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10 Best-Kept Secrets for Buying a Home

Get the most out of your money with these handy home-buying tips.

Buying Secret #10: Keep Your Money Where It Is
It’s not wise to make any huge purchases or move your money around three to six months before buying a new home. You don’t want to take any big chances with your credit profile. Lenders need to see that you’re reliable and they want a complete paper trail so that they can get you the best loan possible. If you open new credit cards, amass too much debt or buy a lot of big-ticket items, you’re going to have a hard time getting a loan.

Buying Secret #9: Get Pre-Approved for Your Home Loan
There’s a big difference between a buyer being pre-qualified and a buyer who has a pre-approved mortgage. Anybody can get pre-qualified for a loan. Getting pre-approved means a lender has looked at all of your financial information and they’ve let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. Being pre-approved will save you a lot of time and energy so you are not running around looking at houses you can’t afford. It also gives you the opportunity to shop around for the best deal and the best interest rates. Do your research: Learn about junk fees, processing fees or points and make sure there aren’t any hidden costs in the loan.

Buying Secret #8: Avoid a Border Dispute
It’s absolutely essential to get a survey done on your property so you know exactly what you’re buying. Knowing precisely where your property lines are may save you from a potential dispute with your neighbors. Also, your property tax is likely based on how much property you have, so it is best to have an accurate map drawn up.

Buying Secret # 7: Don’t Try to Time the Market
Don’t obsess with trying to time the market and figure out when is the best time to buy. Trying to anticipate the housing market is impossible. The best time to buy is when you find your perfect house and you can afford it. Real estate is cyclical, it goes up and it goes down and it goes back up again. So, if you try to wait for the perfect time, you’re probably going to miss out.

Buying Secret # 6: Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Everyone’s drawn to the biggest, most beautiful house on the block. But bigger is usually not better when it comes to houses. There’s an old adage in real estate that says don’t buy the biggest, best house on the block. The largest house only appeals to a very small audience and you never want to limit potential buyers when you go to re-sell. Your home is only going to go up in value as much as the other houses around you. If you pay $500,000 for a home and your neighbors pay $250,000 to $300,000, your appreciation is going to be limited. Sometimes it is best to is buy the worst house on the block, because the worst house per square foot always trades for more than the biggest house.

Buying Secret #5: Avoid Sleeper Costs
The difference between renting and home ownership is the sleeper costs. Most people just focus on their mortgage payment, but they also need to be aware of the other expenses such as property taxes, utilities and homeowner-association dues. New homeowners also need to be prepared to pay for repairs, maintenance and potential property-tax increases. Make sure you budget for sleeper costs so you’ll be covered and won’t risk losing your house.

Buying Secret #4: You’re Buying a House – Not Dating It
Buying a house based on emotions is just going to break your heart. If you fall in love with something, you might end up making some pretty bad financial decisions. There’s a big difference between your emotions and your instincts. Going with your instincts means that you recognize that you’re getting a great house for a good value. Going with your emotions is being obsessed with the paint color or the backyard. It’s an investment, so stay calm and be wise.

Buying Secret #3: Give Your House a Physical
Would you buy a car without checking under the hood? Of course you wouldn’t. Hire a home inspector. It’ll cost about $200 but could end up saving you thousands. A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to provide you with information so that you can make a decision as to whether or not to buy. It’s really the only way to get an unbiased third-party opinion. If the inspector does find any issues with the home, you can use it as a bargaining tool for lowering the price of the home. It’s better to spend the money up front on an inspector than to find out later you have to spend a fortune.

Buying Secret #2: The Secret Science of Bidding
Your opening bid should be based on two things: what you can afford (because you don’t want to outbid yourself), and what you really believe the property is worth. Make your opening bid something that’s fair and reasonable and isn’t going to totally offend the seller. A lot of people think they should go lower the first time they make a bid. It all depends on what the market is doing at the time. You need to look at what other homes have gone for in that neighborhood and you want to get an average price per square foot. Sizing up a house on a price-per-square-foot basis is a great equalizer. Also, see if the neighbors have plans to put up a new addition or a basketball court or tennis court, something that might detract from the property’s value down the road.

Buying Secret #1: Stalk the Neighborhood
Before you buy, get the lay of the land – drop by morning noon and night. Many homebuyers have become completely distraught because they thought they found the perfect home, only to find out the neighborhood wasn’t for them. Drive by the house at all hours of the day to see what’s happening in the neighborhood. Do your regular commute from the house to make sure it is something you can deal with on a daily basis. Find out how far it is to the nearest grocery store and other services. Even if you don’t have kids, research the schools because it affects the value of your home in a very big way. If you buy a house in a good school district versus bad school district even in the same town, the value can be affected as much as 20 percent.

Top 6 Tips for Mortgage Borrowers in 2014

By Polyana da Costa 1. Document your finances.

Lenders will be extra diligent when underwriting home loans in 2014, as new mortgage regulations go into effect in January. The rules put pressure on lenders to verify that borrowers have the ability to repay their loans.

Keep good records of your finances, including bank statements, tax returns, W-2s, investment accounts and any other assets you own. Be ready to explain any unusual deposits to your accounts. Yes, the $500 that Grandma deposited in your account for Christmas could delay your loan closing if you can’t prove where the money came from.

2. Lock a rate as soon as you can.

Rates will likely climb in 2014 as the Federal Reserve is expected to reduce the pace of the economic stimulus program that has long helped keep rates low. If you are planning to get a mortgage, lock in a rate as soon as you are comfortable with the numbers.

3. Refinance now — if you still can.

Many homeowners lost the opportunity to refinance at a lower rate when rates jumped in 2013. But those who are still paying more than 5 percent interest on their home loans might still have an opportunity.

If you think you may be able to save with a refinance, but you are not sure, it doesn’t hurt to try. Speak to a loan officer and take a look at the numbers to see if refinancing still makes financial sense for you after you consider how long it will take to break even with the closing costs.

4. Buyers, use your bargaining power.

As mortgage rates climbed, lenders lost a big chunk of their refinance business. In 2014, they will turn their attention to homebuyers and will fiercely compete for their business. Buyers should take advantage of bargaining power they gain with that increased competition. Shop around for the best deal and look beyond the interest rate on the loan.

5. Learn your rights as a borrower.

Mortgage borrowers will get many new rights as consumers this year when new mortgage rules created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau go into effect in 2014. If you run into issues with your mortgage servicer in 2014 or fall behind on your payments, make sure you are aware of your rights and put them to use.

6. Take good care of your credit.

It’s nearly impossible to get a mortgage without decent credit these days. That will continue to be the case in 2014. If you are planning to get a mortgage, monitor your credit history and score until your loan closes. The best mortgage rates usually go to borrowers with credit scores of 720 or higher. You may still get a mortgage with a score of 680, but lower scores will mean higher rates or higher closing costs.


10 Best-Kept Secrets for Selling Your Home

Tricks of the trade to help you get top dollar when selling your home.

Selling Secret #10: Pricing it right
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

Selling Secret #9: Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

Selling Secret #8: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

Selling Secret #7: Play the agent field
A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.

Selling Secret #6: Conceal the critters
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.

Selling Secret #5: Don’t over-upgrade
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.

Selling Secret #4: Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.

Selling Secret #3: The kitchen comes first
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.

Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show
Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

Selling Secret #1: The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.

Make Your Home Show Well to Sell Well

Get the House Ready

A house that “sparkles” on the surface will sell faster than its shabby neighbor, even though both are structurally well-maintained.
From experience, REALTORS® also know that a “well-polished” house appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and for a higher price. Additionally, buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is maintained, what they can’t see has probably also been maintained. In readying your house for sale, consider:

• Giving every room in the house a thorough cleaning, as well as removing all clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Some homeowners with crowded rooms have actually rented storage garages and moved half their furniture out, creating a sleeker, and more spacious look.

• Hiring a professional cleaning service, once every few weeks while the house is on the market. This may be a good investment for owners who are busy elsewhere.

• Removing the less frequently used, even daily used items from kitchen counters, closets, and attics, making these areas much more inviting. Since you’re anticipating a move anyhow, holding a garage sale at this point is a great idea.

• If necessary, repainting soiled or strongly colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. The same neutral scheme can be applied to carpets.

• Checking for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement.

• Repairing cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.

• Replacing broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings, and other woodwork. Inspecting and repairing the plumbing, heating, cooling, and alarm systems.

• Repairing dripping faucets and showerheads. Buying showy new towels for the bathroom, to be brought out only when prospective buyers are on the way.

• Sprucing up a kitchen in need of more major remodeling by investing in new cabinet knobs, new curtains, or a coat of neutral paint.
Tips for Making Your Home More Saleable
Before you put your home on the market, there are some things you can do to differentiate your house among the competitors.
When preparing to put your home up for sale, your first concern is the home’s exterior. If the outside, or “curb appeal” looks good, people will more than likely want to see what’s on the inside. Keep the lawn and landscape nicely manicured. Trim the bushes and season permitting, plant some flowers. Be sure your front door area has a “Welcome” feeling. A fresh coat of paint on the front door looks great.
Of all the rooms inside your home, pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. They should look as modern, bright and fresh as possible. It is essential for them to be clean and odor free. A fresh coat of paint just may do the trick. Have any leaky faucets taken care of. A call to a plumber is a wise investment.
Since you want your home to look as spacious as possible, remove any excess or very large furniture. Make sure that table tops, dressers and closets are free of clutter. Don’t use your garage, attic, or basement to store these extra things. These areas also need to have the impression of space. Instead, put them into storage. Make sure walls and doors are free of smudges and look for anything that might indicate a maintenance problem, such as cracked windows, holes in the wall or stained ceilings.
Finally, if your basement shows any signs of dampness or leakage, seal the walls.
Quick tips for showings:
• Keep counter tops cleared
• Replace all burned out light bulbs
• Open all drapes and window blinds
• Put pets in cages or take them to a neighbor
• No dirty dishes in the sink
• No laundry in the washer/dryer
• Clean or replace dirty or worn carpets
• Put on soft music
• Burn wood in the fireplace on cold days, otherwise, the fireplace should be clean
Always look at your home from the buyer’s point of view. Be objective and be honest.

Walk through like a buyer 

Grab a notebook and walk every inch of your home, inside and out. List everything that needs attention in some way. Follow through and make repairs or updates before signing on with a Realtor. The best pool of buyers comes through the first weeks the home is on the market.

Cut emotional ties
View your house as exactly that: a house that needs to be sold, not your home. It’s now a commodity. Don’t think of it as the place where you raised your kids.
People need to digest — come to terms with — the fact that they are going to sell. If homeowners fight her every suggestion and defend their beloved but dated wallpaper and carpet down to the last shred, they are not ready to part with their home. In reality, painting or new carpeting could mean a sale, plain and simple.

Go and See other homes in your price range

Visiting homes for sale in your price range with similar amenities will provide a Seller with ideas for showing and staging plus gain a perspective on where the price needs to be realistically. Sellers should really go in with the point of view of a Buyer.

8 tips for pricing your home in a buyer’s market

It’s tough being the seller in a buyer’s market. But you can improve your odds with the right research.
In many cases, making a smart deal and getting the best price come down to studying your market and being an educated seller.
You’ve got to know more than you would have if you’d sold a year ago. If you want to protect yourself, you have to become knowledgeable.”
1. Recognize that housing markets are local.
Home prices are like the weather — very different in different areas.
In addition, demand will change depending on the price range and even the neighborhood. What you need to know: What’s the demand for a house like yours in your area?
You have to look at what’s being sold and at what price.
Look at comparables for similar houses. Study prices and sales for one year ago, six months ago, three months ago and current numbers.
What are the trends? Are prices going up or down — and by how much? How many days are homes staying on the market? If they are on the market longer, how much of that could be seasonal? In many areas, spring and summer are the busy seasons.
Bottom of Form
Pay special attention to the delta between the list price and the sales price. That is, look for a meaningful relationship between list price and sales price. Perhaps most homes are selling for 5% less than the list price.
An agent who works the market will be in the best position to find the tipping point between nice, attractive and interesting — and being sold. You want to find the point between.
But you also need to realize that the paperwork alone tells only part of the story. While sales and prices are public, many times seller concessions are not.
2. Analyze who is buying and selling in your market.
What’s your competition? Who are the buyers, and why are they shopping?
Are you competing against a flood of new houses from builders eager to sell, or are you selling a newer home in an area where most of the housing stock is older?
3. Ask the professionals.
Don’t ignore the elephant in the living room. When you interview real-estate agents, ask about the market conditions for your area and price range.
Specifically, ask about the absorption rate. What that means: In the current conditions with the current inventory, how long would it take the market to absorb, or sell, all the houses on the market?
If the supply is much larger than the demand, ask potential agents how they would “price to offset that inventory,” he says.
4. Know what your house is worth.
Talk to a handful of agents. Get an appraisal from a certified professional appraiser. Look at your comparables. Taken together, that information will give you a pretty good idea of what your home is currently worth.
5. Consider strategic pricing.
Here’s how it works: If prices in your area are dropping 1% each month, and you want to sell within the next three months, you take 3% off your price right off the bat. So if you were going to put your home on the market for $400,000, you set the price at roughly $388,000.
The upside: You’ll have the competitive edge over the guy who’s dropping his price every month, without the air of desperation. Plus, in a market where prices are falling, you’ll make more money if you sell quickly.
The downside: Predicting the market is a tough call, even for the pros. And it’s really difficult to raise the price if your market starts to rebound.
6. Evaluate whether you really have to sell now.
If you want to get the best possible price for your home and the local market is tanking, see if you can delay the sale. Otherwise, in a lot of markets, sellers have to be willing to accept a pretty good haircut over what they thought their home was worth last year or even three years ago.
The downside of waiting: The market could decline or your circumstances could change to the point that you might need to sell quickly.
But for situations where the move is optional (or you might be able to rent the property until your local market improves), waiting is a solid option.
Just because you’ve already planted that “For Sale” sign doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind if you’re not seeing the interest you expected.
“If you know there are no sales or sales are decreasing, and you have the opportunity, taking it off the market is a decent solution.
7. Assess the market where you plan to buy.
If you’re selling one house and buying another; look at the market where you plan to move. It might be that, with the housing there, it’s a great time to buy.”

Pricing Your Home to Sell

By Kris Berg,

Follow these tips for pricing your home correctly in a competitive market

Imagine you want to buy a gallon of milk. You eye the dairy case, shelves stocked with dozens of choices, but they are really all the same. Milk is milk, and which one you select is really insignificant because they are all identical, and they are all priced the same.

But what if each identical offering was priced differently? Odds are you have set aside ample time for your shopping trip, and you will carefully check the price labels and go for the best deal. Or maybe you are drawn to the more attractive packaging.

When selling your home, attractive pricing and packaging are arguably the two most basic essentials. In our current real estate market, the buyers have a lot of choices. In many areas, the shelves are simply overstocked. And since no two homes are the same, making that distinction between your home and the dozens of others is key.

Where pricing is concerned, establishing that all important asking price is part science and part art, and there are several things you should consider.

  • Study past sales. This is the starting point for any thoughtful and successful pricing strategy; think of it as the “science” part. Take the time to study past sale statistics for homes in your area and areas similar to yours. None will be identical, of course, but having a clear understanding of true market value is the first step in establishing your list price.
  • Do not confuse active listings with past sales. Active listings have not sold. They are just your competition. It is important to be aware of your competition’s pricing, but this is often just an indication of what your home won’t sell for.
  • Do not overprice because you have “time.” If the market is appreciating, this strategy may work, but if prices in your area are declining, you may quickly find yourself chasing a market and costing yourself money. And if the market is stable? Your home will just sit. Buyers pay in today’s dollars, and time is rarely on your side.
  • Leave some room for negotiation, but don’t overreach. No seller wants to feel he left money on the table, and no buyer wants to overpay. Your price should give both parties room to maneuver, but if it is too high, you risk being perceived as unrealistic, and buyers will pass over your home.
  • Think like a buyer. What are the things that you value in a home? Is it a large yard, an updated kitchen or a view? These are likely the same things that your buyer values as well. Talk to your agent about current buyer trends. Yesterday’s avocado green shag carpeting is today’s granite countertop. The property facing the interstate is going to be a tougher sell than the one with a mountain view. Your price should reflect how your home compares to the others offered for sale. Buyers will find objections to any home, as none is perfect, but it is curious how quickly objections disappear when the price is compelling.
  • React swiftly and decisively. If your home is on the market and is not being shown or if you receive feedback that you are priced too aggressively, don’t hesitate to adjust your price. Bad news, like spoiled milk, doesn’t get better with time.

First impressions are everything when selling your home. Studies have shown that the first two weeks on the market are the most crucial to your success. During these initial days, your home will be exposed to all active buyers. If your price is perceived as too high, you will quickly lose this initial audience and find yourself relying only on the trickle of new buyers entering the market each day. Markets are dynamic, and your price has an expiration date. You have one chance to grab attention. Make sure your pricing helps you stand out on the shelf — in a positive way.


30 Can't-Miss Home Staging Tips

Designed to Sell designer Lisa LaPorta shares some of her best home staging tips.

Staging rooms to show off their true potential is essential when selling your home.Clear out clutter or other personal items that will distract buyers. Paint the walls a neutral tone, and furnish the space to show off how functional it is. When buyers come through and imagine themselves there, you can bet an offer isn’t far behind.

A shabby wood-panel wall is not a strong selling point.
Instead of ripping it out, cover it up. Use wood filler to carefully fill in all the cracks between the panels. Then, use a sponge to wipe away the excess filler. Once it’s dry, paint the room. You’ll see an unattractive wall go from standing out to blending in.

Use tape outlines on the floor instead of actually moving furniture around.
Rearranging a room to stage it for your open house? Here is a tip to save time and effort: Instead of lugging the heavy furniture around the room to see what feels best, put outlines on the floor with painter’s tape. Arrange the room according to your outlines, and save your energy for counting offers.

Vinyl tile is an inexpensive way to update your home.
Laying vinyl tile is an inexpensive way to update your home, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. You need to avoid laying patterns that look too perfect. Instead, make sure to switch up the direction and placement of the tiles to mix the tones. That way, you end up with a floor that has a natural feel. 

Let the sun shine in.
Buyers love light and airy living rooms, but dark and dingy isn’t on their list. Open up your window shades to let some light in. Cheat some sunshine with a light-colored paint and lots of artificial lighting. You can never have too many lamps. Last, arrange the space with lightly colored furniture, and you’ll have a living room that brightens your chances of a sale.

Stage rooms with one purpose so buyers will know what it is.
Potential buyers are confused by extra rooms that have a mishmash of uses. To avoid this problem, first clear away clutter and excess furniture. Paint the walls a neutral tone and then furnish the room with a desk to stage it as a home office in which buyers will want to get down to business.

Unpleasant pet odors won’t win over buyers.
We all love our pets, but unpleasant pet odors can make a negative first impression. Be sure to get rid of old carpet that can trap offensive smells. Replace it with fresh new carpet in a neutral color. Plus, if you paint the walls to match, your living room will look bigger. It’ll go from designed to smell to designed to sell.

Pack up unnecessary items and furniture before you show the house.
An overpacked living room is a red flag to buyers that your home lacks storage space. Pack up unnecessary items and furniture, and move items to your garage or a nearby storage facility. Clear the way for a sale by letting buyers see your square footage, not your personal belongings.

Storage space sells!
Potential buyers love homes that have lots of storage space. Since they will open your closets, it’s a good idea to clear out unnecessary clutter, and organize your shelves to show off how much storage you really have. Plus, it gives you a chance to start packing, as you will definitely be moving once buyers see all that closet space.

Create a nice flow in your rooms.
Buyers are attracted to homes that have a good flow. You can create circulation by replacing square or rectangular dining tables with round ones. Cutting the corners adds room to this maneuver and creates a spinoff effect that adds flow to your home — cash flow, that is.

Create a better flow in the house by starting with the floor.
Want to create better flow in your house? Start with the floor. Join two rooms together by using the most cost-efficient material in the book: vinyl tile. First, use a snap-line to create a center point between the two rooms. Next, the fun part: Peel and stick the new vinyl tile down, and watch your kitchen and dining room go from old to sold!

Stain dated kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them.
Dated kitchen cabinets can be a big turnoff to potential buyers. Instead of paying big bucks to replace them, just stain them. First, apply the stain in even strokes, going with the grain of the wood. Add some stylish hardware, and your kitchen will have the up-to-date look that buyers love, for less than $200.

Stainless-steel appliances are definitely in with buyers.
Instead of buying a new dishwasher, here is a low-cost way to resurface an old one: First, remove the front panels, and clean them. Next, apply a stainless-steel stick-on covering, and cut it to size. For just $20 your dishwasher will go from outdated to ultra-modern.

Fill existing hardware holes instead of making new, unsightly ones.
Removing old kitchen hardware can leave your cabinets with stripped-out holes. Here is a trick to reusing the existing ones.

First, dip a toothpick in glue and place it in the stripped hole. Cut off the excess piece. Once the glue dries, you’ll be ready to put in the hardware that buyers love.

Save money on granite countertops.
Granite countertops are a huge selling feature, but they can be expensive. Here are a few ways to save on this investment:

First, do the demo yourself. Also, ask the vendor for remnants from previous projects. Remember, any money you spend will definitely be returned in the value these beautiful counters add to your kitchen.

New kitchen appliances bring high returns from sellers.
Studies show that new kitchen appliances bring high returns from sellers, so get rid of old appliances that make the rest of the kitchen look dated. Once you install the new equipment, it will scream “new kitchen,” and you will see that spending a little money will make you even more.

Need to dress up a window but don’t want to shell out big bucks for window treatments?
Here’s a trick: Use place mats. First, apply a hook-and-loop fastener to the place mats and attach them in a row to a basic curtain rod. Now that the place mats are attached to the curtain rods, pin them together at the bottom, and you’ll have a stylish valance that costs about $12.

Adding drama to old hardwood flooring is easier than you might think.
First, isolate damaged boards, cut them out and replace them with new pieces. Rent a sander from a local hardware store, and give the floor a good sanding. The last step is to stain the boards with a rich color, and watch your floor go from drab to dramatic in no time.

Buyers love built-in bookshelves.
There’s a fine line between filling them with clutter and staging them to sell. The trick is to arrange neutral items in clusters. Make sure that no single accessory stands out too much. That way, you’ll show off your attractive built-ins, and not your personal belongings. 

Curb appeal is vital to attracting buyers.
Here is how to stop traffic using color. First, with two tones of paint, add a faux finish to any corner keystones. Next, bring out the color of walkway pavers using a stone sealer. Plant flowers in bloom, and you’ll have buyers swarming like bees to your front door.

A nice outdoor deck can be a big selling feature, but an old one is a major liability.
To give your outdoor space new life, first sand the wood. Cover it with a light-colored stain instead of paint to give it a rustic, grainy look. Furnish it for entertaining, and watch your open house turn into a party.

Breathe new life into a worn patio.
Do you have a red-brick patio surface that needs to be freshened up? Here is an easy way to give it new life with paint. First, roll a light coat of paint onto the bricks. Next, lightly spray them with water and then dab them before they dry to give them an outdoor look. When you are done, you will have a patio that looks fresh and reels in buyers.

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