July 30, 2015
Three Do-It-Yourself Solutions for Cleaning Your Home Before a Showing
We all make mental to-dos that can fall by the wayside. Getting your house clean is one of the easiest to forget. Prior to a showing, you may end up scrambling around taking care of missed tasks before a potential home buyer shows up. A moment of panic can set in if you suddenly realize you're out of a cleaning chemical.
Luckily, there are many cleaning tasks that can be taken care of with common household items. Here are some of the easiest ways to make good use of items you find around the house in order to get it spic-and-span before a showing:
Floor cleaner can be made out of almost anything. The best recipes use:
- 3 cups vinegar
- A couple drops of dish soap
- 2 gallons of water
You can add some fresh lemon to improve the scent, or any number of essential oils.
Hard water stains in the bathtub or kitchen sink can be tough to scrub out. If you have a delicate metal finish, hard scrubbers or steel wool are out of the question.
Lemon is a natural solution to get rid of these stains. The acid will eat through the chalky built up calcium carbonate without damaging the finish. You can wipe off the dissolved stains with a soft sponge or rag.
A great way to get all your metal appliances shiny once they are stain-free is to use baby oil as a polishing agent. Apply a couple of drops to a soft dish towel and wipe in broad circular motions until the oil is evenly distributed.
You may be surprised to find out just how dirty the machine that is supposed to clean your dishes could be. A home buyer will want to check out all the appliances that will come with the house. If your dishwasher has stains or a funky smell, it can turn them off to a sale.
Cleaning the dishwasher properly involves two main objectives. First, you have to assess whether the equipment is functioning properly.
Remove the bottom rack and look for standing water or stains. Dishwashers can have solid materials like chips of glass, bones, crab shells or even fallen dishes. Take these out and let any water drain.
Once your dishwasher is back in ship shape, use the following steps:
- Fill a dishwasher-safe dish or cup with white vinegar
- Place the container right side up in the otherwise empty dishwasher
- Run the dishwasher on its longest, hottest setting with a steam dry
- After the cycle, pull out the bottom dish rack again and sprinkle the entire area with baking soda
- Run the dishwasher again on a shorter setting, but one that is still hot
Your dishwasher should be looking and smelling like new after this treatment.
There are many other ways to spruce up your Red Deer real estate property before a crucial showing in ways that increase value and appeal. For more advice on how to put your best foot forward before a sale, check out our selling page.
July 16, 2015
Tips for the Perfect Summer Barbecue
With summer in full swing, there is no better time to move the cooking outdoors. If you are finding the kitchen too hot to handle, take the dinner party outside and enjoy a meal on your deck or patio. There may be nothing more alluring than the smell of food cooking on the barbecue. Here are some outdoor cooking tips from your premier Red Deer real estate firm to get you grilling.
Before you grill those steaks to a perfect medium rare, you need to make sure your barbecue is up to the task. Make sure to clean the grill with a wire brush before you start cooking. You do not want last week’s flavours on tonight’s dinner. Once your grill has been thoroughly cleaned, it is recommended that you grease or oil the grill to prevent any food from sticking to the grill. Keep all foods separate and use separate plates, utensils cutting boards before cooking to ensure any raw meats from contaminating any cooked food.
For whatever reason, almost all food seems to taste better when cooked on a grill. You can add extra flavour to your favourite dishes by marinating your food or choosing one of the many glazes that are available today. If you are choosing to use a glaze, use it during the last few minutes of cooking so it does not burn.
Another popular way to get more flavour from your food is to use rubs. These rubs can help marinate your meat and can infuse flavour deep into whatever you are cooking. Regardless of which cooking method you are using for your barbecue (charcoal or gas), adding smoke means adding flavour. Try using different types of chips or briquettes such as hickory or alder wood to your barbecue to bring out different flavours in your food.
When it is finally time to begin the cooking process, allow ample time for the barbecue to properly heat up to the desired cooking temperatures. Once you have a pre-heated barbecue, put your food on and close down the lid to prevent any smoke and heat from escaping, as this is what will flavour and cook your food. Do not stab or poke your food, and allow ample time for your food to cook before flipping it. This will allow the food to sear and lock in the flavours and keep it from drying out. Once you have cooked your food to your liking, take it off the grill and allow it to rest for a few minutes as the cooking process continues after your food has been removed from the grill.
Proper preparation, flavouring and cooking will ensure that your next barbecue meal is better than good. So get outside while the weather is warm and get creative on the barbecue. If you are in the market for a home with a gorgeous patio to do all your grilling, we be sure to take a look at our local listings!
June 8, 2015
Arts and Culture in Red Deer
Red Deer offers a unique and vibrant culture that encourages community members to explore their creativity. The arts are a very important part of society, which is one reason why Red Deer has seen a growth in real estate activity. People are excited to move into the area and experience all that it has to offer. This is a place to flourish and grow, for both families as well as individuals.
The culture of Red Deer is often a selling point for homes, as most people prefer to live in a vibrant community. If you are looking to purchase a home in the area, or even if you have lived in the community for many years, we encourage you to explore the arts and culture of Red Deer.
Programs for community members of all ages are available through Culture Services. These programs promote education and spark interest in arts and culture among participants. Visual and performing arts programs are very popular. Unique studios and art galleries offer visual arts programs for all ages young and old. Dance, music and drama classes are a great way to get involved in the exciting world of performing arts. There are also a variety of summer camps throughout the months of July and August.
Red Deer boasts two great art galleries, the Corridor Community Gallery and the Viewpoint Gallery. Regular exhibits are showcased throughout the year, providing the opportunity for local artists to show off their talents and creations. The art galleries are a great way for members of the community to show their pride in the culture that comes forth from the area. Locals are encouraged to tap into their creative minds and add their own displays to the unique showings displayed at the Red Deer art galleries.
Many community based arts groups call Red Deer home. These groups give the area its flavor and make it a desirable place to live. Theatre, dance, visual and literary arts enthusiasts come together in a multitude of organizations that are committed to seeing their passion thrive in the city of Red Deer. They offer funding for facilities and community development while also building a camaraderie among locals.
The community of Red Deer has many volunteer opportunities, available through Culture Services. Volunteers are the backbone of art and drama camps that are held for the youth in the community during the summer. Volunteering is a great way to get active in the continued development of the community and learn more about the culture in Red Deer.
The arts and culture of the Red Deer community continuously draw new families into the community. The vibrancy of the area is fueled by those who are passionate about creative endeavours. For this reason, the real estate market flourishes and Red Deer continues to see positive growth. If you are interested in buying or selling a piece of Red Deer real estate, review the latest market report and contact a Benedict Devlin representative today.
June 5, 2015
How to Have Great Curb Appeal This Summer
Summer is a great time to sell your Red Deer real estate. Motivated buyers are out in full force, looking for the perfect property that draws their attention with great curb appeal. Boosting the curb appeal of your property can make a huge difference in how quickly you are able to sell and the amounts offered by potential buyers. Summer is the perfect time to show off the outside of your home; use this to your full advantage. Here are a few tips that will help you to have great summer curb appeal this summer.
Give the Yard a Trim
Buyers find a nice, neat yard very welcoming. When the grass and shrubbery is trimmed in a uniform and tidy manner, it is much easier for potential buyers to picture themselves enjoying the outdoor spaces of the property. Having a neatly trimmed yard will let the Red Deer real estate shoppers know that you cared to properly maintain the home, providing them with a sense of reassurance. Be sure to mow your grass, pull the weeds and trim the hedges regularly while your house is on the market.
Show Off Green Grass
Having a luscious lawn will help make you a top contender on the summer real estate market in Red Deer. If you notice that your yard has bare or brown spots, invest in grass seed and touch up the dead areas. This simple quick fix can help boost your curb appeal to the next level.
Deep Clean the Exterior
Outdoor market preparations may be time consuming, but the work you put into making your home look its very best on the outside will draw more buyers. Take the time to really clean the exterior and make your home shine. Sweep the porch, patio or balcony areas and be sure to remove any cobwebs or dirt build up. If you are able, pressure wash the siding and leisure spaces of the exterior of your home. Additional touches that make a big difference in curb appeal include painting the doors, shutters and frames.
Stage with Patio Furniture
Staging is not limited to the interior of your home. Staging your outdoor areas can help to attract potential buyers. Investing in patio furniture or giving new life to existing pieces is a great way to boost curb appeal. Have a barbeque area set up to help buyers picture themselves enjoying favorite summer pastimes in your yard, and arrange furniture in a relaxing way that looks perfect and inviting on cool summer nights.
Get Fresh Flowers
Nothing says “summer” like vibrant, fresh flowers. Pick up some of your favorite potted plants to use as decoration around your outdoor spaces. Flowers are so welcoming and really help to put the final touches on a beautiful home.
Many homeowners spend too much of their time focusing on the interior of the home, forgetting that curb appeal is extremely important. By using these simple tips, you can give your home great curb appeal. For more information on placing your property on the market this summer, view our Selling Your Red Deer Real Estate page and contact a Benedict Devlin representative today.
May 19, 2015
Decorating Tips for a Child’s Bedroom
Kids’ bedrooms can be the most fun and imaginative room in the house when it comes to decorating. It is the one room that can go against the overall colour scheme of the entire home. This is an opportunity to embrace your inner child and let your imagination run free. You may be surprised with what you come up with. Here are some tips and suggestions from Red Deer’s most experienced real estate firm to help get your creative side revved up and allow your kids to live in their dream home.
A Coat of Paint
A coat of paint can be the quickest way to change the overall appearance of your child’s bedroom. Depending on whether it is a room for a girl or a boy will greatly determine the colour scheme you decide upon. Softer tones such as a pastel lavender will give the appearance of a room with a slip into sleep sense and a very soft feel, perfect for a little girl perhaps.
Another idea that is very unique is painting one of the walls in the bedroom with chalkboard paint. This will allow your child to embrace their artistic side without getting mad when they are drawing on the wall. Paint does not need to just be reserved for walls, either. Bring your colour scheme to the furniture and give that dresser a coat of paint to match the wall or the bedframe or night stand. Just with using paint, you can create quite a unique environment for your child.
Lots of Art
There are several interesting art choices to help give more of a personal feel to your child’s room. Try taking a favourite photo, enlarging it, separating it into sections and then framing it. Another option is to tie string or ribbon wall to wall to display some of your child’s masterpieces. This will allow your child to showcase their art and have a meaningful display to help brighten their room. One final idea is to frame some of your child’s art. This will allow a constant rotation of their art to be proudly displayed in your home.
Shelves can proudly display any type of hobby or activity your child is engaged in. The beauty of shelves is you can change up the theme on any shelf to match your child’s interests. Shelves can proudly display that collection of stuffed animals when your child is young and can also hold their dinosaur collection a few years later.
A child’s room is a place where imagination should be the theme. Try to get out of the normal and into a child’s mind, or better yet, let your child be a part of decorating their room. These are just a few suggestions that should help get you started when you begin to decorate your child’s room. Enjoy the process and remember that the end goal is to have fun. If you are in the market for a house that has the perfect room for your child, be sure to
May 5, 2015
Tips for Organizing your Child’s Room
How often have you wished for more space in your child’s room? How often have you asked your child to clean up their room or to at least to tidy it? Probably more times than you care to remember.
A child’s room seems to always be cluttered with toys, clothes or just stuff. It seems like it is just par for the course that your child’s room will be one of the most cluttered rooms in your house. But it doesn’t have to be. Use the following tips to help you better organize your child’s room.
Embrace Your Inner Child
Before going into your child’s room with a garbage bag and loading everything up for a trip to the dump, try looking at things through their eyes. Get down to the level of your child and see what they see. The answer may be as simple as bringing in storage bins that are within your child’s reach. Perhaps the bottom dresser drawer is difficult to open or they cannot reach the knob on the closet door.
An even better option is to involve your child in the organizational process. Ask them where they want to store their toys, their clothes, etc. By allowing them to be part of the process, you will help them better understand the organizational process and why it is important.
Labelling all bins, drawers, bookshelves and closet space can be a great way to help your child build better organizational skills. By labelling, you will give everything a place, and all they need to do is to match the item with its name.
Do not be afraid to use pictures as well. A picture of a sock shows them where their socks go. Not only is labelling a great organizational tool, it can also be a great game as well and encourage and develop reading skills.
Build or Install Shelves
By adding shelves, you can create space where there was none before. A shelf can hold everything you need, and shelving will give you a space to move some of the floor clutter. Shelves can also work in the closet and can quickly become makeshift places to hang extra clothes by adding a few hangers. Remember, the items that go on the shelves should be rarely used items, as your child will not have easy access to them. Thus shelves are more for display than for everyday use by your child.
An organized room will not only bring a sense of order into your home, but is will also give your child more space to play. An organized room will allow easier access to toys and clothes and less chaos when it comes to finding things in the room. If your family is expanding and you need a bigger house, be sure to contact the realtors at Benedict Devlin today!
April 24, 2015
Tips for Staging Your Red Deer Home for the Spring Market
Spring is an excellent time to put your Red Deer home on the real estate market. Buyers are shaking off the winter blues and eagerly waiting to view properties. Home owners find that selling their real estate during spring is much easier than other times throughout the year, especially if it is staged well.
There are certain touches that shoppers love to see during the season that can help you sell your home faster and also catch higher offers. These tips for staging your Red Deer home for the spring market will help you have a great selling experience.
1. Spring Cleaning
Fresh, new and clean; these are all words associated with the season of spring. They are also senses that should be installed in your home for success on the season’s real estate market. Buyers love to show up to an open house and walk into a clean space that is filled with the aroma of fresh and new.
Take the time during staging to deep clean. Be sure to pull out appliances and furniture, cleaning hard to reach areas that are often shorted on the tender love and care. Dust all surfaces, including fans, window sills and baseboards. Pack away all of your personal belongings.
This is a great time to complete the task of decluttering your home. Toss or donate any items that you no longer need or use. Remove all excess furniture, clothing, toys and pet supplies. Buyers are drawn to open spaces — especially during spring.
2. Light and Bright
Spring brings the renewal of the earth with the thawing rays of the warm sun. Showcase that process by brightening up your rooms and letting in the sunshine. Use sheer fabric for curtain shades and open your blinds, bringing in the natural light. Use extra lights, such as lamps, to bring a warm glow to otherwise dark rooms.
Everyone appreciates the bright, cheerful light brought by spring after a cold, dark winter. Your potential buyers will be drawn to the welcoming atmosphere this creates in your home.
The season of Spring is a great time to stage your home with a splash of color. Do not be too bold in your selections, and stick to neutrals when in doubt. But adding a hint of pastel spring colors to your decor will be a touch that shoppers appreciate.
Invest in couch pillows that are light shades of yellow, blue, purple, pink or green, like freshly bloomed flowers. Avoid dark shades or overwhelming colors. Keep your walls an appealing neutral tone that draws all potential buyers.
4. Small Touches
Putting a few potted plants on your porch, planting a fresh garden and setting a bouquet on the dining table are all great staging ideas that enhance the season of spring within your home. Many real estate agents also suggest baking your potential buyers a batch of cookies before their tour. Your home will be filled with the sweet, irresistible smell, and your buyers will appreciate the treat.
Having a professional agent to assist you with selling your Red Deer real estate this spring will be very beneficial. For more information, visit our sellers page and contact Benedict Devlin Real Estate Services today.
April 8, 2015
Contingency Clauses That Protect You When Making an Offer
Many home buyers hesitate after deciding on a home because they worry about jumping into the decision, even though all signs point to “yes.” Buyers need have no fear as long as the offer has what are called “contingencies” attached. Contingencies give buyers an opportunity to back out of the deal or negotiate further if certain conditions are not met.
Here are some of the most common contingencies people use when making an offer on Red Deer real estate:
Possibly the number one contingency people place on home offers hinges on the outcome of a home inspection. The seller of the home must agree to let the buyer hire a professional building inspector to come in and assess the home’s condition. Home inspectors look out for small problems like a wobbly railing, but their main concerns lie in finding major problems like mold, termites or foundational issues.
Anything the inspector discovers must be addressed by the homeowner or compensated for in the form of a reduced closing price. If the buyer sees enough problems, they can also simply walk away from the transaction altogether.
Another important evaluation of the home comes in the form of an appraisal. When a buyer needs to pay for the home with a mortgage, the mortgage lender will send out an appraiser to make sure the home is worth close to the stated closing price.
On some occasions, the appraiser will reveal that the home is worth less than the closing price. Since the lender will only provide enough of a loan to cover the actual value of the house, a low appraisal can force buyers to pay out of pocket or renegotiate the closing price.
Mortgage or Insurance Availability
Buyers may place a contingency on their offer that lets them back out if they cannot find a mortgage lender or an insurance carrier for the property in question. Most buyers will not need to place these contingencies since they will be pre-approved or have had the home inspected to ensure that the homeowners insurance provider will not balk at covering the home. However, home sellers may see these contingencies from time to time.
Sale of the Old Home
Home buyers who are transitioning from one home to another may be trying to juggle being a buyer and a seller at the same time. To help them get their finances in order, they may request a time allowance for their own home to sell before they provide a down payment and a mortgage to cover their new home purchase. In a competitive market, homeowners may overlook these types of contingency offers in favor of more flexible buyers.
These are just some of the methods home buyers use to make offers that will not come back to haunt them later. For more help on navigating the home buying process, you can visit our buying page.
March 27, 2015
Proper Upkeep for an Asphalt Driveway
There is just something about that fresh asphalt look. That’s the look that says, “My driveway is brand new,” even if it’s been there for years. However, over time, that look slowly begins to fade. Without proper care, that smooth blacktop driveway can wear, crack and even begin to break away, eventually resulting in an expensive resurfacing job.
This does not need to be the fate of your driveway. Rather, with a little upkeep and timely maintenance, you should be able to enjoy a smooth new looking driveway for many years.
Prep Work for Resealing
To keep your driveway looking like new, it needs to be resealed. The amount of traffic and age of your driveway will greatly determine how often and how much sealant you need to apply. You should double-check the forecast and make sure no rain predicted. Sealant needs at least two days to completely dry.
Before applying any sealant, it is important to properly clean your driveway. This can be done with a power washer or just a hose. This will help get any grit and other unwanted debris off the driveway. The next step is to repair any cracks, dips or holes. These cracks and holes can allow water to seep into your driveway, speeding up the deterioration process. There are products available at your local hardware store to help fill these cracks and holes.
Sealing Your Driveway
Once all of the prep work has been completed, you are now ready to seal your driveway. Before getting started, understand that blacktop sealant is messy. You should wear clothes you wouldn’t mind throwing away afterwards. You will need a squeegee or a long handled roller to properly apply the sealant. Applying sealant is a similar process of painting. However, with many different sealants available on the market today, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the product. Make sure to apply the sealant in an even and consistent manner.
Once you have applied the sealant, allow time for it to properly dry. Once the sealant is dry, your driveway will have that shiny new black look. In addition to this new look, your driveway is once again protected from any cracks that may let water penetrate and is also protected from any oil spills.
Everyone wants to realize the full value of their home. A broken down driveway should not be a reason why your home is not in tip top shape. These few tips can quickly move your home up the sellable scale in the Red Deer real estate market. Remember, a little bit of upkeep can go a long way.
If you are looking for more tips to prepare your home for sale, be sure to visit our sellers page.
March 12, 2015
Metal Roofs Add Value, Appeal and Winter Weather Benefits to Homes
If you are putting your home on the market soon but need to renovate your roof first, consider going with metal roofing materials. Metal roofs have a unique beauty that sets homes apart on property listings. A metal roof also has several huge advantages over asphalt shingles and other common roofing materials.
Durable and Long Lasting
One of the absolute best features of metal roofing materials is that they are built to last. Asphalt shingles tend to lose their granules over time, exposing the felt paper underneath to the elements. As soon as some shingles start crumbling, the rest of the roof soon follows.
An asphalt shingle roof will typically last 12 to 20 years, often less in snowy conditions because of high strain from melt/thaw cycles. A metal roof can easily last 30 to 70 years or longer. When diligently maintained and restored, certain roofing materials have been able to last over a century.
This longevity spells a great investment for home buyers, who will often pay more for a home with a lower maintenance roofing material. Remodeling Magazine even asserts that installing a metal roof can offer an average of 86.7 percent return on investment for home sellers.
Snow No More
Typical roofs have a lot of texture, giving snow and ice ample places to settle and build up. These standing piles of snow often create bigger problems, such as ice dams and gradual roof leaks.
Metal roofing sheds snow lightning fast. As soon as the sun comes out, the snow begins thawing and dropping off without hesitation. Standing seam metal roofs in particular offer a continuous surface without the chance for water intrusion. The clean, parallel lines create the perfect conditions for the snow to slide right off, meaning the possibility of ice dams forming is almost impossible.
Uniquely Stunning Beauty
Home buyers have become so accustomed to seeing shingle roofs that a metal panel one will make a Red Deer real estate property stand out above the competition. Metal roof panels can be finished in any color to create beautiful look that matches your home’s color scheme or the tranquil hues of surrounding nature.
Considerations When Installing
When installing metal roofing in cold weather, you will want to take special considerations:
- Attics should be well-insulated to prevent warm spots that contribute to uneven thawing
- While ice dams are not a problem, sliding sheets of snow may be. Roof rails and other products can break up the snow so that it does not slide off in an “avalanche.”
Any knowledgeable roofing contractor will be able to provide you with a quality installation that avoids all of these common problems. The result is a gorgeous, practically maintenance-free roof that could contribute to more buyer interest and a higher closing price. For more advice on ways to add unique value and beauty to your home, take a look at our selling page
February 18, 2015
Basic Home Upgrades You Should Consider Before You Sell Your Home Part II
Remodeling is a great way to add sales appeal and overall value to your home. However, many home owners neglect the bare essentials in favor of flashier upgrades like stone tile. These types of improvements can certainly help, but buyers will not be impressed with blue stone in your kitchen if your roof leaks.
Our last post gave tips for several renovations that enhance the general usability of your home. Here are even more:
Heating/Air and Ducting
Have a technician come to your house and evaluate the status of your furnace, air conditioner and the ducts they are connected to. They can suggest things like blowing out the dust from your ducts or any number of other services to improve air quality.
You may even need to replace your furnace if the system is aging. A new furnace can help the overall feel of a home, especially if you are trying to sell it in winter.
Speaking of keeping out the cold, make sure your home is not skimping on insulation. Fiberglass, cellulose and other types of insulation tend to lose their effectiveness over time.
You should be particularly concerned about the attic. Sparse insulation up top hinders a home’s ability to retain heat. Opt for blown-in insulation if you need a replacement. This product fills in every single crack and crevice seamlessly, saving your buyer money on heating and air costs.
A New Thermostat
A buyer might think you are downright silly if you spend lots of money on upgrades but neglect to buy a new $30-$50 thermostat. One simple purchase can improve the comfort of your home tremendously. Find a newer programmable model to get the best energy efficiency possible.
Patch and Repaint
Getting your walls to look clean is sometimes tough. To get everything looking great in one go, simply repaint all of the walls in your home.
Use soft, neutral colors with the barest hint of tinting. These shades are proven to make your home look bigger and to appeal to a more diverse range of buyers.
Make sure you patch up any holes first and put down a healthy coat of primer to have your walls looking as pristine as possible.
Wood Floor Refinish
Similar to having your walls looking fresh, gettin your wood floors spotlessly clean can be difficult if they are showing their age. You can fix worn spots or divots by having your floor sanded down and refinished. Consider using an attractive floor stain if you feel it will compliment your home’s color scheme.
Upgrades such as these may not be jaw-droppingly flashy, but they will help your home look and feel better than it ever has before. For more advice on getting the best price for your Red Deer real estate, take a look at our selling page.
February 9, 2015
Basic Home Upgrades You Should Consider Before You Sell Your Home Part I
Many home sellers dream of revamping their kitchens and bathrooms into all-granite paradises. They assume this strategy will fetch them tens of thousands worth of extra dollars on their home’s closing price.
While modest upgrades to bathrooms and kitchens are proven to offer a handy return on investment, you should always focus on the basics first. Home buyers want to know that your home will have all of the amenities that people tend to take for granted, such as a solid roof and heat.
Here are some upgrades that you should emphasize before adding something extravagant like a jacuzzi tub to the back porch:
An entire roof re-shingling costs less than you think, and it makes your entire home look better. What is more, you can demonstrate to buyers the reliability of an investment, especially if the work has a warranty of a year or two left on it.
Inspect your roof for any signs of busted shingles or general wear. If you notice spots that are particularly worn or shabby, then a new roof just may be in order.
Gutters do not cost much to install and they serve an important purpose. Gutter systems direct water away from the home’s foundation, prolonging its overall condition and stability. A series of new gutters also can serve as a handsome border for your roof.
If your gutters are still relatively new, you can have them patched up and repainted to achieve roughly the same effect.
Proper drainage is extremely important, especially if you have basement rooms or rooms below grade in general. A french drain system around your foundation can help prevent nasty occurrences like leaks and mold growth.
Drainage can also improve the look of your yard by irrigating water to where it is needed for plants instead of muddy pools around your Red Deer real estate property.
Fixed Seals and Grouts
Unless you plan on completely redoing your kitchen or bathroom, you may forget to fix one of the cheapest but most important home components. Grout and caulk prevent moisture from infiltrating your home and prolong the life of fixtures like sinks, counters and showers.
Peel off all discolored or mildewy caulk and lay a fresh bead down. Make sure that the caulk you use it rated for the room you are using it in.
Similarly, you should either vigorously clean your grout with a strong solution or scrape it up and replace it entirely. You can also seal the new grout with waterproofing measures to make it last even longer.
Part II of this post will detail even more areas that often fall by the wayside when home owners are considering improvements. For more general advice to help your home sell, take a look at our selling page.
January 14, 2015
Why You Should Avoid Pricing Your Home Too High When You Sell
Setting a fair price for your home is one of the most important steps for getting it sold without any unexpected setbacks. People who price their home too high usually encounter several problems. The entire sales process gets bogged down and you may end up contenting with a competitive home market or a picky buyer
Take Emotion Out of the Equation
Since you have likely lived in your home for many years, you have developed a unique appreciation for the property. To you, the home could be veritably priceless.
However, when entering the real estate market you should ignore any “intangible” qualities when setting your home’s price. These aspects will not be understood by the buyer. They may think that you are inflating the price purposefully to gouge them.
To avoid this suspicion, always find a reliable agent with knowledge of the current market to help you set your price.
Lingering on the Market
The biggest problem with pricing your home high is that it will get less inquiries and bids. Home buyers have become accustomed to skimming through online listings with price filters. If your home price falls above their search parameters, then you will likely miss out on countless opportunities.
Even if you are able to generate interest, a home buyer will judge the home more harshly when viewing because of the premium price. They may be more critical of any flaws they see. They may also simply decide that while they like your home, the price is simply too high to even be bothered.
The result of these reactions is a home that sits on the market for longer. Your listing will be passed over for more affordable or competitively-priced homes that get people’s attention.
Eventually, the market may become wary of your home since it has been listed for so long. Agents and buyers may begin to suspect that there is something wrong with the Red Deer real estate property, rather than a mere lack of motivated buyers.
A Costly Mistake
Another problem that can occur from a high home price is that the house can actually sell for far below market value. A listing that has been prolonged will usually prompt a series of price reductions. Even if this is not your intention, buyers may assume that you will cave and reduce the price because it is a common practice.
You may also incur buyers that are apt to haggle aggressively. These types can see a high price as a challenge, and use it as a leveraging point for all sorts of contingencies like you covering closing costs or performing renovation requests.
As you can plainly see, pricing your home too high could cost you more time and money in the end. To find a qualified agent that can help you price your home in a way that makes the whole process easier, take a look at our buying page.
January 9, 2015
Three New Year’s Resolutions for Home Owners in 2015
The start of the new year usually prompts some aspirations at self improvement, but what about your home? As long as you are going to be rethinking how you treat yourself, you might as well include your home space as part of that process.
Simple tasks and projects can be done that help your home hold value, or that make maintenance easier. Accomplishing these goals can make your home easier to sell, or make a newly purchased home reliably appreciate in quality.
So in the spirit of making a change and building new habits, here are some New Year’s resolutions that will help you be better to the space you live in:
Keep up with Small Maintenance
Small problems can nag us, but they can just as easily be ignored. However, a tiny issue with a home can balloon into a big one if unchecked over time. Remember to accomplish small tasks throughout the year in order to make maintenance less of a hassle overall.
Consider creating a calendar with common chores to be done and check them off as you go. Some tasks that often fall by the wayside include:
- Replacing caulk on exteriors, sinks, showers and tubs
- Cleaning tile grout to prevent mold growth
- Cleaning out the gutters to prevent water from damaging your foundation
- Raking leaves and clearing out vegetation to discourage insect infestations
- Having your HVAC equipment serviced regularly
- Inspecting your roof and shingles for damage
We can all take steps to make our homes more energy efficient. These measures can help us reduce our energy bills while also lessening our impact on the environment. Additionally, earth friendly homes have become increasingly popular with home buyers, providing your home with a unique selling angle.
Ways to improve energy efficiency include:
- Installing insulated windows
- Using appropriate weather stripping on doors and windows
- Replacing attic insulation with blown-in products
- Crafting a rain barrel system
- Purchasing a programmable thermostat
Clean Your Home More Often
A clean home is a happy home in more ways than one. Not only do clean houses feel bigger, brighter and have better air quality, but they also have less overall maintenance.
Cleaning chores are important for home components like floors, which can retain their finish and durability for longer when regularly mopped. Clean windows similarly let in more light, reducing energy bills in the winter. Make a promise to clean your house yourself or hire help this year. Your family will be happier, and your home will last longer.
These are just some of the ways to keep up with home maintenance during the new year. Doing so will help your Red Deer real estate property be more appealing to buyers in the long run. For more advice on simple habits that add value or appeal to homes, take a look at our selling page.
December 23, 2014
Home Improvements That Can Offer Great Return on Investment Part II
To get the most value out of your renovation projects, make sure that they are likely to fulfill buyer needs. Many home remodels can certainly look nice, but are unable to legitimately gain more buyer interest or real value on the selling price.
Avoiding this problem means being prudent. Our last post discussed several projects that are more likely to be worth your time and money. Here are a few more:
“Freshen Up” the Bathroom
Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are a major aspect of a home that can make or break a sale. While gutting the entire bathroom and replacing it with a spa-like retreat would look great, simple maintenance or updates are usually better.
- Clean or replace all old, dirty tile grout
- Re-caulk around the bathtub, sink and showers
- Install a low-flow toilet or use a conversion kit
- Add hanging shelves to increase storage
- Replace the faucet or sink
- Get new handles, faucets or shower heads
Paint the Walls
A couple buckets of paint can go a long way. Plug up or patch any holes before you paint to make your walls look pristine. Get rid of any wallpaper from bygone eras with adhesive remover, then add a healthy coat of primer to keep materials from bleeding through the colors.
Opt for an off-white or neutral color. These can make spaces look bigger and brighter. They also tend to appeal to a broader variety of home buyers.
A home should never be dark. Install fixtures in rooms that rely on floor lamps for light. Pay particular attention to entry ways, kitchens and bathrooms.
Opt for soft, warm lights that can fill spaces. Consider hooking all of them up to a dimmer switch that allows dynamic choices in light tones and mood.
A spare room does not necessarily have to be in the attic, but increasing the use of available space is the key to adding value. Home buyers like the idea of extra rooms for guests. These rooms can also provide more appealing lodging for teens looking to increase their sense of independence.
Make sure that there is plenty of light, as well as access to the central systems of the house. Windows that allow natural light can also make the space feel bigger and more inviting.
Home buyers will want to know that they can fit all of their belongings in your home and stay organized.
- Increase closet space where you can.
- Add built-in shelves in strategic spots, such as in bedrooms, closets or laundry rooms.
- Bench seats that double as storage bins may impress buyers, especially when used to create a cozy seating area near entrances.
Let these ideas inspire you to bring your Red Deer real estate property’s image and functionality to the next level. To learn more about ways to increase value or appeal, start by looking at our selling page.
December 18, 2014
Home Improvements That Can Offer Great Return on Investment Part I
Renovating your home can be a fantastic way to add value and appeal. While home owners generally love their properties just the way they are, nothing rejuvenates a home like a good face lift.
It is important to know that not every project will be worth your while. Studies show that home buyers prefer practical additions or changes that make the house more functional. Here are some of the most popular ones.
Front Door Replacement
Your front door says a lot about your house. While many home owners may stick to a side entrance, prospective buyers will want to gauge the home by its entry way.
Make a good first impression with a brand new door. Steel doors have become favored since they are incredibly durable, secure and they almost never warp. Wood can offer a sort of “old world” charm. Paneled versions are flexible during extreme weather changes. Either choice is great depending on your needs.
If you just replaced your door, give it a fresh coat of paint in an eye-catching color. You can also replace the hardware with something that compliments your siding and porch materials.
Adding a Wood Deck
Decks increase the versatility of back yards in so many ways. They provide a natural setting for your family to relax and enjoy the outdoors. They also let you bring the outdoors in by allowing furniture, grills or even extra storage for lawn tools.
Remember that simple is always better when trying to get the most for your money. Adding an enormous deck with a pricey brick fireplace, for instance, will most likely not benefit you as much as a 300 or 400 sq. ft. deck with benches leading off a back door.
Simple Kitchen Remodel
A simple approach to freshen up a dated kitchen is almost always better than getting carried away.
- Replace, refinish or repaint cabinet faces.
- Buy new hardware for handles and pulls.
- Consider getting a new faucet, or maybe even a new sink.
- Add a tile backsplash to create an appealing accent.
- Counters can offer a good payoff, but resist the urge to splurge for materials like granite, unless you have a house or a neighborhood where such amenities are expected.
You can also replace any old appliances with Energy Star versions. Opt for a model or retailer that offers a warranty of 12 months or more, and hold on to the paperwork to show to people viewing your home. You could even go so far as to compare your energy bills before and after the new appliances.
There are many more ideas that are likely to add value in an economical way. We will cover these in part II.
For general ways to increase your Red Deer real estate property’s appeal, you could always consult one of our expert selling agents. Take a look at our selling page to learn more about how we help our clients.
December 12, 2014
What You May Not Know About Home Inspections Part II
A home inspection has become a major aspect of most residential Red Deer real estate sales. Knowing more about how home inspections work and what to look for in a qualified home inspector can help you guide your purchase decisions.
Timing is Everything
The majority of home inspections are done after a buyer presents an offer. In essence, the home inspection has become one of the factors that helps close a sale.
Buyers can opt for a home inspection at any point as long as the seller is willing. A home inspection before an offer can prevent any awkward deal-halting surprises. By knowing about problems in advance, you have more leeway to give the seller time to determine how they will address the issues.
A home inspector may simply produce a list of problems with the house without any further description. To most people, these lists may be largely useless because they present all issues as disconnected or of equal importance.
Have your inspector thoroughly describe all the problems or areas of concern they saw during the inspection. You will want them to give you an assessment of how “bad” something is to help you separate minor issues from major ones. You will want to know how many issues are connected to each other, or if ignoring one will cause the others to become worse.
The absolute best service an inspector can provide is a personal walkthrough through the home, pointing out everything they noticed. Since this step will add more time to the already time-consuming home inspection process, you may have to settle for photos.
Regardless, request that the inspector does a write up describing the components they were worried about in paragraph form. This documentation will help you understand the information they provide.
Inspectors Should Be Insured or Bonded
There are two main areas of financial risk when hiring a contractor. Insurance solves both of them.
The first issue could be that the inspector does not have worker’s compensation insurance. In the event that they injure themselves during the inspection, they could sue the home owner or place a lien on their house, halting the sale.
The second problem could arise if the inspector makes an inaccurate assessment that leads to major problems down the road. Errors and omissions insurance policies cover the inspector in case they make such a mistake. In the event of a negative outcome resulting from their neglect, the insurance company will often offer you a settlement rather than you having to force litigation.
Between these two posts, you should have a much better idea of how to hire a home inspector and what to expect from them. With this information in hand, you can make a home purchase decision confidently and without hesitation.
To learn even more about the home buying process, take a look at our buying page.
December 1, 2014
What You May Not Know About Home Inspections Part I
Because they aid cautious investment, home inspections have become part and parcel of the standard real estate transaction. Whereas before only around a quarter of home sales included an inspection, now nearly 100 percent do.
Despite this surge in popularity, many home owners and home buyers are unfamiliar with the exact nature of home inspections. To help demystify this growing component of the real estate business, here are some facts that can help guide your home inspection decisions.
Not Getting a Home Inspection is Risky
Neglecting to get a home inspection is akin to gambling. Most laws expect the home buyer to exercise “due diligence,” which means finding out as much about the Red Deer real estate property as possible before you finalize your purchase. Should you discover an issue with the home several months or even years after a sale, getting your money back is practically impossible.
A home inspection can help prevent these sorts of problems early on. You can tell the home owner to fix the issue or lower their price as a contingency of the sale.
The reason many home buyers neglect to have an inspection is because they feel pressured to make a hasty offer. In a situation where several buyers are interested, contingencies can halt a bid dead in its tracks.
Some overzealous buyers will opt to skip the inspection to cozy up to the seller and get their bid accepted. Often, a lower offer will edge out the competition. This decision can easily come back to haunt you.
Home Inspectors Must Be Qualified
There are several organizations responsible for regulating home inspections. Per British Columbia law, an inspector must have some sort of certification or membership with one of these boards in order to practice business.
Always ask to see an inspector’s credentials and what organization they are affiliated with. You can also ask for references to learn even more about someone’s past work experience.
Not All Inspectors Will Give You the Same Information
While every inspector is required to undergo at least 150 hours of official training before becoming a home inspector, the law does not specify which type of training is required. Additionally, every home inspector may have a different background and area of expertise.
Because of these two facts, one home inspector’s area of emphasis may be completely different than another’s. Even though both will have a “laundry list” of important criteria to evaluate, one inspector may be more adept at spotting issues with a foundation, for instance, while another may be better at estimating roof longevity.
Take the time to read up on the location type of house you are buying to determine which areas are your prime concern. Ask for a home inspector that has the know-how to effectively evaluate these areas in as much depth as possible.
There are even more strategies to help you find a home inspector that works for your needs. We will cover these in part II.
For general advice on buying a home, take a look at our buying page.
November 28, 2014
Basement Renovation Mistakes to Avoid — Part II: Preventing Mold
A basement can be put to good use if you do not commit common mistakes when renovating. Our last post offered advice for avoiding typical design pitfalls for basement renovations. Aside from design, another serious issue to consider is how well your basement will be able to handle moisture levels.
Basements are below grade, meaning that they are sunk partially or completely into the ground. Being below grade can create temperature differences and condensation, which without precautions can create enough moisture for mold to grow.
On top of this, since basements are the lowest point in the house, any spills or leaks are guaranteed to travel down there. Make sure that you are prepared for a sudden increase in water levels by having a drain or backup sump pump as part of your design.
Not Using Moisture-Resistant Materials
Try to implement only non-organic materials for walls and flooring. Avoid fiberglass, non-engineered wood or wall-to-wall carpeting. Instead, opt for waterproof wall paneling as well as insulation, paints and finishing materials that are designed to resist moisture.
Placing Finished Floors Directly on Top of Concrete
Cool air can travel through most finished floor materials and create a temperature difference and eventual condensation. To avoid this effect, find a subfloor product that is impervious to moisture. This precaution will not only prevent moisture, but it will insulate the floor and keep your feet warmer all year round.
Ceramic or porcelain tile should be placed on top of this, or even vinyl. These materials are inorganic and will not get ruined even if you somehow have a large water spill that travels to the basement.
Using Stud Bays
Even with a solid vapour barrier, having hollow walls can inevitably create temperature differences and condensation. The only permanent solution that avoids moisture would be foam-style insulation. This seals all of the gaps and will not allow moisture to pass through.
Installing Fiberglass Insulation on the Ceiling
Using fiberglass for basements is generally discouraged. Many home owners do not know how to solve the dilemma of what to use for ceiling insulation. Plastic vapour barriers are usually not an option because the floor’s rim joists will interrupt the seal. A handy solution is to use spray foam insulation, which will fill gaps and keep a solid barrier against cool air or moisture.
With these precautions in mind, you should be able to finish your basement in a way that keeps a consistent temperature and prevents moisture buildup. For more advice on using smart renovating techniques, our team would love to advise you on the best ways to add value to your Red Deer real estate property. Take a look at our selling page to find out more.
November 21, 2014
Basement Renovation Mistakes to Avoid — Part I: Flawed by Design
A basement renovation can add a great deal of value and functionality to your home when done properly. Home owners should avoid common mistakes that make a basement less usable or less appealing to others in order to make your home more desirable during resale. Here are the types of design oversights to avoid.
Always consider how light will travel in your basement. Aside from bi-level designs with half-size windows that let in natural light, you will have to supply artificial lighting for any basement rooms you build.
Make sure that there are both overhead and ambient lights to fill out the spaces while providing nice, warm accents. As long as you can see clearly, the space will be more likely to be used.
Cramped or Odd Floor Plans
Have a professional look over your designs or help design your basement’s floor plan for you. You want to make sure that the spaces will be large enough to move around in and that everything will be conveniently placed for your use.
Avoid overly complicated or overly compartmentalized designs. Try to emulate common elements seen in main floor layouts, such as an open area leading off to smaller rooms.
An unfinished basement allows the opportunity for fine-tuned creative expression; try not to go too overboard. You will want a cohesive style that ties in elements found upstairs.
In other words, entering the basement should not feel like you just walked into an entirely different house. Feel free to make the style fresh and unique, but rein in the temptation to go overly thematic.
Tailored to One User
Avoid creating rooms that are too specific. While adding a creative studio or home gym, you probably should not build permanent structures into the rooms that are hard to remove. A gym that uses free-standing equipment is fine, but one with a chest dip bar bolted to the floor cannot be easily repurposed.
Likewise, a studio that can be used for painting or making music would be great since this space can be reused as an office or something similar. A full-fledged dark room would be a hard sell for a buyer without an interest in traditional photography.
Create rooms with a universal appeal, like bedrooms and home offices. Alternatively, make sure that more specific spaces like a media room can be easily retooled to suit a buyer’s needs if necessary.
With these criteria in mind, your basement renovation design will add the maximum amount of resale value and appeal to your home. Part II of this post will discuss construction practices that deter moisture.
For more advice on renovations that will make your Red Deer real estate property attractive to buyers, take a look at our selling page.