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Susan Klement
REALTORĀ®
(941) 720-4107
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Why Is It Important To Use A
Professional To Sell Your
Home?

 

Realtor with clientWhen a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price for it with the least amount of hassles along the way. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is actually getting their homes sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the first step that “…44% of recent buyers took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale.”

However, the report also revealed that 96% of buyers who used the internet when searching for homes purchased their homes through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their homes directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online but then depend on an agent to find the home they will buy (50%), to negotiate the terms of the sale (47%) & price (36%), or to help understand the process (61%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers who reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots.” This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who have used agents to buy their homes has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line:  If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

The Price is Right ... Until It's Not

 

Picture of miniature paper money house

Of all the choices you have to make when it's time to sell your house, none are more important than setting the right asking price.  Unfortunately, zeroing in on that magic number can be tricky. 

Set the price too high, and your home could languish on the market for months, or worse—maybe not sell at all. Set the price too low, and you could be cheating yourself out of thousands of dollars. Here's what you need to know about setting the perfect price for your home. 

  1. Forget What You Paid for Your Home
    It's easy to recall what you paid for your home and think of that number as a rule by which to measure your asking price. But taking the price you paid and adding a little extra doesn't always add up to the right number. Some homes appreciate in value more than might be expected, and some appreciate less. The best thing you can do is to not even think about what your home was with when you bought it. 
  2. Look at Other Homes in Your Area
    Consider what other homes on your street, and in the surrounding neighborhood, typically sell for. If there are any other homes on the market now, that's a good starting point, but also look at the sale prices of homes similar to yours in the past months and even years to gain an understanding of market values in your neck of the woods. 
  3. Be Unemotional
    Letting go of a place that has been your home for many years is difficult, and you might be tempted to overestimate the financial value of your home based on what it's worth to you on an emotional level. But for better or worse, you can't put a price tag on memories, so it's best to approach pricing your home with as little emotional attachment as possible. 
  4. Leave Room for Negotiation
    Buyers love to negotiate, and that's something you should factor into your pricing. It pays to price your home with just enough wiggle room that a buyer can "talk you down" to a price that's fair to both of you. This can be tricky, as you can overshoot and end up with a high price that buyers balk at. That said, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to start out by asking a rock-bottom price.
  5. Keep Online Shoppers in Mind
    Once you've settled on a ballpark price range, you can fine-tune the number. This is when it pays to consider how your home will be listed on the internet. Many potential buyers browse online listings by price range. That means that if they search for homes in the $250,000 to $300,000 price range, for example, and your home is listed at $305,000, they won't even see it. 
  6. Talk With Your Real Estate Agent
    A real estate agent's experience can be invaluable when it comes to setting the price for your home. A good agent has in-depth knowledge of the local real estate market and years of experience selling homes in your area. Ask your agent to run a comparative market analysis to zero in on the right asking price. 

As with so many things, first impressions are everything when it comes to selling a house. The longer your home stays on the market, the less likely it is to sell. Setting the right price is the key to selling your home quickly, and to make sure you get the amount for it that you deserve.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

Why Do People Move?

 

Picture of family

Life is constantly changing--relationships, jobs, children, and family all cause shifts in our lifestyles and more specifically where we live.  People relocate to a new home for a number of reasons: career, relationships, family, finances or just for change itself. Here are nine reasons why people move:

  1. Larger Home
    Upsizing is one reason people move. A couple that decides to start having children soon realize that their initial home no longer meets their growing family's needs. As children grow, there is a need for extra bedrooms and living space. The more children added, the greater the need for a larger home with more bedrooms, bathrooms, and a larger yard.
  2. Downsizing
    When children grow and leave the home, some parents opt to downsize and relocate to a smaller, more manageable house.
  3. Homeownership
    Homeownership is still very much a part of the American dream for many people--and falls into our "top 10 reasons for relocating" category. While homeownership comes with a number of responsibilities, it also comes with opportunities too like creating your dream home, enjoying your personal lifestyle, and peace of mind.
  4. Change in Relationships
    Personal relationships often cause people to move. Whether you're starting a new life as a couple or starting over after a divorce, these life events cause people to move. Another reason could be a death in the family causing you to move from a home holding too many memories.
  5. Change in Employment
    Job promotions and company relations may cause people to move from their current home. If a new job requires extensive commute times, many people find it easier to move closer to their new place of employment.
  6. Change
    Some people change ... for the sake of change. Moving to a new town or state gives people the chance to add excitement to their lives. They have the opportunity to make new friends, experience new things, and explore new career paths.
  7. Financial Reasons
    Cost of living varies from one place to another. When a family faces a financial crisis, the logical thing to do is move to a convenient but less expensive location. At times, the move to a more affordable house or location is just a measure to cut down on spending and save more.
  8. Better Home
    As income increases so does the tendency to want better things. A better home falls into this category. After years of hard work and wise spending, upgrading to a better, newer home is often the ultimate reward for many people.
  9. Schools
    Good school districts should be a top priority for people with and without children. Homes located in a good school district provide families with children the best chance at a top education. And for people without children, buying a house in a good school district helps optimize the home's future resale value.  

    For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

           To Stage, Or Not To Stage?

That Is The Question

 

Some Highlights:
The National Association of Realtors surveyed their members & released the findings of their Annual Profile of Home Staging.

50% of staged homes saw a 1-10% increase in dollar value offers from buyers.

77% of buyer’s agents said staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the home as their own.

The top rooms to stage to attract more buyers are the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.



If you are selling your home, you may be dreading telling the kids about the move. 

 

Mom talking to daughterFamiliarity and routine are things that kids rely on. Moving from the home they are familiar with breaks their routine and can be very stressful for even the most relaxed kids. Add in changing schools and moving away from best friends, and you have a recipe for meltdowns and behavior problems.

 

How Tell the Kids about the Move
 
Telling the kids is going to be one of the more difficult things to do during the move and timing it can be even more difficult. You don't want to do it the day before it happens, but you don't want to do it six months prior either. If you are selling your home, you should break the news at least a couple of weeks before the real estate agent starts showing the property.
 
Set aside special time for breaking the news. You will want to have plenty of time for discussion and questions.
 
Keep yourself in a calm mood. Young children, especially, pick up on their parents' moods. Even if you are not happy with the move, you need to keep that out of the conversation as much as possible. How you break the news will depend on the age range of your kids. Smaller kids may not understand, so telling it as a story can be effective. Older kids will want more details. You should mention why the move is needed (new job, moving closer to family, etc.) Let them know where you are moving and the time frame.
 
Let the kids ask questions and answer them honestly. Your children are going to be going through a major transition. Lying or trying to hide difficult details will backfire later if the child figured out one or both parents lied.
 
Encourage the kids to express their emotions. Younger children often cannot put words to deep emotions. If a child needs to cry or gets angry, let it happen. Older kids, especially teenagers, may become openly defiant about the whole idea. That is perfectly normal. Just reassure as much as possible.

After the Conversation

You might think the worst part is over when you finish the conversation. However, it is only the beginning.
As the kids process the news, they are going to have new questions. Let them know they are welcome to ask as many questions as possible. They will also have emotions come up at odd times.
If possible, plan trips to your new home to let the kids become used to it. Of course, long distance moves make this difficult. However, even pictures or videos of their new home can help.
 
Try to keep to your normal schedule. As stated before, kids thrive on routine and familiarity. Keeping their eating, playing, napping and bedtime schedules as close to normal will help them with the transition. It will be their anchor in the storm.
 

In the End

 

Even if you have all the conversations and provide as much support as possible, you may find your child still has difficulties with the move. All you can do is give the child time to make the adjustment. Some kids can transition within a week or two. Others may take months.
 
Selling your home is stressful on everyone in the family. Be prepared for having this critical conversation with your kids when appropriate. It will make everything go smoother.
 

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 
 
6 Insider Tips for a 
Successful Open House
 
 
Home with open house sign
Selling your home? A successful open house is the key to attracting the right buyer. A truly great open house takes time, and it goes beyond popular ideas about “staging.” Use these proven techniques to make an impression:

1. Start Planning Early When selling your home, it’s never too early to get started. Your first open house should take place no later than the second weekend your home is on the market. It’ll take some time for prospective buyers to find your listing one way or the other. When it comes to open house, no detail is too small. Consider things like lawn care, whether you want to offer cookies or a catered lunch, and how to keep kids and pets calm. The more thoughtful your presentation, the better. 

2. Hire a Cleaning Service. Even if you keep your home immaculate, it’s tough to get out all the spots and stains from years of living. When selling your home, making sure it looks its best is crucial – would-be buyers need to be able to imagine their happy futures there! There are two areas you should be especially careful about: The carpets and the exterior. Carpets can hold pollen and pet dander that might disturb some buyers. And, of course, a freshly pressure-cleaned exterior maximizes the home’s curb appeal. 

3. Get the Word Out. Gone are the days when it was necessary to take out full-page newspaper ads to get your open house noticed. Now, it’s simply a matter of making sure your real estate agent is posting them on all the top sites serious buyers look at regularly to find properties. Still, you should take time to advertise within your neighborhood – beginning a full week before your event. Starting from a radius of several blocks, put up signs that clearly direct visitors to the home. Tie off each sign with colorful balloons to get them noticed. 

4. Pick the Right Times and Days. These days, most open houses take place on Sunday. To get even more visitors, however, consider having two days of back to back showings. This will give people multiple weekend options. It can even motivate visitors to return on the second day with new ideas or questions. Open houses traditionally start around 1 PM ... but they don’t have to. By starting later, you may make a stronger impact. That’s because buyers are likely to look at several houses in a day, and will more clearly remember the one they visited last.
 
5. Have Something to Give Away. When executives look for a job, they bring something that makes an impression, like a portfolio of their top press clippings and achievements. By leaving it with the interviewer, they provide a memory boost that makes them look more attractive – you can do the same for your house. Don’t stop with the traditional baked cookies – have photos of the house from different times of the year, appraisals, and other valuable documents buyers can take away with them. They’re much more likely to follow up, since they’ll have a concrete reminder of your property. 

6. Get Out of the Way. While there are many ways to get prospective buyers to linger and talk to your real estate agent, you don’t necessarily need to be there. Some brokers actually prefer that the owner be away from the house to more effectively stay “on message.” Coordinate with your broker – and if you go, be sure to take Fido or Fluffy along for the day.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

Selling Your Home? Declutter
to Sell Your House Faster 

 

Mother and baby in cluttered home

Maximize your home's space--and your chances of selling it quickly--by clearing the clutter.

Everyone has a little "clutter" lying around the house--and some of us may have more than others. When you're selling your home, managing your home's look and feel is one of the best ways to maximize your chances of selling quickly and for the most amount of money.
 
Real estate pros know decluttering allows potential buyers see your home as "their home" and makes it appear bigger with more storage space.
 
Use these steps to get started:
 
Set a schedule. Sit down and look at your time. Don’t worry about how much you have, just find some—twenty minutes a day, an hour, and five— whatever you can put in. Add it to your schedule, and set aside time specifically for decluttering. Determine deadlines as well. For example, plan on finishing the kitchen in a week, the bedrooms in two. Or have an overall deadline for the whole house. Decide what works best for you. Once you have your schedule, stick to it.
  • Move room by room. Looking at the whole house can feel overwhelming, so take it room by room, area by area. There are always trouble spots, like closets, desks, or cabinets. Tackle those first. Move steadily through each room until you’re done.

  • Make three piles. As you go through things make three piles. A keep, get rid of, and maybe. Once you’ve finished each area, put back the things you’re keeping in an organized manner. Implement any organization systems as you go. The maybes put in a box and stow for a few weeks. Revisit them and decide whether you really need them or not. Address the get rid of right away.

  • Get it out quickly. The key is to remove things as they come up. Have a plan—donate, garbage, or sell. Set aside time each week to do those things. List items on Craigslist, take a trip to the dump, or run by the thrift store to drop items off. If you keep it around, clutter has a habit of working its way back into your home.

Learn to let go. One of the hardest things can be to let go of stuff. It may be sentimental; you may be saving it for when you really need it. Research on the web, or read a book about decluttering. Many resources have a series of questions to ask yourself to see if something is really worth holding onto. You can also ask if it is something you’ll actually use and find time limits as to how long to hold onto certain things (like paperwork and clothes).

 

Decluttering Before You Sell Your Home

 

Not only can decluttering help you prepare for a move, it also gives you a boost mentally. You’ll be one step closer to staging, and you reduce the amount that you’ll need to transport to the new house. In a way, it prepares you mentally to make a change. Decluttering gets you in the mindset to embrace a new setting, and you can make that new setting a new home.
 
It's true--decluttering is hard, but the rewards you'll reap are more than worth it.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

6 Easy DIY Projects To
Boost Your Home’s Value

 

Man & womand doing DIY project

Home improvement is the key to enhancing your home’s value and increasing its ever-elusive curb appeal.

 

Of course, you probably already know that, but what you might not know is that upgrading your property doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. The right DIY home improvement projects improve your home, add value, and bring buyers to your door.
 
  1. Improve Your Landscaping Why hire a professional landscaper? You can save money by trimming, mulching, planting, and decorating your own home into a garden showplace. With one trip to your local garden shop or hardware store, you can get everything you need to give your landscape the ooh-ah factor home buyers love. • Design your dream landscape, and then bring it to life. • Seed your lawn. Cut back overgrown bushes so buyers can see your home. • Add seasonal color with potted and hanging flowers. • Enhance your landscape with solar lights and pavers that save energy.

  2. Beautify Your Bathroom You spend an awful lot of time in the bathroom. It should be a beautiful sanctuary that increases your home's value, not a shabby refuge. Change your perceptions and add value with these DIY home improvement projects. • Install trendy light fixtures. • Replace your sink with a designer vanity and a marble bowl. • Install a copper or chrome faucet and metal-coordinated accessories. • Eliminate unfortunate color choices with white wall paint.

  3. Welcome Light into Your Home If you have large windows that allow natural light into your home, lucky you. If you don’t have large windows, try these light-enhancing projects. • Knock down a wall to open up your floor plan. (Seek professional advice to minimize mishaps with weight-bearing walls.) • Install brighter light fixtures. • Paint your walls white and replace your drapes with neutral colored blinds. • Remove some furniture to open up your space.

  4. Up Your Energy Efficiency Green technologies save money, increase home values, and reduce your carbon footprint. When a potential buyer queries your utility company about your average energy bill, they’ll like what they hear. You can perform several green upgrades yourself. • Replace light bulbs with energy efficient versions. • Replace your stove, refrigerator, and small kitchen appliances with models rated high for energy savings. • Install solar powered exterior lights. • Repair window seals to minimize hot/cold air exchange.

  5. Modernize Your Kitchen Home buyers love grand spacious kitchens. Even if your kitchen isn’t as big as a buyer desires, you can complete these DIY projects to make it irresistibly grand. • Redo your kitchen floor with trendy wood-look, gray, wide-plank, or natural wood tiles. • Upgrade your stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher with popular stainless steel or black steel models. • Install a farmhouse sink and faucet for a country modern workspace. • Replace your countertops with granite. You’ll need someone to measure and cut the openings and a buddy to help you lift them into place.

  6. Make Your Home Intelligent Guys like gadgets. Okay, ladies like gadgets too. With a little time and effort, you can make your home gadget central. Internet-connected and digitally enhanced appliances and devices give your home an intriguing, high-tech feel. • Install a Wi-Fi connected refrigerator. • Replace your stove with an intelligent version that lets you control cooking remotely. • Upgrade your home security system with cameras that let you watch your home and interact with visitors wherever you are. • Connect your coffeemaker to your alarm clock to brew your coffee when you wake up.

    If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

3 Decor Finds That Are Always
Better at Estate Sales

Decorative plates

Add character to your new home with budget-friendly finds from yard and estate sales.

Moving is exciting, but once the dust has settled and the boxes are unpacked, new homes are still blank slates devoid of character. You have a mortgage to pay, but you want your new house to look and feel like home, so consider shopping estate sales for your home décor. New items don’t come with character, and if they’re not expensive, they’re often cheaply made or already outdated.
 
If you hope to decorate your space without spending a fortune or wasting your money on flash-in-the-pan trends, estate sales and tag sales are difficult to beat. These household blowouts are great sources of timeless, gently used, high-quality pieces that can truly complete your home for years to come.
 
Mortgages don’t mix well with overpriced furniture shops and art galleries, but that’s okay. When it comes to the following décor finds, your best bet is usually to peruse someone else’s gently used décor at an estate or rummage sale, anyway.
  1. Holiday Decorations When people downsize or clear out a home, they often ditch holiday items like costumes and masks, place settings, yard signs, decorative figurines, artificial trees, candle holders, wreaths and more. Seasonal decorations are only used for a month at most, so they’re usually in great shape even after years of use. Nothing says “home” like a festive holiday display, so keep your eyes peeled for Easter, Halloween and Christmas decorations at estate and yard sales. Ordinary household items--including some of the most common estate sale staples--are also easy to re-purpose as holiday decorations. For example, glass bottles and vases can be distressed and turned into spooky potion jars, or filled with tiny lights for a romantic Christmas or Valentine’s Day display. Books, mirrors, dolls, and picture frames are also full of Pinterest-worthy holiday crafting (and home improvement) potential.

  2. Books Speaking of books, you don’t need a library in your new place to benefit from stacks of used books. Books are heavy and take up space. Estate sales are usually overflowing with paperbacks and hardcovers. Why snatch them up? While a home full of books is bliss for avid readers, books are also some of the cheapest and most versatile interior design staples. Home improvement is about elevating the spaces you already have, and books get the job done. A couple stacks of colorful hardcovers will bring life to your coffee table and side tables, while rows of books instantly fill out empty bookshelves and cubbies. Experiment with color-coded books to establish or complement a room’s color scheme, or turn the books around for rows of classy, monochromatic pages. The decorative potential of books is practically boundless.

  3. Plates While immaculate dish sets are fantastic estate sale finds, single plates are also full of re-purposing potential. Do you have a big, blank wall or hallway that needs something funky to spice it up? Look for mix-and-match stacks of plates at yard sales and estate sales. Get creative, and mount a collection of different patterns, colors, and sizes to those blank walls. Nice plates range from a dime to a dollar each, because they get much less valuable when they’re not in a set, so you can transform a whole wall into an eclectic, colorful piece of art for next to nothing.
Whether you’re moving in or moving out, add a second-hand sale to your to-do list. Garage sales are a great way to lighten your load after selling your house, while nearby estate sales and garage sales leave room in your budget for home improvement after you buy a new house.
 

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

Get an Inspection Before
Selling Your Home

 

Drawing cutaway home

Six reasons why to get a home inspection as soon as you decide to list your home.


Selling your home? A recent survey showed more than 85 percent of buyers who applied for financing asked for an inspection of the home they intended to buy. Today’s savvy home buyers rarely leave things up to chance – they want to be assured they are getting great value. Despite this growing trend, many sellers still wait for buyers to take the initiative on inspections.
A seller might save a few hundred dollars by waiting until the buyer makes the first move, but this is rarely worthwhile. In fact, there are many benefits to taking the plunge and getting an inspection as soon as you decide you are serious about putting your property on the market.
Let’s look at six of the biggest ones:
  1. Attract More Buyers Savvy buyers who have purchased a property before will know about the necessity of a home inspection and will appreciate this is one less step (and expense) they need to worry about. New buyers seeking their first home may not be as savvy at first, but they will soon figure it out. All in all, an inspection will reassure and attract more would-be buyers.

  2. Accelerate the Sales Process Sooner or later, an inspection will happen – and when it does, it’s bound to turn up something. Relatively minor issues might throw a wrench into your hopes for selling your home. When you get proactive, you have the chance to resolve problems that might otherwise add months to the sales process. Plus, in many cases, you can turn those fixes into part of your sales pitch.

  3. Provide a Stronger Negotiating Position Most home sales involve some “give and take” over the final price. Buyers will look for anything they can find as a reason to maneuver excess costs onto the seller. With a recent inspection report in hand, you can counter these moves without any sour grapes – you’ve gone the extra mile to ensure that everything in the home is on the up and up, after all!

  4. Reduce Recurring Repair Bills It isn’t always easy to determine the true source of a recurring problem in a home, even a newer one. For example, if your toilet drains slowly, you might simply need to snake it ... or you may have a major issue with your septic system. Whatever the case, an inspection helps you get to the real root of the problem. It saves money if you don’t sell and improves your price if you do.

  5. Take Control of the Process Unless you find out something truly appalling, you don’t necessarily have to take time to repair whatever an inspection turns up. Instead, you have the options of lowering your price or going “as-is.” All in all, an inspection gives you the opportunity to take the steps that are right for you, instead of running to catch up to a buyer whose inspection uncovers unwelcome surprises.

  6. If You’re Selling Your Home, Start With an Inspection In today’s real estate market, a seller’s pre-inspection of a home is a mark of quality that buyers increasingly expect. If you put your home on the market and don’t find interested buyers in a relatively short time, an inspection is one precaution you’ll end up taking.
With all that in mind, selling your home should almost always start with an inspection. It’s an essential step, just like making basic repairs, listing your home in the right places, staging it for potential buyers and partnering with a real estate agent you can trust.
 

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

6 DIY Projects Better Left To the Pros

 

Broken water pipe leaking

Conquering do-it-yourself home improvement tasks can give you one of the best feelings of accomplishment ever.

 

Whether a big or small home improvement project, you may choose to take it to save cash, to acquire a new skill and simply to be proud of accomplishing something on your own. However, there are some tasks that you should avoid doing yourself. Most of these projects may be difficult and require specific technical knowledge to complete them. Below are six home improvement projects that you should leave to the pros.
  1. Home Extensions and Structural Works. Adding extensions to your home is not simple as it seems. The process may require laying the foundation, plumbing and ensuring installation of electrical and gas systems. In some situations, you will be required to knock down walls which can be unsafe since you may be risking the stability of the entire building.

  2. Repair or Replacement of Electrical Systems. You should avoid working on electrical systems in your home whether you are mounting new cables, or fixing a problematic circuit. All these tasks should be left to experienced professionals with proper electrical knowledge. Projects involving electricity are normally very dangerous without the necessary knowledge and training. Inappropriate installation of electrical cables might cause a fire in your home.

  3. Replacing Plumbing. Frequently, old homes require replacing plumbing systems; new homes often face plumbing issues such as clogged sinks and toilet. You can do the unclogging yourself. However, there are other problems that you should be left to the pros like a mysterious leak or burst pipes. In addition, the process of plumbing involves a fragile network of pipes that must be installed in a definite style for proper functioning.

  4. Installing a Gas-Fueled Appliance. The installation of gas-fueled appliances such as an oven, water heater and clothes dryer must be installed correctly. This should be done to ensure the gas lines are safe and there are no leakages. This will help in avoiding gas build-up in your home. You can only do-it-yourself when you clearly understand what you are doing and the ways of checking for gas leaks. If you are not sure about this then find a professional to do it.

  5. Painting Your Home’s Exterior. Painting is one of the common DIY home improvement projects. However, it is only safe when you are doing the painting at ground level. But, if the painting goes beyond the ground level, it should then be done by a professional painter because to reach high places you will need the right equipment such as extension ladders.

  6. Tree Removal. If there are trees which need to be removed from your property, think twice about doing it yourself. An expert will have the know-how to cut down a tree with it falling on your home and doing damage.
For tricky home improvement projects, hire a professional to get the job done correctly and safely. A professional will have knowledge have local home safety codes and regulations that could result in a penalty, fine or worse.


5 Golden Rules for Staging Your Home

 

Home staging

Selling your home can be an exciting adventure full of surprises—and pitfalls. Taking the time to properly stage it can make selling your home less of a chore and allow you to get the best price possible.

Follow these five tips from the pros to help you prepare your home and set the stage for a successful sale. 
 
1. Start outside. The first impression a buyer has of your home can make or break a sale. To make the buyer eager to step inside your home and see more, make sure the outside of your home looks fabulous. It doesn’t cost a lot to cut the grass, pull weeds, prune the hedges and plant some flowers. Put away all bikes, toys, and trash cans. If you can, pull your cars out of the driveway so there’s a clear view of your home and property. A freshly painted door and prominent house number can also make your home more appealing.
 
2. Clean and Get Rid of Clutter. The most important thing you can do when getting ready to sell your home is to get rid of clutter. Removing your stuff and making your home less personal makes it easier for buyers to imagine themselves living in your space. Take a good look at each room and ask yourself what you really need to keep. Remove personal items like family photos, knickknacks, awards, and collectibles from tables, windowsills, shelves and other surfaces. In the kitchen, put away towels, refrigerator magnets, sponges, paper towels, dish soap, and remove small appliances from counters. It’s also a good idea to remove pet beds, toys and bowls. In the bathroom, remove all toiletries, hair dryers and trash cans, open the shower curtain, and close the toilet lid. Keep closets and cabinets tidy throughout the house. Messy, packed-full closets are unappealing and will make the buyer think they are smaller than they are. Too much furniture can also contribute to a cluttered look. Professional stagers often remove half the owner's furnishings and put them in storage. Consider boxing up things like books and pictures and putting them in storage as well. Once you have removed the clutter, give your home a deep cleaning. Hiring a cleaning crew to come once every two weeks while selling your home will keep it looking fresh and cut down on stress. If you’re doing the cleaning, don’t forget windows, behind the toilet, grout, and under sinks. Move furniture and vacuum behind and under it.
 
3. Make Repairs.  Repair squeaky doors, hinges, broken fixtures and fittings. Replacing light fixtures, light switches, outlets, and door & cabinet hardware is an affordable way to give your home a more modern look. If you don’t have time to refinish, Inexpensive area rugs can also disguise the look of old hardwood floors.
 
4. Keep it Neutral Use a fresh, neutral paint color like beige or taupe for living spaces, and neutral green or blue hues for bathrooms. Stay away from bold wall colors, which are often a turnoff to buyers. If you want to make a room pop, add colorful accents with pillows and simple vases of flowers. Keep wall art and paintings neutral and simple.
 
5. Accentuate Architecture. Arrange furnishings to highlight ceilings, windows, views, fireplaces and other architectural features. Put tall objects such as large bookshelves against walls, and hang art a bit lower to make ceilings look higher. Experiment with different ways to arrange your furniture; create cozy seating areas instead of lining couches and chairs along the walls. Open up blinds and draperies to make sure there's sufficient natural light throughout your home.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 
6 Signs It's Time to Sell Your Home
 
Picture of house with for sale sign

Your beloved home has seen you through a lot, but is it time to move?

Your home has been your safe haven over the years. As much as your home means to you, it's starting to feel like it is time to make a move. So what should you consider when making the decision to sell your home? Here are six signs that it's time to sell.
 
  1. Nothing Fits. Are your cupboards so crammed that when you put the dishes away Tupperware showers down on your head? What about the closet? When was the last time you actually saw the back of that thing? And then there is the issue of walkways. How many times can one adult trip on the way to the bathroom, really? If you've filled every nook and cranny, it's a likely sign you need more space and you should consider selling your house.

  2. Growing Children. Babies sure have a lot of stuff, but even those infants with an excess of gear can still comfortably live in a tiny space. As children grow they need an environment that can expand with them. If you have multiple children sharing the same bedroom, or lack the room to run outside, selling your home and upgrading to a larger property may be the right choice for you.

  3. Changing Neighborhood. Does your neighborhood feel different than it used to? Are there a lot of new neighbors or an excess of empty homes? Changing neighborhoods can be a good indicator that it is time to move. If you find crime increasing and empty homes increasing, this can indicate your property value will continue to drop. It may be a good idea to sell now before your investment drops even lower. In opposite indications, an increase in sales and area improvements can greatly increase your home value. Selling your house in an upswing market can yield a great profit on your loan and allow you to invest in something further up the scale.

  4. City Real Estate. Market How hot is the market in your city? If you answered like "Seattle or San Francisco," you can likely guarantee a quick and lucrative sale. Other areas may not be moving so fast. When selling your home, it's important to consult the real estate stats in your area. You can ask me.  I will give you a free estimate of what your home might sell for.

  5. Interest Rates. Low-interest rates indicate a good time for selling your home. Low-interest rates will allow you a great rate on obtaining a new mortgage as well as entice buyers to your property at an affordable value. Low-interest may not be a lasting option, so it's important to consult market experts online and in-person to see your area market forecast. 

  6. It's Your Choice. All the data in the world can't make the final decision for you. Selling your house will always depend on your timeline. Don't let someone else rush you if you don't feel ready. If you're unsure, however, the best idea is to consult a local real estate agent to find out your home's current value.
Understanding your market, pricing and new homeowner options will simplify your decision and help ensure you live in a home you will enjoy for years to come. That’s what Realtor Susan Klement helps you do, so please call me at 941-720-4107 or email me. Helping you enjoy life!
 
Realtor Susan Klement’s
Secrets for Selling Your Home
 
Sign:  What's Secret

With a little planning and work, you can sell your home in record time.

 

Some sellers rush to put their homes on the market without giving too much thought about what it takes to grab a home buyer's attention. As you consider listing your home, there are a number of "secrets" you can use to take your house from ordinary to extraordinary in the eyes of home buyers. Make your home stand out from the competition by following these selling steps.
  1. The Price is Right. As your real estate agent I will determine what similar homes in your community are currently listed for and what similar homes have sold for in the past. We will evaluate the features these homes may have over yours and vice versa. Our goal is to get the best price for your home. This means pricing your home right so it will remain competitive within the local real estate market.

  2. Preparation Is Important. Before your house even enters the market, there are a few things you might want to do. While there are a few buyers out there that are looking for a fixer upper, most buyers would like to purchase a home, move straight in and live comfortably. This means that updating a few things will go a long way in getting buyers to put your home on their short list. Make sure your home is in good repair. Replace things that aren't working or need to be updated. A new splash of paint inside and outside will make a house feel, smell and look clean and new. You want the buyer to leave your home with the best impression they could possibly have.

  3. Curb Appeal. To get your home on a buyer’s radar, getting them inside your home is your first task. This means making the outside of your home look appealing. The first thing a buyer sees--other than picture on the internet--is the outside of your home. If paint is peeling, plants are dead and the grass is knee high, it is likely that buyers will keep driving and never see the potential that is inside of your home. It doesn't take much effort to make the outside of your home inviting. Stand on your front lawn and think as if you were buying the home. Does the front door need a new coat of paint? Could the landscaping be spruced up with a new layer of mulch? A few little changes and you can make the outside of your home stand out.

  4. Staging. Staging your home is one of the important home selling tips. Staging your home is all about bringing the best of your home out and downplaying the parts that may not be so good. The first thing to do when staging is to clear the clutter. If you have big furniture, store it. You want your home to appear as if it is spacious. Buyers want to be able to picture themselves in a home, remove all personal items and trinkets. A buyer may look at two houses that are the exact same size; however, if yours feels more spacious then yours is the one they will likely choose. Other things to consider are, updating hardware, lighting, kitchen cabinets, and using a neutral color scheme throughout.
A little effort on your part will go a long way to increasing the changes of your home selling quickly. Following these steps can make your home selling process fun and pain-free.
 
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
     The Upside of Downsizing Your Home
 
Photo of happy older couple

Downsizing frees you from the time, energy and effort required from living in a larger home.

 

People have become obsessed with the idea that bigger is better. You see it everywhere: bigger burgers, bigger cars and bigger houses. It’s time to set the record straight, selling your house and downsizing your home might actually be a better lifestyle choice for you.
Choosing to buy a smaller home often has to do with the desire to live a more simple life. If you're trying to decide whether downsizing is the right move for you, here are some benefits to consider before taking the plunge.
  1. Increased Cash Flow. Smaller homes are less expensive to buy and less expensive to maintain. If your monthly mortgage and utility payments are lower, chances are you’ll have more money every month to invest, travel or pay down your mortgage sooner than expected.

  2. More Time. The larger the home, the more you have to maintain. A smaller home reduces the time spent on household tasks giving you more hours in the day to do something else more enjoyable.

  3. Reduced Consumption. Buying smaller forces you to pare down your belongings and keep what’s important and used regularly. If there is no room for it, you probably won’t buy it.

  4. Reduced Carbon Footprint. A smaller home requires fewer resources because it uses less electricity, heating and cooling. Building a smaller home also requires the use of less lumber and other wood products.

  5. Less Stress. Downsizing definitely has its perks. Less work, more money and greater flexibility—add up to reduced stress. Homeowners who have downsized their homes seem happier when they're no longer overwhelmed by the demands of a larger home.
Downsizing your home is about doing more with less. Rather than spending your time and energy maintaining a larger home, you may enjoy your life more by living in a smaller one.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
 
                5 Ways Sellers Sabotage
                        Their Own Sale
 
Family in front of home with for sale sign

Are you selling a home? If so, then you need to know that you could be your own worst enemy.

 

Many home sellers are surprised to learn that they are the ones sabotaging their ability to sell their home quickly and for a good price. When you're selling your home, make sure you avoid these mistakes that could hinder home's sale and push buyers away.
  1. Having Too High of an Opinion About Your Home. Your home is naturally something you should be proud of. You've probably spent a good amount of time and money getting it exactly how you want it, and in your eyes it shines. However, if you think your home is worth more because it's so special, you are mistaken. Sometimes those personal touches that make the home special to you are not impressive to the buyer. Make sure you talk to your real estate agent about what your home is really worth, and what "special touches" are actually deterrents to a potential sale.

  2. Trying to Hide Issues from Buyers. If you had a roof leak that left water damage in the attic, it's going to come out on the inspection. Don't try to hide it. When the inspector finds these things, buyers will wonder what else you are hiding. This can cause a buyer, even one that loves the house, to feel like walking away from the home. Disclose everything you can.

  3. Assuming You'll Get a Second Chance. When you a have a call to do a showing on your home, have the showing, no matter how busy you are. You have no guarantee that you'll get a second chance with that buyer. It doesn't matter how bad your day is, if someone wants to look at your home, make every possible effort to let them do so. If you don't, they'll look at a different home and you will miss the opportunity to have a perspective buyer touring your property with the hopes of having a successful sale.

  4. Not Cleaning Well. Cobwebs, pet hair, ring-around-the-tub--all of these can sabotage a sale. If you want to sell your home quickly and for a good price, it needs to shine. Make sure you are cleaning it well. Consider renting a storage facility to place some items in while your home is on the market, so you don't have as much clutter in your home. The cleaner and more open your home feels, the better it will show. The better your home shows, the faster it will sell.

  5. Ignoring the Yard Finally, don't ignore your home's exterior when preparing it to sell. The yard, both front and back, is going to be an important selling point for your property. Give it a little TLC. There's no need to go overboard with landscaping, but make sure the landscaping and plants you do have look nice, and add some interest to the front yard with color and flower pots.
Selling your home can be a stressful time, and this is definitely a process you want to see come to a fast conclusion. By avoiding these five common problems, you will have much greater success selling your home quickly, because you won't be standing in your own way! If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
5 Fixes to Help Sell Your Home Fast
 
Man reading home repair instructions

A simple and inexpensive makeover can help sell your home more quickly

 


  1. Consider Curb Appeal. You only get once chance to make a great first impression. Your lawn, landscaping and entrance to your home are the first things buyers see. Make that first impression memorable by cutting the grass, weeding, trimming hedges and raking leaves. Polishing (or adding new) front-door hardware and a new mailbox can give a visual boost. Some colorful plants and a few bags of mulch can spruce up the outside appearance of your home without breaking the bank.

  2. Step Up Your Storage. Clutter is the enemy when you’re selling a house. If your closets and storage areas are cramped, lighten the load (beyond decluttering) by adding do-it-yourself closet storage systems. Top candidates for storage units are entry closets, kitchen pantries, linen closets and bedrooms. When all is said and done, your closets will be more organized and functional while you’re still living in the home and will attract potential buyers when you’re ready to sell.

  3. Give Your Kitchen a Facelift. The kitchen is the heart of your home. If it looks as if it’s seen better days, give your oven, microwave, counter tops and sink some extra “TLC” with a deep cleaning. Buyers typically focus on a home’s kitchen; consequently, it should sparkle the minute it hits the market. If your kitchen needs more than just a little elbow grease, a few inexpensive cosmetic changes can go a long way. Give it a makeover with a fresh coat of neutral paint, new hardware for drawers and cabinets and up-to-date lighting and plumbing fixtures.

  4. Spiff Up Your Bathroom. The bathroom—just like the kitchen—is a high priority for home buyers. Buyers love the idea of experiencing a five-star luxury experience in the comfort of their new homes. Since a complete bathroom renovation may not be in your plans, add the wow factor buyers are looking for by upgrading your sink, tub, shower and lighting fixtures. A fresh coat of paint and new towels will give your bathroom a new look. A good, deep cleaning can make a drab shower and dingy floors shine again.

  5. Lighting Makes a Difference. When you’re selling a house, poor lighting can detract from your home’s best features. Installing new light fixtures can give your house an updated look and highlight the best features of your house for home buyers. Replace old light bulbs for new ones with a higher wattage. You want buyers to see your home’s best-selling points as they walk through it.

    For help with all your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me

    Real Estate Survival Guide
    for Selling Your Home

Family in front of sold home

7 Easy Steps to Go from ‘For Sale' to ‘Sold’

There's no doubt that you're going to be busy while you work to sell your home, but focusing your energy in the right places will make your life much easier. Better yet, a bit of focused prep can make your home more appealing to potential buyers, and ultimately makes it easier to find the right match as quickly as possible. We'll touch on the tasks that matter most, in our survival guide for selling a house.

A Survival Guide for Selling a House

  1. Your Real Estate AgentWorking with a real estate agent that you trust really does make a huge difference when selling a house. Ask for referrals, interview potential choices, and choose the agent that best matches your needs.

  2. Consider CostChoosing the right price is one area where your real estate agent can be a big help because they have done the market research to understand trends in local real estate prices. Setting a fair price goes a long way toward enticing curious shoppers to take that first look, and enticing interested buyers to make a real offer.

  3. Keep It CleanShowings (and open houses) are simply part of the home-selling process, and you'll need to keep a clean, neat home if you want to make a positive impression. Make sure that floors, walls, corners, kitchen surfaces, appliances, and everything else looks its absolute best. It also helps to put together a cleaning prep checklist, for days when you'll be showing your home.

  4. Clutter-FreeThis is huge, and it's an easy step to miss if you'll be living in the home until you sell it. The less clutter – furniture included – the better. You want shoppers to be able to envision their own lives in your home. Consider renting a storage unit to safely store non-essential items until you are ready to move into your next home.

  5. Maintenance and RepairsDIY repairs are a great way to save some money if you have the experience necessary to do the job. For bigger maintenance tasks, it simply makes more sense to hire a contractor. Putting off repairs now just means more headaches and costs later when it's time for inspection.

  6. LandscapingThe outside of your house is where shoppers form their first impression, so be sure that your landscaping is looking its best. Keep up with outdoor maintenance, including cutting the lawn, for as long as you'll be showing your home. You might even consider adding some new landscaping features for increased curb appeal.

  7. A Welcoming GestureOn days when you'll be showing, it's a good idea to make or buy some light refreshments for your visitors. Some fresh cookies, fruit, and coffee/tea will make shoppers feel right at home. As y our real estate agent I will help get the word out about your open house, and can walk you through the process so you'll be ready to go.
I will help make sure that people show up, so the most important thing you can do when selling a house is make sure that your home is always ready to show. That part becomes significantly easier to maintain after you get the initial work out of the way, as long as you keep up with it consistently. With a little teamwork, we'll find the right buyer in no time.

Just give me a call and we’ll get to work! Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me
 
How To Sell Your House
Despite Those Nasty Neighbors
 
Woman peaking over fence

You've scrubbed every surface, trimmed the hedges to perfection, baked some cookies to make your home smell warm and inviting, but there's a problem.

Every time someone comes to view the house you're trying to sell, the first thing they notice is the unkempt mess next door. If you're selling your home, you have enough to worry about without adding troublesome neighbors to the mix, but sometimes life just isn't fair. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can smooth things out with your neighbors and get back to more important things—like selling your home.
  • Be Nice, But Firm. When bringing a complaint to your neighbor's attention, it's always best to start out by being calm and friendly, but also firm. Approach your neighbors as if they have no idea that they're causing a problem, and work from there to find a solution. Taking legal action should never be anything but a last resort, partly because it can make your relationship with your neighbors even tenser, but also because courts seldom provide a timely solution. You don't want to be tied up in legal wranglings for months while your house sits on the market.

  • Noise Problems. Noise complaints are the most common problems that cause tension between neighbors. Again, set out with a friendly demeanor, and assume that your neighbors haven't realized how much of a headache they've been causing. Stop by and have a chat about the issue, and offer to work together to reach a solution. Visit again if the noise continues to be a problem. If the noise persists, follow up with a written warning (in as friendly a manner as possible). You might also want to enclose a copy of the local noise ordinance. Threaten legal action only as a last resort if the written warning doesn't work.

  • Upkeep Issues. When your neighbors don't take care of their property, it doesn't show your house in the best light. In this case, you do have another option if a friendly request to make improvements doesn't generate any results. This problem can often be alleviated by offering your own services to clean up the neighbor's property. If you don't have the time to tackle it yourself, offer to have a professional come by to cut the grass, pack up any trash, and generally make your neighbors' property a little easier on the eyes.

  • Full Disclosure. If there's a problem with your neighbor, you may be wondering what your responsibility is when it comes to disclosing the issue to potential buyers. Obviously, you don't want to scare buyers away, but you most likely have a legal obligation to tell prospective buyers about ongoing disputes with neighbors. When in doubt, always disclose.
Selling your home is hard work, so don't let pesky neighbors hold you back. From noise problems to unruly lawns, patching things up with the folks next door will make the process of selling your home infinitely easier.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.

 
Take These Steps When
Selling a Home with Pets

Cat & Dog covered with blanket

Don't let your pup bring your home sale to a halt.

You love your dog or cat; however, when listing your home for sale, many potential buyers will not be as enamored as you are. In fact, your pet might be the reason some buyers by-pass your home entirely and move to another, pet-free option.
 
The Problem Prospective Buyers Have with Pets. Many buyers will say there are two reasons that prevent them from touring homes with pets:

  1. They are not comfortable around pets--especially dogs--and won’t enter a home that currently has one.

  2. Your pet changes the way your home smells. Some buyers won't buy a house they feel has a pet odor.
The good news is that there are things you can do to ensure that your pet and prospective buyers are comfortable.

Relocate Your Pet. You might not like the idea of living without your dog, but it's an option you may have to consider to sell your home.
If you have a friend or relative that is willing to provide a temporary home for your dog, consider their offer. In fact, it will be good for both your dog and prospective buyers. Your dog won’t have the stress of strange people coming and going and prospective buyers will be comfortable while in your house.

Create a Safe Place for Your Pet. If providing your pup with a home away from home isn't an option, provide them with a secure place while prospective buyers tour your property. This can be a neighbor's house, an outdoor kennel or even an indoor crate. It’s important that your pet is comfortable in this area before prospective buyers start walking through your home.

Clean up After Your Pets. First impressions are important during the home selling process. Before prospective buyers arrive, clean your home thoroughly. This includes:
  • Putting toys away
  • Cleaning litter boxes
  • Vacuuming pet hair
  • Laundering pet beds
Make sure your pet looks groomed and well-cared for.

Repair Pet Damage. Go over your entire property and repair any damage your family pet has done. This includes:
  • Filling in holes they’ve dug in the yard
  • Replacing stained carpets
  • Repairing or removing damaged furniture
  • Repairing or replacing torn or chewed drapes/curtains/blinds
Consult Your Veterinarian. Selling your home is stressful for you and your pets. It can take a toll on their health, particularly if they’re a senior pet or one that already struggles with health issues. Talk to your veterinarian about what you can do to make the process easier for your pet.
 
Throughout the entire process, make sure your pet knows that they’re still an important member of your family. For help with your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.

5 Things You Should Do Once
Your Home is on the Market
 
Couple cleaning floor

It took a lot of dedicated effort to get your home on the market. It would be nice if you could just sit back and wait for the offers to roll in. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

Once your home is on the market, your REALTOR® will work hard to complete the sale but you'll have to do your part to keep things moving forward. Here are five things you can do to help keep your marketing efforts on track.
  1. Never say no to a showing. When you're too tired to handle a last-minute showing, do it anyway. Home showings are a crucial part of the home-selling process. While they don't guarantee a sale, they do bring potential buyers to your door. When a home buyer decides to view your home it means that your listing made it through their initial process of elimination. Of course, no one can predict the outcome of a showing. The right buyer might walk in the door as soon as you list your property or your sale could require multiple showings. Opening your house on demand is the best way to find out.

  2. Keep your home white-glove clean. When you open up your home for a showing, potential buyers inspect and evaluate areas of your home you might not even think about. They will notice dirty tile grout and remember dusty dining room corners, and these things could cost you a sale. It’s a good idea to pay a service to do your initial cleaning as well as regularly scheduled cleanings while your home is on the market. If you enjoy doing your own cleaning, you'll still have plenty to do. You'll need to give your home a once-over before each showing or open house and you'll want to clean up afterward.

  3. Stay pet-odor vigilant. If you have a cat, dog, or other indoor pet your realtor probably discussed odor issues early in your marketing process. You likely worked hard to rid your home of telltale odors before you had your first showing. That’s great, but if your pets are still in your home, odors will be a recurring problem. If you’ve lived with pet odors for years, your nose might be insensitive to smells that are obvious to everyone else. It’s important to stay vigilant. • Clean pet living areas regularly. • Use a quality pet deodorizer spray. • Clean up pet hair daily. • Remove pets, litter boxes, bowls, etc. from the premises during a showing. • Burn a scented candle before a showing to disguise odors.

  4. Keep working on your curb appeal. If you worked hard to give your home a look that brings buyers to your door, don’t forget to keep it fresh. Getting the right curb appeal is worth the time and effort. If your home is on the market for more than a few months, you’ll need to refresh the look. • Hire a landscaper to maintain your yard. • Keep your gutters clean. • Wash dirt and mud from walkway, driveways, and porches. • Check for new problems or issues you might not have noticed before.

  5. Create a pleasant atmosphere. When potential buyers visit your home, give them an atmosphere that says, “Welcome home.” Remove throw rugs and other trip hazards. Open bedroom and bathroom doors. Brighten rooms with natural and artificial light by turning on lamps and opening up curtains, drapes, and blinds. Adjust your climate control system to a pleasant temperature. Burn a lightly scented candle just before a scheduled showing, but don’t forget to blow it out before you leave.
For help with your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.

            Five Ways to Make a Buyer
            Fall in Love with Your Home
 
Happy couple in front of home

You'll have them at hello using these simple tips.

 

When you're selling your home, first impressions are everything. Typically, each home buyer is looking for something different in the house they buy. However, there are common problems that will make them walk--and, maybe, even run--out of your home if they see them. The good news is there are several things you can do to make buyers fall in love with your home.
  1. Boost Your Curb Appeal. Start with your yard. You won’t believe the difference mowing your lawn, trimming hedges, picking up toys, adding fresh mulch and raking leaves makes. Best of all, improving the visual appearance of your yard doesn’t cost you much. Just remember, once you’re committed to selling your home, you’ll need to stay on top of lawn work until the property has sold and is no longer your responsibility. If you have a plain yard, you should consider adding one or two flower beds or planting an ornamental tree to spruce things up.

  2. Tweak the Interior. Take a look at the interior of your home. Is the pain chipped, streaked or just tired looking? Do the fixtures and door handles match? Are the outlet covers and light switches working properly? The odds are good that when you look at the interior of your home through the eyes of a prospective buyer, you’ll realize that things are a bit dated. Now that you're selling your home, it’s time to change that. A quick run to the hardware store for updated door fixtures, outlet covers and paint won’t cost too much. With a weekend’s worth of work, you’ll have given the inside of your home a face lift and made it more appealing to buyers. When choosing fixtures and more importantly paint, stick to neutral options.

  3. Upgrade the Kitchen. Buyers have said that the kitchen was what made them decide to place an offer on a home. If you’re on a shoestring budget, you’ll want to devote your funds to: - Ensuring the plumbing works perfectly, - Repairing and/or replacing damaged cabinet doors, - Making sure the kitchen is well lit, - Repainting, - Relining the shelves/drawers, - Refinishing hardwood floors, - Cleaning grout and re-grouting any damaged/crumbling grout. If you have more money to devote to upgrading the kitchen consider: - Replacing older counter tops with new granite counter tops, - Upgrading to energy efficient appliances.

  4. Ceilings. If your home was built prior to the 1980’s and has a popcorn finished ceiling you will want to have it tested for asbestos. If the test is positive, you’ll want to replace the ceiling before speaking to a real estate agent. Now that buyers understand the potential health risks connected to asbestos, they won’t consider a home with the material. Even if the test comes back negative, you should still consider having the ceilings replaced. Not only does the popcorn finish give the house a dated feel, it’s extremely difficult to keep clean or paint, which serves as a turn off for any prospective buyers.

  5. Remove the Clutter. It’s difficult for prospective buyers to fully appreciate the full potential of your home if it’s full of clutter, so after deciding to sell your home, put any items you can temporarily live without into storage.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me
 
Selling Your Green Home
 
Anatomy of a

Being an environmentally conscious homeowner takes effort, and the cost of creating a green, sustainable home can be significant.

So, what do you do when it's time to sell your current green home and find a new one? The good news is that green homes are popular, and all of those energy efficient upgrades can add real value when it's time to sell. You'll find environmentally conscious shoppers in every market, especially if you know how to market your green home effectively. Here are our tips to help you find the right buyer so you can sell your green home quickly.
  • Tips for Marketing and Selling Your Green Home. Selling a green home starts with understanding your target audience, and as a green homeowner, you already have a good idea of what people are looking for in a green home. Efficiency and sustainability are the names of the game, whether you're buying or selling a green home. Putting in the effort to find a green buyer is worth it because green homes often sell for more than homes without eco-friendly upgrades.

  • List Your Home on a Green MLS. MLS stands for multiple listing services, and it's the place where your home will be listed online so interested shoppers can take a look. In some regions, you'll be able to list your home on a green MLS, which allows you to showcase the green features of your home to interested buyers. If there is a green MLS in your area, make sure that your real estate agent is using it. If not, just make sure your listings include as much information as possible on the perks of your green home.

  • Showcase the Value of Going Green. Green homes are very popular, but not every buyer will immediately understand the value of going green. Do your best to help them understand by highlighting the value added by green features, including saving on energy costs, increasing energy efficiency in the home, improving sustainability, and benefiting local ecosystems. Think about what makes you love your green home, and do your best to convey that to potential buyers. Expand Your Audience Not every buyer starts out shopping for a green home, but the benefits of owning a green home will actually appeal to a wide range of buyers – even if they don't realize it quite yet. By showcasing the value of going green in tangible ways, you can expand your target audience to people who are looking to save on energy costs and those who understand that an eco-friendly home is a great financial investment for the future.
Now is a great time to sell a green home, because there are so many buyers out there looking for green, sustainable features. Finding the right real estate agent, marketing your home in the right places, and understanding what green home buyers are looking for will make it so much easier to find the right buyer for your green home.

For help with your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
How Sellers Prepare for
a Home Inspection
 
Man holding magnifying glass looking at miniature home

Spot these common trouble spots and repair them.

Getting ready for a home inspection is one of the more nerve-wracking things about selling your home. The good news is that you don't have to wait until after the inspection to fix some of the most common trouble spots.
There are certain spots in a home that every inspector will check. Focusing on these issues now is the best way to maximize your budget and your chance of a favorable inspection result.
  1. Address Electrical Issues. Electrical systems are always an area of focus during home inspections as old or damaged wiring can present a significant safety hazard. You can take care of some of the simple stuff like replacing broken switch plates and making sure that all light bulbs are working. It's also a good idea to contact a trusted electrician for a full review of your electrical systems. Better to find and fix it now rather than learn about a problem on inspection day.

  2. Freshen Your Fireplace. A fireplace can be a major attraction to home buyers as long as it's clean, safe and well-maintained. Staying on top of fireplace maintenance is always a good idea because an inspector will check it thoroughly. In addition to cleaning up, make sure your fireplace meets all relevant safety codes.

  3. Eliminate Mold and Mildew. Mold and mildew in a home are enough to scare off most buyers before things even reach the stage of inspection. Scour bathrooms, basements, kitchens and anywhere else mold might develop. You can find specially formulated cleaning products to deal with mold at most hardware stores. If you have a serious mold problem, it's worth calling in the pros to get the job done thoroughly.

  4. Fix Roof and Basement Leaks. If you do have mold or mildew issues in your home, there's a good chance that leaks play a part. Roof leaks are among the most common ways for water to enter the home and often cause significant damage before being detected. Have a professional contractor repair any leaks. It's an absolute must if you're preparing for inspection.

  5. Check Your Plumbing. Leaks don't just come from the outside of the home and faulty plumbing is sure to draw the attention of any home inspector. Taking care of any leaks is the first priority, but it's also a good idea to make sure that your water systems are functioning at their best. Check that water pressure is high, your water heater works properly.
Investing the time and resources to repair these problems now will save a lot of stress in the long run and will likely save you some money at closing time. Better yet, a positive inspection result puts you one step closer to turning your dreams of a home sale into a reality.
 
For help with your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
6 Home Remodeling
Projects That Pay Off
 
Drawing of kitchen
These six home projects can maximize your home’s value paying off in the long run.
  1. Landscaping. If your yard could use a little TLC, a landscaping redesign can increase curb appeal and the equity in your home. Invest in a few flowering shrubs--a splash of color at the front of your home will catch the eye of potential buyers. Use one color and vary the height of plants for impact. Trim overgrown shrubs. Add two or three large planters that feature a variety of colorful flowers. Spread fresh mulch around plants and trees. Add a charming focal point like a flagstone walkway or fountain.

  2. Exterior Improvements. First impressions are key--giving the outside of your home a fresh look can increase its value and improve the chances of a sale. Paint the exterior, including trim. Paint color cards can help you choose color combinations that look amazing. Don’t forget the front door. Remove old awnings for an updated look. Get rid of damaged railings and replace them with inviting natural wood. Add a pergola and columns to give a humdrum porch an elegant makeover.

  3. Minor Bathroom. Remodel A minor bathroom remodel can make your home look much more modern and inviting. Re-caulk the tub. If your bathtub is chipped and worn, consider installing a new tub surround that fits snugly over it and makes it look brand-new. Remove old wall coverings (especially old wallpaper) and give the walls a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color. Spackle and sand holes before painting. Put in new flooring--linoleum or a tile. Replace or remove old shower doors. A curtain that can be opened or pulled back will create an illusion of space.

  4. Minor Kitchen Remodel. To many people the kitchen is the most important room in the house, so improving it can add quite a bit of value. Sand and paint cabinets and drawers. Replace cabinet hardware to give the kitchen a fresh look. If counter tops are very dated or worn, install new ones. If you are on a tight budget, Formica® or other affordable man-made material will do. If your budget will allow, consider stone or granite. A worn, vinyl floor can be a turnoff, consider replacing it with new luxury flooring. New appliances update your kitchen and can be a real plus for potential buyers. Add detail by changing curtains, towels, and other accessories.

  5. Windows. New windows can make a dramatic difference and increase the value of your home. New windows increase energy efficiency and can keep the indoor environment more comfortable. There is an array of materials from which to choose--including vinyl, wood, and composite materials. In hotter climates, consider double-pane windows with low e-glass. It reflects heat, and argon gas inside the pane prevents heat and cold transference within the window.

  6. Roof. If your roof is over 20 years old, it may be time to replace it. Missing or curled-up shingles are a precursor to a leaky roof. If you see daylight or the roof's leaking it is definitely time to replace it. There are a few options when it comes to roofing, such shingles, tile, slate or rubber. Make sure to do your research and be clear about what will work best for your house. Don’t forget to ask about proper drainage, too.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
Staging Tips to WOW Home Buyers
 
 
Staged home

Preparing your home for potential buyers involves these home staging tips.

 

Home staging highlights the best features of your house and makes it more marketable by giving it a clean, organized and neutral appearance. It also makes your home more appealing to the greatest pool of prospective buyers.
 
Hiring a professional stager is a good investment because they have the design expertise and time to get the job done right. If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional, follow these six home staging tips to get you on your way.
  1. Conquer the Clutter. The most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is to declutter. Decluttering helps buyers imagine themselves living in your home. Take a good hard look at what you have and decide for yourself what you can live without. Pack, donate or store those things you can live without for the time being—this includes furniture. When professional stagers prep your home for sale, they often remove a good deal of furniture to make your rooms look bigger.

  2. Make Your Home Sparking Clean. A sparking clean home gives prospective buyers the impression that it has been well cared-for. Mop and vacuum your floors, dust, wash windows and baseboards. Don’t forget about organizing your cupboards, under your sinks and in your closets. Assume home buyers will inspect every corner of your home.

  3. Slap on a Fresh Coat of Paint. Repainting your interior is one of the most cost-effective and easiest ways to spruce up your home. Choose beige or taupe for living areas and neutral green or blue for bathrooms.

  4. Make Repairs. Repair squeaky doors, leaking faucets, bathtub caulking that has mold or missing light bulbs. Now is the time to get out the tool box and repair things you've neglected.

  5. Accessorize. Decluttering is an important step in staging; however, once your home looks streamlined, add back a few accessories to convey the style of the home you want to project. A few lamps and pictures can create the right vibe.

  6. Boost Curb Appeal. The way your home looks from the street can put dollars in your pocket and cut the time your home takes to sell. Prospective buyers thinking of touring your home will do a drive-by first to deciding whether or not to schedule a showing. Lure in more buyers with some good old fashioned spit shine and polish along with a splash of color. Power wash siding and walkways, wash windows, plant blooming flowers and greenery, repaint and stain as needed.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
Improve Your Home's ROI
with These Green Projects
 
Hand holding cut out of green home

There are quite a few benefits to eco-friendly home improvements, but one of the most vital is the value these improvements can add to your home.

 

Green home improvements can lead to a larger return on investment when you sell your home. Not all green home improvements are costly and time-consuming, and ones that offer tax credits can make taking the leap more affordable.
 
Recently, the real estate market has seen an uptick in demand for green homes. Whether you’re looking to start small or do a complete overhaul, eco-friendly home improvement can help you obtain green building certifications and raise the value of your home. Implement some of these improvements in your home.
 
  1. Solar Energy Panels. Solar PV systems produce power when exposed to sunlight, and require additional components to properly store, conduct, convert, control, and distribute the energy produced by the solar panel. This entire system is what drives up the cost of solar, especially equipment like batteries that must be replaced over time. However, costs for solar panels are expected to continue to drop, as more thin film panels become available to the residential market. As electric and other fuel costs rise, you can expect more PV solar panel installation on roofs, especially in areas with good solar conditions or higher electricity rates.

  2. Energy-Efficient Appliances. High-efficiency appliances not only allow you to save on energy costs, they are an added selling point for home buyers. For example, a new, energy-efficient water heater won’t run as often and can help you save on gas, electric and water bills. High-efficiency washers, dryers, and other appliances can help with this as well.

  3. Proper Insulation. Consider improving the insulation in your home. Keep in mind that traditional types of insulation, such as fiberglass, are not sustainably made. Choosing recycled materials, cotton or wool insulation can help you remain more environmentally conscious and reap the benefits of tax credits. Depending on the size of your home, adding insulation and sealing cracks and crevices may help you save 10 to 30 percent on energy bills.

  4. Replacement Doors and Windows. Gaps and cracks in old windows and doors are often to blame when it comes to chilly homes and high utility bills. While new windows may seem costly, you can often recoup up to 60-70% of the cost when selling your home. Do your homework before buying, and if new windows aren’t within your budget, caulking, installing storm windows and weather stripping can help to make your home more energy efficient.

  5. Rainwater Collection Systems. An affordable way to make your home more green, rainwater collection systems store water that runs through your gutters in a barrel for later use. For as little as $100 for the barrel and downspout fittings, a rainwater collection system can pay for itself in just a couple of seasons.

  6. Smart Thermostats. Another affordable eco-friendly home improvement, programmable thermostats allow you to program temperatures and track your habits to see where savings can be made.

  7. Green Home Certification. Once you’ve completed your eco-friendly home improvement projects, find a reputable company that does green home certification such as LEED, EnergyStar or NGBS. A green home certification will reinforce the benefits of purchasing an eco-friendly home and can lead to big returns on your investment.
If you are considering putting your home on the market, eco-friendly home improvements can make your quality of life better and help you maximize the value of your home.
 
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
6 Secrets to Selling Your Home 
 
Florida ranch home

Start doing these six things now to sell your home this year.

 

The work you do now in preparation can make a huge difference when the time comes to attract the right home buyer. Here are six tips for selling your home to get you started and help you prepare for real estate success this year. 
 
  1. Create Curb AppealYou want potential buyers to be impressed from the moment they pull up to your house. Make sure that your yard is clean, your lawn is healthy and the front entrance to your home has a fresh coat of paint. During the spring, adding some attractive, colorful plants is a great way to boost curb appeal.

  2. Downsized DecoratingWhile a bit of decorating is fine when your home is for sale, it's generally better to go for a more minimalist touch. Buyers want to be able to project what their life will be like in your home and that's easier to do when you give them a blank slate to work with.

  3. Targeted UpgradesYou can improve the marketability of your home without making major renovations if you know where to look. It's never a bad idea to focus on the kitchen and bathroom when making minor upgrades because they are often the first places a buyer looks when deciding if they're interested in your home.

  4. Setting a Realistic PriceYour real estate agent can provide you with a local real estate market analysis to help you determine the listing price for your home. The most important thing is to be realistic when setting a price – low enough to avoid scaring off potential suitors, but high enough to get you a solid return on your investment. As your agent I can help you strike that balance.

  5. Simply SocialSocial media sites like Facebook are a great way to spread the word that your home is for sale. Friends and family will often be happy to share your listing with any house hunters they know, and it only takes a few moments to post your listing on your social pages. Best of all, it doesn't cost you a dime.

  6. Sell Your NeighborhoodWhether you've lived there for decades or it's just been a temporary stop, it's a good idea to learn everything you can about your neighborhood when selling your home. That knowledge will allow you to accentuate the positives of your neighborhood and provide quick, clear answers to questions from buyers.
Selling your home is all about preparation, and there's no better time to get started. Follow our six home selling tips to hit the ground running, and be sure to lean on the expertise of your real estate agent whenever you're in need of advice.
 
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
Protect Your Belongings
During an Open House
 
Real Estate agent showing home

With strangers wandering through your house, take these steps to feel more comfortable during an open house.

 

Selling your home can cause concern about how to protect your personal privacy and possessions. When buyers walk through your home during a showing or open house, they will most likely peek into every drawer, look inside each closet and check the pantry and cabinets. Protecting Your Belongings
Here are a few steps to take to make you feel more confident while your home is on the market.
  • Lock electronics. Shut down all computers and devices before you leave. If you are not using a password to gain access to your devices, start now. Make sure that everyone in the home knows to keep them turned off or locked at all times.
  • Check doors and windows. Check all of the doors and windows in your home every day, especially areas that you're not used to checking such as upstairs windows or basement doors. Buyers will open and close doors while they are looking at a home and most of the time they are not closed and locked properly afterward.

Protecting Private Information

Most home selling tips include advice about removing all personal items in the home as a way to stage the property. Another reason to do this is to protect your privacy.
  • Start in the bathroom by removing all prescription medications and any items that might be embarrassing or awkward if someone were to see them.
  • Next, go through the bedroom and do the same. Leave nothing behind except a bed with neutral linens, dressers with nothing but clothes inside and empty tops, and side tables that are void of all items except lamps and clocks.
  • Go through the entire home and remove all family photos, diplomas, calendars with appointments, etc. This includes drawers and cabinets too. You should strive to give your home the appearance of a model home: very neutral and open to everyone.
  • Do not leave personal documents out especially anything pertaining to the sale of the home. Inadvertently tipping your hand this early in the game could be disastrous! Leaving out your bills and other information could leave you vulnerable to identity theft and other crimes.

What To Do With All the Stuff?

You're following all of these home selling tips and getting stuff out of your home. Now, what do you do with all of the stuff?
  • Rent a storage unit. Pack up all of your personal items into boxes and totes and move them to a storage unit. You'll have to do this when it's time to move so you might as well get started. Leave behind only a working wardrobe, enough towels to get through a few days, and one set of neutral linens for each bed. Personal toiletries should be limited and kept in easy to stow containers and tucked under the sink or in a linen closet while not in use.
  • Get a lock box. A simple document box will be enough to keep items safe as most buyers won't make any attempt to access something that appears off limits. Keep all of your documents, bills, valuables and unread mail in the box at all times.
Feel safe about opening your home to strangers. By following these home selling tips, you can be certain that your belongings and information are safe and secure.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
Are You The Reason Your
Home Isn't Selling
 
Home for sale with sign

If you thought your home would sell quickly, but you haven't had a single offer so far, could you be the reason?

 

That's a hard reality to consider, but it's important if you're serious about selling your home. You must examine everything you did or did not do before and after your listing went live. Sometimes a single change can make a big difference. When you've lived in your home a long time, it's easy to miss conditions that might be obvious to a home buyer. That's why it's important to seek other opinions when re-evaluating your home. Sometimes you simply need a second pair of unbiased eyes to pinpoint obvious issues. Other times you may require professional input. Use this list of questions as a guide.
 
Did you price your home unrealistically?
 
Selling price is a primary consideration for most home buyers. If your asking price is unreasonably high, buyers may just move on to the next listing. I will give you a fact based recommendation on how to price your home....and it’s free!
 
Is your home ready for the market?
 
If your home lacks the curb appeal that draws buyers to your door, do something. When you're selling your home, do whatever you must to make it a home buyer's magnet.
  • Re-Landscape: Have a professional redo your DIY landscaping.
  • Repair: Fix exterior and interior areas in need of attention.
  • Repaint: Brighten interior rooms with lighter walls.
  • Declutter: Remove unnecessary stuff for a less junky look.
  • De-personalize: Remove personal photos, artwork, and mementos so home buyers can visualize themselves in your home.
  • Restage: Consider hiring a professional to rework your interior spaces.
Is your home not quite clean enough?
 
When you're giving home buyers free rein, they'll find whatever you missed in your spotless home. Before putting your home on the market, have a professional do a deep cleaning. It will cost you, but they will eliminate problems you might not have noticed.
  • Lingering odors: You might be "nose blind" to smells like mildew, pets, and garbage.
  • Dust: Soil accumulates on surfaces high and low.
  • Windows: Dirty windows keep natural light from entering.
  • Pet problems: Little Fluffy's litter scatterings and carpet stains may disgust a potential buyer.
Are your listing photos a turn-off?
 
Buyers respond to great photos. If your home has curb appeal, beautiful landscaping, and bright spacious interiors, your listing photos must show it. It's worth the cost to have them done professionally.
 
Do you have bad Open House etiquette?
 
If you've scheduled only a few private showings and had no feedback from your open houses, eliminate yourself as a cause.
  • Be available: Say yes to all private showings, even on short notice. Tidy up, leave, and let your real estate agent handle it.
  • Open up your home: Establish an Open House schedule. Publicize your events to buyers outside your neighborhood.
  • Ge out!: With you hovering and watching, potential buyers will feel more like trespassers than future owners.
Your Real Estate Agent Matters
 
Most of your problems wouldn't be problems if you'd vetted your real estate professional. When you're selling your home, you need a real estate agent who will work with you throughout the process.
  • Inspect your home
  • Make recommendations
  • Recommend staggers and photographers
  • List your home only when it's ready
  • Market traditionally and on social media
  • Work with buyers and their representatives
  • Execute bid, buy, and closing documents
While no real estate agent can make magic happen, as a professional, I will work hard to minimize problems so you can sell your home. For help with your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. There you can learn about me and see testimonials from my prior clients. Go ahead, check it out!
 
7 Can't-Miss Tips for
Selling Your Home 
 
Home for sale

Sell your home faster and for a better price.

 

If you're thinking about selling your house, then this is truly a can't-miss opportunity. Buyers are hitting the market in force. Now all you need is to get your home--and yourself--ready for the busy season ahead.
  1. Create a To-Do List. This step is easy to miss while you're busy buzzing around from one project to the next, but it's really worth taking the time to create a to-do list. Order tasks by priority, and be sure to update your list as you add new projects or complete existing ones. Once you have your list, post it in a place where you'll see it often.

  2. Prune Your Shrubbery and Trees. While you're pruning, consider whether you'd like to add any new landscaping features or outdoor lighting to boost curb appeal.

  3. Declutter Your Home. Buyers want to be able to picture what their life would be like in your home, so it's a good idea to remove clutter and personal possessions as you prepare for selling your home. A clutter-free home is also much easier to keep clean between showings.

  4. Property Inspection. Having your home inspected will help you develop a game plan and reveal potential issues which could halt a sale if they go unnoticed. Ask around for referrals, and look for an inspector with a track record of being thorough.

  5. Meet with Your Agent. The real estate market never truly sleeps, and your real estate agent is always hard at work. Schedule a time to talk strategy and get answers to your questions before the busy season begins. For help with your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.

  6. Home Improvements. This is a great time to tackle minor home improvement projects like painting, power-washing outdoor surfaces or refreshing your flooring. Every little improvement makes a difference, but you'll probably want to save the big remodeling projects for your next home.
Prepare Yourself Selling your home takes a lot of time and energy, so it's a good idea to get yourself ready for the selling season. Develop a plan, coordinate with other members of the household and maybe even set aside a bit of time for relaxation before showings and open houses begin.
 
With the right preparations in place, you'll be ready to hit the ground running.  Selling your house is much easier when you take the time to plan, prepare and put your strategy into action.  My help and your willingness to research on your own are the key ingredients to simplify selling your house.
 
Use These 6 Tips to Boost
Your Home's Curb Appeal
 
Beautifully landscaped home

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

 

The "put your best foot forward" advice you are given when going for an interview does not hit home harder than when trying to sell your home.

Buyers are extremely picky. Nobody is willing to plunk down their hard-earned money on a home that does not cut their dream home criteria. As a seller, this pickiness can drive you to the edge. Having your home listed on buyers' market for months on end will have you losing sleep wondering what you might be doing wrong. If you want to sell quickly and reap handsomely, revamp your curb appeal.
 
Every buyer judges the book by its cover in real estate. This places a huge responsibility on curb appeal to represent the home's value. Luckily, revamping your curb appeal does not have to break your bank. A few strategic changes with a touch of creativity are all you need to make the face of your home eye-catching. Here are six hacks to get you started.
  1. Furniture. You certainly don't need to buy new furniture. Lugging some of them from your backyard patio to the front is all you need to do. A well-set scene with furniture not only makes your front warm but also inviting. If your patio furniture appears a little dated, a quick DIY will do. Add a pop of warm colors to give them a new and welcoming look.

  2. Hardware. Making a great first impression is crucial. This comes with paying attention to detail. Such includes house numbers and light fixtures. If not too old, these can be redeemed by a simple polish. However, replacing them with new ones would be more ideal.

  3. Landscape. Undoubtedly, a total landscape makeover can yield the biggest returns. If you cannot squeeze in a major landscaping project into your budget, the traditional way is still a valid option. Mow your lawn and remove any dying and shrubbery plants. Scrub the paths with bleach to get rid of any algae. Also, invest in garden accessories such as lanterns to add some life to the paths.

  4. Mailbox. Mailboxes are often similar and basic. Having your mailbox stand out can add interest and beauty to your home.

  5. Lighting. Buyers who view your home during the day may miss out on this upgrade. But, having a bit of lighting is a sure way of getting your home pop first in the listing pictures.

  6. Plant. Planting a few flowers immediately brightens up your front porch and makes any prospective buyer feel at home. Spruce up your exteriors or even around a mailbox with brightly colored flowers to give some life to your home. Place containers of flowers by the front door and any other place around the home that may desperately need a dash of color.
For help with all your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
Paint Colors That Will Sell Your Home
 
Color pallet

In your home, YOUR color choices are the only ones that matter... until it's time to sell it.

 

You can paint your dining room red for a morning energy boost. You can redo your bathroom with a white-on-white color scheme for a spa-like feel. As a homeowner, you can decorate with colors that match your personal style. But when it comes to selling your home, the wrong color can affect how much a buyer is willing to pay for your home.

Your red walls, for example, could be a big turn off for potential home buyers. Buyers don't like colorless white bathrooms either. That's what a recent Zillow Paint Color Study found after researching 32,000 photos of sold homes. They also found that color has the power to increase or decrease your home's sale price.
Color matters, so we tweaked our color ideas with Zillow stats to provide guidance for picking the perfect color when selling your home.
  • White. White is the perfect color choice when you want a home exterior with universal appeal. Shades of white offer a pure, neutral backdrop that lets your home's architecture grab a buyer's attention. A white exterior can make a home appear larger, cleaner, brighter, and more attractive. Be cautious when choosing white for indoor spaces. White bathrooms were the single largest negative variable in residential sale outcomes. Homes with white bathrooms sold for $4,035 less than anticipated. Also, eggshell, off-white, and other white wall tones are the color of choice for apartment interiors. They may remind potential buyers of the renter's lifestyle they're trying to leave behind.

  • Blue. Blue is primary and basic. As a child, whether you had the eight crayon pack or the 64, blue was a favorite. Everyone has a long history with the color blue. Perhaps that's why blue in its various shades is relaxing and soothing. When you're selling your home, blue in any room--except the living room--encourages buyers to pay more. Bathroom: Blue bathrooms ranging from light powder blue to periwinkle increased home sale prices by an average of $5,440. Bedrooms: Soothing blues, from light cerulean to cadet, are perfect for bedrooms where peace and relaxation is a must. Homes with blue bedrooms brought $1,856 more than anticipated. Dining Room: Blue is also a favorite in the dining room. Shades of slate blue, pale gray-blue, navy blue and others increased home prices by an average of $1,926. Kitchen: Light blue and soft blue-gray increase average kitchen prices. Front Door: Buyers find blue front doors so inviting they increased home prices by an average of $1,514.

  • Greige. So you've never heard of greige? That's what you get when you blend shades of gray and beige. Greige makes a lasting impression on home buyers. Home exteriors painted in this hybrid color sold for $3,469 more than similar homes with brown-dominant shades, such as medium brown or stucco.

  • Brown. Shades of brown are earthy and warm. They will always be popular with some buyers, but be careful where you use them. Brown can be a turn off when used in the wrong place. Living Rooms: Brown-toned colors like light beige, pale taupe, and oatmeal increased home sale prices by $1,809. Exteriors: Homes exteriors painted medium brown, taupe, or stucco sold for an average of $1,970 less than anticipated.
Color Uh-Ohs Even if you used these colors only sparingly, they can cause problems.
  • Yellow: Straw yellow to marigold in kitchens reduced home prices by an average of $820.

  • Pink: Light pinks to antique rose, customarily in children's rooms, reduced home prices an average of $208.
For help with your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
What Every First-Time Home
Seller Should Know
 
Young family in front of sole home sign

Sell Like a Pro: Proven Tips for First-Time Home Sellers

Buying a house for the first time is something that many of us look forward to throughout our lives. No matter how much you love your first home, there will likely come a day when you're ready to move on to something new. Selling your home is a totally different experience from buying a home. Buying a home involves feelings and sentiments while selling a home centers on dollars and cents. However cut and dry the selling experience might seem, there is still a period of confusion involved in the selling process. Many first-time home sellers have no idea where to start. Here are some of the most important tips for first-time home sellers to help you get started.

Just as with buying a home for the first time, you can remove a lot of the mystery from the equation by taking the time to read, study and learn. There's a ton to be learned from your real estate agent and other experienced home sellers. Since you're here, it's safe to say you're already taking steps in that direction.
  1. Set a Sane Price.  The value of a home is not set in a vacuum, and market factors play an important role in setting the right price. Ask your real estate agent for a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA breaks down the value of your home in great detail, along with the market history of homes in your area. Understanding the realities of the local real estate market is crucial in setting a price that is as attractive for buyers as it is for your budget.

  2. Work with a Trusted Real Estate Agent. Working with a real estate agent you can trust will make life much easier when it's time to sell your home. A skilled agent will help you set the right price, attract the right buyers, and find a deal that works for everyone involved. If you enjoyed working with the agent who helped you purchase the home, now is a great time to rekindle that relationship.

  3. Major Marketing. Identifying the right buyer is much easier when you do what's necessary to help the right buyer find you. Work with an agent who understands how social media, email marketing and search engine marketing fits into the modern real estate purchasing process. A bit of targeted marketing is key to reaching the right audience.

  4. Consider Curb AppealNo matter how great the interior of your home looks, it's the exterior that makes the first impression. Add curb appeal by updating your landscaping, keeping your yard as clean as possible, and putting a fresh coat of paint on areas that need it. You want them to be impressed from the moment they arrive. Be sure to tidy up and declutter inside too.

  5. Prepare to CompromiseIf you're holding out for the deal that checks every single item on your priority list, you may be in for a long wait. The selling process has the same give-and-take as the buying process, so you may need to compromise in some areas to get what you want in others. Consider the areas where you're willing to compromise as you get started with the process, and you'll be better prepared to make a deal.
One advantage of selling your home for the first time is that you'll likely have experience sitting on the other side of the table as a buyer, so you'll already have some idea of what to expect. With a willingness to keep learning and the help of an experienced real estate agent, you'll be ready to tackle the process of selling your home for the first time.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
Closing Costs That Might Surprise You
 
Picture of surprised woman
Selling your home soon? As you look at your finances and list your home, it's probably tempting to focus on your potential earnings. However, every real estate transaction comes with closing costs for the buyer and the seller.
 
You probably already know you're responsible for the agents' commissions, but what about the rest of your closing costs?
 
Before selling your home, make sure you understand all the closing costs you'll be expected to cover. Here are some common costs that may surprise you:
  1. Pro-Rated Property Taxes. You're responsible for all property taxes up to the date of the sale. That means if you're selling in July, you need to pay your property tax for the first seven months of the year – not wait until next year to file. Make sure you're aware of the final number because you must provide this to the buyers. This is required because buyers will get a bill next year for the whole year, including the months you still owned the home.

  2. Transfer Taxes and Fees. Real estate transactions are essentially title transfers from one owner to
    another. Before your sale is complete, you must pay state and county or city fees in order to process this transfer. You may also need to pay transfer taxes. While most sellers are aware that it costs money to transfer a title, many are surprised by the final percentage, which can fluctuate wildly depending on your location. Make sure you're aware of the local requirement beforehand.

  3. Title Insurance. If you think buyers are always responsible for buying a title insurance policy, think again. Many states now require sellers to cover the new homeowner's title insurance policy. This coverage is designed to protect the mortgage lender from any future claims, and they won't approve the transaction without it. Find out now if you will be responsible for the buyer's title insurance coverage.

  4. Home Preparations. Staging a home for market success is about more than just cleaning thoroughly and rearranging the furniture. Your real estate agent will know which services are the most valuable, especially to sellers who want to ask for more money or sell more quickly. For example, renting a storage unit will make it much easier to clear out a third of your clutter and personal possessions, leaving a more neutral and walkable space for potential buyers. Carpet cleaning, painting, lawn care, and professional photography services are also important investments for serious sellers.
Of course, your final closing costs before selling your home will depend on a lot of different factors. From zip code and loan terms to the buyers' willingness to negotiate, these factors will help you figure out just how much to set aside for closing. Understand your responsibilities and prepare yourself for every possible expense.

For answers to your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.

6 Easy DIY Home Fixes Just
About Anyone Can Handle
 
DIY Projects
Doesn't it seem like something always needs to be fixed around the house? The cost of labor for even minor repairs can be expensive.
 
Before you “call a guy,” consider making some of these repairs yourself. Here are six DIY fixes to save you some cash and keep your home in tip-top shape.
  1. Leaky Faucet. A dripping faucet can waste more than eight gallons of water per day. If your faucet is leaking, it most likely means that you’re dealing with a worn washer or O-ring. If there are two handles for hot and cold water, shut off the water to them one at a time to determine which one is causing the drip. Once you figure it out, shut off the water underneath the sink and disassemble the faulty handle and replace the washer and O-ring. If the faucet is really old, consider replacing it with a new model.

  2. Running Toilet. The rubber flapper in your toilet tank allows water to flow from the tank to the bowl when you flush. If your toilet won’t stop running, it may be time for a new flapper. The way to test it is this: drop some food coloring into the tank and wait a few minutes. If food coloring is bleeding into the bowl, head to the hardware store to buy a new flapper. Make sure it’s the right size and type for your toilet before buying.

  3. Filling Picture Holes in Walls. Hide holes left in the wall from hanging pictures by filling them premixed spackling compound applied with a putty knife. Don't overfill the hole, just use enough to fill it and wipe away the excess with your finger or a paper towel. After the spackling dries, smooth the spot with sandpaper and paint. Use a small paint brush and dab it over the area. You can also put some paint on a paper towel and “feather” the paint out around the hole. That way it will blend into the wall a bit better. If you no longer have the original paint used, a hardware or paint store can match the color if you bring in a sample.

  4. Squeaky Doors. The grating sound of a squeaky door can be a major annoyance. While you may think grabbing the WD-40 to squelch this bothersome problem is the best way to go, think again. While WD-40 works well for cleaning metal parts and protecting against rust, silicone spray is the best solution for a squeaky door. It’s just as easy to use and the odor isn’t quite as strong. Another plus: the squeak won’t return as quickly as it might with other lubricating products.

  5. Sticky Locks. Again, ditch the WD-40 and opt for powdered graphite to fix a sticky lock. It comes in a little tube with a small nozzle so you can squeeze it into tight spaces like keyholes. Put a little on the latch to keep it working smoothly.

  6. Torn Window Screens. Does your kitty like scratching on the screens? Not to worry—repairing window screens is easy. For a tiny tear, apply clear nail polish to the spot to fill and connect pieces of the screen together. For larger holes and tears, you can purchase window screen repair tape or a repair patch. If the mesh is beyond repair, you can still fix it yourself. Grab a screen repair kit from the hardware store and replace the screen in the existing frame by following package instructions.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
5 Secrets Your Contractor
Doesn't Want You to Know
 
Contractor and lady
If you're planning a home improvement project, you're probably considering many different contractors, and wondering how in the world you will choose the right one.
 
Some renovation projects run like a dream, but the wrong contractor can lead you down a road paved with delays, mistakes, and headaches. Picking a quality contractor means taking a lot of things into consideration—including a few things that contractors might not want you to know.
  1. He's not the only game in town. There's no surer way to make a bad decision than feeling like you have no other choice. So remember, no matter what your contractor might like you to believe, there are always other options. Be sure to solicit at least three bids from three different contractors, and go with one that you're sure is right for your project.

  2. Cheaper isn't always better. We all like to save money, but some things are cheaper for a reason. Resist the temptation to go with a budget contractor who will cut corners to save you money. A lot of factors go into the dollar amount of each contractor's bid, including their experience, the quality of their work, and—let's face it—how much they think they can charge you. The bottom line is, don't go with a contractor just because they offer the cheapest bid.

  3. He isn't going to be there every day. It's easy to imagine that your contractor will be there in person, day in and day out, working on your house. But the fact is, contractors are mainly delegators who farm out the work to other carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. These may be permanent members of your contractor's team, or they may work for any number of sub-contractors. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's important to understand that your contractor may not be there overseeing the work all the time, and he almost certainly won't be hammering any nails himself.

  4. Your contractor is not a designer. While some contractors absolutely have some design skills, contractors are really businessmen, and no matter what they may promise, they can almost never do the work of a designer. With a complex home improvement project, all kinds of professionals are necessary, including a designer in most cases. If your contractor says he has the skills to replace a designer, don't take this claim at face value; insist on seeing a portfolio that can demonstrate his design chops to your satisfaction.

  5. He's going to mark up materials as well as labor. Contractors mark up everything they pay out over the course of a project, which is fine. That's how they pay for overhead and the salaries of their employees. But that markup can be as much as 50 percent, so it's wise to do everything you can to bring that number down, like picking out and buying certain items yourself. By buying your own plumbing fixtures, wall tiles, flooring, countertops, cabinets, and hardware (i.e. light fixtures, handles, and doorknobs) you remove these items from the contractor's bid, potentially shaving 10 to 20 percent off the cost of the entire project.
When things really click between a homeowner and a contractor, the result can be an amazing renovation of your dream home. When they don't, it can be a disaster. That's why it's so important to choose carefully. When in doubt, go with your gut—if you get an untrustworthy vibe from a potential contractor, that's usually a sure sign that you should take your home improvement elsewhere.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
 
10 Easy DIYs To Do Before
Selling Your Home
 
 
Tradesman carrying 2x4
One of the best parts of homeownership is the great do-it-yourself projects you can enjoy.When it comes time to sell your home, it's even more important to apply the DIY spirit. The more time and energy you invest – known as sweat equity – the better your odds of getting the sale you want faster.

Consider these ten projects:
  1. Painting the Exterior. There's a reason "curb appeal" is so important: It's the first impression! A coat of exterior paint is the perfect way to help prospective buyers see themselves in the home. Plus, you can tone down unusual colors.

  2. Power Washing the Exterior. The best way to enhance your new paint job is to make sure the outside walls are clean as can be. This only takes a few hours of work and can take ten years off the apparent age of a house. Effects continue long after the average house is sold.

  3. Manicuring the Lawn. It can be tough to maintain a lawn. In some areas, scorching heat and restricted water use lead to brown patches. In others, weeds grow like – well, weeds! Before putting your home on the market, break out the mower and hedge clippers.

  4. Steam Cleaning the Carpets. This is vital if you have a cat or dog. Even the nicest carpets are bound to accumulate stains over time. The more of these you can remove, the better. A clean carpet is softer and more inviting.

  5. Adding a Closet. When you add a closet, you're really adding a bedroom. You don't have to outfit the room with furniture, but taking a weekend to install a closet can have a big impact on your sale price.

  6. Cleaning the Gutters. It's important to clean gutters at least twice yearly and whenever the weather gets heavy. Still, it's a chore that easily gets put off. When gutters clog, they can damage the roof and foundation.

  7. Patching the Roof. Roof issues are high on the list of problems many would-be buyers are keen to walk away from. Since so many buyers get inspections, beat them to the punch by fixing leaks or weak spots.

  8. Replacing the Windows. Broken windows not only age a house, they can make the whole neighborhood seem less desirable. Fix cosmetic damage and treat windows with coatings that reduce heat loss.

  9. Tidying Up. Get clutter out of the way – into closets or storage – to make things easier on yourself now and the future. Buyers can envision their stuff in the space and you'll have less to do at sale time.

  10. Replacing Air Conditioning Filters. Washing or replacing AC filters helps to keep your ductwork functioning and improves air quality inside the house, which can be ten times worse than the air outside.
DIY projects are fun, exciting, and make a difference in your sale. Try these ten and your buyers will really be wowed by what you have to offer.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
6 Tips for a Stress-Free Home Closing
 
Handing over keys to new home owner
Whether you're buying or selling a home, closing day can be a stressful part of the process.
 
Closing day is when everything related to your real estate transaction becomes finalized. Luckily, closing often goes smoothly--especially when you have a great real estate agent working with you throughout the process.
 
Once the sale is final, there's often still a few things you need to do. None of these steps are as big or as complex as what you've already been through but making sure they are taken care of will go a long way toward protecting you from last-minute hiccups.
 
Let's review some of the most important considerations you shouldn't forget:
  1. Take Utilities Out of Your Name – Fast! Remove your name from all utilities as soon as possible after closing. Contact every utility and service provider, preferably on the day closing takes place. It could be much more difficult to get this done once you move out. Don't forget about insurance: You may be eligible for a refund of any prepaid premium on your old homeowner's policy.

  2. Change Your Address. Change your address with the post office about two to four weeks before your closing date. If you forget or decide to wait until things are really final, don't forget you can file your change of address with the USPS online. The IRS also offers an address change procedure. Check in with your local DMV to ensure your license will have the correct address, too.

  3. Make Moving Out Easier. Take a close look at any moving company estimate, especially before a long distance move. Most movers will only insure what they pack themselves, so consider supplemental insurance for anything else. Be present during packing to ensure a higher quality of service. Excessive packing material can raise the weight of your items, leading to heftier charges.

  4. Double-Check Your Settlement. Even in a detail-oriented situation like closing on a home, mistakes do happen. To be certain everything is accurate, get out a copy of your closing disclosure and compare it to your loan estimate. You might save hundreds or even more if you happen to spot a discrepancy. The best time to do this is right away, so you can report any problems within 24 hours of the closing day.

  5. Your Closing Documentation. The worst case scenario is this: A tiny typo leads to a situation where mortgages that should be paid off aren't. Reread all closing docs to ensure mortgages are fully paid and payoff amounts are correct. Also, keep your eyes peeled for any additional fees added by the title company. As closing approaches, fees become easier to estimate and should be disclosed well in advance.

  6. Empty the Escrow Account. Don't forget: Unused funds that you placed in escrow belong to you. There are two situations where this can cause headaches. More commonly, the title company fails to release escrow-held funds in a timely manner so you can access them. Occasionally, sellers make the mistake of leaving sales proceeds in a new escrow account, leading to complications down the line.
Closing day is a huge milestone for anyone – it marks true success in selling your home. To maximize your profits and minimize frustration, plan on two extra days to manage these last six issues. You'll be glad you did!
 
For answers to your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
8 Tips for Ousting Awful Pet
Smells from Your Home
 
Young girl with dog on lawn
If you have a pet, one of the first things to do before showing your home is tackle any powerful pet odors. Selling your home is easier if prospective buyers get a positive impression from the beginning, and that starts with smell.
Let's look at some effective methods for reducing pet odors.

  1. Steam Clean. A powerful, easy, but somewhat pricey approach is to steam clean the carpets as soon as you get started selling your home. This will help you eliminate odors and will also get to "deep down" stains in the flooring, whether they come from pets or anything else.

  2. Add An Air Purifier. A standalone air purifier can significantly reduce the concentration of various allergens in the air. This helps to resolve pet odors and cuts down on other irritants that could bother buyers. This is a great solution if you still have weeks to go in the sale and your pet will be around.

  3. Change Your Air Filters. No matter where you live or how often you use it, your residential HVAC system probably has air filters. Depending on the style, you may need to clean these regularly or even replace them. This raises air quality throughout the house and keeps pet odors on the down low.

  4. Perform a Full Vacuuming Weekly. At the end of very week while selling your home, vacuum all furniture your pets have been on thoroughly. This includes removing cushions, slipcovers, and the like to get down to the bottom of everything. Don't forget drapes and the underside of couches, where pet hair can gather!

  5. Brush Your Pet Regularly. Brushing your pet is a fun and natural approach to minimize shedding. If you have a long-haired dog or cat, it might seem like a lot comes out – but there'll be much less, overall, throughout the next week. That helps control smells and makes most pets a lot happier, too.

  6. Use Vinegar as a Secret Weapon. Vinegar is an amazing natural cleaner that can be even more effective than some purpose-mixed cleaning chemicals. You can spray it onto many types of flooring and allow it to evaporate over time to knock out pet musk. This helps you get the drop on odors early while selling your home.

  7. Paint the Walls. Painting is always a smart move when selling your home because it refreshes the whole appearance of any room. If you've got drywall, plaster, or woodwork that absorbs pet odors, it may also be one of your best options for cleaning out potent pet smells.

  8. When in Doubt, Use PotpourriCovering up pet odors might seem like cheating, but in the long run, it's a good adjunct to your cleaning campaign. Giving buyers a nose full of something pleasant will make them happier and help chase off any lingering odors. Just make sure that "fresh" scent isn't too strong!
When you've been living with a beloved pet (or pets!) for a while, it's not always easy to pick up on their natural aroma. Buyers will be much more attuned to it than pet owners, so it's important to go a step further than you might think is necessary.

If you're not sure, invite a friend or family member over to check things out. They'll be able to tell you if they can detect Fido or Fluffy, and might even point out areas where the scent is stronger. The hard work will be worth it after selling your house for a premium price!

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
 
Do You Retire in Place or Move?
 
Man and woman's face

Retirement brings with it an unimaginable sense of freedom.

You're no longer tied to school districts, commuter schedules, or alarm clocks. When you release longstanding duties and commitments, you can change your lifestyle and even your location. You can move to a new neighborhood, a new city, or even a new country. Or you can stay right where you are.

Should you go or should you stay? That's a big question that only you can answer. Here are some of the things you should consider before making your decision.
  • Housing that meets your physical needs. It's easier to age in place when your home meets the comfort, convenience, and safety standards you require. Even if your home was built to comply with these "universal design" standards, you may wish to relocate for other reasons. Your home may be too big or small. As you age, you may be incapable of performing routine home maintenance. If you can't take care of your daily needs, you may require an assisted living facility or a senior community with essential services nearby.

  • A home you can afford. If you choose to buy a new home, you'll want it to be affordable now and as you age. Your affordability calculations should consider your mortgage, taxes, utilities, insurance and other home expenses. They should also anticipate future income, medical expenses and the cost of living in your new location. As a retiring senior, your home is likely mortgage free with enough equity to increase your home buying options. Depending on your decision to upgrade, downgrade, or relocate, selling your home may give you all the money you need for a new home with some cash leftover to add to your retirement fund.

  • Access to healthcare facilities. As you age, hospitals, doctors, and healthcare facilities become more important. Illnesses and disabilities increase as you age. When you anticipate relocating, you should make sure the community you choose provides a strong network of medical professionals.

  • A strong support system. A recent AARP study determined that 43 percent of seniors 70 and older don't believe they'll be able to live independently. As a senior, you still have home living options that don't require you to abandon your independence altogether. You can upgrade your home for aging in place and rely on friends and homecare professionals to help you. You can buy a home closer to family members or purchase a home or condo in a planned senior community with access to the services you need.

  • Transportation independence. Transportation is an important factor in your retirement housing decision. As a suburban or rural resident, you probably rely on driving your car. If an unexpected disability or illness forces you to stop driving, you probably won't want to call a family member every time you leave home. You must live where you'll have access to private cars, buses, van services, dial-a-ride and other transportation services.

  • Livability index. Knowing your city's livability may help you decide whether to go or stay. AARP's Livability Index page provides zip code based ratings that include neighborhood, environmental, transportation and other community factors critical to retirement living.

  • A new lifestyle. Your retirement move doesn't have to be for practical reasons. If you live in the north you might want a warmer climate. You may want a chalet in the mountains or a condo near a golf or tennis club. If you've waited all your life for a new lifestyle and you can find a way to make it happen, that's one of the best reasons in the world to go instead of staying.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
How to avoid Seller's Remorse
 
Man with head on his arm, sad

No matter how much you're looking forward to turning over your house keys to a new owner, selling your home can lead to deep soul-searching.

 

Did I get a good price? Will the new owners love my home the way I do? Did I really want to sell in the first place? If you're asking  these questions, you might have a case of seller's remorse.
 
When you walk away from a place you love, it can feel like abandoning an old friend. Fortunately, the emotional attachments will likely fade with time. The financial regrets that settle in after closing can be even more difficult, but you'll have to let them go as well. Those wordy closing documents you signed are contracts. They're difficult to break no matter how much remorse you feel.
 
The best time to manage seller's remorse is before you put your home on the market. Begin the process by asking yourself these questions:
 
Am I listing for the right reason?
 
Empty nest? Divorce? Financial gain? Impulse? Exactly why are you selling your home? If you received a big job offer with a deadline to relocate to a new city, selling your home can feel like lifting a weight off your shoulders. If you list your home because Uncle Bob said you could make a ton of money, you might not realize it's a bad idea until the deal is done. Only you can decide if selling your home is the right decision for you.
 
Am I listing for the right price?
 
Pricing your home can be tricky. It's not an exact science, but your REALTOR® can help. Review recent home sales and research com-parables--homes similar to yours in similar neighborhoods. Also, when calculating the potential net return on your sale, don't ignore these and other before-sale and after-sale costs.
  • Home repairs and upgrades
  • Cleaning and landscaping
  • Staging and photography
  • Commissions
  • Relocation costs
Your price should include enough wiggle room to negotiate with a serious buyer. If your price is too high, you'll attract few potential buyers. If you price your home too low, you may lose money on the deal. That's a sure trigger for seller's remorse.
 
Have I found my next home?
 
Whatever the cause of your seller's remorse, it will likely fade with time. The healing process may take longer to begin if you sign the closing documents on your old home but don't have a new home to go to.
 
Sellers do that sometimes when a buyer's purchase is contingent on a quick closing. You can do it too. But if you don't have a backup plan, the sensation of temporary "homelessness" can leave you with an acute case of remorse. It's important to think before you list:
  • Find a home before you put your home on the market.
  • Consider what you'll do if your home sells quickly.
  • Locate movers and storage facilities who require little notice.
  • Research temporary housing options.
  • Offer the buyer incentives in exchange for a delayed closing.
Seller's remorse happens
 
The sense of having made the wrong choice can happen any time you make a decision with long-range consequences. That's why it's important to work with a real estate professional when you decide to sell your home. I can work with you from pre-listing through closing. You'll gain confidence in the home-selling process and that will minimize your chances of succumbing to seller's remorse.
 
For answers to your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.
 
The Ultimate To-Do List
for Home Sellers
 
Family behind home for sale sign

Selling your home involves a lot of details--some you probably haven't even thought about.

 

There are a few main areas most of these fall under and having a list can help you plan and prepare effectively.
 
The Planning Stages
 
You've made the decision to sell your home, now it's time to work out all the details.
 
  • Determine your timeline. How fast do you need to sell? Do you need to find another home first? How much time will you need to prepare your home?

  • Make a list of all repair or upgrade projects. Big and small inside and outside. Estimate completion time and cost.

  • Have an idea about pricing. You probably don't want to decide on the final figure without talking to your agent first, but do some research and think about a range that takes into account any major repairs or upgrades.
Work on Curb Appeal

The first thing buyers notice about your house is the outside, so start here. Walk out toward the street and look at your house to see what kind of first impression buyers are getting. What can be improved?
  • Remove clutter. Branches and debris, trash cans, bikes, tools, and toys should all be removed or put away.

  • Mow and edge the lawn.

  • Trim trees and shrubs. Make sure they aren't blocking windows or the view of the house.

  • Add flowers or plants and mulch.

  • Repair or add a walkway.

  • Paint. You may not need to paint the entire house. A fresh coat or color change on the trim, shutters, front door or garage door may be enough.

  • Update a curbside mailbox.

  • Replace, relocate or repaint house numbers.

  • Repair, replace or add exterior lighting.

  • Add or refresh porch furniture.

Getting the Inside Ready

You'll want the inside of your home to look just as amazing as the outside. Consider hiring a professional home stager. Having someone who doesn't have an emotional attachment to anything in the home can be helpful. Here are some other things you can do.
  • Declutter. Dispose of, donate or store unnecessary items. Remember buyers will look everywhere. The less you have to hide or reorganize the better.

  • Remove your personal touches. Flashy décor and artwork, family photos, and collections should be removed. It's hard for buyers to envision themselves in the home when your belongings are visible.

  • Detail clean. Wash walls and baseboards and molding to remove scuff marks and fingerprints. Clean inside cabinets, corners, and window tracks. Every house has those areas that get passed over. Now is the time to make sure they're clean.

  • Paint. Freshening up the color or repainting in a neutral color can give your home wider appeal.

  • Make small repairs. Potential buyers see burned out light bulbs, loose handles and doorknobs, and dripping faucets and wonder what else may have been neglected.

  • Take a sniff. Weird smells are a major turn off. Clean, sanitize or get rid of the source.

  • Lock up or relocate valuables.

  • Wash windows.

  • Redo caulk in the bathroom and clean grout.
Meet with Your Real Estate Agent

There are a lot of details involved in selling your home. Being well organized and planning ahead can save time and help you get the price you're looking for. You can do a great job getting your home ready to sell but you need the professional advise of a licensed Realtor like me to help you determine a competitive price, handle marketing, qualifying prospective buyers and showing your selling a buyer on why they should make an offer. Call me for a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Tips to Brighten Your Home
 
Well lite family room

Does your home seem so… BLAH?

Luckily, brightening up your home is one of the easiest home improvement projects you can do. You may need to brighten a room that is dark colored or doesn't get enough natural light, or you may need to brighten a room that has a dated or stale look to change the mood. Luckily, these solutions will help in both situations. Usually, a little creativity and design change are all you need.
 
Furniture fixes
 
You probably don't need to go buy all new furniture…unless you want to! But sometimes swapping out a piece or two can do wonders. Here are some tips.
  • Rearrange the furniture. This can let in more light or just open it up for a fresh look. Tall furniture should be away from windows. Removing some furniture from a room can visually open it up, leaving more room for light.

  • Use white or light colored furniture. That doesn't necessarily mean everything has to be white. Just changing one or two pieces may help.

  • Go for balance so dark furniture isn't overpowering. Add some metallic pillows to a dark sofa or metallic and glass accessories on top of a dark dresser.

  • Use built-ins. They keep clutter and bulky furniture from adding visual weight to the room, keeping things open and brighter.

  • Go for minimalist pieces. Again, this is about bulk and clutter and the visual weight it adds to the room.

  • Acrylic pieces or glass top tables can help. Not only do they look less bulky because they are clear, it also adds a reflective surface to spread light around the room.
Decor fixes

Changing up the accessories in a room is usually a budget-friendly home improvement fix. Think about pillows, rugs, vases, artwork, throws and any other accessories you have.
  • Choose different colors. To brighten up the room go for white, light-colored, bright or metallic accessories.

  • Choose different materials. Glass, crystal, mirrored, acrylic, white ceramic or metal accessories all reflect light, helping make the room brighter.

  • Change window treatments. Use sheers or translucent blinds instead of heavy drapes, Stick to white or light neutral colors. You may even want to skip the curtains entirely.

  • Use white lampshades. Fixtures with glass covers should have clear, white or frosted glass. Avoid giving the light a yellowish cast. It makes the room darker.

  • Go for brighter light. Light fixtures should have all the bulbs and they should be the maximum wattage. Changing to LED bulbs will also give you brighter light.

  • Add plants. Plants give the room a double brightness boost. The plant itself adds color and a carefully selected pot or vase can add even more brightness.
Paint it

A fresh coat of paint is almost guaranteed to brighten a room. The usual recommendation is to go with white. You could paint everything, use white on only one wall, or paint trim and baseboards white. If the room is a darker color you may just want to go with a much lighter color instead.

Go all in

As a last resort, you could add new or bigger windows, skylights, or knock out a wall to allow more light in. These are all major home improvement projects and you'll need to call in a professional if you go this route.

Brightening up a room or even your whole house is one of the easiest things you can do to make it feel like a happy and inviting home. You'll love showing off the new look to family and friends too!

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
5 Home Staging Mistakes You
Don't Even Know You Are Making
 
Picture of two story home

When a potential buyer visits your home, you want them to be impressed from the moment they arrive at the curb.

Staging your home for open houses is an important step in the selling process because you want buyers to imagine what their life would be like if they lived there. Working with an experienced real estate agent is a great way to learn what it takes to successfully stage a home. Today, we're going to take a look at five things you definitely don't want to do when staging your home.
  1. Expecting Hidden Messes to Remain Hidden. If you're like most homeowners, you may have some hidden dirt or grime in corners of your home that don't get much traffic. It's important to make sure that every corner of your house is squeaky clean, even if it means moving large furniture or clearing out everything in a closet to reach the floor. Potential buyers will look at every corner of your home to gauge how well you've taken care of places people don't normally see.

  2. What's That Smell? Cleaning up the spaces that people can see is a great start when selling a house, but you'll also want to make sure that they don't smell anything unpleasant when they walk through the door. If you've got pet odors or any other smell that might be unpleasant for buyers, now is the time to track down the source and take care of the problem.

  3. Personal Items in Plain View. Throughout the list, you'll notice a consistent theme of allowing buyers to imagine their lives in your home, and that's no accident. In fact, it's one of the key steps in attracting a buyer when you're selling your home. Leaving personal items around the house (like photos and personal mementos) may make it more difficult for those buyers to imagine what their life would be like in the home. Be sure to pack up personal items before visitors arrive, and remember that you'll be able to display them again in your new home.

  4. Clutter, Clutter Everywhere. Removing personal items is a way to provide a blank slate for anyone who visits your open house, but personal items aren't the only thing you'll need to take care of before your guests arrive. A disorganized, cluttered home is definitely not what buyers want to see, so it's crucial to clear out any clutter before your open house. Just as with removing personal items, you can treat clearing clutter as an opportunity to start packing and getting a head start on moving into your new home.

  5. Forgetting the Front Yard Or the backyard, for that matter! Curb appeal is selling a house, so make sure that your yard is clean, your landscaping is well taken care of, and the entrance to your home is looking its absolute best. If you have outdoor space in your backyard, make sure that's looking great too.
By avoiding the most common mistakes for staging an open house, you'll be ready to present your home to potential buyers in its best possible light. The big key is keeping your home clean and clutter-free so that every buyer who visits can imagine their own life there.
 
For answers to your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Kitchens Sell Houses
 
Picture of beautiful kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of a home.

This is where meals are made, families eat together, and all the hustle and bustle of holidays happen. So it may come as no surprise that the kitchen is one of the top places to update when selling your home.
When you update your kitchen, you'll get more of your investment back when you sell the home. On average, sellers get back 70 or 80 percent of the cost of the updates. The updates you choose do matter, though, so here are a few things to focus on.
 
  1. Paint. There's no better way to brighten your kitchen than a fresh coat of paint. Stick to light neutral shades to keep the kitchen bright and leave room for buyers to envision their own color schemes and decor. Think beyond white to shades of cream, beige, and tan. If your cabinets are in good condition, a few coats of paint and a change of hardware can give them a whole new look.

  2. Cabinetry. Nothing makes a kitchen look dated faster than old cabinetry. If the cabinets aren't in good enough condition to be repainted, you can give them a major facelift by refacing. Completely new cabinetry should be a last resort, as the added expense may not be reflected in the returns.

  3. Appliances. One of the top things to update when selling your home is your kitchen appliances. A full set of new, matching appliances is a strong selling point in any home. Opt for something neutral--stainless steel is always popular with buyers. Energy Star appliances can turn some heads, especially with younger buyers, who tend to be more energy conscious.

  4. Granite. Granite is another kitchen upgrade that you're likely to see a high return on when selling your home. Buyers love seeing granite countertops. You don't necessarily need to upgrade with the most expensive options. You can always opt for something that looks similar to granite, like quartz with a granite pattern.

  5. Flooring. Think of your kitchen's floor as setting the stage for impressing potential buyers. Drab or dated flooring can detract from any other updates you might make in the kitchen. Budget permitting, install high-quality flooring that will turn people's heads, like attractive, high-quality tile. Want to make your kitchen look bigger? Set the tile on the diagonal to create a space-stretching optical illusion. Hardwood is another favorite with buyers, even in kitchens. If you have hardwood underneath your linoleum, consider uncovering it and having it refinished.
Make a Strong Impression

The kitchen is possibly your best chance to impress potential buyers, not to mention one of the few areas of your home where your investment gets the biggest return. Even so, you'll want to do it right for maximum impact. While updating these five areas, make sure you're staying true to your home's character, architecture, and neighborhood. If you need help deciding what updates to make, I can help guide your decisions.

For answers to your home selling questions please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Benefits of Installing Solar Panels
 
Home with solar panels

Here comes the sun, bringing warmer temperatures along with rising energy bills.

It only makes sense to explore ways to cut your electricity bills. Have you given thought to a solar power upgrade?

Originally, solar power was a quirky, green notion bandied about by a few tree-hugging homeowners. It has long since outgrown that reputation with a decades-long track record of success. Solar panels can convert the sun into an efficient, money-saving system for powering your home. It is a popular technology so it's relatively easy to find suppliers and skilled professionals to complete your installation.

If you're not yet convinced, check out this list of the benefits of installing solar panels.
  1. Energy savings Even if you're not in the sunniest climate in the USA, your solar panels can generate enough energy to make it worth the cost. Your personal savings will depend on your average monthly bill. But your system might generate enough energy for your mailman to skip your house on energy bill delivery day.

  2. Increased market value A US Department of Energy study conducted by Berkeley Lab determined that a solar energy installation generated a median increase of $15,000 in home selling prices. The six-state study determined that solar panels were considered a home upgrade, on par with a new kitchen or bathroom.

  3. Tax credits, benefits, and buying incentives When you do the research you'll discover that state, local, and federal governments are willing to reward you for upgrading your home with solar panels. Your solar energy home improvement may entitle you to a federal tax credit. The current program allows a 30 percent credit for solar panel purchase and installation costs. Beginning 2020, the credit will be reduced to 22 percent. When you install solar panels you may claim Renewable Energy Certificates (formerly Renewable Energy Credits). You may either retain or sell your REC rights. Any additional income you earn will help offset your solar costs. Check with your state and local governments. Many have incentive programs to encourage home solar energy conversion.
And yes, it will help you be green.

When your home improvement plan includes a solar panel upgrade, it will reduce your dependence on industries that burn fossil fuels such as coal and oil. You'll minimize your responsibility for the greenhouse gas byproducts that contribute to climate change. Solar power will help you live a greener life, and that's a big deal.
 
What is the Difference Between
an 
Appraisal and
Comparative Market Analysis
 
Words Appraisal and Comparative Market Analysis

Before you engage in any real estate transaction, you need to know as much as you can about the home's value.

 

There are two related, but distinct processes that help people pin down the valuation of a property before they move forward: Comparative market analysis and home appraisal.

Both of these will be performed at different steps in the sale process. Knowing the difference between the two can save you some valuable time.

  • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A comparative market analysis is typically performed by a real estate agent. Thanks to MLS, real estate pros have the opportunity to compare your home to others that have sold in your general area. Selling prices, time on market, home improvements, and square footage can be used to determine an approximate value of your home. When a CMA is completed, it will provide you with a low, medium, and high selling price for your home. It will also give an estimate of the average number of days your home may be on the market.

  • Home Appraisal. The home appraisal is paid for by the potential home buyers--either out of pocket or as part of the fees they will ultimately finance in their mortgage. An appraisal of the home is performed after the buyer applies for a loan with a bank or other lender. Once the buyer submits an offer and requests financing, a licensed appraiser is dispatched. All practicing home appraisers must be licensed or certified by the state. Although they visit a property at the request of the bank, appraisers are intended to report neutral observations about each home. The comprehensive report they compile helps to determine the home's fair market value. This protects the bank from lending too much money for any given home. Though an appraisal will include some basic information on the home's condition, more time is spent on recent information about similar listings and housing market conditions in the neighborhood. Minor repairs and renovations performed before an appraisal can help raise the home's assessed value.

    CMA Versus Home Appraisal: Final Considerations
Both a comparative market analysis and home appraisal provide valuable insights that help you and your real estate agent move toward a successful sale. Assuming a property spends only a moderate amount of time on the market, each usually needs to be completed only once.

Sometimes, however, a lender might request a new appraisal even if the previous appraisal was only a short time ago. You might even get a CMA before you make a final decision about selling your home.

Each situation is different.

As an experienced real estate agent I can help you by ensuring you're equipped with an accurate CMA. Plus, when the time comes to prepare for an appraisal, I can guide you on the most important steps to raise your home's value in your budget and timeline.

As with anything in real estate, the sooner you get started with selling your home, the smoother the process.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Do Your Walls Need a Facelift?
 
Couple with ladder and paint brushes

Have you looked at your walls and felt completely unimpressed?

Do they lack personality? Need an update or just show a lot of wear and tear? The wall space is the largest surface in a room and most noticeable, so changing things up a bit is a home improvement project that can really make an impact.

Paint

Painting is always a top choice for a home improvement project because it makes a big difference for little money and effort. It's within the capabilities of most homeowners and can be completed fairly quickly. There are a few different ways to approach this project.
  • Paint everything. If your home has an open floor plan or you plan on selling your home soon, you'll need to apply new paint throughout your home. For open floor plans, everything is in view. Painting the same color throughout the area gives it a cohesive look and feel. When selling your home, new paint will cover dirt, scuff marks, and minor wall imperfections. It brightens the rooms, makes the most of natural light, and makes your home look move in ready. You'll want to stick with a color that has wide appeal, like a light neutral, to avoid making a negative impression on potential buyers.

  • Paint an accent wall. Pick the wall you want to draw attention to and paint it. If you like bold colors, this is one way to do it without being overpowering. You can opt for one plain paint color or use a pattern texture or specialty paint for additional visual interest.

  • Paint a pattern. This can be a little more challenging. You could do an accent wall or the entire room. There are stripes, harlequin pattern, polka dots, checkerboard, wall graphics or even a mural. There's a huge variety of stencils available too.

  • Decorative paint techniques and specialty paints. These can provide a unique finish, texture, or visual interest. Some examples of decorative paint techniques are sponge painting, rag rolling, color washing, and linen weave. Specialty paints can add texture like brushed suede or sandstone, or a unique finish such as pearl, metallic, or patina.

  • Other Ways to Change the Look of Your Walls
If you want a small home improvement project, are short on time, or just don't want to tackle painting just yet, there are other options to change up your walls.
  • Create an accent wall with something other than paint. You can use wallpaper, wall decals in a pattern, fabric, or even décor to draw attention to the area.

  • Add texture. Depending on the texture you may want to go with an accent wall instead of an entire room. We mentioned textured specialty paint and decorative techniques earlier. If you're not going to paint, other options include wallpaper, fabric, or natural textures like brick, wood, or stone. This could include exposing brick that has been covered or adding stone tiles. Texture can be added fairly easily with unconventional materials. For example, instead of adding real bricks to an entire wall, try a distressed wood look with vinyl flooring on the wall.

  • Add lighting. Light directed toward a textured wall can create complex shadows that look dramatic and add visual interest. You could also use this technique to highlight artwork. If you have recessed lighting use a trim piece to direct the light. Plug in spotlights can also work.
Changing the look of your walls can make a big impact in your home. Whether you're going for clean and chic or bold and artistic, there are lots of options to get a stylish look in little time.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Questions To Ask An Agent
Before Listing Your Home
 
Real Estate agent meeting with clients

According to data from the National Association of REALTORS®, most home sellers hire the first real estate agent they meet.

Now, that might not necessarily be a bad idea if you happen to meet a great agent right out of the gate, but selling your home is a big move, and it's important to choose your listing agent carefully.

To find the best agent for the job, you need to ask questions—and not just "how much will you get for the property?" and "what will the commission be?" Include these questions during the interview process:
  • What are your credentials? A real estate agent should have, at the very least, a state license and belong to the local real estate trade association. But you might want to go a step further and find someone who is a licensed REALTOR® (a member of the National Association of REALTORS®), which requires additional training and a strict code of ethics.

  • Do you specialize in my neighborhood? Local expertise is crucial. Your agent needs to have in-depth experience in your local real estate market, including inside knowledge about any upcoming developments that might affect the value of your home.

  • How do you determine the listing price? The "money talk" is the make-or-break conversation for many home sellers. It's important that your agent can help you land on a listing price that you feel good about, but is also appropriate for the market. An underpriced home doesn't give you the profit you deserve, but an overpriced home could end up languishing on the market. Be sure you understand how the agent arrives at a price for your home.

  • What's your sales plan? Your agent should have a plan laid out for marketing your home. Mailers, listing services, open houses, and social media are all important.

  • What will it cost me to sell my home? From broker's commission to closing fees, there are a number of costs that can really add up when you're selling your home. Find out what it will cost, and compare from one agent to the next.

  • Will I be working with you directly? There's a balancing act between working with a specific agent (which means plenty of personal attention) and a team of agents (which means a greater pool of resources). Either way, you'll want to know for sure whether you'll be working with one specific agent or a member of the agent's team. It's also important to know how you will be communicating with your agent.

  • How long will it take to sell? No agent can say exactly how fast any home will sell. The national average is 65 days, but this depends on a variety of factors.

Your goal should be to an agent with whom you are confident in and comfortable with and who can sell your home quickly and at the right price.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
 
Welcome Guests (and Buyers)
with a Showstopping Front Door

 
Front door of home

Your front lawn or walk area is the first thing your guests and prospective buyers see when they pull up to look at your home.

The front door is the first impression they will get of what your home is all about. This entry needs to create a welcoming point into your home with style. If you want that first impression of your home to be a positive one, use one of these ideas and create a huge impact on the success of your home sale.

Guide Them to Your Door

Start with a welcoming entry, by guiding guests and potential buyers to your door. Along the sidewalk leading up to your entry plant some low lying hedges or place some potted plants to complement the color of your house. Stepping stones work great if you do not have a sidewalk in place and can be decorated with eye-pleasing plants.

Guiding visitors to your main entry is especially important if there are other entries into your house. If you want prospective buyers to enter through a specific door that creates a unique first impression, guides them to this entry with irregular organic shapes giving them a clue as to what lies beyond.
There are no restrictions as to how to lead them to your front door. If a sidewalk is in place this, of course, would be the natural structure to decorate. If you feel changing the path or need to create a new pathway, using a boardwalk would add character to any house. Showcasing the boardwalk with large green plants would enhance the impression of your home.

The Color of Your Front Door

The front door is the where the potential buyer will start forming their opinion of your house. Your front door should look brilliant, and in terms of color, you can go either muted or bright. In today's market, the trend has been showing bright yellow, turquoise or pink are the favorites of many. These colors take a property that looks drab and transforms it something fabulous looking.

The muted colors are more traditional and still have a large following. Muted colors consist of the dark grey, sage green, and deep blue. Using muted colors will give your home a look of grandeur which will make a potential buyer fall instantly in love.

The color you choose has a lot to do with your location. If your home is out in the country surrounded by trees and plants, you may want to do a more natural look and stay away from the paint. Using a beautiful coat of varnish on a bare wood door will add much more character. If your home is near water then sticking to shades of blue will complement the look of your home. Houses for sale in a more pedestrian area stick out from the rest with bright, bold colors such as orange, lime green or pink.
If you want to make that first impression a positive one that will send potential buyers into your home with a good feeling; then give some consideration to your front door. Create a centerpiece out of your door that sends them inside knowing they will love this property.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

                     Buyers Will Text We
                      Love This House


Couple texting

There are countless reasons that buyers choose one home or another, but one thing is guaranteed: The final decision comes down to emotion.

When selling your home, it's essential to do everything you can to help prospective buyers love the property and "see themselves" there.
Even if they are looking at many other properties, the one that resonates with them on a deeper level is the one most likely to finally close the deal.  Luckily, you don't have to be a mind-reader to be successful in selling your home.  With a few basic "best practices," you'll find yourself with big advantages in the market.

  • Get Excited About Staging. Staging is one of the most valuable advantages anyone can have for positioning a home to move. A well-staged house sells up to 88% faster than one that has only been tidied up. Although in-person staging is worth it, there's a low-cost alternative – virtual staging – that produces a similar effect using enhanced photographs of a home's interior.

  • Dive into Curb Appeal. Aside from location (location, location!), curb appeal is the most potent asset you can have on your side. It forms the first impression that would-be buyers will carry with them all throughout the process. Luckily, there are fast and relatively easy ways to do it: Power-washing exterior walls, a fresh coat of paint on walls and doors, and a little bit of landscaping.

  • Let There Be Light. Light conveys an instant subconscious message. If buyers visit a space that seems too dark, they will imagine it as cramped, dreary, and smaller than it is. In advance of photography or any open house, replace your current light bulbs with more luminous ones. Don't be afraid to add lamps and fixtures throughout a home – and make full use of natural light where you have it.

  • Look into Energy Efficiency. Energy efficient fixtures, appliances, and temperature control systems are attractive to buyers since they lower a home's total cost of ownership. Electricity is one of the biggest household bills, so showing that yours is lower than the neighborhood norm will help your property stand out. A professional energy audit can provide concrete proof of the benefits.

  • Drum Up Buzz. A lot of old-fashioned real estate marketing has gone out the window in the last few years. Still, there are creative ways to combine today's online marketing with other clever projects. Just to give one example, consider holding a garage sale as you're ramping up to put a home on the market. Not only will you declutter (helping your staging) but you may meet potential buyers.

  • Spend Time in the Kitchen. Selling your home becomes a lot simpler if you have a sleek, modern kitchen to show off. Open plan kitchens are growing popular, but just about any layout can be compelling if you invest in new appliances. A matching set of appliances might cost as little as a few hundred dollars, but it will take a big worry off the minds of your prospective buyers.

  • Clean and Declutter. Getting items off the floor is one thing, but your best bet is to empty out the closets as best you can by moving items into storage. When closets are at least 50% empty, they look a lot more spacious. As for cleaning, it's a good idea to go the extra mile. For example, steam clean carpets, drapes, and upholstery, especially if you have pets.
Once buyers start telling their friends about a home, they are all but committed. These tips will help you unleash the "wow factor" and get those texts flying faster.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Rookie Mistakes That Can
Bench Your Home Sale
 
Girl in baseball uniform sitting on bench

Spring and summer are when many people go all-in on plans to sell a home.

The decision to sell a home isn't one to face lightly. Going through with it means undertaking one of the most complex processes you'll ever undertake. Luckily, the help of a real estate expert simplifies things and makes it a lot less stressful. Still, researching the topic is always a good idea.
The more you know, the easier it'll be to make informed choices throughout the "game." Your real estate pro can offer you expert advice, but the final decision is always up to you.

Let's look at some of the most common "rookie mistakes" that can send your sale to the dugout:

  1. Choosing the Wrong Agent. Selecting an agent is one of the most important things you'll do in the course of a sale. Your choice influences everything that follows. How your home is staged, listed, and marketed all come back to your agent – so take time to carefully compare options and credentials.

  2. Hiring a Family Member or Friend. You may have loved ones in the business, and they're sure to offer you a good deal. Still, it's best to find an impartial professional to help you with something this sensitive. It's all too easy to fall into conflict with someone you know about issues like the agent's commission.

  3. Setting the Wrong Price. Poor pricing can add eighteen months to your sale timeline. Homeowners bring a long, emotional history to price question. On the other hand, a good agent will use knowledge of the local market and trends to find the ideal price: One that helps you reach your profit and timeline goals.

  4. "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO). This may be the single biggest mistake sellers can make. It invites all kinds of problems – from buyers seeing you as a target for rough negotiations to paperwork issues few people are prepared for. It puts legal liability for a whole host of issues directly in your lap, too.

  5. Waiting to Spruce Up the Home. There are many things you can do, even on a tight budget, to make your property much more appealing to would-be buyers. A quick coat of exterior paint, a new doorknob, and a touch of landscaping supercharge curb appeal. For a bit more, think about adding new kitchen appliances.

  6. Forgetting to Clean and Organize. Before a home hits the market, it should be thoroughly cleaned. Pressure cleaning the outside is a must. Interior carpets and upholstery should be steam cleaned, especially if you have pets. Start moving items out of the closet and into storage early on to make them seem bigger.

  7. Neglecting to Stage the Home. When you really want to sell a home fast, staging is your secret weapon. Staging breathes new life into a home even if it has some factors working against it, potentially adding thousands to your selling price. It's more than fresh-baked cookies, though, and is best handled by a pro.

  8. Not Looping In Your Mortgage Lender. Your current mortgage situation goes a long way toward telling you what your sales goals should be. Only your lender can give you all the details you need about loan payoff and how paying early might affect you. Be wary of early payoff penalties that some lenders require.

It may sound complicated to sell a home, but it doesn't have to be a hassle. As a professional real estate agent who specializes in homes like yours I coach you throughout the process. Experience is essential!

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life. Now, play ball!
 
6 Step-by-Step Home Selling Tips
 
 
Couple in front of home
Developing a plan and setting attainable goals are two of the biggest ingredients in the process of selling a home successfully. By understanding what steps you need to take, when you need to take them, and where you can look for help along the way, you'll put yourself in a great position to sell a home quickly while maximizing your return on investment. This step-by-step guide to selling a house is designed to prepare you for the process, and help you achieve your goals.
 
From "For Sale" to Sold: A Step-by-Step Guide to Selling Your Next Home
 
Step One – Find the Right Real Estate Agent. The first step on our list just might be the most important, because finding the right real estate agent will make all the steps that follow so much easier to handle. Remember that you definitely don't have to settle for the first agent you meet, unless that agent truly shows that they're the right person to sell your home. Ask around for referrals, interview agents, and find the right agent for your unique needs.
 
Step Two – Research the Market and Pick a Price. One of the first things that your agent can help you with is understanding your local real estate market, and picking a price that will help get your home sold. Your agent should offer a comparative market analysis (CMA), which will help you understand what other similar homes in your market are selling for, and set a price that attracts competitive offers.
 
Step Three – Clean, Clear Out Clutter and Prepare Your Home for Sale. With a great agent on your side and a fair market price chosen for your home, you'll be ready to prepare your home for potential buyers. This is a great opportunity to start the process of moving out, clear clutter, store personal items, and make your home as attractive as possible for buyers. You'll want to clean every inch of your home, from basement to master bedroom. Curb appeal is a big deal too, so make sure that your yard is looking its best.

Step Four – Market Your Home to the Masses. With your home ready for buyers to visit, it's time to start attracting attention and introducing buyers to what you have to offer. Your real estate agent can help you market your home through social media, online listings, and traditional marketing tools. You can also do your part by spreading the word and letting others know that your home is on the market.

Step Five – Prepare for Multiple Offers. By working with an experienced agent, picking the right price, and marketing your home effectively, you'll set yourself up to receive multiple offers on your home. Make sure that you understand exactly what you're looking for from an offer, so you can negotiate the deal that best matches your needs.

Step Six – Negotiate and Close the Deal. All of the work that you do up to this point leads up to the process of negotiating with the buyer and closing the deal. Work closely with your real estate agent to ensure that all of the key legal details are covered and that you're maximizing the value you receive in return for all of the hard work you've done to sell a home.

No matter where you are in the sales process, remember that there's plenty of help available, both from your real estate agent and from other homeowners you trust. Start by calling me for a free estimate of what your home might sell for, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Use Lighting to Transform Your Home
 
Decorative light bulbs

Lighten the Mood: Tips for Transforming Your Home with Interior Lighting

 

Choosing the right lighting to transform your home depends on an understanding of the latest trends, along with the classic concepts of interior lighting. By taking advantage of both, you can create a unique, new look for your home.
 
  • Pendant Lighting Is InPendant lighting, which hangs from the ceiling, is a very popular look, especially in kitchen areas. It's perfect over a kitchen island, or for making a small room with a tall ceiling feel roomier than it actually is. You'll find plenty of unique, modern looks if you choose to shop for pendant lighting as part of your next home improvement project.

  • Spreading the Light AroundNo matter what type of lighting you choose for a room, it's important to make sure that the light is spread around. One lamp or large light in the center of the room just isn't enough, and spreading the light around is another easy way to make a room feel bigger.

  • Ceiling Fan or ChandelierLooking to bring new life to a den, living room, or master bedroom? Consider installing a chandelier instead of a ceiling fan, which will provide plenty of light while serving as a centerpiece of your interior decorating in the room. Of course, chandeliers are also a great, classic choice for dining areas.

  • Lovely LampsIn addition to the light that they provide, the lamps in your home are the perfect place to show off your sense of style and accent your interior design. Lamps come in all shapes and sizes, from attractive antique pieces to one-of-a-kind DIY creations, so with a little digging you're sure to find something that fits your sense of style. Since you can move them around, lamps are also great for spreading the light around each room.

  • Bringing Light to Darker PlacesWhile the lighting fixtures that you choose are naturally a key part of the process, sometimes transforming your home with lighting is as simple as making sure that light is reaching all of the right places. Dark corners and heavy shadows can make a large room look small, so be sure that each room has enough lighting to look its best.

  • Wall Lights for Tight SpotsNot every room or alcove will have enough space for large light fixtures, so consider using designer wall lights in tight areas that could use some extra light. Wall lights are ideal for corners, closets, and other tight spaces in your home. Smart, stylish lighting choices can make such a difference in the interior of your home, and new lighting is often inexpensive compared to larger home improvement projects. There's also a ton of room to customize your lighting based on what suits your taste, and what you hope to accomplish with your lighting in each room. Next time you're thinking about ways to re-imagine your home's interior, be sure that lighting is near the top of the list.

Staging Mistakes That
Can Sabotage Your Sale

 

Picture of modern bathroom

Staging a house is a popular practice in the real estate world, and, if done properly, an excellent way to help a buyer fall in love with your home.

 

However, there are some common staging mistakes that could cripple your efforts to sell your home. We've compiled a list of a few staging blunders that you'll certainly want to avoid.
  • Letting the Decor Upstage Your Home. The idea behind staging is to make your home look inviting and comfortable to interested buyers, so complementary furnishings are key. What you don't want to do is overshadow the potential and beauty of your home by staging it with too many furnishings or over-the-top style. An abundance of furniture or decorative pieces may actually detract from the home's natural appeal and prove to be a distraction to the buyer.

  • Stay True To Scale. Generally, everyone wants to create the illusion of space, but using furniture that doesn't match the scale of the room will likely result in the opposite effect. A small dining room table in a large dining area will look out of place and may have the buyer questioning whether the space is adequate for their needs.

  • Don't Ever Fake. It You want your home to look and feel like it is lived in yet well kept. Staging with fake fruit, flowers or even fake electronics takes away from the warmth of the home and leaves it feeling much like a department store display.

  • Surprises In the Closets. While it may seem tempting to store items you want out of sight into your closets, think twice before shoving your clutter behind closed doors. It's almost a given that prospective buyers will want to see the type and size of storage space, and the last thing you want is for them to open the closets only to find a mess.

  • Closed Doors and Dark Spaces Are Not Welcoming. Perhaps it's habit to close doors in your home, but you'll want your entire home to seem open and welcoming to buyers. Open the doors and curtains or blinds to let in natural light and create the impression that your home is inviting them to explore.

  • Lived-In Vs. Untidy. Prospective home buyers typically have a keen eye and may notice virtually everything in your home. While it's acceptable and often recommended that your house feels "lived in", you should be sure that your home is clean and uncluttered before it is shown. Household smells such as pet litter boxes and full trash bins are a turn off to buyers as well.

  • Ignoring the Curb Appeal Factor. In the staging process, it's easy to focus your attention on the home's interior. Don't overlook the fact that buyers will be taking in your home's exterior and landscaping as well. Before you show your home, take a little time to tidy up outside, making sure that walkways are clear and that your landscaping is in good condition.

Selling your home shouldn't be stressful. Relax and have some fun with staging, letting your home take the spotlight.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Selling a Home? Don't Bother
to Fix These Things
 
Drawing of house with money coming out of roof
Selling a Home? Save Money and Effort by Skipping Unnecessary Fixes and Upgrades
 
The big thing to remember with upgrades is that the more you spend on a project, the bigger your risk if the taste of your buyer doesn't match your own taste. That rules out most major renovations unless the room is in such rough shape that it needs an upgrade for the home to sell.
  • Major Bathroom Renovations
    There's no doubt that buyers tend to look at kitchens and bathrooms first, but that doesn't  mean you have to shell out big bucks for a full bathroom renovation. A full renovation is an expensive prospect, and the return just isn't enough to justify the cost. Many buyers even look forward to renovating key areas themselves when they move in, and the last thing you want is to invest in a major renovation that doesn't fit the buyer's taste.

  • A Brand New Kitchen.
    Just as with bathrooms, making major upgrades to your kitchen is a big risk, because you don't know if the buyer's taste will match your own. Rather than diving into big, costly projects, focus on making necessary fixes or small upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms for a better return on your investment. That way, your new buyer can spend their own money picking out cabinets, countertops, and anything else they desire.
  • Painting in Bold Colors.
    While it's a good idea to touch up paint or even apply a fresh coat, you'll probably want to  skip the bright, bold colors in favor of something tamer. You want buyers to be able to imagine their lives in your home, and that may be hard to do if the walls are painted neon green. Trends come and go, so stick with classic colors.

  • Upgrades That Don't Fit Your Neighborhood
    It's important to consider what other homes in the neighborhood have to offer because you don't want to upgrade the home to the point where your list price will be too expensive for the neighborhood where the home is located. Unless you're competing with upscale homes in an affluent neighborhood, too many bells and whistles may actually be a negative for buyers who are shopping on a budget.

  • Upscale Outdoor Patios
    Yes, many buyers will love having a nice patio in their backyard where they can host parties and enjoy the outdoors. But an upscale outdoor patio often costs more to  install than you'll be able to recoup from your eventual buyer. This is another area where the buyer's taste might not match your own.  Even if they do want a patio it's best to let them handle the job themselves.
If you have any questions about which fixes to prioritize, which to skip, and what matters most to buyers in your market, then your real estate agent should be your number one source for advice. Working closely with your agent will help you focus your effort where it's most  needed, and simplify the process of selling your next home.
 
For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Downsizing Mistakes Not to Make
 
Older couple lying on floor dreaming

Five Mistakes NOT to Make When You're Downsizing

  1. Overestimating the Financial Benefits. It costs more to run a bigger household, but don't overestimate the financial advantages. Over time, you will likely see the benefits in transitioning to a smaller place and a simpler lifestyle, but don't start counting your chickens just yet. Initially, you may not see much in the way of savings at all, due to the expenses associated with selling a property. Additionally, you often pay a premium to live someplace with a smaller footprint or less maintenance, such as a condo.

  2. Forgetting to Consider Lifestyle Needs. Don't be so eager to downsize that you forget to take into account your lifestyle and your needs. For example, it might seem like a good idea to have a smaller house to maintain, but if you enjoy cooking and entertaining, would you really be happy downsizing your kitchen space or foregoing a separate dining room? And even if that extra bedroom seems unnecessary, would it be a good place for housing your hobbies?

  3. Letting Emotions Cloud Your Judgment. One of the hardest things about downsizing is the emotional attachment you have to your possessions. Start with the easy stuff, purging items that hold fewer associations. As you encounter items with an emotional connection, ask yourself if that's the only reason why you're considering keeping the item. If so, would a picture suffice? Or could you pass the item on to your kids, family, or friends, to let someone else form new memories and connections?

  4. Trying to Do Too Much at Once. It might not seem like it, but downsizing is hard work. Even if you're excited about the idea, even if you're jazzed up when you first start, there's only so long you can keep purging before you start feeling overwhelmed. Divide your household up into many smaller sections and focus on just one at a time. If you find yourself wanting to keep more and more, it's time for a break. Kitchen appliances, outdoor tools, clothes, and books are good places to start since those are the areas most people want to downsize first.

  5. Downsizing Too Much. While downsizing truly can be the liberating experience you're expecting, there is such a thing as downsizing too much. Forcing yourself to get rid of too much too fast may only lead to regret, so let yourself keep anything you're unsure of, especially as it's easier to get rid of more than it is to get stuff back. Likewise, moving into a place that is too small may only make you feel cramped and unhappy, so look for something that's a little bigger than what you think you want. It's easier to deal with too much space than too little. The truth is, most of us keep more than we ought to, and over time that builds up.

Whether this move is a large milestone for you or more of a periodic reset, downsizing is a healthy exercise that not only simplifies your life and increases satisfaction, but also makes this and future moves much easier.

If this sounds appealing to you, call me today to review your options for downsizing to a smaller home and if you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for just give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
10 Signs You've Outgrown Your Home
 
Picture of cockeyed sofa that doesn't fit

For many homeowners there comes a point when your current home doesn't seem to "fit" any longer.

 

How do you know if it's time to sell your current home and buy a new one? Here are ten signs you've outgrown your current home:
  1. Change in Family Size. The addition of (or return of) children, a spouse, an aging relative or even furry friends can mean things are just too crowded. Perhaps your children are grown and squeezing into that two bedroom apartment just isn't going to be an option any longer. Or your children have left home and you no longer need the extra space.

  2. There's Stuff Everywhere. You can't walk around your home without tripping over or running into stuff. When you straighten up, there just isn't anywhere to put it. Obviously more people means more stuff, but we acquire things just going through life. Y­ou may have started out in your current home as a young adult with little more than your clothes and a bed. In the meantime, you've acquired hobbies with equipment, had life experiences complete with photos and souvenirs, and had to buy an entire wardrobe of work clothes. Cleaning out the closets and other storage spaces can only go so far, and parting with everything just isn't realistic.

  3. Major Life Changes. Sometimes change happens all at once and your current living space just isn't practical going forward. Marriages, divorces, blended families, boomerang kids, career changes and changes in your financial situation can all signal it's time to move.

  4. Your DIY Projects Never Happen. This is probably a good sign you don't really feel at home here. If you've been there a while and done nothing to make the space unique and personal, it may be time to move on.

  5. You're Always Doing Yard Work. Having a yard is nice but it comes with maintenance. If you don't enjoy it or it takes too much of your time and you don't want to pay someone to do it, it may be time to move.

  6. Your Home Doesn't Appeal to You Any Longer. Often in this situation those little quirks just become annoying and you spend all your time at home wanting to change or avoid them. If they can't be remedied by remodeling or you don't want to, it may be time to part.

  7. Your Home or Neighborhood Doesn't Fit Your Lifestyle. If your lifestyle has changed significantly or you made some sacrifices with your current home, finding a place that better fits your lifestyle might be a good idea. For example, if your current space can't accommodate entertaining, you may decide it's something you don't want to sacrifice anymore.

  8. You're Getting Lots of New Neighbors. If your neighborhood is hot and property values have risen significantly, selling when you can get the most out of your investment might be a good idea.

  9. You Spend Lots of Time Somewhere Else. If you're always hanging out in a different neighborhood or city or constantly looking for excuses not to hang out at your own place, you'd probably be happier elsewhere.

  10. You're Home Shopping Even Though You're Not Officially Looking. You spend tons of time looking at other homes online and daydreaming about your perfect home.

Seeing the signs that your current living space no longer fits is the first step toward a happier life for you and your family. It can be hard to part if you've made many memories there, but being honest and objective about your situation will help. Things change and if your current home isn't meeting your needs, it's time to move on.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
What is the Difference Between an Appraisal
and Comparative Market Analysis

 
Word Appraisal on tablet

Before you engage in any real estate transaction, you need to know as much as you can about the home's value.

There are two related, but distinct processes that help people pin down the valuation of a property before they move forward: Comparative market analysis and home appraisal.

Both of these will be performed at different steps in the sale process. Knowing the difference between the two can save you some valuable time.
  • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A comparative market analysis is typically performed by a real estate agent. Thanks to MLS, real estate pros have the opportunity to compare your home to others that have sold in your general area. Selling prices, time on market, home improvements, and square footage can be used to determine an approximate value of your home. When a CMA is completed, it will provide you with a low, medium, and high selling price for your home. It will also give an estimate of the average number of days your home may be on the market.

  • Home Appraisal. The home appraisal is paid for by the potential home buyers--either out of pocket or as part of the fees they will ultimately finance in their mortgage. An appraisal of the home is performed after the buyer applies for a loan with a bank or other lender. Once the buyer submits an offer and requests financing, a licensed appraiser is dispatched. All practicing home appraisers must be licensed or certified by the state. Although they visit a property at the request of the bank, appraisers are intended to report neutral observations about each home. The comprehensive report they compile helps to determine the home's fair market value. This protects the bank from lending too much money for any given home. Though an appraisal will include some basic information on the home's condition, more time is spent on recent information about similar listings and housing market conditions in the neighborhood. Minor repairs and renovations performed before an appraisal can help raise the home's assessed value.
CMA Versus Home Appraisal: Final Considerations
Both a comparative market analysis and home appraisal provide valuable insights that help you and your real estate agent move toward a successful sale. Assuming a property spends only a moderate amount of time on the market, each usually needs to be completed only once.

Sometimes, however, a lender might request a new appraisal even if the previous appraisal was only a short time ago. You might even get a CMA before you make a final decision about selling your home.

Each situation is different.

As an experienced real estate agent I can help you by ensuring you're equipped with an accurate CMA. Plus, when the time comes to prepare for an appraisal, I can guide you on the most important steps to raise your home's value in your budget and timeline. Just give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
6 Hot Tips to Sell Your
Home This Summer
 
Couple in front of home

 Summer is a perfect time to sell   your home. Whether you live on   the coast or in the heartland of   America, the number of home   seekers is steadily rising, which   creates a fantastic market.

 If you have yet to put your home on the   market, here are six reasons to sell your   home this summer.

  1. High Demand. The demand for homes is skyrocketing, as there are plenty of more buyers compared to the available homes for sale. This is especially true in markets where it isn't cheap to build, and space is limited. The high demand for homes results in a favorable seller's market, which substantially increases the price and makes it much more likely that you will sell your home this summer due to the rising demand and lack of available homes.

  2. Additional Money. Another reason why it is such a good idea to put your home on the market this summer is due to the record levels of unemployment. People are finding better jobs, which results in additional money that can be used to purchase a home. Consumer confidence is at an all-time high and existing-home sales have skyrocketed over the past few months. The majority of people are also getting a tax cut, which is just one more reason why the summer is the perfect time to list your home for sale.

  3. Millennials. Many young adults have been crippled with student debt, which delayed them from purchasing a home. However, Millennials are expected to account for over 40 percent of home buyers taking out a mortgage in 2019, as these first time home buyers are ready to transition from renting to homeownership. These additional home buyers will only increase the price and demand of your home, and listing your home on the market this summer is a great way to reap the benefits of a seller's market.

  4. More Available Time. School is out for the summer, which means that families have a lot more free time without the constant demands of bringing their kids to school each day or participating in after-school activities. It is also much more manageable for families to move during the summer, as they do not have to worry about disrupting classes, which makes it easier for the kids. Summer is also a prime time to move for anyone who lives in colder states, as you do not have to worry about the snow or freezing temperatures.

  5. Increase Curb Appeal. The curb appeal of your home peaks during the summertime, with the green grass, blooming flowers, and leafy trees. Of course, landscaping your home will generate even more interest, as well-placed flowerbeds and a frequently mowed lawn is a simple, yet highly effective way to attract potential home buyers.

  6. Less Competition. Many home sellers wait until the spring or fall to sell their home, which results in much less competition. With fewer homes on the market, you will have the power set your own price without having to compete against an overcrowded market. Going against the grain and making your house available for sale during the summertime is a wise investment that can generate plenty of extra money.
Selling your home during the summer offers a wide range of benefits, whether it is due to the economy, more available time, less competition, or a whole list of other advantages. Don't delay any longer, put your home on the market today and enjoy the many perks of listing your home during the summer!  

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

What Every Home Seller Needs
to Know About Closing Day

Hand holding keysClosing day is an exciting time for sellers, but it can also be stressful. With help from an experienced real estate agent, you can minimize complications and keep things moving forward.

Even with the best real estate agent on your side, however, it's important to understand as much as you can about the process. An informed seller ensures that he or she will be able to make the best decisions even down to the final hours of the process.

And, unfortunately, unexpected things can happen at the last moment. By the time a home sale reaches closing, it's usually ready to go off without a hitch – but it never hurts to be prepared.

What Sellers Must Know About Closing Day

Most of the closing simply consists of sitting down and signing documents--lots and lots of them. Many people are surprised by how long this can take: Although a quick closing may be done in as little as an hour, it's a good idea to clear off the entire morning or afternoon.

Keep these pointers in mind for a successful closing as a seller:

You'll Need to Bring the Right Items

Everything has to be signed and verified at closing. If even one piece is missing, you'll have to reschedule. That, in turn, can endanger the terms of your mortgage loan, which is often offered with very strict time constraints. Luckily, there's a simple list of items to remember.
You'll need to bring:
  • The deed, if your property is already paid off.
  • A valid state or federal ID, such as your current driver's license or passport.
  • If required, a verified check in the amount specified by the escrow officer.
  • All keys and security codes needed to access the property if the closing is successful.
You'll Sign Tons of Different Paperwork

These include:
  • Closing Instructions. These can sometimes be signed at the opening of the escrow account, but they are usually done at closing. You should carefully review the exact amount of credits and debits for accuracy. This ensures that liens (and your existing mortgage, if any) are fully paid off.

  • HUD-1 Settlement Statement. This is a statement required by federal law that serves as a full accounting of all money involved in the transaction. There's both a buyer's column and a seller's column, and you should receive a copy well in advance so you can review it in full. Check the math and look for clerical errors.

  • Certificate of Title. This affirms you have the right to sell a given property.

  • Deed. This document passes ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. It must be signed along with a full description of the property, then recorded at the county courthouse.

  • Loan Payoff. This itemizes your loan payoff amounts to be paid at closing.

  • Bill of Sale. This document lists any personal property, such as furniture, you agreed to provide to the buyer as part of the sale. Make sure there are no extra or missing items and that all prices are correct.

  • Statement of Closing Costs. Closing costs vary a great deal in each transaction. Although buyers are generally responsible for many of these, you may have negotiated concessions. It's a good idea to review all closing costs.

  • Statement of Information. This document is simply used to affirm your identity.
Your closing should be a day of celebration. Double-checking all the paperwork with an expert adviser by your side will help give you peace of mind as you reach this major milestone.

For answers to your home selling and closing questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

Fielding a Lowball Offer

Baseball player catching ball near ground

Selling Your Home: 5 Tips to Manage a Lowball Offer

When you're trying to sell your home, receiving a lowball offer is the last thing you want to happen, and it's certainly disheartening. Preparing yourself for the possibility of a lowball offer and having a strategy in place to deal with it can make the situation much less stressful. Use these tips to help you plan what you'll do if you receive an offer that's not up to your expectations.

  1. Don't Overreact. Your home means a lot to you, and you certainly hope that potential buyers will see its worth. However, if you receive a lowball offer, the last thing you should do is let your emotions take control. It's good to keep in mind that despite the sentimental value your home holds for you, a real estate transaction is an investment. The prospective buyer may be simply trying to snag a bargain, albeit at your expense. Don't refuse an offer immediately until you've had time to consider your other options.

  2. Counter Offer. If you've received a lowball offer, especially if it's the only offer, let the buyer know you are willing to show some flexibility by writing up a counter offer. Many prospective buyers will start with a much lower offer than they are actually willing to pay, and a bit of negotiating is likely expected. If you feel like you need advice on making the counter offer, I, as your agent will be able to guide you through the process. That’s just one of my jobs!

  3. Have a Second Look at Comps. Double check comparable homes to be sure your selling price is in line with the current market, especially if the market is changing. Be willing to have a look at comps provided by the prospective buyer as well if they are basing their offer on such data. This is also a good time to review other information you factored into your asking price such a home appraisal.

  4. Your Motivation Versus Buyer Motivation. If your only offer is a lowball offer, and you need to sell right away, you may choose to accept the offer to expedite the sale. You might consider asking the buyer why their offer is so low. If the buyer is serious about your home, they might be open with you about their reasoning. They may be at the top of their budget and hoping that you will lower your price or they might see an aspect of your home that in their eyes needs repair. Honest and clear communication typically make a negotiation smoother.

  5. Your Right to Refuse. There's no rule saying you have to accept any offer made on your home, let alone a lowball offer. If you're confident in how you've priced your home, you can always ignore or refuse an offer that is too far below your asking price.

Ultimately, you will make the decision of which offer to accept on your home, but having a strategy in place to handle lowball offers is important as you list your home for sale.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Home Renovation Projects
Well Worth the Investment
 

Five DIY Projects Worth the Time and Money

Like most homeowners, you may be considering a number of summer upgrade projects to your home. After all, the weather is great and the days are longer which creates the perfect environment to make these changes happen.
If your list of possible do-it-yourself projects is getting long, then you need a way to prioritize which ones to invest your time and, more importantly, your money in. To help you out, we've put together this list of five DIY projects that can help your home look fabulous and maximize your efforts. So grab your list and your budget and let's get started.
  1. Bathroom Remodel
    This room is always a great place to start because it is one of the most used rooms in your home. It is also one of the rooms that prospective homebuyers place the most value on. The other great part about bathrooms is that there are many different upgrade options to choose from. You can do everything from simply adding new plumbing fixtures to completely renovating the entire room.

    A typical bathroom remodel that includes new flooring, a new tub, upgraded fixtures, and a new vanity will typically cost around $10,000. While that might seem like a sizeable investment, statistics show that you will get back every dollar of that investment and more on the value of your home.

  2. Kitchen Remodel
    Perhaps the second most important room inside your home is the kitchen. It is a place where many families gather on a daily basis. It is also a room where many of the daily activities of a home occur such as meal preparation, eating, homework and simply talking about the events of the day.

    Typical kitchen remodels will include upgrades to countertops, appliances, and cabinetry. The average price tag for a minor kitchen remodel may set you back as much as $15,000. The good news is that this is another DIY investment that will return almost every dollar back to you in terms of ROI.

  3. New Deck
    If you have outdoor projects that you want to consider, then let's start with a new deck. These great outdoor gathering places hold many wonderful memories of picnics, barbecues and summer parties. They are also a great investment in the value of your home. The typical project will cost around $10,600 but with that strong ROI, you will end up paying pennies per hour for great outdoor family fun.

  4. Upgrade Landscaping
    If you are trying to sell your home, nothing turns heads quicker than a nicely manicured yard. Whether you want to add new shrubs or redo the entire lawn, an investment in landscaping is going to have a quick impact on your home's value.

    Perhaps the best thing about landscaping upgrades is that they are typically inexpensive, averaging around $5,000.

  5. New Exterior
    Our final DIY project is an upgrade to your home's exterior. Whether you are replacing siding or changing the paint color, this improvement to the exterior of your home will help to drive potential homebuyers to your house. The typical investment is around $7,200.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
 Selling Your Home: How
to Make a Counteroffer
 
Handshake
Make a Counteroffer to Home Buyers

As you go through the process of selling your home, you'll most likely receive more than one offer from potential buyers. In these kinds of situations, it may be necessary to make a counteroffer. There are a number of factors that can affect the type of counter you make and the success of acceptance. Here's what you should know about how to make a counter offer when selling your home.

All Things in Consideration

There are a variety of things you'll want to pay attention to within an offer from a potential buyer. Most likely, your focus will fall to the offer price first. Whether or not this price is acceptable to you, it's important to take the time to read all of the terms of the offer before making the decision to counter.
You'll want to carefully consider things like:
  • Closing date
  • Items from the home the buyer wants to be included in the sale
  • Additional contingencies the buyer has included in their offer
Once you've determined which terms of the offer are acceptable, you can then begin preparing your counteroffer to address the unacceptable terms. For instance, you received an offer on your home for the full asking price but the buyer has added contingencies to the contract for the major appliances to be included in the sale and a 60-day closing.

A 'give-and-take' perspective is typically the best approach when selling your home. When considering a counteroffer, consider meeting the potential buyer halfway. For instance, you may counter by including all major appliances except for the washer and dryer and a 30-day closing in exchange for the buyer's responsibility for half of the closing costs.

A professional real estate agent can help you draft a counteroffer that works best for you. You'll want to thoroughly read, sign, and date the counter and your agent will present it to the buyer or buyer's agent.

It's All in the Details

No matter what you've included in your counter, make sure every detail is in writing. It's important to understand that presenting a counteroffer will negate the original and create a completely new agreement.

In some cases, it may be beneficial to negotiate the terms of your counteroffer verbally to avoid the extensive paperwork. Once everything has been agreed upon, the final terms of a counter can be put to paper and submitted for as a final purchase agreement for formal acceptance from the buyers.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Sell Your Home as Pet-Friendly.
Here's Why...
 
Couple sitting on grass in front of home with dog

Tips to Sell Your Home to Today's Pet Owners

Your home undoubtedly has a lot of beautiful things about it. And you'll want to highlight all of them to make it more appealing to buyers. One positive you probably didn't think about promoting when selling your home is its pet friendliness. Finding a pet-friendly home is a pretty big deal to buyers so here's how to let them know your home is the perfect place for them and their furry friends.

Why Pet-friendly?

Selling your home quickly and at the right price means you need to appeal to as many buyers as possible. The National Association of REALTORS® reports the Millennial generation is the largest group of home buyers today. And pet-friendly homes are significant to them. According to the American Pet Products Association, over 60% of Americans have a pet and Millennials comprise the most significant percentage of pet owners with 34% owning pets. Additionally, a survey by Sun Trust Mortgage indicates one-third of the Millennials that bought homes did so because they wanted to have more space for a pet. So when you look at all those statistics, it's easy to see that you're very likely to be selling your home to a pet-loving millennial and making them aware of how your home can serve their needs makes sense.

What Do Pet Owners Want?

It's primarily dog owners who are opting for homeownership for the sake of their pets. Due to the size, demeanor, and activity level of some breeds, they have a harder time finding an appropriate pet-friendly rental than cat owners do. Physical space can be an issue, and if they're in an area where rent is already high, the hefty deposits and cleaning fees make renting even less appealing. So they're buying homes instead. Make sure to highlight these features when selling your home.
  • Fenced in yard
  • Pet care station
  • Custom dog house
  • Retractable pet gates
In addition to your home being pet-friendly, you'll want to emphasize the pet friendliness of your neighborhood too. These things often make a community more attractive to pet owners:
  • Dog parks
  • Fitness trails for walking
  • Other parks or beaches that allow pets
  • Proximity to vets
  • Proximity to pet supply stores
  • Community groups for pet owners
  • Pet-friendly community facilities or events
  • Doggie daycare
  • Pet spas
These pet-friendly features are not just for single family homes either. Many condo communities have made efforts to appeal to pet owners and if yours includes any of these amenities on premises, make sure you tell your real estate agent.

Make it Visible Your Home is Pet-friendly

Pet owners naturally connect with one another so don't be afraid to provide some visual evidence of your love for your pet. It will help give a buyer an emotional connection to your home that could help close the deal. A picture of you with your pet, a flashy new water bowl, and a container of dog treats on the shelf are an excellent way to make an impression with a pet owner.

Selling your home as pet-friendly is the right thing to do for today's buyers, and it helps with finding the perfect buyer for your home.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me at suevvk@tampabay.rr.com. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
I've Sold My Home. Who
Do I Tell I'm Moving?
 
Word on paper:  We've Moved
Once you've decided where you're moving to, it's time to let everyone know the good news! And your social media posts filled with pictures of your new place aren't entirely going to do the job. Changing your address is one of those things you can't put off. Doing so can cause overdue bills, costly billing errors, service interruptions, and can even leave you vulnerable to identity theft. Here are some of the places you'll need to update your address after selling your home.

Top Places to Change Your Address
  • US Postal Service. Address changes can be done online for $1 with a credit or debit card or by picking up the good old fashioned paper form at your local post office. It will help catch anything you've forgotten.

  • Utilities and Information Services. Electric, gas, water, cell phone, TV, and internet. After selling your home, you'll have to set up a turn off date for your current residence and a turn on time for your new one along with changing the billing address.

  • Current Employer. Notify your current employer about your move even if you're staying with the same company. They'll need to know where to send your W2's if they're not available electronically.

  • IRS. If you expect to get a refund via check, this is extra important because some post offices won't forward government checks. If you're moving around tax time, you can file a change of address with your return.

  • DMV, Voter Registration, and Social Security. You'll only need to change your address with Social Security if you're currently receiving benefits. Any other government agencies you receive benefits from or offices you need to deal with regularly will need to be added to this list too. If you're moving further away, they may be able to direct you to services in your new area.

  • Insurance Companies. Health insurance, homeowner's or renter's insurance, car insurance and life insurance.

  • Banks, Financial Institutions, Credit Card Companies, and Lenders. You may be changing banks but will probably be keeping other accounts like investment, retirement and credit cards including personal, auto, or student loans.

  • Schools

Additional Places to Notify

  • Home Services. Landscaping, gardening, lawn mowing, cleaning services, pool maintenance, and any other recurring home maintenance services you're paying.

  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Veterinarians
  • Subscription services and online retailers. Ones you buy from frequently or get recurring shipments from
  • Religious, community, or recreational groups and clubs

Make Updating Your Address Easier

Lots of organizations allow you to change your address online, either through an online form, e-mail or chat with a customer service representative. Some companies will still require you to call.
The US Postal Service, DMV, and most voter registrations allow you to fill out a web-based form to change your address.

If you have a lot of people to notify, especially friends and family, you may want to send out postcards. You can use templates found on Canva.com or in Microsoft Office to design your own.
The TouchNote app allows you to create custom postcards and even mails them for you.

The by-invitation-only app, Updater, can manage the address changes for you and help you coordinate utility services, book a mover and even get insurance.

If you want to notify some friends and family via social media, opt for private messages.

The process of updating your address is even more critical when you're selling your home and moving out of state. Keeping everyone informed will make things easier during this stressful and exciting time.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

The Ins and Outs of
Pricing Your Home to Sell

 

Picture of house on top of calculator

If you've recently decided to sell your house, you might be experiencing a range of thoughts and emotions.
Aside from committing to selling your home, deciding on your asking price is probably the biggest choice you will face during the process, and it's an important one! Working with an experienced agent is key to getting your home sold efficiently, and having professional guidance to help you determine the asking price allows you to list your home with confidence. Following are some of the ins and outs of home pricing you'll want to consider before making a decision.

Get Acquainted With the Market

The housing market is known to change often, and trends develop because of supply and demand. Your strategy may be much different in a buyer's market than when the seller has the advantage. Do some research, to understand what is happening in your area where the housing market is concerned. Upfront knowledge is important in deciding how to proceed, and your real estate agent understands the market and will provide valuable insights into the market.

The Power of Comparison

It's your right to ask any price you want for your home, but that doesn't guarantee that you'll get it. An essential part of pricing your home is to look at comparable homes and their selling prices. Your real estate agent can provide you with a comparative market analysis which is full of helpful information on area comps. Keep in mind that you should consider homes that are comparable in size, age, and location when setting your asking price.

Put Your Emotions on Hold

The excitement of selling your home is running high, but now is the time to look at your home thoroughly, and view each aspect of it with a critical eye. Of course, your home holds sentimental value, as it should, but some parts of your home may be worth more to you than they would to a potential buyer. Are there add-ons that may detract from the value to buyers? Could your home use a makeover? The answer to these and other questions, when answered honestly, may influence how you ultimately price your home.

Spruce Up Your Home

Your home may be in good or even great shape, and if so, you may feel comfortable setting your asking price once you've done your research. Most homeowners, however, can find a few things that need attention. Small projects such as tidying up your home's landscaping and decluttering its interior may allow you to up your asking price. Potential buyers will be looking at the home as a whole but will hone in on details as well. A tidy, welcoming home is what they hope to see.

The Zero Debate

Traditionally, setting a home's price ending in too many zeros may not be to your advantage. Although there's truly little difference, a prospective buyer may be more enticed by a home priced at $299,000 versus one priced at $300,000. While avoiding the zeros may present a bargain to some, it may cause some buyers to miss your home entirely. Online real estate searches are extremely popular, and that home priced at $299,000 won't show up if the buyer sets the parameters from $300,000 to $350,000. As your real estate agent I know the market and will offer advice depending on your unique selling scenario.

Taking the time to do your research and make your home its best before listing your home will make the pricing process easier.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Why Some Pending Home
Sales Fall Through
 
Sale pending sign
The vast majority of home sales are successful transactions that make it to the final closing stage. However, now and then a pending sale for a home will fail to make it to the final closing stage. Failure to close out on buying a home can be the result of a wide variety of reasons, whether it is buyer's remorse or related to financial issues. Here are the top five reasons why pending home sales never make it to the final closing stage.
  1. Mortgage Loan Rejection
    Buyers with plenty of income and a strong credit score are not always guaranteed to qualify for a mortgage loan. Losing a job at an unexpected time or going through a divorce can cause the application for a mortgage loan to be rejected. Failure to provide enough money for the closing costs can also result in a mortgage loan denial.

  2. Low Appraisals
    Not all home loan application rejections result from the failure to meet strict standards. A lower than expected appraisal can make it difficult for a buyer to purchase a home, as it will force the buyer to make up the difference or renegotiate for a lower price with the seller. If the seller is unwilling to lower the price, and the buyer doesn't have the extra money to make up the difference, the pending sale will fail to reach the closing stage.

  3. Home Inspections
    Most homes look similar to an untrained professional, but a home inspector can pinpoint troubling details that may cause a buyer to hesitate on purchasing a home. Any cracks in the wall or a leaky roof can cause hesitation and make a buyer reconsider the purchase of a home. A buyer can ask for additional compensation for these issues, but a seller may refuse to negotiate. Ultimately, this will result in the fail of a pending sale before it can reach the final closing stage.

  4. Buyer's Remorse
    A standard contract usually allows a buyer two to three weeks to do additional inspections and take care of other details before the deal is finalized. A buyer can cancel the agreement at any time during this period, and some first-time buyers get cold feet and do not feel that they can afford the long-term commitment of purchasing a new home. However, an experienced real estate agent can provide the necessary guidance and help first-time buyers avoid feeling overwhelmed throughout the process.

  5. Buyer Fails to Sell Home
    Many home contracts are dependent upon a buyer selling their home within a specific time period, such as 30 or 60 days. Depending on the area, some homes are much more difficult to put on the market. Failure to sell a home during this time period will result in the cancellation of a contract, as the vast majority of homeowners are unable to pay for two mortgages at the same time.
Purchasing a home is a lengthy process that is dependent on the completion of various steps throughout the home buying stage. Understanding these common roadblocks to pending sales can help clients overcome any obstacles and purchase a home without any complications.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Top 10 Features Home
Buyers Want This Year
 
Picture of washer/dryer in  laundry roomAs a seller, you'll want to do everything you can to make your home more appealing to buyers. And like other sellers, you'll be doing some prep work to get your home ready to sell. That means fresh paint, increased curb appeal, and sometimes even renovations. Many sellers struggle with deciding exactly where to spend their home improvement budget, and it can be tough to know what buyers want. Hopefully, you're lucky enough to have a few of these upgrades already in your home. If not, adding one or more of these suggestions can help your home get noticed and stand out in the minds of buyers.
  1. Laundry room. According to the National Association of Home Builders, this topped the list of most desirable amenities with 92% of buyers wanting one. It keeps this everyday chore from piling up in other areas and out of sight. It's also a necessity for families and depending on the size of the project, it can be fairly inexpensive.

  2. Energy efficiency. The most common improvements include appliances and windows. But energy efficiency can come with bigger projects like solar panels and energy efficient HVAC systems, or several smaller projects like a new programmable thermostat, energy efficient doors and LED light fixtures.

  3. Outdoor living areas. Thanks to DIY shows, outdoor living areas are extremely popular. These areas can range from a patio or deck to an entire outdoor kitchen. It's a great way to add a functional area to a home without actually having to add on to the house or take on huge renovations.

  4. Hardwood floors. Buyers love the longevity and timeless beauty of hardwood floors. You can achieve a variety of looks making them all the more appealing. If you love hardwood floors, but want something a more budget-friendly, engineered wood can help keep the cost down.

  5. Extra storage space. A well-organized garage, walk-in closet, or an unused area converted to extra storage is always a win with buyers. It's something buyers always look for when home shopping and an absolute necessity for families.

  6. Outdoor lighting. Outdoor lighting is the top outdoor feature mentioned by buyers. It helps your home and the surrounding yard look wonderful and adds safety to the outdoor area.

  7. Unique architectural features. A unique feature that gives a house character should be highlighted and used to your advantage, not hidden. Exposed brick, exposed beams, a beautiful window alcove or fireplace are all good examples.

  8. Ceiling fans. This popular decorative touch is always a win with buyers. They give a room a unique look, help cut energy bills and provide comfort. This useful upgrade can be fairly inexpensive too.

  9. Eat in kitchen. Families and those who entertain highly desire this. Feeding young children requires the easily washable surfaces found in kitchens and cooks appreciate not being isolated from the surrounding festivities when entertaining.

  10. Updated or upgraded bathrooms. If you can add a little space for a double vanity, update lighting, frame a building grade mirror, or add a high-end feature or two, it can make a big impact. It can be easy for bathrooms to look outdated. Bathroom projects might require it's out of use for a few days, so people tend to put off updating a bathroom until it's an absolute necessity. It's one of those areas where the lack of action says a lot.
When it's time to sell your home giving buyers what they want gives you a big advantage. And it will help make your home selling experience a successful one.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

First-time Sellers: 6 Tips
to Get the Job Done

 

Couple hugging in front of home6 Tips for Selling Your Home

Until you sign the papers on your new and current home, you'll pull double-duty as a home buyer and a home seller. It's a tough job, but it's doable when you have a plan. Here are six tips to help you get the job done.
  1. Don't Wait!

    You'll have to get your current home ready for the market while searching for the next place you'll call home. Time constraints, job duties, even treasured memories can hinder the process. It's important to set a things-to-do schedule and get an early start.

  2. Find a Real Estate Professional

    When you're selling your home, connecting with a real estate professional like me will ease the strain of simultaneously marketing and buying. I can offer advice on pre-listing home preparation. When you're too busy to search for a home that meets your criteria, your I keep your search going.  You need someone with knowledge of your current community and the community where you've decided to relocate, I’ve lived in Bradenton 35 years!

  3. Do Your Pre-Listing Preparation

    You can't just list it and hope for the best. This is where our plan for selling your home kicks into high gear.

    Declutter: Remove unnecessary furniture, toys, appliances, tools and other objects crowding your space. Store personal mementos and cultural displays so every potential buyer will feel at home.

    Repair and Upgrade: Fix all the little things you always wanted to fix but didn't have time. Repair wall dings and dents and paint your walls in neutral colors. Replace broken bathroom and kitchen tiles. Consider upgrading anything that looks worn and faded. DIY what you can to save money. Hire a pro for tasks you can't do or prefer not to do.

    Clean: Consider hiring a pro to clean everything thoroughly from top to bottom.

    Enhance: Add final touches to beautify your home's interior and heighten your curb appeal. Add lighting, decor, and room-brightening window treatments. Upgrade your landscaping with plants and flowers. Keep your lawn mowed until you can turn the job over to the new owner.

    Staging: I can give you pointers on arranging your rooms to look their best. You can also hire a professional stager.

  4. Price it Right

    When you overprice, selling your home takes too long. When you underprice, you lose money. Do the research. I can conduct a comparative market analysis of recently sold homes. You can check current listings for prices on homes similar to yours. Our comparables research will help you price it right.

  5. List With Professional Photos

    The NAR 2017 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers tells us that 51% of homebuyers begin their search online. You need great listing photos to catch a buyer's eye. To maximize your listing visibility, hire a professional photographer.

  6. Be Flexible

    Selling your home requires flexibility. You must be available for home showings and respond to offers quickly. You must be a fair and flexible negotiator and make concessions when necessary.
It's Worth the Effort

Selling your home is a labor of love. When you hand over your keys to the new owner, you'll feel the thrill of making someone's homeowner dream come true. When you close on your new home, you get to repeat the process all over again.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
9 Ways to Save Money
When You're Moving

Box being taped shut
When you listed your home for sale, you knew someday you'd have to move. Unfortunately, the process can be stressful and time-consuming. It can also be surprisingly expensive. If you're moving, you can't eliminate expenses altogether, but these 9 tips should help you save some cash.
  1. Get organized
    At least a month before your scheduled move, create a moving to-do list and mark off each task as you go. Organizing your move will help you plan each step. You can avoid last-minute overspending on unanticipated purchases.

  2. Get rid of the pounds
    Professional movers charge by the pound and the more stuff you have, the bigger the DIY rental truck. Do a ruthless decluttering to get rid of junk you won't use. Have a moving sale to make money on your decluttering efforts or donate unwanted items where you can get a tax deduction.

  3. Economize on moving supplies

    To get the freebie boxes you need, you might have to ask a grocery store's night crew to put some aside for you. The bigger stores dismantle or pitch boxes after stocking the stores at night. You might not have that problem at a smaller store.

    You can sometimes stock-up on discount packing tape and bubble wrap in a dollar store. You'll also get a good deal by buying shipping supplies in bulk at membership stores like Sam's Club or Costco. Limit bubble wrap costs by cushioning TVs and delicate electronics with blankets, quilts, and pillows.

  4. Take your time when DIY packing

    Instead of a rushed marathon packing session, spread your tasks over several weeks. When you do a leisurely pack, you won't use as many supplies and you'll have more time to find donatable items.

  5. Save on your truck rental

    Guarantee your rental by reserving early. If the truck size you need is unavailable, you'll pay more for a larger truck or have to make more trips with a smaller truck. Get loading and unloading help if you're moving locally. The work will go faster and you'll avoid paying for extra rental days.

  6. Compare mover's costs

    Consumer Reports recommends getting three estimates before you commit to a mover. Review the details carefully. Ask questions about charges you don't understand. To help you choose, look for mover complaints and reviews on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Better Business Bureau sites and on social media.

  7. Control additional charges

    Professional movers charge extra for using elevators or stairs, moving pianos, guaranteed arrival dates, and many other items you might think are free. Make sure you understand which services have additional costs so you can plan for them or avoid them.

  8. Use a container service

    PODS, Upack, and other shipping container companies, combine DIY with professional moving. They drop off a big container. You load it at your leisure. When you're ready, you schedule a truck to move it to your new destination.

  9. Employer relocation assistance

    If you're relocating to a new job, ask your employer about relocation benefits. They may have a program to reimburse your costs or contribute a flat dollar amount.
For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Nine Things That Top
a Millennial Wish List
 
Picture of man and woman millenial
There are many misconceptions about what drives millennial home buyers to make an offer on a property. When you are selling your home, cutting through the "wrong" ideas can make your home more appealing to this highly motivated demographic. As you prepare your listing, the following are nine things that are at the top of the millennial wish list.

  1. Room to Grow
    The majority of millennial home buyers are around 30. They are eager to settle down and start a family. This means they want a property with an extra bedroom or two, a yard, and enough space for them to put down solid, stable roots. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms within a 2,500 square foot home is an ideal property for this demographic.

  2. Value for the Money
    75% of millennial home buyers view home ownership as a good investment that can create wealth over the long-term. As a result, selling your home to a millennial buyer requires demonstrating that the property is likely to continue appreciating.

  3. Location Matters
    For millennials, location is more than just a good neighborhood that is close to good schools and shopping. It also entails places that are close to public transportation or within walking distance of where they work, grocery stores, parks, etc.

  4. Technologically Up-to-Date
    Many millennials work from home and require a reliable internet connection and cellular network. Connectivity is crucial when selling your home to millennial buyers. Furthermore, homeowners who invest in smart features including smart home security systems, smart thermostats, etc. can set their property apart from the competition.

  5. Energy Efficiency
    With energy bills rising across the country, energy efficiency is something that transcends demographics. Millennials are cost sensitive to energy bills for many reasons. These include environmental awareness and the desire to apply the savings towards other purposes including investments, vacations, etc.

  6. Stylish and Appealing
    Setting the stage for millennial home buyers is essential. When selling your home to millennials, they want to see modern home decor. This means color schemes that are stylish, newer appliances, furniture placement that opens the rooms up, and an absolute minimal level of bric-a-brac throughout the home. Modern traditional is the most commonly desired type of home for millennial home buyers.

  7. Outdoor Space
    Millennials love to entertain and relax at home. They want landscapes that are well-kept and suitable for entertaining guests, and they want retreats where they can rest and recharge after a long day at work. Towards this end, homes with large patios, spacious decks, outdoor kitchens, and a bit of grass are ideal features to promote when you are selling your home.

  8. Minimal Maintenance
    Millennials are a busy group and don't want to spend any more time trimming trees, fixing roofs, or dusting shelves than is necessary. The lower the maintenance requirements of the home, the more appealing it is to millennial home buyers. Similarly, millennials are highly sensitive to HOA fees and rigid HOA requirements. In this regard, they want minimal financial obligations and plenty of creative flexibility when it comes to their home.

  9. Modern Kitchens & Bathrooms
    It is possible that no generation in history has enjoyed cooking at home more than millennials. Millennials want name brand stainless steel appliances, six-burner ranges, wine-coolers, dual ovens, solid wood cabinetry, sustainable stone countertops, and plenty of room to gather and socialize with family and friends. This trend continues in the bathroom where glass shower doors, stone counters, and brushed nickel fixtures are appealing features that millennials will look for when you are selling your home.
For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

5 Ways to Achieve Hygge in Your Home
 
Family together in home
There's been a lot of buzz in the U.S. lately about the Danish way of living known as Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah). If you're not sure exactly what it means, that's okay. It's somewhat difficult to explain since the word doesn't translate into English and is based more on a feeling than on anything concrete. The general concept revolves around creating feelings of intimacy and coziness, connecting with the people you love, and taking pleasure in the small things.

If this sounds appealing to you, you're not alone. After all, it could be one of the reasons that Denmark is ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. While many of the concepts are based around staying warm and cozy during the winter months, it's easy to apply Hygge to your home all year round. Here are five tips to help you get started.
  1. Pay Attention to Lighting

    When asked what they associate most strongly with Hygge, candles are typically mentioned. The warm glow of candlelight creates an atmosphere that will lift your spirits and make your home more welcoming. In addition to lighting candles, focus on taking advantage of natural light whenever possible and using strategically-placed lamps to create a soft, warm glow.

  2. Incorporate Natural Elements

    Although there's not always a lot of nature around during the harsh Danish winters, they make a point to bring a bit indoors whenever possible. Apply this to your home by adding some easy-to-care-for houseplants and accents like natural wood flooring and real wood furniture.

  3. Create a Book Nook

    Curling up to read a good book is one of the cornerstones of the Hygge lifestyle. The Danish refer to the cozy space where they go to read as a hyggekrog (nook). Your book nook can be any quiet and comfortable space in your home where you can relax. Add some soft blankets to the area and display a real book on a shelf or in the corner of your home to give it a lived-in look that's so common in Danish homes.

  4. Use a Warm Color Palette

    When choosing the color palette for your home's décor, opt for warm colors like tones of red, orange and yellow. Choose neutral colors for your wall paint and add soft accents like overstuffed pillows. Before you add anything to your home, think about how it will feel there, rather than how it will look.

  5. Keep it Simple

    The Danish lifestyle is all about keeping things simple. This means getting rid of clutter and adopting more of a minimalist lifestyle. It's also about deriving pleasure from your immediate surroundings. Only keeping items in your home that make you truly happy will help you accomplish both of these goals.
Once you've adopted the Hygge lifestyle, you'll naturally start noticing even more opportunities to incorporate it into your home. Eventually, it will begin to feel like second-nature.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

Selling Your Home: Important
Repairs to Make

 

Workman holding paint rollerYou love your cozy, quirky home; however, when it is time to sell it, those loveable irregularities might not be the best selling points. For you, the tiny handprints on the hallway wall may be a part of your history, but for a potential buyer, they are something that needs fixing.

So, before you put that sign in your yard, consider making certain repairs to increase your chances of selling at the right price.

  • Freshening the Walls - The first thing you should tackle is giving the inside of your home a fresh coat of paint. Sorry, tiny handprints, time to go. Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, aim for neutral colors like gray or cream. Additionally, it's best to get rid of any wallpaper. Wallpaper is highly personal, so what you like may not be what your buyers want. While you are painting, take the time to repair that odd crack in the sheetrock and other imperfections showing up in your walls.

  • Serving Up Newness - Buyers tend to focus on kitchens and bathrooms. Talk to your REALTOR® about how much return one can get on their investment on a kitchen remodel in your area. That can help guide how far you want to go to upgrade essential rooms in your home. You can at least make sure it has a solid deep clean, that the appliances are all in good working order, and the lighting is not left over from the 1980s. If you are not entirely replacing your cabinets, you can get a lot of visual impact by changing the knobs or pulls, and making sure the hinges are not loose.

  • Upgrading the Loo - Bathrooms are areas potential buyers inspect. Make sure that running toilet doesn't send your potential buyers running for the hills. Repair any leaks and unruly faucets, and deep clean around the toilet, bath, and shower. You might consider getting new window curtains and a new shower curtain to give a fresh appearance.

  • Flooring Your Buyers - Next check your floors. If you have hardwood floors, it might be time to refinish them so they shine. Carpeting should be cleaned at a minimum, and if you have worn areas, perhaps it is time to replace it. One thing to remember is the trend now seems to be hardwood floors in the public spaces like living rooms and dens, leaving the only carpet in the bedrooms. If you have hardwood floors under existing carpet, removing the carpet could raise your home's sell-ability.

  • Details, Details - Other things to pay attention to are the things you might not typically think about. Is the HVAC system working? Check the smoke detectors, the locks in the house, and the garage door to make sure they all work correctly. Turn on all the overhead lights to make sure that the bulbs are not burned out.

  • Appealing from the Curb - Finally, go outside and check out your home's curb appeal. Mow and trim the yard. Repaint any porch railings. Check to make sure your gutters and eaves are all in good shape and give your door a fresh look with new paint.

Selling your home is an exciting time, but you have to do the work first. So, pull out your notebook, take a walk around your property, and make a plan that will get your home looking just right for selling. Some extra work up front may be just the thing that gets your home sold quickly and for a price that makes you smile.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
7 Things You should Never Say
When Selling Your Home
 
Woman with hands over her mouthMost times when selling your home, it's better to let your real estate agent do the talking with potential buyers. However, there may be moments when it's just you, the buyer, and the buyer's agent having a conversation, so it's important for you to understand what not to say, as well. Most buyers will be looking for an edge in negotiations, and that edge can come from seeking out information that the seller's side would rather not share. Learn how to maintain your leverage and avoid scaring off buyers, with our guide to seven things that you should never say when selling your home.

Seven Things Better Left Unsaid
  1. The Number of People Who Have Viewed the HomeBuyers will ask how many people have viewed the home, as a way to gauge interest when considering their own offer. Some buyers will be looking to pounce on a home with a perceived low-interest level, while others might consider a lack of showings as a red flag. Better to just skip answering the question entirely.

  2. How Many Offers You Have ReceivedOf course, some buyers will get right to the point, and ask how many offers you have received on the home. Answering this question is a bad idea, for all of the same reasons that it's best not to say how many people have viewed the home.

  3. How Soon You Need/Want to CloseYou may need to close quickly for a variety of legitimate reasons... but the buyer doesn't need to know that's the case. It's hard to avoid the topic of closing once you're deep in negotiations, but that's a subject that your real estate agent can handle when the time is right.

  4. That the Home Is in Perfect ConditionEven if you have worked hard to address every maintenance issue you can find, no home is truly in perfect condition. It may be tempting to tell the buyer that nothing at all is wrong with the home, but that can come back to bite you when it's time for the inspection.

  5. Why You Have Decided to SellThere are so many different reasons to sell a home, and buyers will be looking for an edge by asking why you have decided to sell. Whether you've outgrown the home, had a change in family status, or simply want to live somewhere new, the buyer doesn't need to hear the details from you.

  6. Too Much Neighborhood InfoIf a buyer wants to know about nearby attractions or restaurants, that's one thing. If they want to know all the details about your neighbors, how many kids are in the area, or how safe you consider the neighborhood to be, that's a different story. Sometimes, it's better to let buyers research on their own.

  7. You Aren't Willing to NegotiateAs a seller, it is normal to want to maximize your return when selling your home. However, it's important to avoid telling buyers that you won't drop below X price on the home because that is a sign that you may be unwilling to negotiate – both on price and other key concerns.
By understanding what to say and what topics to avoid, you can make it easier to achieve your goals when selling your house. As your real estate agent I will act as a buffer between you and potential buyers, but it's always helpful to know exactly what not to say when your I'm not present.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Dirty Deeds: Landscaping
Tips to Sell Your Home
 
Hands planing flowers
The landscaping around your home is the first things prospective homebuyers see when they pull up in the driveway. That first impression creates a lasting impression, and it is worth investing the time and effort to ensure your grass, trees, flowers, and shrubbery look their very best. As you prepare your home for its place in the real estate market, the following landscaping tips will help you set the stage for a successful sale.
  • Clear Away Clutter

    Get rid of garden gnomes, pink flamingos, rusty children's toys, and anything extraneous that detracts from the landscape. Simplifying the landscape creates a comfortable, calming ambiance. This helps home buyers envision their own lawn decorations in their new yard.

  • Trim, Trim, and Trim Some More

    Trimming trees and pruning shrubbery helps them stay healthy. Removing dead branches also protects gutters, the roof, and fencing from damage. It's worth hiring a professional tree trimming service to do this as they will perform the work and remove the debris from your property. Whenever possible, it is best to do this in the fall or spring as this gives them a chance to grow and thrive.

  • Repair the Sprinklers

    Broken sprinkler heads and leaky sprinkler systems are significant concerns for potential buyers. A sprinkler system that works correctly is a selling point your real estate agent can use to put their fears to rest. A properly functioning system will also make it easier for you to keep the landscape watered until your home sells.

  • Green Up the Grass

    Grass is the foundation for most landscapes. Brown spots, bare patches, and dandelions stick out like sore thumbs. You should apply weed killers, turf builders, and fertilizers one to two months before you plan to put your home on the market. This gives your grass a chance to recover and grow before the first buyer ever sets foot on the lawn.

  • Add a Splash of Color

    Planting bright, visually appealing landscapes creates a happy, festive atmosphere. The presence of colorful flowers in standing pots or permanent flower beds invites prospective buyers to rest and relax as they ponder purchasing your home. Red, blue, pink, yellow, and green flowers are guaranteed to put potential buyers in the mood to sign a sales contract.

  • Paint and Repair the Exterior

    Pull out the brushes and paint any areas that are starting to show their age. Repair damaged light fixtures, siding, gutters, shutters, or railings. If you have a wooden deck that is looking worse for wear, you should sand and restain the wood. If you have a concrete patio or sidewalks, use a power washer with detergent to brighten these up. Once the concrete is clean, fill and repair any cracks you discover.

  • Mend Your Fences

    Take care of any broken slats, leaning posts, or slacking links. The fence frames the landscape, and you want it to appear strong and stable. If the fence is past its prime and requires replacing, consider offering a new fence to buyers as a concession within the sales contract.
Finally, don't attempt to do it all yourself. Invest in the services of professionals to ensure that the job is done right. This is especially important when it comes to tree trimming, sprinkler repairs, electrical work, and exterior repairs that require specialized tools and experience. This means that the finished appearance your investment buys will be worth its weight in gold when the ink on the contract dries.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Make Your Home Smell
Better Without Chemicals
 
Picture of flowers
Whether it's an inviting floral scent, refreshing citrus, or the unmistakable scent of fresh-baked cookies, the way your home smells can make it feel warm, cozy, and welcoming.

Unfortunately, most popular air fresheners, plug-ins, and candles are full of toxic chemicals that can pollute the air, make your pets sick, and even cause respiratory issues. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make your house smell great without chemicals. Here are seven ideas to help you get started.

Use Your Stove Top
  1. Add some orange slices and cinnamon sticks to a pot of water and bring it to a light simmer. Let the mixture sit on your stove top and watch as the amazing scent spreads throughout your home.

  2. Add Essential Oils to Pine Cones
    Toss some pine cones in a wicker basket and add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to each one. The smell will radiate from the basket, and you can easily move it from room to room.
For even more variety, try making different scented baskets for your dining room table, kitchen counter, and bathrooms.
  1. Deodorize Your Carpets
    It's easy to make a natural carpet deodorizer by mixing together baking soda, Borox, and essential oils. Shake the mixture onto the carpets, let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then vacuum it up. The powder will absorb any lingering odors and leave your home smelling fresh.

  2. Make Your Own Room Spray
    Purchase a small glass spray bottle and mix a cup of water with three or four drops of essential oils. Scents like lemongrass and rosemary are great for the kitchen, while lavender spray is an excellent option for the bedroom. You can spritz the mixture into the air or lightly spray it on furniture, pillows, and carpets.

  3. Use an Oil Diffuser
    Essential oils don't just smell good, some can actually help you sleep better, improve cognitive function and emotional health, and even boost your immune system. Essential oil diffusers fill your home with pleasant scents while also allowing you to enjoy the positive physical and mental benefits. Consider placing diffusers in your bedrooms, living room, and kitchen.

  4. Add Cloves to Oranges
    When you're having company over, you can easily create a wonderfully inviting scent by pushing a handful of whole cloves into the peel of an orange. Place a couple of the clove-covered oranges in an attractive bowl on your kitchen counter or use it as a centerpiece on your table.

  5. Use Fresh Cut Flowers
    Fresh-cut flowers look beautiful and also add an unmistakable scent to your home. For best results, choose strongly-scented options like roses, lilacs, hyacinth, freesia, lilies, or peonies.
It's so easy to make your home smell great naturally, there's really no reason to take chances with chemical-based products. Now that you know the basics, you can have fun experimenting with creating a variety of different scents. The possibilities are endless!

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
7 Must-Dos on an Open House Day
 
Picture of sign saying Besides the work you do before the open house, it's a good idea to make a quick trip through just before your real estate agent arrives. When you're selling your home, its appearance makes a measurable difference in how people view it, whether it's online or in person. The neater and cleaner it is, the better the home comes across to buyers. Just before the open house, make a pass through your home to check its condition by area.
  1. Kitchen
    Make sure the dishwasher is empty and the refrigerator and freezer clean and organized. The real estate agent may want to chill bottled water for people attending. Home shoppers will also open its doors, assuming you include the appliance with the house. If you're taking it with, you might put a sign on its door saying so.

    Make sure all the counters are free from clutter and crumbs. It's especially important to remove personal items from the counters in a small kitchen. Put them in your trunk or a cardboard box in the garage if there's no room elsewhere to keep them. Check the microwave and clean any spills.

  2. Bathroom
    Even though home shoppers shouldn't use your bathrooms, treat them as if someone will. Before the agent who is selling your home arrives, be sure you hang new towels and a new roll of tissue, dump the trash can and set out a neutral air freshener.

  3. Living Areas
    Touch up the carpet by running the vacuum cleaner over it quickly or dust the floor if it's a hard surface. Most people prefer light rooms so open the window coverings to let in the sunshine. Even though it's preferable to use daylight for room illumination when selling your home, turn on lamps to use as accents.

  4. Dining Room
    It's helpful if the people viewing your home can envision living in it themselves. Setting the table will give them an impression of daily life. If you have an informal eating area in the kitchen or nearby, be sure to set that table too, since people are more likely to eat there than in a formal setting. A bouquet of live flowers is always an engaging touch on either or both tables.

  5. Bedrooms
    Everyone's bedroom needs to look presentable. Be sure nothing is on the floors. Check the closets to verify that no one has jammed everything it. Open the window coverings and turn on a bed stand light.

  6. Garage
    Unless there is something unique about your garage, it's probably not necessary to move all your vehicles from it, especially if there are stains on the floor. The primary purpose behind an open house is to get people to look at it and drum up interest. Garage conditions don't make or break too many sales so unless it's dirty and messy, make sure it is organized and clean.

  7. Yard
    Visitors will form lasting impressions the moment they drive up to your home. Make sure that you mow the grass and the front door looks appealing. The landscaping should have something of interest like flowers to move shoppers toward the door. A landscaping service will increase your yard's appeal when selling your home.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.   I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
7 Tips for Using Rainwater
Around Your Home
 
Drop of water falling into pond
Rainwater is pure gold that falls from the sky. Harvesting this clean and clear resource can trim your utility bills and minimize your environmental impact while reducing strain on regional water treatment facilities. When properly designed and installed, a rainwater collection system is an investment whose dividends benefit the entire community. The following are seven tips that will help you squeeze every last drop of value from your rainwater collection strategy.
  1. Determine Consumption & Availability
    Rainfall is variable, and the amount of rain that falls in your area may not be sufficient to meet your needs. You must calculate the water consumed by your lifestyle and landscaping needs. For example, water consumed by dishwashers, toilets, showers, sprinklers, etc. Next, you will want to determine whether regional rainfall is sufficient to meet these needs. As a general rule, you can expect annual rainfall to meet about 50% of your water needs.

  2. Consider Your Roofing
    Shingled roofs can leach toxins into rainwater making it unsuitable for drinking. If you want to use your water for cooking, etc., consider replacing your roof with terra-cotta, slate, wood shingles, or concrete.

  3. Choose Barrels Carefully
    Choose barrels that are sufficient in size and construction to meet your collection needs and any freeze/thaw cycles inherent to your climate. Barrels should be opaque to minimize algae growth and comprised of materials (either wood, metal, or ideally, plastic) that won't leach toxins into the water.

  4. Regularly Clean and Cover Your Barrels
    Position your barrels so that you can access and clean them every six months. Once every two years, your tank should be thoroughly de-sludged. This helps to inhibit the growth of bacteria and ensures your water remains fresh.

    It is also advisable to conduct monthly tank inspections to ensure that filter screens, covers, and locks are functioning properly and preventing access to the tank by children, insects, pets, and other wildlife. If any damaged seals or locking mechanisms are discovered you will want to replace these without delay. Keeping your system closed off is essential for keeping the water clean and free of biological pathogens and insect infestations.

  5. Shield and Clean Your Gutters
    Installing gutter shields and regularly cleaning the gutters on your home will help limit sludge buildup within your rainwater collection tanks. If you want to use your rainwater for human or animal consumption, you may also want to replace any soldered seams with rivets as soldered seams can leach lead into the water supply.

  6. Be Careful When Installing the Spigot
    Screw your spigot down so that it is hand tight. This helps prevent stripping of the threads and damage to the plastic, wood, or metal of the rainwater collection barrel. If you screw the spigot down too tight, the damage you create can cause leaks that negate your efforts.

  7. Stay in the Grey
    Safely using rainwater for drinking requires significant investment and training. For this reason, most homeowners opt to use the rainwater they collect for showers, dishwashing, clothes washing, and irrigation. Using your water for these purposes will significantly reduce your water consumption without putting the health of your family at risk.
Rainwater collection systems are worth their weight in gold. Using this free, 100% natural resource helps reduce your utility bills and minimizes your impact on the regional water supply. Collecting rainwater is an eco-friendly solution that is guaranteed to help beautify your landscape while adding a little extra padding to your monthly budget. A small investment of time and resources is all it takes for you to reap these rewards season after season.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Home Sellers: 5 Exterior
Features Buyers Want
 
Outside of night lit home
If you're thinking about selling your home, now is the time to start making any necessary renovations and updates. While you might think you know exactly what needs to be done, it's smart to talk to a real estate agent before you get started. He or she will be able to tell you exactly which features are most popular with homebuyers so you can focus your time and money on the projects most likely to improve your bottom line.
 
While buyers often have varying priorities when it comes to a home's interior, most may want the same features on the outside. Investing in the following five projects will help increase the chances of selling your home for top dollar.
  1. Exterior Lighting
    Illuminating the outside of your house with landscape lighting and spotlights can transform it from a beautiful home to one that's absolutely breathtaking. Not only will it bring attention to the home's architectural features and perfectly manicured lawn, but it also adds an element of safety that's highly desirable. Add solar-powered lights, motion-sensors, and smart lights to make an even greater impact.

  2. Outdoor Patio
    If you have a large backyard, potential buyers will love imagining themselves relaxing outdoors with a cool drink in their hand. An outdoor patio and seating area expand your home's livable space, making it more attractive to potential buyers.

    Adding a well-designed concrete patio is one of the best ways to make your home appear larger without undertaking a major renovation. If you already have a patio, put the effort into repairing it and making it look as new as possible. This small project can bring a huge return on investment.

  3. Firepit
    Homes with outdoor fire pits allow owners to enjoy spending time in the backyard almost all year long. A nice-looking firepit will entice homebuyers, especially if it runs on natural gas. Build a beautiful structure, and you're likely to recoup almost all of your investment in the form of a higher sale price.

    Before jumping into this project, make sure you're following all of the local ordinances and necessary safety precautions. The last thing you want to do is add something to your home that will cause you problems down the line.

  4. Landscaping/Garden
    Even if you don't make any major changes to the outside of your home, paying attention to your landscaping and garden will have a major impact on its curb appeal. Fertilize your lawn, touch up the mulch, and trim your bushes and overgrown trees.

    Maintain your perennial flower beds and add some annuals for instant color. If you have unique plants around your home, consider labeling them as they might help attract the right kind of buyer. Finish your project off by adding a water feature to make your yard feel like a relaxing oasis.

  5. Outdoor Kitchen
    Outdoor living is hugely popular right now, making a great outdoor kitchen one of the most coveted features for home buyers. Depending on the scope of the project and the size and location of the home, sellers adding an outdoor kitchen can typically expect to break even or make as much as 20 percent back on their investment.

    When building an outdoor kitchen, you'll want to focus it around the grill and make sure you have plenty of counter space. Keep it simple and avoid adding extras like a pizza oven, as the new homebuyer might not want these features, causing them to be undervalued.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
How to Host a Successful Garage Sale
 
Garage sale in yard
A garage sale is an ideal way to get rid of clutter, earn extra cash, and make your home look more appealing--especially if you're listing it for sale. People don't want to see your kids' toys or the book you're reading when they come to an open house. They want to imagine their things in the house. A garage sale can also help you save on moving costs. Instead of paying to move everything you own to your new home, a garage sale will lighten the load of moving plus put money in your pocket.
 
Here are three pointers to plan your way to a successful garage sale.
  1. Increase Your Curb Appeal
    When you have a yard sale, the front of your home is like the entrance to a conventional store. People may choose not to check out your sale if your yard looks run down or unkempt.

    Taking care of your yard will make your home easier to sell and get you higher prices for your garage sale items. Mow your lawn, remove weeds, and have any cracks in your driveway or your sidewalk repaired. If needed, repaint your siding and your front door. Make sure items like bikes that aren't for sale are out of sight. If your property is large or you have lots of overgrown trees and shrubs, you can save time by using a landscaping company to trim all your vegetation and plant some appealing flowers.

  2. Advertise
    You can post free classified ads on many websites. Add photos of the items you're offering if possible. You should also let your friends know about your garage sale through social media and post an ad in your local paper. On the day of the event, add a few signs to your front yard, and put signs around your neighborhood with your address, the time of the sale, and arrows to let people know which way to go.

  3. Organize Your Items
    Sort through your belongings to ensure you don't inadvertently dispose of anything you want to keep. Then, put the items you want to sell on folding tables or clothing racks, and put the things you want to get rid of most in the front. Dust knickknacks or furniture and wash musty clothing or blankets. Don't place small items on your lawn or your floor. Most people don't want to have to bend over to shop, and some people could have trouble reaching objects on the ground. Also, make sure that you have plenty of change and a way to accept payments electronically.
Having a garage sale that's easy to find with reasonable prices will help you let neighbors know that you're moving. It can even attract potential buyers. After the garage sale, much of the work you do to prepare will continue to attract people and help you get a higher price for your home.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
7 Factors to Consider When
You're Selling Your Home
 
Front of two story home
When you've made the decision on selling your home, the fun really starts!
 
Selling your home involves a lot of different moving parts. When you take things one step at a time, however, it all gets easier. Going into the selling process with a clear idea of what you need to do will reduce your stress and prevent you from overlooking key details.
 
Here are seven things you need to consider while selling your home:
  1. You Need a Real Estate Agent
    First and foremost, you'll need a terrific real estate agent to help make your goals a reality. A local real estate expert will help you manage and accelerate the process: Pricing the home right, finding motivated buyers, and getting you to closing without a hitch. By contrast, sellers who try to go it alone often spend many extra months on a sale and get a much lower final price.

  2. Gather Your Paperwork Early
    You'll need a ton of paperwork to make sure your sale goes forward on schedule. That includes lots of things you may not think much about: Warranty paperwork for your roof and major home systems, instruction manuals, details of home improvement projects, permits and certificates of compliance, mortgage information, and more. Get started early to get it all together.

  3. Get a Professional Inspection
    A pre-sale inspection will save you time in the long run and put you in a superior negotiating position. An inspection is intended to help you uncover problems with the home. Things like the roof, septic, and electrical issues can make potential buyers wary. Having the information in front of you, however, allows you to work on repairs or adjust your approach to selling.

  4. You'll Need to Prepare the Home
    When you're finally ready to sell a home, you can't simply open the doors. Cleaning it from top to bottom is imperative. That should include steam cleaning carpets and drapes and remove about half of the items from closets. Sometimes, it's also a good idea to remove certain furnishings and to make lighting a bit brighter. This can make the space seem larger and more inviting.

  5. "Price it Right" from the Very Start
    Pricing a home correctly is one of the most challenging things for a homeowner to do. When you try to price a property after living there, your own feelings inevitably play a role. A real estate pro will produce a research-based price after looking at recent sales in the area and other factors. This is the best way to ensure you reach your goals on the timeline you want.

  6. Perform Staging Before Showings
    Staging isn't the only aspect of selling a home, but it is very important. Your real estate agent should be versed in staging techniques or use an expert stager at no additional cost to you. The purpose of staging is to make your home show better, and there are hundreds of little ways to do this: From simple things like opening the blinds to more complex tactics like baking cookies.

  7. Yes – Hold Weekly Open Houses
    Forget about any "controversy" you might've heard: Holding open houses is the most effective way to meet motivated buyers fast. Yes, your real estate agent should still be marketing your home proactively online, and yes, a vacant home is more challenging to show than one that's still occupied. Even so, the time and effort of weekly open houses are almost always well spent.
Selling your home starts with a firm decision. Once you've made that choice, give yourself every advantage you can by reaching out to a local real estate agent you can trust.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
How Much Is Your Home Worth
 
Drawing of magnifying glass over home
Trying to determine the worth of your home is one of the first steps you will take in your selling journey. Of course, it is vital to figure out what your asking price should be, but home value also affects property taxes, insurance, and any home equity line.  There are several options to get that magic number.
  1. Google Gets It
    As with most things, you can find help for getting home market value on the internet. Almost a quarter of homeowners in the U.S. use one of several online tools to estimate their home's worth. The basic ones found on real estate sites use a conglomeration of public records that can give you a number that is fairly close but should not be used as a final number. When you need it, I, as your real estate professional have access to tools with more data, making my estimate more pinpoint.

  2. Comparative Market Research
    This kind of estimation is one step up from your regular online tools. I, as a real estate agent can provide what is known as a comparative market analysis. I use this to list your home. This not only uses information about your house but the similar houses in the area around your property.

  3. Bring in a Professional
    When you are ready for a more solid number, you may need to shell out some money and hire a professional appraiser. Most lenders will require such an appraisal before a mortgage can go through, but even if you are not at that point, you can still hire one. The professional will look at factors like:

    • City and neighborhood where the house is located;
    • Other homes in the market and what their listings, vacancies, depreciation, and other costs are;
    • Your home's unique characteristics like what kind of improvements you have done and what features the property includes.

  4. Fire Up the Calculator
    Another option to get an idea of your home's worth is to check out the Housing Price Index Calculator from the Federal Housing Financing Agency. This federal resource doesn't actually tell you what your home is worth, but rather how much it would be worth if it gained value at the average appreciation rate. You can find the calculator online, and it is simple to fill in the form and get a number. The HPI calculator uses mortgage information gathered since the 1970s to see how values in a given area go up and down.

  5. Keeping up with the Joneses
    And finally, the simplest way to get a range of what your home is worth is to look that prices of homes nearby that have sold recently. You can check real estate sites to see what homes are selling for. It is important to remember that there a lot of factors that go into a home's value, so use this number warily.
Selling your house comes with a lot of steps. The first should be to know what you have for sale and what its worth is. If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
What to Do About Foundation Problems
 
Cracked concrete
There's no doubt that "foundation problems" are two words that no homeowner, buyer, or seller ever wants to hear. While foundation problems are indeed serious business, they don't have to ruin a home that you own or derail a deal on a home. The trick is knowing how to deal with foundation problems, addressing them quickly, and understanding when it's time to call in a professional for assistance. That starts with knowing the signs of foundation problems, and what to do when you spot a potential problem. Get started with our home improvement guide on what to do about foundation problems.
  1. Understand What Causes Foundation Problems
    While foundation problems can happen anywhere, there are some common factors to look out for that may put your home at increased risk. Foundation problems can be caused by the type of soil that the home was built on, plumbing damage, severe shifts in temperature, floods, earthquakes, overgrown tree roots, or poor drainage around the home. It's especially important to check regularly for foundation problems if your home has any of these fairly common risk factors.

  2. Check for Signs of Foundation Problems Outdoors
    Foundation problems are not always easy to spot without a trained eye, but there are a number of common signs that can help you know when it's time to call in a pro. Outdoor signs of foundation problems include cracked bricks, cracks in concrete, rotation of walls, displaced moldings, and gaps in doors, windows, or garage doors. A larger crack may be a sign of a more serious underlying issue in the foundation.

  3. Indoor Signs of Foundation Problems
    Signs of foundation damage can pop up inside the home as well, even if you don't spot anything outdoors. The most common indoor signs of foundation problems are uneven floors, cracks in the walls, sheetrock, or floor, and misaligned doors or windows. While plumbing leaks aren't a sign of foundation damage on their own, a serious leak can lead to issues with the foundation so it's important to be aware of any leaks.

  4. What to Do When You See Signs of Trouble
    Even if you're normally a DIY home improvement expert, foundation problems are best left to the pros. The equipment and expertise required to address foundation problems are extensive, so calling a professional contractor is simply the way to go if you're experiencing foundation problems. A pro can assess whether there's a problem, where the problem is located, and how to fix it with minimal disruption to the home.

  5. How to Choose a Foundation Repair Contractor
    Addressing foundation problems can an expensive home improvement issue, so it's important to choose a contractor you can trust. Start by educating yourself on common foundation problems, and the specific repair methods that may be used to address any issues. Make sure that your contractor is licensed, insured, and offers a warranty on their work. Don't be afraid to "interview" multiple contractors, ask plenty of questions, learn everything you can about the process, and choose the team you feel most comfortable to have working on this important repair project for your home.
While foundation problems can grow into a big issue over time, knowing how to spot signs of trouble and checking your foundation regularly can help you deal with small foundation problems before they become big ones. If you believe that your home is showing signs of foundation problems, then the best thing that you can do is call a professional to assess and address the issue.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

Kitchens Sell Houses

 

Picture of kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of a home.

This is where meals are made, families eat together, and all the hustle and bustle of holidays happen. So it may come as no surprise that the kitchen is one of the top places to update when selling your home.  When you update your kitchen, you'll get more of your investment back when you sell the home. On average, sellers get back 70 or 80 percent of the cost of the updates. The updates you choose do matter, though, so here are a few things to focus on.

Paint
There's no better way to brighten your kitchen than a fresh coat of paint. Stick to light neutral shades to keep the kitchen bright and leave room for buyers to envision their own color schemes and decor. Think beyond white to shades of cream, beige, and tan. If your cabinets are in good condition, a few coats of paint and a change of hardware can give them a whole new look.
  1. Cabinetry
    Nothing makes a kitchen look dated faster than old cabinetry. If the cabinets aren't in good enough condition to be repainted, you can give them a major facelift by refacing. Completely new cabinetry should be a last resort, as the added expense may not be reflected in the returns.

  2. Appliances
    One of the top things to update when selling your home is your kitchen appliances. A full set of new, matching appliances is a strong selling point in any home. Opt for something neutral--stainless steel is always popular with buyers. Energy Star appliances can turn some heads, especially with younger buyers, who tend to be more energy conscious.

    Granite
    Granite is another kitchen upgrade that you're likely to see a high return on when selling your home. Buyers love seeing granite countertops. You don't necessarily need to upgrade with the most expensive options. You can always opt for something that looks similar to granite, like quartz with a granite pattern.

  3. Flooring
    Think of your kitchen's floor as setting the stage for impressing potential buyers. Drab or dated flooring can detract from any other updates you might make in the kitchen. Budget permitting, install high-quality flooring that will turn people's heads, like attractive, high-quality tile. Want to make your kitchen look bigger? Set the tile on the diagonal to create a space-stretching optical illusion. Hardwood is another favorite with buyers, even in kitchens. If you have hardwood underneath your linoleum, consider uncovering it and having it refinished.

Make a Strong Impression
The kitchen is possibly your best chance to impress potential buyers, not to mention one of the few areas of your home where your investment gets the biggest return. Even so, you'll want to do it right for maximum impact. While updating these five areas, make sure you're staying true to your home's character, architecture, and neighborhood. If you need help deciding what updates to make, your real estate agent can help guide your decisions.
 

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

Sell Your Home Before
They Walk in the Door

 

Picture of couple looking at check

Did you know that most buyers form a strong opinion of your home before they walk through the door? First impressions matter big-time when selling your home, so you want buyers to be impressed from the moment they arrive at the curb. By maximizing the curb appeal of your property, you can go a long way toward selling your home. Let's take a quick look at some of the aspects to consider when it comes to the outside of your home.
  • Clean and De-clutter
    Just like with the inside of the home, you want buyers to see a clean, clutter-free space when they look outdoors. The first step to boosting curb appeal is clearing clutter, removing dried leaves, and making sure there's nothing to draw attention away from the beautiful outdoor space around your home.

  • Trim Trees and Shrubs
    Shrubs, bushes, trees, and plants can provide a great accent to your home, but you never want the property to look overgrown or poorly maintained. Invest some time to trim trees and shrubs to an attractive length. If there are dead or damaged trees, consider calling a professional to have them removed.

  • Keep Your Lawn Manicured
    A healthy, well-maintained lawn is a sign to buyers that you care about the property, and have invested the time necessary to keep it in great shape. Make sure that your lawn is mowed, edged, and trimmed, especially when you know that buyers will be visiting.

  • Add Color to Your Landscaping
    Planting some fresh flowers and plants to your landscaping can be a great way to catch the eye of buyers, and add vibrant color to your curb appeal. If you'd rather skip the gardening, landscaping, and lawn maintenance, a professional landscaping team can take care of all your outdoor maintenance needs.

  • Fresh Paint and Fixtures
    Painting the entire home is a significant step to take for curb appeal, and it won't always be necessary unless the paint on the home has seen better days. Even if the rest of the home doesn't need a fresh coat, painting the front door and adding new fixtures can be a great way to add curb appeal. The cost is minimal compared to a completely new paint job, and a fresh look for your home's entrance can really make a difference.

  • Inviting Outdoor Spaces
    Do you have any outdoor patios, gardens, or gathering spaces that buyers will see when they arrive? Make sure that those areas are at their best, with attractive landscaping, quality furnishings, and well-maintained patios.

  • Clean Driveway and Walkways
    Renting a pressure washer for a day and getting to work can truly transform the look of the hard surfaces around your home. Driveways and walkways accumulate years worth of dirt, stains, and discoloration that is hard to remove without a pressure washer, so the benefits are substantial.
Once you have your home looking great from the curb, it's important to keep it that way. Selling your home is so much easier when buyers have something to be excited about from the moment they arrive for a showing or open house, and curb appeal can even encourage buyers to stop for a look when they happen to pass by the home during their daily travels. The time, money, and elbow grease you invest in curb appeal is a small cost for the potential benefits.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

5 Insider Tips to Sell Your
Home on a Tight Timeline

 

Couple looking at documents

Selling your home on a tight timeline comes with its share of unique challenges, but it's definitely possible if you know how to prepare. It's important to make sure that the home is ready for the market in every way, and that means you'll also have a tighter timeline when prepping the home to high standards. The right marketing and the help of an experienced real estate agent will make life much easier when time is of the essence. Our five insider tips for selling your home on a tight timeline are the perfect place to start when you're aiming to sell in a hurry.
  1. Clean, De-clutter, and Stage
    Start the process by putting your home prep in overdrive, and doing some serious cleaning. Buyers want to see a home that's clean from top to bottom. You'll also want to de-clutter and depersonalize the home, so buyers can imagine what their life would be like there. Once your home is spotless and de-cluttered, you can get busy with staging. If you need staging advice, your agent and a staging pro can both provide great tips.

  2. High-Quality Photos
    You don't want to waste all of the work you did preparing the home by using low-quality photos for marketing, so consider professional photography for all of your home marketing needs. Professional quality photos are much better for capturing the quality of the home, the vibrancy of the landscape, and all of the little things that make the home special. Low-quality photos stand out in a negative way, especially if other nearby listings have pro photography.

  3. Hire an Agent Who Means Business
    Choosing the right real estate agent is always a critical step in getting your home sold, and it's especially important when you're working on a tight timeline. You want an agent who sells a high volume of homes in the area and knows how to get a property sold quickly. Ask for referrals from trusted sources, speak with multiple agents, and find the person who makes you most confident that they can handle a sale on a quick timeline.

  4. Pick the Right Price
    When you're aiming to sell a home fast, you don't want to waste any time picking the right price point. Ask your agent for a comparative market analysis (CMA), so that you'll know exactly what comparable homes are selling for in your market. Choosing a price that's far above market is likely to make your home languish on the market but going too low will hurt your bottom line, so you'll definitely want to price the home competitively.

  5. Make the Most of Your Marketing
    Marketing should be a top priority no matter how fast you're trying to sell, and the right marketing tactics can really help on a tight timeline. That means marketing your home online, with an attractive listing and quality photography, while also making the most of traditional marketing tools. Promote open houses, use word of mouth, and work with your agent to develop a targeted marketing plan for the demographics most likely to be interested in the home.
There's no doubt that selling your home on a tight timeline can feel a bit chaotic, which is why it's so important to have a plan. Investing time in preparing the home and money in the right marketing plan will make it much easier to get the job done. Throughout the process, a trusted real estate agent should be your number one source of advice for selling your home fast.
 
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
 
7 Common Home-Selling Mistakes
 
Exasperated guy
Selling your home is rarely easy, but it's a much smoother process when you know the most common mistakes to avoid before you start. Sellers make mistakes for a wide variety of reasons, including inexperience with selling, bad advice from well-intentioned sources, and letting emotions get in the way of negotiations. Learn how to avoid common pitfalls with our guide to seven home-selling mistakes that you'll want to avoid.
  1. Going "For Sale By Owner" Instead of Finding a Real Estate Agent
    Some sellers choose to list their home for sale by owner (FSBO), instead of searching for the right real estate agent. While FSBO may technically save on commissions, you'll often spend much more on marketing and other tasks that you would with a real estate agent. Mix in the fact that an experienced agent can help you avoid all of the most common mistakes when selling your home, and you can see why picking the right agent is worth the effort.

  2. Picking the Wrong Price
    Some people will tell you to start with a high price so there's room to negotiate, but there won't be many buyers willing to negotiate if your price is far above comparable homes. Work with your real estate agent to set a price in line with the realities of the present market in your area, and comparable to other nearby homes like yours. Most buyers research the market and will be more willing to negotiate if your price reflects current norms.

  3. Neglecting Necessary Repairs
    You're not going to be living there much longer, so why worry about repairs, right? In truth, repairs are crucial both for generating interest in the home and making sure that the sale isn't derailed late in the process by an unexpected maintenance issue. If there are any big issues with the home, make sure to have them addressed.

  4. Not Removing Clutter and Personal Items
    Buyers want to be able to imagine their lives in the home, so the last things they want to see during a visit are clutter and personal items. Cleaning the home from top to bottom, removing clutter, and depersonalizing spaces will make it easier to attract the right buyer.

  5. Skipping Staging for Showings and Open Houses
    While you'll want to clear out clutter, you certainly don't want the home to be empty when buyers come to visit, either. Tasteful, professional home staging can enhance the look of the home, and help buyers dream about what they'll do with the home when they move in.

  6. Poor Quality Photography
    Buyers do a ton of research online before they ever visit a home, so it's important to make sure your online listings have professional quality photography. Poor quality photography fails to capture what makes the home special and makes listings stand out in a negative way.

  7. Negotiating with a Closed Mind
    It's natural to have some emotional attachment to the home or to want to hold out for the best possible price. But negotiating with a closed mind only leads to dead ends. If someone presents a competitive offer, stay open-minded, be willing to negotiate, and try to remove emotion from the equation.
Selling your home is so much easier when you learn from both the positives and negatives of people who have been through the process. By keeping expectations in check, working with the right real estate agent, preparing the home for sale, and being willing to negotiate, you can simplify the process of attracting the right buyer when selling your home.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Consider Laminate Flooring
 
Man laying flooringThere are so many choices when remodeling the floors in your home that it's easy to get overwhelmed with options. While classics like hardwood, carpet, and tile are still popular, laminate flooring has become an increasingly popular option for homeowners. Laminate is sturdy, long-lasting, versatile, and can match the style of a wide variety of hardwood types. It's also easy to install with minimal mess, making it a popular choice for DIY home improvement projects. If you haven't looked into laminate flooring, now is a great time to learn more.
  • Easy to Install
    Unlike other types of flooring which often require a lengthy installation process, laminate flooring is easy to install as a DIY project. Many types of laminate snap together without the need for glue or nails and can be installed in less than a day. If your choice of flooring features intricate patterns or requires any specialized techniques, it's easy to find a pro who can handle the installation.

  • Works in Any Room
    By choosing the right laminate product for your needs, you can put laminate flooring in any room of your home. If put it in a kitchen or bathroom, make sure to purchase waterproof flooring and follow all manufacturer's instruction for sealing the floor.

  • Simple to Keep Clean and Maintain
    Laminate flooring is suitable for high-traffic areas because it is resistant to stains and other common types of damage. Sweeping or vacuuming a laminate floor is a breeze, and spills are cleaned up easily without causing any damage to the floor. If a plank is damaged in any way, it's easy to replace it without the hassle that comes with fixing other types of flooring.

  • Sturdy and Durable
    Laminate flooring is long-lasting and can stand up to quite a bit of punishment. It holds up well in children's play areas, and in rooms that see heavy foot traffic all day long. Many manufacturers offer warranties or guarantees with their flooring, and it's wise to choose a brand with a substantial warranty. Quality laminate flooring can last decades, with minimal maintenance compared to other types of flooring.

  • A Style to Fit Every Home
    One of the biggest perks of laminate is that it can be used to simulate a huge variety of hardwood types, with intricate patterns and designs. You can even combine different types of flooring to create something truly unique. Skilled design teams can create lifelike floors that look just like the real thing, for a fraction of the cost.

  • Budget-Friendly Flooring
    Compared to the cost of installing other types of flooring, laminate flooring is cost effective. The quality of the laminate will naturally have an impact on the cost, but even high-quality laminate is usually much more affordable than its hardwood counterpart. You can save even more by installing the flooring yourself, while professional installation should still be more affordable than having a pro install a different type of floor.
Laminate flooring is being installed in high-traffic businesses, with great results. The right laminate flooring offers high quality at a budget-friendly price, with a nearly limitless choice of styles. Since it works in every room, laminate is well worth considering any time that your planning a home improvement project for the flooring in your home.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Make Your Kitchen Top-Chef
Worthy on a Budget
 
Picture of beautiful kitchenDo you dream of a kitchen worthy of a Top Chef contestant? You're not alone! The kitchen is one of the most popular rooms for home improvement projects, but it can also be one of the trickiest if you're working with a tight budget. Fortunately, it's absolutely possible to update your kitchen on a budget, and still create a space where you look forward to cooking every meal. It's important to start with a plan, set goals, and be willing to invest some elbow grease into the process. Get started with our home improvement guide to making your kitchen Top-Chef worthy on a budget.
  • Take Stock of Your Space Before You Begin

    Before you get started making changes, it's important to take stock of your current kitchen. Think about what works, what you'd most like to change, and which kitchen home improvement projects rank at the top of your priority list. By making the most of existing features, you can keep costs down on a remodel.

  • Consider Speaking with a Pro for Assistance

    Hiring a designer to help you plan your project comes with an up-front cost, but can ultimately save you big bucks on your remodel. A pro can help you make the most of your home improvement budget, and plan your project in a way that takes advantage of your existing space. The right pro will take your feedback, and use it to create a vision for a budget-friendly dream kitchen.

  • Refresh Cabinets Instead of Replacing

    Replacing cabinets can be very expensive, but you don't have to tear out your old cabinets to get a new look. Instead, consider a fresh coat of paint to reinvigorate old cabinets, and remove cabinet doors to create a more open storage space with a roomy look. White looks great on re-painted cabinets, but you can go with any color that fits your room.

  • Update Lighting for a Fresh Look

    Lighting can make a huge difference in the look of your kitchen, especially if it was a little dark in there prior to your remodel. The right lighting can make a room feel larger, highlight the best features of your kitchen, and create a warm, inviting space for cooking.

  • Renovate with Existing Plumbing

    Major changes to the plumbing can be one of the most expensive elements of a kitchen renovation, so consider updating your space in a way that doesn't change your existing plumbing. This is one area where the expertise of a design pro can really help, and save you money in the long run.

  • Shop for Updated Appliances on a Budget

    Shopping for new appliances can quickly get expensive, so it's a good idea to look for deals on any appliances you will need. Shopping at second-hand stores or buying a scratch-and-dent appliance with minimal damage can save you a ton on high-quality appliances for your culinary creations.

  • Remnants for Cheap Countertops

    Most granite countertop retailers have set aside remnants, which are pieces of granite that didn't make the cut for larger counters. Shopping for remnants can help you get a beautiful countertop on a budget, especially if the counter isn't very large, and the right remnant will have high enough quality that you'll never know the difference.
Creating your dream kitchen on a budget starts with knowing what you want, and developing a plan for how to get there. While a tight home improvement budget may eliminate some possibilities for kitchen updates, with a little ingenuity you can transform your kitchen without breaking the bank.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
6 Sins That Are Killing Your Home Sale
 
Hand shake in front of sold sign
When you're selling your home, it may feel like everyone you know turns into an expert. Everybody wants to offer their tips for a smooth sale, but not every piece of advice will be worth following. In fact, sometimes bad advice causes sellers to commit some of the most common sins of selling, from skipping important prep steps to picking the wrong price. Thou shall not sell a home, before reading the six sins that are killing your home sale.
  1. Too Much Stuff, Not Enough Space
    While you may love all of the stuff in your home, buyers are looking for more of a blank canvas when they come to visit. Since you're moving out of the home anyway, now is the perfect time to start packing, clearing out clutter, cleaning surfaces, and organizing storage spaces. Donate goods you no longer need, host a yard sale, or rent a storage unit to help you clear out as much clutter as possible.

  2. Strong, Suspicious Scents
    If your home smells like a wet dog – or any kind of pet, really – then it's certainly a good idea to clean and freshen up the scent. However, it's also a sin to go too far in the other direction, and overload the olfactory senses of buyers with pleasant scents. If buyers smell too much of a good thing, they may think the home has something to hide.

  3. Dark and Dreary
    Selling your home is so much easier when buyers can clearly see all that it has to offer, so a dark, dreary home is definitely a sin when you're trying to sell. Fortunately, this one's easy to address. Open up curtains and blinds to let natural light flow inside, and make sure that the home has bright, vibrant interior lighting. You don't want any dark corners, so let the light shine bright.

  4. The Price Is... Not Right
    All of the work that you've put into preparing the home won't mean much if the price you pick turns buyers off before they can ever get serious. Some sellers pick an above-market price so there's "room to negotiate," but that won't help if the price scares buyers off from negotiating in the first place. Work with your real estate agent to review prices for comparable homes, and pick a price that will get your home sold while still accomplishing your financial goals.

  5. Who Needs a Real Estate Agent?
    Everyone! While it may be tempting to go for sale by owner (FSBO) to save on commissions, you won't be saving much if anything by going without a real estate agent. In addition to helping market, price, and prepare the home, your real estate agent is the ideal person to help you avoid the most common sins of home-selling.

  6. Unwilling to Negotiate
    ​​​​​​​It's normal for some emotion to creep into the process when selling your home, but it's important to avoid letting feelings get in the way of productive negotiations. If a buyer opens with a reasonable offer, then it's more than worth negotiating to see if you can find a deal that works for everyone. If you're unwilling to negotiate, then it will be difficult to accomplish your goals.
Avoiding these six common home-selling sins will make it much easier to attract the right buyer, and sell your home.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Smart Updates to Sell Your Home
 
Graph of featuresAll homeowners know that a practical approach is necessary when considering a home purchase. Aside from the geographical aspects like location, school zones and commute times, the features inside the home can make or break a potential sale. Integrating the latest technologies into your house can dramatically increase the value and desirability of your home. Consider upgrading your property with a few of these smart technologies to help you sell your home.
  1. Smart Appliances
    New appliances are a home buyer's dream. Smart appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers, ovens and even faucets can be installed in the home. They can even be operated and monitored remotely.

  2. Smart Thermostats
    These next-level programmable thermostats adjust your home's temperature based on activity in the house. They can also be adjusted from mobile devices which allows you to change the temperature settings while you're away.

  3. Video Doorbells
    Video doorbell technology has become a popular addition to homes of all sizes. Many of these devices allow you to communicate with those who are at your front door. They even save video files to a cloud backup so that you can track package deliveries and monitor those who come and go from your home.

  4. Smart Locks
    Never worry about being locked out of the house with smart locks that open via keypad codes. These smart locks can be programmed with different codes so that you can provide special access to people like visiting guests or service professionals.

  5. Smart Home Security
    You need protection in all areas of your home. While smart locks can cover your doors, a smart security system can provide you with full-home coverage. Motion sensors and security cameras can be installed in and around the home with video feeds and updates sent directly to your mobile device.

  6. Smart Smoke Detectors
    Smoke detectors are necessities for your home, especially those that can also alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide. Smart smoke detectors will alert you to whichever room triggers the alarm. These devices can call for emergency service assistance or be silenced from your mobile device in cases of a false alarm.

  7. Smart Lighting/Light bulbs
    Light has a powerful impact on our bodies. Smart lighting can be programmed to adjust to our biological needs, dimming and increasing when we need it throughout the day and night. Smart LED light bulbs use substantially less energy than household fluorescent lighting and can lower energy bills.

  8. Smart Sprinklers
    A home sprinkler system is a great resource to keep your home's lawn and landscaping looking fantastic. Smart sprinkler systems can be automatically programmed and adjusted at will to help you reduce your water usage throughout each season.

  9. Smart Control/Speakers
    Total home control is becoming a necessity. With today's technology, we can literally control most systems within our home with nothing more than the sound of our voice. Many of the latest smart speaker devices can be integrated into your other home systems. Your security, HVAC systems, appliances, sprinkler systems and more can be effortlessly controlled from the couch or conveniently controlled anywhere from a mobile device.
Smart technology is quickly moving into every home on the market. Before upgrading your space with any of these amazing devices, be sure to speak with your real estate agent to identify which systems could give you the most return on investment and help you sell your home faster.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
How to Choose a Garage Door
 
Garage doors
As a homeowner, there is no shortage of home improvement projects on your to-do list. The best ones to tackle first are typically those which can provide a great return on investment and can potentially increase the resale value of your home. It comes as no surprise that replacing the garage door is one of the quickest and easiest ways to transform your curb appeal.
 
Like all other aspects of your exterior, you need to choose a garage door that complements the aesthetic of your home and provides you with the versatile functionality you need. We've gathered the following tips that will help you choose the right garage door for you home.
 
As you get ready to shop for a new garage door, keep these helpful tips in mind to ensure your project is completed the way you envision it:
  1. Consider All Door Styles
    Drive up and down the streets of your neighborhood, and you'll notice that there are many different garage door styles available. Gone are the days of traditional raised panels. Today, you can choose from a distinctive carriage house door to a contemporary style that appeals to a modern aesthetic. You don't need to mimic your current garage door's style if you're not fond of its appearance. Take this opportunity to find the style that fits your home and desires perfectly.

  2. Factor in Pros/Cons of Materials
    After you've narrowed down a few styles, you'll now need to think about materials. Steel is often used in garage door composition, however, there are also wood, composite, and aluminum options that provide a range of benefits. Research the benefits and drawbacks of these materials, including how much maintenance they require, how durable they are, and how well they'll perform in your unique climate.

  3. Look for Doors with Additional Advantages
    Technology has come a long way in enhancing garage door design. For example, insulation and nylon rollers can dampen sound to create a quieter door. Insulated garage doors can also protect the vehicles and possessions within your garage by helping regulate internal temperature. Why settle for a loud garage door or cramped garage space when there are affordable alternatives readily available?

  4. See the Finished Product Before Installation
    With advances in technology also come convenient resources that take the guesswork out of choosing the right garage door for your home. Many garage door manufacturer websites now offer exceptional tools that enable you to visualize what each specific garage door will look like on your home. Upload a photograph of your house and use their design tools to see what each style, color, hardware, and windows would look best on your exterior. Within a few minutes, you can confidently find the garage door replacement that is perfect for your home.

  5. Never Install a Garage Door Yourself
    We never recommend that a homeowner try to install, replace, or repair a garage door. Although we understand that you want to stick to a budget, there are many inherent dangers in garage door operation that include the potential for severe or fatal injury. A garage door is supposed to help keep your family safe — let a professional garage door installation company make sure the job is done correctly.
Home improvement projects are exciting, and we encourage all homeowners to spruce up their exteriors to create exceptional curb appeal. Replacing your garage door is one of the best ways to transform your home and bring style, convenience, and safety to your life.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
7 Tips for Selling in a Crowded Market
 
Open House sign
Getting ready to sell your home? Sometimes it seems like all your neighbors had to do was stake down a 'for sale' sign and watch the offers roll in. But for most us, selling a house isn't nearly that easy. That's especially true in an increasingly crowded market.
 
Many of today's sellers find themselves facing much more competition than just a few years ago. Chances are, your house isn't the only one for sale in your neighborhood, or even on your block. Luckily, there are several great strategies that can help you get ahead when you're selling your home in a crowded market.
  1. Price it right.
    When you're competing with a lot of other homes for sale in your general area, price becomes crucial. Although you surely want to get top dollar for your house, there's a major advantage to pricing your home slightly lower – roughly 2 percent lower – than similar homes in your neighborhood. Even a slightly lower price point can make a big difference.

  2. Always be show-ready.
    When competition is fierce, it pays to be prepared to show your home at any time. Before listing your house for sale, give it a thorough cleaning and de-cluttering; then keep it tidy in case you need to show it off at the drop of a hat.

  3. Look through the buyer's eyes.
    It's easy to become blind to how your home really looks after you've lived there for years. So it's important to try to detach from your preconceptions about your house. See it instead from a buyer's point of view. What might a buyer object to? Those are things you should fix. What might a buyer be excited about? Those are things to put extra emphasis on.

  4. Take professional photographs.
    Two identical homes can look very different depending on how they are presented. Pictures matter, especially since most home searches are carried out online these days. Hire a professional photographer to stage and photograph our home to give you an edge over competing houses for sale in your neighborhood.

  5. Team up with your neighbors.
    If you live in a neighborhood where there are a lot of homes for sale, it's easy to see them as competition. In a way, they are – but it can be more beneficial to work with your neighbors than against them. Plan a joint open house together, and work toward selling your overall neighborhood as a great place to live. If a neighbor sells before you do, don't sweat it. Celebrate with them, and remember that just means that now there's one less house you have to compete with.

  6. Show off your best assets.
    If you've made significant upgrades to your home, or have features that make it uniquely desirable then show them off. Make sure that remodeled bathroom, beautiful modern kitchen, ample back yard or extended patio are prominently featured in your listing.

  7. Work with a great agent.
    Having the right real estate agent in your corner gives you a major leg up on the competition. Look for an experienced seller's agent who has a lot of inside knowledge about your specific neighborhood, and who can help you look at real estate trends in your area and determine how best to sell your property.

    If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Home Inspection Help for Sellers

 

Repairman looking at electrical panel

There is any number of reasons why a real estate deal can go south, but the home inspection is one of the most notorious deal killers of all. Issues turned up during the inspection can throw a serious wrench into your home sale, so it's important to be prepared to avoid this potential pitfall. Here's what you need to know about avoiding inspection woes... and how to proceed if a problem arises.

How Inspections Work

These days, just about every purchase contract for a home includes a contingency that allows the buyer to hire a professional home inspector. Most Realtors will recommend that their client have a home inspection carried out, and roughly 85 percent of buyers will heed that advice. That means that, before your home is sold, it will almost certainly be inspected by a professional.

Whether that inspection will reveal any issues is another matter. If your home is in great shape, you probably don't have a lot to worry about. Still, there is always a chance that the inspection will reveal flaws that even the homeowner doesn't know about.
Inspections cover the house from top to bottom. Each inspector has his or her own particular method, but the areas that inspectors check is largely standardized at this point. Inspections typically include the plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical systems, as well as structural elements including the roof and foundation. Inspectors also check all major appliances and look for signs of mold, mildew, and pests.

Getting Ready

It's crucial that you know as much about your house as possible. That way, you can fix any issues that need fixing, and disclose any defects that you either can't or don't want to fix. At the very least, if the inspection report turns up a problem, you won't be surprised.

Although it may not be necessary in every case, it can sometimes be helpful to hire your own professional inspector to carry out an inspection before putting your home on the market. With an inspection report of your own, you can get out ahead of any issues that may exist. That's a major advantage in a competitive market.

A home inspection typically costs $300 to $500 for an average-sized home. It's a significant investment, but it often pays off when you consider the overall benefits. For one thing, having fixed any issues will allow you to get top dollar for your house. Plus, you get to fix them on your own terms, and not the buyer's terms.

What Next?

Do everything you can to ensure that your home is in tip-top shape before your home is inspected. While it is possible that an inspection can reveal serious issues, you can take some simple steps to make the process go more smoothly, and make sure that simple repairs are not mistaken for something more serious:
  • Replace any light bulbs that are burned out.
  • Make sure all windows and doors open and close smoothly, and have working locks.
  • Test and put new batteries in all smoke detectors.
  • Make sure all lights, fans, and outlets are in good working condition.
  • Clean out your gutters and downspouts, and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the home.
  • Check for plumbing leaks in all faucets, showers, and under sinks.
  • Find and clean up any mold or mildew, especially in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Identify and eliminate any pest problems.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
The Top 10 Items That Get
Damaged on Moving Day
 
Couple packing dishes into boxesAre you preparing for a move? Before you get started, you are going to want to know how to protect your things. Some items are more vulnerable to damage than others during a move. As you prepare for the process ahead, take extra precautions to protect these ten items.
  1. Furniture
    Furniture is large, bulky and heavy. All three of these put it at high risk for damage during a move. In addition, furniture often needs to be maneuvered through spaces that are a bit too tight, leaving it vulnerable to being dinged or scratched.

  2. Artwork
    Artwork, especially art that is glass or is housed in glass, is often damaged because there is insufficient padding between the art and the moving box. Also, art can be damaged when heavy items are placed on top of boxes containing the art. To prevent this damage, consider placing glass framed art in a picture box that is stuffed with crumpled paper or bubble wrap.

  3. Lamp Shades
    If you have lamps with shades, the awkward shape and flimsy materials makes them vulnerable to damage. To protect them, cover them carefully in bubble wrap, then fill the interior cavity with packing paper so they do not collapse on themselves. Stuff the box with paper so that the lamp shades don't shift around inside.

  4. Refrigerators and Freezers
    It's easy to damage the piping on the back of a fridge or freezer, and often the large size and bulk of these items make them difficult to maneuver. If you must move a fridge, make sure you never lay it down, as this can cause the freezer to not work properly.

  5. Plants
    If you plan to move your plants, be aware that they are easily damaged. To make them easier to move, stop watering them a few days before you move. If you place them in boxes, give them holes to breathe through. Protect loose branches from breakage during the move.

  6. Electronics
    All it takes is one jostle of the moving truck to shatter your computer or TV screen. These costly items are easy to break. One way to prevent this is to keep the boxes your electronics come in and use those to transport them with all of the original cushioning packing materials.

  7. Your New House
    The last thing you want to do is damage your new house as you move in, but this is more common than you might think. Jamming a couch through a door frame or ramming a table into a wall can cause unsightly and costly property damage. Be careful to avoid these problems.

  8. Glassware
    Your glassware and china are fragile. Make sure it is properly cushioned. Also, mark the boxes these items are in as "fragile" so your moving help won't stack heavy things on top. Never pack books and glassware in the same box.

  9. Washer and Dryer
    Your washer and dryer are vulnerable to damage, particularly if you have one of the newer models. If they are damaged, you could end up with a mess the first time you run a load. To prevent this, use a shipping kit from the manufacturer before you move.

  10. Your Back
    Back injuries are common during a move because homeowners have no choice but to lift items, even if their muscles are sore. Practice proper lifting techniques, and hire help if you need it.
Remember, when you move, things are going to get broken. Do your best to pack carefully, and pay close attention to these ten items, and you can minimize the damage.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
How to Price Your Home Like a Pro
 
Man holding model home in handsWhen you're selling your home, setting an asking price is a bit like playing a round of The Price Is Right, where contestants use their shopping knowledge to zero in on an item's price without going over. Make sure your price is right with these expert tips on pricing your home to sell.
  1. Don't Overprice
    Yes, it's tempting to maximize profit with a high asking price, but it's not that simple. Savvy buyers set a budget and do their homework. If your asking price bears no relation to the current market, they'll automatically remove your house from consideration without even seeing it.

  2. Leave Emotion out of the Equation
    Most people develop an emotional attachment to their home, but buyers aren't going to pay for your memories. Keep sentiment in check and set an asking price based on your home's objective value.

  3. Review Comparable Sales
    Comparable sales, usually referred to as "comps," will tell you the actual sale price of homes similar to yours with regard to square footage, age, floor plan, and other specific features. Stick to sales within the last three months for an accurate reading of the current market.

  4. Study Expired Listings
    You can also gain valuable insight from homes that haven't sold. See if you spot any patterns in pricing vs. value that may have turned buyers away.

  5. Scout the Competition
    Take time to step into a buyer's shoes and view other comparable homes for sale. See how the asking prices match up with the features and benefits of the corresponding homes.

  6. Don't Look for Dollar-to-Dollar Returns
    Studies of the most common professional remodeling projects show that they bring just slightly more than 50 percent return on investment. Even if you make renovations for the express purpose of selling your home, don't expect to automatically layer the amount spent on top of the asking price.

  7. Leverage Price Banding
    Price banding is a technique often used in real estate in which a buyer has an upper and lower limit, creating a range of prices they will consider. If asking prices for other homes are bunched up around certain bands, take advantage of the band with less competition.

  8. Reduce the Price if Needed
    Sometimes, despite your best efforts to price fairly, you won't get a nibble. Reducing the price may smack of desperation, but approximately 60 percent of sellers drop their asking price at least once so it can actually be a savvy move.

  9. But Only Once
    If you do reduce the price, don't assume you can nibble away at it until you find the sweet spot. Interest in listed homes on the market for 21 days or more drops sharply. As your real estate agent, I can recommend an appropriate amount and cut once.

  10. Be Flexible
    "A good negotiation happens when both parties walk away equally unhappy." That may be overstating the case, but when selling your home, it's not realistic to assume you'll get everything you're asking for. I can help you decide on counter offers and or creative alternatives to lowering your price. Consider paying part of the closing costs, buying down the loan or even unrelated perks such as season tickets to a local sports team.
Selling your home doesn't have to be a long, drawn-out process. When The Price Is Right, you'll be amazed at how quickly the offers come.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
 
Houseplants That Reduce
Anxiety and Stress
 
Picture of aloe plant
Do you feel more calm and relaxed when you're surrounded by greenery? It's not your imagination. Scientific studies show certain houseplants reduce stress and anxiety, elevate moods, improve air quality and even promote healing.

As a bonus, many of these houseplants are low-maintenance. Reduce stress and beautify your decor by adding these popular houseplants to your home.
  1. Aloe Vera
    You're probably familiar with aloe vera as an ingredient in many skincare and medicinal products. Aloe vera also removes formaldehyde and benzene from the air, making it the most powerful natural air purifier in the world. The minimal amount of required maintenance has earned aloe vera the nickname of "plant of immortality."

  2. Chrysanthemum
    Chrysanthemums offer a dual benefit. In addition to providing a vibrant touch of color to your home, the dried blossoms can be steeped in boiling water to make tea. Its healing, anti-inflammatory powers are often used to treat high blood pressure, fever, swelling and type 2 diabetes.

  3. Jasmine
    Do you find yourself tossing and turning the night away? Keep a jasmine plant on your nightstand for better quality sleep. Instead of feeling groggy in the morning, you'll be alert and clear-headed. Jasmine's soothing scent transmits messages to the body's limbic system, which regulates emotions. Be sure to give a jasmine plant plenty of sunshine.

  4. Lavender
    Commonly used in aromatherapy, lavender is another fragrant plant with a beautiful hue. Use the dried buds to make sachets, potpourri, bath salts or infused oil. While there's no hard scientific evidence, many grateful moms swear by lavender's calming effects on fussy babies.

  5. Areca Palm
    Known as the "butterfly palm" due to the graceful sweep of its fronds, the Areca palm produces yellow flowers in the summertime. If the air in your home tends to be dry, Areca palms serve as natural humidifiers through water vapor emitted from the fronds. Areca palms are also good air purifiers, and with proper care, they can live up to 10 years.

  6. Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree
    Photogenic fiddle-leaf fig trees have gained popular status from frequent appearances in magazine photos, but it's not just a pretty face. The tree's broad leaves are efficient air purifiers and they also help control humidity.

  7. English Ivy
    As its name implies, English ivy is literally a "transplant" brought over by European colonists. This attractive plant reduces airborne toxins, particularly ones that may cause mold infestations. English ivy's purifying properties are so strong that it benefits people with respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis.

  8. Snake Plant
    The visually striking snake plant has a sleek look that blends well in most decors. Snake plants produce oxygen at a higher rate than other plants while controlling carbon dioxide emissions, resulting in stress-free days and restful nights along with an overall energy boost.

  9. Peppermint
    Peppermint's fresh taste and scent make it a popular ingredient in chewing gum, mints and dental hygiene products. Proximity to peppermint has been found to reduce frustration and improve alertness. Menthol, a substance in peppermint, helps relax the muscles, so chop up a few fresh peppermint leaves and toss them in your bathwater.

  10. Tillandsia
    Tillandsia, more commonly known as an air plant, is uniquely adaptable to various displays because of its propensity to cling to a wide range of surfaces. Like snake plants, air plants keep air quality high by producing oxygen and controlling carbon dioxide. Their light, airy aesthetic also creates a calm and relaxing ambiance.
"Go Green" is a widespread initiative promoting eco-awareness. Embrace nature and improve your well-being by "going green" at home as well.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Presentation Perfection: 10 Ways
to Stage Your Home
 
Beautifully furnished family room
Thinking about listing your home for sale over the next few weeks? Here are ten ways to stage your home to make it presentation perfect for that first showing.
  1. Keep a Clean House
    A clean home is an inviting home. You'll want to get your home professionally deep-cleaned from floor to ceiling. As the home is shown, you'll also need to do a little light sweeping, mopping or vacuuming to ensure it looks and smells great for the next showing.

  2. Lose the Clutter
    A home is staged so buyers can envision themselves living in the space. Depersonalize all of the rooms by removing photographs, mementos and other objects that display your personality or identity. Some buyers will have trouble seeing themselves living in a space that feels like it's still your family's home.

  3. Rethink the Space
    Get creative with your staging and move furniture around to enhance each room's appearance. Moving your living area or bedroom furniture into different configurations can help make a space feel refreshed and maximize its potential.

  4. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting
    Believe it or not, lighting can really make or break your staging. The way natural and artificial light interacts with spaces and colors can really transform a home. Make sure you replace your old lighting with new LED bulbs. You'll also want to open all curtains or blinds to let natural light shine through and liven up the space.

  5. Repair or Replace
    Let's be honest, every home needs a little work. Now is the time to finally knock out that to-do list by either repairing or replacing the elements of your home that show years of use. Fix that wobbly fan, those squeaky doors, and those jammed windows. Replace old fixtures like faucets, cabinetry handles and even scratched electrical outlets with brand-new items that enhance the look of the home. Remember, every little detail counts in the eyes of a buyer!

  6. Neutral is Always Nice
    When in doubt, always stay neutral. This includes everything from paint colors to décor. Not all buyers will be as attracted to certain colors or patterns, however, a neutral color scheme throughout the house will give them a blank canvas to apply their own aesthetic to.

  7. Remove Evidence of Pets
    Although your prospective buyers may also love pets, evidence of pets living in a home can be a major drawback for some buyers. They may assume that there are smells, stains or scratches throughout the home that have already soiled their first impression of the space. Remove all toys, odors and other signs that your furry friend called this house a home too.

  8. Don't Forget About Curb Appeal
    Staging is much more than just the interior. Your exterior should also be staged appropriately. In fact, many real estate agents will tell you that curb appeal is one of the most important factors in selling your home. Head outside and tidy up your lawn, driveway, backyard and surrounding property.

  9. Don't Over or Under Stage
    It's easier to over-stage your home than to under-stage it simply because most sellers believe that you can never have too much of a good thing. However, an elaborately staged home that looks unnatural is just as bad as an under-staged home that appears neglected. Make sure you're staging the home in a balanced way. Focus on rooms like the common areas and limit your staging in places like bedrooms and storage spaces.

  10. Ask for Outside Advice
    Remember, you're not alone when selling your home. Your real estate agent will be happy to help you stage your space. You can even hire a professional staging company to ensure that it looks as presentable as possible.

    For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

6 Ways to Make Your Home Smell Fresh

 

Man with cloths pin holding nose

When someone enters your house, one of the first things he or she notices is the scent. Do you know how you sometimes smell a weird odor when you get home from a long holiday? That is what your dwelling smells like to visitors. The fact is that the longer a person is exposed to an odor, the less they notice it. That is known as nose-blindness. Therefore, it's important to take measures to ensure your home smells fresh.

As most people know, the best smell is no smell at all. However, getting your home to smell like nothing might not be possible. Amidst the cooking, children, pets, and everyday duties, you are bound to end up with a mix of aromas. But there are multiple ways in which you can mask those scents without using artificial air freshening sprays.

Check out the following six simple ways to make your home smell fresh.
  1. Clean Your Garbage Disposal
    If your kitchen has a funky smell, the source might be the garbage disposal. You can eliminate the unpleasant smell with the help of baking soda and vinegar. Measure a half cup of baking soda and sprinkle it into the disposal. After that, fill a cup with vinegar and pour it over the baking soda. Let the mixture sit for five to ten minutes, and then pour hot water into the drain with the disposal on.

  2. Pour Some Essential Oils On Your Air Filter
    To make your entire house smell fantastic, try adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils on the air filter. The HVAC system will push the fresh aroma through the home and make everything inviting. Additionally, essential oils have natural healing properties and are free from artificial fillers.

  3. Deodorize Your Carpets with Baking Soda
    Baking soda is an affordable way to make your home odor-free. Sprinkle some baking soda on your carpets, especially those in high traffic areas and let it sit for 15 minutes or more. Vacuum as usual and enjoy the fresh air.

  4. Spray Dry Shampoo on Smelly Shoes
    The pile of shoes next to the front door may cause your house to have an unpleasant smell. Spray some dry shampoo onto the soles of the footwear. That will help to neutralize the odor.

  5. Try Eucalyptus Leaves
    Natural eucalyptus leaves are not only beautiful, but they also release a pleasant aroma that can help to make your whole home fresher. Keep some of those leaves in a vase in your bathroom or other odor-prone room for elegant and practical deodorizing. Other than eucalyptus, other indoor plants can be used to clean the air and beautify a home including jasmine, gardenias, and corsage orchids.

  6. Get Rid of the Obvious
    Things like garbage cans, pet beds, diaper pails, and litter boxes are all spots that emit funky odors. That is rather obvious, but due to sensory adaptation, you might not notice the smell as much. It is important to be proactive. Remember to wash the inside of the garbage bin and the lid at least once a month. Try putting some kitty litter or a dryer sheet at the bottom of the can to absorb smells. Additionally, wash pet beddings regularly and scoop litter boxes daily.
Strong scents are not always the best. While making your home improvements, you also want to put visitors into consideration. Without a doubt, some might be sensitive to strong scents, and you do not want to make them feel uncomfortable in your house.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 

The Cost to Sell Your
Home May Shock You

 

Woman with shocked look

There are many reasons you might be interested in selling your home. No matter what your main motivation is, however, most people come into the process with some financial hopes.

The majority of sellers wait for favorable market conditions before they sell. Most invest at least a few dollars on refreshing the appearance of the home and raising curb appeal. Plus, it's crucial to ensure you make enough on your sale to meet any outstanding obligations.

With that in mind, a difference of a few thousand dollars can have a major impact on your timing when going to market. Unfortunately, it's easy to underestimate the costs of selling your home.
The cost of selling can be much higher than planned thanks to several factors:
  1. Repairs and Refurbishing
    Sellers need to take time to triage any issues in the home and repair the ones they deem likely to affect the sale. It's also essential to peruse recent real estate trends and determine how you can maximize your sales price through practical, targeted renovations.

  2. Pre-Sale Home Inspection
    These days, virtually all serious buyers will require a pre-sale inspection. A qualified inspector will examine every aspect of the home and disclose all issues. This is typically handled at the seller's expense and costs a few hundred dollars to complete.

  3. Real Estate Agent Commission
    The average agent's commission is around 5% or 6% of the total selling price. A healthy commission in line with industry norms is a good sign that you're dealing with a reputable agent. You should scrutinize any agencies that offer very low (or very high!) rates.

  4. Mortgage Payoff
    The proceeds of your home sale must be sufficient to pay off your existing mortgage. Unfortunately, the "pay off amount" on your statement or borrower website is often inaccurate. Prorated interest for the most recent billing period and prepayment penalties (if any) can add to your charges.

  5. Closing Costs
    Closing costs are a common point of contention between home buyers and sellers. It may be possible to negotiate lower total closing costs or to get buyers to pay a bigger share, but you should be prepared to pay the entire amount if necessary – and that usually tallies up to 2%-4% of the total sale price.

  6. Utilities
    If you are planning to move out of your current home long before you sell it, it may benefit you to keep the lights on. It can be more difficult to show a home without electricity and water – and homes that have clearly been vacated are also more likely to be targeted by crooks.

  7. Capital Gains Taxes
    Taxes are a major issue for sellers. Selling a home for more than you paid for it may require you to report capital gains on your coming taxes. Luckily, most homeowners will find that they can exclude anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000 in real estate profit from this type of taxation.

  8. Property Taxes
    You will be responsible for property taxes at your current address until closing day. These taxes are usually paid on a prorated basis using money held in escrow. If you've paid your property taxes in advance for the year, however, you could actually receive a rebate at closing.

    Getting an accurate estimate of the total cost of selling your home can be difficult. The potential costs vary widely based on your situation. That's one more reason it's essential to connect with a trustworthy real estate agent who can help you make informed decisions.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

How to Host a Successful Garage Sale

 

Sign saying garage sale

A garage sale is an ideal way to get rid of clutter, earn extra cash, and make your home look more appealing--especially if you're listing it for sale. People don't want to see your kids' toys or the book you're reading when they come to an open house. They want to imagine their things in the house. A garage sale can also help you save on moving costs. Instead of paying to move everything you own to your new home, a garage sale will lighten the load of moving plus put money in your pocket.

Here are three pointers to plan your way to a successful garage sale.
  1. Increase Your Curb Appeal
    When you have a yard sale, the front of your home is like the entrance to a conventional store. People may choose not to check out your sale if your yard looks run down or unkempt.

    Taking care of your yard will make your home easier to sell and get you higher prices for your garage sale items. Mow your lawn, remove weeds, and have any cracks in your driveway or your sidewalk repaired. If needed, repaint your siding and your front door. Make sure items like bikes that aren't for sale are out of sight. If your property is large or you have lots of overgrown trees and shrubs, you can save time by using a landscaping company to trim all your vegetation and plant some appealing flowers.

  2. Advertise
    You can post free classified ads on many websites. Add photos of the items you're offering if possible. You should also let your friends know about your garage sale through social media and post an ad in your local paper. On the day of the event, add a few signs to your front yard, and put signs around your neighborhood with your address, the time of the sale, and arrows to let people know which way to go.

  3. Organize Your Items
    Sort through your belongings to ensure you don't inadvertently dispose of anything you want to keep. Then, put the items you want to sell on folding tables or clothing racks, and put the things you want to get rid of most in the front. Dust knickknacks or furniture and wash musty clothing or blankets. Don't place small items on your lawn or your floor. Most people don't want to have to bend over to shop, and some people could have trouble reaching objects on the ground. Also, make sure that you have plenty of change and a way to accept payments electronically.
Having a garage sale that's easy to find with reasonable prices will help you let neighbors know that you're moving. It can even attract potential buyers. After the garage sale, much of the work you do to prepare will continue to attract people and help you get a higher price for your home.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 

6 Dos and Don'ts of Choosing
Exterior House Colors

 

Main painting houseChoosing exterior house colors sounds easy until you realize just how many colors you have to choose from. With such a dizzying array of color combinations at your fingertips, many homeowners find themselves paralyzed with indecision.

Still, it's important to choose wisely, especially if you're thinking about selling your home in the not-too-distant future. Of course, even if you have no intention of selling, these tips should help you make a great color choice that you'll be happy with for years to come.
  1. Look at the Whole Block
    When choosing paint colors, it's important to think of your house not just as an individual structure, but a part of a larger environment. Look at your entire street and consider all the color schemes you see. You don't want to paint your house in a way that will stand out like a sore thumb, but you don't necessarily want to blend in completely either. Find a set of colors that will compliment other homes on your block, while still maintaining some individuality.

  2. Consider Era and Architectural Style
    It's important to carefully weigh the architectural style and the time when your home was built, and select colors that feel appropriate. For example, a house built in the Queen Ann Victorian style can lend itself to high contrast and bold color choices, while a house with classic Federal-style architecture typically works best with a more conservative palette. Some paint companies offer collections of historically accurate colors, which is a great place to start if you're looking for inspiration.

  3. Plan Around Fixed Elements
    Unless you're planning major renovations, certain colors on your house aren't likely to change. Look at the colors you see on surfaces like roof shingles or tiles, stonework, brick walls, pathways, and driveways. These elements are hard to change, so work on creating a color palette that will tie these fixtures together, or blend in harmoniously with them.

  4. Borrow from Nature
    If your house has some natural scenery around it – and almost every house does, to some degree – use it as a source of inspiration. A house surrounded by lots of trees may inspire you to use earthy tones and shades of green. Beachfront homes often look great when the paint job incorporates tones inspired by the sand and sea. You can even borrow color combinations from your garden beds and blooming shrubs.

  5. Understand the Effects of Light and Dark
    Light and dark colors have very different effects. Light shades have a way of making a house appear larger. That's why white is such a favored color for grand estates and traditional classical architecture. Dark colors can make your house appear smaller if you use them in large areas, but dark tones also add drama, which is why they're great for trim and accents.

  6. Choose a Color Family
    While it is not strictly required, painting with several related shades often creates a harmonious look. Using contrasting colors, on the other hand, can leave you with a clashing, disorganized appearance. Start with a basic color you like, and pick three related shades for different parts of your house: one for large, dominant areas; one for doors, shutters and other smaller areas; and one for trim like window and door casings, roof edging and railings.

    Choosing the right color combination can make your house the envy of the whole block, and may even help your home sell more quickly if you ever decide to put it on the market. One thing is for sure – the right colors will make your house a better place to call home!

    For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Selling Checklist: 10 Things
You Must Do Before You Sell

 

Selling a home is an exciting endeavor. Whether you've sold a home previously or if this is your first time, you likely already realize that this process involves many steps. Before you get ready to list your house for sale, we suggest putting these ten items on your home-selling checklist.

  1. Hire an Amazing Real Estate Agent
    Hiring a dynamic real estate agent from a trusted agency should be your first task. A reliable, experienced and knowledgeable agent will help you get the most for your home and make the process as worry-free as possible.

  2. Gather All Important Paperwork
    Regardless if you've owned your home for decades or for what's felt like only a few days, you've surely got at least a handful of important documents that you should present to owners. These can range from warranties and dates of remodels to permits, instruction manuals for appliances and any paperwork you received when you purchased the home.

  3. Tend to Your Curb Appeal
    There's a reason why curb appeal is considered so important — it makes selling a home easier! Take some time to improve yours with lawn maintenance — front and rear — like tree trimming, grass mowing and sprucing it up with décor. Keep in mind, improvements to the garage door, roof, driveway and front-facing wall are all great areas to focus on.

  4. Pack Up Personal Belongings
    Declutter your space as much as possible, removing any miscellaneous items that prospective buyers don't need to see. Remove photographs or other personalized items so those viewing your home don't feel like they're intruding in someone else's space.

  5. Deep Clean Each Space
    The importance of thoroughly cleaning your home cannot be understated. Your home needs to look and smell nice, presenting buyers with a fresh space where they can breathe easy. Hire a cleaning company to deep clean your home from ceiling to floor and wall to wall.

  6. Make Minor Repairs
    Either call your handyman or grab your toolbelt because you're going to need to fix up a few things. Examine the minor details, like making sure doors don't squeak, re-caulk around windows, repaint walls neutral colors, fix leaky toilets or faucets, and make sure everything in the home works properly.

  7. Add Some Upgrades
    After you've fixed what you can, enhance the rest. Replace a few items throughout the home with inexpensive yet attractive upgrades. Replacing showerheads and faucets, cabinet knobs, doorknobs, window screens, light bulbs, and wobbly fans will make a huge difference in appearance and value without denting your budget.

  8. Make it Look like Home
    You want your house to look like the home of your buyer's dreams. Either hire a professional furniture rental company or stage the space yourself. Dress up all of the windows and bring some fresh flowers or plants into the common spaces. Make sure the furniture is in great condition and matches the room's aesthetic. If there are items that are a little unconventional or polarizing — like a lime green accent wall or bright orange couch — consider repainting and replacing.

  9. Professional Photography
    You've put in a lot of time and effort into making your home look amazing — show it off! Hire a professional photographer to take photos of the home to list online. With so many buyers viewing properties online before they decide to visit in person, listing your home with fantastic photography can reel them in quicker!

  10. Prepare to Maintain It
    Your home is ready to sell, but that doesn't mean you're finished yet! You'll need to maintain its appearance until the deal is sealed. Keep the lawn mowed and tidy every week. Also, be prepared to clean each space lightly from week to week so it continues to look and smell great!
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Working It Out: 5 Tips for
Creating a Killer Home Gym
 
Let's face it, after a long day of working or taking care of your kids, dragging yourself to the gym isn't easy. If you want to improve your health and wellness, consider adding a home gym to your list of home improvement projects.
Before you start this project, you might wonder whether you have enough space in your house and your bank account. Luckily, with a bit of creativity, you can create a home gym that will fit almost any space and budget. These five simple tips will help you get started.
  1. Find the Perfect Space
    Where you'll put your home gym depends a lot on the size and layout of your house. Some of the most popular locations include a spare bedroom, garage, basement, office, porch, or patio. Don't be afraid to get creative. If you don't have an entire extra space to dedicate, try portioning off a small area of your living room or bedroom.

  2. Set Your Budget
    Before starting any home improvement project, it's critical to set a realistic budget. You can save a ton of money by purchasing equipment and machines second-hand. Always check out Craig's list, local swap pages, and area yard sales before you pay full price from a retailer. You can often find like-new fitness items for a fraction of the cost.

  3. Stick with the Basics
    It's easy to get excited and start looking for all of the latest fitness equipment, but it's a lot smarter to just stick with the basics. Especially in the beginning, you'll want to only purchase items you're sure you will use. This typically includes a good set of dumbbells and items like a yoga mat, resistance bands, and a stability ball.

  4. Focus on You
    Don't get too caught up in what you think your home gym "should" have. Instead, focus on creating a space that meets your needs. If you hate running or don't want to lift weights, then skip the treadmill or the dumbbells. The most important thing is that your gym is a space where you'll want to spend your time. As your fitness levels change, your preferences might change as well. Stay flexible and willing to update your space as you evolve.

  5. Design Your Digs
    If you've designated a separate room for working out, consider adding some personal touches. A light and airy paint color, good lighting, and inspirational wall décor will help make your gym a pleasant place to be.

    When incorporating your home gym into another living space, you'll want to keep it from getting too cluttered. Consider purchasing furniture that doubles as storage space and adding shelving to hold items like dumbbells and yoga mats. If you're going to purchase larger equipment like a treadmill or workout bench, look for pieces that fold for easy storage so you can get them out of the way when not in use.
For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
8 Houseplants that
Clean and Purify the Air
 
Hanging plantToxins are hiding in your home that may be diminishing the air quality of your house. These toxins can come from a variety of sources, including furniture, cleaning products, fragrances, electronics, and more.
While these toxin sources might be right under your nose, the good news is there's a simple solution to remove these toxins and get your home smelling fresh--house plants. Because plants breathe CO2 and exhale oxygen, they're well-suited for freshening your air and removing common toxins. Below are eight indoor plants for air purification.
  1. Bamboo Palm
    The bamboo palm is a common choice to add greenery. This plant is an indoor palm acclimated to shade and indirect light, so you don't need to place it near a window. Water it enough to keep its soil only moist, about once or twice a week.

  2. Blue Echeveria
    Blue echeveria is a succulent from Mexico that looks similar to a lotus flower. This plant loves light, making it great for window sills and other areas with daily sunlight. Like most succulents, the blue echeveria doesn't need to be watered often. Water it only when its soil is completely dry.

  3. Boston Fern
    The Boston fern is the archetypal house plant. Even if you've never had one, chances are you know someone who has. This plant is a bit finicky about its living conditions. It does best with indirect light, high humidity, and cool temperatures. You might need to mist it to give it the moisture it needs. As for watering, keep its soil damp. Potting soils that include a lot of peat moss are your best bet for keeping this plant growing.

  4. Cast Iron Plant
    The cast iron plant is another house plant that does well with shaded or indirect light and minimal watering. Moist soil is okay, but it's better to err on the side of dryer soil. Like most house plants, the key to watering is making sure its pot and soil allow proper drainage.

  5. Friendship Plant
    The friendship plant doesn't just look beautiful. It's cool to touch too. This tropical plant's leaves are fuzzy, and its color runs dark green to olive with bright, pale green edges. Because it's tropical, it requires shaded or low-light environments and humidity. Keep its soil moist, and mist it when the humidity drops below 50%.

  6. Prayer Plant
    Another high humidity plan, the prayer plant likes moist soil, bright light (though not direct sunlight), and frequent misting in low humidity areas. The prayer plant is named so because during the day its leaves are flat, but at night they fold up as if they're praying hands.

  7. Spider Plant
    The spider plant is one of the easier house plants for those who lack a green thumb. This plant does best with plenty of indirect light and damp soil. It has long and thin green leaves with a white stripe running down the middle. The name comes from its plantlets which look like little spiders, in a not creepy way.

  8. Swedish Ivy
    The Swedish Ivy is neither Swedish nor an ivy, but it is easy to grow. Most people keep it in hanging baskets with good drainage. Water it about once a week after its soil has dried slightly. This plant likes bright, indirect light.
Indoor plants that clean the air and remove toxins are a simple home improvement hack that also adds beautiful greenery to your home. The plants above are well-suited for the task of removing toxins, require minimal care, and won't poison your pets who take a nibble. Add one to any room and enjoy fresher air in your home.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
To Fix or Not to Fix: Pros and
Cons of Selling Your Home As-Is
 
Seeing a home listed "as-is" will excite some buyers and raise a red flag for others. If you're thinking about selling your home as-is, you may be imagining a quick sale without having to make any repairs. And you may be right, but there's a lot to consider when you put your home up for sale, and selling as-is has some potential drawbacks, as well as some tempting advantages.

Pros of Selling a Home As-Is
  • Sell it fast: One of the biggest reasons for homeowners to list their homes as-is is to save time. Homes listed as-is are typically priced below market value, and as a result, they tend to sell quickly. If you're in a hurry to sell, there's a good chance that selling as-is will save you some time.

  • Avoid repairs: If you're selling a fixer-upper, you may not have the time or inclination to make the necessary repairs. You may also not want to deal with the stress, or you may not be able to afford the repairs. In any case, many homes are listed as-is because the owner would rather leave any repairs that may be needed to the next owner.

  • Attract eager buyers: Not every buyer is willing to invest in a home that needs work, but listing your house for sale as-is will catch the eye of certain buyers. That includes those who are looking to fix up the property and flip it for a profit, as well as those who simply enjoy a DIY project, or who don't mind doing some work if it means spending less on a home.

  • Match the market: If you live in a city where real estate prices are on the rise, then listing your home as-is can be a great way to attract buyers (especially first-time homeowners) who may not be able to afford the market value of the average house in your neighborhood.
Cons of Selling a Home As-Is
  • Lower sale price: One significant drawback of selling your home as-is is that you won't get as much for it as you would if you made the necessary repairs. Even if your home doesn't need major renovations, the simple fact that it has "as-is" as part of the listing means that it will likely sell for less.

  • Limited buyers: While some buyers are attracted to homes that need work, others will be immediately turned off. Some buyers may assume that, because your house is listed as-is, it must have hidden flaws. Others simply want a move-in ready home that doesn't need any work.

  • Full disclosure: While listing a home as-is does free you from certain responsibilities when it comes to making repairs, it does not free you from the obligation to list your home accurately. You still need to disclose any defects, flaws or repairs that need to be made; and potential buyers may still have the home inspected to confirm its value before committing to buy.

  • Haggling: If you're listing your home as-is, you'd better be prepared to negotiate. A lot of buyers will see that listing as permission to submit a lowball offer, and many will negotiate harder because they sense that you are eager to sell. Take that into account when listing your house, and don't be surprised if you get some offers that are well below your asking price.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Prepping Your Home to Get
a Pro-Level Paint Finish
 
Painter with roller
Painting requires patience because how your job looks at the end depends so much on how you prepare at the beginning. Skipping steps in the prep process is often the difference between a pro-level finish and a paint job that you'll have to revisit in six month's time. The good news is that prepping for painting isn't hard to do, it just takes an investment of time. Follow these key prep steps to get a pro-level look from your next DIY painting project.
  • The Right Tools for the Job
    Before you get started, make sure you have everything you need for the job. You'll want painter's tape, drop cloths, brushes, rollers, roller pads, a roller extension, scrapers, sandpaper, plastic, primer, and paint. Choosing high-quality roller pads and brushes will cost more up front, but makes it much easier to get a professional look.

  • Cover Anything You Don't Want to Paint
    If you're painting rooms inside your home, then you'll want to cover or remove everything that you don't want the paint to touch. Painting can be a messy job even when you're careful, which is why even pros cover everything. Use painter's tape to cover edges, plastic for furniture you can't remove, and drop cloths to cover the floor. Removing the outlet and light-switch covers will also make your life much easier when it's time to start painting.

  • Pick a Dry Day
    Even painting indoors, it helps to choose a day that's not rainy or humid. High humidity causes the paint to take longer to dry, which can lead to drips and inconsistencies in the finish. If you have to paint on a humid day, take your time and fix drips before they dry.

  • Prep Before You Prime
    The real secret to a professional finish is in how you prep the surface. If you're painting an older, outdoor surface, then you may have to wash the surface, scrape old paint, and sand away damaged wood before you start. Even indoors, you'll want to do some light sanding and wash walls before you apply primer. On older surfaces, prep can take almost as much time as painting, but the results are more than worth the effort.

  • Prime Every Time
    Once a professional painter has the surface prepped, they apply a coat of primer to seal the surface, prevent stains, and create a smooth surface for painting. After you apply your primer, wait for it to dry completely before you start painting. If prepping is the biggest pro secret, primer ranks just behind. It's an extra step, but it leads to a more attractive, durable finish.

  • How to Apply an Even Finish
    When it's time to break out the rollers and brushes, you'll really begin to see your prep work paying off. It's much easier to apply an even finish to a properly prepared surface, but there's still work ahead. To apply an even finish, start by cutting in around the edges with your brush, then work from top to bottom with your roller. Let the roller do the work of applying the paint, and use a roller extension to reach high places. Make sure you let your first coat dry before applying a second coat for a truly professional finish.
It may be a cliché among professional painters, but that's only because it rings so true. The time that you invest into prep work is the key to an attractive, durable finish, and preparation will make your life much easier when it's time to start painting.
For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
The Ups & Downs of Selling
Your Home for All Cash
 
Money on table
Many buyers believe that making a cash offer will give them an advantage over other buyers. But, as a seller, is it in your best interest to take a cash offer? Or are you better off sticking to your price and holding out for a lender-financed buyer?

The answer is--it depends.

There certainly are some advantages to selling your home to a cash buyer. This is particularly true if you're in a hurry to sell because you're moving or you need money quickly. However, as with most things, there are some potential drawbacks. Let's take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of a cash sale.
  1. Fast Closing
    One of the best things about a cash deal is the ability to go to closing quickly. When a buyer purchases a home with traditional financing, it often takes 30 to 60 days from the time the contract is signed until the closing date. Since a cash buyer doesn't have to undergo the loan underwriting process, you may be able to close in a few weeks or, in some cases, even a few days.

  2. No Need for Repairs
    Before a lender approves financing for a home, they'll require an inspection. If your home needs major repairs and you're not in a position to make them, then an "as-is" cash sale is likely your best option. While you're required to disclose any problems with the home, it's up to the buyer to deal with them after the purchase is complete.

  3. Less Uncertainty
    Almost all lender-financed contracts have contingencies written into them. If the home appraisal isn't high enough or the buyer isn't able to obtain financing, the contract will likely fall through. While some cash deals do have contingencies written into them, they're less common. Generally, accepting a cash offer gives you more certainty that the deal will close.

  4. Lower Selling Price
    Despite the benefits of a cash sale, there are some trade-offs. The biggest is usually the selling price. Cash offers are almost always lower than what you could get if you waited for a traditional buyer, sometimes significantly so. However, once you factor in the cost of repairs, the stress of the uncertainty, and the money you'll spend while you're waiting to sell your home (for example, if you're carrying two mortgages), you may decide that the trade-off is worth it.

  5. Transaction Risks
    ​​​​​​​When you're selling your home for cash, it's essential to watch out for scams! You'll want to make sure the buyer has the money on hand to pay for the home. Ask to see a bank statement, or, even better, a "proof of funds" letter from the bank before accepting the offer.
For your protection, never accept a personal check from a buyer to pay for your home. Instead, insist on a bank check or a check from the attorney's escrow account. Also, beware of a buyer who tries to purchase the home with actual cash. The cash could be part of a money-laundering ring or drug money. If that's found to be the case and you failed to report it, you could lose your home.

The Bottom Line
For sellers who are in a hurry to sell their home, a cash offer can be the perfect answer. However, if you have the time to wait and can deal with a minimal amount of uncertainty, you'll almost always get a better deal from a lender-financed buyer. Your circumstances will determine which is the best choice for you.

If you're thinking about selling your home, give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  Working with a qualified agent can help minimize stress and give you the peace of mind that you're making good decisions. I’ll help you determine your property's fair market value and find the perfect buyer, so you can sell your home without the hassle. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
8 Things You Should Never
Throw in the Trash
 
8 Garbage cans along wall
"Trash" is generally considered an all-encompassing term for anything we don't want to keep. In reality, there are a number of common household and home improvement items that should never find their way into a garbage can for health and safety reasons. Some are actually illegal to dump, which means you could incur serious penalties.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a list of products and substances that pose a hazard to the health of humans and nature if not disposed of properly. Think twice before tossing any of these eight items into a dumpster.
  1. Electronics
    The race to keep up with the latest and greatest tech devices leaves many old models by the wayside. Lead, cadmium and other metals used in electronics can release toxic materials into the environment. Most communities have electronics recycling centers so devices and their parts may be reused.

  2. Household Batteries
    Not only are batteries full of toxic metals and chemicals, but they are actually combustible under the right circumstances. Rechargeable, button and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) batteries should always be taken to a household hazardous waste (HHW) facility. Alkaline batteries are now classified as safe for common waste, but it can't hurt to take them to an HHW facility along with the others.

  3. Paint
    Once you're done with that home improvement project, don't pour leftover paint down the drain. Leave the can open until the paint dries and take it to a scrap metal recycling center, or take it directly to an HHW facility.

  4. Light Bulbs
    Old-school incandescent light bulbs are considered common waste, although they should be wrapped in cardboard or paper before disposal. On the other hand, fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury and should go to an HHW facility for recycling.

  5. Thermometers and Thermostats
    The digital revolution has reached thermometers and thermostats, but older models contain mercury. If your home improvement to-do list includes updating the thermostat, find a proper recycling center online or consult your contractor about disposal.

  6. Lawn and Garden Chemicals
    When used correctly by carefully following instructions, lawn and garden chemicals have a purpose. But if they're spread indiscriminately via the water supply or landfills, these products can cause serious damage to the ecosystem. Dispose of them at a HHW facility or recycle by sharing leftover products with neighbors.

  7. Pharmaceuticals
    In the past, it was taken for granted that flushing unused or expired medications down the toilet was the safest method of disposal. That was shown to be false when investigations discovered the presence of drugs in the drinking water of several large metropolitan areas. As a result, many communities have created pharmaceutical take-back sites or events. If there are no programs in your area, check with your pharmacist or local police department about safe disposal options.

  8. Motor Oil and Transmission Fluid
    ​​​​​​​If you're a weekend mechanic, cap off your DIY maintenance sessions with a trip to the nearest auto repair shop or HHW facility to dispose of the old motor oil or transmission fluid.
Home improvement doesn't have to mean environmental destruction. Make it a habit to learn and follow safe trash disposal methods.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Avoid These 8 Common Mistakes
When Listing Your Home for Sale
 
Worn mistakes on screenSelling a home is a process in which every detail matters. If you're like many homeowners, you may only sell a property two or three times throughout your entire life. Since selling a home is often a new endeavor for homeowners, it's easy to make an error throughout the process accidentally. Here are eight common mistakes you can easily avoid when listing your home for sale.
  1. Hiring the Wrong Real Estate Agent
    This is the first — and one of the most significant — mistakes sellers make. A real estate agent can either be your best resource or put you at a considerable disadvantage in the selling process. You need a real estate agent who is more than simply qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced. Research their track record to see how successful their previous transactions have been and ask around town to get honest opinions of who the best agents are.

  2. Setting Unreasonable Expectations
    We all want to receive top dollar for our homes; however, it's unwise to set astronomic expectations. You'll need to humble your assumptions and realize the reality of the market, the condition of your home, and the limits of your prospective buyers. Keep your list price, conditions, and expectations reasonable so you will be prepared for low appraisals and higher than anticipated offers alike.

  3. Not Upgrading/Enhancing the Home
    Although you're saying goodbye to your house, you need to make sure you send it off in style. Repairing, enhancing, and upgrading elements of your home can increase both its presentation and financial value. Spend the time and money to complete a few easy tasks inside and out so you can get top dollar for your home.

  4. Only Focusing on the Highest Offers
    The most substantial offers always stand out; however, they aren't necessarily always the best offers. Be ready to consider amounts that are not the highest. They may be from buyers who have secured financing, have great credit histories, and are looking to make your part in this process as convenient as possible.

  5. Forgetting About Costs/Concessions
    Many sellers may initially forget that it takes money to make money, even when selling a home. Keep in mind that negotiations may result in you needing to pay closing costs or improve certain areas of the house to finalize the sale. To adequately prepare, make sure you have a little saved in the bank just in case.

  6. Being Dishonest
    One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to be dishonest during the process. You need to be upfront about everything, even aspects of your home that may be negative like water damage, extensive repairs, or existing problems. These will likely be uncovered during the inspection so it's best to be honest with your real estate agent ahead of time so you two can plan accordingly.

  7. Trying to Cut Costs
    Hopefully, you're selling a home that will more than recoup your investment. This is no time to cut costs, however. You need to invest in the right resources to make sure you get the best offer on your home. This includes paying for professional photography for your online listing and potentially hiring services like lawn care and in-home cleaning to ensure the property is responsibly maintained until the sale is finalized.

  8. Not Having an Open Dialog With Your Agent
    Your real estate agent's job — and honestly, their sincere interest — is to help you successfully sell your home and receive the largest possible purchase price. Don't be afraid to ask your agent questions, seek them out for advice or disagree with them if you have a differing opinion. You're both on the same team. Collaboration and cooperation will only make you both more successful.

    If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

Use These Home Maintenance
Hacks to Make Life Easier

 

Woman using trowelThere's no law that states cleaning and maintaining your house has to be complicated and expensive. You won't believe how much easier home maintenance becomes once you incorporate some simple tips into your daily life.

Fasten a Tennis Ball to your Mop Handles
Never get on your hands and knees again to scrub scuff marks off your floor. Simply attach a fuzzy tennis ball to the end of your mop handle and whenever you find a difficult scuff, flip the mop over and use the tennis ball to buff the mark from the floor.

Bonus Hack: Keeping a couple of tennis balls in your swimming pool helps remove the oils, lotions, and sunscreens from the water.

Plunge the Clogs from the Drains
The next time your bathtub or sink drain backs up, don't reach for a bottle of expensive chemical drain cleaner. Grab your toilet plunger instead. Fill the basin with a few inches of water, use a bit of cloth to cover the overfill hole, and use the plunger over the drain. More often than the clog loosens after just a few plunges.


Easy Spackle
If your drywall cracks, make your own spackling compound by mixing a small amount of baking soda with glue.


Loosen Stubborn Nails
Whenever you engage in a home improvement project, there always seems to be that one nail that refuses to come out. A homeowner's trick that frequently works involves using a hairdryer to warm the nail, causing it to expand, creating a larger hole so that after the nail cools and returns to normal size, you can easily remove it.


Repair Windows
If you have a small hole or crack in your windows, fill the space with clear nail polish. It prevents the hole/crack from spreading when the temps drop below freezing.


Caulking Made Easy
Caulking isn't always a favorite home maintenance chore. Many struggle to keep the tip of the caulk gun straight or they find that they get caulk everywhere but the spot they want it at. Rather than having a professional come into handle routine caulking for you, stock up on painter's tape. Simply place a strip of painter's tape above and below the area you need to be caulked. Caulk the area and peel the tape away while the caulk is still wet. All the mess goes on the tape.


Eliminate Frost
The next time you defrost your freezer, spray the interior walls and shelves with cooking spray, which eliminates frosty build up.


Unstick Sticky Doors
If your doors get stuck whenever the humidity climbs, there's a simple trick that will save you a great deal of aggravation. Rather than fighting with the door, use a bench plane and grind down the top, bottom, and inside edge by a few centimeters. Sandpaper the freshly ground areas. Keep grinding until the door stops sticking. Be careful to remove only the minimum required for the door to close.


Fix Holes in Drywall
Don't worry if you get a small hole in your drywall. Fixing it is easy. Home improvement experts will tell you that you'll need to invest in paper tape or mesh. However, those with strong home maintenance skills know that all they really need is a small makeup brush to spackle their walls. Use the brush to fill the hole with spackle and sandpaper to sand down the spackle.


Take the Elbow Grease Out of Shower Cleaning
Rather than scrub by hand, easily clean your shower by fastening a foam ball to your cordless drill attachment. It'll have your shower gleaming in not time.


For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me at.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

 

Juggling a Home Sale and
Purchase at the Same Time

 

Woman juggling ballsSelling your home and buying a home are two significant real estate transactions that require your patience, commitment, and focus. Each of these processes involves many steps, significant attention to detail, and hours of effort to ensure that the completed sale meets all of your expectations. Alone, selling your home or buying a home is quite a feat — attempting to do both simultaneously is another endeavor altogether. If you're planning on juggling a home sale and purchase at the same time, here are a few tips to make these dual transactions as smooth as possible.

Although it's typically easier to buy and sell a home separately, there are quite a few scenarios in which a homeowner would benefit from conducting both transactions at the same time. The biggest dilemma most homeowners face is determining which transaction they should attempt to finalize first. Each homeowner's situation is unique and specific factors will influence their decision. For example, someone who needs to relocate quickly should attempt to sell first while someone who has the finances on-hand to make an offer on their dream home should try to buy first.

Some benefits to selling first may include avoiding two simultaneous mortgage payments and having cash-on-hand to make a down payment on a new home. However, selling your home initially may make you feel pressured to buy quickly and force you to pay additional costs for temporary housing and storage. If you choose to buy before you sell, you'll have a place to move your belongings and you may feel less stressed during the home sale process but you also run the risk of not qualifying for a new mortgage or having your funds tied up in your older property.

3  Tips for Selling Your Home Before You Buy Another

  1. Request a rent back contingency. Before accepting an offer, request a rent-back contingency from the buyer. This contingency will allow you to rent the home from the buyer temporarily until you close on your next property.

  2. Have a backup plan. In the event that you must vacate the property before purchasing a new one, you'll need a backup plan. Research short-term rentals in the area and price out storage units nearby.

  3. Prepare your savings account. Without access to the equity in your original home, you need to be prepared to pay for closing costs in addition to your down payment. Make sure your savings are large enough to cover any sudden expenses until you receive the income from your home sale.

3  Tips for Buying a Property Before Selling Your Home

  1. Include a home sale contingency with your offer. A sale and settlement contingency enables you to buy the new home only if you successfully sell your old home. Although this allows the seller to still entertain offers from other buyers, it provides you with a safety net should the sale of your home fall apart during negotiations.

  2. Make sure your old home is ready to sell before you make an offer. Shopping for a new home is exciting, but you must first make sure your old home is ready to sell. Complete all repairs, remodels, or renovations to the entire home so it is presentable when you're ready to list.

  3. Budget accordingly and anticipate a low offer. After you've closed on your new home, you need to keep your finances balanced. Even if you've slightly exceeded your budget during the buying process, you should still be prepared to accept an offer lower than the asking price on your former home. Conceding a few thousand dollars is better in the long run than attempting to afford two mortgages for months at a time.
Selling your home while buying a house is quite a feat but success in both endeavors is possible. Call me for advice before deciding which transaction to tackle first.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Keep in Touch with Neighbors
After You Move

Woman using cell to make callSelling a home is the start of a new chapter in life, but that doesn't mean you can't retain important elements of your previous life, such as your old friendships with neighbors. Even though you may not live close by, you should try to maintain and strengthen your relationships with those you care about. Use these five suggestions to keep in touch with your friends and neighbors after you relocate.

  1. Social Media
    Social media has forever changed the way that we can stay in touch, communicate, and reconnect with those from our past and present. Because these applications are generally easy to use and are available on everything from smartphones and computers to televisions and gaming systems, it's never been easier to stay in the loop with what's going on in an old friend's life. Add your neighbors to your friends' list so you can keep up with their status updates and talk whenever you wish.

  2. Texting & Phone Calls
    Similar to social media, text messaging is another rapid way to communicate with others casually. Though it may be considered a little more formal, a phone call is an equally easy way to reach out. Many people find a phone call to be a more personal and significant gesture. Setting the time aside to speak with someone over the phone is a great way to catch up and lend an emotional depth to your conversation that is often absent in text-based messaging.

  3. Special Correspondence
    Phone calls and emails are effective, but that doesn't mean you need to limit your communication to these simple methods. Infrequent yet special ways of reaching out, such as writing a letter or sending a gift, are quite a meaningful gesture. Sending a handwritten letter or small package through traditional mail shows that you care enough to go the extra mile to make your old neighbors feel appreciated.

  4. Schedule & Stick to Plans
    Although distance can create obstacles for frequent in-person communication, you can plan ahead and schedule dates to meet with your former neighbors. As you chat via social media or on the phone, schedule a time to get together for lunch or coffee. It could be to celebrate a special occasion or just any old weekday that you both have time available. Whichever you decide, make sure you make this meeting a priority — postponing or rescheduling will make time slip by before you know it.

  5. Make a Sincere Effort
    Ultimately, the best way to stay in touch with your former neighbors is by communicating via a method and frequency that is meaningful to them. For instance, some individuals value friendships that have frequent communication regardless of form. Other individuals may be satisfied with not communicating for long periods of time, provided that the times that you two do speak or see each other are spent enjoying each other's company.
Staying in touch with your longtime friends and neighbors after selling a home doesn't need to be difficult. By using a variety of communication methods, going the extra mile to stay connected in-person, and understanding what makes your old friends feel appreciated, you can maintain and strengthen your relationships with your previous neighbors no matter how far away you've relocated after selling a home.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Get Your Home in Camera-Ready
Shape for Virtual Open Houses
 
Kitchen viewed on camera
With the emergence of the coronavirus, how you sell your home has changed for the foreseeable future. It may be quite a while before you are comfortable with buyers physically touring our homes even when a possible purchase offer is on the line, and rightfully so.

Keeping your home sale rolling may not be impossible thanks to technology and virtual open houses. A virtual open house is a live event scheduled at a designated time, just like a traditional open house. However, instead of people physically touring your home, your real estate agent "shows" the home virtually via video, then promotes that video presentation on Facebook or YouTube.

Virtual open houses are an effective way to give buyers a full "picture" of your home from a safe distance. Here are tips to get your home in camera-ready shape when preparing for a virtual open house.
  1. See What the Camera Will See
    It's commonly said a camera adds ten pounds, making you look heavier than you really are. The same concept holds true with a room. While a room feels comfortable when you're sitting in it, the camera may picture it as crowded and cluttered.

  2. Make Your Home Sparkling Clean
    Start by cleaning every nook and cranny. A camera catches what we turn a blind eye to. Start by clearing tabletops, countertops, and that "one spot" in your home where everything accumulates. Deep clean carpets and rugs, wash baseboards, wipe down fan blades and don't forget about the fingerprints on your refrigerator door. Having a deep clean completed will make it easier to keep the entire house consistently clean when the time comes for physical walkthroughs.

  3. Know What to Leave and What to Stash
    The goal is to make rooms visibly appear larger in videos. Remove or rearrange large pieces of furniture. Find a new home fore "extra" pieces of furniture that make your rooms feel overstuffed on camera. Do leave key pieces such as floor or tabletop lamps, plants, or a stack of books, so potential buyers get a feeling of scale in your home.

  4. Add Color for Interest
    Now is the time to add back--just a little! A few well-placed, colorful room accessories like throw pillows, a green plant, or colorful flowers add interest to your rooms in the video.

  5. Keep Your Home in Showing-Ready Shape
    Buyers viewing your home virtually will expect the same house when they see it in person, so keep it in showing-ready shape.
Taking the time to prepare your home for a virtual open house makes for a better presentation and, hopefully, a faster sale.’

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
How Not to Lose Money
When You're Selling
 
Picture of house
You're selling your home to recoup your investment and fund your financial goals--to lose money during the sale is an unthinkable possibility that unfortunately befalls many sellers.
 
Even if they successfully sell their home for an amount higher than they originally paid for the property, there are still many ways in which the seller can miss out on thousands of dollars. The following are a few surefire ways you can instantly lose money when selling your home.
  • Not Hiring the Right Listing Agent.
    Enlisting the help of a real estate agent can make a world of difference. An inexperienced real estate agent can help you sell the home, but a dynamic, knowledgeable, and successful agent can help you maximize your profit. These individuals understand real estate transactions on a detailed level and can help you navigate this process to your financial advantage.

  • Trying to Cut Costs
    If you think cutting costs will increase your profit, think again! Investing in specific elements of your home can lead to a higher sale price. High-quality photography for your listing is necessary to encourage buyer interest. Renovations and repairs add value to the house while cosmetic adjustments to the exterior increase curb appeal and add perceived value to the property. Instead of looking for areas to cut costs, highlight the investment opportunities that can add tens of thousands of dollars extra to the sale.

  • Being Stubborn With the Asking Price
    Pricing your home correctly is key to getting the profit margins you want. Although you may believe that the house is worth more than your agent's suggested listing price, overpricing the property could cost you in the long run. Overpricing your home could cause it to linger on the market and eventually cause you to drop its price to attract buyers. Also, contingencies in the purchase contract may allow a buyer to drop out of the sale if the appraisal is significantly lower than the listing price. Setting a realistic price according to the comparative market analysis is typically the most financially sound decision.

  • Intentionally Deceiving Buyers
    Never try to hide important information from your buyers, such as old damages or liens against the home. Not only is this illegal and cost result in penalty fees, but you can also be forced to fix these issues when they are discovered, which could instantly cost you thousands of dollars.

  • Allowing Emotion to Drive Your Decisions
    Selling your home is an emotional decision; however, you cannot let your emotions dictate your decisions throughout the transaction. Negotiations, inspections, and appraisals can create stress, but you must always retain your composure and act professionally. Expressing negative emotions or making rash decisions can drive buyers away and lower your potential earnings.
Though many of these mistakes are common, you can easily avoid them with help from your listing agent. As quickly as you may want to complete the transaction, selling your home takes time, patience, and a level head. Navigate this process responsibly and reasonably to maximize your profits.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Your Post-Sale To-Do List
 
Post it with to do items
Selling your home is a wonderful feeling, but there's plenty still left to do after you've accepted an offer on your former property. Regardless if you're purchasing a new home or if you're moving into a rental property, all sellers need to consider these ten things after selling their homes.
  1. Stay Organized
    All of the documents you've received during this transaction will continue to be relevant long after you've completed the sale. Store these documents in a secure space and make backup copies available on a digital storage device.

  2. Clear Out Your Belongings & Trash
    During your final walkthrough, make sure all of your possessions not included in the sale are removed. Be sure to check all spaces for items or trash, including cabinets, closets, pantries, garages, attics, and crawl spaces.

  3. Have a Plan for Long-term Storage
    If you're not immediately moving into a space large enough for all of your possessions, you'll need to budget for a long-term storage plan. Find temporary housing for your items and research other options that will work best with your lifestyle needs and budget.

  4. Leave All Essential Paperwork
    As you leave your former home for the last time, be sure to leave behind all essential paperwork that the new owner may need. This requires all permitting, insurance, warranties, service receipts, and other paperwork concerning the home's structural and legal standing.

  5. Cancel Old Services
    Contact utility and other service providers so that you can cancel all services to the home and switch them over to your new property.

  6. Change Your Address
    Contact the post office to officially change your address and make sure you contact subscription providers to update your information.

  7. Research Tax Breaks
    In many situations, sellers are eligible for certain tax breaks associated with their home sale. Consult your agent or a CPA for more information about the current tax laws.

  8. Allocate Your Sale Sum Wisely
    Unless you are immediately investing the funds received from the sale of your home into a new property, it's wise to consult a financial advisor about the best ways to save or spend this large sum.

  9. Consider Your Next Steps
    Now that you've finished selling your home, you may be wondering what steps you should take next. No matter where you believe your path is headed, we suggest that all sellers approach their next decisions with patience.

  10. Celebrate Your Success
    Selling your home is quite the triumph and you deserve to celebrate your accomplishment. The next steps will unfold in time. Until then, take a moment to reflect on this success with pride.
Before you toast to new beginnings, make sure you tend to these ten tips to ensure that your hard work continues to pay off. Through planning, patience, and practical decision-making, you can set yourself up nicely for the next chapter of your life!

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
When It's Time to Call
in the Professionals
 
Clipboard with estimate
Remodels and renovations can transform your home in powerful ways. Whether you're preparing to list your house or if you've recently moved into a space that needs a facelift, a home improvement project will make any room feel refreshed. There are plenty of home improvement projects that you can accomplish with a few supplies and a little hard work, however, homeowners should acknowledge that some tasks are best left to professionals. Let's take a look at the most common home improvement projects and identify which ones require the help of licensed, trained, and certified specialists.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® Magazine, here are eight of the most common home improvement projects:
  1. Kitchen Remodels
    A renovated kitchen can increase a home's value and make it feel like the heart of a home. There are a number of tasks you can complete yourself like painting, replacing the backsplash, and refinishing cabinetry. However, any rewiring of electrical sockets or installation of smart tech that involves electrical work should be left to a professional electrician.

  2. Bathroom Remodels
    Aside from the kitchen, a renovated bathroom is one of the top DIY projects homeowners tackle. Thousands of homeowners quickly and efficiently replace their flooring, tubs, toilets, and vanities without assistance. When it comes to any serious plumbing work, however, a licensed and certified plumber should be called.

  3. Repairing Property Damage
    Property damage comes in all shapes and sizes which is beneficial for homeowners who want to replace a property fence or repave a driveway without hiring a third party company. Unfortunately, many serious property damages — especially those which require an insurance claim — will likely require professional repairs.

  4. Roofing Repairs/Replacements
    As a vital element of the home, roof damage should not be taken lightly. Leaks, missing shingles, and other forms of trauma to the roof could turn into serious issues that impact the integrity of your house. Not only is it dangerous to attempt to complete repairs or replacements alone, but your homeowner's insurance may require the work to be completed by a professional to ensure the structure is safely preserved.

  5. Garage Repairs/Replacements
    All homeowners should know that the garage door is actually one of the most dangerous aspects of your home to try to repair or replace. We recommend that all homeowners allow only licensed and trained garage door specialists to complete all garage door work.

  6. Basement Finishing
    A finished basement is a huge perk for those who desire more functional space throughout the home. This is one area where you can DIY nearly everything. From new flooring to installing cabinetry, most improvements in the basement can be completed with a little patience and skill. Keep in mind that any electrical or plumbing work in this room must only be handled by a professional.

  7. Structural Changes
    Depending on your local laws, you may need permits before undertaking major renovations or remodels such as adding additional rooms or building outdoor structures like sheds or decks. Many of these projects may require inspections as well which is why we suggest that homeowners perform thorough research and consult professionals before attempting large-scale projects.

  8. Windows/Door Replacements
    Similarly, permits are often required for the replacement of windows or exterior doors. Some state laws will allow homeowners to act as their own contractors for these replacements, however, we encourage homeowners to investigate further before starting the project.
Home improvement projects can transform a house into your dream home — but many of these remodels and renovations require the expertise of a professional. Before attempting any home improvement project, be sure to conduct thorough research to determine if you legally need the assistance of a licensed professional.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Tips to Avoid Overpricing Your Home
 
Picture of homeSelling your home can be difficult, especially on an emotional level. Every day spent within these walls has left a mark on your memory. As family and friends gathered to share life's joys with you, this house has become a part of you. When the time comes to sell, it's not uncommon for sellers to recall these memories and allow their emotions to drive up the price. Unfortunately, overpricing your home is one of the worst mistakes a seller can make.

You believe our home is worth every penny of its listing price, and you're not wrong. It's natural for sellers to think that the time, effort, and home improvement investments they invested should be accounted for in the price. However, perceived value and actual value are seldom ever similar when it comes to selling your home.
Two common mistakes sellers make are pricing the home high in hopes to negotiate and purposely pricing the home higher than the comparative market analysis suggests. How can these decisions negatively impact the success of selling your home?
  • Buyers may not feel comfortable offering a lower price. While buyers may offer a price that they believe is reasonable, they also may withhold their offer so that they don't offend the seller.

  • The market can change over time. Today's housing market and tomorrow's housing market may be dramatically different. If your overpriced home sits on the market for too long, there's a chance that interest rates, inventory levels, and economic health may change for the worse.

  • Price reductions may show desperation. If a buyer is interested enough in your home, chances are that they'll monitor the listing for price reductions. When they see that the price has been reduced after the house has been listed for days without success, they make take advantage of your willingness to sell and place an offer that's lower than asking price.

  • Showing quality may suffer. If you're selling your home using tried-and-true tricks like enlisting weekly cleaning services and lawn care maintenance, these costs will quickly add up. Unless you keep investing in your home's presentation, you risk letting the home's visual appeal suffer, which may turn away buyers.

  • High priced homes help other sellers. Even if your home is listed for a few thousand more than another comparable property in your area, you're still viewed as the most expensive. Other sellers may be willing to sweeten their listing by opening themselves up to negotiations from buyers or offering them small incentives that make their property more enticing than yours.

How Can You Avoid Overpricing Your Home?

First, as your real estate agent I will conduct a competitive market analysis. Then, have your home appraised before listing it so you'll know a reasonable price range. Finally, you should try not to let your emotions influence your perception of the home's value.

Ultimately, my goal is to help you successfully sell your home. As an experienced, professional and knowledgeable agent, in consultation with you, we will price your home for an amount that maximizes your financial benefit while staying within a price range that buyers find reasonable and appealing.

Selling your home can be a positive experience, especially when it's priced to sell. Trust in me and the hard data I will provide to avoid overpricing your property.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
How to Stop Your Home
Sale in Its Tracks
 
Man making stop sign to womanSelling your home is an exciting process, especially when you're oh-so-close to finalizing the sale. Although there may be a hundred and one reasons why a buyer will love your house, there are unfortunately just as many ways that a seller can self-sabotage opportunities to seal the deal — or even receive an initial offer. How can you accidentally stop a home sale in its tracks? Here are a few of the common ways that sellers can upend their own home sale.
  • Pricing the Property Incorrectly
    Every seller believes that their home is worth every penny of the listing price. Sadly, this doesn't always equate to what the appraisal value says or what the buyer is willing to offer. Underpricing can detract just as many buyers as overpricing. Overpriced homes may sit on the market while underpriced homes could make buyers wonder what problems are driving the price down.

  • Creating a Poor Listing
    The price isn't the only consideration buyers weigh when looking at your home online. The listing itself needs to be up to par if you want to draw in qualified and motivated buyers. One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is not using high-quality photographs to showcase the home. Outdated, poor photography coupled with a less than compelling description could make a potential buyer look elsewhere.

  • Neglecting the Exterior
    The importance of curb appeal cannot be understated. The front of the home is the first and last thing buyers will view when touring the property which means it's imperative that you make a fantastic impression. Investing in landscaping as well as enhancing spaces like the front porch, cleaning up the curbside, and maximizing the rear entertaining area will leave a lasting impression. For assistance with the green spaces, consider hiring a landscaping crew to trim and tidy the area up each week.

  • Forgetting to Declutter
    Even if you're selling your home under a tight timeline, you need to put extra effort into preparing for the showing. Too much clutter or lack of organization can make the home seem cramped. Leaving out personal items such as family photographs, awards, or holiday décor may lend too much personality to the home. Remember, buyers need to see themselves in the home, not envision who currently lives there.

  • Choosing Not to Stage
    While there are many instances in which showing a vacant home is an excellent and effective idea, many real estate agents recommend having a professional staging company prepare your home for showings. Their experience is invaluable, as they'll identify the best ways to showcase your home to a diverse audience of buyers.

  • Overlooking Little Problems
    Selling a home is quite a feat and there are many responsibilities to juggle. Unfortunately, forgetting to address the smaller issues of a home can actually create larger problems. Burned-out light bulbs, missing electrical covers, broken blinds, distracting smells, and dirty surfaces can immediately make your home lose its charm. Be thorough in your preparations by having your agent complete a walkthrough with a checklist and consider hiring a cleaning company to give the space a quick clean each week.

  • Hiding Major Problems
    What's worse than forgetting to fix small issues? Trying to hide major issues. You should always be honest when it comes to major problems in the house, especially those that impact the health and safety of the new owners. Not only will these issues likely be uncovered in the inspection, but failing to disclose them could land you in serious trouble.

  • Being Stubborn During Negotiations
    Obviously, every seller wants their asking price and every buyer wants to secure a great deal. While there are many requests from each side that are unreasonable, a seller must be willing to make concessions to successfully close the sale. From replacing an old roof to paying for some closing costs, be willing to negotiate when selling your home.
Selling your home doesn't need to be a frustrating or drawn-out process. By acknowledging the pitfalls that trap other sellers, you can avoid stopping your home sale in its tracks.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
5 Tips For Selling Your Home
During The Coronavirus Pandemic
 
Woman using iPadLife is changing incredibly fast during the coronavirus pandemic and many industries are following suit, including real estate. While some sellers are deciding to pull their homes off the market and try to sell at a different time that may not be an option for everyone.

With that in mind, if you are trying to sell your home in this market, there are some things that you can do to help keep everyone involved as safe and healthy as possible. Read on below to learn more.

Cancel any open houses
Unfortunately, even though open houses are typically an efficient tool to show your home to many people at once, they are just not advisable right now, given the current restrictions around large gatherings.

Put simply, there’s no easy way to regulate how many people come into your home at once during one of these events. Rather than risking creating an unsafe environment, it’s better just to cancel these events and to use other methods to market your home.

Create a video tour
To that end, I would advise creating a video tour of your home as part of their marketing process. Many MLS websites allow agents to upload video files to listings in addition to photos.

Watching a video tour will allow potential buyers to get a sense for the layout of your home before they see it in person. Ultimately, it will help give them a better idea of whether or not your home could be a good fit for them. Ask me about 3D virtual tours! On your end, it will also help to limit the amount of traffic going through your home to only those buyers who have serious interest in your property.

Clean your home before and after showings
While you should always clean your home before showings, these days, this task is taking on a new level of importance. Be sure to clean your home as thoroughly as you can before and after any scheduled showings in order to create the safest possible environment for everyone involved.  You may also want to have a selection of personal hygiene products like hand sanitizer available for buyers to use while they are viewing your home.

Use teleconferencing and e-signing programs to negotiate contracts
Once you do get an offer, you can handle it digitally. Thanks to technology, there are many different e-signing programs that you can use to sign contracts without having to go into an office and meet with your agent.  If you’re unfamiliar with this process, ask me for assistance. I can teleconference with you as you sign the documents. That way, you can get your questions answered before you sign on the dotted line.

Don’t be afraid to take a break
There’s so much uncertainty around the virus that everyone has to use their best judgement on how to stay safe. Don’t be afraid to take a break from marketing your home if you feel that’s what’s best, especially if you or someone in your family is feeling ill.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
When It's Time to Call
in the Professionals
 
Remodel in progress
Remodels and renovations can transform your home in powerful ways. Whether you're preparing to list your house or if you've recently moved into a space that needs a facelift, a home improvement project will make any room feel refreshed. There are plenty of home improvement projects that you can accomplish with a few supplies and a little hard work, however, homeowners should acknowledge that some tasks are best left to professionals. Let's take a look at the most common home improvement projects and identify which ones require the help of licensed, trained, and certified specialists.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® Magazine, here are eight of the most common home improvement projects:
  1. Kitchen Remodels
    A renovated kitchen can increase a home's value and make it feel like the heart of a home. There are a number of tasks you can complete yourself like painting, replacing the backsplash, and refinishing cabinetry. However, any rewiring of electrical sockets or installation of smart tech that involves electrical work should be left to a professional electrician.

  2. Bathroom Remodels
    Aside from the kitchen, a renovated bathroom is one of the top DIY projects homeowners tackle. Thousands of homeowners quickly and efficiently replace their flooring, tubs, toilets, and vanities without assistance. When it comes to any serious plumbing work, however, a licensed and certified plumber should be called.

  3. Repairing Property Damage
    Property damage comes in all shapes and sizes which is beneficial for homeowners who want to replace a property fence or repave a driveway without hiring a third party company. Unfortunately, many serious property damages — especially those which require an insurance claim — will likely require professional repairs.

  4. Roofing Repairs/Replacements
    As a vital element of the home, roof damage should not be taken lightly. Leaks, missing shingles, and other forms of trauma to the roof could turn into serious issues that impact the integrity of your house. Not only is it dangerous to attempt to complete repairs or replacements alone, but your homeowner's insurance may require the work to be completed by a professional to ensure the structure is safely preserved.

  5. Garage Repairs/Replacements
    All homeowners should know that the garage door is actually one of the most dangerous aspects of your home to try to repair or replace. We recommend that all homeowners allow only licensed and trained garage door specialists to complete all garage door work.

  6. Basement Finishing
    A finished basement is a huge perk for those who desire more functional space throughout the home. This is one area where you can DIY nearly everything. From new flooring to installing cabinetry, most improvements in the basement can be completed with a little patience and skill. Keep in mind that any electrical or plumbing work in this room must only be handled by a professional.

  7. Structural Changes
    Depending on your local laws, you may need permits before undertaking major renovations or remodels such as adding additional rooms or building outdoor structures like sheds or decks. Many of these projects may require inspections as well which is why we suggest that homeowners perform thorough research and consult professionals before attempting large-scale projects.

  8. Windows/Door Replacements
    Similarly, permits are often required for the replacement of windows or exterior doors. Some state laws will allow homeowners to act as their own contractors for these replacements, however, we encourage homeowners to investigate further before starting the project.
Home improvement projects can transform a house into your dream home — but many of these remodels and renovations require the expertise of a professional. Before attempting any home improvement project, be sure to conduct thorough research to determine if you legally need the assistance of a licensed professional.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Tips to Avoid Overpricing Your Home
 
Drawing of home with cash
Selling your home can be difficult, especially on an emotional level. Every day spent within these walls has left a mark on your memory. As family and friends gathered to share life's joys with you, this house has become a part of you. When the time comes to sell, it's not uncommon for sellers to recall these memories and allow their emotions to drive up the price. Unfortunately, overpricing your home is one of the worst mistakes a seller can make.

You believe our home is worth every penny of its listing price, and you're not wrong. It's natural for sellers to think that the time, effort, and home improvement investments they invested should be accounted for in the price. However, perceived value and actual value are seldom ever similar when it comes to selling your home.
Two common mistakes sellers make are pricing the home high in hopes to negotiate and purposely pricing the home higher than the comparative market analysis suggests. How can these decisions negatively impact the success of selling your home?
  • Buyers may not feel comfortable offering a lower price. While buyers may offer a price that they believe is reasonable, they also may withhold their offer so that they don't offend the seller.

  • The market can change over time. Today's housing market and tomorrow's housing market may be dramatically different. If your overpriced home sits on the market for too long, there's a chance that interest rates, inventory levels, and economic health may change for the worse.

  • Price reductions may show desperation. If a buyer is interested enough in your home, chances are that they'll monitor the listing for price reductions. When they see that the price has been reduced after the house has been listed for days without success, they make take advantage of your willingness to sell and place an offer that's lower than asking price.

  • Showing quality may suffer. If you're selling your home using tried-and-true tricks like enlisting weekly cleaning services and lawn care maintenance, these costs will quickly add up. Unless you keep investing in your home's presentation, you risk letting the home's visual appeal suffer, which may turn away buyers.

  • High priced homes help other sellers. Even if your home is listed for a few thousand more than another comparable property in your area, you're still viewed as the most expensive. Other sellers may be willing to sweeten their listing by opening themselves up to negotiations from buyers or offering them small incentives that make their property more enticing than yours.

How Can You Avoid Overpricing Your Home?

First, as your real estate agent I will conduct a competitive market analysis. Then, have your home appraised before listing it so you'll know a reasonable price range. Finally, you should try not to let your emotions influence your perception of the home's value.

Ultimately, my goal is to help you successfully sell your home. As an experienced, professional and knowledgeable agent, in consultation with you, we will price your home for an amount that maximizes your financial benefit while staying within a price range that buyers find reasonable and appealing.

Selling your home can be a positive experience, especially when it's priced to sell. Trust in me and the hard data I will provide to avoid overpricing your property.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
When It's Time to Call
in the Professionals
 
Professional looking woman offering advise
Remodels and renovations can transform your home in powerful ways. Whether you're preparing to list your house or if you've recently moved into a space that needs a facelift, a home improvement project will make any room feel refreshed. There are plenty of home improvement projects that you can accomplish with a few supplies and a little hard work, however, homeowners should acknowledge that some tasks are best left to professionals. Let's take a look at the most common home improvement projects and identify which ones require the help of licensed, trained, and certified specialists.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® Magazine, here are eight of the most common home improvement projects:
  1. Kitchen Remodels A renovated kitchen can increase a home's value and make it feel like the heart of a home. There are a number of tasks you can complete yourself like painting, replacing the backsplash, and refinishing cabinetry. However, any rewiring of electrical sockets or installation of smart tech that involves electrical work should be left to a professional electrician.

  2. Bathroom Remodels Aside from the kitchen, a renovated bathroom is one of the top DIY projects homeowners tackle. Thousands of homeowners quickly and efficiently replace their flooring, tubs, toilets, and vanities without assistance. When it comes to any serious plumbing work, however, a licensed and certified plumber should be called.

  3. Repairing Property Damage Property damage comes in all shapes and sizes which is beneficial for homeowners who want to replace a property fence or repave a driveway without hiring a third party company. Unfortunately, many serious property damages — especially those which require an insurance claim — will likely require professional repairs.

  4. Roofing Repairs/Replacements As a vital element of the home, roof damage should not be taken lightly. Leaks, missing shingles, and other forms of trauma to the roof could turn into serious issues that impact the integrity of your house. Not only is it dangerous to attempt to complete repairs or replacements alone, but your homeowner's insurance may require the work to be completed by a professional to ensure the structure is safely preserved.

  5. Garage Repairs/Replacements All homeowners should know that the garage door is actually one of the most dangerous aspects of your home to try to repair or replace. We recommend that all homeowners allow only licensed and trained garage door specialists to complete all garage door work.

  6. Basement Finishing A finished basement is a huge perk for those who desire more functional space throughout the home. This is one area where you can DIY nearly everything. From new flooring to installing cabinetry, most improvements in the basement can be completed with a little patience and skill. Keep in mind that any electrical or plumbing work in this room must only be handled by a professional.

  7. Structural Changes Depending on your local laws, you may need permits before undertaking major renovations or remodels such as adding additional rooms or building outdoor structures like sheds or decks. Many of these projects may require inspections as well which is why we suggest that homeowners perform thorough research and consult professionals before attempting large-scale projects.

  8. Windows/Door Replacements Similarly, permits are often required for the replacement of windows or exterior doors. Some state laws will allow homeowners to act as their own contractors for these replacements, however, we encourage homeowners to investigate further before starting the project.
Home improvement projects can transform a house into your dream home — but many of these remodels and renovations require the expertise of a professional. Before attempting any home improvement project, be sure to conduct thorough research to determine if you legally need the assistance of a licensed professional.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me.  I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
How to Stop Your Home
Sale in Its Tracks
 
Man waving off sale
Selling your home is an exciting process, especially when you're oh-so-close to finalizing the sale. Although there may be a hundred and one reasons why a buyer will love your house, there are unfortunately just as many ways that a seller can self-sabotage opportunities to seal the deal — or even receive an initial offer. How can you accidentally stop a home sale in its tracks? Here are a few of the common ways that sellers can upend their own home sale.
  • Pricing the Property Incorrectly Every seller believes that their home is worth every penny of the listing price. Sadly, this doesn't always equate to what the appraisal value says or what the buyer is willing to offer. Underpricing can detract just as many buyers as overpricing. Overpriced homes may sit on the market while underpriced homes could make buyers wonder what problems are driving the price down.

  • Creating a Poor Listing The price isn't the only consideration buyers weigh when looking at your home online. The listing itself needs to be up to par if you want to draw in qualified and motivated buyers. One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is not using high-quality photographs to showcase the home. Outdated, poor photography coupled with a less than compelling description could make a potential buyer look elsewhere.

  • Neglecting the Exterior The importance of curb appeal cannot be understated. The front of the home is the first and last thing buyers will view when touring the property which means it's imperative that you make a fantastic impression. Investing in landscaping as well as enhancing spaces like the front porch, cleaning up the curbside, and maximizing the rear entertaining area will leave a lasting impression. For assistance with the green spaces, consider hiring a landscaping crew to trim and tidy the area up each week.

  • Forgetting to Declutter Even if you're selling your home under a tight timeline, you need to put extra effort into preparing for the showing. Too much clutter or lack of organization can make the home seem cramped. Leaving out personal items such as family photographs, awards, or holiday décor may lend too much personality to the home. Remember, buyers need to see themselves in the home, not envision who currently lives there.

  • Choosing Not to Stage While there are many instances in which showing a vacant home is an excellent and effective idea, many real estate agents recommend having a professional staging company prepare your home for showings. Their experience is invaluable, as they'll identify the best ways to showcase your home to a diverse audience of buyers.

  • Overlooking Little Problems Selling a home is quite a feat and there are many responsibilities to juggle. Unfortunately, forgetting to address the smaller issues of a home can actually create larger problems. Burned-out light bulbs, missing electrical covers, broken blinds, distracting smells, and dirty surfaces can immediately make your home lose its charm. Be thorough in your preparations by having your agent complete a walkthrough with a checklist and consider hiring a cleaning company to give the space a quick clean each week.

  • Hiding Major Problems What's worse than forgetting to fix small issues? Trying to hide major issues. You should always be honest when it comes to major problems in the house, especially those that impact the health and safety of the new owners. Not only will these issues likely be uncovered in the inspection, but failing to disclose them could land you in serious trouble.

  • Being Stubborn During Negotiations Obviously, every seller wants their asking price and every buyer wants to secure a great deal. While there are many requests from each side that are unreasonable, a seller must be willing to make concessions to successfully close the sale. From replacing an old roof to paying for some closing costs, be willing to negotiate when selling your home.
Selling your home doesn't need to be a frustrating or drawn-out process. By acknowledging the pitfalls that trap other sellers, you can avoid stopping your home sale in its tracks.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
5 Tips For Selling Your Home
During The Coronavirus Pandemic
 
Home for sale
Life is changing incredibly fast during the coronavirus pandemic and many industries are following suit, including real estate. While some sellers are deciding to pull their homes off the market and try to sell at a different time that may not be an option for everyone.
With that in mind, if you are trying to sell your home in this market, there are some things that you can do to help keep everyone involved as safe and healthy as possible. Read on below to learn more.

Cancel any open houses
Unfortunately, even though open houses are typically an efficient tool to show your home to many people at once, they are just not advisable right now, given the current restrictions around large gatherings. 
Put simply, there’s no easy way to regulate how many people come into your home at once during one of these events. Rather than risking creating an unsafe environment, it’s better just to cancel these events and to use other methods to market your home.

Create a video tour
To that end, I would advise creating a video tour of your home as part of their marketing process. Many MLS websites allow agents to upload video files to listings in addition to photos.
Watching a video tour will allow potential buyers to get a sense for the layout of your home before they see it in person. Ultimately, it will help give them a better idea of whether or not your home could be a good fit for them. Ask me about 3D virtual tours!
On your end, it will also help to limit the amount of traffic going through your home to only those buyers who have serious interest in your property.

Clean your home before and after showings
While you should always clean your home before showings, these days, this task is taking on a new level of importance. Be sure to clean your home as thoroughly as you can before and after any scheduled showings in order to create the safest possible environment for everyone involved.
You may also want to have a selection of personal hygiene products like hand sanitizer available for buyers to use while they are viewing your home.

Use teleconferencing and e-signing programs to negotiate contracts
Once you do get an offer, you can handle it digitally. Thanks to technology, there are many different e-signing programs that you can use to sign contracts without having to go into an office and meet with your agent.
If you’re unfamiliar with this process, ask me for assistance. I can teleconference with you as you sign the documents. That way, you can get your questions answered before you sign on the dotted line.

Don’t be afraid to take a break
There’s so much uncertainty around the virus that everyone has to use their best judgement on how to stay safe. Don’t be afraid to take a break from marketing your home if you feel that’s what’s best, especially if you or someone in your family is feeling ill.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
How to Sell a Home with
a Reverse Mortgage

Sign:  Reverse Mortgage
A reverse mortgage is a type of mortgage loan that enables homeowners, particularly seniors, to access the accumulated equity value of their home without selling it.

Reverse mortgages first arrived in the 1960s but have become popular in recent years. More homeowners are using them for the funds required to comfortably age in place.

Sometimes, however, plans change. Some homeowners discover they want to move after all, perhaps to be close to family. Others move into an assisted living environment to help them with the demands of aging. What happens to the reverse mortgage then?
Good news: You can still sell a home with a reverse mortgage – if you know how.

Selling Your Home With a Reverse Mortgage
The majority of homes on the market have an outstanding mortgage. A reverse mortgage is very similar. Although it might seem intimidating, it merely means you'll need to do things in the right order.
Here's the best approach to selling your home with a reverse mortgage:
  1. Consider Prepaying Your Mortgage One of the most important things to remember about a reverse mortgage is that you can pay it any time you are able. Some other loans include penalties that cost you more money if you pay early – a reverse mortgage is required to be penalty-free. Look at your budget, goals, and resources to determine whether paying early ("prepayment") is a possibility.

  2. Discuss Things With Your Lender To move forward on paying any part of your loan, you'll need a formal payoff quote from your lender. A payoff quote is more accurate than the account summary you may be able to obtain on the lender website, but it is only valid for a short period of time. Your lender may also be able to suggest payment options to help facilitate your moving goals.

  3. Contact a Real Estate Agent When your home is sold, the proceeds are used to pay off the remaining balance of your reverse mortgage. With that in mind, it's vital to connect with me a licensed real estate agent. I can ensure your home is priced to sell while still meeting all your financial goals. Attracting reliable, motivated buyers within 90 days is the hallmark of a successful sale.

  4. List Your Home for Sale Once I know your needs, I can take the reins on the selling process. Still, it's wise to be ready to provide a unique perspective only you can offer. For example, the seller is often a crucial part of a successful open house. I will advise you on the attention your property is getting, and layout offers for you to consider.

  5. Optionally, Talk to a Real Estate Attorney It isn't usually crucial, but a real estate attorney can do some extra footwork to be sure your reverse mortgage is fully paid off. This extra layer of verification will protect you from any chance the funds you get from the home sale aren't used the wrong way.

  6. Get Evidence of Your Loan Payment Last, but not least, follow up with your reverse mortgage lender one last time. They should issue a final statement that shows your balance is paid off in full. This can be sent to you in the form of registered mail you have to sign for, so the receipt is confirmed on all sides.
Selling your home with a reverse mortgage doesn't have to be a headache.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

10 Gifts to Leave for
Your Home's New Owner

Picture of gift sMoving into or out of a home is an event that is filled with lots of emotions for everyone. Those can range from happiness to sadness to excitement, or even a little fear. Leaving a small but thoughtful gift for the new owners of your home can help you close that period of your life a little easier. It's also a nice gesture to welcome the new owners and let them know you wish them well. Try one of these suggestions.
  1. Gift card for a nearby restaurant.
    Look for something that serves variety and just about anyone would like. If you can find one that delivers too, that can be a big help on moving day.
  2. Neighborhood guide.
    Include information for nearby restaurants and grocery stores, favorite boutiques, the nearest gym or any place nearby they might need right away,
  3. Personalized key ring.
    A good key ring is a necessity for the new keys. You can get a monogrammed one or something engraved for a special touch.
  4. New doormat.
    A doormat automatically makes the entrance look welcoming. And it's something that is often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of moving. You can go for something personalized with a monogram or family's last name or just something that fits with the style of the house.
  5. Specialty coffee and/or tea.
    Few people want to tackle their first morning in a new house without a cup of coffee first. If you have a coffee shop in the neighborhood that roasts their own or sells locally roasted it's a nice way to offer a connection to the new neighborhood.
  6. A vase.
    Fresh flowers can make a home look more inviting and the new owners can pick their own from the yard or buy some. You don't have to know their decor style since vases are very versatile.
  7. A plant.
    Again, it gives a nice homey touch and many plants are low maintenance but still look nice.
  8. A small package of toilet paper in each bathroom.
    It's not so much a gift and requires no explanation, but it is a nice gesture and much appreciated. Let's face it, it's the one thing you don't want to be digging through moving boxes for when you need it.
  9. Gift card for a local store.
    A gift card to a local store or even nearby department store to help add a personal touch to their new home is often a much-appreciated gift.
  10. A locally unique item.
    You should probably stay away from food because of allergies and storage issues, but there are other options. A framed map of the neighborhood, something with a connection to local history, fridge magnets that celebrate something unique about the city or state, or a cutting board in the shape of your state are just a few examples. The internet and local boutiques and markets are good places to find these items. Going with something that uses local materials or was created by a local artisan can make it a nice way to connect with the new neighborhood.

Moving into a new home can be quite an experience and leaving a little gift for the new owners with a note to wish them well is a nice gesture that will be appreciated.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

    Selling Your Home in a Virtual World

Picture desk with tablet computer

Like the rest of the world, the real estate industry has had to make significant adjustments due to COVID-19, to keep sales associates, buyers, and sellers safe. The process for selling your home may look different these days, but buyers and sellers are still motivated to close the deal virtually while navigating the new normal. Learn how to navigate this new market with our guide to selling your home in a virtual world.

  • Why Your Online Listing Is More Important Than Ever
    Online listings have been a vital element of the real estate marketing mix for years. In the past, buyers would rely on online listings to form first impressions and decide which homes to visit in person. Your online listing plays an even more critical role in selling your home today because buyers in many markets don't have the opportunity to see homes in person.

    Now, they need to be able to learn as much as possible about the home--and hopefully fall in love with the property--without visiting it first-hand. Professional-quality photography for your listing is the perfect place to start when selling your home. You'll also want to describe the property in as much detail as possible so that buyers searching for properties like yours can find it easily. Once your listing generates interest from buyers, you can use the other marketing tools on our list to close the deal.

    Virtual Tours Help Buyers Visit Homes from Anywhere
    While professional photography is a great start, buyers will often require a more immersive experience to fall in love with your home from a distance. That's where virtual tours come in, and it's no surprise that the popularity of virtual tours has increased dramatically due to COVID-19 precautions. Virtual tours allow buyers to travel through the home as if they were there, examining features, dreaming of what they would do with each room, and deciding whether the property fits their needs. A virtual tour makes selling your home easier because buyers can tour the home no matter where they're located, at any time that's convenient for them.

  • How a Virtual Open House Can Help Sell Your Home
    A virtual open house led by your sales associate takes the idea of a virtual tour to the next level, allowing them to provide crucial context, answer questions, and highlight features of the home. You can even use virtual staging to help buyers imagine what their lives would be like in the home!

    For a buyer who has already done extensive research on the home, a virtual open house provides a chance to solidify their impressions and convince them to prepare an offer. For someone who is seeing the home for the first time, a virtual open house may be your first and best opportunity to help them fall in love with the home.

  • Find a Sales Associate Who Knows Digital Marketing
    Finding the right sales associate is always a key factor in selling your home, and it's even more important today. When you're scouting sales associates, make sure that whoever you choose has an understanding of modern marketing tactics and all of the digital tools required for selling your home in this most unusual market.

Unusual challenges often require unusual solutions, and selling your home in today's market means embracing change. The good news is that a blueprint for success is already in place, with virtual sales tools and outside-the-box marketing ideas leading the way.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

6 Home Updates That
Really Pay Off

Room being paintedSelling your home is an opportunity to recoup your investment and finance your future goals--naturally, any homeowner wants to get top-dollar for their property. Unfortunately, some homeowners receive offers that are less than what they believe their home is worth. One way to prevent low offers from entering the picture is to invest in certain home improvements that may increase the value of your property. We recommend these six updates that can really pay off when selling your home.

  1. Remodel the Kitchen/Bathrooms
    The kitchen and bathrooms of a home are often regarded as two of the most important areas of any residential property. Both areas need to be accommodating and comfortable for all members of the household and their guests which means a remodel can immediately impress prospective buyers. While you may complete full remodels including flooring and cabinetry updates, upgrading appliances or fixtures and adding a fresh coat of paint is also an effective way to refresh these spaces.

  2. Replace Your Garage Door
    Believe it or not, a garage door is one of the areas sellers may overlook — and one that buyers may notice the most! Swapping out a dilapidated garage door for a new model does more than improve its functioning. It also enhances the safety and security of the home while adding to the aesthetic of your curb appeal. Although this is a pricey investment, many homeowners around the country report recouping nearly 100 percent of the investment.

  3. Finish the Basement/Attic

    Maximizing the space in any home is important, especially in houses that may have limited square-footage. While you may not be able to add an addition, you can revamp the existing spaces by turning your attic or basement into a finished room. Putting down flooring, adding insulation, and incorporating new furniture pieces can create a family room, lounge area, or even a guest bedroom. If you also install shelving or cabinetry, you can maximize storage space too.
  4. Integrate Smart Tech

    Smart technology is integrating itself into homes around the country. As these devices and software continue to evolve, they're enabling homeowners to interact with their home in innovative ways. Although not all smart devices are practical for buyers, investing in technology that provides convenience and potentially lowers energy bills can increase your home's value. Programmable thermostats, smart security systems, and smart home systems that unite multiple devices may be the amenities new generations of first-time homebuyers are looking for.

  5. Add a Deck/Patio
    Just as you want to maximize indoor space, you also want to offer ample outdoor space as well. Investing in landscaping is a great way to enhance your aesthetic but you must also keep in mind that buyers may want versatile outdoor living space. Installing a deck or patio with comfortable furniture and a focal point like an outdoor kitchen, firepit, or swimming pool may increase the home's value by offering additional perks that comparable houses don't possess.

  6. Replace Windows/Doors/Roof
    Not all updates are going to be as glitzy as a new bathroom or as entertaining as a finished basement. However, practical enhancements can go a long way in the eyes of the buyer. Replacing windows, doors, or roof systems in older homes can improve the aesthetic, decrease energy costs, and enhance security. It also takes care of any issues that may arise during the inspection before selling your home.

 While every homeowner should stick to a strict budget when making home improvements before listing their property, there are some investments that may increase the value of the home. Consult your real estate agent to discover which updates may pay off the most at closing.

 If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

How to Tell If a Buyer is Serious
Real Estate agent on phoneSelling your home involves a lot of time, effort, and often a financial investment. With so much put into this transaction from long before the listing until the final closing paperwork is signed, the last thing you want to do as a seller is waste your time trying to respectfully work with buyers who are not serious about purchasing your home. There's a perfect buyer out there for every home and many more who are willing to negotiate to your advantage, which means it's important to learn how to identify the qualified, motivated buyers from those who are simply telling you what you want to hear.
  1. They are already pre-approved for a mortgage.
    Mortgage pre-approval is a sign that a buyer is serious. Pre-approval signifies that they have their finances in order and will be able to afford your home.

  2. They're asking serious, specific questions about the home.

    While all prospective buyers will ask at least a handful of questions, keep an ear out for questions that are highly specific. Inquires about yearly property taxes, monthly utility bill averages, and other detailed questions show that they're serious about finding the home that fits their needs.

  3. They are well into their search and can clearly define what they're looking for.
    When a buyer can instantly and directly tell you what they're looking for in a home (and what they're not), it demonstrates their seriousness.

  4. Their own home is already up for sale, and they're operating on a timeline.
    Some buyers are working against the clock and are highly motivated to close on a new property, especially if their own home is also listed for sale. Selling your home to another seller may also make negotiations run more fluidly.

  5. They're making frequent trips to visit your home.
    Once your home makes the shortlist for a buyer, they'll try to schedule as many showings as possible. As their visits become more frequent in short intervals, it means they're getting ready to make an offer on one of their shortlisted homes.

  6. Their real estate agent is constantly keeping in touch with yours.
    Follow-ups from open houses are expected, but if a buyer's agent continues to reach out to yours with questions or comments, the buyer is exhibiting a strong interest.

  7. They're already using possessive language.

    Listen closely, and you may hear prospective buyers already referring to the home as "theirs." This shows that they already mentally believe that this will be their home soon.
  8. They've made a strong, reasonable offer.

    The highest offer isn't always the best offer, especially if it seems too good to be true. A motivated (and frankly, wise) buyer will submit a reasonable offer that they believe is fair to both parties.
  9. They're willing to negotiate on some terms.

    While a reasonable offer is a solid indication of their seriousness, including a willingness to negotiate, if necessary, is the cherry on top. A buyer who is already expressing professionalism will likely continue to conduct the transaction with the same demeanor.

Selling your home is a lot smoother of a process when you're only dealing with motivated, qualified buyers. While it's important to be courteous and respectful to every individual who tours your home, it's equally important to expect professionalism and only seriously consider those who are in a position to commit to an offer.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

10 Ways to Prep Your
Home for Sale

For sale sign in front of home

When selling your home, first impressions can make or break your sale. Even if you don't live in a market with a high inventory of homes for sale, many homebuyers will still walk away without making an offer if they find real or perceived issues with your home. We believe these ten tips will help you prep your home for a successful sale.

  1. Prioritize Curb Appeal
    The first impression your buyers develop will be based on your home's curb appeal which means it needs to be the first priority on your list. Tend to the landscape, pressure wash the walkways, repaint, or wash the exterior, and make sure all outdoor lighting is bright. If you have a porch or space around the doorway, consider staging it with inviting plants, wreaths, or doormats.
  2. Complete Renovations
    If you're considering renovations before selling your home, you must complete them before you list the home. If you don't believe you'll be able to finish the project by that time, do not start. Buyers who see a work-in-progress may think that other areas of the home are unfinished or need remodeling.
  3. Make Necessary Repairs
    Any smaller repairs around the house should also be fixed before the listing is active. This includes the types of items you may find on a typical "honey-do" list: recaulking windows, fixing leaks, and replacing cracked tiles.
  4. Focus on Sight & Smell
    While buyers tour your home, they'll have a sharp eye and a keen nose. Any lingering odors or areas of neglect will be caught the minute they walk into the room. Make sure every corner from the ceiling to the floor is cleaned and that any smells are aired out before each showing.
  5. Declutter & Depersonalize
    Cleaning your home means more than simply removing dirt and odor. You must also make your home appear organized. Declutter spaces by finding homes for all objects instead of letting them pile up in closets or drawers. Before selling your home, remove all family photographs and other personal belongings that make the buyer feel like they're in "someone else's" home.
  6. Paint Walls Neutral Colors
    One way to make your space feel like a blank canvas for the buyer is to paint your walls neutral colors. Use whites, beiges, and grays to create a clean slate throughout.
  7. Stage the Home
    Although you may love your furniture, your buyers might not. Professional staging companies will gladly come into your home and highlight the best features of your home. Their choice of furniture and décor will also appeal to a wider audience, allowing buyers to envision themselves living in the home.
  8. Leave All Relevant Paperwork Out
    Help buyers build confidence in the property by leaving out all relevant paperwork regarding the home. This includes all warranties for appliances, all repair or renovation paperwork, any liens that were on the home, and all other information that a buyer should have transparent access to.
  9. Ask Your Neighbors for Help
    Unfortunately, buyers may weigh your neighbor's properties in their opinion of your home. Before your showings, offer to mow your neighbor's lawn if they're unable to or ask if they can leave parking space available on the curb.
  10. Create an Inviting Space (Digitally Too)
    When you welcome buyers into your house, you want them to feel at home. For open houses, you can leave out small snacks and beverages. Be sure to open all blinds and close all toilet lids. Invest in high-quality photography so your home looks inviting in the digital listing as well.

 Selling your home is an endeavor that requires patience, dedication, and hard work if you want to maximize your offer potential. Use these tips to prep your home for a successful sale before you list it.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

How to Make the Most
of Multiple Offers
Two hands holding coins and toy house

Selling your home is an exciting feeling, especially when you receive multiple offers. Of course, any number of offers are beneficial, but many sellers don't know which steps to take next. If two or more buyers submit attractive offers, you'll need to evaluate more than the amount itself. When it comes to selling your home, price isn't everything. I recommend that all sellers learn how to compare multiple competing offers to determine which is the best for their unique needs.

While it may seem like there's no such thing as too many offers, receiving multiple offers can be overwhelming. Naturally, the highest amounts will immediately catch your attention — and perhaps cause the lower amounts to fall to the wayside. Before you choose a buyer based on the highest offer alone, we suggest that you also weigh the following considerations in your decision-making process.

  • Pre-Approvals
    When fielding multiple offers, you should pay attention to buyers who are already pre-approved for a loan. Pre-approval for a mortgage loan removes an element of uncertainty that exists when a buyer waits to apply for funding.
  • Contingencies
    Although some buyers will submit high-priced offers, these amounts may also come with contingencies. Some contingencies may prevent you from successfully selling your home, as they legally allow the buyer to walk away from the sale penalty-free if their contingencies are not met. Offers with the fewest contingencies are typically more preferable, even if the offer price isn't the highest.
  • Closing Time Frame
    If you need a quick close or additional time after closing to vacate the property, you may desire a buyer who is willing to cater to your needs. In contrast, if a buyer insists on a timetable that does not work with your schedule, a rushed close may be more expensive in the long run.
  • Other Reasonable Offers
    Even if you believe you've identified the most attractive offer, you must acknowledge other reasonable offers. In some cases, you may accept an offer only for negotiations to fall apart before the transaction is finalized. When your preferred buyer is no longer an option, you'll want to know which other reasonable offers will provide you with the next best agreement.
  • Agent Advice
    Remember, you're not alone in selling your home. As your agent I have your best interest at heart. When considering multiple offers I will objectively help you assess each offer to identify which has the most benefits and fewest drawbacks.

When you're selling your home, you need to be prepared to field multiple offers from qualified buyers. While many of these amounts will be attractive, there are other factors to consider besides the price itself. Evaluate these offers using the suggestions above and I will be there to provide my experience and advice to help you choose the offer that suits your needs.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Catch a Buyer's Eye With
These Kitchen Upgrades

Hands screwing on kitchen cabinet hardware

When you're prepping to sell your home, step back and take a look at it with an objective eye. You may love its color palette, fixtures, and other décor elements, but your taste no longer matters. Will your home's appearance appeal to prospective buyers?

 Before you start tearing everything down to start from scratch, consider some strategic upgrades. For example, minor kitchen renovations can result in a 20 percent higher return on investment (ROI) than a full-scale remodel. Selling your home can be quicker and more profitable with these smart kitchen improvements.

  • Refresh Cabinets
    Cabinetry takes up a lot of real estate in most kitchens, so giving them a facelift makes a significant impact on the room's overall look. If the cabinets are still in good shape but the design is dated, save time and money by merely repainting or refinishing the doors. According to a survey by the home décor website Houzz, white is by far the most popular color choice. Complete the transformation by switching out knobs, hinges, and drawer pulls with hardware in a more contemporary design.
  • Update Appliances
    As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more integrated into our everyday lives, nowhere is that more evident than in-home management. "Smart" WiFi-enabled refrigerators and dishwashers let you control them from an app on your phone or tablet, allowing you to adjust the temperature or start wash cycles remotely. If you haven't already done so, selling your home is an excellent time to install eco-friendly appliances.
  • Install New Flooring
    Even though the floor is below eye level, its appearance is a critical element in optimizing the kitchen's visual balance. Choose a color or finish that's opposite the degree of light or dark provided by the rest of the room's décor. Hardwood flooring has enjoyed a long reign as the number one choice. Still, engineered materials such as vinyl and laminate have improved dramatically in quality, making them popular options when selling your home.
  • Replace Countertops
    As the primary workspace in the kitchen, countertops serve both aesthetic and practical purposes as features for selling your home. Real Simple cites surveys indicating that engineered quartz is today's top choice of material, based on its superior strength and non-porous surface. Design experts suggest sticking with neutral colors that won't clash with or detract from cabinets.
  • Install an Island
    How essential are kitchen islands when selling your home? Nearly 80 percent of kitchens built or remodeled since 2009 include at least one island. With kitchens acting as gathering spots for family and guests, an island increases useable space while providing additional seating options. When designing the island, be sure to pay attention to the proportions. A kitchen island that's too big ends up as a liability, not an asset.
  • Repaint
    Adding a coat of paint before selling your home is still the go-to method for creating a whole new look in any room without much expense or effort. As with countertops, neutral colors such as taupe, gray, and sage are the best choices for kitchen walls. If you want to add a splash of color or integrate a pattern, limit it to one wall.
  • Add Light Fixtures
    A well-lit kitchen maintains a cheerful atmosphere, which is an excellent hook for selling your home. Traditional overhead fluorescent lighting on its own isn't always up to the job. Use options such as track lighting, pendant lights, puck lights, and recessed lighting to create an optimum mix of accent, task, and ambient lighting.

 Want a winning recipe for selling your home? Use these "ingredients" to whip up a kitchen that will satisfy any buyer's taste.

 If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Aren't
Your Only Pantry Cleaners

Container of baking sodaWhether you're out of your usual cleaning products or prefer a more eco-friendly home improvement alternative to chemical-based cleaners, the natural cleaning solutions found in your kitchen might surprise you. And we're not just talking about home improvement standbys baking soda and vinegar! You can clean almost every part of your kitchen with supplies on our list, and get great results.

  • Lemons for Cleaning and Brighter Whites
    The natural acidity and pleasant scent of lemons make them ideal for a variety of home improvement purposes, but you can also use lemons to brighten white clothes? Put a few sliced lemons into a pot of simmering water, then add any clothes that you want to whiten and let the mixture simmer. When you remove the clothing items, they should have a lighter look.

  • Clean Tough Grease Buildup with Coffee
    Scrubbing your grill grate can be a tough home improvement task no matter what cleaner you use, but one of the best grill cleaners is likely already sitting on your kitchen counter. Make a large pot of coffee, pour it into a large pan, and let your grill grate soak for at least 30 minutes. After you remove the grate from the coffee, it should be much easier to scrub away stubborn grease buildup.

  • Coarse Salt Is Great for Cleaning Cooking Surfaces
    If you're looking for a natural way to clean cooking surfaces – especially anything made from cast iron – then coarse salt is an excellent candidate for the job. Coarse salt absorbs grease, so it's useful for scouring kitchenware, stovetops, and any surface where grease builds up.

  • Natural Wood Polish with Olive Oil and Lemon
    For a natural wood polish that brings the best out of wood surfaces without leaving behind chemical residue, mix olive oil with a splash of fresh lemon juice. This combination is excellent for polishing wood floors, but you should always polish a small, out of the way area first to make sure that the mixture works for the type of wood in your home.

  • Club Soda for Stain Removal
    Whether on carpets or clothing, club soda is one of the best stain removers in your home. The carbonation of club soda helps lift stains to the surface, making them easier to remove. Just pour some club soda on the stain, allow it to soak, then give it a thorough cleaning.

  • Cream of Tartar Cleans and Refreshes Stainless Steel
    Cream of tartar is mildly acidic, but still gentle enough to use for cleaning and home improvement projects. It's an especially good cleaner for stainless steel surfaces, including your sink. Just mix the cream of tartar with a small amount of water to create a paste, spread the paste on the surface you want to clean, and wash it off with warm water.

  • Freshen Your Microwave with Lemon Juice and Water
    Any leftover used lemons can be put to work cleaning your microwave. Just place the used lemons into a bowl of water, place the bowl in the microwave, heat it until it boils, then remove it. The steam adds a fresh scent and makes it easy to wipe away messes with minimal effort.

 While natural cleaners may sometimes require more elbow grease than their store-bought counterparts, the results are more than worth it. Using natural cleaners is an easy way to save money on home improvement, embrace green living, and tackle tough messes.

 For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

These Tips Might Sell Your
Home Over Asking Price
Words Selling your home over asking price is naturally the goal for every seller; however, buyers see things differently. They want to get the best deal possible on the home, which means that they won't be making an above market offer unless they think that's what it will take to close the deal. With advice from your real estate agent, it's your job to present your property in a way that inspires buyers to maximize their offers.
  • A Slightly Below Market Asking Price Can Lead to an Above Market Sale
    Yes, it sounds like cheating to say that starting with a low asking price is the easiest method for selling your home over asking price but hear us out. In this case, we're talking about an asking price that's about five to 10 percent below the actual amount you hope to receive for the home, chosen with help from your real estate agent. By setting a price slightly below market, you encourage more bidders to enter the picture. The more people who bid, the more the price goes up.

  • Make Sure Your Home Is in Great Shape
    When buyers look at a home that's considered a "fixer-upper," what they're looking for is a home that they can buy for well below market value. Before selling your home, invest some time and money in fixing any maintenance issues around the property. You can save money by tackling DIY projects like painting while bringing in the pros for bigger jobs. A well-maintained, move-in ready home is much more likely to generate an above market offer.

  • Keep It Clean to Create a Positive Impression
    First impressions are essential when selling your home, so cleaning your home until it sparkles is likely to leave buyers feeling warm and fuzzy. Before your home hits the market, clean it from top to bottom, including the out of the way places buyers will look at to see how well you've taken care of the home. Once you complete the initial cleaning, keep your home clean so that it's always ready to show.

  • Consider Curb Appeal to Attract Interest
    While the first impression after a buyer enters the home is essential, you don't want to forget about curb appeal when selling your home. A property that looks great from the curb is much more likely to draw buyers in, attract interest from passers-by, and make a great impression when buyers arrive for a showing. Make sure that your lawn is well-maintained, your landscaping draws attention for the right reasons, your yard is clean, and the exterior of your home is looking great.

  • Be Patient and Encourage Competition
    After all of the work that you've put into preparing your home and choosing a price that encourages multiple bids, the last thing you want to do is accept the first so-so offer to come across the table. Be patient, follow the advice of your agent, and let the market develop. Attracting multiple bids is the key to selling your home above asking price, and your patience can pay off with a great final sale price for your home.

Selling your home above asking price requires market savvy, along with a willingness to roll up your sleeves and do the work to make sure your home looks its absolute best. The help of an experienced real estate agent will be invaluable throughout the process, from choosing the right price to closing the deal.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.


5 Ways an Agent Can Help
You Sell Your Home
Agent talking to clients at table

So you're selling your home, and you've decided to save money by taking the DIY route. In reality, studies show for sale by owner (FSBO) homes sell for approximately 30 percent less than homes represented by a real estate agent. Can you afford to pass that up?

Here are five significant reasons why working with a real estate agent is the best advantage you can have when selling your home.

  1. Higher Visibility
    What type of marketing plan would you come up with to sell your home quickly and profitably? There's the traditional sign on the front lawn. You can place ads on Craigslist and other online sites or a newspaper. That's about where it ends. A real estate agent has access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database, where pictures and information about your home are readily available to other agents, including those in different geographic areas. Experienced agents also have an extensive professional network that can yield numerous word-of-mouth referrals.

  2. Greater Negotiating Power
    While you may pride yourself on the ability to drive a hard bargain at art fairs and festival marketplaces, negotiating the sale price of a home is an entirely different arena. Even minor issues can mean a difference of thousands of dollars. With extensive experience in negotiations, a real estate agent can advise you when to make concessions, when to stand pat, and how to make a strategic counteroffer.

  3. Knowledge of Legal Terminology and Requirements
    Escrow. Title insurance. Balloon payment. FHA mortgage. These terms might make your eyes glaze over, but a real estate agent has a working knowledge of all terminology involved in real estate transactions. The agent can then explain the terms to you in language you can understand. Also, real estate agents stay informed on the current state and local regulations so they can make sure you comply with every step of selling your home.

  4. Accurate Pricing Skills
    Your home may be priceless in your eyes, but a buyer isn't going to care about family holidays and other sentimental memories. A real estate agent has access to a wealth of information such as comparable home sales, or comps, to guide you in setting an optimized but fair selling price. More importantly, an agent doesn't have an emotional investment in your home, so they can provide an objective assessment.

  5. Dedicated Service
    How do you fit in the numerous activities involved in selling your home around the demands of your job? For a real estate agent, selling your home IS their job. The words "too busy" aren't in an agent's vocabulary. They're ready and able to field calls from buyers and other agents, handle marketing tasks and host open houses. Real estate agents have a fiduciary responsibility to you as a client, meaning they're bound by law to look out for your best interests.

Don't stumble your way through what is probably the most significant financial transaction of your life. Selling your home with my help as your Real Estate agent pays off financially, physically, and emotionally.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Five Things You Should Put In
Storage While Selling Your Home

Boxes and teddy bearSelling your home requires a lot of preparation. You'll need to take care of necessary repairs, update your curb appeal, and prepare for staging. When you start to pack and declutter, a storage unit can be your best friend. Storing some of your items off-site will make it easier to give your home the neat and organized look and feel that appeals to potential buyers.

 Here five things that you'll want to put into storage while you're selling your home.

  1. Personal Items and Knick-Knacks
    When a potential buyer enters your home, it's important that they can envision themselves living there. To make sure this happens, you'll want to remove personal items like family photos and unique artwork.

    This also includes knick-knacks and small décor items like figurines, vases, and books. Packing these things away will remove your personal touch from your home. It will also make it look clean and clutter-free, which is critical when selling your home.

  2. Exercise Equipment
    It's common for a guest bedroom to double as an exercise space, but this won't do you any favors when you're selling your home. Take that treadmill or elliptical machine out of the house and pack it away in your storage unit! If the room wasn't already set up as a bedroom, consider staging it with a bed and a dresser to finish the look.

  3. Children's Toys
    When selling your home, it helps to get the whole family on board. Have your children pick out a few toys that they want to keep and put the rest in storage. While it's fine to have some toys placed neatly in a child's bedroom, you don't want them all over the living room, dining room, and scattered throughout the house.

  4. Large Furniture
    A few furniture items are great for staging. However, many professional stagers recommend scaling back a home's furniture by at least one-third. Before you list your home, take a look at each room with a sharp eye and store away any items that don't fit into the room's décor or wouldn't be useful to a buyer.

    When you're selling your home, you want each room to appear large, clean, and open. Removing extra furniture can make a major statement!

    Often, it's a good idea to have your real estate agent or professional stager evaluate your space as soon as you start thinking about selling your home. They're experts at preparing houses for sale and can help you decide what to leave and what to pack away.

  5. Small Appliances
    The kitchen is another room that should be as clean and decluttered as possible. You can store small appliances that you use often -- like a coffee pot or toaster -- in a cabinet when you're not using them. However, you certainly don't want a ton of items all over the counter when you're selling your home.

    Pack away those extra blenders, mixers, and toaster ovens. This will give you an organized and minimalist look which appeals to many buyers.

 These are five of the most important things to remove when you're selling your home, but it's not an exhaustive list. As a general rule of thumb, unless you need it on a daily basis, it's a great idea to get it out of the house. This will also make clean-up easier when you have an open house scheduled or a buyer wants to come by on short notice to take a look.

 If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Closet Hacks to Max Out a Tiny Closet

Cloths hanging in closetWhen you're selling your home, you should know that many buyers consider ample closet space to be a top priority. Nearly every homeowner has boxes of possessions that are destined for the closet which means that a functional and versatile closet may be a prime selling point. Thankfully, there are ways that you can increase your storage capabilities without building a new closet! Here are some of my favorite closet hacks to max out a tiny closet before listing your home.

  • Invest in Closet Organizers
    A simple solution that doubles as a great way to display the closet when selling your home are to invest in closet organizers. These tools help you maximize utility in the space without contributing to a cluttered look. Shoe organizers, storage bins, and modular shelving are all low-cost solutions that instantly improve the appearance and functionality of your closet. They're also a great staging tool for selling your home that you can include with the sale or take with you to your new home.

  • Build In Space
    Take a look at your budget before selling your home and consider investing in your closet, particularly in the master bedroom. A customized built-in closet can wow buyers. Another option is to simply install shelving, an additional clothes rail, and hooks to accommodate different articles of clothing and accessories.

  • Expand Beyond the Closet
    Does your closet overflow into your bedroom? Let it! Expand beyond your closet and create additional storage possibilities by utilizing the walls outside of your closet. Consider removing your closet door completely and allowing your wardrobe to flow into the adjacent. Similar to the ideas above, you can either install new shelving and hooks or use modular shelving and wardrobe organizers on the exterior closet walls. Imagine dedicating your closet to clothes on hangers and shoes while committing folded clothing, pants, and accessories to these additional storage spaces.

  • Presentation Matters Too
    Remember, at the end of the day, the presentation makes a world of difference when selling your home. Most buyers don't anticipate being blown away by your closet space. However, a little paint, lighting, and attention to detail can go a long way. Repair any broken elements of the closet, clean it thoroughly, and consider replacing hinges and handles. Paint the closet a light, neutral color and make sure the lighting in the area is clear but not harsh. You'd be surprised how impressed buyers will be with a closet door that glides smoothly and opens to a clean, lit, and organized space.

 Even though areas like kitchens and bathrooms are major considerations, discerning buyers will also keep their eyes open for closet spaces that go above and beyond the normal nook. As you prepare to sell your home, consider upgrading your closet space to make it a versatile, attractive area that buyers will love.

 If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

What Baby Boomers
Want in a New Home

Picture of couple looking a computer screen

Baby Boomers have led the way in many areas, and now they're redefining what retirees want in a new home. Unlike the generation before them, Boomers, who are between ages 55 and 73 in 2019, are not ready to live the easy life. They want homes that support their active lifestyles without sacrificing other amenities.

 The following are some of the attributes Baby Boomers are looking for when they're buying a house:

  • Diversity
    Rather than looking for a quiet retirement community, many Baby Boomers are looking for diverse communities that have residents from all age groups. They want to interact with everyone from young families to older residents, and communities that have amenities like clubhouses can make this easier.

  • Luxuries
    Some Baby Boomers may want to downsize their homes a bit when it comes to square footage, but they want upscale features. Superior construction is important to them, and they want to have the latest finishes, wood floors, and upgraded trim. Because they may have lived in an older home for a while, newer amenities are important to them in what they see as their dream home.

  • Accessibility
    One-level homes or two-story homes with first-floor master suites are important to Baby Boomers, who are thinking about current or future mobility issues. Other features that increase accessibility, such as raised dishwashers, lowered microwaves, and multi-level countertops, are also popular among this age group.

  • Low maintenance
    Boomers are usually still quite active and have more free time than younger homeowners, but they don't want to spend their time mowing the lawn or making repairs. Buyers who are moving from older homes appreciate newer homes that are move-in ready and won't need many repairs in the near future. Although they like to have a lawn and patio, they don't have to be large. Having outdoor maintenance taken care of as part of a homeowners' association agreement is also a plus.

  • Location
    Location is a priority when you're buying a home, no matter what your age. While younger home buyers want a home in a good school district, Baby Boomers often want to move closer to their children and grandchildren. Many, however, prefer to live close to their current home so they can maintain relationships with friends and be close to their favorite restaurants, doctors' offices, shops, and other familiar locations.

  • Proximity to recreation
    Since Baby Boomers are more active than previous generations were at this age, they want to enjoy recreational pursuits now that they finally have the time to do so. Many want to live near the water, and communities that offer amenities such as a pool, tennis court, and fitness center are also popular. Living near places to hike and play golf is also a priority.

  • An office space
    A dedicated office space that allows Baby Boomers to work at home – either full-time or part-time – is a priority to many who are buying a house. They're putting off retirement until a later age when compared to previous generations, and they want a separate room to work in that gives them privacy and lets them draw a clear line between work and leisure time.

 Baby Boomers have different priorities than their parents, and other generations have had at a similar age. They're usually still quite active, and they're looking to spend their time on leisure pursuits and possibly their profession rather than on chores at home. As a result, they're focused on buying a house that makes it easy for them to age in place with what they value.

 I can help you with answers to these and the many other questions you may have when you are ready to consider buying a home please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

First-Time Home Seller – 6 Tips
For Selling Your First Home

Picture of paint rollerSelling your home can be tough. Just about everyone will have strong emotions associated with a very first home – and these can make it harder to sell.

 That's not just because you might be tempted to procrastinate. How we feel about a home can create a challenge: Putting the wrong price on it.

 It's easy to overprice a property because of its sentimental value. Luckily, a local real estate expert can help. By researching recently-sold homes in the area, I can price any property to attract buyers.

 Although pricing is best left to the professionals, like Susan Klement there are many things you can do to help in selling your home faster. With these tips, you'll make it much more likely to connect with the right buyer and get to closing without a hitch:

  1. Decide on the Best Timing
    Timing is the second-biggest factor in selling your home, right behind price. Timing should strike a balance between meeting your needs and taking advantage of the home market's busiest seasons. Research has shown listings in early April tend to over-perform others in both time-to-sale and final price. Both spring and summer offer some great opportunities.
  2. Work on Any Crucial Repairs
    Necessary repair work is another factor that influences timing. Virtually all today's buyers will insist on a complete home inspection that discloses all issues in need of repair – and some insurers even require it. Problems that tend to spook buyers include electrical faults, sewer and septic, roofing near the end of its functional life, and signs of pest infestation. Especially termites!
  3. Stage Your Home
    Staging is an essential part of selling any home. You should plan to clean the house thoroughly and de-clutter. Removing large furniture items and clearing your closets makes a home look more open and airy. It's also a good idea to improve lighting: Use brighter bulbs and maximize natural light by removing any heavy window coverings. I will have other suggestions, too.
  4. Get Professional Photos Done
    Photos are an essential piece in promoting any home. Would-be buyers want to see the whole property at its best. That means both interior and exterior images taken by an experienced photographer. The cameras used by professionals provide crisp, clear, vibrant photos that no cell phone can match. These will help your online home listing to stand out from the crowd.
  5. Get Ready for Open House
    An open house is the best way to attract buyers who are motivated to take action fast. Visitors will either learn that the property isn't right for them – saving both you and them some time – or end up more excited than ever. Work together with your agent, Susan Klement to make sure each visitor gets the personal touch from start to finish, including a folder of home photos and perks.
  6. Be Ready to Respond to Offers
    Buyers' offers come with an expiration date, so line everything up to move quickly. Look at all the practicalities – especially what it will take to get you out the door in time for closing day. Compare offers from various movers and discuss your move-out timeline. Consider moving inessential items to a storage facility. Ideally, you should aim to respond to buyer offers within three days.

    Last but not least, be sure to give yourself time to bid your first home, "adieu." It can be a bittersweet time, but you are on to even greater adventures! An orderly selling process means a stress-free closing, and you can start to enjoy your new home even sooner.

    If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Choosing The Right Listing Agreement

Document with house keys

If you're thinking about selling your home, finding a real estate agent you trust is a major first step. Once you're comfortable and ready to move forward, you'll need to sign a listing agreement.

This is the legal contract that outlines the engagement between you and your real estate agent. It also explains each party's rights and responsibilities regarding selling your home.

There are several different types of listing agreements. Depending on the firm you're working with, you may have options. Following, you'll find a brief explanation of the most common types of listing agreements you're likely to encounter. 

Open Listing
An open listing gives you the most flexibility for selling your home. A homeowner can sign open listing agreements with multiple agents and only pay a commission to the agent who brings the buyer to the table. It also gives homeowners the option to find a buyer themselves and avoid paying a commission at all.

The drawback to this is that real estate agents are often hesitant to enter into open listing contracts. After all, a good agent will invest time and money into marketing your house. Under an open listing agreement, there's nothing to protect them from having another agent swoop in and take the commission

If you choose this option, there's a chance that you'll end up doing most of the work yourself. You may also end up selling your home for less than you would if you had a dedicated agent working on your behalf.

Exclusive Agency Listing
With this type of listing agreement, you'll sign a contract with only With this type of listing agreement, you'll sign a contract with only one real estate agent. However, you'll still retain the right to find your own buyer. If you end up selling your home yourself, you won't have to pay the agent a commission.

This plan allows you to fall back on your agent if you can't sell the house on your own. However, some agents will still hesitate to enter into this type of agreement since they're not guaranteed a commission. There's also a chance that the agent will request a higher commission rate in exchange for the inherent uncertainty.

Exclusive Rights-to-Sell Listing
Selling your home under an exclusive rights-to-sell listing is the most common option. This gives the real estate agent the exclusive rights to market your home and list it on MLS. He or she will receive the full commission as long the home is sold within the designated timeframe.

This is the preferred agreement for most real estate agents. Under this agreement, the agent is also more likely to put all of their resources into selling your home. They don't have to worry about someone else taking the commission, so they're more willing to commit the time and effort to ensure you sell your home quickly and for the best possible price.

Since the agent will lose the commission if the home isn't sold within the designated time frame, it also encourages them to aggressively market your home. This time frame is included in the listing agreement and can range from 30 to 365 days. Most agents consider 90 to 120 days to be the most realistic.

Properly marketing and selling your home takes time, so you don't want to push your agent too much. However, keeping the time frame relatively short will also protect you from being locked into an agreement for too long if they fail to perform.

Which is Right for You?
If you're not in a hurry to sell your home and feel confident in your ability to find a buyer on your own, then one of the first two options may be right for you. However, if you want the best chances of selling your home quickly and easily, consider choosing an exclusive-rights-to-sell agreement. Although you'll end up paying a real estate commission, most homeowners agree that the cost is well worth it!

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

All the Right Moves: 10 tips
to Make Moving Easier

Woman at computer

There are a lot of things to look forward to when you sell your home and get ready for the next chapter. Packing up all your things is not one of them. Still, moving day is unavoidable, and when that day comes, these simple tips will make the process easier than you thought possible.

  1. Get More Boxes
    They say it's better to be safe than sorry, and when it comes to packing, they're absolutely right. Make sure you have plenty of boxes before moving day, along with packaging tape and labels, so you know you won't run out.
  2. Pack Smarter
    Keep in mind that one size doesn't fit all. Get large boxes as well as small ones so you can stuff the big ones with lightweight items (pillows, towels, clothes), and fill the smaller ones with heavy stuff (books, knick-knacks, electronics).
  3. Make a Packing Playlist
    Everything gets easier when you have the right tunes playing. Make a playlist you can pack and unpack to. Keep it upbeat and filled with your favorite jams to help you keep moving, and steer clear of sad songs about moving on and leaving things behind.
  4. Stretch it Out
    There's no reason to wait until the last minute. The farther ahead you can make arrangements and start working on packing, the less stress you will feel. Give yourself at least four weeks for the whole process. Start by making lists and getting organized, and then move on to packing up items you seldom use before you start boxing up the essentials.
  5. Don't Pack on Moving Day
    Moving day is for moving, not packing. By the time you wake up on moving day, everything should already be boxed up and ready to put into the truck.
  6. De-Clutter Your Life
    When you sell your house and get ready to move, you have a great opportunity to reduce clutter and get rid of unwanted items. Have a yard sale. Donate old clothes and unused furniture. Recycle what you can, and throw out what you can't. The less you own, the easier it is to pack it all up.
  7. Keep Irreplaceable Items With You
    Don't waste valuable mental energy worrying about whether your valuables and family heirlooms will make it out of the moving truck unscathed. Set aside items that have sentimental value and can't be replaced, and carry them to your new home in person so you know they're safe.
  8. Label and Color-Code Everything
    It's impossible to overstate the importance of labels. Make sure every box is clearly marked so you know exactly what's inside. Take it a step farther by color-coding your labels based on where everything goes, using different colored labels for each room.
  9. Put Your Kids to Work
    If you have children who are old enough to help out, give them jobs to do. Feeling important and being able to help out will make the process easier for them, and will definitely take some weight off your shoulders. If you have kids who are too young to help out, it's usually best to send them off with a relative on moving day.
  10. Pack a "First Day" Box
    Set aside anything that you will need right away when you arrive at your new home and put it all in one box. Include essential toiletries, phone chargers, a coffee maker, and anything else you want to have easy access to as soon as you arrive.

 When you're moving, countless exciting paths lie ahead. Following these ten moving tips will make the process of moving onto the next chapter of your life much more simple and stress-free.

 If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

How to Sell Your Home During the Coronavirus

Picture of home with for sale signSelling your home isn't easy–especially during a global pandemic. Although our daily lives have changed drastically, that doesn't mean that now is the time to abandon your home-selling goals. The real estate industry has adapted and evolved to the coronavirus's challenges to ensure that buyers, sellers, and agents can continue to conduct real estate transactions safely and securely.

If you thought selling your home during the coronavirus was impossible, think again! Markets across the country report positive monthly trends, including an increase in inventory, a decrease in time spent on the market, and an increase in property value. Here are seven tips for selling your home during the pandemic.

  1. Don't Panic. Whether you were planning to sell your home before the pandemic or if you're now selling your home due to its impact, don't panic. Selling your home is perhaps the largest financial transactions you'll make; measured, rational, and responsible decisions will help you make your sale successful.
  2. Use the Internet to Your Advantage. Many prospective buyers are conducting their search online before seeing a home in person. Invest in high-quality photography and videography to show your home online.
  3. Use Virtual Services When Possible. Not only should you swap an in-person open house for a virtual open house, but you should also take advantage of other services offered contact-free. Professional stagers, organizers, landscapers, and other services offer advice through video chats. This keeps everyone safer yet still allows you to create a presentable home to show potential buyers.
  4. Maximize Transitional Space. The coronavirus has turned our homes into schools, offices, and entertainment centers, identifying the need for many homeowners to have extra space that they can dedicate to their evolving needs. Highlight how well your home can accommodate these new requirements by transforming unused space into home offices, study centers for students, gyms, or private relaxation spaces.
  5. Opt for Virtual Transactions When Possible. Thankfully, technology has made it easier than ever for real estate agents to tackle coronavirus challenges swiftly. Virtual calling, email, and e-signing have made it convenient for buyers and sellers to conduct the majority of their transactions contact-free. I can prioritize a contact-free transaction whenever possible to help keep everyone healthy.
  6. Anticipate Hiccups. Delays during a real estate transaction are common, and the pandemic's challenges have made these instances arise with more frequency. From inspections and appraisals to postponed transactions due to unforeseen issues, you should be prepared for a delay at any point in the process. Let's discuss what options are available to conduct a fast closing.
  7. Trust Your Agent. Although we've all never lived through a pandemic before, my career has given me the knowledge and experience to read the market with a close eye and work hard to get you a successful sale that accomplishes your real estate goals.

 Selling your home right now may seem like a bold move, but fear not! With a few changes to the process and my help, we will make selling your home as smooth as possible.

 If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

How to Sell Your Home
During the Coronavirus


Hand holding calculator
Selling your home isn't easy–especially during a global pandemic. Although our daily lives have changed drastically, that doesn't mean that now is the time to abandon your home-selling goals. The real estate industry has adapted and evolved to the coronavirus's challenges to ensure that buyers, sellers, and agents can continue to conduct real estate transactions safely and securely.

If you thought selling your home during the coronavirus was impossible, think again! Markets across the country report positive monthly trends, including an increase in inventory, a decrease in time spent on the market, and an increase in property value. Here are seven tips for selling your home during the pandemic.

  1. Don't Panic. Whether you were planning to sell your home before the pandemic or if you're now selling your home due to its impact, don't panic. Selling your home is perhaps the largest financial transactions you'll make; measured, rational, and responsible decisions will help you make your sale successful.
  2. Use the Internet to Your Advantage. Many prospective buyers are conducting their search online before seeing a home in person. Invest in high-quality photography and videography to show your home online.
  3. Use Virtual Services When Possible. Not only should you swap an in-person open house for a virtual open house, but you should also take advantage of other services offered contact-free. Professional stagers, organizers, landscapers, and other services offer advice through video chats. This keeps everyone safer yet still allows you to create a presentable home to show potential buyers.
  4. Maximize Transitional Space. The coronavirus has turned our homes into schools, offices, and entertainment centers, identifying the need for many homeowners to have extra space that they can dedicate to their evolving needs. Highlight how well your home can accommodate these new requirements by transforming unused space into home offices, study centers for students, gyms, or private relaxation spaces.
  5. Opt for Virtual Transactions When Possible. Thankfully, technology has made it easier than ever for real estate agents to tackle coronavirus challenges swiftly. Virtual calling, email, and e-signing have made it convenient for buyers and sellers to conduct the majority of their transactions contact-free. I can prioritize a contact-free transaction whenever possible to help keep everyone healthy.
  6. Anticipate Hiccups. Delays during a real estate transaction are common, and the pandemic's challenges have made these instances arise with more frequency. From inspections and appraisals to postponed transactions due to unforeseen issues, you should be prepared for a delay at any point in the process. Let's discuss what options are available to conduct a fast closing.
  7. Trust Your Agent. Although we've all never lived through a pandemic before, my career has given me the knowledge and experience to read the market with a close eye and work hard to get you a successful sale that accomplishes your real estate goals.

Selling your home right now may seem like a bold move, but fear not! With a few changes to the process and my help, we will make selling your home as smooth as possible.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Here's How to Sell Your
Home for Top Dollar
Toy house built out of dollar billsSelling your home for top dollar is a priority--but is it a realistic possibility? For many sellers, this type of real estate transaction is new and can seem quite confusing. Here I , as a real estate agent, happily share tips on how to successfully increase the chances of selling your home for an outstanding price. Before you list your property, consider these ten pieces of advice.
  1. Acknowledge Your Emotional Attachment
    Whether you've lived in the home for a year or your entire life, your emotional attachment to the property can cloud your professional judgment. Understand that you must approach price setting and negotiations reasonably to secure a great selling price.
  2. Choose Your Agent Wisely
    The difference between an experienced and knowledgeable agent and an agent who is subpar can mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars. Dynamic agents will strive for a lucrative, yet reasonable sale while poor agents may leave money on the table.
  3. Complete Repairs/Renovations Early
    Selling your home can be much easier if you've already repaired or remodeled areas that need work. By completing these projects before the showings begin, you present a proud property without glaring issues that could drive down the home's price.
  4. List Appropriately
    Some agents will suggest pricing aggressively while other brokers will suggest pricing undervalue. The truth is that each home's listing price is determined by a variety of factors, many of which change from year to year. Consult your agent and examine comp houses to find the appropriate price.
  5. Use Hi-Res Photography and Videography
    The first place your buyers will likely view your home is online. By investing in high-quality photography and enabling a video tour of the home, you can convince buyers to schedule a home showing immediately.
  6. Offer Incentives
    If you want to get top dollar for your home, then be ready to help the buyer receive a great deal for the property. Incentives such as paying for closing costs, inspections, or upgrades can sweeten the deal for the buyer and make them believe that they are getting their money's worth.
  7. Remember the Value of Curb Appeal
    Curb appeal can make or break a home sale which is why you must make it a top priority. Invest in landscaping, new garage doors, fresh paint, and repair outdoor features to leave a good impression with anyone who drives by.
  8. Stage Appropriately
    Staging is another element of selling your home that can be tricky. In some cases, hiring professional stagers can transform the space. In other instances, leaving the home empty and clean will allow each individual buyer to envision the home to their preferred arrangement. Consult your agent for assistance with staging.
  9. Be Transparent With Buyers
    The best way to increase buyer confidence when selling your home is to be as transparent as possible. While you don't have to point out every squeaky floorboard, you should present them with as much legitimate information pertaining to the house as possible. This includes receipts and warranties on remodels or appliances, any significant damage to the home that was repaired, and any new features added.
  10. Consider Pre-Appraisals and Pre-Inspections
    A pre-appraisal will help you establish a firm and reasonable listing price while a pre-inspection will shed light on any problems that could detract the buyer. By conducting these before showing your home, you are able to confidently present the buyer with a listing price that leaves little room for doubt.

Selling your home is quite an undertaking, but a little patience, understanding, and hard work can go a long way. Consider these tips before you list your home and speak with your real estate agent about other ways you may be able to secure a higher asking price.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

10 Ways to Prep Your House for a Sale

Picture of home for sale

If you're thinking about selling your house, the time to start preparing is right now. Homes that are clean, well-presented, and priced right often receive multiple offers. However, selling a home still requires some preparation.

Here are ten things to do as soon as you start thinking about selling a home.

  1. Update Your Landscaping
    Anyone who is thinking about selling a home should take a hard look at the landscaping. Getting started on this task early will give the plants time to grow, giving your home a more natural look. Also, consider fertilizing your lawn, cleaning up trees and bushes, and adding fresh mulch.
  2. Improve Your Curb Appeal
    Any real estate agent will tell you that great curb appeal is a critical part of selling a home. If needed, put in a new mailbox. Pressure wash your siding, clean the gutters, seal the driveway, and clean up any junk around the outside of your home.
  3. Dress Up Your Entryway
    Selling a home often happens before the buyer even walks in the door. First impressions are everything, so make sure your entryway is beautiful and inviting. Add a fresh coat of paint to your porch and consider painting your front door in a color that contrasts with your house's exterior. Add a welcome mat, a wreath, and some new house numbers to give it a finishing touch.
  4. Make Repairs
    It's a great idea to look around your house with a critical eye and start fixing any problems you notice. From a dripping faucet to that light switch that doesn't work, little things make a big difference when selling a home. If your home needs any major repairs, get those done as well.
  5. Depersonalize
    When you're selling a home, potential buyers need to envision themselves living there. This means that you have to remove those family portraits, your rare art collection, and anything else that reflects your unique personality.
  6. Declutter
    This is also a great time to get rid of things you don't need and box other items up. This makes selling a home easier and gives you a head start when it's time to pack.
  7. Organize Closets and Drawers
    You might be tempted to "clean" your house by shoving items away in closets and drawers. However, when you're selling a home, you can't expect much privacy. There's a good chance that potential buyers might look there too! Get a head start on organizing these spaces, and you'll have one less thing to worry about.
  8. Go Neutral
    If you have rooms painted in bold colors, it's time to tone them down. Put on a coat of primer and paint over it with a neutral color. Selling a home is much easier when buyers aren't busy thinking about what a nightmare it's going to be to repaint those walls.
  9. Eliminate Bad Odors
    A bad smell is the best way to ruin a potential home sale. If you have pets, mold issues, or you've smoked in your home, you need to take care of this right away. Many times this requires replacing carpets and removing upholstery. If it's bad, you may need to repaint or have your HVAC duct system cleaned. This will take time, so don't wait until the last minute.
  10. Gather Your Warranties
    When selling a home, it's typical for most of the appliances to come with it. If you have warranties on your appliances, HVAC system, roof, and other important items, it's a good idea to gather these up ahead of time. This way, you won't have to search for them when closing day arrives.

Selling a home is much easier when you're prepared. Follow these steps, and you'll be ready for those offers to come rolling in!

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Selling Your Home? How to Decide

Which Is the Best Offer

Hand shake over calculator

Selling your home is quite an undertaking. While the ideal scenario is to find a buyer that is willing to meet your terms and accept your price, many sellers receive multiple offers that are each appealing in their own ways. Fielding too many offers is certainly more preferable than receiving none at all, but how does a seller decide which is best? Believe it or not, when it comes to selling your home, the "best" offer might be a little harder to recognize than it may seem. Here are five tips to help you decide on the best offer when selling your home.

  1. Detail Your Goals Before Listing
    Before you officially begin selling your home, it's wise to discuss potential offers with your REALTOR®. Offers come in varying shapes and sizes, making it difficult to determine which is "better." You can prepare for these tough decisions by discussing your ultimate goals. Are you looking for a quick close, or are you willing to wait? Would you prefer an all-cash offer, or will you accept any buyer as long as they have proof of pre-approval? As you discuss your goals, your REALTOR® will help you identify which offers will help you achieve them.
  2. Understand Your Role
    When you receive multiple offers, it can quickly feel like you've hit the jackpot. However, you must act professionally and responsibly as you work with these buyers. Remember, they might be looking at other houses, too. Bidding wars, counteroffers, and other negotiation tactics can turn buyers away quickly, ultimately leaving you with fewer offers.
  3. Don't Be Blinded by the Highest Bidder
    No matter how many offers you receive, the highest bid will always be tempting. Unfortunately, the highest bid isn't always the best bid on the playing field. Buyers without the financial strength needed to secure a mortgage loan or prove that they have the cash-on-hand for an all-cash offer are not ideal buyers. These types of sales can fall apart quickly and leave you back at square one.
  4. Consider the Details of All Offers Equally
    Not that you should not ignore the offer price when selling your home, but you should consider it one of many factors in the overall offer. Look into each offer in detail, highlighting elements such as the buyer's concessions and flexibility. Consider creating a list or spreadsheet that compares all aspects of each offer against the others. You may discover that the "lower" offer enables you to gain more in the long-run after completing the transaction.
  5. Go With Your Gut
    Selling your home is not a decision you should make lightly, but it is a decision that should involve your instinct. If a particular buyer doesn't seem legitimate, or if elements of their offer make you uncomfortable, don't be afraid to deny it. My goal as your Real Estate agent involves selling your home in a way that benefits you the most. A worrisome sale that could have negative financial impacts on your life should be avoided at all costs. Talk to your me throughout the process and use your intuition and my experience to guide you to the right offer.

Selling your home is an exciting feeling, especially when you receive multiple offers. Take these offers in stride, consult with your me frequently, and be sure to consider all details when selling your home to ensure you choose the offer that helps you reach our real estate goals.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Designed for sale:  The
fine art of home Staging

Woman placing sofaThere are plenty of reasons to consider staging before selling your home, including the possibility of a faster sale and a higher offer price. While properly staging a home truly is an art, it's also something you can learn to do if you follow some basic guidelines. These simple tips will help you get started.

𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚 𝐂𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞
As soon as you start thinking about selling your home, it's a good idea to begin decluttering. By the time you're ready to start staging, you should have packed up and moved out almost all of your personal items and given the entire home a deep cleaning.

𝗞𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗞𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗖𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗺𝗮𝗹
When staging your kitchen, remember that less is more. Make sure your counters are spotless and clear of clutter. Also, keep decor to a bare minimum. Consider placing a flower vase or small succulent on the counter and a decorative teakettle on the stove, and nothing more.

If your cabinets could use a refresh and you don't have the money to replace them, breathe new life into them by adding a coat of paint and replacing the hardware.

𝗠𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗟𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗥𝗼𝗼𝗺 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗳𝘆
When you're selling your home, you want potential buyers to envision themselves living there. Since the living room is where most families spend their time, this room must be appealing.

Once you remove your personal items, the living room may look a bit cold. Bring back a cozy, inviting feel by choosing attractive lamps for your end tables and adding a few books or tasteful decor items on shelves. Consider adding a rich-toned area rug and matching throw pillows on the couch. Just be careful not to go too crazy with colors and patterns as these can be distracting.

𝗚𝗼 𝗖𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗰 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗗𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗥𝗼𝗼𝗺
Even if you never used your dining room, the new buyer might. Make sure it's inviting by clearing off the tabletop and adding an attractive, easy-to-maintain centerpiece. Place an area rug under the table and a matching table runner on top. This simple, classic staging will appeal to almost any homebuyer.

𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮 𝗕𝗲𝗱𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺 𝗢𝗮𝘀𝗶𝘀
Remember, when you're selling your home, it's all about making the buyer feel like they'll love calling it their own. After the living room, the bedroom is one of the most important rooms in the house. While staging every bedroom isn't critical to selling your home, the master is definitely a must.

To make sure it's as appealing to as many potential buyers as possible, stick to neutral, soothing colors like cream, gray, or shades of blue. Avoid crazy patterns and keep the decor simple.

𝗚𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺 𝗛𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗹 𝗦𝗽𝗮 𝗩𝗶𝗯𝗲𝘀
When selling your home, you might not think much about the bathrooms, other than cleaning them. However, there are many staging opportunities here. Consider a decorative mirror to give the room a touch of class. Don't forget about accessories like fluffy towels, decorative soaps, and other serene finishing touches.

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗧𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲
Proper staging is just one of the many important things you'll need to consider when selling your home. From deciding on the asking price to understanding negotiating tactics and marketing methods, a great real estate agent will guide you every step of the way and make selling your home a breeze!

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

6 Boredom-Busting Ideal
for Home DIY Projects

Workman with board on shoulderIf you're like most homeowners, you used your time during the early months of the quarantine to take care of all the home improvement projects on your list. Now, you might be getting bored and wondering what to do next.
Don't worry, we've got six ideas for fun home improvement DIYs that you're sure to love. They're easy to complete in a single weekend and will totally transform your space.

𝗛𝗮𝗻𝗴 𝗦𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗥𝗼𝗽𝗲 𝗦𝗵𝗲𝗹𝘃𝗲𝘀
From small plants and décor to picture frames and candles, there are many ways to decorate a beautiful set of hanging rope shelves. This project creates a beautiful aesthetic display without taking up too much wall space. You'll want to use strong rope and lightweight or hollow shelves. Make sure that everything is anchored properly for the amount of weight it will hold. If you're going to add some heavier items, don't forget to reinforce the ceiling for extra strength.

𝗕𝘂𝗶𝗹𝗱 𝗮𝗻 𝗘𝗻𝘁𝗿𝘆𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗵
Sure, you could buy a bench for a few hundred dollars, but why do that when you can easily build one on your own? Like any home improvement project, you'll want to spend some time thinking about the design. Once you know what you want it to look like, head to the lumberyard and pick up some inexpensive wood. When you've finished building your bench, don't forget to cover it with comfortable cushions and pillows. You can buy some at the store or create a new project by making you own with repurposed blankets or sheets.

𝗨𝗽𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗼𝗿 𝗗𝗼𝗼𝗿𝘀
One of the easiest and most impactful home improvement projects is simply refreshing your interior doors. You can keep this as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint or some trim. If you're willing to take on something more dramatic, redo them in a completely new color and style. You'll be amazed by how much this changes the look of your interior space.

𝗜𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗡𝗲𝘄 𝗞𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗲
Want to modernize your kitchen without taking on a major remodeling project? Update the hardware! This simple home improvement can make your kitchen feel brand-new. There's a reason why hardware is sometimes referred to as the "jewelry" of the kitchen. It can go a long way towards pulling your kitchen design together while also giving it an upscale look. Some of the things you might want to change out include the cabinet hardware, lighting fixtures, and faucets.

𝗔𝗱𝗱 𝗮 𝗡𝗲𝘄 𝗕𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺 𝗕𝗮𝗰𝗸𝘀𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘀𝗵
Updating your bathroom backsplash is another easy home improvement that can have a major impact. This will allow you to bring a new style and some extra texture to the space. If you're worried this might be too big of a home improvement project, consider skipping the traditional tile and using stick-on tile instead. This will give you a gorgeous effect without the hassle.

𝗕𝘂𝗶𝗹𝗱 𝗮 𝗡𝗲𝘄 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗯𝗼𝗮𝗿𝗱
Does your spare bedroom need a bit of a refresh? You don't have to spend a fortune on a new platform bed. Instead, create a rustic-chic look by picking up some wooden boards and building your own headboard. Not only will you save a ton of money, but every time you look at your new home improvement, you'll feel a sense of pride.

We think the best home improvement projects are ones that help you to add a personal touch to your home. Each of these suggestions will do just that! Which one will you start first?
For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Home Staging on a Budget

Picture of elegant livingroomThere's no doubt that appealing home staging is key to attracting interested buyers, but how much should you spend on staging? Whether you're working with a tight budget or merely trying to save every dollar you can for your move when selling your home, it's possible to do a great job staging a house on a budget.


𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲, 𝗦𝗺𝗮𝗿𝘁, 𝗕𝘂𝗱𝗴𝗲𝘁-𝗙𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗹𝘆 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴
Staging a house on a budget may present unique challenges to deal with, but you're far from alone. Remember that your real estate agent has done this many times before, so they should be a great source of advice for staging priorities and ideas.

𝗥𝗲𝗳𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗵 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗘𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀
A dirty bathroom with stains and old fixtures is not likely to have shoppers falling in love with your home, so some elbow grease may be required to get bathrooms looking their best.
Want to give your bathroom a fresh look, without the cost of a full remodel? Replacing old bath, shower, and sink fixtures is an easy way to make bathrooms look new, without taking up too much of your budget.

Tough grime stuck on your bathroom walls? No problem! Just mix a solution of one part water to one part bleach in a spray bottle, spray the dirty areas, and wash it all away to get old walls looking like new.

Replacing cabinets is costly, but a fresh coat of paint or stain is not. Just make sure to choose a look that matches the rest of your bathroom.

𝗥𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗙𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗮𝗻 𝗘𝗺𝗽𝘁𝘆 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲
You can still find affordable furniture rental options when staging on a budget – especially if you stick to staging only the most important rooms. For furniture, the most important spaces are the master bedroom, living room, and dining room. Furnishing these rooms helps to sell your home by making it easier for buyers to imagine what life would be like there.

𝗠𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗞𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗗𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗔𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀
Just like with the bathroom, new fixtures and a fresh coat of paint on cabinets go a long way toward making an old kitchen look new again. Since kitchens are often the site of old smells and stains, you'll want to clean your kitchen to professional standards.
Investing in some flowers, candles, or other items with a pleasant, subtle scent is a great way to make the kitchen feel like a welcome place for buyers.
Lighting matters, in kitchens, dining rooms, and throughout the home. Brighter light bulbs and natural light will help you show off all of the work you've done to stage the home.

𝗗𝗼𝗻'𝘁 𝗙𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝘂𝗿𝗯 𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗹
You want buyers to be impressed from the moment they arrive at the curb, so it pays to invest in your yard and the entrance to your home. Make sure your yard is clean, your lawn is cut, trees/hedges are pruned, and your garden is looking lively. You'll also want to apply a fresh coat of paint and updated fixtures if the entrance to your home has seen better days.
Staging a home on a budget is so much easier when you invest your effort where it matters most. By making affordable fixes, refreshing well-used rooms, keeping up with curb appeal, and strategically renting the right furniture, you can maximize your value when selling your home.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

      Closing Checklist for Home Sellers

Graphic list with checkmarks
There are many steps involved in selling your home, and the final one––closing––is one of the most important. This is the moment when you legally transfer ownership of your home to the buyer.

Since the entire process of selling your home can sometimes feel overwhelming, we recommend creating and using checklists for each step along the way. This will help you get organized and ensure you don't forget anything.

Here are a few of the most important things you'll want to add to your closing checklist.

𝗣𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲
As you prepare for selling your home, it's a good idea to begin gathering the items the new homeowner will need. This includes owners' manuals for appliances, warranty information, garage door openers, and extra keys. Before you head out to your closing, leave these items on the counter where the new owners will easily see them.

Give your home one last cleaning and take some time to check all the drawers, closet shelves, and so on. Since closing is the final step to selling your home, once you leave the meeting, it's no longer yours, and you can't go back. This is why it's so critical to ensure that you've removed everything you intend to keep.

Shut off the water valves that to go sinks, toilets, the water heater, and the appliances. This will help prevent accidental flooding. Make sure you let the buyer know so they don't think there's a problem and call a plumber. On your way out, don't forget to lock up everything securely.

𝗚𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗗𝗼𝗰𝘂𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀
To make the process of selling your home go smoothly, it's important to stay organized. As you prepare for closing, make sure you have all of the necessary documents, including:

A photo ID for all sellers
One set of keys to the home
Security codes (if applicable)
Documentation of any contractually-required repairs
The deed to your house (if you own it outright)

If you owe money, you'll have to bring a cashier's check to the closing or wire the amount owed to the escrow account. If money is owed to you, you can expect to either receive a check or have it wired into your account before you leave.

𝗨𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗔𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁
During the closing process, you'll review the contract and go through and all of the other paperwork and agreements that apply to selling your home. You'll have a final chance to review things like:

Your remaining mortgage balance
The realtor commissions
Any outstanding bills (property taxes, utilities, HOA fees, homeowners insurance, etc.)
Escrow and/or attorney fees
Title fees
Pay close attention to these details, and don't be afraid to ask questions if anything doesn't sound right.

𝗖𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗹 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗜𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗨𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀
When you leave the closing, the process of selling your home is done! However, there are a few more important things to do. If you haven't already made arrangements, you'll want to immediately reach out to your utility company and your homeowner's insurance provider to cancel these services.

You don't want to pay for these things any longer than you have to, but it's also important to wait until you've finalized selling your home before canceling. This way, the home is protected up until the moment that it's no longer yours.

𝗙𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗣𝗮𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸
The last step of selling your home is to file all of the closing documents somewhere safe. You may want to scan a digital copy to store in the cloud and also keep the original paperwork in a filing cabinet or safe.

Selling your house is an exciting time, and there's no reason to stress over your closing. Just follow this checklist, and you'll be fine!

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

                 First Time Sellers: 
               to Get the Job Done

Couple in front of sold home
Selling your first home takes a big commitment of time, energy, and emotion. You'll leave behind your first-home memories while looking for a new place to start all over again. It's not an easy job, but it's worth it.




𝟲 𝗧𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲
Until you sign the papers on your new and current home, you'll pull double-duty as a home buyer and a home seller. It's a tough job, but it's doable when you have a plan. Here are six tips to help you get the job done.

𝗗𝗼𝗻'𝘁 𝗪𝗮𝗶𝘁!
You'll have to get your current home ready for the market while searching for the next place you'll call home. Time constraints, job duties, even treasured memories can hinder the process. It's important to set a things-to-do schedule and get an early start.

𝗙𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗮 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝗘𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹
When you're selling your home, connecting with a real estate professional will ease the strain of simultaneously marketing and buying. Your realtor can offer advice on pre-listing home preparation. When you're too busy to search for a home that meets your criteria, your realtor keeps your search going.

You need someone with knowledge of your current community and the community where you've decided to relocate. Ask enough questions to feel comfortable with their marketing, negotiating, and closing experience.

𝗗𝗼 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗣𝗿𝗲-𝗟𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
You can't just list it and hope for the best. This is where your plan for selling your home kicks into high gear.

Declutter: Remove unnecessary furniture, toys, appliances, tools and other objects crowding your space. Store personal mementos and cultural displays so every potential buyer will feel at home.

Repair and Upgrade: Fix all the little things you always wanted to fix but didn't have time. Repair wall dings and dents and paint your walls in neutral colors. Replace broken bathroom and kitchen tiles. Consider upgrading anything that looks worn and faded. DIY what you can to save money. Hire a pro for tasks you can't do or prefer not to do.

Clean: Consider hiring a pro to clean everything thoroughly from top to bottom.
Enhance: Add final touches to beautify your home's interior and heighten your curb appeal. Add lighting, decor, and room-brightening window treatments. Upgrade your landscaping with plants and flowers. Keep your lawn mowed until you can turn the job over to the new owner.
Staging: Your realtor can give you pointers on arranging your rooms to look their best. You can also hire a professional stager.

𝗣𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝗥𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁
When you overprice, selling your home takes too long. When you underprice, you lose money. Do the research. Your realtor can conduct a comparative market analysis of recently sold homes. You can check current listings for prices on homes similar to yours. Your comparables research will help you price it right.

𝗟𝗶𝘀𝘁 𝗪𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗣𝗵𝗼𝘁𝗼𝘀
The NAR 2017 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers tells us that 51% of homebuyers begin their search online. You need great listing photos to catch a buyer's eye. To maximize your listing visibility, hire a professional photographer.

𝗕𝗲 𝗙𝗹𝗲𝘅𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲
Selling your home requires flexibility. You must be available for home showings and respond to offers quickly. You must be a fair and flexible negotiator and make concessions when necessary.

𝗜𝘁'𝘀 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗘𝗳𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘁
Selling your home is a labor of love. When you hand over your keys to the new owner, you'll feel the thrill of making someone's homeowner dream come true. When you close on your new home, you get to repeat the process all over again.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

    Getting Real with the Deal:  What You 
        Need to know About Lowball Offers

Baseball player reaching to ground to catch ball
For many homeowners, the thought of selling your home for less than what you believe it's worth is unthinkable. After all, your goal is to try to make a profit or recoup the majority of your initial investment. Unfortunately, lowball offers are often part of the home selling process. There are many instances in which selling your home successfully will include accepting an offer that may not seem attractive at face value. Let's look at why buyers submit exceptionally low offers and when it may be beneficial for you to accept such a price when selling your home.

𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗕𝘂𝘆𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗦𝘂𝗯𝗺𝗶𝘁 𝗟𝗼𝘄𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝘀
When selling your home, entertaining multiple offers is a good problem to have. While the highest two or three offers will seem the most attractive, most homeowners will see the lowest offers as unattractive. Some will even consider any offer well-below asking price insulting. If we think a "lowball" offer is 20 to 50 percent lower than the listed asking price, it's no surprise why you would scoff at such a small amount when selling your home.

𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗱𝗼 𝗯𝘂𝘆𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝘀𝘂𝗯𝗺𝗶𝘁 𝗹𝗼𝘄𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝘀?
In many instances, it's likely a negotiation tactic that a buyer may assume will eventually lead to an accepted price that is still lower than asking price, ultimately helping them save money. Some men and women may submit a lowball offer on a home in a buyer's market hoping, hoping that they find a seller motivated enough to accept.

Lowball offers may present themselves when selling your home, and some may be better than they seem. Although most real estate agents will recommend avoiding lowball offers, many experienced and knowledgeable agents know how to spot a lowball offer that's a great deal.

𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗔𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁 𝗮 𝗟𝗼𝘄𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲
Accepting a lowball offer may be unthinkable when selling your home, but in reality, there are many reasons why it's wise. When is it wise to accept a lowball offer when selling your home?
When the buyer offers other incentives, a low offer does not necessarily mean a low-value offer. Many buyers will compensate for a lower-than-listed offer by waiving contingencies, agreeing to a short sale, or by paying in cash. If you believe that these incentives can help you reach your real estate goals, it may be wise to accept this as the "better" deal than a slightly higher offer.

𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗵𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗔𝗦𝗔𝗣.
Relocating for work, moving before the school year starts, and having already closed on a new home are three of the many reasons why you may need to sell your home as soon as possible. If no other credible offers are received as swiftly as you need, you may find it advantageous to accept a lowball offer so you can move forward with your immediate plans.

𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗼𝗼 𝗵𝗶𝗴𝗵.
Whether your real estate agent is out of touch with the market, if your home needs significant improvements, or if your house is priced too high, your asking price may seem just as "insulting" as a lowball offer. A good agent will encourage you to accept a lower-than-asking price for a fair offer by a qualified buyer.

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝘀𝗻'𝘁 "𝗹𝗼𝘄𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹" 𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗹𝗹.
When faced with a lowball offer, you must first ask whether you're genuinely being "lowballed." Ten percent below the asking price may seem low, but in a buyer's market, it may be a fair offer that falls in line with other low offers.

While lowball offers may seem unattractive, they may be essential in successfully selling your home. When setting a price for your home, ask your real estate agent which lower-than-priced offers are acceptable to consider.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

What Every Home Seller Needs
           to Know About Closing Day

Hand holding key
The closing day is an exciting time for sellers, but it can also be stressful. With help from an experienced real estate agent, you can minimize complications and keep things moving forward.
Even with the best real estate agent on your side, however, it's important to understand as much as you can about the process. An informed seller ensures that he or she will be able to make the best decisions even down to the final hours of the process.

And, unfortunately, unexpected things can happen at the last moment. By the time a home sale reaches closing, it's usually ready to go off without a hitch – but it never hurts to be prepared.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗠𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗞𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝗔𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗖𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗮𝘆
Most of the closing simply consists of sitting down and signing documents--lots and lots of them. Many people are surprised by how long this can take: Although a quick closing may be done in as little as an hour, it's a good idea to clear off the entire morning or afternoon.

𝗞𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘀𝗲 𝗽𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮 𝘀𝘂𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝗰𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗿:

𝗬𝗼𝘂'𝗹𝗹 𝗡𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗕𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗥𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗜𝘁𝗲𝗺𝘀
Everything has to be signed and verified at closing. If even one piece is missing, you'll have to reschedule. That, in turn, can endanger the terms of your mortgage loan, which is often offered with very strict time constraints. Luckily, there's a simple list of items to remember.

𝗬𝗼𝘂'𝗹𝗹 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴:
1. The deed, if your property is already paid off.
2. A valid state or federal ID, such as your current driver's license or passport.
3. If required, a verified check in the amount specified by the escrow officer.
4. All keys and security codes needed to access the property if the closing is successful.

𝗬𝗼𝘂'𝗹𝗹 𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗧𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗗𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗣𝗮𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸

𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗱𝗲:
𝗖𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗜𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀
These can sometimes be signed at the opening of the escrow account, but they are usually done at closing. You should carefully review the exact amount of credits and debits for accuracy. This ensures that liens (and your existing mortgage, if any) are fully paid off.

𝗛𝗨𝗗-𝟭 𝗦𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗹𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁
This is a statement required by federal law that serves as a full accounting of all money involved in the transaction. There's both a buyer's column and a seller's column, and you should receive a copy well in advance so you can review it in full. Check the math and look for clerical errors.

𝗖𝗲𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗧𝗶𝘁𝗹𝗲
This affirms you have the right to sell a given property.

𝗗𝗲𝗲𝗱
This document passes ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. It must be signed along with a full description of the property, then recorded at the county courthouse.

𝗟𝗼𝗮𝗻 𝗣𝗮𝘆𝗼𝗳𝗳
This itemizes your loan payoff amounts to be paid at closing.

𝗕𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗳 𝗦𝗮𝗹𝗲
This document lists any personal property, such as furniture, you agreed to provide to the buyer as part of the sale. Make sure there are no extra or missing items and that all prices are correct.

𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗖𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗖𝗼𝘀𝘁𝘀
Closing costs vary a great deal in each transaction. Although buyers are generally responsible for many of these, you may have negotiated concessions. It's a good idea to review all closing costs.

𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗜𝗻𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
This document is simply used to affirm your identity.

Your closing should be a day of celebration. Double-checking all the paperwork with an expert advisor by your side will help give you peace of mind as you reach this major milestone.
For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

      5 Ways to Sell Your Home Faster

Woman smiling
If you're going to be selling your home, you'll want to make sure buyers can make an easy decision to say yes. Everyone knows the importance of finding a good real estate agent and pricing your home correctly, but your prep work is vital too, especially if you need to sell quickly. These five tips can do a lot to help your home sell faster.

𝗜𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝘂𝗿𝗯 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗹.
This one gets talked about a lot when selling your home and for a good reason. It is rare that a buyer makes an offer on a house they haven't seen. The outside view of your home is the first thing buyers see when they come to your home, and it's usually the first photo if they're looking at online pictures. You need to get them interested enough to see your home in person and come inside to look around. If your curb appeal makes a good first impression, it sets a positive tone and makes a buyer optimistic and enthusiastic about what they'll see inside.

𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗵𝗼𝗺𝗲.
Your home should have some staging. Ideally, you can hire a professional. If that's not possible, your agent can likely give you a few tips, and there are a few things you can do yourself. Remove bulky furniture and rearrange the rest, ensure easy movement from room to room, brighten up rooms and replacing linens and window treatments are simple fixes that can do a lot.

𝗚𝗲𝘁 𝗮 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁.
The first thing you do when selling your home is to declutter and deep clean everything. During that process, it's likely you found some stuff you still need but won't use every day. Extra furniture, items that you have multiples of, and seasonal décor are good examples. You can't start stuffing things back into the closet and garage. Enough storage is extremely important to buyers, so you'll want them to be able to look into those areas. If you opt for portable storage, it can be moved to the storage facility then directly to your new home when the time comes without any extra work for you.

𝗗𝗼 𝗮 𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗹𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳-𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻.
Your agent will be able to market your home like a pro, but why not let your network know too. You never know who might know someone who is house hunting, and if you need to sell quickly, casting the biggest net possible won't hurt. Your personal social media or a homeowner's association email are great places for a little publicity.

𝗞𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝗴𝗼𝗮𝗹 𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗱.
There are some temporary inconveniences when selling your home like having to leave at a moment's notice for showings. But keep your end goal in mind. Don't get too hung up on those situations and remember that a reasonable offer close to what you're asking for can save you money. Your costs for an extra mortgage payment, insurance, and utilities for an extra month or two will add up fast, and they'll probably be more than the difference between a good offer and your asking price.

No seller wants their home to stay on the market indefinitely with little interest. Making an effort to sell your home quickly will make everyone happy, and you'll be able to look for your next new home sooner.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

                 How to Sell Your Home
                 When It's Not Selling

Home with for sale sign
Selling your home can be a quick and smooth process; however, it can be an extended and somewhat frustrating process. Even in the best markets and after maximum preparation efforts, there can be instances in which a homeowner has trouble selling their property. If you're selling your home and it isn't moving, try these steps to move the sale forward.

𝗣𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗽𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗦𝗮𝗹𝗲
Just because you're actively selling your home, it doesn't mean you can take a few steps back. Some factors outside of your control could delay your sale, such as trying to sell in an unfavorable market.

𝗧𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗹𝘆 𝗥𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲
Even though the local market may not be right for selling your home, you could postpone selling and rent it instead. The rental market may be a more lucrative option and will allow you to strategize your home sale while making a monthly rental income.

𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝗮 𝗥𝗲𝗻𝘁-𝘁𝗼-𝗢𝘄𝗻 𝗼𝗿 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲
If you're considering renting instead of selling your home, you could always offer a rent-to-own or lease option. Some buyers may be motivated to buy but face certain obstacles that prevent them from purchasing the home outright immediately.

𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗮 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗦𝗮𝗹𝗲
If selling your home is a goal you must meet by a specific deadline, opting for a short sale may be the quickest way to find success. Speak with a real estate attorney to see if this is an option for you.

𝗜𝗻𝘃𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮 𝗚𝘂𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗣𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗵𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺
If you're selling your home due to a relocation for work, ask your employer about a guaranteed purchase program. Some companies offer relocation programs in which they help you sell your home in various ways, such as buying it from you outright or offering to cover some of your costs.

𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗱𝘂𝗰𝘁 𝗮𝗻 𝗢𝗽𝗲𝗻 𝗛𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗙𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸
Do you want to know why selling your home is taking so long? Ask prospective buyers! Conduct an open house and have your real estate agent follow up to gain feedback. This valuable insight may highlight the significant reasons why no one is putting in an offer.

𝗠𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗜𝗻𝘃𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀
If your home lacks certain amenities that other homes have or if it's in dire need of repairs and renovations, you may want to consider investing in these modifications to make the home more appealing.

𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗨𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗩𝗮𝗹𝘂𝗲
Unfortunately, your home may not be selling due to its price. While no seller wants to decrease their potential profit, selling your home for less than it's valued may be a surefire way to draw attention from motivated buyers who don't want to miss out on this opportunity.

𝗥𝗲𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲
If you haven't bought a new property and are staying in the same location, you could consider refinancing your mortgage. This will make your current home more affordable for you to live in while considering the next steps.
You may face obstacles that may delay selling your home. Thankfully, these tips can help you overcome obstacles and help you reach your goals.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

     
                What are the Closing Costs
                     of Selling a Home

Drawing of home shape with text closing costs
Selling a home requires more time and effort than many people realize. When closing day rolls around, it's time to pay the people who helped along the way. From attorneys and contractors to Uncle Sam, there are plenty of people who will be lining up to take their cut before the deal is done.
When you're estimating the profit you'll see from your home sale, it's important not to forget about the closing costs you'll pay. While the final costs vary based on several factors, including where your home is located, most sellers can expect to allocate between 6% and 10% of the home's sale price to closing costs. Here's an overview of what you can expect.

𝗟𝗼𝗮𝗻 𝗣𝗮𝘆𝗼𝗳𝗳 𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗲𝘀
When you sell your home, you'll have to repay your mortgage lender at closing. You may notice that your final payoff balance is higher than the remaining balance shown on your mortgage statement. The difference is the pro-rated interest you owe your lender. Some lenders also charge an early-payment penalty. If you have an outstanding balance on your home equity loan or line of credit, you'll have to pay that in full as well.

It's always a good idea to contact your lender and get an estimate of what you'll owe so you can properly prepare.

𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝗧𝗮𝘅𝗲𝘀/𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗙𝗲𝗲𝘀
In some locations, sellers are required to pay a transfer tax or recording fee, which is calculated based on your property value. This tax or fee may be levied by your state, county, or city. It covers the cost of transferring your deed to the new owners.

𝗧𝗶𝘁𝗹𝗲 𝗜𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗙𝗲𝗲𝘀
Title insurance protects the buyers and their lender from any problems that could arise with the property's title. The sellers often pay the buyer's title insurance premium as part of the closing costs. Make sure to talk to your real estate agent about common practices in your area.

𝗘𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘄 𝗙𝗲𝗲𝘀
The escrow company is the party responsible for handling the transfer of documents and funds during a real estate transaction. If there are third-party escrow fees to pay, the buyer and the seller will often split them. Your portion will be added to your closing costs.

𝗔𝘁𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝘆'𝘀 𝗙𝗲𝗲𝘀
If you've hired a real estate attorney, their fees will also be included in the closing costs. In some states, attorneys are required to oversee real estate transactions, while in others, they're optional.

𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘁𝘆 𝗧𝗮𝘅𝗲𝘀
There's a chance you'll also have to pay all or a portion of the previous year's property taxes. This will depend on the time of year you sell your home and where you're located.

𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝗘𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗔𝗴𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻
Your real estate agent works hard to help you sell your home, and now is the time to pay them as well. The amount you'll owe your agent will be based on your home's selling price. You can find the percentage you've agreed to in your listing agreement.

𝗔𝗱𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗖𝗹𝗼𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗖𝗼𝘀𝘁𝘀
There's also a possibility you may run into additional closing costs. This may include any outstanding homeowner's association (HOA) fees, a home warranty premium that you pay for the buyer, credits to buyers for repairs found during the inspection, and more.

You should be able to receive a full estimate and breakdown of your closing costs before your scheduled closing day. Make sure you review it closely. This will allow you to ask questions so you understand everything you're expected to pay. Taking the time to do this will ensure you're prepared and help prevent any unpleasant last-minute surprises.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

                4 Signs It's Time to Break
                     Up with Your House

Home with for sale signIt’s rare to find a house you love that meets your needs over the course of your entire life. Changes to your family, finances, tastes, or obligations can affect how you feel about where you live. How do you know when it’s time to say it's over to your home? These are some major signs:
𝟭. 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲'𝘀 𝗷𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗻𝗼 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺.
Expecting a new baby, in addition to the ones you already have? A two-bedroom home could begin to feel cramped and overly full. Is your family tripping over each other’s Zoom calls because there are no more rooms with doors on them to give you a modicum of privacy? Or maybe your kitchen is just too dang tiny. If your family is growing or shrinking, the closets are spilling out into the halls, and you can’t sort your work from your kids’ homework, it’s time for a change.

𝟮. 𝗘𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱𝘀 𝘂𝗽𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴.
If you realize your major kitchen appliances are all about to hit their expiration dates, or your roof needs work and all your windows and doors need replacing, it can be hard to stay in love with your home. Unless you’re willing to shell out the money for a remodel — and deal with the messy inconvenience of a construction project — you might be better off finding a new home base.

𝟯. 𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗼𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀.
Your neighborhood school isn't always the best fit for your child. While some states offer school choice, many do not, and you could find that trying to squeeze your budget for tuition and planning your new commute may become overwhelming or frustrating tasks.

𝟰. 𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗮 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘁𝘆𝗹𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲.
Can you walk to a coffeeshop or grocer? Do you want to be closer to family? Is there a lake, river, or ocean nearby? The pandemic has shifted a lot of people’s perspective on how well their homes are satisfying social and emotional needs, and a location change is often the catalyst to make different (and healthier) choices.

𝗚𝗮𝘂𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘁.
Is it a good time to sell? I’m more than happy to review the latest market news with you.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

How to Bring the Outdoors In

Picture of bed and flowersDoes the dark and cold of winter really bring you down? Is it hard to get out of bed in the morning, or do you change into jammies and crawl back under the covers as soon as work is over? That’s no way to spend several months of your life, every year! Try these tips to bring some of the outdoors in to your home, even in the middle of February.

𝗕𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝗻 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁
You still need your vitamin D fix, and it’s harder to get when you’re hardly outside at all. Do you have a wall where you could install windows, or make the windows bigger? Maybe a skylight works best for you. Even easier, choose a front door with windows in it to let the light find you.

𝗣𝗼𝘁 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻𝘁𝘀
With all that light coming in, you’ll be able to grow some lovely houseplants. When people are regularly exposed to nature, they not only feel better overall but also experience reduced stress levels, stronger immune responses, increased self-esteem.

𝗨𝘀𝗲 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗮𝗹𝘀
Start with wood, as it can be used everywhere: floors and furniture, cabinets and trim, and in your home décor. Stone looks beautiful when used for bath and kitchen counters, trimming the fireplace, and as part of a water feature. Shells, crystals, cork, bamboo, and dried flowers are also ways to get more exposure to nature when you’re stuck inside.

𝗨𝘀𝗲 𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗵𝘆, 𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗰 𝘁𝗲𝘅𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝘀
Cotton, wool, wicker, raffia, flax, hemp, jute, silk — each has its own texture, and each is a natural fiber. Wicker baskets, wool rugs, and silk throw pillows are just some of the ways to incorporate these elements.

𝗡𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝘀𝗰𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝘀
Don’t forget the other senses! Natural smells such as those from sandalwood diffusers, oil sticks, incense, and live flowers (although many will be scentless as winter blooms are generally forced in a greenhouse; sniff strongly before purchase) may call you back to a pleasant outdoor experience. Sound can also evoke fond memories. A tabletop water fountain (or full-size if your home can handle it!); windchimes inside and out; rain sticks; and wave, rain, or whale sounds are also soothing and comforting.

𝗣𝗶𝗰𝗸 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗽𝗮𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲
Let nature inspire your home’s color scheme. Think of coastal blues and creams, woodsy browns and greens, and bold splashes of color inspired by your garden. (White kitchens and grey rooms are so last year!) Blues, greens, and warm neutrals are the hot new colors for 2021.

Check out variations from Behr, Benjamin Moore, and, of course, Pantone (which threw in a bright yellow for good measure).

𝗘𝗺𝗯𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗽𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝘀
Big floral prints, art depicting landscapes and nature scenes, and decorative architectural flourishes inspired by flora and fauna are more ways to expose yourself to nature when you’re hunkering down at home. From fish-shaped guest soaps to palm leaf-shaped fan blades, arched doorways to wrought iron shaped into flowers and vines, there are so many ways to invite the outdoors in!

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

The Truth About Selling a Home As Is

Picture of older home
Selling a home "as is" is often viewed as a convenient option for homeowners who are looking to move on from a particular property. In some cases, the seller wants to transact quickly or may not have the financial resources available to make the repairs.
Selling a home as is means the property will be sold in its current state — no matter how good or bad the condition may be. In other words, the transaction takes place with the understanding that the seller won't be on the hook for any repairs.
Many believe selling a home "as is" is the easiest way to move on from a property, but that's usually not the case.
𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗼𝗻 𝗠𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗔𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗔 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘁𝘆 "𝗔𝘀 𝗜𝘀"
Selling a property as is does not mean the homeowner is excused from having to reveal facts about the property, disclose potential problems, or honestly answer a buyer's questions. States have different rules about which details relating to a home's condition a seller must disclose to a buyer; however, in most cases, it's important to disclose what you know.
Additionally, real estate agents are often required to disclose known details about a home's condition including:
Known structural defects
The presence of mold
Significant roofing issues
The radon levels in the home are higher than the acceptable EPA limit
Electric or plumbing problems
Termite damage
Many buyers may also be under the impression that they'll have the opportunity to negotiate repairs following the home inspection. However, if you don't plan on committing to any home maintenance, it's important to let the buyer know upfront.
𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗔 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗔𝘀 𝗜𝘀 𝗠𝗮𝘆 𝗜𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝗕𝘂𝘆𝗲𝗿'𝘀 𝗣𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
An "as is" home sale is almost always perceived negatively by potential buyers, so you may be limiting your market size to investors and home flippers. Additionally, it can signal to buyers that you are desperate to sell the home, which means you'll likely lose negotiating leverage. Buyers that are interested are more likely to try to lowball your sale price. As a result, listing a home as is can prove challenging for both sellers and real estate agents.
𝗥𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗠𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗪𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝗔 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗔𝘀 𝗜𝘀
While many would recommend avoiding an "as is" home sale if possible, there are some valid reasons why sellers may want to consider it:
A seller can't afford to make the repair costs.
A seller is experiencing financial difficulties and needs to close quickly.
A seller is ill or does not want to go through the stress of selling a home.
Listing a home can require work and dedication on behalf of a determined seller, but if you are experiencing a situation where you need to list your home "as is", it's a good idea to weigh the pros and cons.
Every home sale is unique and presents its own set of challenges. Working with an experienced real estate agent is usually the best way to determine the right strategy for your property.
If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Which Home Improvement Projects
Are Booming During the Pandemic?

Drawing of outline of homeWith most homeowners spending much more time in their houses during the pandemic, it's no surprise that home improvement projects are on the rise. The average home is now the setting for work and school in addition to being a place for relaxing, gathering, and entertaining. While we don't yet know when our "new normal" will be the new normal, it's clear that many homeowners are investing in their living spaces to be fully prepared to live, work, and play comfortably no matter what the future brings. These five home improvement projects have been especially popular during the pandemic.

𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗱𝗼𝗼𝗿 𝗟𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗦𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲𝘀
The good news is that social distancing has encouraged many of us to enjoy the great outdoors; the bad news is that public spaces tend to get crowded with so many people outdoors. Many homeowners have been investing in their backyards to create opportunities for outdoor living. New outdoor amenities provide those in the home with extra space to relax and play from new swimming pools and sports courts to decks, patios, and outdoor kitchens.

𝗞𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗥𝗲𝗺𝗼𝗱𝗲𝗹𝘀
Kitchen remodels are always one of the top two renovations completed in the home, and the pandemic has only increased these projects. With many restaurants operating at limited capacity or canceling dine-in service altogether, families spend more time eating at home. The appearance and functionality of a kitchen are being reconsidered as homeowners cook the majority of their meals. Appliance upgrades, more counter/cabinet space, and the addition of eat-in kitchens or islands with bar seating are popular choices for growing families.

𝗕𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺 𝗥𝗲𝗺𝗼𝗱𝗲𝗹𝘀
Like kitchens, bathrooms are a top renovation project for homeowners. As we continue to endure the changes presented by the pandemic, many homeowners desire a space where they can truly relax all by themselves. Bathroom remodels remain a popular project as more and more people seek a space of serenity. Softer lighting, new fixtures, and lavish amenities such as a jetted tub or steam shower can deliver a peaceful setting that homeowners can retreat to on a moment's notice.

𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗔𝗱𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀/𝗘𝘅𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀
Sadly, some homes just weren't equipped with the space necessary to meet all residents' needs at every moment. Many students and older adults are also now moving back under one roof, further increasing the need for additional space. Some homeowners expand their square-footage by building additions or extensions on their homes to combat the limited space available. These interior additions can instantly provide dedicated spaces for extra residents, offices, gyms, or family gathering areas and make the home feel less cramped.

𝗠𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗶𝗽𝘂𝗿𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗦𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲𝘀
The home is much more than a home today: it's an office, a classroom, a gym, an activity center, and so much more. The value of a multipurpose space has never been higher, which is why so many homeowners are trying to convert unused areas like basements, attics, and guest bedrooms into spaces that serve multiple purposes. Homeowners in colder climates are especially trying to maximize their indoor multipurpose space to meet their entire family's lifestyle needs during the winter months.

Now more than ever, it's essential that you and your family feel completely comfortable in your own home. If you believe that your living spaces could use a little enhancement, consider these five pandemic projects to maximize your home's livability.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.


             Buying and Selling a Home
                   at the Same Time


Picture of home with for sale sign
Buying and selling a home at the same time can be a complicated process, to say the least. It's best described as a delicate juggling act, where the best possible outcome is highly contingent on timing. In an ideal world, you could sell your home, release your built-up equity, and find a new home all within a period of a few weeks. Unfortunately, these steps rarely fall in the right order.

That doesn't mean that all hope is lost or that buying and selling a home simultaneously is impossible to pull off. However, it's still a good idea to be aware of some of the less ideal scenarios that can arise from the process.

𝗜𝘀𝘀𝘂𝗲𝘀 𝗪𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗙𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴
If you don't have a significant amount of cash saved up, the purchase of a new home might depend on your ability to use the equity tied up in your existing property as a down payment. In most cases, it's wise to have your total down payment amount saved up before attempting to buy and sell a home at the same time. However, there are some workarounds such as a cash-out refinance, a bridge loan, or a home equity line of credit. Just remember, if you have an FHA or a VA loan, you might not be permitted to have multiple mortgages at once.

𝗟𝗼𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗕𝗶𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗮 𝗡𝗼𝗻-𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿
When simultaneously buying and selling a home, it's common to make an offer on your new home contingent on selling your old home. While this approach can help simplify the process, it can also open the door for another buyer to swoop in and make a more compelling offer that's not contingent on the sale of an existing property. As a result, contingent offers can sometimes put the buyer at a disadvantage.

𝗖𝗼𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗟𝗼𝗴𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰𝘀
Buying a home requires days of negotiations and hundreds of decisions along the way. When you're attempting to sell at the same time, your workload essentially doubles. Lining up closing dates, negotiating with multiple parties, and coordinating moves can require a lot of time, work, and energy. This can often result in decision fatigue and a lot of extra stress. Our advice is to always work with a good real estate agent who can help streamline the process.

𝗜𝘁'𝘀 𝗕𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗧𝗼 𝗔𝘀𝘀𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗙𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
Buying and selling properties at the same time can create a number of risks. As a result, it's best to do a thorough assessment of your financial situation before deciding the best course of action. Do you have enough for a down payment? Can you afford multiple mortgages? These are important questions to ask yourself before committing to one option or another.

It's also important to work with your lender and your real estate agent. Depending on your financial situation, your lender may be willing to pre-approve you for a new mortgage depending on the value of your existing home and your credit profile.

Simultaneously buying and selling a home can present unique challenges, which is why it's essential to work with a good real estate agent so you don't have to go through the process alone. I can bring valuable years of experience to the table and can even anticipate issues before they arise.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

Easy Renovations for Your Laundry Room

Picture of laundry roomOne of the best things about being a homeowner is being able to renovate your space. You're not stuck with someone else's ideas about what you need or what looks good. You can improve the functionality of the space, or just opt for something with more personality or style.

If you've been thinking about undertaking some renovations or upgrades to your home, the laundry room is an excellent place to start. Lots of the solutions you can do for the laundry room are quick and easy fixes. In many homes, the laundry area was built as a very basic space. So giving this room some added functionality and style can make a big difference. Here are some ideas to get you started.

𝗔𝗱𝗱 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗹𝗼𝗿. This is a good place to start, especially if your laundry area is tucked into the corner of a dark basement. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders. Other options are bold patterned wallpaper or window treatments.

𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗳𝗶𝘅𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲. Many laundry rooms don't have enough light. And basic builder-grade light fixtures are almost never stylish. Changing out the fixture can make the area more functional and more appealing.

𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘁𝘀. There are a few options for changing the look of your laundry room cabinets. Of course, you could paint them a different color. But if you don't want to do that, you could remove doors so you have exposed shelves and add baskets or bins. You could also swap out the doors for ones that have glass fronts. Changing cabinets to have drawer pulls is yet another option.

𝗔𝗱𝗱 𝗮 𝗳𝗼𝗹𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗮. This can be a countertop built over the top of front-loading machines or along another wall. It could also be a table that folds up against a wall. In a very large laundry room, a regular table or an island in the middle of the room is an option as well.

𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 Many laundry rooms have unfinished or concrete slab floors. That situation is uncomfortable under your feet and unpleasant to look at. Or maybe your laundry room floor is just looking a little dated and out of sync with the rest of your home. Floors are one of the biggest surfaces in the room, so an update here can make a big difference.

𝗔𝗱𝗱 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗿 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗲. If you don't have shelves, cabinets, or cubbies of course you can add them. But there are other ways to add storage too. You can add a fixture to store the ironing board and iron on the back of the laundry room door. A drying rack that folds up against the wall when not in use is another example. Adding baskets or bins and hooks can increase your storage options. A screw-in closet or shower rod can be used to hang clothes on. Making sure everything has a place will keep things looking neat and tidy.

𝗔𝗱𝗱 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝘁𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸. If your laundry room lacks a little personality, a few well-placed pieces of artwork can add some flair. This can be a fun DIY project. Otherwise, there are plenty of inexpensive prints available online. Or you can check out the second-hand store or flea market for something vintage.

Doing a few quick and easy renovations to your laundry area can take it from boring to amazing. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment, and it might make doing the laundry just a little more fun!  For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.


Designed for Sale: The
Fine Art of Home Staging

Men placing sofaThere are plenty of reasons to consider staging before selling your home, including the possibility of a faster sale and a higher offer price. While properly staging a home truly is an art, it's also something you can learn to do if you follow some basic guidelines. These simple tips will help you get started.

𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚 𝐂𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞
As soon as you start thinking about selling your home, it's a good idea to begin decluttering. By the time you're ready to start staging, you should have packed up and moved out almost all of your personal items and given the entire home a deep cleaning.

𝗞𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗞𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗖𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗺𝗮𝗹
When staging your kitchen, remember that less is more. Make sure your counters are spotless and clear of clutter. Also, keep decor to a bare minimum. Consider placing a flower vase or small succulent on the counter and a decorative teakettle on the stove, and nothing more.

If your cabinets could use a refresh and you don't have the money to replace them, breathe new life into them by adding a coat of paint and replacing the hardware.

𝗠𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗟𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗥𝗼𝗼𝗺 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗳𝘆
When you're selling your home, you want potential buyers to envision themselves living there. Since the living room is where most families spend their time, this room must be appealing.

Once you remove your personal items, the living room may look a bit cold. Bring back a cozy, inviting feel by choosing attractive lamps for your end tables and adding a few books or tasteful decor items on shelves. Consider adding a rich-toned area rug and matching throw pillows on the couch. Just be careful not to go too crazy with colors and patterns as these can be distracting.

𝗚𝗼 𝗖𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗰 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗗𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗥𝗼𝗼𝗺
Even if you never used your dining room, the new buyer might. Make sure it's inviting by clearing off the tabletop and adding an attractive, easy-to-maintain centerpiece. Place an area rug under the table and a matching table runner on top. This simple, classic staging will appeal to almost any homebuyer.

𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮 𝗕𝗲𝗱𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺 𝗢𝗮𝘀𝗶𝘀
Remember, when you're selling your home, it's all about making the buyer feel like they'll love calling it their own. After the living room, the bedroom is one of the most important rooms in the house. While staging every bedroom isn't critical to selling your home, the master is definitely a must.

To make sure it's as appealing to as many potential buyers as possible, stick to neutral, soothing colors like cream, gray, or shades of blue. Avoid crazy patterns and keep the decor simple.

𝗚𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺 𝗛𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗹 𝗦𝗽𝗮 𝗩𝗶𝗯𝗲𝘀
When selling your home, you might not think much about the bathrooms, other than cleaning them. However, there are many staging opportunities here. Consider a decorative mirror to give the room a touch of class. Don't forget about accessories like fluffy towels, decorative soaps, and other serene finishing touches.

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗧𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲
Proper staging is just one of the many important things you'll need to consider when selling your home. From deciding on the asking price to understanding negotiating tactics and marketing methods, a great real estate agent will guide you every step of the way and make selling your home a breeze!

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.



               Sell Faster by Sprucing
                 Up Your Curb Appeal

Home with manicured lawn
When you're selling a home, curb appeal is a big factor. For most buyers, the curb appeal of a property can make or break the sale within a matter of minutes! While a well-kept property will entice buyers to take a closer look, a property that looks neglected will quickly send buy in the other direction.

𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗖𝘂𝗿𝗯 𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗹?
Curb appeal refers to how a property looks from the street. It's a combination of visual appeal, attention to detail, and good maintenance. When a house looks neat and well-maintained from the outside, buyers usually assume that the inside of the house looks the same. Since 90% of buyers start their search online, photos showing eye-catching curb appeal definitely attract attention.
Great curb appeal not only maximizes the sale price of your property, but it also motivates buyers to view the home. On average, a home with fresh paint, well-kept features, and manicured lawns sell for about 10% more than similar homes with less curb appeal. Think of your home's curb appeal as the first impression for buyers.

𝗕𝗼𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲'𝘀 𝗖𝘂𝗿𝗯 𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗹
If you're selling your home, you can boost curb appeal by taking steps to attract buyers. Depending on your budget, there are numerous things you can do to put your home in the spotlight.

𝗙𝗼𝗰𝘂𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝗟𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘀𝗰𝗮𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗴
Whether buyers are driving by or searching online, the front yard is the first thing they see. This includes trees, shrubs, garden areas, walkways, and driveways. Lush green grass, manicured trees and shrubs, and well-maintained walkways and driveways are a big plus. To boost your home's curb appeal, get rid of weeds and debris, trim the trees and shrubs, plant colorful flowers, spread a layer of fresh mulch, and repair cracks in walkways and driveways.

𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗡𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗹
Prospective buyers might drive by after dark to check out the neighborhood. Exterior lighting is an easy, affordable way to add show-stopping curb appeal after dark. Landscape lighting creates a warm, inviting glow and visibility along walkways and driveways, while porch lights, spots, and downlights showcase important landscape and house features. If your garage is attached to the house, don't forget to light it up as part of the exterior.

𝗙𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗨𝗽 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗱𝗼𝗼𝗿 𝗙𝗲𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝘀
Take a good look at your home's exterior to check for needed upgrades and repairs. Focus on the main features buyers will consider a big expense if they have to make repairs.

Roof — Replace any damaged or missing roof shingles.
Siding and Trim — Put a fresh coat of paint on siding and trim and sand and repaint peeling or damaged areas.
Gutters — Clean gutters and remove moss, mold, or leaves.
Windows — Make windows clean and crystal clear without dust or dirt.
Walkways, Driveways, Decks — Clean with a power washer and repair any damage.

𝗪𝗲𝗹𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁𝘀
Once buyers get past the front yard, they are focused on the house. By creating a welcoming entryway, buyers will be eager to get inside. You can start by making sure the front porch is clean and well-lit to create an inviting atmosphere. If things look a little dingy, give your porch a fresh coat of paint or stain, paint your front door a bright color, add a charming porch swing, and fill outdoor pots with fresh greenery or colorful flowers.

When selling your home, first impressions can make or break a sale. By sprucing up your curb appeal, you can attract more buyers, sell your home faster, and pocket more profit for your next move.

For all your Real Estate needs call me, Susan Klement, Realtor at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.
 
Tax Deductions you Can Take From Selling Your Home

Note pad on desk says Tax Deduction
If you sold your house in 2020 (or are planning to sell it in the future), you're in luck! Thanks to the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, there are some tax deductions you can take that may result in serious savings! Here are a few of the most important.

𝗖𝗮𝗽𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗜𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀
If you've made certain upgrades to your home before selling, the IRS allows you to add the costs of these "capital improvements" to your home's cost basis. This can reduce the amount of capital gains tax you may owe after you sell your home.

It's important to note that not all repairs and upgrades meet the government's definition of a capital improvement. Some of the things that meet the guidelines include upgrading your HVAC system, adding a lawn sprinkler system, adding an additional bedroom, bathroom, deck, garage, porch, or patio, updating your water heater, adding built-in appliances, and more. If you make any improvements or upgrades to your home, be sure to hold onto all your receipts. When it's time for you and your tax preparer to complete your return, they can review your expenses and determine what may qualify.

𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗖𝗼𝘀𝘁𝘀
Costs tied directly to the sale of your home are deductible as long as the home is your primary residence and you lived there at least two of the five years prior to the sale. As long as you meet these requirements, you can write off expenses, including real estate commissions, legal fees, escrow fees, advertising costs, and even home staging fees.

Note that this isn't a direct deduction. Instead, it's subtracted from the sales price of your home, which positively impacts the amount of capital gains tax you might owe.

𝗠𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗴𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁
Current tax rules allow you to deduct the interest you pay on your home mortgage debt of up to $750,000. Just remember that mortgage interest and property taxes are itemized deductions, and it only makes sense to itemize if the total is higher than your standard deduction.

𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘁𝘆 𝗧𝗮𝘅𝗲𝘀
The new 2018 rules capped the amount of property taxes you can write off, but they still allow you to take a deduction of up to $10,000. Make sure you include the amount of any property taxes you paid on your tax return.

𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁 𝗣𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀
When you pay points in cash to buy down the interest rate on your mortgage or refinance, the IRS allows you to deduct a portion of the points each year until your mortgage is paid in full. When you sell your house and pay off your mortgage loan, you're able to deduct the remaining amount all at once. This is one of the most forgotten-about home selling tax deductions, but it can be significant in some cases.

𝗠𝗼𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗲𝘀
Unfortunately, not everyone can deduct their moving expenses. However, if you're active-duty military personnel, you'll want to take advantage of this deduction.

𝗕𝗢𝗡𝗨𝗦: 𝗖𝗮𝗽𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗚𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀 𝗧𝗮𝘅𝗲𝘀
The capital gains tax rule isn't really a deduction, it's an exclusion. However, it's so important that we decided to add it to this list.
Capital gains are the profit you make from selling your home. It's the cash left over after you've paid off your mortgage and other expenses. As long as you have lived in the home at least two of the last five years, single filers can exclude up to $250,000 of capital gains, and married filers can exclude up to $500,000.

While the information above is an excellent starting point, remember that each person's finances are different. It's always a good idea to speak to a tax professional before filing your taxes, particularly in years when you have a major life change, like a home sale.

For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

How Home Equity Fuels Your Next Move

Words on paper Tax DeductionSelling your home is as much of a lifestyle decision as it is a financial decision. Like any other investment, you want to make sure that you're making financially responsible decisions every step of the way. One option that you have when selling your home is to use your current equity to finance your next move. Research shows that more and more homeowners are gaining equity in their homes regardless of state. By paying the equity in your current home towards purchasing a new home, you can achieve your real estate goals sooner than later.

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐇𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐄𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐲?
The equity in your home is its current value minus the remaining mortgage debt. As you pay your monthly mortgage, you grow the equity in your home. For instance, If you purchased your home for $200,000 using a mortgage loan and only have $50,000 remaining on the loan, your home equity is $150,000.

𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗖𝗮𝗻 𝗜 𝗨𝘀𝗲 𝗠𝘆 𝗘𝘅𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗘𝗾𝘂𝗶𝘁𝘆?
As you consider selling your home, you likely already have another real estate goal in mind. Whether you're downsizing or purchasing a home for your growing lifestyle needs, you'll need to create a plan for how you're going to buy a new house. Instead of using your savings for another down payment, you can leverage the existing equity in your home to fund the purchase of your next home. There are a few ways that you can use your existing equity when selling your home:

You could use the existing equity as collateral for your next home.

As you search for a lender to secure a mortgage for a new home, they may allow you to use the existing equity in your current home as collateral. One advantage of this option is that many lenders will match the rate of your original mortgage.

𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗮 𝗰𝗮𝘀𝗵-𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲.
The option allows you to pocket the equity as cash to put towards the new home. Prior to selling your home, you may have refinanced your mortgage. This option works similarly, allowing you to use as much as 85 percent of the home's appraised value in equity.

𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘁𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗮 𝗛𝗘𝗟𝗢𝗖.
A HELOC, or a Home Equity Line of Credit, gives you a set balance that you can use as much as necessary. For instance, if your HELOC is for $20,000, you can choose to only use $10,000 of it. This is beneficial because you'll only pay interest on what you use, not the full amount.

𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝗵𝗼𝗺𝗲'𝘀 𝗽𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗵𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗶𝘁𝘆.
A mortgage lender may allow you to accept a loan for 80 percent of the purchase price and then take out a home equity line of credit for the remaining 20 percent. After selling your home, you'll then use the profits to pay off that home equity line of credit.
Is using your equity to fund a new house purchase the right decision when selling your home? That depends on how much equity you have and how much you need to finance for a new home. Speak with your real estate agent to determine if leveraging your equity when selling your home is right for you.

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

How Remote Working is Changing Homebuyer Needs

Mother and child in front of computer
Almost overnight, our world changed completely due to the impact of COVID-19. Since then, every element of our lives has been altered, including the real estate industry. Over the last eleven months, adults considering buying a house have identified new lifestyle needs as a result of working remotely.
Remote working is drastically changing homebuyer needs across the country, which means those selling and buying a house must accommodate these new necessities. Here are just a few things buyers are looking for to help better accommodate their work from home lifestyle.

𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝗦𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗰𝗵 𝗔𝗿𝗲𝗮
With no office to commute to, professionals buying a house are interested in exploring a wider search area. Previously, reports stated that many professionals lived within a 30-minute one-way trip to their workplace. Now, they can live much farther away, which encourages them to seek out areas outside of major metropolitan areas.

𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗦𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱
Working from home is not as simple as it sounds. Many professionals require a bare minimum set up, including a sturdy workspace, privacy, and ergonomic office equipment. When working from a home that features other adults and children, these professionals will likely seek out dedicated office space when buying a house. It should come as no surprise that the majority of homeowners polled say that they want a home with an office or multipurpose space that can be easily converted into a sufficient workspace.

𝗪𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗔𝘁-𝗛𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗟𝗶𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘁𝘆𝗹𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀
Unless the individual lives alone, a professional working from home will also need to consider the lifestyle needs of their family while working from home. They may need a separate office space for their spouse and an area where their children can engage in remote learning. Because they're working and living in the same space, they may also desire additional amenities or features that make their homes more comfortable for relaxation, such as swimming pools, game rooms, exercise areas, or outdoor living spaces.

𝗟𝗼𝗻𝗴-𝗧𝗲𝗿𝗺 𝗟𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴
Although people may be interested in buying a house now, they may be looking at this move as a long-term decision. Because they can work from home, they can move to the area they desire and won't have to worry about relocating if their role or company undergoes changes. This may also encourage those buying a house to consider higher-priced homes that include features or amenities that meet their diverse needs.

There's no telling what our post-COVID world will look like, but one thing is for sure: those buying a house are seeking out specific features. Not only do their homes need to accommodate remote working, but they're also interested in buying a house that caters to their family's at-home lifestyle needs for the long-term.

I can help you with answers to these and the many other questions you may have when you are ready to consider buying a home please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.


                                  Affordable Decor for
             Staging Your Home

Furnished living room
If you want to sell your home quickly and for top dollar, staging can make a big difference. However, if you're not careful, it can also get very expensive. The good news is, it's totally possible to stage your home without spending a fortune. Here are some tips for finding affordable decor to stage your home.

𝗟𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗠𝗼𝗿𝗲
You don't need a ton of furniture and decor to make your home look great. In fact, when it comes to staging, less is more. Before you add anything, spend some time decluttering, removing personal items (like family portraits), and putting your extra furniture in a storage unit.
Remember, the whole point of staging is to set up your home so potential buyers can picture themselves living there. This means you'll want to remove anything that's bright, bold, or reflects your unique personality. Consider covering bright paint with neutral colors and removing any unique artwork.

𝗨𝘀𝗲 𝗘𝘅𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗙𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲
If your existing furniture is in decent shape and free of odors, you may be able to use it in your home staging. Sometimes, you can create a whole new look by freshening your couches and chairs up with furniture covers. You'll also want to rearrange your furniture to create plenty of space and ensure there's an open flow from room to room.
𝗔𝗱𝗱 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀
Depending on the time of year and the general theme of your home, you may be able to incorporate natural elements for an upscale look that's also inexpensive. For example, consider staging beach homes with driftwood and seashells. A live flower arrangement or natural wreath can also add a touch of class.

𝗙𝗼𝗰𝘂𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝗦𝗺𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗗𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗹𝘀
Great staging is often about maintaining a minimal look while adding subtle details. Focus on inexpensive touches like beautiful throw blankets, matching bath linens, or a cookbook strategically placed on the kitchen counter.

𝗦𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗺𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗵𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗱𝗲:
𝗖𝗼𝗹𝗼𝗿𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘄 𝗽𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄𝘀 - stylish pillows will make the room pop, making a statement without being too fussy.
𝗙𝗹𝘂𝗳𝗳𝘆 𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗹𝘀 - the bathroom is an important feature in any home. A new set of soft, fluffy towels will make it more welcoming.
𝗙𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗹𝗲𝘀 - create an inviting ambiance and a soft, warm glow with safe, flameless LED candles.
𝗥𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗺𝗶𝗿𝗿𝗼𝗿𝘀 - this stylish accent will look great with almost any decor and make your home look bigger.
𝗙𝗮𝘂𝘅 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻𝘁𝘀 - quality faux plants are a great way to add greenery. This will brighten up any room and give it a fresh, homey vibe.

𝗦𝗵𝗼𝗽 𝗮𝘁 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁 𝗦𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗲𝘀
Now that you know what to look for, it's time to find the items you need. You'll save money by hitting up discount stores that sell quality home decor items, like Home Goods, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx. Other retailers you may want to visit include Ikea, Wayfair, Amazon, Target, and Walmart. Sometimes, you can even find minimalist accents, like apothecary-style jars or simple white tableware, at dollar stores!
It's easy to create a beautifully staged home without blowing your budget. All you need to do is get creative, use your imagination,
and follow these tips. Need some more staging help? Ask me, your real estate agent for advice!

If you would like a free estimate of what your home might sell for please call me, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.

𝟳 𝗧𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗔𝘁𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗠𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗕𝘂𝘆𝗲𝗿𝘀

Couple in front of home with realtor
Millennials — usually defined as being in their early 20s and approaching 40 — now represent more than a quarter of the U.S. population, and many of them are buying homes. In fact, they make up the largest share of home buyers at 38%.
If you're selling your home, you'll want to appeal to this large segment of home buyers. And it pays to keep in mind they can have different priorities compared to other homebuyer age groups.

𝗙𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘀𝗲 𝟳 𝘁𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝗺𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗵𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗯𝘂𝘆𝗲𝗿𝘀:
𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮 𝗱𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗵𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲.
Since the pandemic began, working at home has dramatically increased, particularly for millennials. In fact, nearly half of this age group works from home. If you have a bonus room, appeal to millennials by staging a home office. Add some shelving, a desk, and ample lighting, and you'll have a workspace that will attract buyers in this demographic.

𝗨𝗽𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝘆𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗲𝗰𝗸.
Millennials want to personalize their homes with items like fire pits and decks that extend their living space. Spruce up your yard and build or expand a deck if needed, adding planters, seating, and other appealing amenities. Just make sure everything is low maintenance since millennial buyers don't want to spend a lot of time and effort where they could be spending that time enjoying the space instead.

𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝘁𝗲𝗰𝗵-𝗵𝗲𝗮𝘃𝘆 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘁𝘆𝗹𝗲𝘀.
Technically is a major part of all our lives, and millennials especially want their home to reflect and enable that. Start by integrating practical technology like a smart doorbell and a programmable thermostat that can be linked to a smartphone. You'll also want to swap out some standard outlets in bedrooms, living rooms, and the kitchen with USBs for charging.

𝗛𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗵𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗲𝘅𝗰𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻.
By the time they start looking for a home to buy, millennials have seen years of picture-perfect homes online and on TV. Although some buyers are willing to accept a less-than-shipshape home in exchange for a reduction in price, this is less true of millennials than it is of older buyers. It's unlikely that many millennials have the time to take on a fixer-upper, so the more move-in ready your home is, the better.

𝗨𝘀𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝘂𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗰𝗼𝗹𝗼𝗿𝘀.
Millennials tend to favor soft, light, neutral colors, so if you're painting your home, resist the temptation to go bold and choose these shades instead. Grays in particular have become popular, in addition to whitewashed variations of gray and creams.

𝗔𝗶𝗺 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻 𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗻 𝗳𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁.
Today's buyers are usually looking for an open floor plan in which the kitchen, dining, and living areas all flow together. If you're planning to renovate your home, consider hiring a contractor to break down walls and make other changes to make this happen. If this is beyond the scope of your time and budget, use the same type and color of flooring throughout these areas to create a cohesive look and make one room look as though it flows into the next.

𝗨𝘀𝗲 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗺𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁 𝗳𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗿.
A highly personalized home stuffed with furniture and other belongings won't wow millennials. Instead, declutter and depersonalize your space and use minimalist furnishings. If you make any decor updates, look for clean lines and simple geometric designs for a modern look.
Millennials make up a large percentage of home buyers, so attracting them can help your home sell more quickly and for the best possible price. The key is knowing what they're looking for and making sure your home meets their needs and preferences.
For answers to your home selling questions please give me a call, Susan Klement at 941-720-4107 or email me. I look forward to helping you enjoy life.


            What are the Closing Costs
                   of Selling a Home?

Drawing of home with words Closing Costs
Selling a home requires more time and effort than many people realize. When closing day rolls around, it's time to pay the people who helped along the way. From attorneys and contractors to Uncle Sam, there are plenty of people who will be lining up to take their cut before the deal is done.

When you're estimating the profit you'll see from your home sale, it's important not to forget about the closing costs you'll pay. While the final costs vary based on several factors, including where your home is located, most sellers can expect to allocate between 6% and 10% of the home's sale price to closing costs. Here's an overview of what you can expect.

𝗟𝗼𝗮𝗻 𝗣𝗮𝘆𝗼𝗳𝗳 𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗲𝘀
When you sell your home, you'll have to repay your mortgage lender at closing. You may notice that your final payoff balance is higher than the remaining balance shown on your mortgage statement. The difference is the pro-rated interest you owe your lender. Some lenders also charge an early-payment penalty. If you have an outstanding balance on your home equity loan or line of credit, you'll have to pay that in full as well.

It's always a good idea to contact your lender and get an estimate of what you'll owe so you can properly prepare.

𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝗧𝗮𝘅𝗲𝘀/𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗙𝗲𝗲𝘀
In some locations, sellers are required to pay a transfer tax or recording fee, which is calculated based on your property value. This tax or fee may be levied by your state, county, or city. It covers the cost of transferring your deed to the new owners.

𝗧𝗶𝘁𝗹𝗲 𝗜𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗙𝗲𝗲𝘀
Title insurance protects the buyers and their lender from any problems that could arise with the property's title. The sellers often pay the buyer's title insurance premium as part of the closing costs. Make sure to talk to your real estate agent about common practices in your area.

𝗘𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘄 𝗙𝗲𝗲𝘀
The escrow company is the party responsible for handling the transfer of documents and funds during a real estate transaction. If there are third-party escrow fees to pay, the buyer and the seller will often split them. Your portion will be added to your closing costs.

𝗔𝘁𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝘆'𝘀 𝗙𝗲𝗲𝘀