May 30, 2019 | Selling Your Home
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Curb appeal (or lack thereof!) is the first impression your home makes.
There’s no denying the power of curb appeal for a home. Whether you’re planning to sell your home soon or just want it to look good for passerbys, the exterior of your house can make a big difference. This spring, consider these 10 ways to add curbside appeal to your home to increase its value and offer the best return on investment.
1. Dress up the front door
The front door is important because it’s a place most guests will see each time they come to your house. Adding new paint, hardware, a doorbell, or a seasonal door mat can make the entrance more welcoming and inviting. Bright, bold door colors are what gets many homes noticed as people pass by.
2. Add house numbers
If your house numbers aren’t easy to see or if they’re dirty and dingy, replacing them creates tremendous impact; especially when looking to sell your house. You want to make it as easy as possible for buyers to find your house after they see it listed online. Alternatively, you want your listing to be easy to find online if someone first sees your home while driving by.
3. Freshen up your landscaping
Keeping the grass freshly cut, the bushes trimmed, and flower beds under control suggests a lot about how the inside of the house is maintained as well. We recommend bushes and small trees that are easy to maintain, mulch or stones that match the color theme of the exterior of your house, and flowers that add a pop of color. It’s also suggested to have some sort of symmetry with your landscaping, whether it’s an even number of bushes on each side of the steps if they’re in the middle of the house, or alternating bush – flower- bush – flower.
4. Update exterior lighting
Having a well-lit house helps it stand out at night to buyer. It also makes your home more inviting to guests – and less inviting to burglars! Placing small, in-ground lights along the sidewalk or at the steps can make it easier for guests to walk from their car to the front door. Keeping lights on by the front door or on the porch shows guests that you’re (most likely) home or expecting company. Spotlights on the front or sides of a house can also show off its exterior and attract a buyers’ eyes as they’re driving by at night.
5. Repair the driveway and sidewalk
The driveway and sidewalk will be the first encounter most guests and buyers have with your home. Make sure there are no weeds growing up in the stones, cracks in the driveway, or dirt on the concrete. It’s not very difficult to buy some spray for the weeds and pressure wash the mold and grime off the sidewalk. It does make a difference!
6. Dress up your garage door
Garage doors can be expensive to replace, but luckily there are easy and inexpensive tricks to make them look brand new again! If pressure washing them clean doesn’t work, you can always paint them, add new hardware, or paint black faux-windows on the top. It’s amazing what a difference these simple changes can make!
7. Upgrade your mailbox
Pick a mailbox that mirrors your home’s trimmings. Dress up mail boxes for curb appeal by painting the wooden post to match the house’s exterior color, or by surrounding it with a beautiful flowering garden. There are very unique mailboxes that can grab attention, but if you want to sell your home, it’s best to go with one that is more standard and that matches others in the neighborhood. Most importantly, make sure your mailbox is standing straight and not damaged!
8. Freshen up siding, shutters, and trim
Siding gets dirty and damaged over the years, no doubt. But sometimes a good scrub or light pressure wash can make a world of difference! When it doesn’t, paint touch-ups can help. Be sure to do the same with your trim and window shutters. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to window shutters too! A bright, cheerful color can make your home really stand out and feel welcoming.
9. Maintain gutters and downspouts
It’s amazing how many leaves, branches and other debris can get stuck up in the rain gutters. Make sure yours are clean and clear to support rain flow and to look tidy. If you have damaged gutters or downspouts, they’re a cheap replacement that can make your house look sharp. This important not just for great curb appeal, but it an also help your home pass an inspection!
10. Make sure your roof is in good condition
Last but certainly not least, the roof… It’s very common for shingles to fall off or roofs to get dirty with streaks. A good cleaning and shingle patching can give your home a fresh look. If your roof needs to be replaced, it’s important to face that reality. If necessary, it’s best to replace the roof before listing your house for sale. That way, your roof and home will look great, and you’ll avoid a major red flag in an inspection. If you can’t replace the roof, be prepared to reflect that in your price or to come down during negotiations.
There’s no better time than spring to make these quick fixes to your house to add curb appeal! If you’ve implemented these updates and are ready to list your house, or if you’re looking to purchase a home that has stunning curbside appeal, contact us today! It’s always a good idea to talk things through with a professional, and we’d love to help!
Aug 9, 2018 | Buying a Home, Selling Your Home
Repairs and maintenance are a reality of home ownership. There are some jobs that are definitely best left to the professionals, but there are many repairs you can do yourself. Mastering a few simple DIY home repair techniques will save you a lot of money in the long run. Here, we share a few of our favorite tips and resources for DIY home repair.
Kitchen Home Improvement & Repairs
How to Fix a Clogged Sink
It is quite common for food to get clogged in the sink. To clear the path, you can take a plunger to try and suction the particles out of the drain. If pesky particles are remaining, make a baking soda and vinegar mix to unclog the sink.
How to Fix Burns on Laminate Countertops
Hot pans can do serious damage to laminate countertops. Large burns will call for a replacement, but minor burns are a simple fix. First, start by scrubbing the area with steel wool or a rough material like sandpaper, then create a homemade abrasive cleaner (baking soda and water) to remove all excess material.
Check out other great kitchen repair tips at the DIY Network blog!
Bathroom Repairs & DIY Renos
Planning & Managing Bathroom Renovations
Whether your vision for your bathroom involves tile, vinyl, wallpaper, or paint, this book will ensure you are repairing and remodeling your bathroom like the professionals. It also includes steps for planning out your project and finding fixtures that fit! This is a great beginner’s guide to bathroom renovations.
Bathroom Remodeling for Dummies
How to Fix a Broken Faucet
Make sure when fixing a broken faucet, you have a replacement at the ready! Also, ensure your water is turned off and you put a stopper over the drain to keep any pieces from falling into the pipes. These are the basic things you need to do to prep your bathroom for a faucet repair or replacement. Check out these handy videos on how to actually tackle the job!
Repairing a Leaky Faucet
How to Replace a Bathroom Sink Faucet
Keeping Every Room Beautiful
How to Paint Like a Pro
Nothing makes your home feel cleaner than a fresh coat of paint! It’s incredible what a difference a fresh paint job can make. It’s one of the easiest, most affordable, and most dramatic home improvements you can make. Check out this article about how to paint a room like a pro!
Top 10 Ways to Paint Like a Pro
How to Change Out Lights Fixtures
Light fixtures are like jewelry for your house! Updating ceiling fixtures can make a HUGE difference in your home. Light fixtures may seem difficult to replace, but this video will teach you how to do it step-by-step. It’s much easier than you’d expect!
How to Replace a Ceiling Light Fixture
How to Replace Doorknobs & Cabinet Hardware
Okay, doorknobs and hardware are ALSO the jewelry for your home! This is another simple change that can make an amazing difference. Few things can cause a home to look as dated as doorknobs and hardware. To change out cabinet hardware, just unscrew from the back side of the cabinet door, pop in the new one, and tighten. Replacing a doorknob is almost as easy!
How to Replace a Door Knob
Bonus tip: If your cabinet hardware is a dated color or finish, you can give it a SUPER affordable update with spray paint! Just remove the hardware and give it 2 – 3 coats. Let everything dry thoroughly before reinstalling.
DIY Outdoor Spaces
How to Repair Chipped Outdoor Paint
When your exterior color begins to crack, it’s not just unsightly; it’s a sign that your interior and exterior walls may be compromised. Any exposed wood can start to rot and decay, leaving your home vulnerable to moisture and pests. Pressure washing your house will get rid of chipped paint and will allow you to create a new coat to avoid the wood becoming molded. Check out this link for other important exterior maintenance tips!
6 Must-Do Outdoor Spring Home Maintenance Tasks
Weeding Out the Weeds
Getting rid of weeds is one of the simplest and most dramatic ways to improve your curb appeal. The best solution is to pull weeds out by the roots to make sure they don’t continue to grow. Pre-emergent herbicides can help prevent weeds from sprouting without doing damage to your lawn. Specific tools are more manageable for different types of weeds because of the way the root structures grow. Check out this article about determining which device works best for your needs.
Tips & Tricks for Eliminating Lawn Weeds
6 Cases When you Should Hire a Professional
Photo source: https://www.bidvine.com/
Installing Crown Molding
This may seem like an easy DIY, but you should leave this to the experts. There are dozens of different angles you’ll have to consider and your math has to be exact. Save yourself a LOT of frustration and call in a pro!
Replacing Windows with French Doors
This job requires a lot of specialized materials and tools. You also have to consider how to keep the wall structurally sound during the replacement. Finally, you may have electrical wires that need to be rerouted to accommodate the new doors. Because of this, this project is best left to the experts.
Removing a Load-Bearing Wall
Knocking down walls should be left to the pros. Structural changes in your home require tons of planning. A licensed contractor is familiar with this procedure and will get the job done right.
Replacing an Old Driveway
There is a lot to consider when replacing an old driveway. This is hard work that requires specialized equipment. A small miscalculation may be costly, so play it safe and hire a professional.
Building a Pergola
Building a pergola involves site planning and understanding local code requirements. It also involves digging and setting concrete footers, which is no easy task for most homeowners.
Waterproofing Your Basement
Every home is unique, and no one game plan for waterproofing your basement that will work in every house. There are different approaches that professionals will recommend based on your home’s unique challenges.
We hope these resources are helpful to you! If you’re ready to tackle home ownership and all it entails, give us a call or send us a message. We’d love to help!
Mar 21, 2018 | Buying a Home
Every house has the potential to become a dream home! Thanks to popular television shows today, more people are realizing that fixer uppers may be more cost effective and less time consuming than building a house from the ground up. Fixer uppers also present an opportunity to turn a profit: improving a home and flipping it for resale has been a successful strategy for many Eastern Shore investors.
Eastern Shore real estate is one of the best markets for flipping houses because there are so many great structural homes built on prime land along the water, near the beaches and in growing towns. There are countless reasons to fix up a home in Maryland; whether it’s to design your own kitchen with a few changes, save money on land or take your time while living in the home. But the biggest reason is to flip the house as an investment property.
Not only can you make significant returns on your investment by house flipping on the Eastern Shore, you can do it relatively fast if there are no major setbacks. We recommend working with a good inspector before you purchase the house to make sure there isn’t significant damage, and working with a good contractor during the flipping process. (Contact us for recommendations on local inspectors and contractors).
Most companies or people who flip homes as a business suggest that you focus on the neighborhood where the house is located as much as you focus on the features of the house itself. Luckily for you, most real estate on the Eastern Shore is in good neighborhoods within 30 minutes of a body of water! Couples are moving here more now than ever to raise their children and retire because of the quiet rural lifestyle and safe, family-friendly environment.
Another reason flipping homes on the Eastern Shore is a good investment is because the cost of buying a house is less expensive compared to other areas of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Eastern Shore is becoming a popular destination for commuters working in Annapolis, Baltimore and D.C. When fixing up a house to sell, you want a house to which you can add value and sell for more than you spent. The value will continue to increase for Eastern Shore homes as more families choose to move here to raise their families and drive further for work.
If you’ve got access to cash, good credit and the will to put in the hard work, fixing up houses to sell as investments can be a smart strategic move. The best part about this process is that the more homes you flip, the more familiar you become with construction costs, design trends and reliable contractors, and the easier it becomes.
Not sure where to start on buying a house to flip? We can help! It’s important to discuss the details with experts regarding which improvements to make depending on the value of surrounding homes, the age of appliances, the outdated features, etc.
With access to numerous listings, local home design and appliance businesses, and the knowledge of what buyers are looking for in certain areas, you can’t go wrong with our team at Powell Realtors. Contact us today to find your first fixer upper or house to flip for investment!
Feb 27, 2018 | Buying a Home
The increase in Americans renting homes today is undeniable. Investing in rental properties can be very economical for homeowners for many reasons. Not only can rental properties help accumulate long-term wealth, they also prepare a financially stable future and diversify investment portfolios.
According to Trulia, there has been a significant increase in the number of Americans who rent their homes in the last 10 years. A recent report examines growth in renting versus owning across the U.S., as well as the rise in rental housing prices between 2006 and 2014. Because increasing student loans are making qualifying for a mortgage more difficult, the demand for rental properties will only grow over time.
The Eastern Shore is going through a bit of a renaissance in many towns with new people moving in and renting homes. There’s a high demand for downtown housing that’s close to restaurants, shops and the water, so it’s the perfect time to make a real estate investment. Eastern Shore real estate is booming when it comes to rentals, and we know the benefits.
We’ve gathered the top 5 reasons you should invest in rental properties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore:
Unlike the latest tech trend or start-up company, real estate is an investment that will last. The beauty of rental properties is that people will always need a place to live, so the demand will never end. And we know from experience that most people who come to the Eastern Shore immediately feel at “home” and choose to stay to raise families and enjoy the rural lifestyle.
“Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
2. Tax Benefits
Renting out your home has numerous tax benefits. You can write off the interest on your mortgage or credit cards with property purchases, insurance, maintenance costs, travel expenses and even property taxes as a rental property owner. In the midst of Tax Season right now, think of how great it would be to write some of those things off!
As long as your rental property is occupied with tenants, you can receive a steady stream of income while also paying down your mortgage. You’re your own boss. You get to choose which property to invest in, which tenants you will rent to, how much you will charge for rent, and how you’ll manage the property as a whole. Plus you don’t have to be present all the time to make money!
You can use a bank loan or private lending to purchase a property and increase the potential return. You don’t need 100% of the property purchase price (wow, say that 3 times fast!) to buy it, allowing you to buy more than you could in stocks or other investments. Your time and abilities can also be leveraged to make the home or property as nice as you want, increasing the rental price!
5. Easy to Begin
It’s not very difficult to turn your home or property into a rental, especially if you consult with a real estate agent. We can walk you through how to price your property and write a lease. We can also recommend property managers if you’d rather not be the landlord, and we even help you find potential tenants!
If you’re interested in purchasing a home or making yours a rental, shoot us a message or give us a call at 410-228-9333!
Nov 27, 2017 | Selling Your Home
The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but ‘tis not the season for peak real estate sales. It’s such a busy season that it’s no surprise activity drops off over Christmas and New Year’s. However, there are some buyers who take advantage of the downtime from work to go house hunting, so it’s important to be prepared. While there may be fewer buyers, the ones who are out there are usually pretty motivated!
So what do you do if your home is still on the market over the holidays? Don’t worry! You can still decorate for the holidays and enjoy family traditions, all while having your home show-ready for buyers. If you are willing to go the extra mile, you can use the season to your advantage and make your home a true standout on the market. The key is to decorate in a way that emphasizes your home’s best features. This may mean scaling back or changing your usual holiday décor. Read on for the do’s and don’ts of selling your home over the holidays!
DON’T Overdo It
Before you pull out your bins full of holiday cheer, remember to declutter and clean your living space. You don’t want to overcrowd buyers’ senses as they walk from room to room. For every holiday decoration you add, remove another item to storage. Less is more!
Too many decorations can distract buyers and take away from your home’s best features. Think strategically about every decoration you place in your home. Don’t block a beautiful view by putting stick-on snowflake decals on your windows. Do draw attention to an elegant fireplace with tasteful garland, but don’t overdo it with too many knickknacks or personalized stockings. Emphasize your home’s architecture by hanging mistletoe in an arched doorway or wrapping garland around the staircase. Place a bowl of pinecones on a table, and hang an evergreen wreath on the front door. These are examples of neutral decorations that accentuate everyday features of the house.
The less-is-more mantra of home staging may tempt you to forgo holiday cheer altogether this year. But a few subtle, tasteful touches can create a warm and festive feeling that really appeals to buyers!
DO Put Up a Christmas Tree – but proceed with caution!
Even when buyers are house hunting in July, they often try to envision where a Christmas tree can be placed in the home. So this is a great opportunity to show them!
But before you put up a tree, there are some important things to consider. First and foremost, you want to keep proper proportions among the furniture and accessories in your house. If the Christmas tree overpowers the room and forces the furniture to be squeezed together, the look is unappealing and the room will feel smaller. Go ahead and remove extra furniture if necessary. You can also consider getting a skinnier tree than usual to avoid overcrowding the room.
If you have tall ceilings, show them off with a tall Christmas tree. If you’re fortunate enough to have multiple large rooms, you may consider adding additional trees throughout the house. As long as the proportions are right, having multiple trees can draw attention to how large and spacious your home is.
Regardless of the size of your tree, tasteful ornaments and trimmings are essential. If you have funny or over-the-top family ornaments, it’s a good idea to leave them boxed away this year. Instead, go with a cohesive color scheme for your ornaments, accented with white lights. This is certainly a less personal approach, but that’s a good thing… You want to present a neutral backdrop that lets buyers imagine their own tree and decorations in the home.
DON’T Go Overboard with Exterior Lights & Decorations
When it comes to decorating the exterior of your home, steer clear of inflatable snowmen on the lawn or a Santa on the chimney. One person’s “merry” is another person’s “too much!” Make sure to stick with classic light displays while your home is on the market. Use simple, white string lighting to play up your home’s architecture and landscape. If a Realtor wants to show the house in the evening, outdoor lights can be appealing and bring a feeling of holiday cheer.
DO Delight the Senses
The smell of simmering cider or baked cookies will delight the senses. Even if you decide not to decorate, introducing seasonal scents can make buyers feel right at home. When you know a real estate agent is bringing clients to look at the house, leave a plate of holiday treats on the counter. A roaring fireplace is also a cozy way to celebrate the winter, warm visitors, and show off one of your home’s best assets.
When it comes to candles and other home-scent products, opt for scents that are very subtle. Scents of pine and balsam are pleasant during the holidays, as long as they aren’t overpowering. Be wary of other popular seasonal scents; you never know who will have an aversion to heavy cinnamon or vanilla!
In the end, the most important holiday decision you’ll make is whether to keep your home on the market during the holidays. You may have fewer house hunters, but more motivated buyers. And remember, very few home buyers are turned off by holiday decorations – unless they’re truly over-the-top! Your holiday decorations may not match buyers’ tastes, but it’s kind of like paint colors… They can certainly help if they look good, but they’re rarely deal breakers. So go ahead and embrace the season! When buyers see your home full of holiday cheer, they’ll envision their own family sharing special holiday moments in the house. A festive home is a great selling point that can certainly be used to your advantage!
Don’t want to wait to get your home on the market? We’d love to help! Contact us and one of our expert Realtors will be in touch!