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Plants are the Perfect Home Staging Element

by Karen Picarello

A home without a plant is missing a certain je ne sais quoi that brings feelings of health, calm, and nature to the room. That is why it is so important to include plants in your home staging efforts. It brings the positive feelings that you want buyers to feel when they view their next potential home.

Why are plants the perfect home staging element?

1. Warmth

When you remove all of the personal elements and sparsely furnish a home with the bare essentials, the strategic ornamentation and neutrality of it all seems a bit sterile. You cannot fake the reality of occupation in a home, but adding plants can add life. Plants are an adequate replacement for the lack of personal elements in the home. The home is no longer a cold replication of family because the plants warm it up with life.

2. Nature

There is an ever-present need in humans to connect with nature that is probably instinctual. We cannot remove ourselves from our love of natural elements, and a home seems incomplete without it. This is likely because of some genetic memory from our days as cavemen where plant life equated to survival and food. In any case, plants reconnect your buyers with nature, and they get good feelings about the home as a result.

3. Stress-reducer

Along with the calm associated with reconnecting with nature, plant have also been proven to be stress reducers when placed in the home. Searching for a home can be a stressful process, so anything to reduce that stress could make a potential buyer choose your home over homes without plants.

4. Space-filler

It is a challenge to “fill the void” when the former occupants of a home move out. Some homeowners don’t have the disposable income to fully stage their home, but plants can add a little something extra to the space they fill. They can also be useful to gauge size in photos.

5. Color

Lastly, home staging is usually an effort in neutral colors, and whites and tans are prevalent in most displays. This is because it is pleasing to everyone. You don’t want to lose a buyer because of poor color choice. However, neutral colors and whites totally remove the personality from a home. While that is the point, no personality can feel very cold. A pop of color from a plant can remove the monotony and make the place seem more complete.

Photos Make a Difference When Selling a Home

by Karen Picarello

With real estate sites like Zillow offering run-downs of the homes for sale in your area, you need to have a competitive edge to make your house stand out in the market. One way to do that is to make sure that you have amazing photos that showcase your property before anyone ever takes a tour. In order to get those photos, you’ll need a professional photographer. Still not convinced? Photos are not only for initial wow-factor. They are also a positive reminder of your listed home when potential buyers go home to consider their options.  It’s a double-whammy, and you don’t want to miss your chance to close a sale based on something as simple as poor photography.

Why Photos Make a Difference When Selling a Home

1. Poor Photos, No Visit

If a potential home buyer is looking on a website for property and comes across poor quality photos, they may move on. The home buyer has a lot to look at, and the first elimination process is done via photos regardless of the actual appearance of your property. If you cannot spur interest in your home through photos, then you’ll have to spur it through low cost, and that isn’t the most profitable way to sell a home.

2. Photos Show Potential

Photos are not meant to fraudulently portray your home in a false light, but they can portray your home in its best light. Taking photos at the perfect time of day, when the light hits your home perfectly, allows your potential buyers to see the house in all of its glory no matter what time of day they visit. This is especially important during winter months, when many tours may be given during the night.

3. Photos Force Staging

If you have been thinking about staging your home to sell but haven’t gotten around to it, a professional photographer may be the spark you need to get going. They can recommend colors and artwork that will sell the home, and your photos will look like your home is magazine-worthy. The lighting will be perfect, and the angle will be perfect. It is easy to tell amateur photos from professional photos, as the room in a professional photograph looks like you could practically walk into it. You want your potential buyers to see themselves in the home.

Professional Photos Make a Difference

If you are serious about selling your home for top dollar, consider a professional home photographer to portray your home in a way that draws in potential buyers. It will bring people to your home, and they will look back at photos of a place where they could see themselves.

Should You Replace Your Appliances?

by Karen Picarello

Most home upgrades don’t actually make you more money on your home sale, but they can decrease your selling price if the new homeowner will have to buy replacements. In fact, may home warranties include appliance coverage because a person moving into a move-in ready home does not expect to replace appliances for the first year or so.

When people walk into a home with new stainless steel appliances, it is a major selling point. The person can envision their own food in the fridge, and they fondly picture themselves doing household chores like cooking or loading the dishwasher. A dated, cream-colored set of appliances does not have the same effect.

You don’t have to replace all of your appliances in order to sell a home, but it may affect how well the sale goes. Here are some considerations.

Replace as Needed

Many people make do with appliances that have broken functions but work generally well. They may have to use pliers to get the dishwasher to turn on, but the dishes turn out as clean as if they had a new dishwasher. This is not appropriate. One of the saddest reasons to buy new appliances is for someone else to use them. When your appliance starts breaking down, replace it with something that will be pleasing to the next homeowner. This way, you will get to enjoy a new appliance, and it won’t be an issue when selling.

Lower the Price of Your Home

If your appliances work but are outdated, note that you are reducing the cost in order to cover the cost of these upgrades. This can be a selling point for home buyers because they can save money during the move, but they are still moving into a functioning home.

Don’t Buy Luxury

If you are going to be using the appliances and feel like you need luxury, then go ahead and do it. If you are doing it to attract home buyers, it is not worth the expense. Not only may you opt for something that the homeowner wants to replace anyway, but you spend a large amount of money on something that doesn’t increase the value of the home. Don’t buy the bottom of the barrel appliances, and stick to quality levels that coincide with the price level of the home.

It’s tempting to deck out your home in order to get it to sell fast, but you won’t benefit from this expenditure unless you do it responsibly.

Advertisement Tips for Selling Your Home on Facebook

by Karen Picarello

You may be tempted to help out your real estate agent when selling your home, especially if your home has been on the market for a while. This is not the time to go rogue and take everything into your own hands. Discuss your plans to advertise your home on Facebook, and avoid these blunders.

Tips for Selling Your Home on Facebook

1. Don’t Make Excuses for the Neighborhood

You can mention how nice your neighborhood is, and most people will be looking for a place that has qualities like safety, privacy, or friendliness. However, all neighborhoods are based on perspective, and your view of your neighborhood may be different from your neighbor’s view. If you have negative feelings about your neighborhood, don’t mention them or make excuses for them. Saying that it is nice except for the occasional dog barking may be objective, but it sounds like a major dog barking problem to potential buyers.

2. Don’t Date the Home

If you are posting pictures, don’t mention how dated the home is. If it looks like the 1970s was somehow transported into your kitchen or living room, you don’t need to mention that it is vintage. Instead, mention the quality of the cabinetry or the potential for the space. Buyers don’t need you to tell them when you home looks out-of-vogue.

3. Don’t Address the Complaints of Others

If you have posted and received complaints about the home, don’t address them. If people have complained when visiting the home, don’t mention it. Noting the complaints of others may highlight things that would never be a problem to other viewers. Don’t make issues when they may not be issues for another buyer.

4. Use Proper Grammar

Don’t post without proofreading. Facebook tends to be casual, and most people don’t edit like they would if they were in their professional lives. Selling a home should be a professional activity, so make your post professional by avoiding spelling and grammar errors.

5. Don’t Get to Personal

Lastly, don’t get too personal about your sentiments about the home. You are looking for people to picture themselves living there. You don’t want them to picture you living there. This is why family photos should be kept to a minimum when showing your home. It’s about creating a place for potential memories, not maintaining the ghosts of memories from the past. Keep your descriptions to the facts, and let your potential buyers create their own ideas.

Solar Panels and Storage Batteries

by Karen Picarello

Solar panels are becoming very popular as their efficiency and ability to store power grows. As Arizona is one of the states with the most sunshine available, this is creating a significant change in the way people get power.

Furthermore, home storage batteries are making solar power more sustainable. No longer are people relying on the grid (at least not so much) on cloudy days because they are able to store power from sunny days in large home batteries such as Tesla’s Powerwall.  

California adopted a rule last year (2018) that new homes would be built with solar panels beginning in 2020. Arizona could be on track to do the same as climate change makes the world focus on more efficient and sustainable energy sources.

In order to include solar panels in the valuation of your home, you must own the solar panels. Leased solar panels would not be included in the price of the home because they would belong to another entity that the future homeowners would have to contract with in order to continue using them. In order to sell a home with leased solar panels, a homeowner would either have to buy the remaining amount on the lease or get the homeowner to agree to take over payments. This could actually deter homeowners who don’t want to get into the co-mingling of contractual agreements.

There was a study done in California about how much solar panels increased the value of homes on the market, and it was found that every Kilowatt of power that came from solar panels increased the resale value of a home by over $5,000. However, for each year that the panels had been installed, this value dropped by 9 percent. Additionally, the increase in valuation never exceeded the cost of installation.

Essentially, if you are going to sell your home, then let your lease on your solar panels run to completion. Don’t purchase them if you plan to sell your home soon because it won’t pay off in the end. However, if Arizona passes a law making solar panels mandatory on new construction, your home may end up looking very outdated without solar capabilities. It is a bit of a speculation whether or not your home sale will benefit from solar panels. It won’t pay off to buy a new solar system with a home storage battery or batteries, but it will make your home more attractive to potential buyers. A lot of it will depend on your particular situation.

Keep Your Home Safe During Fourth of July

by Karen Picarello

            If you are buying or selling a home, your life is in a bit of chaos because you are moving. Not only that, but you may be in a state of flux that requires you to care for two homes while only occupying one. The Fourth of July is coming, and although this time of year is great fun, it is also a time of high crime and home fires. Protect your home and your unoccupied home by following these steps.

            July and August are the times when most burglaries occur because people go on summer vacation. With that thought in mind, it is easy to see why so many burglaries occur during the Fourth of July. People are away from their homes watching firework shows. Even if they’re home, they are likely outside and won’t hear a burglar over fireworks. It’s dark. It’s noisy. It’s a perfect opportunity for the opportunistic burglar.

            You don’t have to be using illegal fireworks to create a safety issue. In 2014, 28% of emergency room fireworks injuries were caused by sparklers! In 2013, fireworks caused 15,600 fires 1,400 of which were structures and 200 of which were in vehicles. Many fires can be put out by a hose if they are noticed immediately, but the unoccupied yard is more difficult to protect.

How to Protect your Home (occupied or not)

  • Security Cameras and Lights – this will deter burglars as well as document their presence should they opt to go in anyway
  • Security System – notifying a security company of a break-in will alert police to check your home whether you know about the break in or not
  • Secure Doors and Windows - Make sure doors and windows have good locks, and make sure doors are securely attached to the home, so they cannot be kicked in.
  • Lights - Leave some lights on. There’s nothing better to confirm you are not home than a dark house.
  • Hose – If you are home, get the hose ready even if you aren’t lighting your own fireworks. This gives you the chance to put out a fire before it is dangerous. Caution: Don’t try to be a firefighter. Keep away from big flames that could cause injury. If the fire is inside your home, get out if flames are higher than your knees or getting near any exits.
  • Water Yard – A green yard is difficult to catch on fire.
  • Remove Dry Brush – Dry brush, especially near your home, is a huge fire hazard. Make sure your yard is clear of debris that will act as kindling should it be exposed to any spark.

 

 

Flooring: A Highlight or a Nightmare for a Home Buyer

by Karen Picarello

            When homeowners are thinking about staging their homes to sell, there are often some home improvements made in an attempt to make the home more salable. Windows might be upgraded, or a new coat of paint put on the home, maybe inside too. Fixtures may be updated, or carpet will be replaced. Some of these improvements will increase the selling price, but many of these options are simply an attempt to make the home more attractive in a buyer’s market. When it comes to the preferences of the home buyer, it may be the flooring that is the biggest highlight or a nightmare when considering a home purchase.

            Flooring options range from pretty darn cheap to a significant investment, and the quality of your flooring material will have an impact on the salability of your home. The basic options most people consider are solid hardwood, tile, manufactured hardwood, laminate, or luxury vinyl.

            Hardwood is typically the top choice by home buyers. It is high-quality, durable, and it may last as long as the home is standing. That is because hardwood is made from thicker planks of wood. Although it may need to be refinished from time to time depending on the hardness of the wood, there is a lot of wood to work with, so it has longevity. Home buyers consider hardwood a beautiful addition to the home, and they can relax about upkeep knowing the floor is meant to last.

            However, other alternative wood options are equally beautiful and don’t cost as much as solid hardwood. Manufacture wood is layers of wood covered in a top layer of fine, luxury hardwood. It is equally beautiful and durable, but it cannot be refinished as many times because the top layer is all you have to work with. Luxury vinyl and laminate options can be created with nearly any look because it is printed underneath the clear protective layers of the material. This makes it very versatile, but quality varies with the type you purchase, and it will have to be replaced more often than solid wood options. Lastly, tile is very durable and water resistant, and it is an attractive option for home buyers who want low maintenance options.

            Ultimately, solid hardwood flooring is one of the most preferred options for home buyers, but it is only going to increase the value of your home by about 3 percent. It is a huge investment, and other flooring options will provide a beautiful look for less of a cost. The big thing to remember is that homeowners are looking for something they aren’t going to have to immediately replace, so having flooring that is in good condition is possibly as important as anything.

Long-term Upkeep for the Buyer and Seller

by Karen Picarello

For the Buyer

When a buyer is looking at a home, there are multiple things they should consider that involve the long-term upkeep of the home. These are things in the home that are inevitably going to cost money…it is just a matter of when.

Windows

Single-paned windows are not going to be efficient, and any home buyer will see them as a thing that will need to be changed in the future. If the windows are updated, consider the quality of the multi-pane. Updates on flipped homes are rarely done in quality fashion, so make sure they didn’t cut corners on the windows, or you’ll be in for a hefty bill in your future.

Roof

Most home buyers look at the roof when considering the purchase of a home, and the inspector will definitely comment on the quality of the roof. However, some roof materials last longer than others. Standard asphalt shingles last about 15 to 20 years, but tile roofs may last a lifetime. A tile roof should be considered a long-term savings when it comes to purchasing a home.

Flooring

Don’t be fooled by new flooring when you purchase a new home. If it isn’t quality, it won’t last. Even “hardwood” may be manufactured, which means it can be refinished but only a few times before it has to be replaced. If new laminate flooring has been installed, make sure it is water resistant. You don’t want to include new flooring in your long-term upkeep of the home.

For the Seller

As a home seller, you should be aware of what prospective home buyers are considering and do your best to eliminate fears of long-term upkeep. That doesn’t mean install a tile roof, expensive windows, and solid hardwood floors. What it does mean is make sure your home looks well-maintained. A roof with lifted shingles is going to be a turn-off that will be pointed out by the inspector. Clean flooring with no lifted edges will look well-taken-care-of no matter what the quality. Clean windows will let potential buyers know that the sills aren’t filled with dirt and junk that will decrease their opening and closing capabilities.

For the seller, long-term upkeep is making the home look as if it has been handled correctly, so long-term problems don’t start to creep in. This is hard to do when simultaneously planning a move, so make sure you continue to keep up your home during the hubbub of the moving process.  

Do Home Renovations Pay?

by Karen Picarello

People who are selling their homes often perform costly renovations in the hopes of increasing the values of their homes. It is true that renovations can increase the value of the home, but they generally cost more than the increase in value.

Home renovations only pay in that they increase the interest in your home. You aren’t going to make money renovating your attic or even installing new windows. However, you may increase the number of offers that are close to your asking price, so they may be worth it.

1. Windows:

Ultimately the energy savings aren’t even worth replacing the windows from a monetary standpoint. It would take too long to recoup the costs from an energy savings standpoint. However, making sure your windows are in good repair and that the caulking is good will make potential buyers impressed. Small fixes will create the look needed to sell the home.

2. Front Door:

Your front door can be a huge selling point because it makes a first impression. Home buyers want strong doors for security reasons, and they want updated doors for energy efficiency. You will recoup the majority of the cost of your door, especially if your old door is in poor shape. One thing that could be a selling point is if you get a warranty on the door that is transferable to the new owner.

3. Fixtures:

One of the simplest ways to increase the salability of your home without a total renovation is to upgrade the fixtures. Faucets, outlets, lamps…anything that is dated will detract from the overall look of the home. Moreover, there is minimal cost. Hundreds of dollars versus thousands. In many cases, it can give a similar effect to a total room makeover for people who have never seen the room.

Tidy and Clean Instead of Renovating

Unless you have a contractor cousin or some type of money-saving magic to get your renovations done, they aren’t going to pay. However, if your home is a real fixer upper, some renovations may be necessary. Renovation is not ill-advised, but you won’t recoup all of your expenses in most cases.

Instead of focusing on renovations that may not meet the dreams of the future occupants, focus on staging your house for success. Remove all clutter, and make sure everything is clean. If you have accumulated a lot of stuff, put it in storage to make sure your home looks as put together as possible. The new homeowners can do their own renovations, so what you need to focus on is making their dreams become plausible. A dirty house is difficult to look beyond, but a home that is tidy and clean is like a clean slate looking for a new identity.

Moving Out But House Hasn’t Sold? A Few Tips

by Karen Picarello

The world would be a more wonderful place if timing was perfect, but it isn’t, and you are leaving your unsold house for a new home. It will be vacant for an unknown period of time. Your real estate agent has the keys and will continue to show the home, but that isn’t enough to keep your home safe from harm when you have moved on.

5 Tips for your Vacant Home

1. Check your Insurance.

If your home is vacant for a certain amount of time, your homeowners insurance will not cover losses. Just like car insurance, they typically offer some coverage during the transition period, but it may only allow for one month. Read your policy or check with your agent to make sure you have proper coverage. There is nothing worse than having a claim and finding out that you aren’t covered…and you didn’t know.

2. Increase security.

If your house is going to be vacant, make sure it is secure. All doors and windows should have good locks, and security lights should be strategically placed to deter criminals from a well-lit house. If you have the means, invest in a security system. Other things that help are making the house look occupied. This can be done by setting lights on timers or parking a car in the driveway. Vacant houses will be targeted if they are found out.

3. Notify others.

One of the best security systems is alert neighbors, and you should let them know your home is vacant. They’ll report suspicious activity. Also, let your family and friends know. Maybe some of them can drive bay once in a while to make sure everything looks okay.

4. Continue maintenance.

Remember you are trying to sell your home, so it should not appear neglected. If you are moving out of town, hire someone to mow the lawn. Make sure the home is winterized or weeds are pulled. Have someone come in a dust. The longer your home sits vacant, the more it will be neglected if you let it.

5. Set for success.

Maintaining a home can be a big job but not if you leave the home set up for success. Set your thermostat to an appropriate level to maintain efficiency. Make sure things are turned off where they should be. Put your sprinkler system on autopilot. Don’t leave things halfway finished. Any corner that is cut will come back to haunt you once you get an offer.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 36

Contact Information

Photo of Team Picarello Real Estate
Team Picarello
RE/MAX Fine Properties North Scottsdale
21000 N. Pima Road, Suite 100
Scottsdale AZ 85255
Office: (480)860-8733
888-548-8713
Fax: (480)860-8755