My fabulously wonderful, fantastically awesome neighbors

I have the best neighbors.  I mean THE BEST.   As often as Steve and I think about moving to a bigger house to have more room to entertain, we always come back to how wonderful our neighbors are here and we are scared of moving and not having them around.   We wonder: What if we move to a new neighborhood and the people next door are not awesome?  What if we don’t get along with them? Or worse What if they just don’t like us?  Nope, we can’t chance that one.  Not even for a bigger house. Neighborly awesomeness is a deal breaker for us.  We’re staying put.

Yesterday, while Steve was pushing the lawn mower across the yard cutting the grass across our medium-sized yard, our neighbor Wayne from across the street came over.  Wayne and his wife, Jean are some of our awesome neighbors.  They have rescued my dogs from roaming the neighborhood after their weekly fence breaking sessions more times than I can count and they always buy Girl Scout cookies from my kids which is surely a requirement of awesomeness.  Wayne explained to Steve that since he was getting older and didn’t want to have the huge responsibility of maintaining his large yard any longer, he had hired a lawn service to take care of that for him from now on.  He told Steve that is was just too much for him to have to worry with.  He explained to Steve that he would no longer be needing the riding lawn mower he owned and he wanted to give it to Steve.  For nothing.  Steve’s first thought was: I am going to look so cool mowing the lawn now! YES!  My first thought was: Is it broken?  I mean really, who just gives someone a perfectly good, well maintained, working lawn mower for nothing?  There had to be something that needed tweaking, or fixing of some sort on it.  Surely Wayne wasn’t really just offering a fully working ride-on lawn mower to my husband for nothing, right?  Wrong.  I told you Wayne and Jean were awesome.  They just wanted to give us the lawn mower out of the amazing goodness of their kind hearts.  And it works!  It is in perfect condition!

Steve brought the new riding lawn mower over to our house yesterday morning.  He has mowed the lawn three times since then.  Right now, he is outside on the riding lawn mower again.  He said something about working on sticks?  I have no idea what he is doing, but he is like a little boy who just unwrapped the most awesome Christmas gift he ever got.

Steve's 4th ride in 24 hours....

Steve’s 4th ride in 24 hours….

Thank you Wayne and Jean, you all are just the best.  We are so blessed to have you and your awesomeness so close to us.  Steve is endlessly thankful to you for making him look cool.


Sprucing Up to Sell

I am often asked by my clients what things they can do to improve their homes appearance to potential buyers.   While there are many improvements that can be made to any home to enhance it’s value, the following list sums up a few “must-do’s”  for anyone who is considering placing their home on the market.

Make them fall in love from the outside in

We all remember Mom telling us not to judge a book by it’s cover, right?  Well, clearly Mom was not referring to house hunting when she said this.  Buyers are evaluating your home from the moment they pull up outside, comparing it to other homes in the area.   Be the best one they’ve seen.  Let them see the pride of ownership that you have in your home.  Keep the lawn neatly manicured, trim the bushes and shrubs around your yard, sweep the sidewalks,  powerwash any brick or siding that looks dull, re-paint any exterior woodwork that is chipping or faded and definitely plant some colorful flowers.  Mulch around your flower beds to make them look fresh and new.    Consider installing an attractive front door if yours is looking a little outdated.  You might be surprised at how much difference a new entrance can make to the curb appeal of your home.  A colorful front door is always a plus.

I am in love with all things yellow these days

I am in love with all things yellow these days

my front door blue

The color blue gives a feeling of peacefulness and serenity, lovely feelings to portray inside and outside of your home

A door painted a bold shade of red can give your home a warm, formal feeling on the outside

A door painted a bold shade of red can give your home a warm, formal feeling on the outside

Less is more

Simply put:  The less clutter there is in your home, the more spacious it will seem to a potential buyer.   Scale down.  If there’s one thing almost all buyers are looking for, it’s closet space. If you have large walk-in closets and plenty of extra storage space then you are in luck, but if you don’t you’ll need to make the space you do have appear large and appealing to buyers.  Clean out all of your closets and pack away those winter clothes that might be hanging around.  A closet organizer is a great investment to make to get your shoes off of the closet floor and add storage to the top of the closet.  In the kitchen, try to show as much of the countertops as possible.  Put all of the small appliances away that you wont be using on a daily basis.  Buyers will be envisioning themselves cooking and entertaining there, let them see how much space they’ll have to work with.   If you are like me and your house has been overtaken with children’s toys, not to worry.  You won’t have to rush out to donate everything, just get creative with toy storage.  There are many great storage ideas for kids rooms online, you’ll be able to find something that works perfectly in your home.   If you want to make sure your kids keep their rooms in tip top shape for all of the showings you’ll have, come up with a fun way to help them do it.  In my home, bribery works wonders.  Cash and/ or  ice cream can make my kids do pretty much anything.

This is a great example of a small closet that looks spacious

This is a great example of a small closet that looks very spacious

The perfect way to get all of those small toys hidden away

The perfect way to get all of those small toys hidden away

Paint, paint, paint!

This is perhaps the least costly, most effective improvement you can make to your home.  For about $25 bucks you can completely transform the look and feel of a room.   Choose neutral colors that will lend themselves to any décor.  Stick with pretty shades of taupe, beige, sage and other light hues that buyers won’t have to paint over.  Now is not the time to see if the master bedroom will look nice in that deep wine color you’ve always dreamed of.  It won’t.  If you have wallpaper, remove it.  The chance that a buyer is going to like the same wallpaper that you liked years ago is very slim, and instead of seeing a beautiful room lined with fields of blossoming roses, all they will see is visions of themselves doing manual labor with scorers and scrapers and sticky wallpaper remover goo.  If your walls are looking a little scuffed, but you don’t want to go through the effort or expense of hiring a painter or painting yourself, then you must at the very least become well aquainted with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  It is magic, really.  This little sponge saved me from having to paint a townhome that I own before putting it up for rent.  It will take away all of those little shoe marks and scuffs that might be lingering on your otherwise bare walls.   I swear by it.

She looks like she's having fun, right?  Not so much.

She looks like she’s having fun, right? Not so much.

Leave the cleaning to the pro’s

You want your home to sparkle for buyers, right?  Of course you do.  Save yourself the time and energy it would take for you to do a deep, thorough cleaning on your home and hire a professional cleaning company to do it for you.  You’ll be so glad you did.   You could have every enhancement imaginable in your home; granite, marble, porcelain tile, custom cabinetry and more, but it will all disappear in a buyer’s mind if your home is dirty.  You want to show them how much pride you take in owning your home, make it shine.

Of course, there are many enhancements that you can make to improve your homes’ appearance to potential buyers.  The list of possibilities is endless, but I suggest starting with the minor, manageable things first.  There are so many things you can do that will get you big results without breaking the bank.  Start small, and you’ll be surprised at the differences!

Jennifer Novak