DIY Home Improvement Projects for Beginners

Home improvement does not have to break the bank! A quick scroll through Pinterest and Instagram will give you plenty of ideas for DIY projects you can tackle in just one day of your weekend.

Paint: A can of paint can make a dramatic difference in many ways. If your walls have scratches and dirty paint, an outdated color, or fading wallpaper, paint them. Bring new life to old tiles in a bathroom by painting them. Wake up cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms with paint or stain and add new drawer pulls and door knobs. Updating your front door by painting it can change the entire look of your house! If you plan to sell, choose more neutral colors – meet with your realtor for ideas.

Fixtures: Switch plates, outlet covers, curtain rods, light fixtures, and doorknobs are a cheap way to add a big splash to a room. Metal switch plates and outlet covers can cost as little as $5 apiece but look much more expensive.

Outside: Rent a powerwasher and clean the outside of your home. A good pressure washing can make your home’s exterior look almost as good as a fresh coat of paint. Wash your windows inside and out. Rake or blow dead leaves and debris from around your yard. Trim overgrown bushes and trees. Search for what flowers or plants will grow well in your yard and give it a big makeover! Fences and gates might be in disrepair from the winter and fall seasons, be sure to make any repairs that need to be done.

Garage: Not a fun job, but that accomplished feeling when it’s done! Toss junk and clear out everything. Sweep, hose down, and even epoxy the floor. Install DIY cabinets and hide tools away. Put up hooks to hang garden equipment and bikes. Clean and paint the doors to kick up your curb appeal.

Caulk: Bathroom caulk can look discolored, cracked, and dingy in the bathtub, shower, and sink. All caused by leaking water. Pull out the old caulk, clean the area, and add a new layer. This quick project can last up to ten years.

Flooring:  Remember that odors linger especially in rugs and carpets and worn, dirty, or badly colored carpeting can turn a buyer off in seconds. If you have good hardwood floors, consider ripping out the carpet and exposing the wood. If that isn’t an option, search the internet to find out who or what to use to bring life into your carpeting – replacing or deep cleaning it. If you are planning to sell your home, get advice from a realtor.

Window Treatment: No more dreary curtains, bent mini-blinds, and dusty old drapery. Remove and replace with simple white mini-blinds or wood blinds. Easy fix and refresh that can be done in a day.

The Bottom Line: There are many, many ways to give your home a facelift, even make a huge difference that are easy and budget-friendly. Whether it’s to improve your property’s value or just increase your living experience, DIY projects are an economical way to transform any space.

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First Impression Turn-Offs in Real Estate

There are many reasons other than your home being priced too high that can prevent a sale. Buyers have tons of options, your home is just one of the many on the market. Even after falling in love with the marketing online of your home, once they pull up in front to see it in “real life” and the curb appeal passes the test, there could be some turn-offs that are hard to get past. Here are a few:

Noise: If your home is under the flight path of an airport there isn’t too much you can do about the noise. Your beautiful online photos will get them to come to see your home, but once there, they will experience noise pollution be it the train line, a major highway, or under the flight path could prevent the home from selling. Lowering your price could be the best thing you can do.

Neighbors: Your house may be in top shape, but if your neighbors have unkempt lawns, poorly maintained exteriors, or other visual disturbances, your property value will likely take a hit, as well.  Be ready for the issue to come up and be proactive by reaching out, if possible, to the offending neighbor in hopes that you might be able to mitigate those effects and lead to the sale you want.

Layout: Additions, add-ons, or conversions may offer a challenging layout but clever built-in furnishings and a little staging can fix this. Rearrange the furniture to make the space feel more open and inviting. Even consider removing any unnecessary walls to create a more open concept. When a home’s style is outdated, the first thing a buyer thinks about is expensive, major renovations. Meet with your realtor to see what you can do to help buyers see the potential in the home and envision themselves living there.

Musty: This will happen a lot in the basement if there isn’t a lot of airflow and it’s dark, damp, and dusty. It will be a hard selling point, so investing in a dehumidifier can solve many of the problems that come with a damp basement.

Home With A Past: If your home has had a gloomy life, it can be less likely to sell. Whether it’s a haunted house, a home with a notorious past, drug-related incidences, if the house is in a high crime area, or if there has been a suicide or death, buyers may be wary of proceeding any further. Lowering the price and focusing on the positive features of the home may outweigh any negative connotations.

Smell: Even musty smells, pet odors, and cigarette smells cannot be hidden with open windows, candles, or baking cookies. If there’s an issue with mold or mildew, absolutely take care of it before even listing your home. If you have pets, try to remove all evidence of pets and their odors before showing or listing the property if possible. If there are stronger odors like cigarette smells or urine stains, you may need to bring in the professionals to come in and take care of the odor before listing.

Repairs: If you aren’t listing your home as a “fixer-upper” and it needs repairs, it could be deterring potential buyers. Before putting your home on the market, hire an inspector and make sure to fix any major issues such as leaks, cracks, or holes in the walls. If your home needs cosmetic changes like painting the walls or updating the fixtures, get it done before anyone views your home.

Shared Driveway: Many buyers have passed on buying a home that has a shared driveway. Having to negotiate over driveway access and maintenance just isn’t something worth dealing with. Selling a house with a shared driveway can present some challenges, as potential buyers may have concerns about issues such as shared maintenance responsibilities, access, and potential conflicts with neighbors. However, the impact on the sale can vary depending on the specific circumstances, local real estate market conditions, and the preferences of potential buyers. It’s important to disclose the shared driveway arrangement to potential buyers and provide as much information as possible to address any concerns they may have.

The Bottom Line: If your home is not selling due to a displeasing issue, hopefully, you have hired the most seasoned realtor in your area. A good agent should be able to tell you why your house isn’t selling, and they should be willing to give you bad news. While there are plenty of potential problems, having a realtor with top negotiation skills who you trust is so important. They should be able to walk you through the market expectations and prepare you for what will need to be negotiated.

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Ready for Summer?

Longer days and warming weather make this time of year fun to get outside and tackle some of these projects. Spring home maintenance is essential for homeowners to ensure that their properties are in the best condition. Clean, repair, paint, and replace, and if you are preparing to sell your home, have your agent walk around and give their expert ideas. Here are some good tips to keep your home in tip-top shape.

Roof | Gutters: Winter can be brutal and cause wear and tear on your roof and little problems can turn into big, expensive problems fast. Check for missing or damaged shingles, and check for leaks or water damage. The gutters and downspouts will most likely be filled with debris. Over time, leaves and twigs can accumulate in your gutters, causing them to clog and lead to water damage to your home’s foundation. It’s best to check them and clear them all year. Check the downspouts to be sure they are directing water away from your home’s foundation.

HVAC – Inspect your HVAC system. Replace your air filters and clean your vents to ensure your system runs efficiently. If you notice any strange noises or odors coming from your HVAC system, it’s best to have a professional inspect it.

Window and Doors – Let the sun shine in! Clean your windows! Take your storm windows out and be sure your screens are examined for damage before putting them back in. Look for any gaps or cracks in doors and windows that will eventually lead to energy loss and higher energy bills. Use weather stripping or caulking to seal any gaps or cracks you find and get any damages fixed.

Yard – Now is the time to clean up your landscaping! Rake dead leaves and debris from your lawn, garden, or flowerbeds. Trim overgrown bushes or trees and remove any dead branches. Do research and see what type of new plants or flowers you might add to give your yard a makeover. Fences and gates can be in disrepair from the winter weather. Be sure to do a once-over for any repairs that need to be done.

House Exterior – Inspect your home’s exterior for any damage. Look for cracks or holes in your siding and inspect your chimney for any damage. Zero in on the siding or the paint. If you see peeling, you may want to get that fixed before it gets worse. Can you see any new signs of rotting wood? This goes for any deck or patio as well.

Power Wash – Such a therapeutic exercise to watch dirt and grime float away from your windows, doors, patios, decks, siding, driveway, walkways, and everything in between! Get rid of that winter grunge

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Assumable Mortgage

An assumable loan allows a home buyer to take over the seller’s existing mortgage, including its outstanding balance, interest rate, and repayment term, rather than obtaining a new loan. The buyer must qualify for the loan by meeting the lender’s credit, income, and asset requirements. If approved, the buyer pays the seller for any home equity as a down payment and assumes the monthly mortgage payments. 


Reasonable Interest Rate: The most advantageous benefit is to secure a lower interest rate than what’s currently available. If the seller’s interest rate is lower than the prevailing rates, the buyer will save a lot of money over the life of the loan.

Lower Closing Costs: Since the buyer is taking over an existing mortgage, there are fewer fees and paperwork involved compared to obtaining a brand-new loan. 

Faster and Easier Qualification: Assuming a mortgage may be a more accessible option for buyers who may not meet the stringent credit or income requirements associated with obtaining a new mortgage. As long as the buyer meets the lender’s criteria and is approved for the assumption, they can acquire the property without needing to qualify for a new loan. This process is often more streamlined and requires less paperwork.

Easier Sale & Higher Prices for Sellers: In a market where rates are 22-year highs, there can be buyer hesitation. Being able to offer a significantly lower rate to buyers can be extremely attractive and help a seller tempt buyers to choose your home over another. Because the seller is endowing the buyer with such a low rate, they can demand a higher sale price.


Large Down Payment: Rising home values can affect the advantages of a mortgage assumption. When a buyer assumes a mortgage, they inherit the low rate and low payment, but they must make up the difference between the home’s purchase price and the remaining mortgage balance. If the seller has significant equity, the buyer may need to make a sizeable down payment or obtain a second loan to cover the difference. This can nullify some of the benefits of the lower interest rate.

Increased Financial Risk: Sellers are often at a higher financial risk with an assumable mortgage, especially one that involves a VA loan. If the lender does not release the original borrower from liability of the mortgage, any missed payments could affect the sellers. 

The Bottom Line: With an assumable mortgage, there is the potential issue that the buyer must still qualify. The lender will review credit, income, and assets to make sure payments are affordable. It can be more complicated than a traditional mortgage. It’s important to compare the costs of assuming a loan to obtaining a new mortgage. There are cases where, even with higher interest rates, it may be more affordable for the buyer to get a new loan due to lower upfront costs and down payment. A good realtor and mortgage professional will be able to help you evaluate the options.

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