Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Want to Sell Your Home? Clinch the Deal With Curb Appeal!

For this article I sat down with Cathy Sykora at Omaha Drapery & Blind and we talked about Curb appeal and what you can do to your home to make it more appealing from the street. If you are planning on selling your home in the near future you're going to want to read this article and watch my video.

Believe me, great curb appeal is everything when it comes to getting potential buyers into your home! Plus, outstanding curb appeal can not only make the sale but increase your profit from that sale as well!

The benefits don’t stop there. Curb appeal can actually be achieved with very little money (depending on the size and condition of the home, of course). So, don’t think of it as cash spent; it’s actually an investment in more profit!

Below, I provide you some very low-cost and sensible methods for making your home “shine!”

Clean – Then Clean Again!

I don’t know about you but when I see dirt and grime in a house, it’s a turn off because, as a buyer, I certainly don’t want to end up cleaning it all out!

But, there’s another negative to a messy house – it tells potential buyers, “The owner doesn’t seem to care about his property, so why should I care?” Granted, this is not always a fair conclusion, but, remember, we’re dealing with the “emotional” side of the buyer. What they see is what forms their opinion of a property.

So, don’t risk the possibility of a negative opinion! From top to bottom, clean your home or have it cleaned by a professional service. Especially pay attention to getting rid of any odors! Unpleasant smells have a particularly negative impact upon potential buyers since odors create an immediate impact upon the most primitive and powerful part of the brain.

Get Out the Paint Brush…Roller…Sprayer!

The big temptation here is to go with the cheapest paint possible. Don’t give in to this urge. Go with good quality paint for both the interior and exterior! It simply looks better and emphasizes the quality of care you’ve put into your home. Buyers will notice that!

Roll Out the “Red” Carpet!

If your present carpet is at all worn or threadbare, consider replacing it with new carpet. I know, I know, it can be expensive, but new carpet can also add several thousand dollars to the final sale price! Once again, think of it as an investment, not as an expense.

At a minimum, if your current carpet is in good shape, have it professionally cleaned to make it look even better.

Repair All the Little Things!

By themselves, a missing knob, a crooked gutter, an ill-fitting door, etc., don’t have much of a negative impact upon a buyer’s perceptions. However, when they see all these things together, they definitely get a sour attitude very quickly. So, repair all the little things to enhance exterior and interior curb appeal. Replace/repair gutters, rotted wood, broken door latches, leaky faucets, etc.

Manicure That Lawn!

A mowed and edged lawn really enhances the curb appeal of your home and shows potential buyers that you take good care of your place. To really put the “icing” on the curb appeal “cake,” add plantings like flowers, bushes, etc. They add color and delightful smells.

If you really want to make your home stand out in terms of terms of exterior and interior, consider hiring an accredited, professional “home stager” (ASP).

What’s a Home Stager?

Home stagers work with the “flow” of a home. Think of them as similar to set designers for plays and movies. They know how to “set the stage” in exactly the right way to impress any potential buyer visiting your home.

Overall, they eliminate clutter, arrange furniture, and help you enhance interior/exterior curb appeal in every way possible. Their charges may be on an hourly basis or a flat fee.

For information on home staging professionals, google “Home Staging Professionals” to see who’s available in your area. Or, check out these sources on the Internet:

STAGEDHOMES.COM  and The Real Estate Staging Association

If you’d like more information on home staging or any other methods of increasing your home’s curb appeal, contact me today at or

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Home Buyers/Refinancers: Expanded Title Insurance Is a Necessity These Days!

Recently I spoke with Julie Hudkins of First Nebraska Title and Escrow. She’s an expert on the subject of title insurance and, more importantly, expanded title insurance.

As I’m sure you already know, basic title insurance is necessary to protect you against any unexpected defects, claims on any house you buy, or judgments against previous owners like alimony, child support, etc.

For example, you’d want to know if there are liens against a previous owner because, if there are, then you could be held legally responsible for paying them!

That’s why you always need title insurance – it’s protection in advance.

But, these days you need more than the basic form, especially if you’re buying a foreclosed home! Expanded title insurance protects you against unexpected things like:

• Building permit violations (from previous owners)
• Encroachment violations
• Subdivision violations
• Covenant violations (from previous owners)
• Living trusts
• Structure damage from mineral extractions
• Variety of encroachments and forgeries after title insurance is issued, etc.

For example, assume a contractor put the wrong kind of shingles on a roof; that is, they violated the subdivision rules. Or, in the course of refinancing, you find that you built a fence that encroaches on your neighbor’s property, etc. In either case, you’re more fully protected when you have extended title insurance!

In short, whether you’re buying a new home or refinancing your current one, extended title insurance is vital to protecting your interests!

To learn more about this subject, call Julie immediately at 402.691.9933. For all your real estate needs, call me today at 402.598.3965 or contact me at!