First Impressions Matter Even in a Seller’s Market

Curb appeal is everything, even during a seller’s market. It is paramount that you make sure the exterior is in excellent shape. There is truth to that old saying, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” – many potential buyers drive by the home before they make the call to see it.  Making sure that it is in the best shape, will get them in the front door. Be sure to call the best Realtor in town to get advice. Sometimes, as the owner, you can’t see as clearly what needs to be changed or updated and need a professional to help.

Title First Agency hears a lot of what buyers see and we have listed some of the exterior home improvements that can increase the resale value of your home AND  help sell your home even faster.

The front door: If potential buyers have decided to see your home, the door is the first thing they will see and walk through.  Just a fresh coat of paint or replacement or removal of a damaged screen or storm door will speak volumes. Polish metal knobs.  Consider replacing the door it if it is worn-out or banged-up. It’s one of the investments made that can more than pay for itself with the amount of value it adds.  Then, add potted plants to each side of your freshened up or new front door.

The approach to the front door: How is the driveway? Does it need to be power washed? Resealed? Is there a fence? Is it broken anywhere? Are there cracked pavers? A knowledgeable and honest Realtor will take that “approach” walk with you and help point out things you may not even notice because you have walked by it so many times.

Update your landscaping: Before the drive-by, most potential buyers search on the internet for a home. The pictures will be worth a thousand words and to have beautiful landscaping will help showcase your home and be put on the buyer’s list to see. The best Realtor will tell you that you want to make it easy for possible buyers to envision themselves coming home to your home every day. Remove any distractions (garden accessories, etc)- spruce up it up with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. If it’s Fall or Winter, make sure your yard has been raked of leaves, sticks and other debris.

Home repairs: Make sure there isn’t any loose siding, replace loose or damaged roof shingles. Look for any wood rot – again, you may need to call an experienced Realtor to help you “see” what you have looked at every day. Is there a deck, a front porch or a patio? If your home needs a new roof, it would be in your best interest to just replace it. Buyers tend to shy away from homes that will be needing a new roof soon. And, adding the detail of “new roof” to your listing will grab even more buyers’ attention.

Windows: Fix any cracks, clean screens, and storm windows. Have you washed your windows in a while? In between the glass and the screen is a whole world of dust and fun that should be cleaned. Shine them so that from the street they look brand new.

The Bottom Line: Even in a seller’s market as we are experiencing just about everywhere right now– some homes linger on the market for weeks or months, while the homes around them go into contract within days. A book is judged by its cover, and you only have one shot to make a good impression.  Even in a hot market, buyers want to see a home without visible deferred maintenance. Take the time to put on your home’s best face. Make your home stand out from all the other homes on the market and get the most out of your sale.

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Want to Start a New Home Project? Here Are 5 Ideas


Are you moving to a new home? Are you thinking about expanding your existing space? Or are you renovating a room you hardly ever use? If you answered any of these questions with a positive nod of the head, you may be gearing up to start a new home project.

But even the thought of initiating such a project can be highly stressful. From finding the proper supplies to hiring the right experts, you have your work cut out for you every step of the way.

With that being said, pulling off this feat is not entirely impossible. After learning about some critical information, you can easily start and complete a new home project with the utmost ease.

To support you through the seemingly stressful process, here are 5 ideas for a new home project.

Pay Attention to Curb Appeal

If you have enough funds for a new home project, investing some of them into enhancing your curb appeal would be a good idea. It not only gives your home a fresh new aesthetic but also goes a long way toward enhancing its value.

Investments such as stunning landscaping and fresh exterior paint can all do wonders in this aspect. Depending upon your budget and comfort, you can choose the level of upgrades you want to make in this regard. These changes can be as minimal or as extensive as you may like. But in all cases, you should make it a point to make them as noticeable as possible.

It’s because when these curb appeal enhancements stand out at first glance, they boast of multiple benefits. In addition to giving your home a more attractive look among many other units in your neighborhood, these improvements appeal to any potential buyers whenever you decide to sell your home.

Get Professionals to Help You Out

While the DIY approach can work in some cases, that is not always an ideal solution. For instance, if you try to lift your furniture by yourself, you can end up with significant injuries. Similarly, if you try to paint your home all alone, it can end up in a haphazard job.

That’s why hiring an affordable moving service or a professional house painter is a great idea in these cases. This also applies to other professionals, such as kitchen contractors and pool designers. Getting help from these experts may seem like a large expense at first. But it actually saves you a lot of funds in the long run.

For instance, if you end up damaging your property or furniture with DIY efforts, associated repair costs can often run twice the expense of the original project. Similarly, refining your DIY work for optimal quality can also cost a pretty penny. On the other hand, seasoned professionals steer clear of damaging activities while also bringing the utmost quality to the table.

Invest in High Quality Supplies


Regardless of the type of project you are undertaking, always make it a point to go after high-quality supplies. From buying a premium kitchen pantry to investing in a new air conditioning unit, these investments deliver long-lasting performance and provide you with optimal value for money.

This ensures that you are able to get the most out of your investment while living in your home. At the same time, following these approaches in certain types of renovations also helps in increasing your home’s marketability. Whether you are investing in kitchen cabinets or bathroom countertops, this approach can work wonders in terms of bringing the desired aesthetic and
durability to your home’s fixtures.

With that being said, high-quality materials don’t always have to cost you an arm and a leg. You can obtain them from various vendors who sell their items at wholesale prices. In some cases, you can find these materials through the help of your hired contractors, who are able to source massive discounts through their industry contacts.

Secure Your Existing Belongings

Securing your existing belongings is one of the most basic points of home projects. But it often gets overlooked due to the general sense of fervor that surrounds renovation or moving plans. In turn, your home improvement may end up leaving scratches, paint marks, and lasting damage on your furniture and fixtures.

Whether you are repainting your living room or rebuilding your kitchen, get some protective supplies for your existing items. Even getting items as basic as a canvas drop cloth can go a long way in terms of protection. Whether you are worried about paint stains or wood chips, these precautionary measures do a great job at protecting your home and assets.

Securing your belongings does not ask much from you in terms of costs or expertise, but there are times where expert advice may help. With that being said, this is one of those instances where DIY efforts can actually work in an effective way. By watching YouTube tutorials or reading text posts online, you can know how to secure certain floors, walls, and fixtures during specific home projects.

Spruce It Up With Some Fresh Greenery

No matter the type of decor you are aiming for, investing in a few plants can always take it up a notch. From uber modern homes to a classic vintage aesthetic, this approach applies to all types of personal statements and styles. In many cases, simply buying a gardenia plant can elevate your surroundings in an instant.

Keeping this in mind, make it a point to invest in relevant plant life that goes in line with the look you need. From hanging plants to outdoor pots, you can choose from a variety of options that fit within your home project’s desired aesthetic and end result. In addition to adding another layer of visuals, it also lets you dress up bare walls or empty spaces that look out of place in an otherwise elaborate space.

If looking after these plants is a problem due to your schedule or lifestyle, you can choose plants that are low-maintenance but stand out as a prominent enhancement to any area. This allows you to get the most out of your efforts without having to go through extensive measures.

By exploring these suggestions, you can start your new home project with proper care and planning. Whether you are revamping your entryway or redoing your bathroom, these tips can ensure a smooth execution of the whole process.

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The First Home Showing is Online

“According to the National Association of Realtors, 63 percent of home buyers will drop by after viewing a home they like online. What will they see? The home’s exterior – including the front entry, yard, driveway, sidewalk — should serve as a snapshot of what’s to come when potential buyers enter your home.” (HGTV)

Curb appeal is important, but to get potential buyers actually to and then in your home, it is all about your home’s web appeal. Your first showing usually happens online. Studies show that sellers and their agents have seven to 10 seconds to capture a buyer’s attention online and if not, they swipe left, pass on the home and move on to the next one. In such little time, you’ve got to make sure your Realtor has upped your web presence!

Start with preparing and staging your home, both inside and outside. Once it has been staged, the key to creating Internet attention is to compose sharp, clear photos that are big and bright! Using a professional photographer can mean the difference in your home selling or not even being seen. Remember, if the photos do not show well, the home will likely be passed over with a simple click of the mouse, with little chance of consideration for an in-person viewing 

What is your home’s best feature? Is it the recently updated chef’s kitchen or the beautiful outdoor pool and patio space? How about that marble fireplace or the home’s front exterior? Whatever it is, be sure to take plenty of photos of the home’s best features. Your Realtor may even want to make one of these photos the first picture that buyers see in the MLS database and other online real estate marketplaces. We recommend walking the home with your real estate agent to assess the property’s best selling points. Prior to the photo shoot, be sure to point out these features to the photographer.

Remember: when it comes to listing photos, quality trumps quantity. Unless your home is the size of a castle, there’s no reason to have 100 listing photos. Not only is having an excessive number of photos overwhelming for homebuyers, but it also doesn’t leave them wanting more. On the other hand, if the listing has too little photos, most buyers will wonder what exactly the sellers are hiding. Your Realtor should be able to provide you with guidance as to the appropriate number of listing photos. Just be sure to choose only the best for the listing. After all, no one needs to see 10 photos of your master bathroom.  

The Bottom Line: So many decisions are being made by home buyers just by the photos they find of your home online.  Make sure your home is at its very best when it comes time to take the listing photos of your home.  When it comes time to hire a Realtor don’t be afraid to ask to see some of the listings they have done so you can check the quality of their real estate photography.

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Increase the Value of Your Home, Inexpensively

family in new house

Considering selling your home by next Spring? You will want to get the best price, of course, so start now by getting your home in tip-top shape. You don’t need to spend a lot of money and can do much on your own. Here are a few ideas and if you need guidance, calling the most experienced Realtor to visit and give you advice is always a good idea.

Deep Clean: Start with decluttering every room and closet. Donate, sell or throw away things you don’t use anymore. Vacuum, mop, & dust every surface, every vent, every blind and scrub the bathrooms. Get down on the floor and get your baseboards and lower cabinet doors wiped down. Wash the walls and make all your windows sparkle. Steam-clean all the carpets. These are all perfect cold, Winter day chores to tackle.

Paint: While you may love your brightly painted rooms, they make it harder to sell as the potential buyer usually can’t see beyond your taste. Use neutral colors and watch as minor flaws are hidden and the rooms are brightened. Simply paint the trim and see a new room appear! Just updating paint jobs, especially in the master bedroom the entry foyer, living room, and kitchen can increase the value of your home.

The Face of the Home: Rent a power washer if you don’t have one and transform the exterior of your home from “lived in” to “like new”. Use it on the siding, brick or wood, sidewalks, driveways, decks, porches, garage doors, any porch furniture that is left out and windows.

Landscaping: Depending on the time of year – if it’s right now, Fall, get the leaves up and off the ground. Rake out gardens and pick up sticks. Cut down any low hanging branches or twigs. Removed dead shrubs and make sure the property is well-edged.

Spruce Up Your Kitchen: No need to gut and rebuild. Add value by replacing cabinet hardware, the faucet in the sink, even appliances if they are dented or overused. Repaint walls and even cabinets.

The Bottom Line: There are so many ways to upgrade your home before you sell it and literally up the value by thousands. A simple change of light switch and outlet covers make a world of difference. So, if you are waiting until Spring to list your home, spend the dark Winter months knocking off a to-do list!

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