Month: June 2014

To Fix or Not to Fix?

When you’re getting ready to sell your home, that is always the question. A rule of thumb to keep in mind is that a house in good condition will sell faster than one that needs work.

Low-cost, minor improvements that increase the appeal of your home are always a good idea – you want to be sure it looks like the house has been well taken care of. Patch nail holes and repaint, fix or replace damaged flooring, repair plumbing leaks, replace outdated light fixtures, clean out and reseal gutters, and keep up with the yard and garden.

Beyond the basics, ask yourself these questions when deciding what to fix:

What is the market like? In a seller’s market, you may not need to do much. In a buyer’s market, you might have a long list of repairs and updates to make in order to keep your house in the running.

How fast do you need to sell? If you must sell quickly, you’ll probably need to make the necessary improvements so your house is move-in ready. If you have time to test the market, you can hold off on pricey fixes and see how your house fares as-is, knowing you have the option of repairing those things later on – if you’re not getting the offers you’d like.

What is the condition of comparable homes on the market? If other homeowners have prepped their houses to move-in condition, you may need to do the same.

As your real estate professional, I would be happy to discuss how to best prepare your home for the current market in our area. Please contact me at your convenience!

Simple Ways to Allergy-Proof Your House

Protecting yourself from household allergens can be a daunting task, but start simple and you might see quick results.

  • Use two doormats at every house entry point – one inside and one outside.
  • Take off your shoes when you enter the house.
  • Vacuum carpets weekly using a vacuum with a small-particle filter.
  • Damp-mop floors once a week.
  • Wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth once a week.
  • Hang machine-washable curtains instead of heavy draperies.
  • Encase mattresses, box springs and pillows in dust-proof zippered covers.
  • Wash bedding in hot water once a week.
  • Repair cracked or broken caulk and tile in the bathroom.
  • Always run the bathroom exhaust fan when you take a shower.
  • Clean out under the kitchen sink and check for leaks.
  • Monitor the humidity in the air (ideal is 30 – 50 percent).
  • Change air filters once a month.

If you can only make a few changes, start with your bedroom — you spend about one-third of your time sleeping. And, if possible, go to an allergist and find out what you are allergic to. This will help you focus your efforts and make sure you are treating the right problem.

Saving Water through Xeriscape

Tired of wasting water and money to achieve a lush lawn and garden? Maybe you should try Xeriscape — using creative landscaping to conserve water.

Xeriscape is a combination of seven common-sense gardening principles that save water while creating a lush and colorful landscape:

  1. Plan and design for water conservation and beauty.
  2. Create turf areas of manageable sizes and grasses.
  3. Select low-water plants.
  4. Use soil amendments, such as compost or manure.
  5. Use mulches to reduce evaporation and keep soil cool.
  6. Irrigate efficiently.
  7. Maintain the landscape properly.

Originally developed in Colorado for drought-afflicted areas, Xeriscape is now used across the country in efforts to be more environmentally conscious. The practice offers many benefits:

  • Saves water – Reduces landscape water use by 60 percent or more.
  • Improves property value – Can increase property value by as much as 15 percent.
  • Less maintenance – Aside from occasional pruning and weeding, maintenance is minimal.
  • No fertilizers or pesticides – Using plants native to your area will eliminate the need for chemical supplements.

Better Your Life with Feng Shui

It’s said that your space — your home, your office — is a mirror of you. If you are looking for ways to improve your quality of life, you might consider first improving the quality of your space. Feng shui, the ancient Chinese art and science of placement and energy flow, can help you do both.

The basic theory behind feng shui is that everything is energy and everything is connected. So if you change the energy in your home, you also will be changing the energy in your life. “Your home can often be a mirror of your inner life that can symbolically or literally manifest practically everything that is going on in your life,” says holistic design expert Laura Benko. “There are so many actions you can take to address these issues. It first begins with shifting your perspective and connecting the dots between your environment and yourself.”

Here are a few easy steps you can take now to give your space, and hopefully your life, a little lift.

Eliminate clutter. Clutter stagnates your energy and promotes disorder.

Keep your bathroom door closed. The bathroom is full of drains (sink, tub and toilet) and by leaving the door open you allow good energy to literally drain out of your home.  

Get two nightstands. Regardless of the number of people sleeping in the bed, two nightstands create a more supported and balanced bed for everyone. The nightstands don’t necessarily need to match, and they don’t need to be traditional nightstands; tables, stools or benches can work.

Place furniture so it faces the door. Place yourself in a position of power in every room so you are always facing the door and nothing can “sneak up” on you.

Add plants.
Plants encompass nature, growth, creativity, and even air purification all in one! Especially if you have a lot of electronics, add one or two more plants than may seem necessary and you’ll feel the difference.

Fix what’s broken.
You aren’t broken on the inside — don’t be broken on the outside either.

“If you’re feelingoverwhelmed, a calming thing to do is clear off the surfaces in your home. It does away with visual and, more importantly, psychological clutter.”

Laura Benko, Benko Feng Shui, New York