Invest in your home now to save in the future.
The best way to invest in your home is to take good care of what’s already there.
Remodeling your home is great, but not everyone has the money to take on such a project, especially in this economy. However, there are less glamorous projects that can be relatively simple and inexpensive that will add to your home's value. These projects may seem minor now, but they can be big money savers in the long run.
You may be noticing caulk along your sink, countertops and bathtub coming loose if you've been in your home a few years. While gaps may not seem like much, the water leaking inside can wreak havoc on areas unseen. Why let moisture turn into mold when small leaks can be repaired with a tube of kitchen and bath caulk for just a few dollars?
It's a well-known fact that insulation saves money on your utility bills, but so many of us overlook this simple project. Your walls are surely insulated, but what about your attic, basement and garage? If the energy savings aren't enough to convince you, check with the IRS for tax credits allowing you to deduct energy-saving expenses from your taxes.
3. Change Filters
When was the last time you changed your furnace’s air filters? A simple stop online or at your local Home Depot will keep your furnace running efficiently while improving the quality of the air inside your home. Change filters at least every three months to keep your furnace efficient for years to come.
4. Install a Programmable Thermostat
One of the easiest ways to manage energy bills is with a programmable thermostat. By programming your heat or air conditioning up or down a few degrees during the hours you are regularly away from home, you'll save on the money it would cost to heat or cool an empty house. Simple steps like keeping curtains closed during hot summer days and sealing doors and windows in winter will produce much nicer bills from the utility companies.
4 Ways to Stage Your Home This Summer
Now that summer is here, most of us in Buffalo look to optimize the good weather months we have. For those looking to sell or just make the most of your home this summer, this is a great time for some summer staging tips. If your home speaks of warm days and sunny spaces, buyers and guests are more likely to feel at home.
1. Patios and other Outdoor Spaces – If you have a great patio or other outdoor space, now is the time to play up your deck or outdoor space. Give potential buyers plenty of ideas and inspiration by staging your outdoor spaces to show their usefulness. Arrange your outdoor furniture into a conversation area, complete with an outdoor rug and bright, outdoor-friendly pillows. Top off your tabletop with beautiful summer lanterns and candles for a welcoming outdoor space well into the evening.
2. Flowers, Flowers, Flowers – There is, perhaps, no better way to bring in the summer feel to your home than with flowers. Consider purchasing fresh flowers and making a nice arrangements on your kitchen countertop, your dining room table and even the bedside table in your master bedroom. Colorful, local flowers can be easily found at farmers markets and local florists. Fresh flowers will instantly brighten any room of your home.
3. A Front Porch Welcome – Welcome potential buyers to your home with a front porch that is sure to invite them in. Start off with pots of colorful annuals near the entrace. If your front door is drab, consider painting it a fresh color and adding new hardware.
4. Breezy Bedrooms – You can make any bedroom of your home instantly more inviting and summer-like just by changing the bed linens. Consider a bright white comforter with throw pillows in soft shades of blue and yellow. Or, simply fold a light summer comforter at the end of your bed for a pop of color. Guests will note the difference.
Did you catch our cameo in "Sex and the City 2"?
That's right. The wildly popular film that has already made for many a 'girls night out' while racking up $53 million on opening weekend alone featured RE/MAX. The RE/MAX balloon appears on a TV commercial as Carrie and Mr. Big channel surf before bedtime. In fact, you may see RE/MAX many places throughout the month of June, including HGTV and DIY. Commercials appear during such shows as "Kitchen Impossible," "Desperate Landscapes" and "My House is Worth What?"
As the world's top-producing real estate network with more than 92,301 agents in 80 countries, RE/MAX is a brand that people know. When considering whom to use when buying or selling your home, RE/MAX is one of the most recognized real estate brands and logos around the world. Have you contacted a RE/MAX agent yet?
Five easy tips for sellers
We want everyone to see the charm and possibility of a property. A few easy steps help buyers see themselves in your home:
1. Homes almost always show better with light. Open the shades and turn on lights where possible.
2. Check out the neighbors. Open houses and model homes in the area will give you an idea of what your competition is offering. They may also provide a few ideas you can steal for yourself.
3. Give each room an identity. By creating a clutter-free mudroom, organized home office or kids space for school work with chalkboards and desks, buyers imagine the benefits of this space on their lives.
4. A little curb appeal goes a long way. Trimming bushes and branches, raking leaves and select coats of paint can go a long way to translate to buyers.
5. Houses need baths too. A power wash can go a long way on older homes, especially in our climate.
What's that smell? Simple home deodorizing tips
Sensory perception affects mood and ultimately, visitors feelings about your home. Research has shown that a light floral fragrance can put guests in a pleasant mood while citrus scents are energizing. Vanilla is also a universally comfortable and relaxing scent. However, don't over do it! We don't want guests to think we are covering up bad odors or to offend them with something too strong. Here are a few simple ways to keep the house smelling good when opening it up to the public:
1. Take out the garbage. It's an easy item to overlook, but can make a big difference.
2. Eliminate all smoking inside and directly outside the house while the home is on the market. An ionizer can help remove smoke smells as well. Many people are immediately turned off by a home that has been smoked in.
3. When possible, cook bland and add spices at the table. Certain smells, such as broccoli, garlic, fish and eggs can stick around well beyond mealtime.
4. Wash pets and their bedding regularly. Although we wish they did, not everyone else feels the same way you do about your beloved cat, dog or other pets.
5. Unless it's the dead of winter, open windows to get air flowing. A stuffy house is rarely attractive.
Buffalo Niagara region becomes hot spot for homeowners
Despite catastrophic headlines throughout the rest of the country, not a lot has changed in home sales in the Buffalo Niagara region. Homes prices here are a third less than the national average. Except for 2009 where our median home prices showed a 7.8% jump – the largest in 20 years – we have only achieved modest gains year over year. This steady rise in rates has allowed us to avoid the real estate fallout that has occurred throughout the country. Without inflated prices, we did not incur the collapse felt elsewhere.
Our median sale price as of 2009 is $133,600. That is only 7% higher than it was in 1999 after adjusting for inflation. In other words, that is a growth of only about 1% a year. While the national median sale price is higher at $173,376, that number has not changed in 10 years. Who would have thought that 1% a year growth would make the Buffalo Niagara region one of the hottest markets in the country? For now, we’ll take it.
The New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR) reported in January an increase in home sales of 11% throughout New York State compared with the beginning of last year. The statewide median sales price also jumped more than 30%. According to the release, activity in the market spurned on by the federal tax credit like drove the market higher and buyers are expected to flood the market again as the new deadline approaches.
For more information, click here.