Ten best home improvements for your dollar

February 12th, 2014

According to a recent article posted on MSN, following are the top ten home improvements for your dollar:

  1. REPLACE YOUR FRONT DOOR – You may not notice your front door all the time, especially if you use another entrance, but just by replacing your front door can give you a 96.6 return on your investment.  If your door is still in great shape, just giving it a paint job can make a huge difference.
  2. ADD A DECK OR PATIO – No matter where you live, outdoor space is always a huge selling feature!  You can gain 86 percent just by adding a wood deck, possibly more if it is a sustainable product.
  3. ADD SPACE OR AN ATTIC BEDROOMS – Depending on your budget, adding space or an attic bedroom can rapidly increase the value of your home by possibly 84 percent.
  4. REPLACE YOUR GARAGE DOOR – Garage door manufacturers offer a huge selection of garage doors.  Just by upgrading this can recoup possibly 83 percent on your investment.
  5. REMODEL YOUR KITCHEN – Just a minor remodel project can gain 82 percent and 74 percent of a major remodel project.  If you are planning on selling soon, just minor changes would be worth the effort like painting cabinets or upgrading appliances.
  6. REPLACE YOUR WINDOWS – Homeowners are especially aware of energy efficiency when it comes to windows.  This can gain you a 79 return on your investment.  When you go to sell your home, this can be a major selling point in the marketing of the property also.
  7. REPLACE YOUR SIDING – If your home’s exterior needs a major improvement, you can typically recoup 78 percent of your investment just by replacing siding with vinyl siding.
  8. BASEMENT ADDITION OR REMODELING – By finishing the lower level of your home, you can recoup up to 78 percent of your investment.
  9. UPDATE YOUR BATHROOM – Major bathroom renovations can cost thousands of dollars.  However, making minor changes such as changing the mirror and fixtures and repainting the space can gain you 73 percent return on your investment.
  10. TWO STORY ADDITIONFor a 72 percent return on investment, add a second floor addition or first floor family room.  Just be careful not to over-improve your home for the neighborhood.

Contact a realtor and they can offer advice as to what improvements can help you sell your home quick and for top dollar.

Friday feature home at 24 Eagles Nest Circle Hudson WI

January 31st, 2014

Friday’s Feature property is 24 Eagles Nest Circle, Hudson, WI

This home is new to the market!  Some features include:

*One story home

*3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms

*1,848 square feet

*0.28 acre lot – lots of trees!

*Open floor plan – fireplace in upstairs living area

*2 car attached garage– 24’ wide x 26 ½’ deep – asphalt driveway

*Owners suite offers separate whirlpool tub and shower

*Main floor den/office

*Completely finished lower level with walkout screened patio leading to private backyard

*Bar area in lower level family room

This is a must see home!  It will not last long!  Call us at 715-410-3883 or 651-261-4600 today to schedule a showing!002_Front Left

Tips for holding a successful Open House

January 22nd, 2014

You have decided to sell your home and now is the time to market it.  Follow Open house signthese tips for holding a successful open house to get your house sold!

  1. Pick the right date.  When planning your open house, check the calendar for any major events in the area or holidays.  You will be disappointed if you hold your open house on a holiday and no one is there to attend.
  2. Declutter!  The plan is to move from your house to another one so why not start the process of decluttering now and you will have less to move.
  3. Create a feeling of space.  Besides decluttering, move your furniture around in the rooms to give the feeling of more space.
  4. Clean, clean, clean.  Now is the time to do a deep cleaning of your home.  Once the deep cleaning is done, just spot cleaning will be necessary for any future open houses or showings.
  5. Promote your open house.  Your realtor will do his part in promoting your open house, but doing your part is a good idea also.  Spread the word to family and friends—they all have friends and co-workers who may be looking to buy a home.  Word-of-mouth is the cheapest form of advertising.
  6. Remove your valuables.  Put away or even remove from your home all the valuables that can be stolen. Take a note of the placement of items that remain in the house. Store away and lock all the firearms.
  7. Remove you, pets and vehicles from the property.  Don’t wait at the end of the street for the open house to be over, go enjoy yourself!   Take the kids to the park or go enjoy a movie!

If you follow the above tips, your home will sell quickly and you will be on to your next adventure!

How to sell your house fast!

January 14th, 2014

So you have decided to sell your house.  What next?  Here are some helpful tips to get your home to sell fast.

Find a realtor – Your best bet to get your home to sell quickly is to find a realtor.  Ask family or friends for a referral of someone they have used.  A realtor can help you set the right price for your property, offer suggestions to get your home sold quickly, and can use their resources to properly market your property and get it sold fast.

Set the right price – Every realtor knows that pricing a property right is key.  A common mistake homeowners make is pricing a property too high hoping to receive a higher net gain.  Your realtor will know, based on your area, what price to put your property.

Prepare your property BEFORE listing it – The key is getting your home to look its best right from the start.  Part of this process is by “staging” it properly.  Now is the time to make any necessary repairs, sprucing up the curb appeal, mowing the lawn, fresh paint, trimmed bushes and immaculately cleaned are all things that will appeal to a home buyer.

Keeping it clean – After your home is on the market, it is not time to sit back and do nothing.  Now is the time to make sure your home stays looking its best for potential buyers.  Don’t forget to eliminate odors also.

Fade into the background – Now is the time to let your realtor do his job.  Keeping the house clean is your job, now it is up to him/her to get your house sold.  Make sure you are not home during a house showing, but do make yourself available for any questions your realtor may have to pass along to potential buyers.

Offer incentives to make the deal more attractive – If you have a buyer who loves the house, but needs a little more incentive to make a commitment, there are a number of things you can do to make your home more appealing.  An offer to cover buyer closing costs can bring the up-front expenses of buying your home into range for a first-time buyer struggling to make the down payment.  Other common incentives are “decorating allowances-i.e. carpet, etc., or including household items and appliances in the purchase price.

Following these tips, and your realtor’s advice, should get you on the road to selling your home quickly and onto your next adventure!

Selling your home in the spring

January 3rd, 2014

Selling your home in the spring

Spring is one of the best times to sell your home. The largest number of buyers is actively seeking a new home during the months of April, May and June. Here are several tips for making your house stand out among the sea of new listings flooding the spring-time real estate market.

*Clean, clean, clean – A clean atmosphere is an inviting atmosphere.  The winter months is a perfect time to do some cleaning and decluttering before putting your home on the market this spring.

*Once the weather gets a bit warmer, yard work is a necessity.  Give the yard a good raking and clear leaves and debris.  Trim any bushes or trees that need it so windows and pathways are not blocked.

*Clean drapes, curtains, blinds and windows and let the sun shine in!  Clean windows frame the view of the outdoors.

*Take care of any repairs you have been putting off.  Getting a pre-inspection completed is not a bad idea either.  This will give you plenty of time to fix any unforeseen issues prior to putting your home on the market.

*Once you are ready to put your home on the market, ask family and friends for referrals for an awesome realtor.  A realtor who believes in home staging and professional photography will definitely get your home sold quicker and often times for more money.

Once you have chosen a realtor, let him/her be your guide and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Once your home is sold, they can then help you with buying your next home.

Local Market Update – As of November 2013

December 16th, 2013

Local Market Update – As of November 2013

The housing market is slowly but surely making a comeback!  As you can see by the graph of data provided by the St. Paul area Association of Realtors, every category has seen an increase.  Cumulative Days on Market until Sale category went down a bit, which is good and means that houses are selling quicker.  As you can also see, Inventory of Homes is also down a bit.  So if you are looking to buy or sell, your selection may be a bit limited, but don’t let that dissuade you from the process.  Right now still can be the perfect time to move!   Click on the link below to see this information!

Local Market updates for November 2013

Christmas tree tips – Buying and keeping safe

December 13th, 2013

Christmas tree tips—buying and keeping safeXmas tree

Every year thousands of trees are sold to decorate homes for the holidays.  Below are some tips to keep in mind when picking out a tree and safety once the tree is in your home.

Buying the tree:

*Make sure you measure the height of the ceiling in the room that you will be displaying your tree.  You will want a tree that is at least a foot shorter than the ceiling height.

*When selecting a tree, run your fingers along the needles and give the tree a shake. If the tree is fresh, the needles should be pliable and very few should fall off.

*Be sure the base of the tree is straight and at least six inches long, so it will fit easily into the tree stand.

Keeping trees fresh:

*When you buy your tree, have an inch cut off the base to make it easier for the tree to take in water. (Be sure the cut is straight so the tree will stand up properly.)

*If you don’t plan to put the tree up right away, place it in a bucket of warm water and stand it in an unheated garage or porch away from the wind and cold.  When you bring the tree inside, make sure the stand holds at least one gallon of water.

*Keep your tree well watered. Water prevents the needles from drying and dropping off and maintains the fragrance. Trees may use several quarts a day, so check the water level in the stand every few hours.  Never let the water level fall below the base of the tree or the cut end may seal over, preventing further water intake.  Experts say it is not necessary to add anything to the water, just plain old water is best.

Tree safety:

*Never place your tree near a heat source, such as a fireplace or portable heater.

*If you have small children or pets, trim the lower branches to avoid eye injuries.

*Hang all ornaments that are breakable, have small, detachable parts or metal hooks, or that look like food or candy on higher branches where small children can’t reach them.

*Keep pets out of the room in which the tree is placed, especially if you can’t be there to supervise. Cats are notorious for leaping onto Christmas trees, especially when pursued by another pet. Keep the tree from toppling by tying it to a ceiling hook. Both cats and dogs can knock down and break glass ornaments, and then cut themselves on the pieces. Pets may also gnaw on electrical cords for Christmas-tree lights. Hide cords when possible, or help prevent injury by purchasing a pet-proof conduit, which will enclose cords and wires.

*Avoid using artificial snow sprays, which can cause lung irritation if inhaled.

* Turn off tree lights when you go to bed or leave the house. Use only UL-approved electrical decorations and extension cords, and check that no cords have frayed since you last used the lights.

*Never burn Christmas-tree branches in your fireplace. It can cause the buildup of creosote, a highly flammable compound.

Follow these simple safety tips and enjoy the holiday season!

What is the Function of Home Owner’s Insurance?

December 5th, 2013

What is the Functions of Home Owner’s Insurance?   Homeowner’s insurance is a standard requirement from lender’s when purchasing a home.  Basically, home insurance protects the value of your property investment, but also has a few specific functions:

Lender’s Perspective   Homeowners insurance is a requirement for a loan from your lender.  This is a protection for the lender from the risks of financing your purchase.  The lender requires that you carry coverage that repairs or replaces the home if it is damaged or destroyed.  The home is collateral for the loan, and without it, the lender loses its leverage to make you repay.

Repair or Replacement   Just like car insurance for damages to your vehicle, home insurance pays for damage to your home.  If a natural disaster hits and tears up your roof, your insurance benefits typically cover the costs of damages.  This is a major function of homeowner’s insurance.  If your house is totally destroyed, this part of your homeowner’s insurance policy covers the cost to rebuild your home.

Liability   The liability portion of homeowners insurance is vital.  This part of your coverage pays for legal and medical costs and lawsuit judgments against you when someone is injured or dies on your property.  This is even more critical if your property has a pool or other feature that increases risks of accidents.

Valuables   Another portion of homeowners insurance is protecting your valuables and possessions in the home.  This feature covers you against theft or vandalism.

Make sure you shop around for good homeowner’s insurance.  Ask friends and family members who they recommend and what type of coverage their policies have before picking a company.  Remember, your home is one of the biggest purchases you will make in your lifetime and you want it well protected.

Tips for moving with pets

December 2nd, 2013

Some helpful Moving Tips when moving with petsDog

*Make sure your pet is wearing proper identification and any required license tags in case they get lost.

*Ask your veterinarian for a copy of your pet’s medical history to take with you and be sure all shots are current.

*Keep an eye on your pet for signs of stress.  Consider having them boarded or at a friend’s home on actual moving day.

*When you move, take along a health certificate and rabies vaccination certificate.  The health certificate, signed by your vet, says your pet is in good condition.  The rabies certification states when and where your pet was vaccinated.

*If you move across state lines, call or write the state veterinarian for laws on the entry of animals.

*After the move, give your pet time to adjust to the new neighborhood.

*If your pet has an ID implant, remember to have updated contact information.

Remember, moving time is an adjustment time for everyone, including your pet.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

November 25th, 2013

Thanksgiving Safety tips

This Thanksgiving holiday, more than 13 million Americans will travel to spend the holiday with friends and family, leaving their homes empty for possible burglars.  Follow these safety tips to ensure your family’s safety this holiday season.

*Number one is DO NOT post your travel plans on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.  This is an open invitation for any burglar to know that you are not home!

* Turn your telephone ringer down low so no one outside can hear repeated rings and know that no one is at home.

*Make sure to have all mail, newspapers, and deliveries stopped or picked up by a neighbor, friend or relative when you are gone.

* Never leave a key hidden outside.  Burglars know all the best hiding places.

*Secure all windows on all levels and reduce the chance of entry by cutting tree limbs away from second story windows.

*Have a friend move your car occasionally if it is parked in the driveway.

*Use timers to operate lights.

*Consider having a Web-based home security system installed that allows you to check on your home while away and even arm and disarm your system from any laptop, cell phone, PDA or other Web-enabled devices.

Follow these simple tips to ensure your home and family stays safe for the holiday season! Thanksgiving