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Checklist: What to Look for in an Open House

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

 

Checklist: What to Look for in an Open House

 

Open Houses are a great way to casually view a home, and given that they are (typically) beautifully staged, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the beauty of the home rather than focus on the state and quality of the home.  Here's a checklist of common things that you should be looking at when you go to an Open House, or go to a showing for any home, really.

 

 

Electrical Outlets

 

  •  
    • Take your time walking through the rooms, and pay close attention to how many outlets each room has.  Use your current home as a point of reference as to whether or not you would need more outlets than this home has.  Adding outlets is possible, should you choose to Buy the home and find this a good option, but it is a big project that you should be okay with going into.  

 

Windows

  •  
    • As you walk through the rooms, pay attention to the placement and view from the windows.  The more natural light flowing into a home, the better.  Are the windows situated in such a way that they would allow for a lot of light to pour into the home?  When you look out the windows, are you met by a lovely view of your neighborhood, or are you met with a view into the neighbor's home through their window?  These are things that will make a big difference in your every day life in the home.

Floors

 

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    • One thing you can do during the Open House is check the state of the floors.  Bring along a marble and set it on the floor of every room you walk into.  Does it move around and find low spots?  In older homes, a slightly off-level floor is somewhat expected, but a lumpy or unlevel floor can also be a warning sign of bigger issues in the house.  It's better to become aware of those issues before you move in.
    • Check the physical state of the flooring by peeking under rugs for signs of damage.  It's true, also, that the couch in the living room could be strategically placed over a big stain on the carpet or hardwood floors, but it's also possible that the area rug is hiding something, as well.  And, let's face it, it'd be a lot easier to lift the rug up to check for damage underneath than it would be to do the same under the couch.

 

Under Sinks

 

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    • Check in the cabinets under the sinks both in the kitchen and in any bathrooms.  Check for any signs of water damage that may have been caused by a leaky pipe or problem with the plumbing.  If you see a sign of damage, you will open up an opportunity to have your real estate agent check with the sellers to see what issues there have been with the plumbing, when they were remedied, and if there are any other issues that may arise. 

 

Appliances

 

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    • If any appliances are included in the sale of the house, check them while you are there.  Are they in good condition?  Try turning on the stove or oven to make sure that it seems to be in working condition.

 

Attic

 

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    • If the home has an attic, even if it is hard to get to, it's not a bad idea to take a peek inside.  For one thing, you can check for signs of pest infestation that can sometimes occur in attics.  For another, you can check to see how well the insulation is.  A well insulated attic makes a huge difference to the cost of utilities in Summer and Winter.

Outside the Home

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    • Check for any signs of cracking or separating on the bricks or foundation, because no one wants to have to deal with a home's cracking foundation.
    • Look at the gutters: Are they positioned in such a way that the drainage runs away from the home?  Exposure to water run-off from improper gutter installation can make for big issues with the home's foundation in the future.
Remember, the best way to prepare for the home-buying proccess is to hire a great real estate agent to help you along the way.  Buying a home is both exciting and terrifying, and having someone on your side who knows the ins and outs of the industry can lead to a huge weight being lifted off your shoulders.  You can call The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage any time to speak with someone about buying a home.

6 Steps to a Sale-Ready Home

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

 

6 EASY Steps to Make Your Home Ready for Sale


It's no secret that the majority of activity on a listed home happens right when the listing goes live.  There are many things that can take that flurry of activity and turn it into a quick home sale, from the right price to the photos to the staging of the home.  It's so important that the potential buyers looking at your home, whether through pictures or through a showing, see a home that they can picture as their own.  Here are six easy steps you can take to ensure that those initial interested parties aren't deterred by issues that could have been resolved before your home was listed.

 

 1.  De-Personalize

 

  • Remove Photos and Personal Items
    • Seeing personal items, such as photos, monogrammed decorations, etc. make a huge difference in how easily a potential Buyer pictures your home as their home.
  • Put Away Every-Day Essentials
    • Your toothbrush, makeup, and hair accessories cause distraction from the home and put a block between your personal home and the viewers' potential home.
  • Remove or Replace Items You Are Taking with You
    • For one thing, those items you are planning on taking with you probably have a distinct look that directly correlates with your style, but may not correlate with the style of the potential buyers.  It'd be terrible for a Buyer to fall in love with an intricate light fixture you have, only to find it gone when they go to close on the home.  The best route to take is to just avoid this issue all together and take any items you are planning on taking with you out of the home before you list it.
2.  Get Rid of Clutter

  • Donate What You Don't Need
    • Sift through those cluttered areas of your home and remove any items that you don't need.  Moving can be a great motivation to purge your home of things that you have been hanging on to for far too long.  After all, no one wants to move more items than they have to.
  • Clear Surfaces
    • Clear off nightstands, end tables, and kitchen counters to ensure that your home doesn't seem cluttered.  Some nice options for where to go with those items that usually sit out include organizational baskets with lids and mason jars for those kitchen utensils that you usually leave out.
  • Rent a Storage Unit
    • There are bound to be items in your home that you don't need access to until after the move, but that may lead to clutter or take up a lot of space in your home.  It might be a good idea to rent a storage unit and store those items while your home is on the market.  It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it could make the difference in how quickly your home sells.

4.  Organize

  • "Face" Items
    • Have you ever noticed how all the products in the supermarket have the label facing forward?  This doesn't happen by chance; the store pays its employees to ensure that all items look neat and easily recognizable on their shelves.  Applying the same kind of logic to your cabinets at home will have a similar effect.  Potential buyers will want to open up the cabinets in your home to get a good look at the state of teh interior as well as the space they offer.  The more organized your items are, the better and more spacious the cabinets will look.
  • Organize Everything
    • Rearrange your spice rack and alphabetize your movie and music collections.  If you ahve an area of your home that lacks good organization, consider investing in some organizational containers.  An organized home leaves a more positive effect on visitors than a cluttered home, and you want potential buyers to leave your home feeling that they had a positive experience.
  • Maximize Your Closet Space
    • The more organized your closets are, the bigger they look.  Clothes packed in too tight, shoes that are overflowing their rack, and items crammed onto shelves are all issues that lead to your closets looking smaller than they actually are.  Closet space is a great talking point of a home, and you want to make sure that yours looks the best it can.
4. Repair & Re-Think

  • Re-think paint choices
    • The loud color choices you made in your home may have worked for you, but they also may not work for the potential Buyer.  Re-paint those rooms with a nice neutral color.  A neutral color also seems a lot less personal than a loud color, and your goal is to make your home de-personalized to leave room for personalization in the minds of your potential buyers.
  • Fix Any Problems You Can
    • Whether it be a leaky faucet, a clogged drain, or some nail holes in the walls, repair them!  There are plenty of homes on the market that are completely repaired and ready to sell.  Don't assume that a Buyer will see the repairs in your home and accept them just because they are easy enough to do.  If a buyer has a choice between your home, that is in need of repairs, and another home, that is not; chances are, they will choose the other home.
5.  Clean

  • Dust Everything
    • Dust everything you see that needs dusted.  Don't forget to look at light fixtures, window sills, woodwork, and door frames, in addition to the furniture you have in your home.  No one likes the idea of moving into a home and living in other people's filth.  The more deeply you clean, the better your house looks.
  • Focus on Floors
    • Wax wooden floors, steam clean all of your carpets, and vacuum daily.  This step is especially important for any pet owners looking to sell their homes.  Dogs and cats leave floors a mess from dandruff and shed fur.  Animals in a home can be a deterrent for certain home buyers, so it is important that you minimize the effect pet ownership has on a home.  Remove the animal smell through washing, steaming, and vacuuming.
  • Consider Hiring a Professional
    • Hiring a professional cleaning service may be the right choice for getting your home listing-ready in a hurry.  A professional knows the areas that need to be focused on, and they can help you get your home in a state where all you need to do is keep up on it as your home is shown and on the market.
6.  Boost Your Curb Appeal

 

  • Pressure Wash
    • Pressure washing your home's exterior can be a great way to make the outside of your home look more fresh and tidy.  The first impression a potential Buyer will get of your home will be from the curb appeal as they are walking up, so you want to be sure that the first impression is a good one.
  • Keep Up on Your Lawn
    • A tidy and trim lawn also makes a huge difference in your home's curb appeal.  Be sure to keep up on the mowing and trimming, both before your home is photographed and while it is on the market.  Many potential buyers will drive by your home before they book an actual showing, so you want to be sure that your home is looking great even when there are no showings scheduled.
  • Plant Flowers
    • Flowers not only give your yard more curb appeal by adding a pop of color, they also make your home seem prettier and more appealing.  A home with flowers outside feels more like a home than one without flowers out front.

Ring in Fall with These Local Events!

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

 

Ring in Fall!

Check out these local events focused around this lovely season!




Fall is in the air, and that means that many of our favorite local autumn events are coming up.  Here are a few local events happening this weekend that you can attend to ring in the Fall season!  The weather forecast for this weekend is gorgeous- Get out there and enjoy some of what the local communities have to offer!

 

Waterloo PumpkinFest

This event draws visitors from all over the area, and for good reason.  Last year, the event was packed with people, but it didn't take away from the atmosphere one bit- it only speaks to how wonderful this event is!  Browse through TONS of vendor tents (and maybe even grab a few Christmas gifts... It's only about 11 weeks away, after all Wink), eat at any number of food vendors, enjoy games and entertainment for the kids, listen to some live local music, and maybe even stop by a restaurant or shop there at the Courthouse Square.  This lovely event takes place on Saturday, October 8th, on the grounds of the Monroe County Court House and its surrounding area.  Team member Abby Moallankamp attended last year, and she very highly recommends this one for adults and kids, alike.

Check out the event's page on the City of Waterloo website for more information by clicking here.


 

Annual Belleville Chili Cook-Off

Few things say Fall like the season's first bowl of chili... Come down to Belleville's Chili Cook-Off to get your hands on much more than just one bowl of this cool-weather staple food!  The event, taking place Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th, hosts more than 60 vendors, from restaurants to organizations to individuals, who all come together to cook off for a chance at one of the Chili Cook-Off Awards.  This event is one of Belleville's biggest annual attractions, and it also is a great fundraising event.  Over half of the vendors who participate in this event are either a non-profit organization or a business raising money for a charity. 100% of the money you spend at that stand goes to the vendor.  In addition, attendees get to vote in the contest for their favorite chili for a price of $1 per vote.  All of those proceeds go to the Community Interfaith Food Pantry in Belleville.  Head on down to this event this weekend and enjoy the live music, entertainment, and, of course, the chili!

To learn more about this event, visit the event's website by clicking here.


 

Maestown Oktoberfest

Head on down to charming & historic Maestown to enjoy the Oktoberfest festivities!  This antique, craft, and art fair features over 50 artisans, dealers, craftsmen, and food vendors at the area around the stone mill and bridge.  Enjoy the colors of Fall while doing some shopping, and even enjoy foods such as turtle soup, potato pancakes, and popcorn cooked in old-fashioned kettles!  The local inns, shops, and resaurants will all remain open during the festivities, so you can even stroll around this lovely town and do a little window shopping or dining while you are there.  This event is taking place on Sunday the 9th from 9 am to 4 pm.

To learn more about this event, visit Maestown's website here.

 

 

 



Moving Day Check List

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

 

Moving Day Check List

 A list of important items that you definitely want to have accessible for that first night in the new house

Pack a "Moving Box" full of these essential items for Moving Day!

 



Over-Night Bag

Pack yourself a bag filled with all the items you would bring with you if you were staying overnight somewhere.  Fill it with any items you would need in an overnight situation, such as: toothbrush/toothpaste, hair brush, clothes to sleep in, clothes to wear the following day, clean socks and shoes, and any medications you may need.

Toiletry Bag

Fill a bag with those items that are used on a daily basis or an almost daily basis, such as contact lens solution, make up, shower supplies, hair accessories, etc.

Plastic-Ware

Whether you're planning on packing some bread and deli meats for dinner or you have plans to order take-out, plastic-ware is a must.  You'll want to be able to comfortably eat whatever food you have, and chances are, you'll have been so busy moving that you won't have the kitchen unpacked yet.  Take a bit of the stress off your shoulders and pack some plates, bowls, and utensils. Don't forget the paper towels, either!

Pet Food & Bowls

If you are moving with a pet, make sure that you plan for his or her dinner as well as your own.  Pack a few plastic baggies with one meal's portion of food, and have those dog bowls easily accessible.  

Towels

Moving can be quite the dirty job.  Prepare for how badly you are going to want to wash your hands before you eat and shower before you go to sleep by packing bath towels, wash rags, and hand towels in your first night box.

Shower Curtain Liner

This is one that often gets forgotten.  If you are moving into a home that does not have a shower door and instead utilizes a shower curtain, make sure you pack a waterproof shower curtain so that you can actually take the shower you will definitely be desiring after moving day is done... Without getting water all over your new bathroom floor.

Lightbulbs

The previous homeowner typically leaves lightbulbs that are in the house, but just in case the house is dimly lit, or you'd like to use one of the lamps you brought as the night is winding down, bring along a few lightbulbs so that you can do so.

Coffee, Coffee Maker, & Coffee Filters

If you are a coffee drinker, you will definitely be struggling when the first morning after the move comes around, and if your coffee maker and supplies are packed away, it's certainly not going to help the situation.  Don't forget the coffee mugs, either!

Dish Soap

It won't be long before you will be wanting to do some dishes in your new home.  Whether you just want to get the coffee dishes out of the way after that first morning, or you are ready to start unpacking the kitchen and want to wash moving dust off of your dishes before you put them away, you'll be needing the dishsoap.

Bedding & Pillows

Make sure you have your bedding and pillows easily accessible, because, when you're in a new place, nothing feels better than getting to lay down in your own bed.  Not to mention, you'll be exhausted from the move...

Door Mat

This item, though it doesn't seem very high-priority, should be packed so accessibly that it's one of the first things you pull out of the truck.  Minimize the amount of grass, dust, or raindrops get into your home through the many trips back and forth by laying down a door mat first thing.

Rags & Cleaning Supplies

Even if you came in to the house for a cleaning day prior to move-in day, chances are, you are going to find places in the house that could use a cleaning.  Whether you skipped over them while cleaning ahead of time or you made a mess while moving, have your favorite, most-used cleaning products at the ready so that you can pull them out when the situation (inevitably) arises.

Pack a Cooler

Have a "moving cooler" ready to go on moving day to enable easy access to waterbottles, snacks, and everyone's favorite drinks.  Hydration is key!

Pack a Snack Bag

Be ready for the hunger that will certainly set in: ahead of time, pack some of everyone's favorite snacks in a bag and have them accessible.

Toilet Paper

As anyone can understand, this is something you definitely do NOT want to forget to pack in your moving box.  Have a few rolls at the ready, just to be on the safe side!

Hand Soap

Make sure you will be able to wash off that dirt and grime left by handling all those moving boxes by packing hand soap in your moving box.

Scissors

Because scissors come in handy in SO MANY situations, it's always a good idea to have a pair handy.

Utility Knife

Make cutting all that packing tape a little bit easier by packing a utility knife for unpacking.

Phone Charger

While it is unlikely that someone, in today's world, would pack away their phone chargers without realizing that they might need to access them before that box gets opened, it is nonetheless an important item to put on the list.

Garbage bags

Unpacking from a move creates an awful lot of waste.  Have garbage bags packed so that you can put all your recyclables (like newspapers and cardboard) in one, and your trash in another.

Tool Kit

One of the most important items on this list, because it is only when you need access to your tools that you realize just how important those items are.  Moving often requires breaking down of pieces of furniture, and at times, the bumpy moving ride can break down some of our furniture unintentionally.  Remember, you won't be able to start putting items away in those pieces of furniture until you have all the hardware installed and the furniture secured again.


GREAT Tips for Selling Your Home

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

 

GREAT Tips for Selling Your Home

 

Hire a Great Real Estate Agent

This is definitely the most important tip on this list.  Hiring an excellent agent is the best thing you can possibly do to get your home sold quickly.  Furthermore, the right real estate agent will be able to help you with all of the things yet to come on this list.

Pricing Your Home Correctly

Often, sellers believe that they can price their homes competitively and accurately without the help of an agent.  Remember, though, that if you were receiving another kind of service, you would seek the advice of a professional in that field, because you would want to benefit from their years of experience.  This is SO true when looking for a real estate agent to sell your home.  Take in every tip that your agent gives you about how to price your home.  If you do your homework and hire someone with a lot of experience in the market and in the area, chances are, you will be quite happy with the results.

Online Presence

The way homes are marketed has drastically changed in recent years.  The role of online services and social media in home marketing has only grown.  When choosing your realtor, be sure that you ask them about their marketing strategies, because you want to be sure that your home is getting maximum exposure on all possible platforms, from the Multiple Listing Service that your agent will list your house in, to Facebook and other social media platforms where your home will be showcased.

Put a Sign Up

It's true that home marketing has been taking a turn to the digital side, but that's not to say that the old ways are obsolete.  A sign placed in the front yard of your home still does a lot to attract eyes and inform those who drive by that the home is for sale and where they can look to find it.  It also helps people who are out house-hunting find your home as they are coming for a showing or perhaps just driving and prospecting potential houses.  

The Photos are EVERYTHING

This is another big thing to consider when choosing a realtor, because great photos can make or break a listing.  Be sure to look into some of the photos of listings that are currently posted and being marketed by the realtor you are looking into.  An experienced photographer can make your home look airy, spacious, warm, cozy, and well-lit.  Almost all people interested in your home will see it in photos online before they see it in person.  Make sure that first impression counts by making sure that the agent you are choosing has the capability to present your home in its best way possible.  


 

Boost Your Curb Appeal

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so make sure that first impression counts by doing some simple landscaping to your home.  Many times, a prospective Buyer will drive by your home before actually booking an appointment to see your home.  By maintaining your landscaping, planting flowers, and possibly making a few simple improvements to the front of your home, you can ensure that more buyers will drive by and actually book that appointment to see the home.  To see a complete comprehensive list of small improvements that boost curb appeal, click here.


 

Keep Your Home Clean and Tidy

The Deep Clean is as Important as the Daily Clean

Everyone can agree that it takes a lot of work to keep up on daily housekeeping tasks.  When selling your home, it is so very important that you keep up on those tasks, because you want your house to be show-ready at any time if an agent wants to show your house to prospective buyers.  Be sure you give your home a good deep cleaning before you list it.  Those tasks that only get done a few times a year often get over-looked, but you want your house to look nice and tidy to all who walk through it.  Prospective buyers may even look in those "Spring Cleaning" spots as they look at the home, such as under the sink (to check for leaks or plumbing issues) or in the windowsills (to check for any evidence of a bug problem).  Make sure you address those issues before you start showing your home.  Once you do, all you will have to worry about are the day-to-day tasks.

De-Cluttering and De-Personalizing 

It is so important that you address any cluttering that happens in your home.  Clutter not only makes your home look smaller, but it can cloud a prospective Buyer's ability to see your home as their own.  This leads into another great home-selling tip... While de-cluttering, consider removing some of your more personal home decorations.  Family portraits are lovely, but, again, they can damage the ability of prospective buyers to see the home as their own.  If you have a lot of decorations on your walls and sitting around, consider packing some of them up and opting for a more minimal decorating look while you are selling.  The less on your walls, the better reaction you will get from people being shown your home, and you will also make your rooms appear bigger.  For tips on de-cluttering, look here.


 

Make Sure Your Home is Well-Lit

Lighting is Everything!

A well-lit home is more inviting, appears more spacious, and tends to give a much better impression than a dully-lit home.  Before every showing, open the blinds, turn on all the lights in the home, and pull back the curtains.  No one wants to move into a dark and dreary home, so make your home seem more appealing by letting all the light in that you possibly can.


 

Address Any Odors in Your Home

Whether the odor is coming from last night's dinner, the dirty laundry, or your pet, make sure that you are doing everything you can to address those odors.  Before a showing, open the windows to let some fresh air in, light a candle or put a new scent in your wax melter!  

A fresh coat of paint is often recommended while selling your home.  Soft neutrals tend to be a lot more appealing than bright or bold colors, and stains or discolorations can be an issue for many people looking to possibly purchase your home.  Freshly painted walls have another benefit for those looking to sell their homes, as well.  Painting your walls can cut down on the amount of odors in your home.  Smells seep into a home after a long time, and by putting a fresh barrier over that old paint can make your home smell fresher when someone walks in.

If you are a pet owner, it is always a good idea to send your dogs or cats to a neighbor's or friend's house during showings.  As hard as it is for animal-people to understand, not everyone likes pets.  In fact, a pet in a home can be a detractor for some.  To make sure your home doesn't get overlooked because of your pets, make sure you are vacuuming often, using odor-neutralizing sprays, send the fur-babies on a short vacation to a friend's, and put away their beds, bowls, and toys while your home is being shown.  


 

Repairs & Improvements

There are certain improvements that can make a huge difference in how often your home is considered by prospective buyers.  For instance, freshly painting over the stain on your ceiling from a plumbing issue that has since been resolved or laying in new flooring in your kitchen since yours is considerably damaged.  Many improvements don't add a whole lot of value to the home, but they can often make a huge difference to how quickly your home sells and how often it is under consideration by buyers.  

Bathroom & Kitchen

The bathroom and kitchen are the two most important rooms in the house.  When you are having visitors, the two rooms you want to make sure look their best are the kitchen and the bathroom, because no one wants friends or family that those two rooms are dirty.  Those rooms are also important because they get so much use from those who live in the home as well as those who visit the home.  Simple improvements such as re-finishing cabinetry, updating light fixtures, and updating hardware, can make a huge difference on the impression buyers have on those rooms.  In addition, these two rooms are probably the most important for keeping tidy and de-cluttered.  Consider keeping an empty mason jar on your counter, so that when your house is going to be shown, you can put clutter and random kitchen utensils in it to keep the counters clear for the showing.

The more appealing a kitchen is, the better impression your home will have on prospective buyers.  It is likely the room that gets visited the most, and buyers want to see ample space, a clean and tidy space, and plenty of cabinets.  If you can play that up on your own kitchen, you will have more success with making your home a contender in others' home searches.

 

All in all, the most important things you can remember are to keep up on keeping your home inviting and tidy.  Keep that grass trimmed, open those curtains and windows, water your flowers, don't let dirty dishes sit around.  While this list gives some insight, when struggling with what tasks or improvements to make your home a top contender, it's always a good idea to ask yourself the question, "What do I look for in a home?" or "What detracts me from some homes?" and try to avoid those mistakes on your own part. 

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Contact Information

Photo of The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group Real Estate
The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group
Century 21 Advantage
103 S Main St
Columbia IL 62236
IL: 618.281.7621

138 Concord Plaza Dr
Saint Louis MO 63128
MO: 314.649.0221
Fax: 618.281.4311

Linda Frierdich is the area's premier real estate professional, offering services in St Louis, Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Crestwood, Ballwin, Arnold, Fenton, Oakville, Columbia, Waterloo, Millstadt, Valmeyer, Dupo, Belleville, O'Fallon, Mascoutah, Fairview Heights, Smithton, Ruma, Hecker, New Athens, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Caseyville, Shiloh, Swansea, Monroe County, Madison County, St Clair County, and Randolph County.  Her team focuses on resale homes, new construction, first time home buyers, condos, farms, land sales, subdivisions, lot sales, single family, multi-family, commercial, foreclosures, bank owned property, military relocation, and building. This site offers options to search real estate in Columbia Illinois and other areas. We offer buyer and sellers services second to none!

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