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Carla Connolly

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Curb appeal is top of mind this Spring

  Carla Connolly

Spring is here and homes are popping up all over the market. Given the importance of first impressions, curb appeal is not to be underrated. Many curb appeal-enhancing projects can be cost-effective, as well, yielding strong results for minimal investment. Small improvements can have big impact. Repainting the front door, window trim and shutters, potting flowers and switching outdated light fixtures go a long way to improving the look of your home.

 

- Illuminate: Thanks to the availability of easy-to-install solar lights, you don't need to pay a professional to light your landscape. These small lights provide powerful accents to your driveway, walkways and gardens.

- Introduce shade: Arbors and trellises with flowering vines are a great way to add shade to your landscape with visual interest. They can also be used to block hear from the afternoon sun from parts of your home's interior while completing the appeal outside your home.

- Think color: Low-maintenance plantings require little attention while adding color to your landscape. A gardening center can help you identify what plants grow best in our region and which require more water.

- Choose materials that are durable and stylish: Purchase the best quality you can afford. They will look better than cheaper materials do and will last longer while adding to your enjoyment and value.

 

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Home Staging Part II: Letting your home do the work at showings

  Carla Connolly

Following our previous post on photographing your home for the listing, the next step is enticing the buyer once they step foot in your door. We offer custom advice to each of our clients, but the following tips will get you started:

 

Part 2: Showings

1) Greenery makes a room come alive - Real or fake plants make a room feel lived in. Plants create a homey atmosphere that most attracts buyers and lets them envision their lives in your home.

2) Clutter is your enemy - It's hard when still living in your home to eliminate all clutter, but a buyer can easily get distracted by the bills you have yet to pay instead of the granite countertops you've installed. We all like to feel our house will be tidy and clutter free. Part of a showing is about buying into that fantasy. Help them as much as you can.

3) Fill up an empty space - If rooms are furnished, they look larger and help buyers imagine how the room will be used. Throw rugs, pillows and throws make a clean space appear cozy.

4) Lighten up - Open the blinds, turn on the lights and let some air flow. Dark rooms feel small and dingy, so even the smallest rooms benefit from a little light.

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Home Staging Part I: Capturing your home in pictures

Carla Connolly

As Realtors, we work with our buyers to see beyond the furnishings to the potential in a property. But no matter how hard you work at it, a well presented home instantly attracts even the most discerning buyers. There are two important aspects to successful staging. The first is capturing the best view of the home for your online listing. As the first tier for most buyers, without compelling pictures, your home will not even warrant an in-person showing. The second is enticing the buyer once they step foot into your home. Follow these tips and then work with us when listing your home for custom advice on letting your home make the best first impression possible:

 

Part 1: Photos

1) Use a wide-angle camera - A lens that can capture more of the space is always going to allow for a better understanding of true room dimensions. Cell phone pictures, while easy, rarely capture the image you want to show potential buyers.

2) Move furniture if necessary - You may need to back out of a room to get a great shot and doing so may mean removing some furniture that is in your sight line. Furniture also shouldn't be placed around the room on every wall. Keep it interesting by forming functional "areas" throughout each room.

3) Use mirrors to your advantage - A reflection in a mirror can reveal more of a room not seen otherwise. This technique most comes into play in bathrooms and foyers.

4) Shoot at an angle - The longest width of the room is usually from one corner to the other. Don't be afraid to crawl behind furniture and plants to get that long shot. Not every photo needs to be done this way, but it will help make your room appear that much larger.

Stay tuned for more tips on how to best stage your home for showings.

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Invest in your home now to save in the future.

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.

1. Caulk 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?

2. Insulate 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.

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4 Ways to Stage Your Home This Summer

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.

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Did you catch our cameo in "Sex and the City 2"?

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?

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Five easy tips for sellers

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.

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What's that smell? Simple home deodorizing tips

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.

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Buffalo Niagara region becomes hot spot for homeowners

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.

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Buyers Expected to Flood Market Again

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.

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