Stage Your Home (Room by Room) to Sell

Great Room 5

Living Room and Family Room

For the duration of your home sale, it’s important that you channel your inner minimalist. Remove your family photos, and other personal knickknacks that clutter up the shelves and mantle. If the room is full of furniture, try to get rid of a piece or two — you don’t want to give the impression that the room is too small.
Keep the decor scheme simple, too. If you have a boldly decorated room, consider covering the plaid couch with a neutral cover and add pops of color with throw pillows and blankets instead. And of course, be sure that the room is dusted, free of cobwebs, and that the floor is swept or vacuumed.

Kitchen

This may be the most difficult room, because buyers spend a lot of time looking at kitchens. Make sure every appliance is spotless on the inside and out, including the stove, range and hood, microwave and dishwasher. Polish all stainless steel, and wipe down light fixtures and cabinet hardware. Clean and deodorize your refrigerator, garbage disposal and trash to be sure that the kitchen smells fresh. If you use your kitchen as the “communication center,” be sure to get rid of the paperwork and bills that tend to accumulate on counter tops.

Dining Room

Before a showing, set the dining room table as if you’re about to sit down for a family dinner. Go only as far as the place settings, including linen napkins, dish-ware, water and wine glasses, and some seasonal centerpieces. Buyers love to picture sitting down for a meal after a long day at work. (Hint: If you choose to keep the table set for the whole selling process, and don’t use your dining room each day, consider covering the setup with a sheet until the showing to keep dust from accumulating on the table.)

Bedrooms

Follow the same rules you did for your living room, by removing clutter and family photos so that buyers can easily picture the rooms with their own belongings. Be sure that the closets and any other built-in storage are clean and well-organized. If you can’t finish your laundry before the showing, put any dirty clothes into a closed hamper out of the way.

Bathrooms

Focus first on cleaning your bathroom from top to bottom, including the fixtures, faucets and mirrors. Fix any displaced tile with grout, and caulk the tub or sink if needed. When it comes to the vanity and your bathroom storage, try to create displays in your storage when possible. Color coordinate your towels, and fold them all the same way. Buy small storage containers and label them for “Hair Products,” “First Aid,” etc. You may not live in a model home, but you can fake it to sell your home faster to eager buyers.

Attic and Basement

As you’ve removed family photos, collectibles and general clutter from your home, it’s normal to put it all into the attic or basement. Unfortunately, it can’t stay there. It’s really important that buyers see your home as spacious, so your storage cannot be packed to the brim during the selling process. Consider paying for a storage unit during the selling process, and also take time to go through boxes that have been in storage for years, and donate what you can.

A Guide to Choosing the Right Patio Furniture

Patio Furniture

Adding patio furniture to your outdoor area is the perfect way to extend your livable space. With warm weather upon us, we put together a breakdown of the most popular outdoor furniture materials and the benefits of each.

Wicker: You might think of wicker as a material, but the term wicker actually refers to the weaving method used to make this furniture. Wicker can be made from a few different materials such as bamboo, straw, or rattan, but it is common to see wicker furniture made from synthetic plastic as well.

Organic materials like rattan are susceptible to breaking down and unraveling if exposed to harsh elements, and as a result, natural wicker furniture is not the best choice for outdoor furniture. On the other hand, synthetic wicker furniture is typically made of PVC, nylon or polyethylene materials, creating a durable material that can handle all of the seasons and one that is lightweight and easy to clean.

Synthetic wicker is UV resistant which means that you will not have to worry about your patio furniture cracking or fading out in the sun. Polyethylene also has great heat resistance and is able to withstand 230 degrees Fahrenheit continuously.

Teak: Teak is a natural wood found in Asian countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Myanmar. What separates Teak from other types of wood are the natural oils that remain in the wood after it is cut down. These natural oils protect and strengthen the wood, and as a result, teak furniture can last for many years and require little to no maintenance. The natural durability of teak makes it a great choice for high quality outdoor furniture that will last through every season.

Yellow Pine: Southern Yellow Pine originates in the Southeastern portion of the United States. This wood has some of the highest density properties of any pines, making it a sturdy choice for outdoor benches and seats. The abundance of yellow pine throughout the Southeastern United States makes this a cost-effective choice for wood patio furniture.

Another benefit of yellow pine is its high weight density, making it a strong and impact resistant. With a density between 50-55 lbs. /cubic foot when treated, this wood will be able to hold up to any demanding activities on your patio.

Recycled Plastic: If environmental protection is a priority, then recycled plastic might be your top choice for patio furniture. Recycled plastic furniture options include tables, chairs and benches, and the recycled plastic “lumber” used to make this furniture is designed to have the look and feel of real wood. This furniture is versatile in design and can fit any aesthetic that you are looking for, whether you want a wood grain look or a bright pink chair.

One type of this recycled material is Marine Grade Polymer, or MGP. This polymer is a plastic that is manufactured to last on boats, docks, and other environments where direct sunlight is constantly a factor, and as a result it is designed to not warp, rot, swell, or splinter when exposed to sunlight, humidity, or water.
Cast Aluminum: The sturdiness and longevity of cast aluminum make it a great fit for outdoor patio furniture. Cast aluminum is not prone to rust so it can be a great option for those who live in areas with high humidity or exposure to salt water. The construction of cast aluminum makes the material solid to the core, resulting in an extremely durable and long lasting product.

Additionally, aluminum and cast aluminum furniture can often have a powder coated finish, which helps protect against corrosion and color fading in adverse climates.

Steel: Steel is the heaviest of all the metals, so if you are one to constantly rearrange your furniture, it may not be for you, though the weight of steel furniture makes it extremely durable. Steel and other metal furniture (besides aluminum) can be at risk for developing rust, so some annual maintenance may be necessary, but few can argue that a nice steel furniture set can really create a beautiful outdoor space.

Worth noting is that steel, aluminum, and other metals can become very hot when exposed to direct sunlight, so they may not be the best choice in very sunny environments.

It is important to choose the furniture material that best reflects your style and your environment. Different materials have different benefits, but ultimately choosing furniture with a higher quality construction will result in longer lasting enjoyment.
This information was provided by Chris Dietrich, a furniture specialist with Patio Living. For more information on outdoor furniture and patio designs, visit patioliving.com.

Don’t Touch the A/C! 7 Tips to Stay Cool and Save Money

sunglasses laying in a grass fieldIt’s easy to just crank up the air conditioning during the hottest months of summer. Sure, the energy bill may be higher, but it’s worth the extra expense to keep your home cool — right? Or are there any sure-fire ways to save money and stay cool indoors?

Before you reach for the thermostat, try these DIY energy-saving tips to keep your home comfortable and keep you from breaking the bank.

1. Raise the A/C Temperature — Yes, Really

It’s better to keep the air conditioning down, but if you want to keep it on, raise the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. When you’re at home (or have buyers viewing your home), set the thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius). When you’re away, set the thermostat to 85 Fahrenheit (29 Celsius).

The trick is to find the temperature that’s comfortable, not too cold or too hot. This is crucial if you’re selling your during the summer. No buyer wants to step inside and still be sweating during a showing!

2. Wash Dishes and Do Laundry at Night

You’ll want to avoid using as many heat-generating appliances or lights as you can during the summer. Use your dishwasher, dryer, or oven only during the coolest parts of the day, either in the early morning or evening. You can even air-dry your dishes and use the stove or microwave instead of the oven.

3. Unplug Electronics When You’re Not Using Them

Did you know your appliances still use power when plugged in, even if they’re turned off? One way to reduce your energy bill during the summer is by unplugging anything that you’re not using.

4. Close the Blinds During the Day

living room with couch and sheer curtainsA little bit of sun can make a huge difference in your home’s indoor temperature. Cut down on the sunlight streaming in through your windows (east- and west-facing windows in particular) by closing the blinds and curtains and replacing heavier curtains with sheer ones.

During summer home showings, however, you still want to let in a little natural light to brighten up your home. Make it count.

5. Turn the Fans On

If your home has ceiling fans, use them. According to the US Department of Energy, using a ceiling fan will let you raise the thermostat by 4 degrees Fahrenheit without changing how comfortable your home feels indoors.

6. Replace Your Incandescent Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs give off a lot of heat compared with compact fluorescent lights and LED bulbs. A small but effective way to keep your home comfortable (and save some money in the process) is to replace any incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient ones.

7. Find the Gaps and Close Them

How well is your home insulated? Is any heat getting in from a leaky door or window? Seal any cracks with caulk or weatherstripping to keep the cool air inside.

“Summerize” Your Home for Showings

staged and decluttered living roomWhen you’re selling your home during the summer, remember that home showings are all about brightening your home and making it look and feel comfortable. You don’t have to crank up the A/C for home buyers during a showing. You can use these energy-saving tips to make it cooler indoors without having to pay those higher energy bills.

We have plenty of other tips to help you sell your home. Call us and let’s talk.

7 Things You Must Do When Relocating

a person moving a stack of boxesAnytime you relocate to a new area, whether it’s a city just a few miles away or across the country, you face a unique set of challenges.

The housing market, the transit, and even the weather may not be what you’re used to. Planning your move can be difficult, too, since you need to coordinate when, where, and how you’ll be moving your belongings to a new area.

Because moving to a completely new area means learning about a new housing market and a new community, we wanted to share a few helpful relocation tips to make it a much easier experience for you.

1. Research Housing Costs

Home prices for similar properties can vary drastically from one city to another. Take some time to research the real estate market, and consider these questions when searching for your new home:

  • How much are local property taxes?
  • How large a home can you afford?
  • Is it cheaper to rent or buy a home?

2. Check the Weather

If you’re moving far away from your current home to relocate to a new area, you may want to consider the new weather conditions and adjust your wardrobe.

For instance, someone who relocates from Florida to Alaska will need more winter coats, snow boots, and blackout curtains for the longer summer days. That’s an extreme example, but it can give you an idea of what to consider when relocating to a new area and a new climate.

3. Research Healthcare Professionals

You will need to choose a new dentist, doctor, and optometrist when relocating. Check local recommendations for healthcare professionals around the area before moving. That way you’ll have one less thing to worry about when you get there.

4. Test Your Commute

Give yourself enough time to test your drive to work, to the grocery store, or to other points of interest after you move. Traffic varies at different times of the day and week, so you may need to spend some time driving along different roads to get an idea of what to expect.

5. Plan for Your Move

two people packing cardboard boxesStart packing now so you’ll be less stressed later. Make a detailed plan for how you are shipping your belongings, what day you will be moving, and how you will get to your new home. Consider these packing tricks:

  • label moving boxes by room
  • keep a list of items that are in each box
  • keep your most valuable possessions with you

6. Adjust Your Home Search Checklist

Moving to a new area means you may have to adjust your home search based on the housing market, weather conditions, and commute. If you need help, just ask. We’re here to help you in any way we can.

7. Take One Step at a Time

Relocating to a new area can seem overwhelming. We recommend setting small goals. Search for homes for just 20 minutes. Pack just one box for the move. Make a list of pros and cons for just one community. You’ll be ready to relocate in no time.

We’re Here to Make Your Relocation Easier

It’s much easier to move and adjust to a new area when you have a local guide to help you along the way. That’s why we’re here. We can give you all the information you need to know about relocating to our area, maybe even details you wouldn’t have thought about. Our ultimate goal is helping you find the property that is best for you.

But we also want you to love living here just as much as we do. There is so much to explore, and we want to make it easier for you to get here and start spending your time enjoying our area.

Call or email us for more relocation tips — we’re more than happy to help.

Don’t Price Yourself out of the Market

LansdownePricing is probably the most important dynamic in selling your home. To invite reasonable offers, your property needs to be perceived as the best value of all the competing homes for sale.

Buyers are savvy and know about the properties that are in competition with your home. A list price that is too high may drive them to purchase your neighbor’s home instead. Remember, the goal is to receive offers. It is always better to turn down an offer than receive none. This keeps you in control.

Perfect Timing

Everyone wants the highest possible selling price. In our experience, this is most likely to occur when your home is priced correctly from the beginning. New listings receive the most attention during the first 30 days they are on the market, and the showing activity is at its highest during this time as well. The number of buyers looking at your home goes down over time regardless of the price.

It is also crucial that the “correct” buyer actually sees that your home is for sale. A majority of buyers search using price range parameters. A home that is priced too high may not show up in their searches. For example, if the fair market value of your home is $300,000, and you have it priced at $350,000, the buyer searching for $300,000 homes likely won’t even see it. And it won’t stack up to what the buyer looking at $350,000 homes is expecting. Also, you may be perceived as a non-motivated or unrealistic seller.

At Thomas & Company, we work closely with our sellers to determine the best possible price to get their home sold quickly and for top dollar.

The 6 Resources You Must Use When Buying a Home

a couple searching on a computerScrolling through online listing photos, scouting for the best neighborhoods, and pondering décor in your new home is fun. But the home search itself is not the only enjoyable experience; the entire home buying process can be pleasant when you have access to the best tools.

Here are the top six resources you should use to make buying a home easier and enjoyable.

1. A Wants vs. Needs Checklist

First determine what price, location, size, and any special features your new home must have. Then you can hone in on your favorite properties by searching for additional features that you would prefer.

2. A Mortgage Payment Calculator

What do you want your monthly mortgage payments to be? We have an easy mortgage payment calculator you can use to find out how much you can afford for a home. This tool takes into account the length of the loan, the interest rate, and annual tax and insurance to calculate how much you will pay every month.

3. A Reliable Home Search Tool

a person holding a magnifying glass over a houseIf you are using national real estate sites to search for homes near you, keep in mind that you are not seeing all the homes that are for sale. HousingWire reported that websites such as Zillow show fewer listings than are available in many major cities, which means you could be missing out on the best home.

The best source for your home search is a real estate agent and a database of available properties called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

4. A Local Neighborhood Guide

Choosing the best home involves more than the property itself. It’s important to research areas and neighborhoods. Here are a few questions you may want to consider when researching communities:

  • Does the community offer amenities, such as a swimming pool or fitness center?
  • What are the parking options in the community?
  • Where is the nearest grocery store, gas station, or shopping area?
  • How is the local school district?

We have helpful information about neighborhoods and areas on our website that you can use when searching for a home.

5. A List of Recently Sold Homes

a line graph with a magnifying glassResearching the real estate market will also make your home search much easier.

If you are thinking of buying a home in a particular community, ask us for the Neighborhood Sold Report, which can help you determine whether the home is fairly priced.

You can always ask us about the real estate conditions in this area, too.

6. A Local Real Estate Expert

But your best resource for buying a home in this area is the local real estate expert. He or she will have all of the tools you will need, including sold data and an easy-to-use home search, to help you easily find the best home.

Are you ready to buy a home? Let us help! Contact us today and we can work with you to find your ideal home.

home buyer receiving key to new home

3 Resources You Must Use Before Selling Your New Albany Home

If you have been seriously considering selling your home in New Albany, one major question on your mind may be “where do I begin?” There are several factors to consider when you do sell your home — your home’s equity and market value, for example — but we have compiled a list of the three best real estate resources to use before you list your home.

1. New Albany Neighborhood Sold Report

a fluctuating line graph on a laptopDo you know if your neighborhood is a sought-after community for home buyers? Understanding the current market conditions in your area is one of the first steps to take before selling your home in New Albany.

The New Albany Neighborhood Sold Report™ will provide you with a list of homes that have recently sold in your area, giving you access to information about the size and value of these properties.

2. New Albany Home Evaluation

As we wrote in a previous blog post about Zestimates, many online home value tools are inaccurate; in the case of Zillow’s home value tool, the “median error rate” is 8%, which can cost you thousands of dollars if you rely on Zestimates to sell your home.

Pricing your home right is crucial if you want to maintain your hard-earned equity but don’t want your home to languish on the market. Use our New Albany Home Values Analysis™ to determine what price is best for selling your home.

3. Home Staging Essentials

a paint roll and paint brushesBefore you list your home on the market, you want your home to look its best. Declutter, deep clean, and depersonalize your living spaces so that:

  • buyers can imagine living in your home,
  • your online listing photos will stand out, and
  • you will have an easier time packing for your move.

Follow our essential home preparation tips before you list your home.

Time to Work with the New Albany Real Estate Experts

Have you found these home selling resources helpful? If you have specific questions about the New Albany real estate market, we can provide you with the answers; please do not hesitate to contact us.

As New Albany real estate experts, we keep up-to-date with current market conditions and have additional resources you need to sell your home quickly and for the most money. Ready to sell your home? List your property with us to get started.

5 Simple Ideas for a Low-Maintenance Indoor Garden

a small potted plant on a living room tableMany homeowners find gardening is an enjoyable outdoor activity with several additional benefits: enhancing curb appeal, creating bright pops of color, and even providing homegrown ingredients for meals.

But outdoor plants need just the right amount of sunshine, space, fertile soil, and maintenance to be able to flourish.

You don’t need to abandon your dream of having a garden if you don’t have the space — bring the garden indoors! Here are a few ideas to spice up your home with easy-to-maintain indoor plants.

Grow Herbs on Your Kitchen Windowsill

Cooking can be a breeze when you have fresh herbs within easy reach. Choose a spot in your home with a lot of natural light, plant your favorite herbs in a container with great drainage, and you’ll be all set.

Make Your Own Terrarium

Transform an elegant glass container into a beautiful closed terrarium filled with succulents. Not only are succulents durable indoor plants that don’t require much water or sunlight, they come in a variety of colors and textures to enhance your home décor.

You can view step-by-step instructions for creating a terrarium on this HGTV guide.

flower on a living room tableFreshen a Table with Indoor Flowers

Place a brightly colored flower on the coffee table or dining room table to instantly add a focal point to the room. African violets and geraniums come in a variety of colors to match your decorations.

Create a Small Garden on a Tiered Stand

If you want to fill an empty space with color, place a variety of indoor plants or flowers on a multi-tiered stand. This small garden is a perfect addition to an empty corner or blank wall, or at the end of a hallway.

Choose Easy-to-Maintain Plant Varieties

The best indoor plants are durable and do not need much sunlight, warm soil, or water, making them the best choice for your low-maintenance indoor garden. Top picks for easy-to-maintain plants include:

  • Pothos
  • English Ivy
  • Peace Lily
  • Rubber Tree
  • Ficus

a leafy indoor plant in a potYou Can Use Plants During Your Home Staging

When you’re selling your home, you don’t have to get rid of your indoor plants to help your home sell. Placing a few simple plants or flowers in a room can make it feel fresh and look like home.

If you’re considering selling your home or are preparing to put your home on the market, we can help you decide which elements of your small indoor garden would be most effective during home staging. Just contact us; we would be happy to help.

The Top 5 Home Features That Save Time and Money

Everyone wants to save money on energy bills every month. But did you know that having today’s popular energy-efficient features in your home can also save you time and stress when you sell your home?

two home buyers surrounded by moving boxesMore and more first-time home buyers are searching for homes in the area, so there is more of a demand for move-in ready homes or homes with certain features.

As Millennial Magazine notes, what buyers are looking for in a home include open floor plans, homes with great cell service, and energy-efficient features.

Having the best energy-efficient home features now means you won’t need to upgrade your home later when you sell. Plus, these features may also add value to your home.

5. Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats let you control when you want the heat and air conditioning to be running in your home, saving you money on your monthly energy bills. Some thermostats, such as Nest Learning Thermostats, even let you control the temperature remotely on your phone, an appealing feature for today’s home buyers.

upgraded kitchen with bright spring flowers4. Energy-Efficient Appliances

There are plenty of cost-saving options for the appliances throughout your home. Energy Star offers many appliances and equipment from kitchen appliances to water heaters that are popular energy-efficient home features.

3. Green Home Construction

Materials involved in home construction can be also be energy-efficient. Different types of insulation and energy-efficient windows, such as low-emissivity (low E), can be installed to reduce your heating and cooling costs.

2. Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures

A way to save money on your water bill is to replace your toilet, faucet, or shower head with a low-flow toilet and water-conserving features.

LED light bulb on a white surface1. LED Lightbulbs

A simple switch from incandescent lighbulbs to LED bulbs will not only brighten your home but save you money on your energy bill.

Using these bulbs can also help you as you’re selling your home, too; brighter rooms are more appealing to buyers who are scrolling through online listing photos and viewing homes.

Today’s Buyers are Searching for Your Home

Not all home buyers are searching for new construction homes in the area. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders found that less than 9% of Millennials and only 12% of older home buyers bought a new home.

Today’s home buyers may be searching for a home that is similar to yours, and if you have the energy-efficient home features they are looking for, they may value your home more.

But Before You Upgrade Your Home…

person using an iphoneAs the real estate experts in this area, we know what features home buyers are looking for. So before you completely upgrade your home with these features or other home improvements, talk to us about whether you need to spend the time and money installing them.

All your home may need is expert marketing to attract buyers.

We’d be happy to talk with you about the best energy-efficient home features and what today’s buyers are searching for. Just give us a call.

Checklist with pen isolated on white

How to Prepare to Sell Your Home in New Albany

It takes a lot of time and preparation before you list your home on the market, and the selling process can often seem overwhelming. But we hope that by simplifying the steps you need to take, selling your home in New Albany will not be as stressful. Here are our essential tips to prepare to sell your home in New Albany.

Make a List of What Needs to be Cleaned or Repaired

Before you tackle the often overwhelming task of decluttering your home, take note of what needs to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced. This includes both the outside of your home as well as the inside.

Declutter the Inside of Your Home

Buyers want to see how space is used in a home. That means that any furniture, clothing, and household items you do not use and have stored in closets or the garage should be cleaned out. Donate or discard any items that you no longer want, and put the rest in storage out of sight.

living room in a new albany home that has been properly prepared to sell

This home’s living room has been carefully decluttered, showcasing every inch of space. Listing courtesy of Thomas & Company.

Neutralize the Inside of Your Home

In order to make your home more attractive to potential buyers, you want to help them easily picture themselves living in your home. Remove any distractions, such as personal photos and heirlooms, and give your home more neutral wall colors and décor.

new albany home for sale with neutral decor

This bathroom has been decluttered and given neutral wall colors.

Make Necessary Home Repairs

Does your roof need replacing or is a faucet leaking? It’s time to make the repairs now before you list your home. New Albany buyers tend to think repairs cost more than they do, and could choose a home from another seller. But if you list your home with all the repairs taken care of, buyers will have a great first impression of your home.

Remember, don’t start any major renovations, since it is unlikely you will receive a return when you sell. Make sure to consult with your trusted Realtor if you have any questions.

Select the Right Realtor

a home seller discussing her goals with her trusted Realtor in New AlbanyLast but not least, as you prepare to sell your home, selecting the right Realtor is crucial. It is important to find not only a reputable and successful professional, but a Realtor you feel comfortable working with.

The Realtors at Thomas & Company have been helping New Albany residents sell homes for over 30 years combined, helping sellers receive top dollar for their homes due to their in-depth market knowledge and their personal touch.

If you are considering listing your home, we can help you beyond these basic home preparation tips, advising you about creating curb appeal, staging your home, and pricing your home to appeal to buyers when you place your home on the market.

Just call us at 614.939.1234 and we can talk about selling your home in New Albany.