Joseph Reidy's Blog
Home staging is one of the most tried-and-true methods of selling your home faster. It can also help you increase the purchase price of your home by between one and five percent.
However, working with a professional home stager--while a good investment--is not always in everyone’s budget.
The good news is, there are a lot of simple and inexpensive ways to stage your home that will give visitors a good first impression, make for great photos for your online listing, and hopefully help speed up your home sale.
In today’s post, we’re going to break down six of the most effective and inexpensive home staging tips to help you sell your home faster.
1. Declutter everything
Cleaning out your home is one of the best ways to make it appear more spacious and welcoming. It gives you the chance to start packing items you won’t need until you move into your new home, and it opens up space to use a few choice decorations around the home.
For things like cabinets and closets, remove all of the items you won’t need until you move. A closet that is half-full will look much larger for guests viewing your home.
2. Clean carpets and polish wooden furniture
Carpets, flooring, and furniture make up a large percent of the visible space in your home. Leaving these items dirty or worn when selling your home is missing out on a huge opportunity to make your home look up-to-date and well-maintained.
You can rent a carpet cleaner for as little as $20, and a gallon of wood polish costs around $15, making these two items a solid investment for staging your home.
3. Paint with bright colors
When we paint our homes we usually choose colors that we like, rather than ones that appeal to the largest number of people. And although that’s a great thing while you own a home, it can be detrimental when it comes time to sell. Repainting dark walls in bright, neutral tones will make the room feel larger and well-lit.
4. Paint the front door while you’re at it
A freshly painted, bright colored front door can be the secret weapon when it comes to making your home stand out amongst your neighbors. It is a cheap way to quickly freshen up the exterior of your home and increase curb appeal.
5. Purchase a new welcome mat and mailbox
Welcome mats tend to get a lot of use and wear down. Similarly, mailboxes often get dented and faded over the years.
These two items can be excellent accents to improve the curb appeal of your home. Choose colors that match the overall color scheme of your home to establish a sense of continuity.
6. Rearrange furniture to allow foot traffic
When someone comes to view your home, you’ll want to sure they have ease of access to each part of the house. Rearrange the furniture in your kitchen, dining room, and bedrooms to make it easy to tour the home.
Keeping your home comfortable when the weather gets cooler can have a significant impact on your energy bills. In fact, your HVAC system is one of the biggest sources of energy usage in your home. You could end up spending more than you planned to on heating, especially if the weather turns colder than usual. With a few energy-efficient tips, you can make sure your home stays warm while also lowering your heating costs.
Replacing Air Filters
Your HVAC system has an air filter that’s used to catch dust, pet dander and other particles. This stops these particles from spreading all over your home through your ducts when your heating system is running. These air filters can become clogged and covered with these particles over time, which causes your furnace or heat pump to work harder and run more than usual. When this happens, you’ll notice a steep increase in the amount of energy your HVAC system is using.
Having a clean air filter in your HVAC system is an important part of making sure that it’s able to heat your home efficiently. Air filters should be checked for debris once a month and replaced as often as needed, which is usually every one to three months. If you have pets, you might have to replace your air filter more often.
Scheduling Routine Maintenance
Your HVAC system should have routine maintenance done in order to work efficiently. Even if your furnace or heat pump seems to be running smoothly, there might be minor problems going on due to wear and tear. Routine maintenance helps catch these issues before they turn into bigger ones that prevent your heating system from working efficiently.
Adjusting Your Thermostat
Making adjustments to your thermostat setting can help you cut down on your home’s energy usage. In fact, the Department of Energy states that adjusting your thermostat between seven and ten degrees for eight hours a day can help you save up to ten percent on your heating and cooling costs. Consider lowering your thermostat at night and when you leave home for the day. You can turn it up to a more comfortable temperature when you’re home during the day.
Getting a Programmable Thermostat
Although adjusting your thermostat helps you become more energy-efficient at home, remembering to do so can be a challenge. Having a programmable thermostat means you won’t have to worry that you forgot to lower the temperature setting before you left home or after you’ve gone to bed. Programmable thermostats allow you to schedule temperature adjustments at certain times of the day.
An accent wall is a great way to add interest to your home’s interior. Accent walls allow you to personalize your space. They can also highlight or complement unique furniture and accessories around your home.
Introduce Color: When planning for an accent wall, choose a color palette that works well with the other elements in your home. Many accent walls use bright or bold colors to command attention. However, accent walls do not need to introduce extreme contrast to be impactful. For a more subtle look, paint your accent wall a similar but deeper color than the rest of the room. If you’re having trouble deciding on a color, look to a favorite piece of furniture, pillow or curtain or use the ocean, the mountains or another favorite location for inspiration.
Introduce Pattern: Many patterns and designs work well on accent walls. Stripes and chevrons are simple, modern additions to your space. Patterns can be added through painting techniques but also through wallpaper, tiles or paneling. If you opt to paint, be sure to use a ruler and tape to ensure your lines are straight and well-spaced. To add interest to a wall without introducing more than one color, install a grid using wood paneling. Opt for mosaic tiles if you’re looking for a colorful, more complex look.
Introduce Texture: You can also use wallpaper, tile and wood to introduce texture into your space. Some wallpaper is flocked with a velvety finished or embossed with designs you can feel. These can include monochrome floral patterns or more modern geometric elements. Wall tiles are also great for introducing texture. You can purchase options that resemble brick, stone or even wood. However, if you like the look and warm feeling real wood surfaces offer, consider installing a plank wall. These can be built with rustic, reclaimed pallets or glossy new material, whatever may match your home’s interior.
Accent walls help you to customize your home and introduce design elements that compliment your interior. Ask your real estate agent for recommended contractors in your area if you need assistance with your improvement project.
A fire pit can elevate your yard into a truly enchanting entertainment area, liven up your space and even help enhance your curb appeal. While some home projects are not ideal for the DIY approach, you can make a striking firepit on your own in about a weekend. You'll need to gather some supplies, determine the size and shape of your fire pit and get ready to work your muscles as you create a new focal point for your yard.
Create a Fast & Easy Firepit
Fire pits are surprisingly fast and easy to create. If you can layer stones and follow basic directions, you can create an enduring accent you'll enjoy for years to come.
A fire pit needs a gravel base and surround, stones or concrete bricks for the sides and firepit stones for the interior. You'll also need some basic tools for leveling the ground and finishing the space, including a shovel, rake and a can of spray paint. While you can head right to the DIY big box store, contact your local landscape supply stores as well. You'll need both stone and gravel in bulk and you'll pay far less for it from a landscape provider.
Choose natural stone if you enjoy working things out and want to take the time to work with raw materials that may differ in size and shape. Opt for uniform pavers, bricks or poured stones if you like an overall look and want the pieces to be easy to stack.
Create a Firepit
- Determine the size and shape pit you want to make -- larger pits make bigger entertainment spaces, but require more rock. You'll need space for the pit and for seating around it, so take these needs into consideration as you determine where the pit should go and how big it should be.
- Use spray paint to mark off a shape for the pit. It can be square, circular or just an appealing organic shape.
- Dig about an inch down, remove all grass and sod and create a level surface on the ground.
- Begin stacking your chosen stones around the edges, within the leveled off area. You will not need to mortar between the stones, but should attempt to stack them evenly, without a lot of gaps. Stack one layer at a time, then move on to the next.
- Fill the base with the amount of fire pit stones recommended by the manufacturer -- this can vary and will be printed on the container.
- Spread gravel around the outside edges of the pit to create a seating area and to prevent grass from returning.
- Light it up and enjoy!
Once complete, a fire pit will be a lasting, low maintenance focal point for your yard for years to come. Use in the summer for grilling and roasting marshmallows, then fire it up for warmth on cooler nights -- either way, you'll love enjoying not only a gorgeous accent, but a piece you've made yourself.
Filling out a mortgage application may prove to be a long, arduous process, particularly for those who are buying a house for the first time. Lucky for you, we're here to help you dot the I's and cross the T's on your mortgage application to ensure you can quickly and effortlessly acquire your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare your mortgage application.
1. Be Diligent
A mortgage application may appear daunting at first. The application may include several pages of questions, and you may have only a limited amount of time to finalize your submission.
When it comes to completing a mortgage application, it generally pays to be diligent. If you answer each mortgage application question to the best of your ability, you likely will have no trouble moving forward with your home purchase.
2. Avoid Guessing
If you're uncertain about how to respond to certain mortgage application questions, there is no need to guess. Instead, search for the information that you need to provide a comprehensive response. This will help reduce the risk of encountering potential problems down the line that otherwise could slow down your home acquisition.
Remember, guessing on a mortgage application probably won't do you or your lender any favors. But if you allocate the necessary time and resources to understand mortgage application questions and provide thoughtful responses, you can minimize the risk of application errors.
3. Ask Questions
Completing a mortgage application sometimes can be tricky. Fortunately, a lender employs mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your application concerns or questions at any time.
If you're unsure about information that is requested on a mortgage application, don't hesitate to reach out to a lender's mortgage specialists for help. These specialists possess extensive mortgage expertise and can help you complete a mortgage application.
Furthermore, mortgage specialists can offer insights into a wide array of mortgage options. These specialists can explain the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and enable you to select the right mortgage option based on your financial situation.
As you prepare to buy a house, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can seamlessly navigate the homebuying process.
A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to acquire a house, regardless of the finances at your disposal. This housing market professional can set up home showings, help you submit offers on houses and ensure you can purchase a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations. And if you need help getting a mortgage, a real estate agent may even be able to connect you with the top lenders in your city or town.
Ready to move forward in the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can finalize a mortgage application and secure the financing that you need to acquire your ideal residence.