Our Real Estate Blog
You've moved into your vintage home with grand plans to update it as you go. Some renovations must wait for your budget to improve. But here are some budget-wise ways to update the family room and move your home in the direction you want by giving your fireplace an update or upgrading your mantel.
Freshen the fireplace
Arguably the focal point of any living space, a complete fireplace renovation may be part of your overall plan, but meanwhile, give it a fresher look with one of these ideas.
- Add a screen. Fireplace screens come in a plethora of styles, sizes, shapes, and metals. Dress up the room with a lattice-style or painted fan screen.
- Change out the mantel. If you long for a more rustic look, replace your thinner mantel with a thick, rough-cut plank. Or, pick up a vintage mantel at your local antique store. For a truly updated look, go mantel-free and hang a substantial piece of art above.
- Paint the brick and surround in contrasting colors. Make certain only to paint with heat-rated preparations near the firebox. Try gray walls, pewter on the brick with black on the surround. Or use various shades of warm taupe with bronze or copper. If the metal surround is removable, it’s easier to use spray paint for excellent results.
- Resurface with tile. A fine herringbone or hexagon mosaic pattern adds interest, or hand-crafted or painted tiles create a distinctive focal point. For a very modern look, consider basket weave or vertical tiles. But, to give your home a historical aspect, consider narrow subway tiles with a subtle glaze.
Turn it into Art
If you don’t burn fires your fireplace, consider turning it into a display for your collection of brass candlesticks, a floral arrangement, or a grouping of urns and vases. Prepare the fireplace for non-use: To reduce heat loss, make sure to turn off the gas, then close the damper. Place a section of fiberglass or foam insulation the width and depth of the opening into the flue. Paint a piece of cardboard black and use it to wedge the insulation in place. Clean the firebricks with your favorite household cleaner and a stiff brush so that soot doesn’t damage your decorative items.If you’re thinking of removing your fireplace or permanently closing it up, take a moment to check with a local property professional to make certain it doesn’t reduce the value of your home.
If you’re investing in a resale property or know you may be moving in the next few years, consider including these factors in your home buying checklist. While you might easily live with or overlook some features of your home or neighborhood, being mindful of your future buyer now can help you save time and energy when you're making the move to sell.
Find a home with appealing views. When prospective buyers visit your home in the future having a beautiful view out the window can make or break a sale. Look for a house with a well-maintained yard that you can easily continue to manage. Check for appealing privacy fencing that will still be in good condition for several more years. Explore the whole home and note the view from all windows.
Views to avoid
- Power lines and water towers—Power lines are an eye-sore that can affect your ability to make a quick sale. For the same reason, try to avoid purchasing a house with a water tower in view. Depending on your city this can be a tricky box to check.
- Railroad tracks—Freight trains are an obnoxious neighbor. Explore the area around the home you’re considering. Is it close to a railroad track? Is the track active with trains running throughout the day? Can you see any tracks from the house? If you can't buy far enough away from the railroad, try to avoid living within sight of the tracks.
- Busy retail areas—Finding a home near an active area is an excellent idea but purchasing a house directly across the street or that backs up to a road with lots of shops, restaurants, and bars can hinder your sale. Find the balance between an appealing area and the extra noise that might come from a trendy neighborhood.
Visit the house more than once and at different times of day, especially if in a metropolitan area, so you can monitor street noise, foot traffic, and natural light. Pay attention to your potential neighbors. Are their homes well kept? Do they have any loud animals or ongoing equipment usage? What will the neighborhood as a whole look like to your future buyer?
If you already bought your home and weren't able to check off all the perfect view boxes on your list, there are some steps you can take to help with your future sale.
- Simple landscaping—plant trees or bushes to block an unfortunate view. Consider adding flower boxes under windows to attract the eye.
- Moderate sounds—invest in well-insulated windows or add insulation to walls to help overcome any negative street noise.
Talk to your real estate professional about all of your resale needs and get the best advice for purchasing and reselling in your local market.
Buying a home can be fast and easy for just about anyone. However, becoming the "perfect" property buyer can be challenging, particularly for those who are shopping for a house for the first time.
The perfect homebuyer understands what it takes to land his or her ideal house at the best price. As such, he or she will know how to handle difficult homebuying situations and streamline the process of going from property buyer to property owner.
Ultimately, becoming the perfect homebuyer may be easier than you think – here are three tips to help you acquire your ideal residence quickly and effortlessly.
1. Study the Real Estate Market Closely
The real estate market has many ups and downs, but the perfect homebuyer will know the ins and outs of the housing sector. By studying the real estate market closely, this property buyer will be able to identify the right opportunities and overcome any potential homebuying hurdles.
Spend some time looking at the prices of homes that are currently available. This will allow you to find homes at price that you like – and homes at prices that you don't like – and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
Also, take a look at homes that recently sold in cities or towns where you'd like to live. This will enable you to differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market.
2. Know What You Can Spend on a Home
The perfect homebuyer should have no trouble avoiding the temptation to overspend on a house. In fact, this homebuyer will understand how to get pre-approved for a mortgage, which will ensure that he or she can establish a property buying budget.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a homebuyer should meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will enable a homebuyer to learn about the mortgage options that are available from a variety of lenders. Plus, a homebuyer can ask questions and discuss myriad mortgage options with these lenders.
With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will be able to enter the housing market with a budget in hand. Then, this property buyer can narrow his or her search for the ideal residence.
3. Collaborate with a Housing Market Professional
Becoming the perfect homebuyer may require you to receive housing market guidance at times. Fortunately, if you work with a real estate agent, you can get top-notch support as you navigate the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent is a housing market professional who will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you. He or she will be able to provide homebuying recommendations to help you make informed decisions. Also, a real estate agent will be able to keep you up to date about new houses as they become available, guaranteeing that you can speed up the homebuying process.
When it comes to buying a home, it is essential to do whatever it takes to acquire a first-rate residence at a budget-friendly price. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to doing just that.
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