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Selling Your Home? A Kitchen Clean Up Pays Off

Selling Your Home? A Kitchen Clean Up Pays Off

When it comes to selling a home, a kitchen clean up pays. You don't have to do an expensive remodel to make your kitchen appealing to buyers. If you're starting with a good kitchen space, then making a few inexpensive modifications can help you get your home noticed and sell for more money.

Here are a few things to start with. Some people like to leave every single appliance that they've used in the last week out, but, to show good space,you're going to have to clear your counters. One of the major mistakes sellers make is leaving the kitchen, or their home, the everyday way they live in it. The way you sell and show a home is not usually the way you live in it. Yes, it may be an inconvenience but it's worth the hassle if it brings in more money when your home sells.

So, look around your kitchen and see what you can put away. The more empty the counter tops, the better. A few subtle decorations that bring your kitchen to life are perfect. Leave open space for buyers to imagine their own belongings in your kitchen.

If you have any low-hanging pots and pans on racks from the walls or ceilings, consider removing them and patch the holes. Unless the rack is very necessary or really nice decor that doesn't block views or hang too low, removing it will help create a greater feeling of spaciousness.

Wipe the counter tops thoroughly. Sounds so ridiculously simple and obvious. But many sellers forget to do this and the counter tops are left sticky or with stains on them. A little elbow grease could remove a wine stain or watermark and make the kitchen look much more cared-for.

If you don't have an island in your kitchen but have some extra room, a rolling butcher block island works like a charm for adding convenient working space and a sophisticated look. You might also have some delicious-smelling freshly baked cookies out alongside your flyers for open houses.

Get some light in the kitchen. If you have all recessed lighting, you might try adding a few pendant lights. They add a completely different look and can be quite attractive.

Change your flooring if it's very old, torn up, or outdated. Putting in some inexpensive flooring that gives an updated look will help. You don't have to spend lots of money and get the best flooring around; just make sure your flooring doesn't make your home look like it's in a time warp.

Add some plants and greenery to the kitchen. Using fresh herbs in simple containers is a great way to add some pretty decor plus their lovely aromatic odors help buyers think about the meals they'd cook in your kitchen.

Clean up or replace old worn-down appliances. You can sell the home with appliances "as is" but a broken dishwasher, for instance, is a point of price negotiation. You can expect buyers to want some money off or for it to be replaced.

The kitchen is one of the most important areas of a home for most buyers, even if they don't cook. Taking the time to enhance it before you list your home will help make sure your home sells for top dollar.

Why Not To Convert The Garage When Remodeling Your Home

Why Not To Convert The Garage When Remodeling Your Home

One of the biggest reasons that people buy homes instead of continuing to rent is to have more space.

But the cost of buying with little money down or to move up to a better neighborhood could mean a compromise on space.

Many older homes, particularly those built before the 1990s, average less square footage than newer homes. One way homeowners get more space is by converting the garage.

The average garage is approximately 20 by 20 feet. Converting it gives you approximately 400 more square feet of living area.

The location of the garage is ideal. It's already under the roof and walled on three sides, making it relatively inexpensive to remodel as a den or a guest suite.

And that's where your plans can go wrong.

Unless you remodel the garage from the outside, it will always look like a conversion. The driveway will lead to... a wall, so it will have to be remodeled, too.

You'll have problems on the interior as well. The floor will be lower than the rest of the house because it's a concrete slab. It isn't insulated like the rest of the house, so there will be a noticeable difference in sound absorption and temperature.

Where you'll encounter the most difficulty is in determining your home's value. When you purchased the home, you paid so much per square foot. Only living space is counted, which doesn't include the garage, porch or patio, even if they are under the roof.

You'll get more living space for less per square foot, but when it comes time to sell your converted home, get ready for mixed reactions from buyers. Many will refuse to even look at your home. They want the security, storage, and utility of a garage.

Others will consider your home but they will punish the lack of a garage with a low offer. Some will refuse to count the square footage of the garage as equal to the rest of the house. Others will deduct the cost of reconversion or building a new garage in their offer.

No matter how you count it, square footage added at the cost of a garage isn't worth it.

How Much Home Can You Really Afford?

How Much Home Can You Really Afford?

So, you're getting ready to buy your first home, and you feel like you're at the mercy of the market. And your mortgage lender. In some ways, it might even feel like they're working against each other - especially if you're in a really hot market in which you can't qualify for the amount you'd need to buy what you want.

When it comes to providing pre-approvals for would-be homebuyers, lenders today are more careful than they were in the years leading up to the market crash, and that means your financial picture will be more rigorously scrutinized to determine your credit-worthiness and develop your max approval amount. Trust us, that's a good thing. The last thing you want is to be house poor. Having a great place to live that you can't enjoy or furnish or even leave because you have no money left won't be fun.

"Just because a lender says you can afford a certain mortgage doesn't mean you should," said TIME: Money. "Consider your take-home pay - what actually goes into the bank after taxes, health insurance, and savings for retirement and college. Then add up all your monthly bills, not just debt but also things like utilities, phone, and groceries. You want to feel comfortable that you can cover all your household obligations while still meeting your other financial goals and keeping six months of expenses in an emergency fund."

That's why it's so important to consider all of your monthly expenses related to buying a home. Beyond the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance that the lender, there are other line items to weave in that will help you determine your purchasing power and also help you to be comfortable from month to month.

Increased commuter costs

Are you moving out to the ‘burbs? That hour-long commute each way is going to add to your bottom line. Of course you'll be using more gas. Will you also incur tolls? Then there is the wear and tear on your car, which could mean additional costs. You can estimate your commuter costs here.

Higher utility bills

A larger place could mean higher utility bills. Then again, more energy-efficient appliances, windows and doors, and HVAC could potentially result in lower bills, which could be a reason to look for a newer home over something older. It's not out of line to inquire about utility bill costs from the existing owner (through your Realtor is probably best). This information could be critical in helping to make the best decision when buying a new home.

Homeowner's association

Your pre-approval amount is an all-in number, but that number only includes principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. If you are buying in a community that has a Homeowner's Association, your fee will be a separate cost that needs to be considered. An HOA fee can range greatly depending on your location, the number of homes in the community, and the amenities and services included.

Home improvements

You're likely going to have a mailbox full of credit card pre-approvals and offers from places like Home Depot and Lowe's after you close escrow - and they can be tempting. Reeeaaallly tempting, especially if you need new appliances or countertops or flooring (or all of the above). Ditto for furniture stores, because, like Lowe's and Home Depot, those offers are often zero-interest deals. It may make sense to take advantage of one (or more) of them to make some necessary or wanted updates to your home - if you can swing the payments. They obviously add to your monthly obligations, even at no interest. And keep in mind that if you miss, or are late on, a payment, that zero interest is replaced with a much larger number, and that means you'll face a much larger balance to pay.

Landscaping

If you're coming from an apartment or a rental where the outside maintenance is taken care of by someone else, get ready to either: buy a lawnmower and an edger and spend your Saturday mornings in the yard, or pay someone else to take care of it.

Warranty

If you're buying a brand-new home, you'll typically have a warranty provided by the builder or developer, often for one year. You have the option of extending that, or buying/extending an existing warranty on an older home, and all of those options will cost you.

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Caroline York,  Associate Broker
Caroline York Mortell, Broker

Real Estate Concierge Services, LLC
100 Beach Drive NE, Suite 401
St Petersburg, FL 33701

727-510-1811
York@carolineyork.com

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Caroline York, was so helpful and very patient with me in my look for a new home. She took so much time and was always there when I needed her. When I finally picked my new home, Caroline was so instrumental in getting it closed. I would be happy to refer her to anyone and everyone seeking a great experience looking for a home. 01/18/2016 - JoanneMarley
Very attentive to what you want in a home. Very knowledgeable of the entire Tampa Bay Area. Very professional Very personable A pleasure to work with. Look forward to contacting her again when I am shopping for another home. 10/02/2015 - user9471451
Caroline is a true professional. Her response time is untouchable and her knowledge of the industry is impressive. I would feel confident in recommending her to help handle any of my friends real estate needs. I will use Caroline again for sure. 05/14/2015 - ceeeff
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Caroline Mortell | Real Estate Concierge Services, LLC. | 727-510-1811york@carolineyork.com
100 Beach Drive NE, Suite 401, St Petersburg, FL 33701
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