Category Archives: Home Ideas

7 Tips for Successfully Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Marti Reeder's Real Estate Blog: 7 Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays
When we think of the holidays, we often think of shopping, cooking, decorating and spending time with friends and family. We don’t want to think about moving, but sometimes selling your home during the holidays is the right time for you to sell. If that’s the case, make it easy on yourself by following these seven tips.

  1. Focus on curb appeal. There are fewer homes on the market this time of year, making a tight market even tighter. That’s no excuse to skimp on the curb appeal though. In fact, tasteful holiday decorating can make the exterior of your home very inviting. Don’t go overboard though – a natural wreath, simple holiday lighting and a well-groomed lawn will get the attention of potential buyers.
  2. Choose an experienced Realtor who knows your market. Ask for referrals from friends, and check out real estate websites like Zillow for reviews and testimonials.
  3. High quality photos and staging will showcase your home’s best features. A good Realtor will have a top notch photographer on speed dial, and will know what staging is appropriate for the time of year.
  4. A cozy atmosphere will make potential buyers feel welcome. This includes everything from curb appeal to the staging of your home’s interior. Choose a warm color palette, depersonalize your home, clear the clutter and choose soft lighting. Inviting smells like a fresh baked pie, scented candles or holiday greenery can also help create an inviting experience for potential buyers.
  5. Clear your calendar. The holidays are a busy time for all of us, but make sure your home is available and accessible as often as possible to accommodate the schedules of prospects who want to tour your home on their own schedules.
  6. Keep it clean and clutter-free. It can be hard to keep your home clean and clutter-free while you are preparing to move and to host holiday gatherings, but this is essential to help buyers imagine themselves in your home. A dirty or messy home will distract from your home’s best features, and may even send your buyers scrambling to find a well-maintained home instead.
  7. Price your home to sell. With the right Realtor, you’ll be able to choose the right price point to your home attractive to possible buyers. She’ll know what comparable homes have sold for, what your home is worth and what you are hoping to get out of it.

For more tips for selling your home during the holidays, call Team Marti at 206-391-0388 or 253-859-8500. We’d love to help!

Happy Holidays and Happy Selling!

Team Marti’s 10 Tips for Using Smart Home Technology

Team Marti’s 10 Tips for Using Smart Home Technology

As technology evolves, more  and more homeowners are using smart home technology to control systems and appliances in their homes – thermostats, refrigerators, dishwashers, lighting, sound systems and more. These systems and appliances can be controlled by your smartphone, but many can now be controlled by voice-controlled devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home.

If you’re considering smart home devices, here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Manage your smart home devices on a secure home WiFi network.
  2. Start small to see if smart home technology fits your lifestyle. For example, try LED light bulbs that you can dim or turn on and off with your smartphone, or buy a smart plug to turn lamps on with a timer.
  3. Smart lights, which are all LEDs, use a lot less electricity than other light bulbs.
  4. Voice controlled devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home let you use voice commands to order a pizza, play music, shop online, or tell you the news or weather.
  5. Security cameras like those by Nest and video doorbells like those by Ring are a great way to monitor your home from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You can mount them outside your front door to see who is coming and going. Some also offer monitoring services and cloud-based video storage.
  6. Smart locks are also growing in popularity. You can lock and unlock your front door using your smartphone, and you can grant temporary access to guests like a pet sitter or babysitter.
  7. Smart home hubs can control multiple smart home devices, so they communicate with each other. Companies like Samsung create hubs, but Amazon Echo can also act as a hub.
  8. Want to save on your energy bill? A smart thermostat can help. You can automatically set the temperature of your home with your phone, and adjust it as needed. You can even turn on the heat remotely if there’s a sudden weather change, so you don’t have to go home to a cold house.
  9. You can now get a smoke detector to let you know if there is smoke or fire in your home, no matter where you are.
  10. If you enjoy technology, universal remotes are a cool way to control your TV, stereo, DVD player, cable box and more, all from one device.

There are so many smart home products on the market, and we don’t want to recommend any specific products here, but there are review sites like The Wirecutter and Tom’s Guide that will give you their recommendations. Also, before you buy anything, check buyer reviews on Amazon to see if customers are pleased with their purchases. Good luck!

Home Sellers, Should You Stage Your Home? YES!

You’re thinking about selling your South King County home, and you’re wondering if you need to spend the time and money to stage your home to make it more appealing to potential buyers. After all, it is a seller’s market, and home inventory is low, so buyer’s don’t have a lot of homes to choose from. Is home staging really necessary? To you have to do it? No, staging is not necessary, but it is recommended.

By staging your home, you can appeal to a broader base of buyers who can then envision themselves in your home, because clutter is minimized and your home is depersonalized. Still not convinced? Check out these statistics: 50 percent of staged homes saw a 1 to 10 percent increase in dollar value offers from buyers!

Should You Stage Your Home?

If you are considering selling your home and aren’t sure if staging is right for you, contact Team Marti today. We’d love to share our experiences with staging, and explain how it call help you sell your Kent, Covington or Maple Valley home.

 

20 Tips to Prepare Your House for Sale

Thinking about selling your home this summer? We’ve got 10 tips to help you improve your home’s curb appeal to draw in potential buyers, and 10 tips to make your house feel like home to lucky homebuyers. Have questions about selling? Let us know. Team Marti is here to help!

 

9 Ways to Freshen Your Home’s Curb Appeal This Spring

Kent Realtor Marti Reeder: 9 Ways to Freshen Your Home’s Curb Appeal This SpringWhen you’re selling your home, you want to make a good first impression, so curb appeal is important. This is particularly true when you’re marketing your home online. According to HGTV, 88% of home searches begin online, so make sure your home is inviting.

Here are 9 ways to freshen your home’s curb appeal this spring:

  1. Take photos of your home and then look at them as if you were a prospective homebuyer. Do you see anything out of place (maybe kids’ toys in the garden or Fido’s bone on the front lawn) or that wouldn’t appeal to you as a potential buyer? Remove any unwanted items.
  2. Make obvious repairs or replacements. Are the house numbers faded or missing? Could your front door or mailbox use a fresh coat a paint? Is a shingle missing? Is one of your shutters crooked?
  3. Spruce up a paint job, siding, deck, driveway and sidewalk with a good pressure washing. It is an easy, affordable way to freshen your home’s exterior for springtime.
  4. Add some color with seasonal flowers in the garden, or add a colorful container garden to your front porch or patio. Clusters of three pots of different sizes and styles can also add a welcome pop of color.
  5. Evaluate your window treatments from the outside, including curtains, blinds and shutters. Do any of them need replacing? For example, if you have pets, the ends of blinds can sometimes get bent or broken, and those will be obvious from the outside. Changing out the blinds is an easy and affordable fix.
  6. Groom your lawn. This is true before and after your Realtor® takes photos. Groom your lawn. Keep your lawn freshly mowed, the edges trimmed, beauty bark freshened annually, and your trees and bushes pruned.
  7. Upgrade your lighting. Whether you are switching out a light fixture on your porch, adding landscape lights to a garden pathway or installing outdoor spotlights to your backyard, new lighting is a cost-friendly way to add ambience to your home’s exterior.
  8. Create an inviting entrance with a cozy front porch. In addition to the tips above, consider adding a seasonal wreath to your front door, attractive seating (maybe even a porch swing!), a new rug and a fresh coat of paint.
  9. Maximize outdoor living space, whether it is a side deck or a backyard patio. This might include lighting, landscaping, outdoor furniture, outdoor cooking spaces, play areas for the kids, butterfly garden, or even a backyard sanctuary.

If you’re considering listing your home this spring, and want suggestions for how to improve your home’s curb appeal, Team Marti can help. Contact us today.

Sources: HGTV and Forbes

10 Tips to Save Water, Energy and Money at Home

After the holidays, and as we start the new year, many of us are looking for ways to save money. Here some ways you can do that by also saving energy and water.

  1. Cover your water heater. Water heaters have to exert a lot of energy to heat the water in the tank, especially for larger water heaters. Invest in a water heater blanket for insulation and to conserve energy.
  2. Use low-flow fixtures. The kitchen and bathroom are typically where the majority of water in your home is used. By replacing faucets and showerheads with a low flow version, you will save water and money, and new fixtures are easy to install. Also, consider a Water Sense rated dishwater and washing machine for additional savings.
  3. Upgrade your toilet. If you have an older toilet (installed before 1992), it could be using twice as much water per flush than a newer model which wastes both water and money. Try a low-flush model that uses less water per flush.
  4. Inspect your dishwasher, washing machine and water heater regularly. These three appliances use a lot of water and energy, so it is important that they are maintained properly. Clean them regularly, check for leaks and fix any potential problems before they become costly ones. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the average life span of each appliance, so you’ll have a good idea of when they’ll need to be replaced, and budget accordingly.
  5. Turn off the tap. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Turn the water on when you’re ready to rinse.
  6. Go to the car wash. Rather than washing your car in the driveway, take it to the car wash instead. This will not only save water, but if you choose a car wash that recycles water, you are helping to protect the environment too.
  7. Install a rain garden. Rain gardens are a great way to conserve and recycle water at home while protecting the environment from pollutants and rain runoff. Learn more about creating a rain garden at 12,000 Rain Gardens.
  8. Take shorter, less frequent showers. Showers can use as much as 5 gallons per minute, so shorter showers and/or less frequent showers can make a big difference on your monthly water bill.
  9. Reduce the size of your lawn. By reducing your lawn’s footprint, you may be able to save water. You could install landscaping features, stone, a low-water garden or even a rain garden to cut back on the amount of watering needed to maintain your outdoor space.
  10. Minimize water use when washing dishes by hand. If you’re washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Instead, fill one side of the sink or a wash basin for washing and a second one for rinsing.

 

Sources: Roto Rooter, Care2 and WaterUseItWisely.

10 DIY Tips to Keep Your Home Toasty Warm This Winter

Fall ended a bit early for us this year, and winter weather is already at our door. That means cold nights, and higher heating bills. Here are 10 tips for keeping your home toasty warm this winter without driving up your heating bill.

  1. 10 DIY Tips to Keep Your Home Toasty Warm This WinterChange your furnace filter. During the heating season, it is a good idea to change your furnace filters monthly, or try washable filters and clean them as recommended by the manufacturer. This simple, affordable fix can keep you more comfortable while also saving energy.
  2. Reverse the direction on ceiling fans. By switching the setting on your ceiling fan to clockwise, your fan can push warmer air toward the floor. This is particularly helpful if you have high ceilings.
  3. Lower your thermostat. For every one degree you lower the temperature, you can save approximately 3 percent on your heating bill. Also, use a programmable thermostat, so you can lower the temperature even further when you are sleeping and away from home. Set it up to warm up your home before you are scheduled to return for the evening.
  4. Lower your hot water temperature. Adjust your hot water heater from the standard 140 degrees to 120 degrees and consider taking showers, not baths. Showers use much less water.
  5. Seal air leaks. By controlling the amount of outside air that comes into your home, you can help control moisture and keep your home warm in the winter. Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows, use foam sealant on larger window and baseboard gaps, and keep the fireplace flue damper closed when you’re not using the fireplace. Click here for more air leakage tips from Energy.gov.
  6. Install door sweeps. To prevent cold air from entering your home from underneath doors, make sure that each door and threshold are adequate. If not, install a door sweep along the bottom of the door.
  7. Take advantage of the sun. When the sun is shining during the day, open drapes and blinds to soak up as much of that natural energy as you can.
  8. Keep heating vents clear. Sometimes furniture is inadvertently placed in front of heating vents, preventing warm air from warming a room. Move furniture away from vents so it can circulate properly around the room.
  9. Use space heaters where appropriate. For small spaces, sometimes a space heater can help heat the room. Be careful though. Space heaters can be fire hazards, so choose the make and model carefully and make sure it is always attended. Check the energy consumption of the heater you select too. Sometimes they use more energy than you might expect.
  10. Use window insulation film. Using a pre-packaged kit, put plastic shrink film on the inside of your windows to keep the cold out and the heat in!

Sources:

This Old House, https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/keeping-warm-less
Energy.gov, http://www.energy.gov/energysaver/air-sealing-your-home
The Art of Manliness, http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/11/14/how-to-keep-your-house-warm-in-the-winter/
Apartment Therapy, http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/5-ways-to-insulate-your-windows-for-winter-37643

7 Tips for Selling Your House in the Fall

Kent Realtor Marti Reeder: 7 Tips for Selling Your House in the FallThough the real estate market slows down a bit in the fall, it is still a good time to sell your home, especially in the greater Seattle area where home inventory and interest rates are both low. Here are some tips to help you prepare your home for sale.

 1. Clean up the exterior of your home. This means keeping your lawn, trees and shrubs neatly groomed, clearing out any flowers and plants that didn’t survive the summer, and keeping the leaves raked. It is also a good time to wash exterior windows, power wash the outside of your home, your front porch and deck.

2. Make the front of your home inviting. Don’t underestimate the value of curb appeal. You want the exterior of your home to be neat and clean, but you also want it to be inviting. This might mean putting flowers or plants (pumpkins even!) on your front porch, adding a seasonal wreath to your front door, giving your mailbox or front door a fresh coat of paint or replacing the old faded address numbers with something more attractive.

3. Clean your home’s interior, top to bottom. We always hear about spring cleaning, but fall cleaning is just as important. Give your home a thorough cleaning, including windows, blinds, ceiling fans, baseboards, floors, walls, if needed, etc. If you don’t have time, ask your Realtor® to refer you to a professional house cleaner in your area. It is well worth the money.

4. Declutter, depersonalize and organize your home, garage and any outbuildings. By doing so, potential buyers can more easily envision themselves in your home.

5. Prepare your home for fall weather. Take out or store window or portable air conditioners, replace screens with storm windows if your home has them, clean out your gutters, store your patio furniture, and consider having your furnace serviced.

6. Do minor repairs. This goes hand in hand with preparing your home for fall weather. Do the windows need caulking? Do any of the screens need repairing or replacing? Are any of your light fixtures broken or in need of an updated look?

7. Add seasonal touches to your home’s interior. This could mean a fall floral arrangement in your entryway, cozy autumn-colored throws in the family room, or a bowl of fall fruits on your kitchen counter. You could also take advantage of fall scents with candles or air fresheners – apple, cinnamon, pumpkin, etc.

During the initial walk-through of your home, your Realtor® can make additional suggestions for improving and staging your home to put the focus on its very best features. Happy selling!

 

5 Tips for Staging Your Home Like a Pro

According to Realtor.com, staged homes sell 88% faster, and for 20% more, compared to homes where sellers left their belongings in place. Thinking about selling your home this spring? Follow these tips to stage your home professionally. It’s easier – and less expensive – than you think!

  1. 5 Tips for Staging Your Home Like a ProClear out the clutter! No one likes a messy or disorganized home, especially someone trying to envision themselves in your space. Put away knickknacks, personal photos, stacks of mail and magazines.Have more furniture than you need? Move it to another room or store it out of the way in an attic, garage or storage facilities. In other words, if it doesn’t need to be there, toss it, donate it or store it.
  2. Rearrange furniture and home décor. Give your home a fresh, new look without spending a dime by pulling furniture away from the walls, moving rugs and wall hangings around, and reimagining your home’s look with small adjustments here and there. Hanging curtain rods higher can give the illusion of higher ceilings.
  3. Depersonalize your home. Sure, having your family photos and past awards and recognitions on display makes your family feel warm and fuzzy, but it’s hard for some buyers to picture living in a home they can’t see themselves in. Tuck the photos and acknowledgments away.
  4. Go neutral. Paint the walls a neutral color so buyers won’t have to immediately paint their new home. Using neutral when decorating can make spaces appear bigger. Save your favorite bold colors for accent pieces (e.g., lamps, pillows, wall hangings, rugs) that will go with you when you move.
  5. Revive your home’s curb appeal. If your home has dead flowers, dirty windows, chipped paint, or the landscaping needs some TLC, make time to give it a fresh appearance before showing your home. Power wash the outside of your home, add a fresh coat of paint to your mailbox and front door, and replace dead plants from last season with fresh flowers and greenery to make your home inviting from the street.

No time to stage your home? No problem. Ask your Realtor® to recommend someone. She may have staging experience or work with someone who’s a pro! Good luck and have fun.

[Thanks to HGTV and Realtor.com for the inspiration for this post!]