Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 4/18/2021

If you're in the process of preparing your home for the real estate market, get ready to roll up your sleeves and make your home as irresistible as possible!

While this may sound like an enormous undertaking that you don't have the time or energy to tackle, remember one thing: When you put your home up for sale, there's a lot at stake!

Generally, the longer your house stays on the market, the less marketable it becomes. If potential buyers learn that your house has been on the market for longer than, say, a few months, one of the first questions they'll ask or think will be "What's wrong with it?" Once questions like that start arising, the overall appeal of your home begins to decline. As you can imagine, your ability to get the highest possible price for your house also weakens over time. That's why it's important to do everything possible to enhance the look and feel of your home.

Home Staging Counts

Although effective home staging can be a crucial aspect of selling your house quickly, there is a point at which diminishing returns may come into play. Few home sellers have unlimited time and money to invest in staging their home, and it's easy to go above and beyond what's actually necessary to secure a buyer.

There are dozens of variables that affect a house selling strategy, including the real estate market and the condition of your home. If it's a "buyers' market" and there are a lot of comparable houses for sale in your neighborhood, then you might have to work a little harder to make your home stand out and attract offers. If you're fortunate enough to be in a desirable area and not facing a lot of competition from other home sellers, then the law of supply and demand should work in your favor! However, it's still important to make the most of your property's curb appeal and the overall appearance of your home's interior.

The cost of home staging can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, but your real estate agent can provide invaluable guidance on how to cost-effectlively maximize the "eye appeal" of your house and property. While perfection is generally an unattainable standard in home staging (or anything else), optimal results only come from putting your best foot forward.

Several words to remember and be guided by when preparing a house for sale are "immaculate", "spotless", "manicured" (lawn), "fresh" (looking and smelling), "updated", "well-maintained", and "charming". If prospective buyers are using those words and phrases to describe your home, then you know you're on the right track! Your agent can provide you with helpful insights and suggestions for making a great impression on potential buyers -- without having to spend more on home staging than necessary!





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 4/11/2021

If you intend to buy a house, it generally is a good idea to establish realistic property buying expectations. That way, you can plan ahead for the homebuying journey and avoid potential problems that otherwise may prevent you from achieving your desired results.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you manage your expectations as you pursue your dream residence.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

With homebuying criteria, you can determine exactly what you want from your dream residence. Then, you can narrow your house search and speed up your quest to discover your ideal home.

Think about where you want to live. For instance, if you prefer the hustle and bustle of the big city over life in a small town, you may want to hone your house search to properties in the city of your choice. Or, if you have always dreamed about owning a home near the beach, now may be the ideal time to transform your dream into a reality.

Don't forget to consider the features you want from your dream home too. Make a list of home must-haves and wants, and you can streamline your home search.

2. Set Homebuying Goals

Establishing homebuying goals can help you build a roadmap for your home search. This roadmap then will enable you to identify potential homebuying hurdles and resolve such issues before they escalate.

Homebuying goals can guide you along the homebuying journey. You can create as many or as few goals as you'd like, and by doing so, simplify your search for your ideal residence.

In addition, it is important to be flexible with your homebuying goals. And remember, if you fail to accomplish a homebuying goal by a specific date, you can always adjust your homebuying roadmap as needed.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about what to expect during the homebuying journey, there is no need to stress. In fact, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can help you establish realistic property buying expectations from day one.

A real estate agent first learns about you and your homebuying goals. He or she next will put together a personalized homebuying strategy for you and ensure you can complete a successful property buying journey.

As you search for your dream home, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about new houses that meet your homebuying criteria. He or she also will help you submit an offer to purchase on any house you want to acquire. And once an offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final steps of the property buying journey.

Ready to begin your search for your dream residence? If you understand how to manage your homebuying expectations, you should have no trouble achieving the best-possible results at each stage of the homebuying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 4/4/2021

We’ve all seen the way landscaping and decorating trends can sweep through a neighborhood. Some are practical, like planting drought-resistant vegetation. Others are purely aesthetic choices.

In this article, we’re going to break down some of the latest trends in landscaping. Who knows, you might be inspired to get out and revamp your front or backyard with one of these ideas. Read on for some of the latest and greatest landscaping techniques for your home.

Landscaping you can eat

One trend that is making a comeback is growing herbs and vegetables. We’re not talking about a backyard garden in a chicken wire fence (although those are great, too!)--what we’re referring to is planting herbs and colorful lettuces right in your front yard. Well-placed plants look natural and can save you money at the grocery store at the same time. Just make sure they’re planted in soil appropriate for growing vegetables.

Similarly, many people are rediscovering the native fruit trees, bushes, and vines of their area. Adding these items to your yard will give you something sweet to eat and also a sense of pride in your region. So, find out which fruits and vegetables grow well in your area and find some to compliment your yard.

Drought resistance

We’ve all seen the headlines. Climate change is upon us, and water shortage is one of the chief long term concerns. To save water and keep the front yard looking manicured, many people are turning to vegetation that can resist long periods of time without water.

There are drought tolerant plants in almost every family of flora. From flowers to shrubs and even grass. However, many homeowners in areas warm areas prone to drought are opting out of grass completely in favor of stone pathways lined with hardy, yet beautiful, cacti.

Actually comfortable outdoor seating

The days of uncomfortable plastic and metal chairs are numbered. Waterproof outdoor seating has improved immensely in the last few years and a greater number of people taking advantage of it.

Another indoor comfort that is taking root outdoors is the use of varied lighting techniques and colors to create different moods, be it calm or whimsical.

Let it grow

Many homeowners, fed up with having to mow their lawn every weekend instead of spending it relaxing, are opting to let their grass grow out. Planting shade-giving trees, incorporating natural boulders, and creating stone walkways give a wild, but pleasant feeling reminiscent of an English garden.

Where there is grass, it is often left to grow to “meadow” length to complement the natural feeling of the rest of the yard. Planning out such a yard, however, takes time, or you could end up with a backyard that looks like it just hasn’t been taken care of.


What are your favorite backyard landscaping trends?




Tags: landscaping   home trends  
Categories: Landscaping   home trends  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 3/28/2021

Fireplaces are often seen as a necessity for homebuyers. It adds charm and decorative as well as physical warmth to a home. More than half of new homes have a fireplace. If your home doesn’t have a fireplace, you may wonder if installing and maintaining a fireplace is worth it. Will it add value to your home? There are a few things you need to consider before you decide to take on this project.


Value


Keep in mind that fireplaces are not directly accounted for during a home appraisal. Yet, they add value to a home. Home buyers will pay more for homes that have fireplaces. Depending on the location of your home, a fireplace can increase the value of the property by a significant amount- up to thousands of dollars.


Location


The location of a home really has a direct effect on how much value it adds it a home. When added to other amenities in your home, a fireplace can compound to make the home appear more luxurious. A fireplace is a must in a higher end home.  


On the flip side, more modest homes may not need fireplaces. If a home needs many other improvements, a fireplace may not add much to the property. The amount of value a fireplace adds is very much dependent on the type of property it’s being added to.       



Cost


It’s possible to add a fireplace to just about any home. The cost will vary by a large amount ranging anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Specific requirements may exist within your city dictating how fireplaces must be installed. Keep in mind that everything from the type of fireplace that’s being installed to the height of the chimney must be considered. Look into things like:


  • Emission limits
  • Chimney height
  • Construction requirements
  • Permits
  • Type of installation

Each requirement will add a bit more cost to the project, so it’s best to do some research beforehand. 


Getting The Maximum Value


If you decide that adding a fireplace is the right decision for your property, there are a few ways to get the maximum return on your investment. First, you should build the fireplace in the room of your home that’s most used. This space would most likely be the living room or family room in most cases. Keep in mind that adding a fireplace can drastically change the look of a room.


Whether you’re adding a fireplace or putting in an initial one, you can be sure that it will add value to your home in the form of attraction and home price.  





Tags: fireplace  
Categories: home value   remodeling values  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 3/21/2021


 Photo by Atner Yegorov via Pixabay

Do you have an old fence that has good bones but nonetheless is detracting from the overall aesthetic of your outdoor living space? If so, consider giving the fence a facelift rather than tearing it down and replacing it with a brand-new version. You don't have to be a professional fence contractor to breathe new life into an ailing fence. Here's what you need to do:

Inspect the Fence Carefully

The first step in giving your fence a facelift is performing comprehensive, honest inspection. Are the fence posts still firmly rooted, and are the railings relatively free of rot and fairly intact? Identify any problem areas and mark them clearly with a waterproof marker so that you can easily find them again. 

Make a Game Plan

The next step is to repair and reinforce your fence -- resist the urge to pressure was it at this time because that will only make any existing damage worse. If necessary, replace broken or rotten railings and posts. Because fences feature sectional construction, you don't have to take the whole fence apart in order to replace posts and rails.

Wash the Fence 

It is not necessary to own or rent a power washer to clean your wooden fence. If you do decide to use one, keep it on the lowest possible setting. A garden hose will work just as well, although some people do prefer to use a power washer for larger fences. 

Wash your fence by sections. The first step is to thoroughly wet the fence before cleaning it with a soft cloth, a fiber brush, and a solution of mild detergent and warm water. Let the solution sit for several minutes on areas of the fence with significant grime or stains -- and use the brush to remove stubborn patches of dirt. Add up to two cups of bleach to your cleaning mixture if your fence has multiple stained areas. Be sure to rinse each section thoroughly before moving on to the next. 

Paint or Stain the Fence

A fresh coat of paint or stain works wonders to increase the aesthetics of a wooden fence. White paint provides a fence with a classically upscale look, while staining it a neutral tone enhances a natural look. Whichever you choose, it's bound to elevate the overall curb appeal of your property.  

Depending on the size of your fence, the extent of the damage, and whether you decide to paint or stain it, the project will probably only take a couple of days. Most homeowners do the cleaning and the repair work one day and save the painting or staining for the following day. 




Tags: home impovements   DIY   fences  
Categories: DIY