Curb Appeal is Real

Growing up, you’ve heard the saying: “It’s what’s on the inside that truly matters.” While that may be true about personality and making friends, it doesn’t pull the same weight when it comes to real estate. Today’s real estate market is competitive. This means every home that goes up for sale needs to be able to offer their own unique value. And that means that homes need to look good on the inside and the outside. Curb appeal has increased in importance over the years and this trend only continues to grow. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when focusing on the curb appeal of your home.

First, it’s good to understand that the way your house looks from the street — attractively landscaped and well-maintained — can add thousands to its value and cut the time it takes to sell. Before you start pulling the weeds or buying new shutters, a simple power wash can help the exterior of your home. Even just a bucket of soapy water and a long-handled, soft-bristled brush can remove the dust and dirt that have splashed onto your wood, vinyl, metal, stucco, brick, and fiber cement siding.

If washing doesn’t do the trick, a new coat of paint can also make a huge difference. Before you go wild with new colors, your best bet is to match the paint you already have. Scrape off a little and ask your local paint store to match it. When it comes to your front door, feel free to use a little creativity. The front door is extremely important because it’s what guests see before they enter your house. By painting it a bold color you can also make it stand out and people will notice it more easily and from far away.

Curb Appeal & Landscaping

In terms of landscaping, there is actually a lot you can do to increase the value of your home and enhance your curb appeal. Consider highlighting an ornament tree by surrounding it with stone. Or, if you have a large, old tree that seems to be getting in the way—have it removed completely. A professional tree service company like Sarasota Tree Care Services can help with this.

Replacing overgrown bushes with leafy plants and colorful annuals is a sure way to boost curb appeal. Surround your bushes and trees with dark or reddish-brown bark mulch, which gives a rich feel to the yard. Then, put a crisp edge on garden beds. Go ahead and pull those pesky weeds and invasive vines. Plant a few new flowers. Be sure the flowers are bright and beautiful—potential buyers will love the splash of color.

Never underestimate the power of green. Your lawn typically makes up the largest area of your landscaping. Make sure you maintain it by mowing regularly and keeping it a nice shade of green. This may mean you need to seed the lawn or fertilize it. By doing all this, your home may sell faster and put more green in your pocket. Never underestimate the power of curb appeal.


How to write an ebook

Ebooks are different from print books in a few ways, but the main difference is that they can be used for short publications that usually wouldn’t be financially worth printing on paper. Therefore, the possibilities for topics are endless!

Here are a few steps to guide you through writing an ebook: Continue reading

Great US cities to invest in rental properties

U.S. real estate isn’t going anywhere – if anything, it’s growing more attractive by the hour. As perhaps the most coveted place to live in on Earth, the States are notorious for their ludicrously-high real estate prices in many affluent areas.

This goes for rental properties just as easily as it does for those on sale: make the right real estate investment and you could be set for life just from renting it to tenants. Make a wrong one, and you might find yourself having to sell it at notably less than you paid without having made much money off of renting in-between.

Here are some U.S. cities that are a great choice for rental property investment in nearly every area. If you can invest in a piece of real estate in any of these, you’ll likely be patting yourself on the back for making such a prudent decision a decade from now.

Great US Cities To Invest In

New York, New York: While the Big Apple might not get as much publicity as it once did, it still remains one of the best choices for anyone looking to invest in rental properties – provided they can afford it, that is. From the ‘slummy’ areas with affordable housing to luxurious brimstone neighborhoods with strict ordinances, New York has a little something for everyone, although you’ll definitely want to err towards the latter if you’re looking for value over time.

San Francisco: If New York isn’t getting as much publicity anymore, it’s probably because all the eyes have been focused on ‘SF’ as of late. San Francisco is known as one of the most progressive cities in the world, both in terms of technology and thinking. Want to make a sound investment for the future? A San Francisco rental property isn’t going out of style any time soon – if anything, you’ll find trouble sifting through all those tenants wanting to make SF their new place of residence.

Los Angeles: Every year, thousands upon thousands of aspiring actors and entertainers make their way to Los Angeles in hopes of finding glory. They all have to sleep somewhere, right? LA differs from most other cities because landlords in many areas can afford to drive rental prices up to unrealistic numbers and still get plenty of tenants. Why? Exclusivity, of course. If you can land a property in a particularly attractive location, you won’t just enjoy a constant stream of reliable tenants – you’ll also be able to milk them for everything they’re worth, thereby paying off your initial investment that much sooner.

New Orleans: Here’s a real estate gem that often gets overlooked in favor of its larger and more famous cousins. For what you can do with it, New Orleans real estate is surprisingly affordable compared to some of the other cities – all you’ll need is some business savvy to make the best of your acquisition. Because of the city’s strong tourism and position, New Orleans rental properties can make you rich just from renting to various businessmen looking to open the city’s next beloved shop or service (to speak nothing of the constant stream of visitors looking for the most attractive location for their week off).

Having a party at your home

Nothing like a good party to relax and unwind – even better if all the attendees belong to the same close circle of friends. Yet it pays to know how to cater to your guests even if they’re your close, year-long friends – making sure their potential needs are met will go a long way towards helping you host that perfect bash for the ages, even if the ‘bash’ in question is really just a couple of friends discussing a book with some wine and dim lighting. Here are some tips to help you stage a terrific party.

Having a great party at your home

What’s on the menu?

If you’re throwing a party to be remembered, you don’t want to respond to your patrons’ hunger by ordering pizza. It’ll make you look as if you didn’t care all that much about the party, not to mention that the delivery’s chef could have an off day and prepare some wonky-tasting pizzas as a result.

Instead, make sure that there’s enough food laying around to provide a full course meal to each of your patrons. Make sure to keep food allergies in mind, as well as everyone’s preferences (no serving beef to your vegetarian friends!). Other than that, feel free to surprise your attendees with creative food choices just so long as they fill up the stomach.

“So, what are we going to be doing, anyways?”

Right now, it might not seem necessary to plan out your party ahead of time in minuscule detail. Heck, it might seem downright lame – after all, aren’t the best parties and get-togethers spontaneous?

Sure, maybe they are. But even the best party or event can come to a sudden halt with attendees wondering what to do next or even doing the feared looking-at-the-watch motion. If parties were easy to stage and always ran smoothly, event planning wouldn’t be such a lucrative profession for many.

To be on the safe side, assemble a ‘schedule’ of potential activities that you, your friends and your family can do. It doesn’t have to be one that you’ll ever bring up – in fact, it doesn’t even have to make its way out of your head and onto a piece of paper or your notebook.

But it pays to plan for things going sour even when the worst case scenario can be described by a single, seemingly-harmless word: boredom. The best party host always knows what to do to keep the people in good spirits, even when faced with events of an unpredictable nature.

Decorations, decorations…

Few things can make a party glow brighter than the correct decorative measures ahead of time. Yes, you’re all friends, and you can have a good time even inside a moldy basement or garage. But there’s no reason not to treat your loved ones to some nice visuals that will encourage them to relax and have fun.

Are you throwing a holiday gathering? Consider yourself lucky – you’ll have no shortage of decorative ideas if it’s Christmas or Easter you’re gathering around. If your event is more of an impromptu one, you’ll have to get creative. Does each of you share a common interest? Bring it to life inside (and outside) of the party headquarters. Are you riding on a recent obsession or a new hobby? Don’t hesitate to dress your home up in a way that shows it.

Don’t worry about whether your friends will like it – the mere fact that you went to the effort will mean a lot to them.

How to price your home to sell

It’s said that there’s a buyer out there for everything. That’s absolutely true – no matter its current state, there’s someone out there ready to buy your property without complaining too much.

The catch? The price. Knowing how to price your rental property is definitely among the more difficult aspects of real estate sales. You could sell it tomorrow or wait for years to find a buyer – the price you’re asking for will usually be the main difference. Here’s how you can price your home to sell that suits everybody.

Do you have an urgent need to sell your home?

How long you’re willing (or able) to wait will play a huge role in how much you can get for your home. Sure, we’ve all heard of people selling their homes for way higher than they’re really worth, but how long were they sitting around until that one buyer willing to pay up came along?

In most cases, the person buying the property over its value will be someone who feels it’s perfect for them and therefore doesn’t mind paying a little extra to snatch it, but good luck finding this person ahead of time.

If you can wait for what could be months or years, don’t be afraid to ignore your real estate agent’s advice and make the price higher. Why wouldn’t you, after all? If you can’t sell the property in a couple years’ time, you can always adjust the price tag accordingly.

But if you’re faced with a quick need for cash or would simply like to sell and move on with your life, you’d do well to follow the aforementioned realtor’s advice and adjust your home’s price in accordance with its surroundings. Speaking of…

Are you aware of the median housing price in your neighborhood?

As much as every life coach will urge you to never make comparisons, sometimes you just gotta, and this is one of those times. Before selling your home, get a good grasp of how much the average home in your ‘hood costs and work from there.

Your next question should be: Is my home in a better or worse state than the homes of my neighbors? If it’s a case of the former, you’ll have more leeway to increase the price. In latter cases, you’ll have no choice but to drive the price downwards in order to make the property more appealing to a wider range of buyers.

Price Your Home To Sell

No matter its relative state, you should always know the price of the cheapest as well as the most expensive home in your neighborhood. Never go below the lowest price even if your home really feels like it could use some work. Similarly, while prepping your home, don’t make additions that will cause the price of your home to exceed that of even the priciest homes in the neighborhood.

While this might seem like a good idea, it’s going to make finding buyers a nightmarish ordeal – you’re nearly guaranteed to be better off saving that money instead of hoping it will return come sale time.

How to prep your home to sell

Have you made the decision to sell your home and move onto greener pastures? Selling your home or property can be the one thing that turns your life around and changes it for the better, just as long as you have enough marketing savvy to do it right.

That’s right – it takes more than just putting up a listing of your condo or house and hoping for the best. Selling a home at its maximum value involves careful grooming every step of the way, no different from grooming a prize-winning poodle as it’s getting ready for competition (except, you know, it’s a piece of real estate and not a poodle). Here’s how you can prep your home to make it shine in buyers’ eyes.

Prep your home to sell

  • Cleanliness is next to godliness. You’ve heard that one, haven’t you? Well, it’s true: the cleaner your home is, the better-liked it will be by the buyers. As is the case with renters, sellers will often display a certain nonchalance when preparing their home for interested parties. Scratch that – they often won’t do anything to improve its appearance, period. For how easy it is to clean a home compared to some of the other ‘improvements’ ahead of sale, a staggering amount of sellers don’t bother making it shine and pay the price as a result (or rather, the buyers pay them far less). Let’s face it – nobody likes the idea of having to do carpet and tile cleaning as soon as they’ve moved in, so do your best to eliminate a need for scrubbing on the future owner’s part.
  • Don’t go too heavy on room additions. Quite a few home owners feel that adding new rooms or expanding existing ones is necessary before a home sale (or even a good idea). In reality, there are multiple issues with making these kinds of modifications on your home pre-sale: it will drive the price up and possibly make it too high in comparison to the rest of the neighborhood homes, it will make a dent in your pocket that might not be straightened out any time soon, and the home’s future owners might simply not want it.
  • Minor upgrades mean the world. You don’t have to perform a massive overhaul ahead of your home sale. For example, you might be shocked to learn just how big of a difference a set of new living room furniture can make. Not the cheapest acquisition, sure, but it definitely beats major modifications that involve new kitchens, new bathrooms or tearing down walls. Start by checking out the furniture in your living room, then move onwards to the study (if there is one), the bedroom and even the kitchen. Does the whole thing have a budget feel to it? If so, a nice addition or two will pay off dividends when setting the price for your home.
  • Make use of your basement. If you skipped on spring cleaning, ‘before the sale’ is as good of a time to move unwanted objects from sight as any. Don’t sell a home that features your thousand-strong collection of subway tokens or action figures – if an item isn’t doing much aside from holding an emotional significance to you, put it in a box and store it away from sight. Ask yourself this: Can I imagine a home looking like this being featured in a real estate magazine?