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Make Your Home Buyer Friendly

by Denise D'Amico
 
 
Make Your Home Buyer Friendly
with Focused Staging
 
 
You’ll want your for-sale home to look its best. And that requires focus. Focused staging, that is.
 
Staging your home can increase the offer amount by up to 10%, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Profile of Home Staging. But what if you haven’t the time or cash to stage the whole house?
 
You focus on the rooms that push buyers’ buttons. A messy mudroom may not kill your sale, but an unusable kitchen or master bedroom may be a deal-breaker.
 
Few buyers can see beyond your personal style, particularly in hot-button areas like the living room, kitchen and master bedroom. So concentrate on staging these.
 
According to the NAR Profile, the living room is one of the most popular to stage. Make it feel larger by replacing bulky furniture with smaller pieces. Help buyers to imagine their things here; leave lots of space on shelves and around furniture.
 
In the kitchen, declutter countertops, the fridge and inside cabinets (yes, buyers willlook). Add color with a bowl of fruit.
 
“Most bedrooms don’t need much more than the bed, dresser, end tables, and a mirror,” the article suggests. Make the bed the focus with beautiful, but not necessarily expensive, linens.
 
A clean bathroom is a saleable bathroom. The master bath, especially, should gleam. Add attractive towels and battery candles for atmosphere.
 
And don’t forget to tidy the outside. You know what they say about first impressions.
 
If you are thinking about selling your home and we'd be glad to share our proven staging ideas
with you. You can contact the Denise D'Amico Real Estate Team at 847-551-9290 or e-mail us.

How To Remove Wallpaper in 3 Easy Steps

by Denise D'Amico

 

How To Remove Wallpaper in 3 Easy Steps

http://www.elledecor.com/home-remodeling-renovating/home-renovation/g11834771/how-to-remove-wallpaper/

5 Projects To Tackle This Spring Break

by Denise D'Amico
 
 
 
5 Projects To Tackle This Spring Break
March (hopefully) means the weather is warming up. If you don't have a trip planned to an exotic locale, take some time to get ahead on home maintenance projects. Here are a few projects you can complete during a spring fling of home repair.
 
1. Fun with water Power washing your home's exterior not only adds to its sparkle factor, but also blasts away any potentially damaging mold and mildew. Rent a machine at your local home improvement store and tackle your siding, deck and driveway.
 
2. Check your AC Scheduling a tune-up for your cooling system can save you bucks in the long term. Change your AC filter and schedule a pro to come check your system now, before contractors get busy.
 
3. Go with the flow Pull out a ladder and unclog gutters and check that they're connected securely.
 
4. Bask in the sun Catch some rays – and brighten your home – by cleaning the interior and exterior of your windows. Try a squeegee and skip the paper towels, to avoid looking out through a filter of lint.
 
5. Hit the fridge Dust and grime on your refrigerator's coils causes the machine to use more energy to cool. Cleaning coils is easy with your vacuum's hose attachment. Then, enjoy efficiently-made ice cubes in a cocktail after all your hard work. And add a paper drink umbrella. After all, it is spring break
.
Thinking about selling your home? Find out if you should be focusing on larger projects by talking to Denise D’Amico today. You can reach Denise at 847-551-9290.

10 Things To Do Before Selling Your Home

by Denise D'Amico

 

10 Things To Do Before Selling Your Home

Before you put your house on the market, ask Denise D'Amico for guidance on improving your home's presentation. Denise D'Amico can tell you what buyers expect in your particular market and at your home's price point. The following 10 steps are a way to get a good head start on preparing to sell your home.

1. Welcome buyers. Make your front door visible and accessible to buyers. Paint the door, clear debris and clutter from the walkway and yard, mow the lawn and prune hedges. Pot or plant colorful annuals and perennials to attract attention from the street. Fix broken screens, doorbells, roof tiles, shingles and outdoor lighting, and replace your doormat. Exterior defects can make a poor first impression on buyers.

2. Make it sparkle. Cleanliness implies a home has been well taken care of, so deep cleaning can win points with buyers. Buyers scrutinize homes, especially kitchens and bathrooms. Recaulk and repaint to give these grime-prone rooms a fresh and clean look. Clean rugs and carpets to eliminate unsightly stains or dinginess and eliminate odors. Tidy each room, including cabinets, closets and the garage, before showing. And if it seems daunting to do all that cleaning yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning company to take care of all of it for you.

3. Start packing. Cramped and cluttered rooms turn buyers off and make your house look smaller. A home packed with your personal belongings also makes it difficult for others to envision living there. Start by storing away excess furniture, toys and personal decorations, such as family photos. Pack up things you don't use on a daily basis, and put them in storage or ask a friend to hold onto them. Decluttering your house also gives you a head start on your move.

4. Paint wisely. A well-done, no-frills paint job is all you need. Put a fresh coat of paint on white or beige walls, and repaint walls that have eccentric or unconventional colors. Nature- and spa-inspired neutral colors, such as taupe and subtle gray, are the best choices. Definitely don't forget the trim and molding either. And a fresh paint job on outdated or worn cabinetry goes a long way, too.

5. Fix the small stuff. Repair or replace broken or outdated hardware throughout your home. You can install new door handles, faucets, towel bars and curtain rods – fixtures that are readily visible to homebuyers – rather inexpensively. New hardware in the bathroom, kitchen and on windows and doors also improves the functionality and safety of these components.

6. Update lighting. Replace decorative light fixtures that no longer fit your home's cleaner, fresher look. Install new bulbs with the appropriate lighting for specific areas of your home. For example, ambient, low-key lighting fills a room, whereas directional or task lighting works better in areas like a reading nook. Use accent lighting to highlight focal points in a room, such as the artwork above a mantle, to draw buyers' attention to certain selling points.

7. Frame windows. Ensure you have the right window treatments, which enhance natural brightness and boost the appearance of a home. Window treatments also can impact a room's temperature because they reduce or increase the amount of light entering the space. Adjust window treatments appropriately when showing your home in the mornings, afternoon and evenings.

8. Set the table. Fresh, decorative flowers in the kitchen or on the dining room table are always a nice touch. Also, keep place settings handy for your tables so you can quickly set them out right before showings or an open house. Pull out all the formal stops for a dining room, and keep the table casual in the kitchen.

9. Hide unsightly everyday items. Don't leave children's toys and pet belongings out in the open during showings and open houses. Move litter boxes, pet dishes, toys, animal crates and kids' entertainment to less conspicuous areas of the home, such as an outdoor storage unit or garage before each showing or open house. Also think about where you can store things like dirty laundry and dirty kitchen sponges.

10. Don't forget the back. Keep your backyard looking spacious and functional. Plant or pot colorful flowers and keep the landscaping trimmed and neat. Consistently pick up after your pets so buyers feel comfortable touring the yard.

The Denise D'Amico Real Estate Group can help you every step of the way.

Simple Update You Can Make to Your Home

by Denise D'Amico
 
You Can Make Simple Updates to Your Home
 


When it comes time to redo a space in your home, there are two basic options: take it easy or take it to the max.
Whether you are limited by budget, time, skill level or all three, sometimes you just want to keep it simple. Thankfully, there are ways to leverage industry tricks, retail sales, and elbow grease to make little changes that make a big impact. Here are some easy updates for every room:

Living Room
 A couple bucks and a stepladder could be all you need to transform the look of your living room. Go ahead, change out those draped. Freshen up your look with a bright color or introduce some additional hues to your color story. A bold print can really inject some new life into your space.
One more thing: Coordinate with a few new throw pillows and you have a snazzy, easy updated look.

Kitchen
Is your kitchen sporting mismatched appliances? If you're not ready to invest in stainless steel but you want the look, cover up your appliances. These stainless steel magnets offer an inexpensive way to get an updated look without the big expense.

One more thing: Placemats. Often overlooked and underappreciated, placemats can provide a layer of texture to round out a tablescape and provide protection for your table's finish.

Bedroom
If you like the amount of warmth provided by your bedding but are dying for a different look, a duvet cover is a great alternative to buying a whole new set. Check out a wide range of options from very affordable to very luxurious on Houzz.

One more thing: An old bedroom set can date a room, but easy updates can help bring it into this century. Consider painting or re-staining one (or more) piece. Or, simply change out the hardware to something more modern for an update you can make in under an hour.

Powder Room
Say goodbye to peeling paint and grungy sinks. A new vanity can update and refresh your powder room with a minimum amount of hassle and expense. If you're not skilled at plumbing, make sure you include the cost of bringing in a professional.

One more thing:
If you'd rather keep your existing cabinets, swap out your dated faucet and sand and paint your cabinets a fresh color for a like-new look.

Walls
A few hours on a weekend, a few friends in their old clothes, and a few 12-packs of beer should get you from drab walls to colorful space. Whether you want to stay with a neutral or go for something trendy and bold like, one thing is certain: the look of your room, and the mood, is about to change.

One more thing:
Accent your pretty new walls with some new art. Sites like art.com have prints in a variety of styles, sizes, and prices. Whether you want a reproduction of Picasso or a modern pop of color, you can find it here.

Ease Into Gardening Season With Containers

by Denise D'Amico
 
 
Ease Into Gardening Season With Containers

 

If you're ready for gardening but the weather – or the level of gardening skill in your house – is still too unpredictable, consider potted plants and flowers.

Container gardening is probably the quickest way to bring a flash of color – and a touch of class – to your entryway or yard.  Best of all, anyone can do it – and inexpensively, too.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • ​Unless you have a large budget, stick to terra cotta pots available in most home-improvement stores. For the price of one glazed ceramic pot, you can often get at least a couple of terra cotta ones. If you want to jazz them up, head to your nearest craft store and ask for terra cotta sealer and paint that will help you transform these humble vessels into eye-catching decorative statements.
  • ​Whatever kind of pot you decide on, make sure it has drain holes at the bottom to prevent root rot. ​If you're reusing old pots, make sure you clean them well with warm water, a mild dish detergent and a gentle brush. This will help to keep your flowers healthy in the event the previous plant was diseased.
  • If you chose a large pot, place large pebbles or rocks at the bottom before you pour in the soil. This will help the drainage holes from getting clogged or the soil from seeping out.
  • Don't set your potted plants right on a wood deck. Raise it to make cleaning underneath easier, and to avoid wood warping from water overflow. You should be watering frequently because many pots are porous and tend to dry out quickly.
  • ​Potting soil, mixed with compost, is usually recommended for container gardens. However, many people find that regular planting soil (which costs less) that's enriched with plant food and watered regularly works well, too.
  • Start with plants that thrive in cool weather. Few plants pack such an early visual punch as pansies, especially if you plant one color per pot. Pansies are hardy, widely available, don't cost a lot, and you can put them out right now.  Snapdragons and Lenten Rose also are good options.

Finally, a word of caution! Container gardening can be addictive and it isn't just for decoration. You can grow everything from herbs and vegetables to evergreens and small trees in appropriately sized pots. And because container gardening is growing in popularity, it can often enhance the desirability of a home, condo or townhome for sale.

If selling your home is in your plans, contact Denise D'Amico. She can advise other easy ways to enhance the look of your home, and what kinds of gardens appeal most to buyers in your area.

Improve The Safety of Your Home

by Denise D'Amico

 

IMPROVE THE SAFETY of YOUR HOME

When we think of home, we think of both physical and psychological shelter. We want to go there and relax, free of everyday worries, and just spend some quality time with our families, and it never occurs to us that there are hazards that lurk. To give you a simple number, over 2500 people die annually due to home fires, and when we include all the other hazards, that number goes way up. So, we have made an all-encompassing guide that will provide you with some tips about safety, and, hopefully, help you improve the overall safety of your home.

 

Fire

Most of the fires start in the kitchen, mostly because people leave their appliances unattended for a prolonged periods of time. About 7 people die each day in home fires. The fire is extremely fast, and it only needs about 30 seconds to completely destroy a room. The thick smoke and toxic flames it produces kill more people than the actual heat of the fire. This is why it is extremely important to react quickly and appropriately. Burning oil in a frying pan cannot be put out with water, only with a fire extinguisher, and that is why you should always have at least one in your house, especially in the kitchen. Smoke detectors are of crucial importance as they will notify all the occupants and give you enough time to react or evacuate. Smoke or carbon-monoxide detectors should be placed in the bedrooms, hallways, and kitchens. In some countries, new regulations require that all new houses must have a sprinkler system installed. This can totally suppress fire, or give you enough time to rescue yourself, children and the elderly, and call for help.

Electricity

We take electricity for granted, and the consequences of it cannot be seen until it is too late. Electric shocks can knock you unconscious, or slow down and stop your heartbeat and cause burns. If you have small children, it is of the essence to prevent them from sticking anything into electric sockets. Never use any appliances that were not approved for your country, and do not use any appliances near bathtubs or sinks. Do not make any electrical repairs, but if you absolutely have to, turn off the circuit breakers or make sure that there is no danger. Always hire a professional to do this sort of repairs and installations for you, as you are not trained to deal with these sort of situations. If there is an incident, do not touch anyone who has been electrocuted without shutting off all the power sources first. Check all the electrical installations regularly and make sure that they are safe for use and not showing any signs of damage.

Burglary

Making sure that your house safety is not only limited to fires, electricity and water incidents, but it also includes making sure that your property, and its occupants, are safe from any form of intrusion. There is a burglary happening every 14 seconds in the US, and that is why we recommend that you take actions against it. Installing special sensors that can detect movement (such as a passive infrared sensor) could alert you of any intrusion, and this can be very important. Glass break sensors can also be used, as they are set to detect special vibrations that are produced when a window is broken. This all will activate the alarm which will act as a deterrent, scaring off the intruder, but will also serve to notify you and your family as well as the authorities. Activate the alarm when you are sleeping, and especially when you are away, and make sure to regularly check that the sensors are working properly. Again, make sure to hire a professional company that specializes in home and business security.

Of course, the list doesn’t end here. There are many more safety tips if you have small children or the elderly in your home. Special attention must be given to security measures for them, as they can be unable to properly react in the case of emergency. The best advice that we could give you is not to take these things lightly. If these accidents happen, it will be too late, and that is why you must be prepared. Do thorough research and try to find a professional opinion about how you can improve the safety of your home and making life easier for you and your family.

 

Be Cautious of Moving Mistakes You Can Make

by Denise D'Amico

 

Be Cautious of Moving Mistakes You Can Make

Do you know what the Tuesday after Memorial Day is? It is the busiest day of the year for people to move items into self-storage and one of the most popular days of the year to move, earning it the name "National Moving Day."

Whether moving across town or across the country, packing up and moving can be stressful, costly and full of surprises. From shady movers and inaccurate price quotes, to overpacking or not allowing enough time to get the move set up, every step of a move has the potential for mistakes that can make a move a nightmare.

These tips will help anyone preparing for a move, whether they currently live in a house, an apartment, a dorm, with friends or with mom and dad.

1. Hiring a shady mover.

We've all heard horror stories about moving scams, and perhaps maybe you've been the victim of a moving scam yourself. You can steer clear of a less-than-upstanding mover by doing your homework. The Better Business Bureau, Angie's List, your state transportation regulator and the U.S. Department of Transportation -- and even your relatives, friends, neighbors and colleagues -- are all good sources of information about whether a moving company is on the up-and-up. Doing some homework online can save you a lot of heartache on moving day.

If you've done your research and still aren't confident in the movers you've come across, you always can go the DIY route -- just be sure you're up for the task.

2. Messing up the quotes.

If you hire a mover, you should be able to have someone from that company come to your place for an in-home moving estimate. If a moving company won't do an in-home estimate, you should think about shopping around for another mover.

Along those lines, don't rely on just one quote from one mover. Contact several movers for quotes. If you really like one mover over another but your favorite company is a little pricey, try negotiating for a lower price. Always make sure to get a moving estimate in writing.

3. Packing too much stuff.

Do you really need those old boxes of baby clothes that you haven't laid eyes on since your 6-year-old was in diapers? Before you move, you need to "edit" your belongings. Think about whether you can trash some of your possessions, donate them to charity, or give them away to friends and relatives. Perhaps you could hold a garage sale to clear out some of the clutter. If you haven't seen, worn or used something in a year, it's best to think hard about whether you need to keep it -- and whether you need to haul it to your new place.

4. Failing to schedule your move well in advance.

During the summer months, good moving companies are booked up quickly. Rather than waiting till the last minute, make sure your move is scheduled weeks -- or, better yet, months -- in advance. You don't want to be scrambling to find a mover the day before you're supposed to head out. Moving already is stressful enough without adding that frustration.

5. Ignoring the need to pack ahead of time.

You'll find very few people who'll say that packing is fun. In fact, a 2013 survey commissioned by SpareFoot found that people who'd moved in the past year identified packing and unpacking as the biggest hassle in the process.

You can lessen the load by beginning to pack well before moving day comes along. Start by boxing up stuff that you won't need right away -- for instance, if you're moving in the summer, pack up your winter clothes so that they're out of the way. Also, be sure to carve out time in your schedule to check items off your packing to-do list.

If you get down to the wire and need help with packing, enlist friends, neighbors, relatives or colleagues to lend a hand. Make sure you've got plenty of food and beverages as a "thank you" for your volunteer helpers. If you can't rustle up any free help, consider hiring laborers to do the packing for you; that may be a small price to pay to alleviate moving-related stress.

3 Things You Can't Afford a "Wait & See" Attitude About

by Denise D'Amico

 

3 Things You Can't Afford A
"Wait & See" Attitude About in 2014

 

 

View Article Here

Get the Most Bang for Your Remodeling Bucks

by Denise D'Amico
 
Get the Most Bang for Your Remodeling Bucks

 

We all have it. That long list of dream renovations or upgrades we’d like to do on our homes but never seem to find the money or time to get started.

This could be the year you finally take the plunge, but before you jump in you might want to check out Remodeling magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, created in collaboration with the National Association of Realtors. It compares the average cost for 35 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 101 U.S. cities. You can check out this year's trends – and how they stack up against previous annual reports.

The magazine even breaks down the most notable trends in remodeling this year, giving readers a look at projects that have the biggest gains in value versus cost so you can plan accordingly. How cool is that?

If you’re remodeling to get your house ready for sale, contact Denise D'Amico today. She can help you take the next steps and provide expert advice on what projects will maximize your investment.

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