WHAT SELLERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PETS AND SHOWINGS
Buyers and their agents need to feel welcome to look at the property at their leisure without danger or distractions. So while you adore your sweet-tempered pit bull rescue, he could turn territorial, barking and growling at potential homebuyers. And it could cost you the opportunity to sell your home.
Think of buyers as guests and work to make them feel comfortable as they consider your home for purchase. If you have a protective dog or one that isn’t well-trained, drop her off at doggie day care when you know your home is going to be shown. Or call a pet sitter on call who can take your pet for a long walk while your home is being shown.
What you should not do is leave your dog loose in the backyard. Not only does the buyer not have access to part of the property, but your dog could bark so much that the din drives the buyer out of the house. Also, don’t leave your dog at the neighbor’s. It’s just as bad if the buyer believes a noisy dog lives next door.
Housecats can also repel buyers. Most homes aren’t designed with a convenient place for the litter box, so cat owners do the best they can. Owners get used to the smells of catboxes and fishy foods, which could be offensive to buyers who don’t have cats.
While buyers aren’t afraid of being cat-attacked, cats can still be startling — they appear silently without warning and they jump on furniture and counters. And if you’ve taught your cat to jump on your shoulders, you can imagine what could happen to an unsuspecting buyer.
Exotic pets can be showing-stoppers, too. Birds are gorgeous, but a puffed-up screeching cockatoo can be intimidating and dangerous. Imagine a buyer bringing small children who can’t resist sticking their fingers in the cage and quickly get rewarded with a nasty bite from a very strong beak.
When you’re selling a home, keep in mind that the first two weeks on the market are crucial. That’s the time you want your home to be pristine and move-in ready. You don’t want any noise, smells or stains that could put buyers off.
Sell your home faster and for more money by making your home as inviting and accessible as possible, so that buyers have no barriers to overcome. Accessibility to your home is just as important as price, condition and location.
6 Sneaky Ways to Make Your Home Look Expensive
Want your place to look like those home design website images you drool over? Of course you do! Problem is, your budget may not match your design aspirations. Fear not! Making your home look high-end isn’t always about spending tons of cash.
It’s a matter of taking the time and care to arrange things in an eye-pleasing way—and making small, inexpensive updates that have a big impact. In other words, it’s about being sneaky.
Here are a few tricks to pull if you want to add the illusion of luxury.
Nothing says “this home ain’t worth much” like tons of disjointed knickknacks, piles of books, and other miscellaneous items that should be tossed or stored.
No, you don’t need to go full Marie Kondo, but going through your rooms and getting rid of anything that doesn’t mesh with your personal style is a great first step toward transforming your home from average to exceptional.
Walk through each room of your home and edit items. Make some tough decisions. Sure, you love your grandma’s vintage Chinese vase, but does it really jibe with your West Elm look? It might be time to store it or let it live in another room with similar family heirlooms.
Next step: Tackle any stuff that piles up—toys (if you have kids), shoes by the door, mail on the dining table. At the very least, find places for your stuff to live in a more organized way; an upgraded closet with beautifully sorted nooks and crannies looks luxurious.
2. Eliminate grunge
You may not have time for intensive cleaning on a weekly basis, but a once- or twice-yearly deep clean is an easy way to make your home look far more luxurious. After all, you rarely see a mansion with dirty baseboards.
Go through your home and search for overlooked areas that have become dirty and downright gross. You’ll want to pay special attention to the grouting, says designer Young Huh.
“Having old tile cleaned and regrouted makes a huge difference in having your bathroom look sparkly and fresh,” she says. Best of all: The process is simple and inexpensive.
Get sparkly new floors–minus the refinishing. Try steam cleaning wood floors for an immediate lift to the finish.
3. Add—or rearrange—lighting
Designers use lighting to define spaces and separate rooms, making a small space grand.
Think of your living room—where you might have a reading nook, sofas and chairs for company, and a television. Visually differentiate among the areas by using different kinds of lighting: Add a table lamp beside your cozy reading chair and sconces behind your couch for conversation. Consider a dimmer for overhead lights. Architects and lighting designers swear by them. Installing is a relatively simple DIY.
Bonus cheapskate tip: Use warm-colored lightbulbs, Huh says. Cool tones are a “sure-fire way to make your home look down-market,” she says. Daylight bulbs work best for reading nooks.
4. Upgrade your hardware
Don’t have a kitchen renovation in the budget? You can get a similar effect for much less by swapping out old, dated hardware for new.
Tired of your brushed-steel drawer pulls? Try gold, bronze, or even crystal—or make an adventure of it and scour your local thrift store for vintage hardware that screams your style.
It’s not hard to find attractive options in any decor style for next to nothing (a drawer pull, for instance, might start at just $3 or less). For hard-to-find designs, search etsy.
Changing the countertop and faucets is another change that can make your home look much pricier, Huh says. If you have the budget, exchange your dated sink accessories for something fresh that matches your brand-new hardware.
There’s no simpler way to make an old home feel new than painting.
“This is the most important part,” Huh says. “Repaint and choose beautiful colors for an instant makeover.”
You can’t go wrong with classy neutrals. Minimalists might love a bright white combined with a bold accent wall; DIY decorators might enjoy a tasteful, sandy tan tone, which pairs well with any number of woods.
Paint isn’t just for your walls: Add some color to your front door, window trims, or even the floor, if you’re brave (hardwood can look amazing when painted white).
6. Focus on the devil in the (decor) details
Does your home feel a little meh—and you’re not sure how to change it? Try vignettes—combine decor items (e.g., vases, frames, and objets) that add visual interest to an otherwise bland area—perhaps a shelf or console table.
Organize your vignette around a theme so that the decor items are unified and tell a visual story. Go around your house and cull items you love that need a new home (see tip No. 1 on decluttering).
For example, take that silver tray you’ve been wanting a use for, add a glass tumbler with a fresh flower, that postcard your parents sent from Thailand, and a white bowl filled with colorful candy. Voilà: You now have a magazine-worthy vignette!
Another way to go: Grouping together multiples of the same object (e.g., glass vases in the same color) is an instant update. Decorators often use odd numbers because they are said to be more appealing.
Before you know it, you’ll be posting pics of your gorgeous home.
CHOOSING YOUR DREAM HOME
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to buying your dream home. Every decision, small to large, is important,
and can increase the price dramatically. Let’s look at a list of common issues that buyers face.
1. Neighborhood: Deciding on what neighborhood you desire is tricky. You must consider your wants and needs. They vary by person. Do you have children and need to live within the boundaries of a specific school district? You might want a short commute, a neighborhood with historic homes, or homes that are near night life and restaurants.
3. Floorplan: Architectural styles offer a wide range of choices! Open floor plans might appeal to you, with their great flow for entertaining. Or you may have a more traditional aesthetic, preferring cozy rooms. Think about how you live your life and what style best fits your needs.
4. Finishes: There are different grades of homes. Take your kitchen, for example. You can find a wide range of beautiful laminate counters, just as you can find a wide range of beautiful granite ones. These choices dramatically affect price. Think carefully about what you want in your dream home. Do you want stone floors or will ceramic suffice? Are you looking for green building materials, such as zero-voc paint, bamboo floors, and recycled counters?
5. Amenities: Our homes extend past the borders of our property. We live in the parks, shopping, and restaurants that surround us. Be sure to think outside the “box” of your house when you buy.
6. Landscaping: A large yard can mean lots of entertaining potential, but it can also mean a lot of work. Be sure to consider your needs now and down the road when it comes to yard maintenance. Many buyers prefer a townhouse or condo as their “dream home”. These options afford buyers with much less responsibility when it comes to upkeep!
Be sure to discuss all of these topics with your real estate agent. They can help you decide on a happy compromise among the long list of choices. They’ll also help you know what items on your wish list you can get in your price range. Good luck on your dream home search!