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8 Tips for Restoring an Old Home

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

8 Tips for Restoring an Old Home

 

 

It’s hard to argue that old homes seem to be loaded with a unique character, and each one is different.  Older homes have a charm about them that is almost impossible to mimic with a newer home.  The draw to restore old homes comes from these principles, and they are well-founded.  Even those who prefer newer homes to live in can’t seem to resist the “Before and After” looks of an old home restoration.  That being said, the task of restoring an old home isn’t for everyone.  However, if it is something to which you would like to commit (after much careful and realistic consideration), these tips may prove themselves helpful.

 

 

Remember: Restore, not Replace

 

An older home is given its character by its unique features.  The high ceilings, the crown molding of the cabinetry, the old brass door handles, the windows that stretch almost to the floor.  Your goal is to update the necessities but maintain the integrity of the old home.  Rather than replace those old windows with newer, more energy-efficient ones, consider resealing the panes or installing efficient storm windows to the exterior of the window frame.  Rather than buying new, more tightly-fitting and tidy wood flooring, consider sanding and refinishing the original wood floors.  The goal of restoring an old home should be to honor the home’s structure and character, while modernizing it through decorating, appliances, and energy efficiency.  Additionally, original doors and windows mean a lot to an old home’s value. 

 

Don’t Give in to Fads

 

Open floor plans are wonderful.  It’s no wonder that they came into the scene with a wave of popularity and have maintained that status for a long time.  When buying an old home, it can be tempting to knock down walls to give that old home an open floor plan… However, despite their seemingly never-ending reign at the moment, their time, too, will pass.  Open floor plans didn’t exist in most older homes, and, therefore, they don’t really do a whole lot to maintain the integrity of the old home. A great alternative to completely changing the floor plan is widening doorways between rooms.  Here, you can utilize almost all of your home’s original framing while giving the flow of the home a lot more flexibility. 

 

Save the Flooring!

 

If at all possible, save the original hardwood flooring that you found under the carpet in the living room.  Yes, it’s old, discolored, and possibly damaged, but it can turn out beautifully.  Regardless of whether or not you plan on hiring a professional to restore the floors for you, you should still have one come for a consultation.  Old carpet backing often contained asbestos, and you want to be sure that you don’t have any on your floors before you begin sanding. 

 

Clean the Tile

 

Before you go all-out on tearing out that old tile, give it a really, really good scrubbing.  It can be easy to look at old tile and think:  A. WOW- Outdated, and B. GROSS- Very dirty.  However, with the right cleaning supplies,  you can get that old tile to shine again, and after looking at the refreshed tile for a week or so, you may be struck with an amazing idea for a beautiful restored room!

 

Keep the Cabinets

 

It can be tempting for those buying an older home to want to rip down the old cabinets in the kitchen and replace them with tidy, clean, and fresh newly-made substitutes.  However, the melamine and MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) cabinets that are readily available are not made to last in the long-term.  Your cabinets, however rough they may look now, were made to last for many years. Strip them, sand them, and refinish them.  The work put in will pay off exponentially. 

 

Keep Counters Authentic

 

If you plan on updating the counters in your kitchen or bathroom, stick to a material that was available in the period your home was built.  A Formica kitchen top will not have been in a home that was built in 1902.  By using materials that were available in the time your home was built, even if the material wasn’t originally used in the home, you are keeping the time frame cohesive throughout the home. 

 

Refinish Sinks and Tubs

 

Just like with everything mentioned on this list, these things lend an awful lot to the character of your old home.  There are many ways that you can modernize a bathroom while maintaining an original restored sink and tub. A new coat on porcelain might cost a few hundred dollars, but it will cost less than gutting your entire bathroom and having a new bath/shower installed.

 

Don’t Bite off More Than You Can Chew

 

The thought of restoring an old home can be enticing to many individuals, but before you jump in to that task, be sure to do your research and due diligence.  A home with a good solid structure and that requires mostly cosmetic updates, though still very time-consuming and difficult, is worth restoring much more than a home with foundation or pest issues.  Before signing the paperwork, it’s a good idea to consult some professionals to discuss what exactly would need to happen for the changes you are wanting to make.  From there, you can better assess whether or not that particular home is right for you.


Overall, the main thing that a Buyer should be concerned with when considering whether or not to Buy an old home is honesty to one's self.  A buyer needs to be aware enough to realize that a project rarely gets completed without hiccups, and that there is a lot of work and time invested when re-doing an old home.  If it is something that you decide you are capable of, just remember to have fun while doing it!

 

 

 

17 Tips to Make Moving Day a Breeze

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

17 of Tips to Make Moving Day a Breeze

 

No one, I repeat, no one, enjoys moving.  Sure, there are some great things that come along with a move.  The excitement of getting a new home, new neighbors, and new opportunities can be amazing to experience.  The prospect of packing up and subsequently unpacking your entire life, however, is a daunting task.  There are some things that you can do to make the whole process easier on yourself, and we have compiled a list of our best ideas.

 

 

 


Make a List


Make a list of everything that needs to get done in the weeks ahead of the move.  Make this checklist 2 months before the move, so that you feel more confident and organized as moving day approaches.  It’s easy to think that you will be able to keep all the tasks straight in your mind, but the fact of the matter is that you will forget some of the things you need to do.  Furthermore, making the list often helps you remember things that you forgot to put on the list as moving day approaches.

 

 


Packing Made Easier

 

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but failure to do this one tip can cause a lot more frustration, time lost, and feelings that you are going into a move unorganized.  Keep all your packing supplies in a laundry basket, so that you can easily carry it from room to room when the desire to pack strikes you.  This basket should contain:  zippered plastic baggies, sharpies, labels, colored markers (if you are color coordinating your boxes), plastic shopping bags and newspapers for cushioning, boxes of a variety of sizes, and any other supplies you have found to be helpful in packing.

 

 

 

Pack and Label the Essentials

 

It can be tough to pack up your entire home and feel like you are doing so in any manner that is remotely organized or planned.  Most often, homeowners get to their new house and become overwhelmed with a feeling that can be summed up with the phrase, “Where do I begin?”  (The same can often be said for those homeowners who are preparing for a move).  To see a list that we have compiled of all the things you should be thinking about having easily accessible on your first day in the new house, click here.

 


 

Mark Boxes Well

 

Obviously, you should be writing the contents on the outside of every box you seal.  You should also be labeling boxes with what room the contents will belong in, so that you can get a handle on some organization even when you are carrying boxes into your new home and stacking them where there’s space.  Also consider these possible labels:  Fragile, First-Night, Do Not Load, and Load Last.  These specific labels help minimize the risk of things getting broken, misplaced, or crammed in the back of the truck when you really need the box’s contents right when you get to the new house.

 

 

Moving Electronics

 

Take a picture of the back of your electronics before you begin unplugging all those cords.  This will make setting it back up so much easier when you get to your new place!

 

Keep cords and hardware for electronics all together.  For cords and cables, toilet paper tubes standing up in a shoebox often work great to keep your cords organized and untangled.  The box then simply gets labeled with the name of the electronic equipment it belongs to.  For other kinds of hardware, consider using plastic baggies with zippers.  They help keep everything together, and can be clearly labeled so they don’t get confused with other objects.

 

 


Heavy Items

 

For your heavy items, such as books, consider using your rolling luggage to move these items.  For one thing, using the bags you already have can save work, space, and money, since they have to be moved anyways.  Utilize their space and ability to be transferred by rolling rather than carrying.  Your back will thank you for this trick.

 

 

General Tips for Moving that we have found to be SUPER helpful…

 

Be sure that you drain any lawn or home equipment that holds oil or gas before you attempt to move those pieces.

Thaw your refrigerator two days before the move if you are taking it with you when you go. 

 

Use Styrofoam plates in between your nice set of plates to keep them from breaking

 

Brown paper bags can work just as well as newspaper for glassware and other fragile items

 

Wine boxes work extremely well for moving glassware in a safe and organized way

 

Connect necklaces and bracelets through toilet paper or paper towel rolls to keep them from tangling during the move.

 

Use labeled zippered plastic baggies for any hardware that has to come out of furniture or other objects for the items to make it through the move.   This will keep them from getting lost or mixed up with other objects’ hardware.

 

Cover toiletries in plastic wrap and then screw their lids on.  Do this regardless of how tightly they seem like they are on.  It hardly takes any time, and the hassle it could save from an accident is totally worth the extra time and effort.

 

Use a slow cooker to store spices in to keep them safe and to utilize the space.  Double win!

 

Cover drawers in plastic wrap (tightly) so that you don’t have to unload and pack up every drawers contents.  You just have to remove the plastic wrap and put the drawers back in the furniture in their new location!

 

Keep any hanging clothes on their hangers, just fold them into a trash bag, cinch it at the hanger tops, and carry them by the hangers.  This will make unpacking the bedroom and closets so much easier.

 

This list may not contain every great moving hack, but these are the ones we found most effective... And we hope you will, too!

Questions to Ask Before Buying a House

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Questions to Ask Before Buying a House

 

The process of buying a home is both exciting and stressful.  There are so many aspects that play into your Home Search and eventual purchase.  Hopefully, if you are going through this process, you have hired a fantastic real estate agent who is helping ease some of that stress.  In this process, where tensions can tend to run high, it’s important to not get carried away with any of the stress or the excitement.  Sometimes buyers dismiss wonderful homes due to very minor issues, simply because they don’t understand the details of the problem.  Opposite that, sometimes buyers get so excited about a particular house that they fail to look at it objectively and don’t ask the questions they need to be asking.  Here is a list for those of you who are emotionally driven, because it can be difficult to think of the right questions to ask when you are filled with excitement about a home.

 


 

Can I see the seller’s disclosures?

 

It is very important that you get all the information you can about the home you may potentially Buy.  A seller’s disclosure will have information regarding the safety and details about the home.  No matter how excited you may be about the possibility of buying this home, it’s important that you look at the seller’s disclosure objectively.  It may reveal an issue that should be a deal-breaker for your current circumstances, but you may have a vision clouded by excitement.

 

What are the zoning guidelines?

 

This is important for a number of reasons.  If you plan on adding on to the house, you will need to know what the zoning restrictions are and what that entails for you and your home.  One thing to consider when buying a home and considering the zoning guidelines is the future.  It’s easy to look at your life and what you need at the moment to find a home that will work for you, but you also need to consider where you’ll be in five years, as well as how long you may end up staying in that particular home, on the generous end.

 

For another thing, if you are planning on ever raising animals at the house you are looking to Buy (like chickens, cows, goats, etc), you need to be sure that the home you are buying has the right zoning for that to happen.

 

What home inspections are available?

 

It’s important for you to try and understand all that you can about this home.  Ask for the results of the home inspection, because there may be details of issues that still remain in the home.  Furthermore, if there are any that have been remedied, you may get an idea of any potential problems to arise again. 

 

Why is this home for sale?

 

More than likely, you will get a generic answer, because a Buyer isn’t going to be inclined to tell you if the reason they are selling their home is something that could steer you away from purchasing their home, however, it’s important for you to ask this question nonetheless.  For instance, if the sellers answer that the house no longer accommodates their growing family, you may want to consider how long you may live in this house and if you are likely to run into a similar issue.

 

How old are the appliances?

 

You, as the Buyer, should inquire about any of the appliances being included in the sale of the home.  Find out when they were purchased and whether the seller bought or received a warranty on the appliances.   This may give you some insight into how soon you may have to be spending a decent chunk of change on new appliances, and for that reason, it is very important to ask.  Furthermore, if the seller bought the hot water heater ten years ago, when you move in, you may want to drain the appliance to remove any sediment build-up and to extend the life of the water heater.

 

What updates have been made to the home?

 

Be sure to ask about whether or not the sellers made any updates or improvements to the home and how long ago the updates took place.  These facts can be very helpful to know!  For instance, if the home recently received a new roof, you will have a better idea of when you will need to get the roof done on the house.

 

What’s the average cost of utility payments?

 

Just because you can afford the monthly home loan payments does not necessarily mean that you can afford to pay the bills once you move in.  The monthly living expenses you will encounter once you move should definitely be factors you are considering in your Home Search.  If the house is much larger than your current or last home, you may be shocked at the extra energy required for every day usage.  Also, an older home often is less insulated, meaning that energy bills will go up more than expected during the summer and winter months.  Be sure that the utility bills are within your budget range before you fall in love with a home.

 

What are the annual taxes?

 

The cost of the yearly taxes for a home are even more important to know than the average utility bill cost.  Taxes can end up being a large amount, and it is important to know what they will likely be before you move forward in purchasing the home.  To consider whether or not you can afford the taxes for a home, do the math from last year’s tax bill, which your real estate agent will be happy to provide you with, and break it down into monthly payments.  Chances are, if you are looking into buying a home, you have figured out your monthly expenses and income.  If not, it’s a good time to do so.  Add in the monthly cost of the taxes, and be honest in your consideration of whether that will leave you enough money to be comfortable with.

 

Ultimately, there are so many questions that could possibly be asked before you Buy a home, and they would differ enormously depending on what is important to each individual situation.  However, hopefully this list served as a guide to start thinking about what questions will be important to you.  Don’t ever hesitate to ask your real estate agent about what questions you should be asking, either.  They have a lot of experience in the field, and they want you to feel confident moving forward.

Prepping Your Home for Cold Weather

by The Linda Frierdich Group - Century 21 Advantage

 

Prepping Your Home for Cold Weather

 

The weather is beginning to get colder, and as it does, the threat of winter weather looms ever closer.  Everyone knows that before a winter storm hits, they've got to go to the store and pick up milk, bread, and eggs to survive,  but there are more things you can be doing right now, before that imminent occurance is upon us.  The Fall is a great time to get your home ready to brave the cold weather, whether you're worried about making your life easier come Springtime cleanup, you'd like to keep your house warmer this Winter, or you are looking to avoid a home disaster following a Winter storm.  So, we present you with this list of things you can do now, before that cold snap sets in, to help you with whatever your concerns are for this coming Winter.

 


Clean the Gutters

 

When Winter hits, the Midwest tends to be hit with a mix of wet and frozen precipitation.  It's important to remember that even the frozen precipitation turns to liquid at some point, and as it does, the liquid will drain to your gutters, down the spout, and be deposited a distance from your home and in a manner that will drain away from your home.  That, at least, is true if you have your gutter system set up properly.  Now is the time of year to unclog your gutters to prevent water overflow.  Also double check to effectiveness of your gutter drainage system to ensure that the water is being dispensed away from your home (and that it won’t make its way back toward your home down a decline).

 

For proper drainage around your home, it is important to fill in any holes that have developed around your foundation to prevent melting snow and ice finding its way toward your home.

 

Seal Your Window & Door Frames

 

Unsealed window and door frames can lead to a striking amount of heat loss during the colder months of the year.  To ensure that your home isn’t losing significant heat during this Winter, check your home for air leaks, and seal the problem areas with caulk.  Adding weather stripping is a great choice for cutting back on air leaks, as well, and it’s cost efficient, at less than $5 a roll.

 

Protect Your Roof

 

Snow and ice accumulation on trees can become incredibly heavy.  To ensure that your trees won’t crash down on your home from the weight, trim your trees before Winter hits.  When doing so, you should be trimming any limbs that hang above your home, as well as any that are visibly dead. 

 

To help prevent any potential damage to your home or roof, inspect your roof and replace or repair any damage to the roof or shingles.

 

Service Your Furnace

 

When the cold weather arrives, HVAC service providers are extremely busy, and there is often a bit of a wait to have any services performed, should you encounter a problem with your furnace.  To avoid the hassle and stress, and to keep your furnace running as efficiently as possible, it’s a great idea to have your furnace serviced now.  This increases your chances of making it through the winter months without any major furnace issues.

 

For maximum efficiency, it is also the time of year to change your furnace’s air filter.  This keeps your system running properly, especially as the air dries out, increasing the amount of dust in the air in your home.

 

Seal Your Driveway

 

This task is one that is often not suggested, but it is a great tip for cold weather preparations.  The melting and freezing of snow and ice often leads to the breaking down of asphalt and concrete, causing holes and cracks in roadways, sidewalks, and driveways.  Applying a layer of sealant to your driveway in the Fall can significantly decrease your chances of encountering damage, because the sealant creates a protective layer that prohibits the water to penetrate the concrete or asphalt.  This project is fairly quick and easy, and the supplies are easily obtainable at any home improvement store.

 

Service Summer and Winter Equipment

 

To maintain optimum performance of your lawn equipment that is utilized in the Summer and Spring months, it’s important that you drain the gas and oil from your lawn equipment.  On Fall and Winter equipment like your leaf blower and snowblower, perform your tune-ups now in the Fall, and be sure to turn on the equipment before you need it to make sure that it starts easily and is in optimum working condition. 

 

Roll Up & Store Hoses

 

Before freezing weather hits, remember to unhook any hoses, drain them, and turn off water to your outdoor spigots.  Also, winterize your sprinkler system, if your home is equipped with one.  Freezing water lines can create a nightmare of problems, but these simple steps can help you avoid any in your home.

 

Have Chimney Cleaned & Inspected

 

Having a woodburning fireplace or furnace is wonderful in the Winter months, providing your home with cheap heating.  They can also be incredibly dangerous if not maintained properly.  It is important to have your chimney serviced every year to avoid excessive build-up of soot, which can consequentially cause a fire in your home.  If you aren’t sure how to properly perform the cleaning and inspection, contact a professional to have them do it for you.  You will still save money on heating this Winter by burning wood for heat, and you will avoid any tragedies.

 

On a side note, if your home is heated, in part or in full, by a wood burning fireplace or furnace, be sure that the wood you are storing outdoors is at least fifteen feet from your home in order to prevent a termite infestation.

 

Drain Hot Water Heater

 

Sediment can build up and clog the pipes of your water heater, and draining your system to get rid of some of that build-up can increase your water heater’s energy efficiency by up to fifty percent!  It’s beneficial by increasing the lifespan of your equipment, and it saves you money on your energy bill… A true win-win!

 

Care for Your Lawn

 

As soon as the weather turns frigid, we all start longing for the warmth, sunshine, and life that Spring will bring.  To make your Spring cleaning a little easier this year, consider prepping your lawn for the warmer months now, before it turns cold.  You can aerate, fertilize, and seed your lawn now, and it can actually very beneficial to do so.  The precipitation that comes in Winter will help the nutrients penetrate your soil effectively, meaning that your lawn will be richer and fuller in the Spring.  Also consider mowing your leaves instead of raking and burning them, turning them to a mulch that will break down and become a natural fertilizer compost that costs you nothing! 

 

If your home is equipped with a wood burning fireplace or furnace, consider this tip as well: Saving the ashes from this Winter.  If you have a vegetable garden, till it this Fall, spread the ashes over it as Winter continues, enabling the precipitation to soak the nitrogen into your soil.  You will be amazed at the richness added to your soil!  If you don’t have a vegetable garden, consider spreading the ashes in your flowerbeds for a wonderful fertilizer that will help you have more blooms!

 

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

 

Reversing your ceiling fans in the Fall can help with heating costs in the Winter.  Rather than blowing air downward, the fans will keep the air in your home moving, which is a big help to the comfort level in your home, considering that heat rises.

 

 

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. 

De-Clutter Your Home with These Tips!

by The Linda Frierdich Real Estate Group

De-Clutter Your Home with These Tips

It's Always a Good Time to Clean Up a Bit!


We've all been there- You have a space in your house that has gotten so cluttered, so messy, so "overgrown" with stuff, for lack of a better term, that just looking at that area of your home gives you a knot in your stomach.  We all want our homes to be organized, well-maintained, and free of junk we no longer use or need, but sometimes these things just get away from us.  When this happens, sometimes the anxiety we feel toward that messy space prohibits us from cleaning it up.  It seems like such a huge challenge to take on that we, with our busy day-to-day lives, push it to the back of our minds.  If we had a way to organize, de-clutter, and rid our homes of our no-longer needed possessions that would take less time, we might never let it get out-of-hand in the first place!  Here are some tips that should drastically cut down on the amount of time you put in to de-cluttering your home.  Plus, a little guidance is sometimes all you need to get motivated.  Fall cleaning, Spring cleaning, it's always a good time to straighten up a bit!


Questions to Ask Yourself 

While going through that cluttered space, ask yourself some questions of the things you unearth:

  • Is this something that I would Buy in a store if I saw it today?
    • This question is so important.  If you don't love it enough that you would Buy it again, there's no sense in hanging onto it.
  • Do I like this anymore?
    • This seems like a silly question to have to ask yourself, but sometimes you can be so used to looking at an item that you don't even recognize the fact that you no longer like it.
  • Do I use this anymore?
  • Do I have more of these items?
    • If you answer, "Yes" to this question, ask yourself, realistically, if you really that many of that item.
  • Would something else I own do the same job as this?
    • There's no need to keep items that do a job that can be done by other items you own.  They are serving no purpose but contributing to the mess.
  • If I keep this item, what item will I get rid of in its place?
    • Sometimes, it's hard to let things go.  If you find a cluttered space from which items need to go, but you find yourself wanting to keep the items you find, ask yourself this question.  You will find yourself ranking the items.  The lower on the list the item is, the closer it gets to the donation box or trash can.
  • Books and magazines: Realistically, will I ever read this again?
    • Tear out the recipe you were keeping the magazine for, and donate that book that you know you'll never read again.
  • In regards to bills, documents, and receipts: Will I need this come tax time? Am I going to return this item?
    • If the receipt is too old to even return the item or you are planning on keeping the item, you do not need to keep that receipt.  If you won't need to provide that document, receipt, or bill when tax time comes around again, get rid of it.
  • If it is clothes, jewelry, or shoes: Have I worn this in the last 12 months?
    • If you went through an entire season without wearing that blouse even once, it's time to let it go.
    • Seasonal wear, like winter coats, gloves, hats, and scarves- Did I wear it last year?
    • Seasonal wear, like swimsuits- Did I wear it last year?
      • Tip: If the elastic is losing its stretch on your swimsuit, get rid of it and treat yourself to a brand new suit next year!
  • Holiday items: Have I used this decoration in the past three years?
    • Holiday items, because we only get them out once a year, tend to pile up in storage areas.  Often there are boxes of holiday decorations that don't even get taken out of their spot in the storage area because we no longer decorate with them.  When it's holiday decorating time again, take out those extra boxes that haven't been used in three years or more, make sure there's not a special item enclosed in them, and put them in the car to be thrift store-bound!

Sometimes, it can be hard to let go of items, whether it be because we think we will use them again, or because we still like them, even though we truly know we will never use them again.  So much evidence points to clutter and mess being a huge stressor on individuals, causing damage in many aspects on our lives, from relationship troubles to the amount of free time that gets wasted while we are clearing clutter.  Clean house, Clean mind.  Let go of some items you have been holding onto for too long, and let the freeing feeling you get when they're gone be your motivations for keeping up with it!


Keep It Up!

Here are some tips to keep that space clear once you've successfully de-cluttered:

  • As you're de-cluttering, write down any organizational tools you think you could use that would help you keep things sorted and organized in the future
    • Those "mental notes" tend to get "lost" after we make them, but if you make a real note of the things you need, you're much more likely to actually purchase the items you need.
  • Deal with it as it comes in the door
    • When you take those receipts out of your wallet, pay those bills, or bring in the mail, actively put away the things you need to keep, and toss those you don't.  If you do it as it comes in the door, rather than piling it up to deal with later, you will find those piles are no longer appearing in your home.
  • One in, One out
    • When you bring home a new toy for the kids or a new shirt for yourself, take one less-used item out of your closet.  If you see that things are becoming overcrowded again, change that rule to One in, Two out.
  • Aggressively deal with piles
    • When you see that things are starting to pile up again, whether they be shoes in your mud room or paperwork on the desk, actively and aggressively go through them.  You'll feel so good once you do!
  • Always have a donation bag ready to be filled
    • This tip is so helpful, because if you keep this at the ready at all times, you will find yourself purging items much more often than you do without the donation bag ready.
  • Make de-cluttering a habit
    • Truth be told, it is so easy for clutter to build up in a home.  If you make a habit of actively sorting, pitching no-longer needed items, and donating gently-used items, you will find your home and mind clearer and happier.
Don't forget, there are people out there who can use your unused items! If the item is gently used, still in good shape, and still works, consider donating it rather than tossing it in the garbage.  You can cut down on your waste contribution, and you can give that item new life with someone who might just love it!

Research thrift stores in your area to find one that donates much of its profits to a charity you'd like to support, and feel even better about getting rid of the things you no longer need!

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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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