Category: Guest blogger

5 Outdoor Improvements that Increase Your Home’s Market Value

5 Outdoor Improvements that Increase Your Home’s Market Value

5 Outdoor Improvements that Increase Your Home's Market Value

Staging outdoor spaces is a highly-effective tactic for boosting the curb appeal and value of the property. Namely, various smart improvements allow you to arrest the attention of homebuyers and let them reap the benefits of the outdoor lifestyle. There are many ways to make it happen: with inexpensive touches, high-value items, and everything in between. But, not all projects are created equal. Some make more financial sense than others, which is to say you want to steer clear of unnecessary upgrades. Take into account the following ideas: measure twice and cut once.

Patio/deck

Your main priority revolves around boosting the total livable space of the property. And as you probably know, the most common projects for revamping outdoor living areas involve a deck or a patio. The key decisions here are related to materials, size, and style of the patio. Once that is sorted out, you need to put together a comfy seating area with quality outdoor furniture. Lounge pieces are always a safe bet. Furthermore, add colorful pillows and patterned outdoor rugs for extra coziness and make good use of outdoor lighting to foster an enthralling ambiance.

Outdoor kitchen

To go an extra mile and complement the patio/deck area, invest in an outdoor kitchen. It can be an extension or a stand-alone space: the choice depends on the garden layout, aesthetic preferences, and convenience. You also need to figure out what kind of appliances you want to add. Most homeowners choose either a gas grill or a wood-burning fireplace, so you might want to ponder those. Note that it is also possible to opt for a prefabricated modular outdoor kitchen. It comes in the form of easy-to-assemble pieces that match your desired configuration.

A spa pool

Bear in mind you are not just offering a functional square footage—you are also selling a lifestyle. Speaking of which, take your time to set the stage of outdoor dining, relaxation, socializing, and partying. A standout feature such as a soothing outdoor spa pool is a true luxury hallmark that can be enjoyed all year long. It is less expensive than most other, conventional types of pools, yet properties with them tend to attract more buyers. Just make sure it makes sense for your target audience and factor in the maintenance costs, privacy, and safety aspects.

Strategic landscaping

Next, you need to give your garden a makeover with the help of good old landscaping. Nothing turns prospects away like a patchy and discolored lawn. So, mow and fertilize it, while filling the holes with sod or artificial grass. Likewise, focus on other bare areas with exposed soil. Make things more interesting with colorful flowers and add new soil and bark where needed. Use natural elements like wood, stone, and container or potted plants throughout the yard. See if you can improve the sense of privacy with bushes and trees.

Front yard makeover

First impressions go a long way. To wow the onlookers right away, give your front yard a facelift. Get rid of any clutter and debris lying around. Applying a fresh coat of paint is one of the most affordable things you can do to enhance the appeal and value of the property. Thus, grab a brush and breathe new life into your trellis, garage door, mailbox, and front door. While at it, you can also update your doorknob and doormat—these small tweaks add up and make a real difference. And coupled with landscaping and other projects, they could be the key to fulfilling your goals.

As you can see, there is no shortage of ways to spruce up your outdoor space without breaking the bank. Your primary objective is to make it a true extension of the indoor space and leave an impression on people even before they step inside. So, revive tired and empty spots—convert them into something that peaks imagination. Assemble an outdoor living space with all the comforts, amenities, and decorative accessories one finds inside. Splurge a bit on one focal point and deliver finishing touches. It is time to put the best face of the property forward.

5 Outdoor Improvements that Increase Your Home’s Market Value

About the author: Mike Johnston is a home improvement blogger and DIY enthusiast from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and contributor on several interior design, lifestyle, real estate and eco blogs. Mike’s goal is to create and share meaningful content that helps and inspires people.

7038 Le Claire Skokie IL Sold

Why You Should Stage an Open House When Selling Your Home

Why You Should Stage an Open House When Selling Your Home

Why You Should Stage an Open House When Selling Your Home

 

Guest Blogger Suzie Wilson 

The most underestimated stage of the process is perhaps the preparation that goes into readying a home just for the open house. Often it is hard to know where to start. While real estate agents can help walk you through the process and offer advice, there are many decisions that are ultimately yours to make.

An Open House is About Exposure

Hosting an open house is a great way to help speed up the selling process. Done right, an open house gets the right buyers through your door. If not the day of, soon after.

According to US News and World Reports, a proper open house happens the first weekend the home is listed. It should serve as an announcement that it is for sale and get as many people inside to look around as possible, including your nosey neighbors.

People talk, and you never know who knows someone looking for a home. This is why it’s essential your home makes a strong first impression and stands out in people’s minds.

Make Sure Maintenance is Up to Date

If you have any lingering maintenance projects, do them before you place your home on the market. Most buyers are looking for a home that is ready to move into and after putting down a large down payment won’t want to fix that leaky pipe or any broken light switches.

Patching up these problems ahead of time is well worth the investment and will see your home off the market much faster. Smart sellers will also keep a list of all the updates they made to the home while they lived there to show buyers to show off how up to date it is.

Consider Small Renovations

You may want to consider making a few updates to your home to make it appear fresh. Pay attention to the floors because worn carpets and scratched hardwood can be a huge turn-off. If you have the budget, use it here.

Updating the lighting fixtures is another excellent way to update your interior on a limited budget while still making it look expensive. Applying a fresh coat of paint to patch up any chips is a great cheap and simple way to liven up a home. Houzz.com recommends removing any bright and bold colors and sticking to neutrals.

Declutter and Depersonalize

Help buyers see themselves living in your home by removing any trace of you. Take down family photos, sports and religious items, and any bold and personal interior design. While this may be difficult, remember that you once you put your home on the market, it becomes a product.

Be sure to declutter your home. Not only does this help depersonalize, but also help your house feel bigger. Do not be afraid to play around with your floor plans either. Some real estate agents will even tell you to remove one piece of furniture from each room to help it appear more spacious.

Setting the Stage

A good staging can help sell your home sooner. Your home should be spotless the moment it is officially on the market until the day it sells. Consider deep cleaning your carpets and power washing the side of your house. Counters should be scrubbed clean and closets and drawers organized.

Once clean, focus on making your home welcoming. Focus on the entry points, like the yard and front entrance to draw buyers inside. Brighten rooms with flowers and let in the light. Be sure to set the dining room table and have new towels in the bathroom. Even consider the age-old baking cookies trick to make the house smell inviting.

Make the buyers feel that they are entering a home they can live in.

On the Market

It is nerve-wracking placing your home on the market. If the process is taking longer than you’d like, do not be afraid to seek out feedback on your home from real estate agents and friends on how to make it more welcoming. Be patient. The right buyers will come along.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Why You Should Stage an Open House When Selling Your Home

If you are interested in learning more about Suzie Wilson, check out her site at:

Happier Home

The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House

 

Evanston IL Real Estate August 2018

Support and Advice for Exhausted Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Support and Advice for Exhausted Alzheimer’s Caregivers

This blog is another great piece by Claire Wentz

claire@caringfromafar.com

Support and Advice for Exhausted Alzheimer’s Caregivers

About Alzheimer’s Disease 

Image via Pexels

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific brain degenerative disorder with symptoms very similar to other types of dementia. The majority of people with Alzheimer’s are age 65 and older with mild symptoms appearing early and becoming progressively worse with time. The first changes in the brain can show up to 15 years before symptoms begin to show. From there, the disease progresses through several stages from moderate impairment to severe Alzheimer’s.

Early signs of Alzheimer’s include an inability to recall newly learned information, challenges in solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, issues with spatial relationships, verbal problems, constantly misplacing things, poor judgment, withdrawal, and changes in mood or personality.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, other symptoms include:

  • Extreme memory loss
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Being haphazard with money
  • Lost perception of time
  • Increased problems with communication
  • Aimless wandering
  • Repetitive speech or actions
  • Inability to recognize loved ones
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Difficulty dressing oneself
  • Neglecting hygiene
  • Forgetting meals
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Acts of aggression or violence
  • Eventual loss of control over the body

Alzheimer’s Caretakers and Self-Care

 

As the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease progress, patients require round-the-clock care for their safety and wellbeing. Many people rely on friends and family to act as caregivers while dealing with their disease. Statistics from 2016 estimate 15.9 million people acted as Alzheimer’s caregivers for a loved one that year, ultimately providing at least 18.2 billion hours of unpaid work. Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is particularly taxing and those who do it report substantial emotional, financial, and physical difficulties as a result — 35 percent say their health is in decline due to their responsibilities as caregiver.

About Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific brain degenerative disorder with symptoms very similar to other types of dementia. The majority of people with Alzheimer’s are age 65 and older with mild symptoms appearing early and becoming progressively worse with time. The first changes in the brain can show up to 15 years before symptoms begin to show. From there, the disease progresses through several stages from moderate impairment to severe Alzheimer’s.

 

Early signs of Alzheimer’s include an inability to recall newly learned information, challenges in solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, issues with spatial relationships, verbal problems, constantly misplacing things, poor judgment, withdrawal, and changes in mood or personality.

 

As Alzheimer’s progresses, other symptoms include:
  • Extreme memory loss
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Being haphazard with money
  • Lost perception of time
  • Increased problems with communication
  • Aimless wandering
  • Repetitive speech or actions
  • Inability to recognize loved ones
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Difficulty dressing oneself
  • Neglecting hygiene
  • Forgetting meals
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Acts of aggression or violence
  • Eventual loss of control over the body

Alzheimer’s Caretakers and Self-Care

As the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease progress, patients require round-the-clock care for their safety and wellbeing. Many people rely on friends and family to act as caregivers while dealing with their disease. Statistics from 2016 estimate 15.9 million people acted as Alzheimer’s caregivers for a loved one that year, ultimately providing at least 18.2 billion hours of unpaid work. Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is particularly taxing and those who do it report substantial emotional, financial, and physical difficulties as a result — 35 percent say their health is in decline due to their responsibilities as caregiver.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is a loyal and loving thing to do. However, if you are not properly caring for yourself, you can’t do your best job for the patient. It’s important to be proactive in practicing self-care to get through this difficult time.

Don’t Lose Hobbies or Interests

Whenever you have to dedicate your time to something like Alzheimer’s caregiving, it’s easy to dismiss hobbies and interests as a waste of time in comparison. However, keeping up with the things you love is just as important as anything else. You need that time to step away from the stresses of your situation and just do something for you.

Reach Out For Help

You never know if someone is able and willing to help unless you ask. You may be surprised which family members or friends have the time and resources available to help with your caregiving. Even if you don’t have family support, you deserve help in whatever form it comes. For instance, having a housekeeping service come and clean your place for you can lift a huge burden off your shoulders for just a few bucks. Most homeowners only have to spend between $122 to $167 to hire a maid service.

 

Apply for Financial Assistance

Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can be incredibly expensive. Fortunately, there are resources available for caretakers to help fund things such as medical care and house modifications. It’s best to start contacting these agencies early to secure funding ahead of time before severe Alzheimer’s symptoms set it.

***

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that leaves people physically unable to care for themselves. A lot of the time, friends or family members step in as caregivers to assist the Alzheimer’s patient as they lose their faculties. This can be an incredibly taxing endeavor and it’s important for Alzheimer’s caregivers to remember their own needs as well as the patient’s.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is a loyal and loving thing to do. However, if you are not properly caring for yourself, you can’t do your best job for the patient. It’s important to be proactive in practicing self-care to get through this difficult time.

Don’t Lose Hobbies or Interests

 

Whenever you have to dedicate your time to something like Alzheimer’s caregiving, it’s easy to dismiss hobbies and interests as a waste of time in comparison. However, keeping up with the things you love is just as important as anything else. You need that time to step away from the stresses of your situation and just do something for you.

 

Reach Out For Help

You never know if someone is able and willing to help unless you ask. You may be surprised which family members or friends have the time and resources available to help with your caregiving. Even if you don’t have family support, you deserve help in whatever form it comes. For instance, having a housekeeping service come and clean your place for you can lift a huge burden off your shoulders for just a few bucks. Most homeowners only have to spend between $122 to $167 to hire a maid service.

Apply for Financial Assistance

 

Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can be incredibly expensive. Fortunately, there are resources available for caretakers to help fund things such as medical care and house modifications. It’s best to start contacting these agencies early to secure funding ahead of time before severe Alzheimer’s symptoms set it.

Support and Advice for Exhausted Alzheimer’s Caregivers

***

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that leaves people physically unable to care for themselves. A lot of the time, friends or family members step in as caregivers to assist the Alzheimer’s patient as they lose their faculties. This can be an incredibly taxing endeavor and it’s important for Alzheimer’s caregivers to remember their own needs as well as the patient’s.

House Hunting for Seniors

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