Spring into the Selling Season with These Pro Cleaning Tips

In just a few short days, we’ll turn the corner into warmer weather. There’ll be no more cold mornings, flowers will bloom, trees will grow, birds will sing, and it will officially be spring. Okay, maybe the changing of seasons doesn’t work quite so suddenly, but spring does mark the beginning of a notoriously busy home-buying season.

Since buyers are so active during spring, there’s no better time to list your home. But if you want to stand out in the crowded market, you’re going to have to dig deep into some spring cleaning beforehand.

Here are a few things you can do to kickstart your home-selling, spring cleanup process!

Make a Plan

You don’t have to get all of your cleaning done in one day—or even one weekend. All you need is a solid plan, even if it takes you a few weeks to complete. Take a look at what areas in your house need the most work, and get down to planning out nitty-gritty details.

Coordinate your plan by room and move along space by space, leaving nothing but sparkling clean surfaces in your wake.

Get out Stubborn Stains

A pair of boots sitting on a white carpet.

Maybe you’ve been avoiding cleaning because you know your home has some serious problem areas. Whether it’s getting a years-old stain out of the carpet or returning grungy bathrooms and appliances to their former glory, it’s possible to get out even the worst of stains.

Vinegar, dish soap, warm water, baking soda—these simple household items can get rid of anything from wine stains to mud tracks to coffee spills. All it takes is a little time and some elbow grease!

Try Some Value-Adding Projects

A man rolling a paint roller in a tin of yellow paint.

Since you’re already devoting some time and energy to making your home look its best, why not try a few DIY fixes, too? There are tons of small updates that’ll only take up a few hours of your time, but are worth your while when it comes to selling.

From putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls to power washing your siding, all it takes is a quick trip to your local hardware store to make your home look 10/10.

Dig into the Kitchen & Bathroom

A kitchen sink with the water turned on.

It’s no secret that the kitchen and bathroom are the two most important areas to a buyer. So when you’re making your spring cleaning plan, put some extra time and thought into how you can improve these spaces.

In the kitchen, focus on scrubbing every surface—floors, cabinets, countertops, etc.—cleaning out your drain, and polishing up the appliances. For the bathroom, get rid of any mildew or grime discoloration, and put some elbow grease into cleaning the cracks and crevices in the room.

Think Green

A closeup of blades of grass.

Cleaning can introduce a lot of dangerous chemicals into both your home and the area around your home, but using them can sometimes seem unavoidable. If you’re worried about storing and using hazardous materials around your home, there are plenty of safer ways to make your own cleaning products.

In fact, vinegar, dish soap, baking soda, and water can get most of the jobs you need done, and done well. You can also find a few eco-friendly cleaning products at your local grocery store.

Sell Your Home this Spring

Spring is one of the best seasons to sell your home, so don’t miss out on all of the potential buyers browsing the market. If you’re thinking of selling this spring, now is the time to get started.

Contact us at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® to learn more about what you need to do to get your home in top shape for spring selling, and let’s get started with your real estate journey today!

Searching for a Smaller Home? Here are the Top Tips for Downsizing

Downsizing can be a great choice for homeowners looking to make a financial or lifestyle change. After all, a smaller amount of space means less money on utility bills and less stress from clutter.

Are you a new empty-nester? Moving for financial reasons? Or maybe you’ve watched a few episodes of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and feel inspired?  No matter your motivation, you’re not alone—downsizing has become an increasingly popular trend for homeowners everywhere.

If you’re making the move to a smaller place, here are some tips for a Marie Kondo-style downsizing experience.

Know What You Have

A suitcase filled with random belongings.Walk through your house room by room, and make a detailed list of your belongings. A helpful tip for keeping track? If you aren’t in a rush to downsize, take note of each item and how often you use it over the course of a few weeks or a month. That way, you learn exactly what you’d miss most and what you could go without.

Some downsizers use a color-coded sticker system, some jot notes in a notebook, and some just sort things into piles. Find the method that works best for you, and go from there.

…And What You Don’t Need

A row of clothes hanging in a closet.Once you’ve found out what items aren’t essentials, it’s time to toss them out. Try to focus on things like duplicate items, such as more than one kitchen utensil, and large collections that have accumulated over the years. To paraphrase the aforementioned organizing consultant Marie Kondo: keep the things that spark joy….but get rid of the rest.

There are plenty of great options for rehoming your unwanted items. Try making a little extra money by selling online, donating things to a good cause, or giving items to friends and family.

Maximize Your Space

A built-in wall shelf with small trinkets.When your overall amount of space goes down, you’re required to think of ways to use what you have more efficiently. Storage gadgets such as wall racks, built-in shelves, and pull-out cabinets can tuck belongings out of the way and give you a surprising amount of real estate to work with.

You might also have some furniture that can do double duty. Lots of kitchen or coffee tables either come with or can be customized to include drawers underneath, and bed frames are great for hiding away sliding storage units.

Measure, Measure, Measure

Measuring tape and two rulers laying on a white surface.Hopefully, you’ll have a solid idea of the space you’ll be moving into—at least as far as square footage goes—so you’ll know exactly how much room you have for all of your belongings.

Once you know the size of your space, break out the measuring tape, and take note of the dimensions of the furniture you’re bringing along. The last thing you want is to haul your couch all the way to your new home only to discover that it doesn’t fit in the living room.

Ready to Make a Move?

We know that paring down your possessions can be tough, and moving comes with a wide range of emotions. Try taking pictures of the things you’ll miss most, so you can keep the memories around in your new space.

Once you’re ready to get started on your new home search, give Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® a call. We have years of experience helping Raleigh buyers and sellers achieve success in their real estate transaction. Allow us to use our expertise to help you find the home you’ve been searching for.

Make Buyers Fall in Love with Your Home with These Easy Staging Tips

Love is in the air! We’re not talking about Valentine’s Day — we mean all of the buyers falling in love with your home thanks to these easy staging tips.

From simple DIY projects to decor and decluttering pointers, these effortless staging tips will wow the next buyers that step through your front door.

And, when you’re ready to list, don’t forget to request a free home evaluation from Linda & Craft Team REALTORS®!

Clean, Clean, Clean

A woman mopping her kitchen floor.The single most important step for staging success? Clean. Break out those rubber gloves and scrub every corner, crack, and crevice that you can find. Not only will a clean home convey to buyers that you take good care of your space, but it’ll also ensure less work and fewer problems when they move in.

The home-staging cleaning process is more than just regular vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and scrubbing; you’ll need to go the extra mile. We’re talking waxing the floors, deep cleaning the carpets, polishing all of the handles and doorknobs, and more. Make an extensive list, and devote a whole weekend to tidying up.

Tackle Any Unfinished Projects

A toolbelt on a roofDo you have a notoriously leaky faucet that you haven’t gotten around to fixing, or a stain on the floor that you’ve been covering with a rug? Now is the time to take care of it.

Take an inventory of any unfinished projects you’ve accumulated. Whether it’s repairing a lighting fixture or patching a hole in the roof, ticking off pending projects is critical in the staging process. The last thing a buyer wants is to inherit problems from a home that they could’ve avoided.

Try Small-Scale DIY

A man rolling a paint roller in a tray of yellow paintYou don’t have to add an extra room or install an in-ground pool to make your home stick out to buyers. There are plenty of simple and affordable DIY projects, from decor improvements to easy upgrades and repairs, that’ll make your home pop!

Need some ideas to kickstart the process? Try putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls, replacing outdated lighting, upgrading cabinet handles and doorknobs, or de-popcorning your ceiling — just a few of the many easy ways to elevate your home’s look.

De-personalize and De-clutter

A row of succulents against a white wall.While decorating plays a big role in catching a buyer’s eye, there’s a fine line between standing out and overdoing it. While you might like your style of decorating, buyers could find it off-putting, so keeping it neutral is key. Using house plants and seasonal greenery is always a solid option for filling empty space!

While you’re putting up that new decor, you’ll want your space to be clutter-free and open. If you have any old couches, outdated decorations, or unnecessary accent pieces, take the opportunity to get rid of them before showings start.

List Your Home with Local Experts

From helping you get your home ready to sell to handling the complicated closing paperwork, our team is dedicated to helping you have a successful and stress-free real estate experience.

Are you ready to get started on selling your home? At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have a proven track record for selling homes in Raleigh for top dollar. Give us a call today to learn more.

New Year, New & Improved Home Value

Happy 2019! What do you want to accomplish in the New Year? If you’re thinking seriously about selling your home this year, or just want to add some value to your property, then it’s time to make a game plan for 2019.

You don’t have to break the bank to build your home equity; there are a number of small, easy projects you can do to increase your home’s value. And bonus: they’re indoor-only, so you can get started right away!

Here are three DIY, cost-effective ways to add value to your home.

Update Your Kitchen

Light-filled kitchen with hanging light fixture.Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. It’s just a fact. If you’re aiming to add value to your entire home, start with these areas.

In the kitchen, refinish wooden cabinets or use a faux-wood finish on non-wood cabinets to give them an updated look. You can also replace your sink with a trendy single-basin fit and sprayer nozzle, and upgrade your appliances to stainless-steel.

With just a few small updates, you can have your whole kitchen feeling brand new!

Give Your Bathroom a Facelift

New construction bathroom with a soaking tub and granite countertop.Let’s head to the bathroom. With a few small upgrades, you can have your entire bathroom feeling like new.

Consider installing a low-flush toilet, updating your faucets, updating your flooring, re-caulking your bathtub, and even replacing the vanity. Strike the perfect balance between energy-efficient upgrades and aesthetic finishes to create a space that’s peaceful, luxurious, and comfortable.

Bring Some Light Into Your Home

Chandelier light fixture.Consider replacing all the lights (and light switches) in your home for a more modern aesthetic. Swap out traditional light switches with dimmers, install wall-mounted lights in your bathroom for a more luxurious feel, and be sure you’re using high-wattage bulbs in every room.

Adding light to your home will instantly make it appear more open and spacious.

Planning to Sell Your Home in the New Year?

We can help with that. Give us a call to begin exploring your real estate options. We’d love to share some additional tips on how to add even more value to your home!

How to Sell Your Home During the “Off” Season

Sometimes, life happens. Maybe you’ve been hired at a new company across state. Or a sudden change in your family requires you to take in a relative and you need extra space pronto. Perhaps you’re retiring early so you need to downsize. Whatever the case may be, you need to sell your home during the “off” season.

Put simply, the “off” season refers to the period of time when the real estate market slows down. Generally, this means decreased inventory and competition from both buyers and sellers.

So, if you’re tasked with selling a home during the “off” season, you may be asking yourself how you’re going to do it. If you follow these tips, your home sale should go off without a hitch.

Don’t Pause for the Holidays

Person holding a box wrapped in off white gift paper, with seasonal decor tied to the front.While you may have heard other real estate agents say that it’s a good idea to pause your sale during big holidays like Christmas or New Years, we actually don’t recommend it.

If a buyer really needs to find their new home as soon as possible, they won’t likely be deterred by the holidays. And who knows, your home may just be the perfect one for them.

Stage it for Perfection

Living room space with patterned rug, glass coffee table, tasteful decorations, and a lit fireplace.Home staging is a delicate art. You should make sure your home is inviting and warm, but not too overwhelming with personal decor or large furniture. Generally, the best way to stage your home is by following these steps:

  • Hire a professional to deep clean it
  • Go through every single room and de-clutter (get rid of everything you don’t use/want — consider hosting a garage sale or making a donation to your local Goodwill)
  • Highlight the natural space of your home with a few pieces of furniture, but consider renting a storage unit to store excess pieces

Also, take advantage of the cooler weather! Create a cozy atmosphere for people who come to tour your home. Put out a plate of holiday cookies or have a pot of cider simmering on the stove top. This way, they’ll feel at home the minute they walk through your front door.

Price Your Home Effectively

Person doing research by consulting a page of research complete with graphs.Pricing your home is a tricky business no matter what time of year you decide to sell. But if you’re listing your home during your market’s “off” season, you have to be especially careful.

Potential buyers know that the inventory is low, and that the competition is as well. They’ll be looking for every opportunity to bring the listing price of your home down a few notches.

That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced real estate agent to price your home. The right agent will know what listing price is best for your home, and how to get you the most amount of money for your home sale no matter what month it is.

Looking to Sell Your Home Before the Holidays?

We should talk. We would love to guide you through the home-selling process and get your home sold as soon as possible.

How to Sell Your Home During Back-to-School Season: A Complete Guide

As summer draws to a close, so dawns every parent’s favorite season: the beginning of another school year. This time of year can be hectic for every parent, but it may become especially overwhelming if you’re also trying to sell your home.

Don’t worry, though! We’re here to help. We’ve come up with a bonafide game plan to help you sell your home, handle back-to-school season, and maintain your sanity. Ready to learn more?

Here’s what you need to do:

Prepare a Fresh Start with Staging

Bright kitchen interior.The first step to staging a home is to create a blank canvas. After all, you want potential buyers to be able to picture their lives in your home. To do that, you’ll need to take down any personal artwork, decorations, or mementos—school accomplishments, artwork your kiddos may have made for you, personal school pictures, and anything else.

While this may seem like a bummer, it is essential to selling your home.

Get Some Extra Storage

Another essential part of staging your home is removing any and all clutter. This may seem impossible with all the new school supplies, clothing, and toys strewn about, but it’s doable—and necessary!

Consider investing in a storage unit to house excess furniture, summer toys, and old clothing, or even replace a bench, ottoman, or coffee table with one that doubles as a storage chest to house excess items.

Plan for Showings (but make it fun!)

Young girl swinging in the park.Guess what time is perfect for back-to-school shopping? House-showing time!

To get kids out of the house during showings, come up with a list of kid-friendly outings or activities you can take.

Consider going to the library, a movie theater, an outdoor park or nature center, or the mall to kill some time as your Realtor shows off your home.

Make a Showing-Prep Checklist

As your Realtor schedules your home for showings, try to request at least a one to two hour buffer for each one. Then, create a checklist for what you need to accomplish to get your home showroom-ready before each tour.

Have bags pre-packed for when you need to be out of the house for an extended period of time. Depending on your kiddos, you may want to have have extra diapers, toys, books, games, snacks, and anything else you may need (and keep your list of outings handy!).

Create a Cozy Atmosphere Before You Head Out

Cute living room with cacti on the table.Before grabbing the kids and making yourself scarce, be sure to create an inviting and warm atmosphere for your buyers. Here are some general tips for last-minute staging:

  • Open all the windows — pull back the curtains, raise the blinds, and let in the light!
  • Light a soft-scented candle (nothing too crazy) or put out a bowl of potpourri to cover up any odors.
  • Set some calm, instrumental music to play in the background.
  • Put out a bowl of treats for potential buyers to munch on as they tour your home.

Want to Sell Your Home Fast (and stress-free)?

Then you need to partner with a real estate agent who knows their stuff. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you sell your home for top dollar—without all the extra stress during this busy season.

3 Over-the-Top Home Improvement Projects that Just Aren’t Worth It

If you’re planning on selling your home within the next year or so, you’ve probably already started thinking about the best ways to increase its value. But if you’re not an experienced home flipper or contractor, it can be tricky to know which projects are worth it and which simply aren’t.

To save you time and money (and a lot of hassle), here are some home improvement projects that just aren’t worth it (and what you can do instead).

Replacing Old Cabinets

Beautiful completely upgraded kitchen with new cabinets.Depending on what kind of cabinet material you choose, you could be looking at an estimate anywhere between $1,000 to over $9,000 to completely replace your kitchen cabinets. Materials like laminate are certainly less expensive, but prices on real wood can quickly skyrocket.

As an alternative to completely re-doing your cabinets, you might consider sanding them down and re-staining them yourself (or painting, if they’re laminate) to give them an upgraded appearance.

Extensive Master Bathroom Remodel

Sure, there are plenty of homeowners dreaming of a spa-like master bathroom, but with a bathroom remodel averaging anywhere from $5,000 to over $14,000, it’s probably not worth it.

Instead of dropping thousands of dollars into a complete overhaul, consider some smaller upgrades that can still significantly boost your value. You can give your bathroom a much-needed uplift simply by replacing old sink fixtures, re-caulking the tub and shower, or adding in a stylish backsplash.

Adding on a Room

Man using a power-saw to cut through a floor.The national average for building an additional room on to your home is $42,000. And even with the added square footage, there’s no guarantee it will add much (or any!) resale value to your home. How badly do you need that extra room?

A more worthwhile alternative might be removing or adding a wall to create more space (or another room) without increasing the square footage. Another option is to add a deck, which typically costs only around $6,000 and adds desirable outdoor entertaining space (which has been shown to positively affect home values).

Get More Money From Your Home Sale

With so many home improvement options, it can be tough to decide which ones are best for adding resale value to your property. That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced Realtor to sell your home.

If you’re interested in selling your home, or simply want to chat about your real estate plans, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We would love to assist you in making your real estate goals a reality.

Staging Shortcuts That Sabotage Your Home Sale

Home staging is a major player in a home sale. How your home looks, feels, and even smells can influence buyers’ decisions, so it’s important to present your home in the best light.

Cleaning, decluttering, and rearranging furniture are essential to preparing your home for showings, but it can be tempting to take a few shortcuts to get your property on the market faster. Out of all the home staging shortcuts that can hinder your home sale, these you should avoid at all costs.

Keeping Your Interiors Too Dark

A dimly lit kitchen with tile floors, wood cabinets, and laminate countertops looking out onto a dimly lit dining area.Your property needs to shine on the market — don’t dim your home’s sparkle.

Natural light works wonders to maximize space, especially for small floor plans, so it’s important to let in as much sunlight as possible when staging your home.

Throw open the curtains, trim any shrubs blocking the windows, and polish the glass to welcome in the natural sunlight.

Painting All of Your Walls Bright, Bold Colors

Nothing stops home buyers in their tracks faster than loud paint colors that don’t match their personal style. After all, one buyer may prefer rich earthy reds while another may be drawn to calming blues and greens.

Instead of painting your walls in oranges, purples, and electric greens, opt for neutral tones like off-white or beige to appeal to as many home buyers as possible.

Painting All of Your Walls Neutral Colors

On the other hand, you can go too far with neutralizing your space. Remember, home buyers are likely looking at several different properties, so you need to make sure yours stands out — and that buyers can envision themselves living in your home.

An open concept living room with beige couches in the foreground and a modern kitchen in the background.Splashes of color here and there are enough to draw buyers’ eyes without distracting them from the overall look and feel of your home.

The trick is to find a balance between the bold and the neutral colors.

Need advice? We’re more than happy to provide some pointers.

Forgetting to Deodorize Your Home

Home buyers can fall in love with a property merely from the listing photos. But if a foul odor greets them at the front door, they won’t stick around for long.

It can be tricky to determine what your home smells like since you have lived in it for so long. But there are a few tricks you can use to ensure your home smells fresh and clean for each buyer who schedules a showing:

  • Open the windows to air out your home
  • Hire a professional to deep clean your home
  • Light candles with simple scents, such as orange or vanilla
  • Ask a friend or neighbor for honest feedback

We’re Happy to Share More Home Selling Resources

The whole goal of home staging is to present your property in the best light, both for listing photos and for potential buyers. If you have questions about what it takes to sell and market your home, give us a call and let’s chat.

Costly Mistakes to Avoid After You Buy Your First Home

A single-level ranch-style house with a front porch, two-car garage, and well-maintained front yard.You’re smart. You’re doing your research about home buying and homeownership (like you are right now!), so you feel like you’re prepared to avoid common home buying pitfalls. But you’ll soon find that once you’ve moved in, there is a whole new list of common problems that plague unwary first-time homeowners.

To help you make the best buying and ownership decisions possible, we’ve outlined some of the the biggest blunders that first-time buyers make after closing on their home.

Investing in Too Many Upgrades

Not every home improvement project is worth the money or effort. Many first-time homeowners make the mistake of not considering a project’s return on investment, at least until it’s time to sell the house down the road.

If you want to know which home improvements are worth the investment, talk with a real estate agent or get a market report for your neighborhood. Give us a call and we’ll send one to you.

Ignoring “Minor” Maintenance Issues

Water dripping out of a long kitchen faucet and into the sink.As your home ages, seemingly minor issues may arise. But be careful: A dripping faucet, crumbling caulk, or slanting floors could spiral into much bigger headaches if you don’t take care of them quickly.

To avoid shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars down the road, tackle these maintenance issues as soon as you can.

We’re happy to provide local vendor recommendations if you need maintenance work. Just give us a call!

Choosing the Cheapest Repair Option

Quality comes at a price, especially when it comes to making repairs. Whether it’s picking up a cheap tool set or going with the lowest bid for a service provider, many first-time homeowners make the mistake of sacrificing quality for cost.

Contact us and we’ll be happy to recommend a high-quality local service provider.

Trying to DIY a Complicated Project

A large bathroom with white countertops, a white standing tub, white bidet, frameless glass shower, and orange walls.Some things can be done yourself. Think painting, hanging up shelves, or sprucing up the front entry.

But when it comes to stuff like plumbing, electricity, or structural engineering, think again. Hiring a professional will save you time and money — and keep you from starting a project you don’t know how to finish.

Need to talk to a contractor? Call us and we’ll give you recommendations.

Not Preparing for the Unexpected

A sudden job change, severe weather damage, or major maintenance problem can throw a wrench in your plans. Be sure that you budget accordingly for unexpected expenses as a homeowner.

We’re Happy to be a Resource

As local real estate experts, we have a wealth of information that can help you avoid many of these first-time home buying and homeownership mistakes. Contact us to learn more.