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Archive for the ‘CURB APPEAL’ Category

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to improve a home and make it more sellable, according to HomeGain’s 2012 National Home Improvement Survey.

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HomeGain surveyed nearly 500 real estate professionals nationwide to determine the top do-it-yourself home improvement projects that offer some of the biggest bang for your buck when selling a home. (more…)

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A healthy weed-free lawn is possible without the pesticides or harmful chemicals.

Here are a few reasons to cut out the chemicals: (more…)

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Springtime is the best time to give a home a fresh coat of paint, according to the Paint Quality Institute.

“By painting in moderate weather, you’ll likely get a longer-lasting paint job,” said Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert for the Paint Quality Institute. Zimmer said that exterior painting is best to do when temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but not when it gets too hot. “Very hot days can cause the paint to dry too quickly and impair good paint film formation,” she noted. (more…)

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Homeowners who want to sell but do not have a lot of cash to spruce up their properties might consider these tips from Bankrate.com for upgrading a property without spending a fortune.

KITCHEN:

  • Polish up the kitchen.
  • Add new cabinet door handles, replace lighting and update the faucet set.
  • Unless the cabinets are mica, give them a fresh coat of paint.
  • Order new doors for kitchen appliances.

BATH:

  • Tidy up the bath. Replace the toilet seat.
  • Clean up the floor with vinyl tiles applied over the old floor.
  • Re-grout the tub and, if the tub is dingy, add a new prefabricated tub and shower surround.

OTHER INTERIOR:

  • Paint the walls.
  • Make all the windows sparkle and refresh the drapes
  • Add closet systems to all the bedrooms, pantry, and entry closets.
  • Hire a plumber and an electrician to fix anything that is loose or that leaks.
  • Clean the carpets or, if they are worn, cover them with area rugs – be sure to price your home accordingly or to offer a carpet bonus to the buyer.
  • Polish the floors
  • Replace ceiling lights with inexpensive but attractive fixtures.
  • Refinish or repaint the front door and replace the hardware.

EXTERIOR:

  • Wash all the windows from outside
  • Wash the deck and the fence
  • Mow the lawn, edge the sidewalks, and mulch all the beds
  • Put two big planters at either side of the front door.

This is a minimum that can be accomplished inexpensively in a few weekends before putting a For Sale sign.

SOURCE: Bankrate.com; REALTOR Magazine

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A healthy, well-maintained lawn is a key to preserving the value of your home.

Why? Regular lawn maintenance enhances curb appeal, making your home—and neighborhood—attractive to passersby and potential buyers.

Neglecting lawn can mean risking devaluing your home. In fact, an unkempt lawn can be a warning sign to buyers of other potential home maintenance issues.

Studies have shown that most home buyers make a decision whether they like to purchase a house within 5-7 seconds of getting out of the car – often BEFORE they even open a car door. The outside of the home and the lawn is the first things buyers see when they come to preview a home. If the house lacks the outside appeal, many home buyers are not interested in seeing the inside of the home.

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Know your grass type

It is important to choose the right type of grass. There are two main types of lawn grass: cool-season and warm-season.

Cool-season grasses do most of their growing in spring and fall, often going dormant in the summer. Cool-season grasses include  Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Perennial Ryegrass.            

Warm-season grasses thrive from late spring to early fall and go dormant in the winter. Varieties include Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysiagrass.  

In Virginia, Transition Zone Grasses include: Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass, Zoysiagrass.

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Mowing

In general, the taller the grass, the deeper the roots, the fewer the weeds, and the more moisture the soil holds between watering. The recommended mower blade height is 3 inches.

In prime growing season (spring and fall for cool-season; summer for warm), homeowners should mow frequently enough so they’re removing no more than one-third of the grass blade. If possible, grass should not be mown while wet, as the practice can spread diseases that affect lawns.

Mower blades should be sharpened monthly to ensure clean, sharp cuts. A dull blade tears the grass, leaving jagged edges that discolor the lawn and invite pathogens. Consider purchasing 2-3 backup blades so that a sharp one is always on hand.

 

Watering

Deep and in-frequent watering is better for lawns than frequent sprinkles, which promote shallow root growth. In general, lawns need about one inch of water per week to maintain green color and active growth.

Lawns that receive less than one inch will likely go into dormancy. To stay alive, dormant lawns should still receive at least 1 inch of water per month.

To check the output of a sprinkler, scatter some pie tins around the yard to see how much water collects in a specific length of time. Having a rain gauge ($5 to $20) will help you keep track of how much water the lawn receives naturally.

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Feeding

There are two schools of thought on feeding the lawn:

  1. Some people like to fertilize lightly several times per year.
  2. Others think that once a year is sufficient and most effective. For cool-season grasses, that time is early fall, so the grass enters winter dormancy in a much healthier state. For warm-season grasses, the best time to fertilize is late spring, just as the grass begins its most active growth.

People interested in organic fertilizers have never had an easier time finding them at local garden centers. Homeowners who mow regularly with mulching mowers are encouraged to leave the clippings on the ground, where they’ll decompose and recycle nutrients into the soil.

 

Weed and Grub control
For minor weed invasions, removal by hand of the entire plant and roots is recommended. When the situation becomes impossible to contain by hand, it might be necessary to apply a herbicide.

For cool-season grasses, the best time to apply a weed killer is in fall, when both old and new weeds can be eliminated before winter. Warm-season grasses often benefit from a late-winter application of  herbicide to prevent weeds from growing in the spring.

Grub worms, the larval stage of June, Japanese, and other beetles, feed on the tender root systems of lawns. Affected lawns exhibit browning and wilting patches. If the grubs are present at a rate exceeding 10 per square foot, they should be treated with a chemical pesticide.

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Cleanup

Small grass clippings should be left on the lawn as they are a great fertilizer. However, large piles that exit a side-discharge mower should be broken to smaller pieces. Fallen leaves, twigs, and debris should be raked up regularly. In climates where it snows, like Washington, D.C. area, it’s best to remove fall leaves before winter. A thick layer of wet leaves can smother a lawn if not immediately removed in early spring.

SUMMARY:  A healthy lawn looks good and it helps to preserve the value of your home. A healthy lawn is a must for homeowners who plan to  sell their home. A healthy lawn can be a deciding factor if a house sells quickly or lingers on the market.

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SOURCE: Houselogic.com 

                         

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Now is the time for home owners contemplating a spring sale to spruce up their properties in anticipation of a potentially vibrant home-selling season, especially after our snowy winter this year here in Northern Virginia.

 Here are 10 inexpensive ways to make a property more attractive to shoppers.

  1. Improve first impressions. Touch up the paint on the front door and other areas that buyers see first.
  2. Clean up the landscaping. Trim the hedges and trees and plant some annuals in the flowerbeds.
  3. Paint the interior. A coat of light yellow or cream with contrasting white woodwork looks fresh and clean.
  4. Refurbish the floors. Buff the hardwoods. Install new carpets – or at least get them professionally cleaned.
  5. Take care of the big problems. If the house needs a roof or the front stoop is crumbling, get them fixed.
  6. Buy warranties. Putting appliances under warranty gives homebuyers a secure feeling.
  7. Improve energy efficiency. New windows or improved insulation tell a potential buyer the seller is on top of things plus they come with tax benefits – federal tax credit available up to $1,500.
  8. Replace light fixtures. Updated fixtures, especially at the entrance way and in the foyer, create a good first impression.
  9. Buy a stove. Home owners whose kitchen isn’t top of the line can jazz it up for a few hundred dollars by buying a new stove, which gives the room a fresh feel.
  10. Tidy up the bathrooms. Get rid of mildew, replace caulking and replace stained sinks.

SOURCE: U.S. News & World Report, Luke Mullins

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