5 Ways You Are Self Sabotaging Your Curb Appeal

Real Estate Agents who understand what it takes to sell a home understand the importance of curb appeal. The most important aspect of a quick home sale is getting as many people in the door as possible. As such, it’s important to make a good first impression in order to get potential buyers in the right frame of mind. No matter how good your listing photos look, if the outside of your house is a horror show, not only will far fewer people refuse to step inside, the few that do will enter it in the wrong frame of mind.

It’s understandable that not many sellers would want to engage in the expense and heartache involved with doing a full overhaul on their landscape, but there are many instances where sellers are in full self-sabotage mode without realizing it. So while it’s understandable that a seller wouldn’t be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to increase their curb appeal, there are no excuses for the little, virtually free things that can be done to keep it respectable.

1. Grimey Windows

No matter how diligent you are at cleaning the inside of your home, including your inhttp://iblog.social/?p=131

Window with very dirty and dusty glass in daylight

2. Overgrown Lawn

Probably the most common curb appeal killer is an overgrown lawn. At least twice a month, it’s important to maintain your lawn. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to dig out every weed, but as long as the grass is short and you have put the proper care into edging, it will look fine. The point is not to stick out like a sore thumb with respect to your neighbors.

Garden gnome disgusted by overgrown side yard.

3. Decrepit Garage Door

One of the first things that capture the attention of onlookers is the garage door, making it a vital aspect of curb appeal. This can be problematic because garage doors suffer a great deal of wear and tear. If replacing your garage door is not in the budget, there’s no excuse for not giving it a quick DIY paint job on a lazy Sunday.

KYIV, UKRAINE – September 02, 2014: Contractors installing garage door opener. Repair garage door opener system.

4. Front Door

If the garage door is one of the first things people look at, one of the few things it’s surpassed by is the front door. If your front door isn’t up to snuff, you don’t have to completely replace it with something new, nice front doors are expensive. But repainting it and replacing the hardware will give a much-needed facelift with minimal expense.

Close-up. Carpenter with an electric screwdriver fixes the plaque for the lock of a wooden door.

5. Outdoor Lighting

Curb appeal during the daylight hours is as important as curb appeal at night. When a property is on the market, there will be prospective buyers driving by to check out the house; oftentimes it is after work hours when the sun is about to set. If your lighting is too dim your house can look uninviting, and if it’s too bright it can be intimidating. Make sure to replace the bulbs with the right intensity to create an ambiance that is comfortable to the eye. If it’s still too dark you can light the path to your door with solar-powered lights. They are inexpensive and impose no energy cost.

Luxury house at night in Vancouver, Canada.

How To Hire A Great Home Contractor

So, you’ve decided that you want to renovate, but it’s too big of a job for you to DIY. So you need to hire a contractor, but how do you find the right one? While a good contractor can turn your dream home into a reality, a bad one can turn your life into a nightmare. 

An inexperienced contractor can get in over their head and create a dangerous situation for you and your family. Or a scam artist can steal your money and leave without a trace before doing any work. These are very common situations that you can avoid if you hire the right person. 

Here are some tips to help you pick the contractor that is just right for you. 

Search & Research

Before you decide to hire someone, doing your homework is a must. Most people will start by looking at reviews online, which is a good idea. Go ahead and read reviews from several different sites like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Google, and more. 

This will allow you to start making a list of contractors in the area, but you shouldn’t trust all online reviews, and you shouldn’t stop there. Ask your friends and family for referrals. If you are friendly with the neighbors, ask them too. If you hear people say positive things about a contractor, add him or her to the list. 

But you’re not done yet. Ask the fine people who work at your local hardware store or lumberyard for referrals too. They can give you the inside gossip about which contractors buy cheap materials and which ones always pay their bills on time. 

Interview & Review

With your list of top candidates in hand, give each of them a call and pay attention to how easy it is to communicate with them. While you are talking to them about the project, make sure to ask them the following questions:

Contractor Working
  • What are your credentials and experience (and your subcontractor’s)?

Even if you already found out a bit about a general contractor from your research, you may not know how long they have been working with their employees and subcontractors. You don’t want a contractor that just hires subcontractors off the street and leaves the work to them. 

  • Are you licensed & insured?

It is essential to ensure a contractor is licensed and insured before you let them start working on your house. You may know someone with a truck full of tools, who tells you they can do whatever a licensed contractor can do, but you won’t have the same legal protections with them as you would with a licensed contractor. 

Specifically, make sure they have workman’s compensation and general liability insurance. Also, make sure they don’t have complaints filed against them or a history of disputes with clients. And don’t just take their word for it, verify they are telling the truth with the state license board, the state’s consumer protection agency, and your local Better Business Bureau.

  • Are you able to take on a project of this size now?

Not all contractors can take on every kind of project. You want to make sure your project is in the contractor’s wheelhouse. Just because they did a good job building your neighbor’s deck doesn’t mean they know how to renovate a full kitchen. 

Some contractors also have multiple projects going on at once, and you want them to focus on yours. However, don’t drop a contractor just because they can’t start right away, the best ones are usually busy. 

  • Can you give me a list of your previous clients?

This is especially important if you were not able to get referrals from lots of people you trust. However, it is a good idea to call a few of their previous clients even if you already have references from people you trust. Previous clients could have valid complaints about a contractor that you wouldn’t find out about otherwise.

Get Estimates

Now you should have your list narrowed down to a handful of contractors. You’re going to want to meet with them at the site and explain what you want them to do. Things will be easier if you have a clear idea about what you want, stand your ground, and only entertain the suggestions you really like. Remember: projects can get expensive when you start changing things.

Make sure to get multiple bids even if you already made up your mind about which contractor you are going with. This will allow you to compare their bids, which might come in handy when you are negotiating prices later down the line. 

Contract

Now that you picked the contractor that is just right for you, you’ll want to write up a contract that you feel comfortable with. This should include a payment schedule, proof of liability insurance and compensation payments, specific materials, and a start and end date for the project. 

The bottom line is: a contractor is going to spending a lot of time in your house, making noise and spreading dust. If the dust settles, and you’re left with nothing but an expensive pile of garbage, you’ll wish you had taken the time to find a better contractor. 

Eco-Friendly Upgrades That Are Worth the Investment

There are many ways to add eco-friendly upgrades to your home that will help the environment and save you money in the long run. Some require a bigger investment and others are a no brainer. Regardless of whether you start small or jump straight into solar panels, you’ll still reduce energy costs + help out the environment — so it’s a win-win!

Below are four eco-friendly home upgrades that will have a significant impact on your savings.  

1) Appliances

Eco-friendly appliances such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators, conserve more energy and use less water. They’re a little more expensive, but if you’re already installing new appliances, it makes sense to splurge for energy-efficient ones. If all your appliances are still in good shape, there’s no reason to replace them all, but if one dies, consider replacing it with an energy-efficient model. If you continue to do this over time, you’ll end up with serious savings.

Eco-friendly Appliances.

2) LED Lighting

LED lighting is perhaps the most affordable eco-friendly upgrade you can make. Unlike appliances, it’s worth it to replace all of your bulbs even if they haven’t burned out yet. An LED light uses approximately 20% of the energy required for an incandescent bulb with the same lighting quality, so switching out your current bulbs will payout in no time at all.

Eco-friendly LED light bulb.

3) Windows

If you’ve been considering upgrading your windows, now is the time to spring for some extra insulation. Cheap or improperly sealed windows can be the reason for out of control energy bills, which makes sense as windows protect your home from the elements. If you’re looking to upgrade, opt for double glazed windows. It will cost more upfront, but proper insulation makes a huge difference.

White window glass.

4) Solar Panels

This is by far the most expensive option, but if you’re serious about making an impact and reducing your home’s energy costs, solar panels are the way to go. This is an upgrade that will pay off over time, so it’s probably not the best idea if you’re planning to move in the near future. Although, when you do decide to move, solar panels can give you a hefty return on investment.

Solar panels on the roof of the house