10 Curb Appeal Tips

In real estate, an attractive exterior can make or break a home sale. 

Why Curb Appeal Matters

First impressions are everything – at least when it comes to selling your home. 63 percent of homebuyers will drop by after viewing a home they like online. What will they see? The home’s exterior – including the front entry, yard, driveway and sidewalk — should serve as a snapshot of what’s to come when potential buyers enter your home. Read on to learn 10 ways you can wow homebuyers from the curb.

1: Roof

Most homeowners don’t give their roofs a second glance, but the roof is an important curb appeal item that buyers do notice. Is yours missing any shingles, or is it dingy and streaked? A good cleaning or, if necessary, a roof replacement will up your home’s curb appeal factor tremendously.

2: Shiny, Happy Numbers

If your house numbers aren’t easy to see or if they’re dirty and dingy, replacing them carries a tremendous impact.

3: Wash

Budget-conscious homeowners will love this tip: Pressure-washing the dirty siding and deck, as well as the oil-stained driveway and faded walkways is an extremely cost-efficient way to increase your home’s curb appeal. If you don’t own a pressure washer, you can rent one from your local home improvement store for the day.

4. Trim

One of the most common curb appeal killers, and easiest fixes, is to simply give those tall and window-obscuring shrubs and bushes out front a nice flat-top trim. Letting prospective buyers see the full front of the house with windows and all will go a long way toward unloading your house quickly.

Regularly care for your lawn by mowing the grass, raking off leaves, and pulling weeds. Keep it well watered to prevent brown spots. As long as you keep up with it, lawn care won’t become a huge project. 

5. Plants

Except for the dead of winter, some types of annual plants are always in bloom. Spruce up your porch containers, window boxes and front beds with some colorful flowers for instant lift. A few inches of dark mulch will brighten up the beds.

6. Paint

Paint is only about $25 per gallon, and painting the front door, trim and shutters is a great way to polish the look of your home. Other inexpensive fix-ups: a new mailbox, a new porch light fixture and a cheery new welcome mat.

7. Driveway

If your driveway is cracked or stained or has vegetation sprouting from it, you can upgrade it for curb appeal without doing a complete redo. First repair the cracks and stains (and kill the weeds), then dress it up by staining the concrete or affixing flagstones. If you need more room to move your car or park, add stone, brick, or pavers to the sides of the drive to widen it with a decorative border. Establishing a crisp, clear shift between paved and unpaved surfaces can help to set off a driveway and enhance a landscape.

8. Walkway

If the main walkway up to your house is a boring series of concrete slabs or is broken, cracked or otherwise rundown looking, you can easily create a new one for not much money. Cool flat flagstones can be attached to good, but bland, concrete or try laying out your own brand new walkway, just ask a home improvement store for tips.

9. Fix it up

Take care of any small repairs, like ripped screens, or burned out bulbs. Even tiny flaws can stand out against an otherwise picturesque exterior, so it’s worth taking a day to fix them. Walk around the outside of your house noting anything that requires a quick fix, and then get the tools you need and get to work.

10. Keep it simple

Whatever you’re planning on doing, don’t overdo it. Just keep it clean and tidy so that the whole place looks aesthetic and composed.

Giving your home a curb appeal boost can be done in just a day or weekend if you plan ahead and prioritize the projects that will really make a difference. Chances are, your home already has plenty of beautiful elements and it just needs some finishing touches to really look its best. Put some time and effort into it and you’ll be amazed by the results.


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BUYING | SELLING | CONTACT ME

All data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the RLS or Century 21. See Terms of Service for additional restrictions. © 2020. Century 21 Allstars. All material presented herein is intended for information purposes only. While, this information is believed to be correct, it is represented subject to errors, omissions, changes or withdrawal without notice. All property information, including, but not limited to square footage, room count, number of bedrooms and the school district in property listings are deemed reliable, but should be verified by your own attorney, architect or zoning expert. The number of bedrooms listed above is not a legal conclusion. Each person should consult with his/her own attorney, architect or zoning expert to make a determination as to the number of rooms in the unit that may be legally used as a bedroom. We are an equal housing opportunity provider. Consistent with applicable law, we do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, lawful source of income, military status, sex, gender identity, age, disability, familial status (having children under age 18), or religion. Equal Housing Opportunity. 

10 Credit Tips

The Holy Grail of all credit scores: 850. On the widely used FICO credit score scale, approximately one in every 200 people achieves perfection.

The perks of having a perfect or even excellent credit score (think 740 or higher) are undeniable. It puts the ball completely in the corner of the consumer rather than the lender. You’ll often have lenders fighting for your business, and in nearly all instances, you’ll be offered the best interest rate by lenders, meaning you’ll have the lowest possible long-term mortgage and loan costs of any consumer.

Here are 10 credit tips I’ll share with you that should help in your pursuit of an 850 credit score.

  1. SET UP AS MANY AUTOMATIC PAYMENTS AS POSSIBLE.

Reduce the possibility of a late payment and eliminate the “I forgot” excuse that ensures that you’re never late on your bills.

Setup autopay so you never miss a payment, or bill pay reminders to receive notifications when your bills are due.

A history of on-time payments helps show lenders that you can manage credit responsibly. A payment that is late 30 days or more is often reported to the credit bureaus.

0 late payments for maximum credit points

2. DON’T CARRY A BALANCE IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO

If you can, pay your credit cards off each and every month. One of the greatest misconceptions is that you need to carry a balance on your credit cards to improve your credit score, which just isn’t true. As long as you’re paying your bill on time each month, even if that bill is paid off in its entirety every month, then you’re going to see a long-term positive benefit in your credit score. Now that you know you don’t have to leave a balance on your card, here’s how much you should be swiping:

3. USE LESS THAN 30% OF YOUR AVAILABLE CREDIT

If you use too much of your available credit, you may not have enough credit when you need it, but most importantly lenders will think you’re spread thin financially if you use every dime of your credit limit.

Use less than 30% of your available credit. If your credit card limit is $1,000 only use MAXIMUM $300 on that card. But keep in mind that using some available credit and paying it off immediately may be better than not using any credit at all.

Use up to 10% of credit limit for maximum credit points

4. DON’T CHECK YOUR CREDIT SCORE EACH MONTH

Another somewhat common misconception is that you need to stay on top of your credit score like a hawk. Having a few inquiries a year is normal, but people with too many inquiries within a short period could be seen as applying for multiple new credit lines, which is an indicator that someone could be financially overextended.

Your credit score can take a long time to adjust upward, limit your credit score checks to between two and four times annually. 

0 credit checks within 2 years for maximum credit points

5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO INCREASE YOUR CREDIT LIMIT

If you’re a compulsive spender, fear of increasing your credit limit would be justified. In all other cases, I’d suggest cardholders embrace the idea of higher credit limits. Yes, increasing your credit limit will likely involve your lender taking a hard look at your credit report, and it may result in a temporary loss of a few points on your credit score. But over the long term it could help lower your credit utilization rate, which will have a considerably more positive impact on your credit score as long as you remain responsible with your spending.

$50,000+ credit limit for maximum credit points

6. KEEP GOOD-STANDING ACCOUNTS OPEN AND USE THEM FROM TIME TO TIME

One of the bigger errors consumers make is closing good-standing credit accounts because they believe credit card companies will view the action as “responsible.” Some believe that by having fewer accounts, they’ll be demonstrating to lenders that they can responsibly manage their credit – but that is NOT the case. Keep your oldest credit account open and in good standing.

The age of your oldest credit account shows lenders how much experience you have handling credit. So don’t close old paid off accounts, not only will it not help, but it can damage your score.

25+ years old credit account for maximum credit points

7. ONLY OPEN ACCOUNTS WHEN IT MAKES FINANCIAL SENSE

Opening a credit account makes sense when it’s an exceptionally large purchase, such as a house or car, or when it’s a large purchase that would strain your checking or savings account. In other words, avoid opening multiple new credit accounts just to save 10% on that $29 shirt you want.

Only apply for credit when you NEED it, and once you open an account, make sure to manage it by paying your bill on time and only using as much as 30%.

Open no more than 2 accounts within 2 years for maximum credit points

8. KEEP CAR / HOME INQUIRIES WITHIN A SHORT TIME PERIOD

If you’re shopping around for credit accounts like a mortgage or an auto loan, try to keep your inquiries within a short time period. The Vantage Score 3.0 model counts all inquiries that appear in your credit file within a 14 day window as a single inquiry.

Run your credit once, ask them to give you a copy of your full report to use when shopping for loans.

9. BECOME AN AUTHORIZED USER

Simply put, an authorized user is someone who is granted access to another person’s credit-card account. Becoming an authorized user on a responsible person’s credit card can be a quick path to building credit without a credit check.

If you already have great credit established, adding a trustworthy authorized user to your card can help you earn more rewards more quickly, while helping someone else build his or her credit. But as you’ll see, mutual trust is key to an authorized user relationship.

 Be sure to investigate before making the decision to add or be added as an authorized user: https://wallethub.com/edu/authorized-user/24717/

10. FOCUS ON YOUR REVOLVING DEBTS FIRST

If you happen to carry a balance on your credit cards, it’s important for consumers to focus on paying off their revolving debts first.

Whether you realize it or not, FICO actually takes the types of debt you pay into account when calculating your score. These two types of debt are revolving and installment. Revolving debts typically have higher interest rates and your minimum payment is based on the amount you owe. Department store credit cards are a good example. Installment loans are fixed loans of a lengthy time period, such as a mortgage or car loan. Paying down your revolving debts first often means paying less in interest.


Hopefully these 10 tips will get you on your way to 740+. If you need unique help or have questions, feel free to schedule an appointment and we can get you on the free path to a good score. Simply fill out the form below.


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BUYING | SELLING | CONTACT ME

All data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the RLS or Century 21. See Terms of Service for additional restrictions. © 2020. Century 21 Allstars. All material presented herein is intended for information purposes only. While, this information is believed to be correct, it is represented subject to errors, omissions, changes or withdrawal without notice. All property information, including, but not limited to square footage, room count, number of bedrooms and the school district in property listings are deemed reliable, but should be verified by your own attorney, architect or zoning expert. The number of bedrooms listed above is not a legal conclusion. Each person should consult with his/her own attorney, architect or zoning expert to make a determination as to the number of rooms in the unit that may be legally used as a bedroom. We are an equal housing opportunity provider. Consistent with applicable law, we do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, lawful source of income, military status, sex, gender identity, age, disability, familial status (having children under age 18), or religion. Equal Housing Opportunity. 

How To Improve Your Home Appraisal

appraisal.jpg

Many sellers find that they believe their home is worth more than the appraisal states it’s worth. People can be emotionally connected to their homes, so it can be difficult if an appraisal comes in lower than expected. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to increase the appraisal amount. In addition to making sure you have all the important features and upgrades of your home ready for the appraiser, follow these five tips to improve your home appraisal.

1.    Request that the lender sends a local appraiser. If your appraiser is unfamiliar with your area, there may be a chance the appraisal will come in at less than what the property is actually worth. If you can’t get a local appraiser, make sure you provide the appraiser detailed information about your neighborhood.

2.    Only make renovations that add the most value. Kitchen and bathroom upgrades and finished basements will generally increase your appraisal. If you’ve renovated any part of your home, make sure you document the renovation and costs with before and after photos and a spreadsheet of the detailed costs. Be prepared to show receipts if necessary.

3.    Clean up your yard. Having trimmed trees and shrubs, a well-maintained lawn, and flowers or flowerbeds can help improve the appraisal. Give your landscaping an update. Don’t neglect any part of your yard.

4.    Repair or replace outdated or broken appliances and/or light fixtures. It may not be cost effective to purchase all new appliances. However, if there is any appliance or light fixture that is not working properly, it could affect your home’s value negatively.

5.    Clean up clutter. Clutter is an eyesore, but it can also cost you money when getting an appraisal. Some experts claim a clean, clutter-free home can appraise for up to ten percent higher than a comparable home that is messy and full of clutter.


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BUYING | SELLING | CONTACT ME

All data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the RLS or Century 21. See Terms of Service for additional restrictions. © 2020. Century 21 Allstars. All material presented herein is intended for information purposes only. While, this information is believed to be correct, it is represented subject to errors, omissions, changes or withdrawal without notice. All property information, including, but not limited to square footage, room count, number of bedrooms and the school district in property listings are deemed reliable, but should be verified by your own attorney, architect or zoning expert. The number of bedrooms listed above is not a legal conclusion. Each person should consult with his/her own attorney, architect or zoning expert to make a determination as to the number of rooms in the unit that may be legally used as a bedroom. We are an equal housing opportunity provider. Consistent with applicable law, we do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, lawful source of income, military status, sex, gender identity, age, disability, familial status (having children under age 18), or religion. Equal Housing Opportunity.