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Article-2Spring home selling season is here, and economists predict this will be a good year for sales as mortgage rates continue to hover at near-historic low rates.

Is it necessary to spend a lot of money in order to get a quick sale? No, says personal finance blogger Lars Peterson, who suggests five cheap and easy ways that may get you to a ‘Sold’ sign faster:

  • Clear the clutter – You love your stuff, but it may not be appealing to buyers. Pack away the knickknacks and most of the books and photos – even small pieces of furniture. A de-cluttered room looks larger and makes good features – like a chef’s stove or fireplace – the focal point of the room.
  • Clean – Focus on rooms buyers inspect most carefully – kitchen and bathrooms, the living room and the master bedroom. Make every surface sparkle Get behind and under appliances. In bathrooms, pay attention to mold and mildew.
  • Paint one room – If you can’t afford the time or money to paint every room, paint one that gets a lot of attention – possibly the entryway or the kitchen. If the rooms seen first are freshly painted, it creates a good vibe for the rest of the house.
  • Plant colorful flowers – Since first impressions are so important, many real estate agents advise sellers to spruce up the front of the home. Planting colorful flowers along the sidewalk or against the front of the house creates a welcoming image – or settle for a neat front lawn and a few pots of flowers on the porch.
  • Create a good vibe – Open windows to bring in fresh air. Open curtains and blinds to let in light. Install high wattage bulbs in your best fixtures, and turn on all the lights when showing your home. Avoid lingering cooking odors a day or two before an open house – and lightly citrus-scented candles can do a lot to make a home appealing. A recent Journal of Retailing study of retail shoppers found that simple aromas such as orange, lemon or pine boosted sales as much as 30 percent, while complex aromas – such as baking or potpourri odors – depressed sales a few percentage points.


It’s no great secret that prospective buyers take their time looking at every room within a home when searching for the property that will best meet their needs. But one of the most important rooms that will likely sway their decision is the bathroom.

Therefore, it’s crucial that the bathroom is portrayed in the best light possible. Even more important is the way the room is presented when prospective buyers come to visit in-person. The last thing you want is to scare them away with an old, dingy bathroom.

Here are five quick fixes you can tackle this weekend to create a truly updated space.

1. Replace the Vanity. When it comes to bathroom vanities, wood is out. The problem with wood is that the color tends to fade over time. If you don’t have the money to replace your outdated vanity with a newer one, consider giving it a facelift with a coat of paint. Whether you go with a clean white or a color that complements the tub, a fresh coat of paint will give the room a more cohesive look. Bringing in a new vanity will provide more counter space and better storage solutions as designs have changed to reflect the changing needs of the modern bathroom.

2. Clean the Tile. Have the hundreds of jaded tiles that cover the floor—and more than half the bathroom walls—become an eyesore? It’s easy to add life to a tiled floor or wall with an eco-friendly acid etcher that removes ground-in dirt from the surface and grout lines. A little elbow grease can make the tile look like new again.

3. Add Racks. A small hook on the back of the bathroom door for hanging wet towels is a great addition to any bathroom, but if you’re looking to fully take advantage of the space, it’s time to get creative. For example, a wooden coat rack is perfect for hanging robes, towels and bathing suits. Not only will this increase the amount of storage space within the bathroom, it’ll also add a note of originality.

4. Replace Fixtures. Bathroom fixtures not only become outdated quickly, they can also lose some of their luster over time. Replacing fixtures is an easy (and inexpensive) way to give your bathroom a more polished look. Go to your local home improvement store and find some cabinet handles or faucets made out of brushed nickel or other metals that are polished and elegant.

5. Replace Lighting. Bathrooms are notorious for lacking in the light department, so incorporating new lighting options—especially around the vanity—can go a long way toward creating a brighter space. Additional lighting is also a great way to highlight the room’s positive features. You may also want to consider the addition of mood lighting around the tub area.

Contact our office today for additional bathroom renovation ideas.


Now that the spring selling season has arrived, prospective buyers are jumping back into the home search. With the added interest that comes with the season, if your home is currently on the market, now’s the time to make sure it truly stands out above the competition.

Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can easily update your home’s decor by using your imagination and DIY skills. From painting to landscaping to highlighting vases and candles, there’s a lot you can do to get your home looking good.

Here are seven ways to inexpensively improve the look and feel of your home.

1. Add Rugs. Go to any carpet store or even superstore and you’ll find inexpensive rugs in plenty of pleasing colors and patterns. Rugs can give any room in your home an individualistic flavor while adding some pop. You can even layer a smaller rug in a contrasting color over a larger neutral carpet or rug.

2. Embrace the Outdoors. You can bring the outdoors inside and create unique design spaces by displaying glass bowls filled with shells or pebbles near windows or on countertops. Also, place seasonal flowers and foliage in vases and baskets around the house to enhance the interior of your home with freshness.

3. Take a Seat. Another budget-friendly way of improving the ambience of a room is
by changing the cushion covers on a couch or chair. Choose designs with bright colors or work off the rest of the room.

4. Change the Color Scheme. One of the simplest and least expensive ways to update the décor of your home in a truly eye-catching manner is by painting. You can paint an entire room or just one wall to add some flare.

5. Add Curtains. You may like having the sun shine in, but curtains add a level of luxury to a room that people tend to gravitate toward. Even if you already have curtains hanging, replace them with a more modern look with bold colors and designs.

6. Knock Three Times. People sometimes forget that the door to a home is one of the first things a buyer will see, so replacing a door knob with a brass design can be key to getting a house visit off on the right foot. Other nice fixtures include adding an antique door knocker and a cool design around the doorbell.

7. Say It with Fruit. Adding bowls of fruit to bedrooms or even the family room can add to the ambience and make the home look more inviting and warm.

For more ways to update your décor, contact our office today.


According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water can create more damage to chimneys than fires, and the rainy spring season can exacerbate issues. Whether the chimney is masonry or factory-built, prolonged water exposure can result in cracks or gaps where creosote can collect, increasing the risk of fire or carbon monoxide exposure.

The experts at the CSIA advise homeowners to look for:

Rust stains 
– More particular to factory-built fireplaces, rust is a critical red flag that water is accessing your chimney and threatening the integrity of the structure. Rust stains could reveal themselves around the outside of the upper chimney or along the inner lining of the fireplace.

Dripping or standing water – This may seem obvious, but water pooling anywhere in and around your masonry or factory-built chimney and fireplace structure means water has an access point to your home.

Bent or damaged flashing – The metal materials used to help seal your chimney from rooftop water runoff must be flush to the chimney structure. Flashing, crickets or other devices can warp or separate from the chimney over time, exposing your structure to water.

If you notice any of these signs, the CSIA suggests using a chimney cap, applying waterproofing agents or calling a certified chimney sweep professional. A chimney cap, also known as a rain cover, works to protect your chimney the way your roof works to protect your house. Waterproofing agents added to the interior of the chimney create a barrier while still allowing moisture to escape. Never use paint or any non-vapor-permeable water sealer because these can trap moisture inside the chimney, hastening deterioration.



Spring has nearly sprung, and the change of season means one thing for homeowners: maintenance. This year, introduce eco-friendliness to your spring maintenance routine. Many of the green fixes below require just one or two more steps in projects likely already on the docket.

1. Aerated Interior
There’s no better sign that spring has arrived than opening your windows to let fresh air sweep through your home. Opening windows removes indoor air pollutants, like radon, secondhand smoke and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which results in cleaner air both inside and out. If you have HVAC maintenance on the agenda this spring, trim shrubs planted near the A/C unit and hose off debris – any obstructions to your unit may result in higher utility bills come summer and increased energy consumption.

Related: The Three HVAC Questions Every Homebuyer Should Ask

2. Responsible Landscaping
If your lawn is looking worse for wear after winter, repair patches as soon as possible – any erosion can disrupt the surrounding environment. When you begin mowing, do your best to leave grass clippings on your lawn. Even though the blades have been severed from the roots, they still hold nutrients that can be recycled for the remaining grass underneath.

For those who’d rather keep clippings off the lawn, consider composting them into soil. Soil produced from composting retains moisture better than store-bought fertilizer, so you’ll conserve water and save money in the process. When composting, follow the brown/green rule: include a brown element, such as twigs or dead leaves, and a green element, such as the clippings or food scraps.

3. Sustainable Plumbing
Whether you’re planning a small spring spruce-up or cleaning your home top to bottom, swap out any toxic cleaning agents for water-based products. Don’t pour chemical cleaners down the drain – doing so can damage plumbing and harm the environment through contaminated runoff. Most state websites list hazardous waste collection centers. (Keep in mind that some facilities operate on a seasonal schedule.)

Are you planning to have your septic pumped this spring? Take it a step further by inspecting your plumbing for leaks (a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water a day!) and installing inexpensive fixtures that conserve water, like low-flow faucets or shower heads.

For more tips on how to spring green your home, visit

View this original post on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for quality information on real estate and housing for you and your clients.