• Oct2018

    Micro Gardens: Big Impact on a Small Budget

    Are you looking for a fun and budget friendly DIY landscaping project?

    Micro gardens are a fantastic way to beautify your home’s exterior and grow delicious fresh produce for the kitchen table. They take advantage of both height and modular planting with containers to get seasonal versatility while maximizing space.

    Micro gardening has become a trend in landscaping, particularly as a means to make the most of small urban spaces. Fueled by the local food movement, people in rural and suburban neighborhoods are also jumping on board to reap the rewards that these tiny, efficient gardens have to offer.

    This article will give you 7 tips to make the most of small space outdoor spaces, without breaking the bank.


    There are a variety of advantages to using containers rather than planting directly into the ground. We will cover several in this article, but we want to highlight the most important one here: No weeding! Your garden should be a place you enjoy, not a chore!

    Vertical Planting

    If your outdoor spaces don’t lend themselves to going wide, then by all means, go tall! Do you have a vertical space such as fencing, the side of an outbuilding, or an exterior wall on your home that gets plenty of sunshine? Consider adding some basic framing to create shelving for ceramic pots, or hooks for hanging containers.

    Found Objects

    To keep your project within a tight budget, reuse scrap materials for shelving and containers. A cheap coat of paint will spruce up scrap lumber or PVC tubing to create colorful and functional shelving. Vine vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers, or flowers like Morning Glory or Petunias, will quickly cover and beautify second hand containers.

    Mix Veggies and Flowers

    You don’t have to choose between form and function. With a micro garden, you can have the best of both. Place peas next to daffodils for a spring feast satisfying to the eye and the taste buds. In the fall, the bright colors of Swiss chard will look lovely next to your mums.

    Look for Double Duty Plants

    There are lots of examples of plants that can serve more than one purpose in your micro garden. This helps to keep your DIY project inexpensive without sacrificing beauty and function. For example, sage comes in several varieties that all provide a tasty herb while also lending visual appeal with soft green, grey, and purple hues.

    Companion Planting

    Some plants thrive in proximity to others. For example, dill weed attracts predatory wasps that prey on the small green caterpillars that can devastate plants in the cabbage family. A little research on companion planting will help you lay out the most beneficial design if food crops will be the focus of your micro garden.


    Don’t miss out on a chance to grow one of the most expensive food items you use every day – fresh herbs. Sure, dried herbs will do in a pinch, but fresh herbs bring a vibrancy to any dish that is just lacking from their dried cousins. Parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, and summer savory are all excellent choices.

    If you want to enjoy fresh herbs year-round, container planting lets you easily bring in tender perennials for the winter. Sage, rosemary, oregano, tarragon and thyme will all do well by a sunny window indoors while they await the warmth of spring.

    Seasonal Appeal

    Once your flowers and veggies have given their bounty, switch out your containers to highlight the best of each season. When the springtime yields to summer, switch the spinach to a more heat loving plant such as tomatoes or eggplant. In the fall, give kale a try for edible foliage that will last well past winter’s first frost.

    The same is true for flowers. Crocus bulbs can be pulled and dried for next year after their spring bloom is over. Replace them with showy Canna Lily bulbs for summer color that really packs a punch.

    For more budget landscaping methods and inexpensive DIY projects to increase your curb appeal, contact the Real Estate Pros.

  • It’s a seller’s market, but does that make it the right time to sell your home? After making upgrades and checking out the competition, some homeowners ask themselves, “When is the right time to sell your home?” Timing is everything when it comes to making money on a home sale. Home owners make money two main ways. First, they make money when the home values shoot up. At this time, housing values are reaching new highs in many parts of the country. Second, home owners get to essentially take back the equity in their homes that accumulated by paying down the mortgage over time. Depending how long you have owned your home and if you have a 15-year mortgage or a 30-year mortgage, you may owe more or less on your home. Selling a home gives retirees and other long-time home owners the chance to tap their home equity to spend on other goals or to reinvest in a new home.

    Selling based on the season

    According to an article by miamiagentmagazine.com, late spring is the prime time to sell a home.  A report by Zillow indicates that late spring is an ideal time to list a home. In 14 out of 24 real estate markets, houses listed in the first part of May sold for $2,400 more and two weeks faster compared to houses that sold in other seasons. Although late spring is the best time to sell in some markets, July is also a hot month. It’s important to talk to real estate professionals about the micro real estate market in your area. Real estate professionals typically track the statistics that show when homes peaked in value the prior year.

    Timing a sale after renovations

    Another important consideration is whether your home is ready to sell. Some people make costly renovations years before listing a home, which backfires as the upgrades are no longer in style. Time your remodeling and renovations so you get some enjoyment but also don’t lose the wow factor of an on-trend feature. According to an article by azfamily.com, homes that are priced right and clean tend to sell easily in a strong seller’s market. Still, there are a few upgrades that will not only help your home sell fast but at a higher price. The article suggests painting the home, replacing old carpet, coordinating the appliances in the kitchen so they match and installing new countertops. Ideally, list your home after replacing baseboards or painting them and replacing fixtures and faucets. If your lighting fixtures look out-of-date, that’s another easy fix that should not delay getting a home on the market.

    Making your life less complicated

    Whether or not it’s a good time to list also depends on your personal situation. If you have an investment property that is bringing in steady rental income, it’s important to consider the future. Does owning the rental property or dealing with a property manager cause you undue stress? Are you going to have to invest a lot of money into a new heating and cooling system, windows, roof or other costly upgrades in the future? Also, most real estate investors have to pay considerably higher property taxes on a second home. If your real estate property is a burden in terms of money or time, it’s an excellent time to sell. Demand is high. Prices are up in major cities such as Columbus, Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio, Nashville, Tennessee or Jacksonville, Florida,

    At Real Estate Pros, talk to us about analyzing your real estate property’s value. For more information about the best time to sell and to start a real estate property search or sell your home, please contact us.

  • Sep2018

    Some housing experts assumed millennials between ages 18 and 34 would gravitate only to starter homes in the lower price range. Now established in their careers or successful from the sharing economy, many millennials skip the starter home to buy a luxury home. In other cases, they have to spend more even for a smaller home because of escalating prices. Although they suffer the brunt of higher interest rates, young buyers are surprising real estate agents and professionals with their determination to own instead of rent. According to a recent article by usatoday.com on the market and millennials, the group tends to offer more when bidding on homes. They want their bids to stand out in a market with fewer homes. Millennials are much more likely to bust their budgets to own the home they have wanted for years. Housing experts say one-third of home buyers actually spent more than the upper limit of what they intended to spend on a home purchase. A report by owners.com showed they spent an average of $16,510 more than they planned to spend.

    Dealing with rising prices

    Millennials don’t pay more just to be nice. The housing market is in a rising price environment. Even starter homes cost significantly more than they cost 10 years ago. In many cases, millennials have to bid up because of multiple offers and stiff competition. The home price index showed national home prices are up about 6 percent compared to a year ago. But prices rose nearly 50 percent compared to the bottom in 2012. Members of the baby boomer generation as well as some members of Generation X were the ones most likely to buy at the bottom in 2012. After securing their affordable homes, older people don’t want to sell which leads to low inventory.

    Comparing millennials to other groups

    Millennials are less likely to have home equity from a prior home sale, although some are buying a second or even third home. Statistics show millennials tend to splurge. Only 19 percent of baby boomers went above their spending budget by about $8,000 compared to $13,000 for members of Generation X and 40 percent of millennials. On average, millennials top their spending parameters by about $24,000 or what older people often considered a hefty down payment.

    Feeling a sense of urgency

    Other issues that millennials deal with include a sense of urgency because of housing issues such as living with parents or friends or the desire to start a family. Another major reason millennials feel a sense of urgency about buying is because of interest rate hikes. According to a news release by prnewswire.com, 79 percent of people surveyed said rising interest rates are having an impact on their house hunt. In response to higher interest rates and higher home prices, people say they look for smaller homes, less expensive homes or less prestigious neighborhoods. Also, millennials feel most burdened due to student loan debt. With all of their financial responsibilities and debt, it’s not surprising millennials put down the least for a down payment on a home.

    Millennials are entering the housing market at a challenging time for buyers. Still, interest rates are incredibly low compared to the 1980s. The recent study showed millennials often put down less than 10 percent on a home purchased compared to 17 percent that intended to put down 16 to 20 percent.

    At Real Estate Pros, we help people who want to sell their homes. We provide the full spectrum of real estate services for our valued clients. For more information about the market and millennials as well as how to get started with real estate investments or a property search in Columbus, Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio, Nashville, Tennessee or Jacksonville, Florida, please contact us.

  • If you are looking into purchasing a home and are hoping to get in on the housing market before there is a boom, you might have more tools at your disposal than you realize. There are plenty of factors and trends that you can utilize to investigate what might make one housing market hot and another stale. While there are always traditional pricing when it comes to the size of a home, lot, or the age and quality of a home, plenty of exterior factors can drive certain markets up. Here are five factors that are commonly seen in neighborhoods on the cusp of a real estate boom that you might want to jump on today.

    1. Keep an Eye on Employers in the Area

    Employment stability can be a huge factor when it comes to the popularity of an area and the pricing of homes. If you know that a large employer is planning on moving to a town or neighborhood that you are interested in, this might be the perfect opportunity to find a home before the housing boom sets in. Families and those on the job market will be more likely to move for the perfect job, but if you are already established and looking in an area that is about to move in new companies or institutions, it is worth thinking about looking in these specific areas.

    2. Changing Demographics

    The demographics of neighborhoods might seem stagnant, but these do change over time. If you can spend some time looking at demographic trends when it comes to crime, safety, ratio of homeowners to renters, and school quality, you might find indicators that a neighborhood or area is slowly becoming more appealing. These factors can be indicators that an area might start to have increased home to follow. Spotting these trends before everyone else does can get you a prime spot in an up-and-coming area.

    3. Population Density of an Area

    If you want to live in a certain location because it’s an urban setting or is increasing in popularity, chances are, others will flock to this area as well. The key is to look for undiscovered neighborhoods and areas nearby. If a metropolitan area is booming, this will spill out into nearby towns and neighborhoods. These will be the best places to snatch up properties today and will put you ahead of the curve of others that are also looking to live near a popular neighborhood or city center.

    4. Lower Interest Rate Levels

    While loan interest rates might seem like an obscure thing to add to a housing market boom, if these rates get low enough, those who have been toying with the idea of moving might all make the shift at once. The best time to get on board with lowered interest rates is while these are falling, and at a rate that you are comfortable with. You can always refinance later on if rates keep dropping. If you wait for the lowest point, homes may start selling at a higher rate due to overall interest due to timing.

    5. Keeping the Time of Year in Mind

    Seasonal trends might seem like something that wouldn’t make an impact on the housing market, but there are small spikes and lulls that happen throughout the year that you can use to your advantage. Many areas just look better in the spring, with the sun out, lush greenery, and landscaping advantages. Many families are buying and selling in the spring because they are scrambling to get settled by the next school year. These factors can make the spring market tougher to get into, with higher asking and offer prices. If you can hold off until the fall or winter, you might have more options and might find better prices or find success with offers under initial asking prices.

    If you are looking for a new home on a budget, having a sense of local trends and what will drive your local market is key. The good news is, working with your real estate team, understanding your budget, and keeping an open mind will go a long way in any housing market. If you are ready to start looking for a new home, contact us to help.

  • Aug2018

    Now, is the perfect time to list your home.

    Listing your home on the market is not as simple as slapping a price tag on it and hoping it sells. Your homes listing price needs to reflect the current market trends, compare to similar homes in the area, and you will want to be sure your home is prepared as well.

    Follow along to discover the secrets of listing your home properly and get the most money for your home.

    Understand the Current Market

    The real estate market is always changing. You might have purchased your home for $80,000 ten years ago, but don’t assume it is still only worth $80,000. You might be able to make a nice profit off of your home. Let’s review the important aspects to consider when evaluating the current market.

    • Quickly Browse the Internet, or Talk With an Agent
      • You will need to find out what the current housing market looks like, in general. Are there a lot of houses for sale, or are the listings far and few between? If there are many homes for sale, this might mean that your bargaining power will be reduced as potential buyers will have plenty of options. On the other hand, if there are few home listings, potential buyers may be eager to bid on homes they like and be more than willing to pay your asking price.
      • What price have comparable homes sold for within the last two months? Changing your search filters to show you the results of “recently sold” homes.
      • If you have a price in mind for your home, search the area to see if there are comparable homes that correlate with your desired listing price. During the appraisal, this will matter.
    • Demographics of the Area
      • What type of population makes up the area your home is in?
      • What is the average median household wage?
      • What is the average age of individuals in the area?
      • Are there a lot of renters or are most of the homes owner-occupied?
      • What is the safety/crime rate?

    All of these aspects matter when deciding how much money you want for your home. Stay level-headed and be realistic when setting your price.

    Have the Upper Hand During Negotiation

    Get FREE estimates.

    This is such a great way to prepare for listing your home on the market. There are two advantages here… you will be in for ZERO surprises during inspections and you will have the upper hand in negotiations. Most major home repair companies offer free estimates. Call and request a free estimate for the following areas:

    • Roof Repair or Replacement
    • New Window Installation
    • Concrete or Foundation Restoration
    • New Carpet or Floor Installation

    How will this help you, as the seller?

    Let’s say there is an offer on your house that is conditional upon passing the buyers inspection. The inspection concluded that the home needs a new roof and that it is going to cost $15,000. Since you already have those estimates you know it is, actually, only going to cost $10,000- this gives you the edge for negotiating.

    Declutter & Clean

    Seems simple, huh?

    But this simple task matters so much when trying to sell your home.

    This goes for the interior and exterior of your home. Decluttering means you need to get rid of any junk or unused stuff laying around. Whether you donate it, give it away, or throw it away – be sure you are decluttering. It will actually help you out too since you’ll be preparing to move upon the sale of your home. Clean each area of your home as you are decluttering. A clean home is a happy home… right? Well, that’s what they say at least.

    While you are decluttering, keep in mind the reasons why:

    1. To maximize the visual space available in your home.
    2. To help amplify all of the storage available (even if there is minimal storage).
    3. To depersonalize your home.

    A perfect example of maximizing visual space is in the bathroom. Many shower shelves and ledges become cluttered with products. Instead of having 3 shampoos, 4 conditioners, 2 body washes, and a can of shaving cream laying around – simplify the shower by only having one of each item in there. Potential buyers want to see the space that would be available to them (not how space is currently being used). The same goes for the closets within your home. Clean closets that are well organized, appear more spacious so be sure those closets are clean.


    If you are looking for further assistance or need even more information on the current market trends, do not hesitate to contact us today. We know we can help get your home sold!

  • Many people who have achieved financial stability and a successful career choose to buy their own homes, an experience so exciting and rewarding that it’s hard to stop there. When you’ve paid off your mortgage or have achieved a higher income level, it’s incredibly tempting to buy a vacation home or begin collecting investment property for rentals or Airbnb booking. This means that not all strong and rising real estate markets need to be based around people’s primary residential homes and, in fact, many high-demand locations are known to be primarily filled with vacation and investment homes due to their proximity to popular recreational resources.

    Beach House Locations

    While it’s not uncommon for locals to settle down on the shore, beaches are also the number one attraction for vacation and second homes. The mere presence of an ocean or a large beautiful lake is enough to spike up housing prices, especially in locations where you have direct access to the water. Even homes with a cliff-side overlook experience a much higher valuation than their across-the-street neighbors who lack the breathtaking view. Real estate prices only continue to rise when recreational features and venues pop up nearby like marinas, resorts, shopping centers and fine dining. Soon, proximity to these luxury attractions become almost as valuable in home price as access to the water itself.

    Private Ski Retreats

    Another iconic land formation that tends to draw vacation home purchases is the ski-friendly mountainside. Skiing tends to appeal to an entirely different crowd of wealthy home owners who prefer things like quiet, seclusion, and rigorous outdoor activity in the glistening, pristine snow. Because skiing is something best done near an actual resort, lodge, or similar professional venue, proximity to prime ski locations is a major indicator for home price when up in the snowy mountains. Of course, there’s also the secluded mansions nestled into valleys, on cliffs, and between tall fir trees that often sell for millions to a series of wealthy introverts who enjoy the peace, quiet, and luxury of mountain living.

    Cultural Attractions

    Natural features aren’t the only things that draw vacation home purchases, there are also thousands of man-made attractions that home buyers love to live near or vacation in the vicinity of. Iconic amusement parks and culturally iconic cities like Los Angeles and New York City are irresistible for many people looking to buy a second home because there are so many wonderful venues and interesting constructions to explore. These locations are the most popular with home buyers who love to shop and spend time near a lot of other people.

    Historical Sites

    Some vacation home owners don’t care about the beach, the mountains or the glitz and glam of Broadway. Instead, they want to explore or even live in legendary historical sites. Neighborhoods that have existed for centuries, locations of famous battles, and archeologically significant areas may draw fewer tourists and vacation homes than Florida or New York, but there is still a strong real estate market for intellectually excited history buffs who tend to have a decent amount of money to spend.

    What it really comes down to are the interests and hobbies of the buyers themselves. People searching for a second home or even new investment property will look in regions that they would like to visit and spend time in. With this kind of precedent, you can find pockets of strong real estate markets even in rural and unexpected areas because there is something that draws in vacationers and investment buyers. From a shining beach to a historical network of caves, real estate prices will follow the desires of those who buy.

    For more real estate tips and information on vacation home ownership, contact us today!

  • If you want to sell your home, it’s a great time to lock in housing value gains and walk away with money in your pocket at closing. But real estate experts warn sellers to have a plan for buying a next home or renting. Housing inventory is low and there are fewer homes in the affordable price range. A lot of people look at the situation and ask, “Home value is rising; is it time to sell or hold out?” According to an article by therealdeal.com, wannabe sellers often feel frustrated because they are eager to sell their homes but are locked out of the game by the inventory shortages. Finding a desirable and affordable replacement for a current home is a major challenge in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida and other parts of the country. According to the National Association of Realtors, listings are down by about 8 percent compared to last year. Moreover, inventory has fallen for the last 33 consecutive months. On the positive side, the price of starter homes are up about 9 percent for the year. People buying trade-up or step-up homes pay about 7.5 percent more compared to last year.

    Figuring out where you will go

    If you plan to stay in your area, expect to make a lateral move. It’s more important than ever to sell a home quickly before the prices of other homes in your area go up. Some people prefer to buy their next home before selling the current home so they lock in at a lower home price as well as lower interest rates. If you plan to sell a home in one part of the country and migrate to Florida, you aren’t alone. The key to making the move work is to downsize or buy in an area that caters to retirees on a budget.

    Knowing about the historical peaks

    Some people wonder whether they should hold out for more money by waiting for housing values to peak. The problem is past patterns do not predict future housing patterns. Home prices continued to go up when interest rates rose in the 1980s, but that doesn’t mean that trend would continue as the Fed raises interest rates. If you can sell your home to buy another home with cash, the rising interest rates are not a factor for you. But if you rely on a mortgage to afford a home, don’t procrastinate. Putting off buying a home means inevitably affording less home because of the higher interest rates. A good real estate professional will help you make an educated guess, though, about the likely top value of your home. Also, some experts predict a pullback to housing values in 2019/2020.

    According to a piece by the ledger-enquirer.com, buyers have to act fast because of lean inventory. Some people sell their home with plans to temporarily move into an apartment or rental home. Of course, for anyone who owns a second home they no longer wish to use, there are few downsides to selling in the current market. If you aren’t desperate to sell, it’s easier to take your time to receive the full offer you desire. If you no longer wish to own a rental property, consider staging and marketing the home to other real estate investors who see the passive income potential of your property. Ultimately, whether you sell a home or hold on to it, depends on your individual goals and visions for your life.

    At Real Estate Pros, we assist aspiring sellers with a full range of real estate services. Talk to us about investing in real estate, working with a listing expert in your area or starting a property searching Columbus or Cleveland, Ohio, Nashville, Tennessee and Jacksonville, Florida. For more information on whether it’s a good time to sell, please contact us.

  • Jul2018

    Baby boomers invented the concept of “nesting” in their homes, but many want to reinvent themselves and their homes in retirement. For boomers, it often boils down to the question of rehab v. building a new home — which the right option for you? Some retirees buy entry-level type homes they can improve by adding exercise and meditation rooms as well as gourmet kitchens for entertaining at home. Others find a new construction home that already has the latest updates. Experts say the oldest of the baby boomers turn 71 this year. Baby boomers seem young at heart, often defying the “elderly” stereotypes. Most want an active lifestyle as well as complete independence which is easily achieved in a new construction home in a master-planned community.

    Statistics show currently there are 76.4 million baby boomers in the U.S. With the growing shortage of foreclosures and fixer-upper homes, many retirees like to visit new home models. Others look for existing homes that don’t need a lot of major renovations such as new drywall, countertops and flooring. Other projects are simply related to universal design challenges such as narrow passageways and lack of good lighting. When house hunting, boomers look for non-slip flooring options and softer surfaces. They often avoid hard ceramic or porcelain tile. Some designers advise clients to imagine navigating a home without assistance during an illness. Think about what kind of features and changes would assist your daily living experience such as grab bars and easier to reach shelves. If you want relatives or home health nurses to help you with medical issues, think about the layout of the home to best accommodate frequent visitors.

    Starting retirement with a starter home

    A recent article by foxbusiness.com pointed out more than one in five people in the United States turn 65 or older by 2035. Since income drops significantly as people age, it’s important to house hunt on the early side of retirement. With the rising costs of housing, the old “starter home” for young families is now appropriate for baby boomers starting retirement. According to Census data, after age 75, income drops by as much as $18,000 a year for the average person. Most senior citizens spend one-third of their incomes on housing. To save money, consult with aging in place general contractors. With high divorce rates and subsequent marriages, think about dating and remarriage as part of your home-buying and renovation considerations. Most retirees value family as well as their special hobbies, activities and adventures.

    Taking advantage of low rates

    Most baby boomers remember when mortgage rates hit the double digits in the 1980s. Now is the time to lock in on lower rates even if you could buy a home with cash. While buying with cash gives you an edge, some rather invest their money in the stock market and take advantage of low interest rates.  A report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies says home improvement spending by baby boomers accounts for almost a third of remodeling dollars by 2025. A Fidelity and Vanguard study showed people over the age of 55 have less than $150,000 saved for retirement. Meanwhile, Social Security pays about $1,300 a month to the average retiree. Buying a home and fixing it up is a great way to build equity and share wealth with future generations.

    Making a resale home more accessible or buying a new one allows you to stay in your home longer and avoid the high costs of assisted living homes and nursing care. Also, most people simply feel more comfortable in their own space. At Real Estate Pros, we help our clients connect with excellent real estate professionals to find their dream homes. For more tips on rehabbing vs. buying new, please contact us.

  • Having an accessible and attractive driveway is an important part of curb appeal for people trying to sell their homes. A well-maintained driveway is also something that keeps the Home Owner Association fines away and pleases guests, relatives and the Amazon delivery person. Although some people don’t need as many parking spaces or a large garage because of Uber and ridesharing trends, a circular driveway makes drop-off and pick-up easier. Whether you have a circular drive or not, maintain your blacktop, cement, paver or gravel driveway. When it comes to the topic of “This is how you should be taking care of your driveway!” it depends on your driveway material. Buying a pressure washer is only one possible step. It’s all about extending the life of your driveway to save money as well as prevent an oil-stained and grimy look.

    The concrete driveway

    According to an article by the concretenetwork.com, a concrete driveway requires little maintenance. But it’s important to reseal the driveway every two years. A sealer helps to guard against stains. Still, remove grease, oil, gasoline and other spills using pressure washing and cleaning products. During the winter, avoid products that contain ammonium nitrates or ammonium sulphates. Instead, use sand for friction in a snow storm. When shoveling, don’t use metal blades that will scratch the driveway.

    The blacktop driveway

    Also called “asphalt,” a blacktop driveway is a lovely, smooth driveway made of gravel held together by a petroleum binder. During the summer, the sun causes the surface to oxidize, according to one The New York Times article. The sun will create hairline cracks in asphalt driveways, which allows for weed infestation. To prevent potholes, use a cold-mix asphalt patch. Since rain washes away the material, wait for a clear day. After filling cracks and holes, use a sealer for the blacktop driveway. In addition to buying the sealer and filler products, buy an applicator such as a squeegee for spreading. After coating the driveway, experts point out it takes about two days for the driveway to cure.

    The paver driveway

    Brick pavers make beautiful driveways as well as outdoor patios. Experts suggest sweeping after every mow as seeds in the clippings sprout weeds. Interlocking paver driveways are made with brick pavers baked at high temperature. Asphalt tends to be used by homeowners living in the north, while those in the south often opt for concrete or pavers. Most paver driveways last 30 to 40 years. It’s important to clean oil spots, take care of weeds, edge and seal the driveway.

    The gravel driveway

    It’s not comfortable to walk barefoot on a gravel driveway, but it’s an inexpensive option for homeowners. Some of the most popular gravel or crushed stone materials include pea gravel, white marble chips, clean stone, bluestone and crusher rock.  According to an article by motherearthnews.com, gravel driveways do need maintenance to last season after season. To prepare for winter, homeowners use a tractor with a rear blade. People tend to add a top layer of gravel to the driveway in the early spring. Gravel driveways are more practical for people who live on farms or have extremely long driveways. They are also the more natural approach.

    Maintaining your driveway pays off when it comes time to list your home. Potential buyers don’t want to fall into a pothole or slip on oil spills on your driveway. Maintaining a driveway pays off with dividends over time no matter which material you choose.

    At Real Estate Pros, we share tips with help potential sellers figure out their property’s value. Talk to us about real estate investments, starting a property search or working with local listing experts. For more tips on maintaining your driveway for life, please contact us. Whether you live in Columbus, Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio, Nashville, Tennessee or Jacksonville, Florida, we provide comprehensive real estate services.

  • Jun2018

    When it’s time to prep your home for sale, it can feel overwhelming to even begin to know where to start. Do you need tear out your kitchen and do a full renovation like they do in the house flipping shows? What about the front yard? Should you rip up the weedy lawn and replace it all with fresh sod?

    As these questions swirl through your mind, chances are good that there will be some hefty dollar signs bumping around in there with them as well, but don’t worry- you don’t have to empty your savings account to give your home a fresh, tidy, well-maintained look. Here are a few high-impact, low-cost options to help you get your home ready to wow prospective buyers without breaking your budget.

    1. Freshen the Flora

    Yes, curb appeal is important. No, it doesn’t always have to involve a total makeover. Now is the time to pull out those clippers and start trimming hedges, grab a rake and start raking up sticks and leaves, and start spraying or pulling weeds from flowerbeds and the driveway. Sweat equity can equal home equity, so don’t be afraid to get grubby!

    Go beyond the basics and order a truckload of mulch and some eye-catching flowers or hedges from your local nursery- those fresh, inexpensive touches are a great way to spruce up the outside of your home without forking over a ton of cash. (Pro tip: before you go, snap a photo of the front of your house and take it with you- the landscaping experts at the nursery can give you some recommendations that will help you maximize curb appeal while staying within your budget.)

    2. Deep Cleaning

    Nothing is a bigger turnoff to buyers than an icky, dirty home. You might think you do a good job of keeping your home clean and tidy, but how often do you clean between your windows and the screens? How often do you scrub your kitchen cabinets? No matter the age of your home, buyers will want it to feel as new as possible, so deep cleaning is key. If you don’t have the time or energy to invest in cleaning it yourself, consider hiring professionals to help out- the extra cost will be more than worth it.

    In addition to cabinets and windows, deep-clean carpeting, scrub down walls, trim, and stair railings, and clear out cobwebs. Vacuum and wipe down the insides of cabinets, drawers, and closets as well, as buyers will likely be looking inside these and will expect them to be as clean as the rest of the home. Also be sure to pay attention to dust-collecting areas like vents and range hoods that may not always get thoroughly cleaned.

    When focusing on areas to deep clean, don’t forget about the outside- power washing hard surfaces like driveways and sidewalks can make them look new again, and a good power wash of your siding will brighten up your whole home.

    3. Painting

    Freshening up your home’s interior with paint is a no-brainer when it’s time to sell, but be sure to invest the time and money to do it right. Choose neutral colors, and use tape and drop cloths to avoid splattering paint on other surfaces. Put on at least two coats, and be sure to check for areas needing touch-ups once the paint dries.

    Don’t forget about exterior painting- over time, mailboxes, shutters, porch railings, and front doors can start to look shabby and faded, aging the look of your entire home. Make them look new again with a fresh coat of paint, but again, keep colors neutral to appeal to more buyers. Ask your local paint store experts about what paint is best for each surface.

    4. Updating Hardware

    If you walked into an entirely empty, freshly painted room with brand-new carpeting, but there was a yellowed switch plate on the wall for a wood-and-wicker ceiling fan, you would instantly feel that the home was dated. A home only feels as new as its oldest fixture- and likewise, it only feels as old as its newest fixture.

    Updating fixtures and hardware is a great way to give your home an overall feeling of newness without spending a ton of money. Think about doorknobs, faucets, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and towel rods. If you’re not sure what’s “in” right now, ask for guidance at your local hardware store.

    5. Fixing Minor Flaws

    Every home has its little quirks and “handyman special” idiosyncrasies that hardly bother the person living there, but they can stick out like a sore thumb to potential buyers. Squeaky or sticky doors, missing window grille pieces, dripping faucets, and loose doorknobs are all little things that don’t take much time or money to fix, but can make your home feel poorly maintained if not addressed.

    It may be helpful to invite a friend over who’s not familiar with the home and have them point out those little problem areas to you- when you live in a home you can often become so used to these things that you might not even notice them, and a fresh pair of eyes can find issues you may have missed.

    Contact us for more great tips on maximizing curb appeal, proper property maintenance, and more budget-friendly ideas for prepping your home for sale without emptying your wallet.

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