded house due to a broken or burst pipe.

Hopefully these tips will get you started in the right direction before you set off on your summer vacation and you’ll be able to relax and have fun without worrying about your house! 

Courtesy of Chester County PA Realtor Scott Darling.

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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