Addie Finley's Blog
Selling? Ready to wow potential buyers with some high-impact touch-ups? Here are some top ideas to mesmerize home buyers—without spending a fortune on renovations.
Dazzle Them at the Doorstep
Many of today's home sales, and certainly most fast transactions, begin with online browsing. First, snap a photo of your home. Take it from the perspective of someone walking up to the front door. Is the walkway weeded? Is the welcome mat spiffy? Is the patio tidy? Think about the irresistible qualities of your home, as you first saw them. Are those charming elements as visible today? Lay fresh mulch on the front garden to touch up the landscaping. A coat of paint for the door, window frames, and decorative shutters is well worth the time invested. Just one sunny day's work...et voilà!
Now, to clean the windows. Are they perfectly clear and inviting? Peek in. Is the interior clutter-free, sparkling clean, and charming? Well done! You're ready to start your virtual home tour on your social media accounts!
Uplift the Interior Mood
Look for spots where you can lighten up the interior look. White paint over dark panels, doors, or cabinets can make a world of mood-lifting difference.
If possible, remove the furniture, except for your staging pieces, before having the photography done. Make the essence of your home bright and joyful. Consider, for instance, that essential oils can be exceptional mood enhancers. Research has confirmed lavender's "anti-agitation and antidepressant" effects.
Make this knowledge work for you. Drop a little lavender oil on your AC filter, or on the cardboard roll inside toilet tissue, for diffusion that keeps spreading a calm feeling throughout your home. (You can share the tip with the new homeowner at closing!)
Try Speed Renovating
Here again, start by taking pictures inside. Find your best touch-up targets.
- Pick out some simple brass outlet covers to replace your old ones.
- For a mini-makeover in the kitchen, install a sleek, new faucet. It's a relatively small project. But it can be transformative.
- Grab some attractive peel-and-stick tiles. Make a backsplash to frame your stove or sink.
Now, throw those curtains open! Open those blinds and windows. Bright, sunny interiors sell homes.
Ready to Sell Your Home?
You've cleared out everything. The baseboards are painted. Your kitchen is ready with its glistening—and empty—countertops.Be sure the lock and key work nicely. (You might be surprised, but homes get passed over because the agent can't get the key to work.) Now, you're ready to open your home, and I'm ready to help you. Just give me a call, and let's get that SOLD sign ready!
Sometimes a couple buys a house together but does not marry. Lawyers and closing agents often title the property as tenants in common. This causes major problems if one partner passes and the other expects the property to transfer solely to them. When a property is titled as tenants in common, the decedent’s share goes to their heirs, not to their partner. When you purchase real estate, always check the deed to make sure that it is titled in the best way that benefits your relationship. While a couple who buys real estate together may not plan on separating, it does happen. However, if you feel that you would never separate because of certain circumstances, you might want to ensure that the property is titled as joint tenancy.
Probate and Real Estate Titles
If the property is titled as joint tenancy, the decedent’s share automatically goes to the other joint tenants listed on the deed. If it is titled as tenants in common, the decedent’s share goes to their heirs, not to their partner. However, you can avoid this by making sure the property is included in a will. The downside of this is that the will has to go through probate. Depending on the county the property is in and other problems that could arise with the estate, probate takes a minimum of six months to a year. It could take longer. Before you purchase property with someone you do not legally marry, make sure you have a conversation on the disposition of the property should one of you pass. Advise your attorney or closing agent to make sure the deed is titled in the manner you want.
Methods of Holding Property
You can hold property in several methods. One way is going to be better than the others, depending on your relationship and who you want to get the property postmortem. Joint Tenancy allows your share to pass to the others on the deed in the event of your death. You do not need to be married or even related to have a deed titled as joint tenancy. However, you cannot name someone else in your will to inherit the property. Additionally, creditors for one person may go after the other person on the deed – in effect, you become responsible for your partner’s debts.
With Tenancy in Common, you hold title to the property jointly, just as you do with joint tenancy. However, the other person’s creditors cannot go after you, and when one person dies, the property goes to that person’s heirs instead of the other person on the title. If two people own the property, they each own one-half interest. If one person dies and the property goes to their two kids, then the property is owned by the other person on the deed plus the decedent’s kids.
If you want to have the property titled as Tenants by Entirety, you have to be legally married. This assumes that you both are one person. If one person dies, the title is transferred to the other. In most cases, the property does not have to go through probate when one person dies.
Sole Ownership means that you and only you own the property. You can be married and have a property titled as sole ownership – in the event of death, the entire property goes to your heirs and your spouse does not get the property unless you will it to them.
You can also hold property as a corporation, a partnership, or in trust. The property is titled in the name of the business or the trust. When a trust holds property, disposition depends on the type of trust. If you are not sure how to title property to best benefit you, speak with a real estate attorney before you close on the property.
Bread can be fun to make, but kneading is hard work. If you're in a hurry or just don't feel up to the task of kneading your bread, this no-knead recipe is perfect for you. This is also an excellent bread to make if you've never made bread before, because it's simple and requires few steps. No-knead bread also rises overnight, as a result, it uses very little yeast. The only catch? This bread requires about 24 hours from start to finish, so it's not the best option if you're in a hurry.
A Short Tutorial On Bread Crusts
Bread needs moisture to create a crispy, attractive crust. Without moisture during the baking process, bread crust turns out pale and lifeless. Some roll and bisquit recipes rely on a glaze of egg white, milk or butter to turn the crust golden brown.
Larger loaves generally rely on an infusion of steam during the baking proces to brown the crust to perfection. Some bread bakers leave a tray of water in the bottom of the oven; others mist their bread just as they're putting it in.
This recipe calls for a large (6 quart) Dutch oven with a lid. You'll place the Dutch oven in your oven while it's pre-heating, and leave it in the oven for an additional 15 minutes after pre-heating is finished. When the time comes, you'll bake the loaf inside the Dutch oven, with the lid on. The loaf will emit steam into the Dutch oven while it heats up. The steam will create the perfect crust, without requiring a tray of water or misting from a water bottle.
No-Knead Bread Recipe Instructions
- Mix together the ingredients to form a wet, shaggy dough.
- Leave the dough covered with a tea towel in an oiled bowl overnight.
- 18-20 hours later, the dough should be risen and doubled in size. You will see bubbles at the surface of the dough. Scrape down the dough from the sides of the bowl with a wooden spoon. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the Dutch oven (with lid) in the oven while it preheats.
- Sprinkle flour on the dough and cover it with a tea towel again. Allow the dough to rise again for about an hour.
- Remove the Dutch oven from your oven. Sprinkle the inside of the Dutch oven with flour. Place the dough in the Dutch oven and put the lid on. Put the Dutch oven back in the heated oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid on the Dutch oven and reduce the temperature of the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the bread for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the Dutch oven. The crust should be golden brown. Place the bread on a wire rack to cool.
This bread is excellent for slicing, makes a good loaf to serve with dinner and can even be given away to friends or relatives as a gift. It has a rustic, irregular appearance that will impress anyone.
So what will 2020 bring to the real estate market? While market trends can, and do, change on a whim, some activity seems to be easier to predict. If you’re entering the market this year as a buyer or seller, having a better understanding of these trends will help you make informed decisions, so here’s what you can expect.
1. Home Prices Rise, but Slower
Home prices have been on the rise in the past couple of years. This trend is expected to continue in 2020, but the rise will be a bit slower. Freddie Mac warns of an economic slowdown this year, and expects price growth to be around 2.8, compared to 3.3 in 2019 and 5.0 in 2018. This is good news for sellers, but it’s also good news for those who aren't considering selling this year. Rising home prices means your equity will increase or hold steady.
2. Drop in Mortgage Rates
Next, interest rates are expected to drop for most loan types. In 2020, expect to see averages below four percent for most types of loans. Of course, this particular trend can change suddenly, but if it remains on track it will mean more interested buyers in the market. This can help sellers.
3. Homebuilders Focusing on Starter Homes
Demand for starter homes is on the increase. There are two reasons for this. First, many people who would normally be listing their starter homes are choosing to stay put, because younger homeowners are valuing community more than owning a large home. Second, Baby Boomers are starting to look for smaller “starter” homes as their downsized homes. This creates an additional number of buyers competing for the type of home that appeals to first-time buyers. Because of this demand, many homebuilders are focusing on building in this demographic.
4. Millennials Dominating the Market
Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1998, are going to be the largest generational group in the home buying market. Many of these young adults waited to buy their first home until they were well established in their careers, and are now ready to make the purchase. Others are ready to move out of their starter home and into their forever home. These buyers use the Internet primarily to help them in their home search and are looking for the home’s location and features, rather than a huge home with lots of square footage.
Market trends are never set in stone. Economic factors can change and impact these trends, but based on current projections, these are a good indication of what the 2020 home market will bring.
If your house is currently on the market or you're preparing to put it up for sale, the secret of success lies in the lyrics of an old popular song called "Accentuate The Positive." Although it was originally published in 1944, the song has been resurfacing for years on television, in movies, and music recordings.
"Accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative" may seem like basic, old-fashioned advice, but when homeowners follow it, they increase their chances of selling their home faster and for the highest possible price.
Although your real estate agent will provide a ton of helpful advice on how to present your house in its best light, there are dozens of things you can start doing now to improve its marketability, curb appeal, and the positive response you get from real estate agents and buyers.
- Avoid or minimize any aspect of your home and property that gives the impression of neglect. That could include anything from peeling paint and cracked windows to overgrown bushes and weedy yards. Weeds growing out of cracks in walkways, driveways, and concrete flooring often looks the worst -- but weeds, in general, always detract from the appearance of a home for sale.
- Reduce or eliminate anything that might create a feeling of "unpleasantness" in the minds of prospects. In other words, if there's anything about your home that might cause buyers to cringe, frown, gasp, crinkle their nose (in displeasure) or shake their heads, then you probably need to take corrective action -- and fast! A prime example would be pet odors, stains, and loose fur, which can be major turnoffs for many people -- especially if they have allergies!
- If little or no interior painting has been done over the past five or ten years, there's a strong chance that your walls are faded, marred, and looking worse for the wear. A couple coats of neutral-colored paint can often infuse a more vibrant, updated appearance to those tired-looking rooms. Subtle, light colors -- although, not necessarily stark white -- are often advisable. The objective is to appeal to as many people as possible, without taking any decorating risks that might alienate anyone.
- Speaking of "harsh versus eye-pleasing," your home's lighting is another important thing to scrutinize when looking for cost-effective ways to increase the attractiveness, appeal, and marketability of your home.