Real Estate News – Realty Chatter

March 17, 2014
by Wendy Papasan

Sell Your Home Faster: Incentivize Your Home Sale

The national real estate market is on an upswing, but if you are on the selling end of a property, the sale cannot come fast enough no matter the market. Time and effort involved in selling your home or commercial property is stressful and costly. In order to expedite your sale, consider adding incentives to grab the attention of buyers and garner more traffic. A buyer is always looking for the best price. If your home is priced right, but still sitting on the market, then a well marketed incentive may be the best next step.


Photo by North Charleston

 Help With Closing Costs

Buyers may have trouble securing the down payment and money for closing costs. One way to defray the buyer’s upfront costs is by offering to pay points, or fees that lenders charge to secure financing, for the buyer. One point is approximately one percent of the mortgage balance. This incentive is a great way to get the buyer to choose your property over one that is not offering to pay points. Other closing costs can also be negotiated into the contract such as fees charged by escrow companies and/or banks and the purchase of title insurance. Be certain to cap the amount you will pay when writing the contract.

Home Inspection Incentive

Another upfront cost is the home inspection. This is almost always required by banks to insure the money they lend is a good investment. The buyer is normally the one to front the cost for this service as well as work needed to fix any problems the inspection turns up. As an incentive, the seller can pick up this cost.

New Home Incentive

This incentive is particular to new construction homes. Since these homes usually include a basic home model that can be altered or upgraded with additional costs, a seller upgrade incentive can be extremely enticing. Offering up to a five percent allowance for upgrades throughout the home is a good place to start depending on the price of the home. This way buyers will not be dissuaded right away when upgrade costs begin to build up.

Home Improvement Incentives

On the flip side, If the property is older and needs work, but you are not able to do it yourself, a fixer-upper allowance could be in order. If you market the home with an allowance for improvement this can be very attractive to buyers who want to customize certain features.

HOA Fees and Lifestyle Perks

A few other opportunities to incentivize your sale are found through making sure the first year of HOA fees are taken care of for the buyer or one year of landscaping fees are paid in order to maintain the current condition. If your home is in a community with a golf club, a trial or year membership to the course is a fantastic incentive so the new buyer can try out what the community has to offer. In the same spirit adding on a golf cart or set of golf clubs is another golf club community incentive.

If you live in an area where there is a lot of outdoor activity such as fishing, hiking, hunting or boating, make sure you are selling the lifestyle as well. If there is a potential buyer interested in any of the nearby activities such as kayaking or boating, consider including your kayaks or jet skis in the home price. Little perks such as these may help to sell the area and your home specifically.

The right buyer looking at the right time with the right incentives can mean a prompt sale. If you have prepared your home with the correct price and attractive incentives it will be hard for potential buyers not to choose your home over others in the area. By planning your sale with a net profit in mind, you will be able to work incentives into the contract that may draw the buyer leaving you with a quick, profitable sale.


March 14, 2014
by Aaron Armstrong

How To Sell Your First Home

Selling a home for the first time seems overwhelming, but this need not be the case. Through proper research of the process, understanding the similar home comparisons and a few selling tricks, a first time seller can avoid stress and fly through the process. Realize that with today’s sluggish economy, a quick sale may not be on the horizon. However, by following basic seller guidelines and avoiding common mistakes, there is still plenty of hope for an efficient sale.



Bottom line, you need to understand your market and comparable homes in the area. Talk to a knowledgeable real estate professional to get an idea of the regional market. Plan accordingly for the time of year you need to sell. Homes generally sell quicker in the spring or early summer, but buyers may be more motivated at any time of year. In other words, be ready for the changing needs and demands of buyers at certain times of the year. The average selling time of a home is four months, so expect a comparable time span for the house to be on the market and shown. Start the process by getting a home inspection, no matter the cost, it is money well spent. This notifies you of the necessary home improvement needed to sell at the price you want. Being proactive may save time and money in the end. The buyer will require an inspection before closing the sale, but fixes will already have been taken care of, moving the process along quicker.

Finding a Realtor

Interview a selection of area realtors. By asking a few key questions, you can garner whether or not they can sell your home. Make sure to gather information about the resources they will use to specifically market your home, their area expertise and how many homes they have sold in your neighborhood in the past few months.  Ask for a copy of the activity list of the buyers and sellers with which the agent has worked. Make certain the comparable sales list they show are within a two to three month range.

Pricing the Home

Using the real estate agent’s expertise, set a price that allows some wiggle room. Try not to overprice, as buyers will steer clear. Take into consideration the recent sales of the neighborhood and set a price that is within an appropriate range. Remember to try to set pride aside with pricing. You may have called your property home for some time, but unless you price wisely it will sit on the market for much longer than necessary. Consider pricing within range to facilitate more online travel as well. For instance, pricing a home at $399,000 instead of $400,500 will include it in the range of homes between $350,000 and $400,000 leaving it accessible to those buyers searching within that price range.

Home Preparation

  • Curb Appeal: Paint the house if it needs it. Sometimes updating the trim around the doors and windows is enough to give it the necessary boost. Clean windows, plant flowers, keep the landscaping tidy and the walkways clear. Remember that first impressions may mean the difference between a buyer visiting or walking away from your home.
  • Refreshing Your Home: Clean closets and stick with the half-full method: Closets that only have half of the space filled automatically look larger. Store items that will not be used in the immediate future in a rental unit. Invest in under-the-bed containers to stash the extra stuff. Counters free of clutter will make rooms look more inviting and spacious. Remove personal items such as pictures from walls unless they include the home at different times of the year. This allows buyers to visualize themselves living there. Patch wall holes and touch up blemishes along with cleaning the carpets and tiling.
  • Staging: According to your agent’s opinion combined with what other homes in the area are doing, it is always best to either arrange current furniture to maximize the space or stage your home. This is dependent upon whether or not you have already moved, but empty rooms do not always mean more spacious rooms. Furniture, even a minimal amount, will help buyers to imagine how they will arrange their own pieces.

Taking the time to prepare for a first time home sale is golden. Preparation of the home, finding a good real estate company, strategic pricing and staging your home are the stepping-stones towards a successful first time home sale. With the right real estate agent these steps are easy to handle and good advice is only a phone call away.


March 12, 2014
by Guest Contributor

The Basics of Home Inspections

For those who have never been through the home inspection process before, it can seem daunting and be a source of stress.  But this needn’t be the case. As we in the home inspection industry are fond of saying, “Knowledge is your friend”. While the outcome cannot be predetermined, you can make things easier on yourself  by knowing a few key pieces of information: What will be covered in the inspection, what does the owner have to fix and what happens after my home inspection?


What is Inspected During a Home Inspection?

The answer to this question can vary by state, but to keep it simple we’ll be discussing the criteria that the Texas Real Estate Commission uses for its home inspectors. The details and subcategories can be found here. The main categories for inspections are:

  • Structural
  • Electrical
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
  • Plumbing
  • Appliances
  • Optional Systems

The sub categories are as follows:

Structural includes: Foundation, Grading and Drainage, Roof Covering, Roof Structure and Attic, Walls (interior and exterior), Ceilings and Floors, Doors (interior and exterior), Windows, Stairways, Fireplaces and Chimneys and lastly, Porches, Decks, Balconies and Carports.

Electrical includes: Service Entrance and Panels and Connected Devices and Fixtures.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning are divided into these sub categories: Heating Equipment, Cooling Equipment and Duct Systems, Chases and Vents.

Plumbing Systems are broken down into these areas: Plumbing Supply, Distribution and Fixtures, Drains, Wastes and Vents, Water Heating Equipment and Hydro-Massage Therapy Equipment

The Appliances section covers the following: Dishwashers, Food Waste Disposers, Range Hood and Exhaust Systems, Ranges, Cook Tops and Ovens, Microwave Ovens, Mechanical Exhaust Vents and Bathroom Heaters, Garage Door Openers and Dryer Exhaust Systems.

Optional Systems includes: Landscape Irrigation, Swimming Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs and Equipment, Outbuildings, Private Water Wells and Private Sewage Disposal (Septic) Systems.

What Does the Owner Have to Fix?

First, it is important to note that the home inspection is not “Pass/Fail.” An inspection report is informational for the buyer. Most people are surprised to learn that the seller doesn’t have to fix anything. We have found, however, that most people are reasonable and understand that buyers want the big ticket items to be in good condition (including the roof, electrical, plumbing and heating/air conditioning). Keep in mind that there are people out there who, for a variety of reasons, won’t want to make any repairs, so be prepared for anything.

What Happens After My Home Inspection?

After your inspector has sent your inspection report, the Realtor sits down with the buyers to see if there is anything that they would like to ask the owner to address. If they do want the seller to fix something, the buyer’s Realtor then writes up an “Amendment” detailing the requested items and any specifics that are necessary. The buyer’s Realtor then takes the amendment to the seller’s Realtor and the sellers decide which items, if any, they are willing to address. The seller’s Realtor then sends the response to the buyer’s Realtor. As you can see, it’s a negotiation. When there are no Realtors involved, this process is handled directly between the buyer and seller.

The home inspection process may be unfamiliar to most people, but don’t let that worry you. Any Inspector worth hiring will be able to give you an overall picture of his job and be happy to answer any questions you may have, before and after the inspection.

 About the author

Edie Sherwood and her husband, Robert, run Area Wide Inspections in Lubbock, Texas. They have been small business owners for ten years. Robert is a municipal Building Inspector and Edie is a regular contributor to Angie’s List Experts. They love the Lubbock area and their fellow west Texans! Learn more about them at or .

March 10, 2014
by Guest Contributor

How To Buy A Home Without A Large Down Payment

When you hear someone say, “buy a home with nothing down”, it can make you feel like it’s too good to be true or a little spammy. It may make you think of those late night commercials about investment properties, and how you can buy those with nothing down and get rich in the process.

That is not what this article is about. This article is meant to help first time home buyers literally buy their first home with little to no out of pocket costs.

There are several ways to do this. Here is how first time home buyers can do it:

  • Choose the right first time home buyer loan.
  • Apply for down payment assistance programs. (If applicable)
  • Obtain closing costs assistance from the home seller

Choosing the Right First Time Home Buyer Loan:

Veterans should check their eligibility for a VA Loan. VA Loans provide 100% financing, no mortgage insurance and low fixed interest rates.

Those shopping for homes in rural counties should look into USDA loans. USDA Loans  offer 100% financing, low mortgage insurance premiums and low fixed interest rates.

If your situation is none of the above, as a first time home buyer, you should apply for an FHA loan. FHA loans require only a 3.5% down payment, are easier to qualify for and have low fixed interest rates. However, the mortgage insurance rate is 1.35% compared to 0.40% with a USDA Loan.

Apply for a Down Payment Assistance Program:

(If you qualify for a VA or USDA Loan this is not necessary)

There are various down payment assistance programs that will offer a $5,000 grant to assist first time home buyers.

If you were buying a $150,000 house with FHA financing, the 3.5% down payment would be $5,250. With a down payment assistance program that would leave you only contributing $250.

Obtain Closing Costs Assistance from Home Seller:

VA, USDA, and FHA Loans all allow the seller to pay up to 6% of the purchase price of the house towards the closing costs. With a home purchase, there are various settlement costs. You have title fees, escrow, appraisals, inspections, state taxes, county taxes, etc. If you request seller assistance of about 3-4% as a part of the purchase contract that will generally cover what would be your share of the closing costs.  For example, if you were putting an offer on a home selling for $150,000. The seller would be contributing 4% of the purchase price toward the buyer’s closing cost. In this case that would amount to $6,000.


If you are a first time home buyer you may want to consider getting a Realtor to represent you. Their experience in bargaining for a lower price and/or closing cost assistance can be very helpful. The good thing about a buyer’s realtor is that the buyer does not pay for the realtor services they are receiving. The seller generally pays 6% in realtor fees. Those fees cover all realtor commissions. If you buy a home without a realtor representing your interests, then the seller’s realtor makes the entire 6% commission. If you choose a realtor to represent you, then the two realtors split the seller paid commissions between them.

If you are in the market to buy a new home, use these tips to buy your dream home with little to no out of pocket costs.

About the Author:

Gerald Bouthner is a Loan Account Manager with Buy a New Home in Maryland and licensed Lender in MD, DE, PA, VA, D.C., FL, TX, SC, NC, OR, and IL. He specialize in first time home buyer loans.

March 7, 2014
by Sonny Lee

5 Must-Haves In A Starter Home

When you decide to purchase a starter home, there are a few factors you will need to consider. Buying a home is a financial investment that will affect you for many years to come. There are five must-haves you must think about when you view potential starter homes.

Plan for Your Current and Future Needs

In today’s uncertain economy, many homeowners find that they are staying in their starter homes for a lot longer than expected. The trick is to evaluate a potential start home based on its functionality for your current needs and your future needs.

While you may not need a lot of square footage now, your need may grow in the future. You might want to look for a starter home with an unfinished basement or attic space that you can convert to finished living space for the future.

Prioritize Your Wish List

Many starter homes do not include all of the updates you might want in a home. It can be helpful to create a wish list as you walk through a potential home. You will have to prioritize all of the jobs on your wish list to see which ones will need to be done before you can move in and which ones can wait. You will also need to determine how much of the work you can do yourself to save money. Look for a starter home that already has some of the work started or a home in which you can do some of the work.

Location Is a Priority

The one thing you can never change in a home is its location. Therefore, make location a priority on your list of must-haves. If you need to be close to work, school, or other amenities, narrow your search for a starter home to specific neighborhoods. You might not find your dream starter home in your ideal neighborhood, but you may be able to make changes to the home that will make it work for you.

Be Aware of Extra Costs

Buying a starter home can be expensive enough without worrying about additional costs. As you view potential homes, look for added costs that might add up quickly. For example, you may want to choose a starter home in which the appliances are included. Then, you won’t have to shell out extra money for new appliances. Even if the appliances are not included in the original listing, you may be able to negotiate for them to cut down on your out-of-pocket expenses.

Layout of the Space

A final must have in a starter home is the layout of the space. While you may not need an open concept kitchen right now, your future needs may dictate that the way you use your home’s space may change. You might have kids in five years and need to take down a wall to open the living and dining spaces. As you view a potential home, look at the layout to see if it could be converted for possible layout changes in the future.

About the author:

Sonny Lee is the team leader and real estate professional at Service First Realty in Sierra Vista, Arizona.


March 5, 2014
by Alex Tooke

4 Tips to Succeed in Selling or Buying A Home In Today’s Market

The real estate market is in a recovery stage and some home buyers are seeking homes in very competitive areas. Often, multiple offers will be submitted on certain listings and buyers must endure bidding wars.

Some of the really good deals do not even make it as far as the multiple listing sites even though the rules prevent Realtors from holding listings back more than 24 hours.

In those situations, finding a home, much less getting an offer accepted is frustratingly difficult. In this recovery stage, it is as confusing for first time sellers as it is for first time home buyers. Certain actions will help first time home buyers and sellers achieve their goals.

Be Open to a Contractual Relationship with a Trusted and Familiar Realtor

For the first time home buyer, a Realtor who has made the effort to establish a relationship of understanding and acquaintance will have a better sense of individual need, desire and capability to better serve the buyer.

Often, the Realtor’s experience combined with personal knowledge of particular buyers will allow the Realtor to introduce communities or homes that would not have been considered without a more personal relationship.

First time sellers are rarely prepared for the disruption and intrusion that accompanies a home on the market. A Realtor is able to run interference with intrusive lookers and advise when it is important to flex.

Consider Pocket Listings or Unofficial Listings

Recent real estate market conditions have caused a real estate fatigue that make sellers reluctant to officially place homes on the market but the Realtors are still aware that there is a willingness to sell.

A property that has a willing seller but is not officially listed would be called a pocket listing. Pocket listings should be considered special opportunities.

There is a down side to pocket listings, which is a lack of official disclosures and inspections. On this type of purchase, a home inspection is especially important. Since there is no listing agreement, a purchase agreement must cover more details.

Be Open to Less than Perfect

Personalizing a first time home must stay affordable. Know the difference between cosmetic defects and structural defects. Paint, curtains and plants are things all homeowners should be able to afford. Updating kitchens and baths and re-roofing are different.

First time sellers that did not get around to painting but have installed a new roof and furnace should make an effort to point those things out and buyers are well advised to place a high value on house components that are not pretty but important.

Flexible People Make the Best Deals

In a very short amount of time, the real estate market has changed dramatically. Residential streets that had multiple for sale signs now have none.

Government backed home loans with more demanding property condition standards and mortgage insurance are commonplace today and would not have been considered 5 years ago. Recent changes represent stability and value. Buyers and sellers should be prepared for new rules and developments.


March 3, 2014
by Guest Contributor

The Pros & Cons of Renting vs. Buying A Home

Should I rent or should I buy?

The biggest initial factor to consider is your need for mobility. If your life, job or circumstances require you to be mobile, then renting might be best. Being able to move whenever you want or need to is much easier to accomplish as a renter than a homeowner



Let’s consider some of the other pros and cons of renting.


  • Typically, you don’t have to worry about maintenance, just give your landlord a call.
  • No financing. All you need is a rental application approval.
  • Possibly more choices on locations.


  • If you do make repairs or improvements the landlord benefits, not you.
  • There are no tax benefits to renting in some states, such as Colorado.
  • Your rent payment may increase upon lease renewal.
  • You can’t make changes to the property without the landlord’s permission.
  • There is no potential for long-term equity or financial gain.
  • There is no pride of ownership.
  • There may be restrictions in lease terms, i.e., no pets.

On the flip side, if you are seeking stability and want to plant your roots, invest and build equity, then buying and owning a home makes complete sense. Not to mention all the other great benefits owning a home will bring you. Are there any cons to owning? Yes, a few.



  • Pride of home ownership.
  • If you make repairs and improvements, you benefit from the enjoyment of those improvements and the value they will likely bring to the property. This helps you build equity.
  • There are many tax benefits to owning a home.
  • Unless financing includes an adjustable rate mortgage, your payment is fixed for the life of the loan.
  • It’s your home; you can do what you want with it (limited only by your homeowner’s association, if you have one).
  • You can leverage the equity in your home by securing other desired loans, i.e., a home equity line of credit.
  • With current mortgage interest rates, your mortgage payment would likely be less than what you pay for rent.


  • Property values could go down, making your home worth at or less than your mortgage loan balance.
  • Should you need to sell, the process does typically take longer than if you rented.
  •  Maintaining the property is your responsibility.

Beyond the pros and cons, if you think you would like to explore the home buying option, the next important step is to contact a Realtor®. He or she will be able to help you further weigh the pros and cons of owning based on your specific circumstances. In addition a Realtor can connect you with reliable lenders to solidify what your payment and costs will be, giving you a better understanding of how the mortgage payment vs. the rent payment compare. A Realtor® can also take you out to tour properties.

Ultimately, the decision to own or rent is up to you, and depends on your circumstances. But keep in mind that with today’s interest rates, buying might be much cheaper than renting!

About the Author

Deb Goetz from Denver Boulder Real Estate is pleased to bring you this article about “Renting vs. Buying”. Deb specializes in Stapleton Real Estate within the Denver Metro Area. If you are interested, be sure to check out her website.

February 27, 2014
by Guest Contributor

The Cost of Becoming A Homebuyer

Buying a house can be a very lengthy and potentially daunting process. There are many aspects to consider when selecting a property and its location, not to mention the financial side of things.

Getting your finances in order is essential to the home-buying process. It is always a good idea to ensure that your finances are in stable condition before you embark on the journey of buying your first home.

Aside from the deposit for the mortgage, there are a number of other costs involved in the purchase of a house, and whilst some are essential to the process there are others that can add to the overall cost of buying your first home.

So what are some of these costs, how do they affect the cost of the buying process and how important are they to the cost of buying a property? Here are a few costs to be aware of when purchasing a home in the UK.

The Deposit

The deposit is the most important aspect of your mortgage application as it can help to determine whether you have the budget available at the time to afford a mortgage. Many providers will need a deposit of at least 5% of the value of the home, but this can vary from lender to lender. And ultimately it will be up to you to decide how much to put towards it.

It may worth looking into your finances as a whole, including the amount of savings you have and your current credit history. If you have anything on your record that could affect your mortgage decisions, such as late payments and other debts, it may be worth cleaning up your credit score before embarking on a mortgage application in order to give yourself a better chance of securing your mortgage.

Mortgage Set-up Fee or Mortgage Arrangement Fee

Varying from lender to lender, a set-up fee may be charged in order to reserve funds on a mortgage deal. It’s best to double-check if this is refundable in the event of your mortgage application failing.

Valuation or Survey Fee

Surveys help determine the value of a property and identify any issues or problems that need addressing before a purchase is made. Letting a professional surveyor evaluate your property before your purchase gives you the chance to find out a little more about the structure, the condition of the house and what problems will need to be sorted out in the future.

It can be worth getting your potential property surveyed to avoid any nasty surprises upon moving into your newly purchased home – including damp, woodworm and any structural hazards.

Mortgage Account Fee

Mortgage account fees are fees charged by your lender in order to cover costs such as the set-up, mortgage maintenance and any exit charges in the event of you wishing to close down your mortgage. These fees are usually offered separately from your arrangement fees, so is always worth double-checking during the set-up process.

Council Search Fee

For a small fee you can instruct the council in the area of your potential property to check for any local or planning issues – including the state of the drain system, upcoming planning proposals or any other issues that could affect the price of your property in the future.

Stamp Duty/ Closing Costs

Stamp duty is a British term that  is essentially a tax that is paid on property transactions to cover documents and other charges. Stamp duty varies from property to property and are typically between 0 and 7% ( this will usually be explained during the buying process). In the US, the stamp duty is covered in the closing costs which encompasses other financial aspects as well .

Homebuyer’s Report

A homebuyer’s report is a full survey of both the inside and outside of the property. This is usually performed at the same time as a survey. Your surveyor will identify any issues with the property – including the internal structure and the exterior of the property – in order to help you decide if the property is indeed worth pursuing.

Building Survey

Building surveys (or structural surveys) is an essential part of the buying process, particularly if you are thinking of buying an older property.

Home Condition Survey

This simple survey is usually the cheapest option and is usually associated with new build houses. For older properties a more detailed survey is usually required due to increased risk from certain factors, including structural degradation over time.

Building Insurance

Building insurance is used to cover the exterior of the household, useful to have in case of damage to the property as a result of extreme weather conditions.

Home/contents insurance

Home insurance covers the interior of your home and allows you to secure a list of belongings in case of loss as a result of fire and flood damage or as a result of theft, with many insurers offering to replace items such as electrical goods.


It’s always best to make sure you are aware of all the factors involved when beginning the process of getting a mortgage, and it can be worth discussing your options with a mortgage advisor as well as doing some research of your own. Read up on mortgage guides and keep an eye on interest rates to better increase your chances of finding the right deal for you and your home.


About the author:

George Peterson created this article on behalf of Squires Estates. George is an avid blogger and loves to write about real estate and the property market.

February 24, 2014
by Glenn Stein
1 Comment

How To Plan Your Move When Downsizing

Moving from your current home to a smaller home can happen for many reasons. Children grow up, one moves to a more urban environment, or a smaller home fits one’s needs in a more adequate fashion. While you begin to plan your move to your new home, there are a number of considerations to take in account. Switching to a smaller home means less space and not enough room for everything as you had in your previous home.

Here are some ways to make the adjustment to a smaller home a smooth one:

Photo by Van Metre Homes

Photo by Van Metre Homes

Prepping Your Current Home

As you sign the contract on the smaller home you purchased, you should really start to think through the moving process. If you know you are going to have to part with items, make sure to deal with it head on and sensibly, so that it doesn’t all happen at once on move-day. A good start is to clean and organize what you currently can. Take inventory of your belongings and decide what to keep and what can go. By reducing unnecessary items before you start packing, you save yourself the trouble of dealing with it when you move.

How to Part with Belongings

Make sure to put items in categories such as must keep, must give to (insert family member or friend’s name here), give away, or sell. It is a good idea to have a close friend or family member help with this and give you clear headed advice. It can be difficult parting ways with cherished items at times (despite a lack in need for it).

Once you have gotten into a logical and ready-to-purge mindset, if there are things you aren’t attached to but you know are valuable, consider selling them to consignment stores. There are places that will appreciate the value and get these items into the hands of others that will love them for years to come. If you are already swamped with moving, try to designate a friend or family member to help with this task.

Storage is always an option, but try to think of this as a “only if needed” option. If you just can’t part with things right away, a storage unit might be a great option, or a relative’s garage. If you are moving from a house to a condo, this immediately frees up many items that one has around for home upkeep. Lawn mowers and pool equipment become obsolete and can be sold or given away.

Working with Your New Home

With a new size in your home, you may have to look into new furniture options, and how existing pieces will work within your new space. Not every room will be able to fit that large dining table you had in your previous house.

To remedy the situation, take measurements of your new home and get a feel of the floor plan and space you will have. The more you can plan ahead the better it will be in your new home.

Downsizing to a New Home

Keeping the things that are truly important to you, and cutting out all of the the things that don’t really matter can be a blessing when moving to a smaller house. Be ready to feel your emotions throughout the process, but call on friends and family to help, and to remind you what is truly important.

If you can take the time to thoughtfully go through your things, the process may take you down memory lane more than once. Don’t procrastinate. If you are already planning to move, you can begin downsizing today with a clear headed, thoughtful plan.


February 18, 2014
by Randy Dunn

3 Quick & Cost Efficient Home Improvements

Updating or remodeling a house can be a very stressful, expensive and time consuming experience, but don’t let this scare you off from the idea entirely. Instead of an entire overhaul you may want to consider changing up just one or two things about your home. Here is a list of 3 relatively inexpensive projects that can be done quickly, but still make a big impact on the appearance of the house. Keep in mind, this could serve as an investment in your home. With these improvements you are increasing the resale value of your house if you ever decide to sell, making back some of the money you are putting in.

Vinyl Railing

Almost any house could benefit from the added homey feel and curb appeal that vinyl railing adds. You can go with classic white, or choose something that compliments the color of the house itself, like a cream or dark wood color.

Using this material instead of wood gives you a railing that requires very little upkeep. Obviously there is no fear of things like termites and is known for being incredibly durable and should stand up pretty well in storms. All of this can attract possible buyers, or just serve as less work for you while you live in the home.

Home Exterior Trim

Perhaps you are looking into adding exterior trim to your home because it is currently lacking this extra decorative feature. It may even be that you already have exterior trim on your home, but it is either rotting needs to be replaced, or you would love to have it be a new color or shape. A house can look like a completely different place with this project.

A contractor will be able to answer questions about what is popular at the moment when it comes to style, materials, and colors. They will also have some good ideas and suggestions based on past projects they have done, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

Entry Door

Talk about a change! This will not only change the look of your home, but also the way that you live in it every day. Surprisingly one of the most popular types of doors to install at the moment is doors that are made of steel. These doors are safe from warping, shrinking, bending and are energy efficient, making it harder for warm or cool air to escape. They also provide added security, making break-ins harder.

Of course, like all projects, the cost depends on exactly what you want or need. For instance, if for any reason you need to replace the door jamb along with the door, it will take longer and be pricier than just changing out doors. All updates, however, should contribute to the value to your home and make living in it that much more enjoyable.


About the Author:

Randy Dunn is the owner of Dunn Construction, located in Mechanicsville, Va. Dunn Construction has been providing quality exterior siding replacement for the surrounding area of Glen Allen since 1960.