Homebuyer Incentives: A Few Do’s And Don’ts

When you’re selling your home, adding some extra perks can help you find a buyer quickly. An incentive is essentially a marketing spend for your home sale. But you want to make sure your marketing dollars are being used effectively, so consider these do’s and don’ts:

DO recognize your home’s flaws, and offer an incentive that compensates. Buyers will look at extremely dated decor or appliances as a big looming expense, so you can alleviate their anxiety with a warranty or repair/renovation allowance.

DON’T use an incentive to try to get buyers to bite on an inflated sale price. If your home isn’t priced properly, it’s unlikely that an incentive—even one with significantly monetary value—will hide that fact. You’re better off revaluating your pricing, rather than spending big on an incentive.

DO consider homebuyer incentives when there’s close competition. If there are other listed homes in the area with similar features and pricing, an incentive can be a winning factor.

DON’T forget to check on the legality of your incentive offers. The laws on incentives can vary greatly between states, so work with a knowledgeable, trustworthy real estate professional to ensure that your homebuyer incentives are above board.

Upsizing Your Home

Unfortunately our homes don’t always grow with us. What may have initially worked fine for a single person, a young couple’s starter home, or a family with a newborn can quickly become too small as families expand and multiple generations live under one roof.

Remodeling and adding to your home is one option for creating more space, but it can be costly, and the size of your property may be prohibitive. That’s when moving to a bigger home becomes the best solution.

Where Do You Need More Space?

The first thought when upsizing your home is to simply consider square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms. But it’s important to take a more critical approach to how your space will actually be used. If you have younger children (or possibly more on the way), then focusing on bedrooms and bathrooms makes sense. But if your children are closer to heading off to college or starting their own families, it may be better to prioritize group spaces like the kitchen, dining room, living room, and outdoor space—it’ll pay off during the holidays or summer vacations, when everyone is coming to visit for big gatherings.

Moving Outward

If you need more space, but don’t necessarily want a more expensive home, you can probably get a lot more house for your money if you move a little further from a city center. While the walkability and short commutes of a dense neighborhood or condo are hard to leave behind, your lifestyle—and preferences for hosting Thanksgiving, barbecues, and birthdays—might mean that a spacious home in the suburbs makes the most sense. It’s your best option for upsizing while avoiding a heftier price tag.

New Home, Better Living

When you’re house hunting, focus on the things that will improve your quality of life.

There are so many factors that go into a home buying decision that it can make your head spin—especially if you’re in a competitive market where time is of the essence. The desire to purchase a property makes it easy to look past issues that could detract from your enjoyment of the home and cause some regrets down the road. That’s why when you’re weighing your options, quality of life should always be the top priority.

Location Is Part Of Lifestyle

Buyers often focus on “must haves” that can be added via renovation, but will downplay factors that are impossible to change. For example, if you work and spend much of your free time in the heart of a busy city, a house in the suburbs may mean more space for the same price, but it could also mean long commutes and a major hit to your nightlife. A centrally-located condo might be a better option.

On the other hand, if you’re a weekend warrior who looks forward to skiing, hiking, and mountain biking trips, living outside the city may be perfect—you’re that much closer to the trails when you wake up on Saturday morning. It’s a cliche, but it’s true: Location, location, location.

Big Homes Aren’t For Everyone

If you love entertaining friends and family, a big house makes perfect sense. You’ll have all the space you need to prepare meals and throw big parties, and your guests won’t have any trouble finding parking.

But a big home also means more cleaning and maintenance—more lawn to mow, more bathrooms to scrub, more things that will break and need fixing. Before you dive into an alluring big home, consider your tolerance and enthusiasm for the upkeep. For some, a smaller home or a professionally-maintained condo are better options.

Need-to-knows For Smart-home Technology

Homeowners have the ability to automate anything from locks to lights to air conditioning and more. With new technology popping up every day, it’s hard to stay up to date on the smart-home trend.

If you are considering installing smart-home technology in your home or looking to buy a home that is equipped with some of those devices, you want to ensure you do your research so you can make educated decisions. Here are three important factors to consider!

Security

Because a large percentage of smart-home devices rely on Wi-Fi, they are vulnerable to being hacked. Although this may not be much of a concern for devices controlling your lighting or sprinkler system, it may be for automated locks or garage openers.

Cost vs. Value Add

The initial setup costs for some smart-home technology can be daunting for homeowners, so it’s important to thoroughly map out the upfront cost versus your savings and its value to you over time. Many of these can help you be more energy efficient, reduce monthly bills, and save you time and stress. Plus, if and when you are ready to sell, smart-home technology can help improve your home’s resale value.

Compatibility

With so many companies throwing their hats into the smart-home ring, it is can be difficult to select the right devices for your home. If you are considering automating various features in your home, you may want to take a look at the big picture and try to choose devices that are compatible with one another or that can be controlled by a singular hub.

Five Steps For Organizing Your Garage

For many people the garage is the place you mindlessly store stuff just to get it out of the way, and before you know it, you’ve got a cluttered mess on your hands. Here are five steps toward organizing your garage for good.

Make a plan: What do you want you garage to be? Is it a workshop, a storage space, or a nightly place to park your car? Before you roll up your sleeves and get to work, decide on a plan for your garage’s primary use, and prioritize around that goal.

Be vigilant with clutter: There might be items in your garage that you haven’t touched in years—you’ve probably even forgotten they’re in there. It’s easy to justify keeping items when you’re in the moment, but look a the big picture. If you can’t remember the last time you used an item, it’s probably ready to be thrown out, recycled, donated, or sold.

Make use of vertical space: Garages often have space in the ceiling where you can hang your gear or even store some boxes. Store the rarely used items—like holiday decorations—higher up and out of the way.

Keep common items accessible: On the other hand, you don’t want it to be a hassle to get to the things you use often. Create a specific place for each item that is easy to reach.

Stay vigilant: Now that you garage is properly organized, be more mindful of what you’re adding to it. If there’s something new that’s important, choose a specific place for it. If it’s just junk, go through the extra effort to just get rid of it!

The Difference Between Home Warranty & Home Insurance

When purchasing a new home, it’s important to do in-depth research on all facets of the homebuying process. One thing you’ll need to understand is how to best protect yourself and your investment if anything were to go wrong. Check out the information on home insurance versus home warranty below to educate yourself on your options.


Home Insurance

Homeowners insurance pays for any accidental damages and loss that are caused by fire, lightning strikes, windstorms, and hail, however, damage from earthquakes and floods is typically not covered. It also covers the replacement of personal property in case of theft or damage and liability if a person were to get injured in your home or on your property. According to American Home Shield, the average annual cost of a homeowner’s insurance policy ranges between $300 and $1,000 and the bank usually asks you to obtain a policy before the mortgage is issued. Make sure to keep in mind that each type of coverage in the policy is subject to a limit and, in most cases, you will have to pay a deductible.


Home Warranty

A home warranty is designed to cover the cost of repairs and replacements of larger appliances and crucial systems in your home that may fail or break due to age and wear and tear. This includes but isn’t limited to HVAC, electrical, or plumbing components, kitchen appliances, and your washer and dryer. With a home warranty, you are required to pay premiums year-round, even if you do not use it, and it won’t cover damages if appliances were not maintained properly or if the damage is from a fire or other disaster.

Ideas For Accent Walls

An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically a very inexpensive DIY project.

The starter accent wall
You can easily add an accent wall to your room in one afternoon by applying a new paint color. Deep blues and bright oranges are common choices for accent walls, but choose a color that will complement your existing decor and overall design aesthetic.

Interesting textures
Bright, contrasting paint is a good starting point, but there are other options for accent walls that are even more eye-catching and distinct. Floor-to-ceiling wood planks can make your home seem both rustic and modern all at once and provide a natural, outdoors-inspired feel. It’s more work than simply painting a wall, but it’s still relatively inexpensive. You can source the wood from pallets on Craigslist and stain it yourself before attaching it to your wall. It takes a little extra elbow grease, but it’s worth the effort.

Patterns, murals, and more
Paint and wood are bold enough on their own to transform a room, but they’re still pretty subtle compared to other accent wall options. A chalk paint accent wall is a creative idea for any room and makes for some fun moments when you’re entertaining. There are also endless options for wallpaper and stenciling if you want some patterns or you can get really bold with a mural or oversized art print.

Maximizing Your Outdoor Space

You’ve found the perfect home and it has everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Spacious, modern kitchen. Gloriously open floor plan. Giant bedrooms. Great location and neighborhood. The only downside is the backyard is slightly smaller than you’d hoped. But no reason to stress. There are many ways you can optimize your outdoor space to make it feel much larger! Check out our favorites below.

Separate Your Space

Breaking up your outdoor area into separate spaces or nooks can help make your backyard feel larger. Place items like planters, small walls, or outdoor light fixtures in between the spaces or separate them by installing different ground surfaces, such as decking, gravel, grass, and concrete.

Use Plants Creatively

Place plants throughout your backyard to help open up the space. Use plants with larger leaves to create depth, place warm-colored plants, such as red, yellow, or orange, near the front or in the center of the yard to catch attention, or install a trellis or plant taller plants to draw the eye upwards.

Incorporate Strategic Decor

Use big structures like pergolas and arbors to frame your outdoor space and give it a grander feel. Add a large sculpture or water fixture in the center or towards the back of the yard as a focal point, then arrange your furniture around it. Finally, hang large mirrors with steel, stone, or wooden frames to reflect light and trick the eye.

By using these techniques and more, you can alter perception and make your small yard feel like the large one of your dreams.

Feng Shui With The Best Of Them

Feng shui is the Chinese tradition of balancing your home to achieve benefits and advantages associated with your health, finances, career, relationships, and more.

There are many ways to create good feng shui in your home, starting with your bedroom. Open up the room by moving the bed so that both sides are away from the wall and the headboard is against it. Feng shui best practice also suggests placing it where you will have a clear vision of the door, but never directly in line with it. Next, introduce symmetry into the room with artwork, bedside tables, lamps, and pillows to reflect the balance you want in all areas of your life.

Apply feng shui to the entryway of your home to welcome your guests and allow positive energy to flow in. To do this, commit to keeping it clear of shoes, packages, bags, etc. and use a mirror as décor to open the space and indicate you are expanding opportunities in your life. Additionally, consider purchasing and placing a water fountain in the foyer. Flowing water is known to represent wealth flowing in and diffuses negative ions in the air.

Decluttering is key to implementing feng shui in your home and allowing energy to flow freely. Donate clothing that is not often worn and empty drawers and shelves of things you do not need to rid yourself of the old and make mental room for new things in your life.

These steps are just the starting point for bringing good energy into your home and making it evolve as you do. Happy harmonizing!

Staging Strategies For Your Home

Staging your home is all about putting the best foot forward for potential buyers. By highlighting its most desirable features, you can draw more interest for your home and leave a lasting impression that is sure to help you sell it more quickly. Here’s what you should keep in mind as you prepare for your next open house or viewing!

Help them visualize it as their own. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal memorabilia, knick-knacks, and photos. Instead replace them with simple décor, such as paintings, nature images, and plants.

Think sleek instead of comfy. Modern-day buyers are leaning toward modern, crisp, clean interiors over comfy, homey looks. When staging your home, keep a minimalist mindset and incorporate bright colors and metal accents.

Deep clean the small spaces. It’s obvious to say you should clean your home before viewing, but don’t forget to cover your bases by deep cleaning the small spots. Take time to scrub porous areas like grout that may hold on to stains and baseboards where small pet hairs and dust love to cling.

Spruce up your landscaping. The first impression of your home gives to potential buyers is its exterior. Ensure you have a freshly mowed lawn, neat hedges and shrubbery, bright flowers, and a clean driveway.

Set the mood. A home is so much more than just the way it looks, so you need to appeal to the other senses. Prior to having potential buyers over, set the mood by burning delicious smelling candles and selecting an upbeat, happy soundtrack to play in the background.