Tips For Preparing Your House To Put On The Market

Putting your home on the market is a big and exciting step. Naturally, you want the whole process of selling the house to be as smooth as possible, and there are things you can do to help that happen. These are common elements that can keep a house on the market longer, lead to more negotiation issues, but they can also help make moving easier.

Paint, Paint, Paint

Fresh paint can do wonders. Take some time to freshen up the paint in key rooms such as the kitchen, living room, and bathrooms. You will likely want to pick neutral tones or shades that make the room feel lighter, brighter, and bigger.

While on the topic of painting, it’s also a good idea to paint the trim on your home. Painting the entire home may be outside of your budget for a house you’re trying to sell, but painting the trim is often affordable and can spruce up the outside of your home.

Make Minor Repairs

The sink that wobbles and leaks a little in the kitchen is something you’ve learned to live with, but buyers will be on the lookout for these small issues. Fixing things such as the chips in the drywall or replacing broken baseboards should only take a weekend.

If you’re not sure where to draw the line, consider minor repairs as anything that you can do yourself. If you’re not a DIY person, then you might bring in an affordable handyman to help.

Pack Away Anything Too Personal

There is a lot of contradicting advice about what to do with personal belongings when you plan on selling your home. Some realtors say that buyers want to see a “lived-in” house, and other realtors will tell you to pack it all away.

Packing away personal items only and clearing clutter is often the better route because it has a payoff. Everything you pack now, you don’t have to pack later. So start small and pack in sessions. Perhaps go through and wrap and store your photos, then move on and pack up any books, DVDs, and other small items. It’s a great time to clear out clutter too! Ultimately, if you pack things away slowly, there will be less stress when the big day comes, and you may attract buyers with a slightly-lived in but not cluttered home.

Remodeling An Older Home – Pros And Cons

Renovating an old home can be an extremely rewarding experience. Not only do you end up with the home of your dreams, but it’s something that you put hard work and good planning into. Unfortunately, National Lampoon movies have a better record for smooth sailing than remodels. There are many pros and cons when it comes to remodeling, and you can carefully weigh each element evenly.

The Good News First

Old houses are generally less expensive unless they have some historical value. They often do need quite a bit of work, but you knew that going in. You knew that you might need to set money aside or take out tens of thousands of dollars in loans to renovate the house. Ultimately, that investment is well worth it.

Then there’s the matter of personality and character. Old houses have that special something that new homes just don’t. Intricate details and unique fixtures or hardware are things you can keep around even after you overhaul the rest of the house.

Finally, older homes were really built to last. Yes, you may have to update the electrical work or the plumbing, but the structure and foundation of the home should serve you well for decades!

 

The Common Challenges

The most common challenges include cost, time, and potential toxins. Renovating houses is expensive. There’s no getting around that. However, when you’re working with a particularly old house, you probably don’t have anything “cookie cutter.” That may mean relying on contractors to estimate where plumbing or electrical lines are and how you might be able to move walls.

There’s also the matter of unexpected surprises. Although you probably won’t find anything worthy of a Netflix series, it’s likely that you’ll keep having unexpected stumbles in the work. You may even come across surprises years after the renovation, such as a hideaway cupboard in the bathroom or pull-out storage from underneath the linen closet.

We can’t move on without discussing health hazards. Old houses likely have asbestos and lead, which means that you can’t cut costs when it comes to handling the demolition. If a contractor suspects your home has toxic materials, they will take the proper steps to ensure the safety of your family and their team.

Often times older homes will have wood flooring that when treated with a bit of TLC can be made to look like new again. You can typically find a good service that is experienced with hardwood floor refinishing and restoration to come in, remove old carpeting and stains, take a layer off the top with dustless sanding, and then they apply a coat of finish with a stain or color to help the old hardwood floors gleam once again.

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House Styles In New England

New England is a historically rich and culturally diverse area of our country. The result is a variety of architectural styles that are widely celebrated. Although home buyers often look at how many bathrooms or square footage is available, they should also consider the style of the home. Evaluate how the home looks from the outside, but consider the internal aspects of the house style as well!

The Cape Cod

A favorite among those who enjoy the board game Life, this style was revived in the 1930s but dates back to the 1600s. It is the classic New England one shorty with a half-second story. Usually, the exterior of the home has clapboard or, occasionally, brick. The interior operates around a central hallway that runs down the length of the home.

The Colonial

Stately and extremely popular throughout New England, some of these have multiple chimneys and often have wings within the interior of the home. Segmenting the floor plan into clusters of bedrooms and living areas. Originally, colonial homes were simple, with many small rooms and columns near the front door.

The Tudor

Tudor homes are often found accompanied by colorful gardens and lush lawns. They were initially popular throughout the 1900s but regained traction in the 70s and stayed stylish throughout the 80s. It’s probably time that they’re due for another revival! These are often two stories with high-pitched roofs using half-timber and patterned brick siding.

Noteworthy Mentions

The Victorian-style really gained popularity during the early 1900s and often showcases turrets, turned porch posts, and bay windows. Similar to the Victorian style is its “Americanized” version, the shingle house. Often asymmetrical and showcasing wide wrap-around porches, the shingle house is a New England favorite.

Federal houses are stately and large with few but meaningful visual details. These are usually red or white brick with double-hung windows that line up evenly across the front of the home.

The final mention here is the split level. These became popular as people sought out larger homes in the suburbs through the 1950s. A split level will often have some of the second level built right over the garage or have areas that overhang as extended areas of the floor plan.

How Upgrading Your Windows Can Save On Home Energy Costs

Windows aren’t usually high up on a homeowners list for repairs and improvements, but they should be! Upgrading your windows can increase curb appeal and have a direct impact on your monthly electric bill. As the summer months roll in, be sure that you don’t let the cold out of the house!

What is an Energy Efficient Window?

Energy-efficient windows will showcase the ENERGY STAR certified sticker on the window and may also have NFRC labels as well. Typically, these windows are not your single-pane options but will have at least two panes and may contain gas between them or other features.

Double or triple-paned windows offer a better u-flow and may have infrared treatment or not. There are also options for gas-filled windows where the gas, usually argon or krypton, will act as insulation. These gases are colorless, odorless, and non-toxic. Insulated windows ensure that either heat or cool air stays in or out depending on the season. It’s easier to keep your house at the ideal temperature.

A double-paned window may help homeowners move toward energy efficiency. However, if you’re in a northern climate, you might consider windows that allow in infrared light, which would help keep heat within the home. Other windows may have triple panes for their higher insulating capabilities.

How Else Can You Improve Window Efficiency?

You can improve your window efficiency without fully upgrading, although you should still opt for energy-efficient windows. These are many small things that contractors will do or suggest when installing energy-efficient windows. You can do some of these yourself or bring in a handyman to help out.

Use window treatments that block UV rays, or use a solar control film. Additionally, you can caulk or weatherstrips around all the windows to help reduce air leaks. Finally, you might think about adding exterior shade through an awning or overhang.

Should You Consider Replacing Your Windows?

Yes! Window replacements offer many benefits, and if you choose to use energy-efficient window replacements, you can directly impact your energy bill. With ENERGY STAR windows, you may even be able to access other benefits. Ultimately, these are better windows for your home and can help you lower the general costs of heating or cooling.  

Planning A Basement Finishing Project

How much space do you have, and what do you imagine for your basement? Many people purchase a home knowing that the basement has tons of opportunity, but it isn’t finished. You can change that and dramatically increase your living space within your home. Finished basements can serve as dens, home offices, bedrooms, and more.

Start By Assessing Your Space

Most people looking to furnish their basement aren’t planning to move plumbing or wiring. That’s good because you can create many high-functioning layouts that fit within your basement. Take stock of your space, measure your usable areas and get comfortable with exploring different layouts.

If the basement has substantial space, you may get the use of multiple rooms from the space. Evaluate your layouts and determine what would work best with the current plumbing and electrical configuration.

Schedule An Inspection

There are ways you can inspect your basement by laying down plastic sheeting, but it’s best to get a professional inspection. Testing for rot, the quality of the seal, ventilation, and the state of the floor joists are imperative.

A contractor can certainly help with an inspection, and many do them for free as a consultation. They can also help with permits and advice on scheduling or prioritizing repairs.  

Make Repairs

Few basements can pass a thorough inspection without needing some type of repair. You can schedule your repairs so that your basement goes through a gradual change or plan to do your repairs all at once.

Aside from repairs such as eliminating mold or fixing plumbing, you may need to make “repairs” to get your basement up to code or in a livable condition. For example, you may need to dig down and lower the floor if your basement doesn’t have the proper height clearance. Another example is insulating your pipes. These aren’t necessarily repairs because they’re often older or simply not updated.

Plan Your Walls and Get to Work

There are a few different ways to install walls in a basement, including interlocking panels or insulated stud walls. Once you decide on your flooring and wall materials, you can get started. Lay down your plans, and put up your walls.

Ceiling Options for Basements

There are many different ways and options to finish your basement ceilings; you can go for a more rustic look by simply spray painting the joists and boards, or you can get your contractor to install sheetrock for good sound proofing, but one of the most popular choices is to install a drop ceiling, or suspended ceiling. The benefit of getting a drop ceiling installed for your basement is that you can hide any pipes and wires nicely, and also easily access them when needed since a drop ceiling is installed as tiles with a metal framework that supports them. So when necessary you can take out a tile or two and perform the repairs, and replace those tiles when done.

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