Friday, June 27, 2014

To Buy or Not to Buy – how clean is your home?

to buy or not to buy how clean is your home
White Glove Test
Ok. The day has come when you are putting your home on the market for sale. One of the ways to make sure you get the best offers is to thoroughly clean your home from top to bottom - ceilings to baseboards. Examine your home and work to restore it to like-new condition. If this task is too daunting for you, hire a professional cleaning service to help out. It will be worth it in the end when you are getting higher offers because of the cleanliness of your home.

As we live in our homes, we become used to their smells. However, a potential buyer walking into your home won't be and may balk at the odor. Here are some tips for removing odors.

  • Tobacco Smoke. You will need to have the carpets shampooed or steam-cleaned as well as drapes. Walls will need to be washed - maybe several times. The ceiling may need to be painted if it has turned color. Wipe down all non-fabric type surfaces with a mixture of vinegar and water.
  • Pet Smells. Again get the carpets steam-cleaned. You may have to do your upholstery also. Deep clean any corners or areas where your pet may sleep. Vacuum up pet hair from upholstery, and patch and repaint scratched doors.
  • Mildew Odors. Mold and mildew grow in areas of moisture like bathrooms, basements and areas where you have any leaks. First, get the leaks fixed. Then if you have a damp basement, buy a dehumidifier. Clean areas with a solution of diluted chlorine bleach and let fully dry. Repaint if needed. Mildew remover can be used in bathrooms, and re-caulk or re-grout as needed.
  • Cooking Odors. Try not to cook stinky foods before you receive potential buyers. These foods might include fish, garlic, cabbage, and curry. You may not want to cook any strong smelling foods until your home is sold. Tip: bake cookies or use some vanilla potpourri on the day of your showing to give a new pleasant aroma in the home.

Once you have cleaned up the home, make sure to open the windows and air it out. Remember when Mom called it "Spring Cleaning?" Let in plenty of fresh air to help freshen up your home and push out the smell of cleaners.

Friday, June 20, 2014

When buyers walk through the door, do they say WOW!! Or OH MY!!

When you are preparing your home for sale, consider having a staging consultation. Statistics show that staged homes are sold faster than non-staged homes. Here are some tips for prepping your home for sale.

  • Dirty, shabby, crowded and smelly homes. Buyers walking into your home are trying to make a huge decision about buying a home. If your home is not showing in great condition, that makes their job easier. First impressions are important, so bite the bullet and get your home cleaned up.
  • Get rid of clutter. One of the most important clean up options is to remove the extra stuff sitting around the house. Often a seller will have too much furniture. Stagers will suggest to remove the extra pieces to open up the floor plan. This makes the house look bigger. Items you don't want to get rid of can be placed in storage while the home is on the market.
  • Grouping of furniture. A false belief among homeowners is that by setting furniture against the walls, you get more room. Instead, think about placing furniture in conversation groups. Pulling the items away from the wall and making the space user-friendly will make a bigger impression.
  • Move items around. Allow yourself the freedom to move artwork, accessories and even furniture from room to room. Try some new pairings or different rooms.
  • Transform a room. If you have a room that gathers clutter, transform that room into an added value space. Add comfortable furniture items, fabric drapes or even shelving to make the room feel organized, yet cozy enough to spend time inside.

  • Lighting. Most of our homes are not properly lit. As a solution, increase the wattage of bulbs in your existing fixtures. Think of 100 watts per 50 square feet. You should also think about these three types of lighting; task, ambient and accent.
  • Paint colors. If you have to paint, consider painting all large spaces with a neutral color. Bold colors tend to reduce offers. Warm tans and honeyed tones are popular. The neutral color palette has come a long way since eggshell.
  • Reface it. Instead of replacing your kitchen, think about re-facing it with new doors and drawer fronts. Cost is less than a cabinet redo by lots and will give a fresh look. You may also be able to purchase new panels for your appliances.

Let us know in the comments if you found these tips helpful. Once you have made the sale on your home be sure to hire a cleaning crew to go through the home for a final cleaning once the home is empty. This will go a long way towards goodwill with your buyer. Like they say, one good deed deserves another.
A peaceful setting along the river in Greenville, SC.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Front Door Colors - What do they say?

front door colors - what do they say
Front Door Colors
If you are thinking about repainting your front door but are not sure what color you would like to use. Here are some hints about colors and what they mean on your front door.
  • Blue. Represents water, sky and abundance. A great Feng Shui color it suggests prosperity and abundance. Dark blue is believed to create calm and peace. Blues are believed to reflect positive energy into your space.
  • Yellow. A delightful color that evokes perception, mental clarity, wisdom, curiosity, understanding, merriment and humor.
  • Green. A color that promotes peace, balance, growth, compassion, harmony and renewal.
  • Purple. A symbol of energy and that which invites opportunity into your home.
  • Door Direction. If you have a northwest-facing door it is suggested to paint it gold, white, gray or silver.
  • White. A classic color that adorns most cottage type homes represents serenity, purity and virtue.
  • Red. Feng Shui for welcome. Throughout early American tradition, a home with a red door might it was safe to stop and stay for the night.
It is ok to paint your door in any of the shades of the colors above. If you choose a brighter version of them you may want to coordinate a trim color to accent. Remember the door is the focal point. What would you like your door to say to your visitors?

This week I thought I would throw in some photos of downtown and not necessarily concentrate on one place in particular. Let's cast our lens and take in some of the ambiance of Greenville.

scenes from downtown greenvile sc
Downtown Greenville SC

Friday, June 6, 2014

Enhance your Curb Appeal

pressure washer for cleaning
Another in our series of things you can do when getting ready to sell your home and increase your curb appeal:

A quick way to cut through the outdoor grime is to buy or hire a pressure washer. This tool uses high pressure water to clean stain, mulch and debris from your trim, siding, walkways, patios and deck surfaces. Almost anything you can put water on, you can use a pressure washer. However I would not recommend using it on brick.
  • Types. Upon a trip to your local home improvement store you will find many options to choose from for pressure washers. Common 1,500 to 2,000 PSI machines range from $90 to $300. They come as an electric or gas machine.
  • Most of the models you will buy have a chamber to add detergent. There are many options available. Just make sure to match the detergent dispenser to your machine.
  • Another option is renting a pressure washer for around $40 to $75 for a day.
  • Don't get a pressure washer heavier than you can handle. Most lighter units can handle your spring cleaning. Experiment with the different nozzles to find the best one.

What to clean?

  • Driveways and walkways. If you are in an area that has hard water and a sprinkler system then you probably get orange stain or some kind of dark stain on your driveways and walkways. Use the pressure washer to brighten them up. A simple back and forth motion will remove just about all the staining without using any chemicals. Can't get more green than that! If you are having professional pictures taken, consider pressure washing first. Dirty or dingy driveways or walkways can be a big turn off to potential buyers.
  • Vinyl siding or trim. Most local home improvement stores sell an economical cleaner you can use for washing the siding on your home. Krud Kutter is very popular and is around $12 a gallon. Most of these contain some type of chemical that dissolves tough mold and mildew stains, dirt, acid rain and oxidation. Check the label to make sure it is safe for your application.
  • Decks. Olympic, the company that makes deck stain, also makes a deck cleaner you can use in conjunction with your pressure washer for wood decks. It will penetrate and lift out the grim. If you are using Trex decking, which is mostly recycled composition, then you can use Krud Kutter Deck & Fence. It is safe for wood, composite, vinyl and aluminum.

Having a pressure washer is handy and useful. You can also use it to wash your car, boat or RV. Patios and patio furniture and just about anything else that will stand up to high pressure spray (although most do have nozzles for low pressure spraying also). Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have experience with a pressure washer. Tell us what it has done for you!

This week we take a look at Christopher Park Gallery in downtown Greenville. A gallery that is warm and welcoming. They started with the concept of making art fun and attainable for beginning or experienced collectors. They add fun and imagination into their pieces. As well as being a gallery, they also sell items from other local artists that are unique and inspire "I got to have that" feelings. The gallery expanded and now has a café' portion where you can sit amongst the art and eat. Most items are for sale also. Drop in and check them out for lunch or coffee and let us know in the comments what your experience was during your visit.

christopher park gallery greenville sc