Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 8/16/2017

No matter your budget, there's always an upgrade or two that'll up the resale ante.

Whether your home improvements are for you or potential buyers, consider their impact on your home’s potential resale price before picking up your toolbox (or the phone to call a contractor).

A brand-new kitchen or bathroom will undoubtedly wow potential buyers, but there’s no guarantee you’ll recoup the money you put into those pricey remodels.

To help you navigate the choices that lead to the best return on investment, we asked two industry experts (and one enthusiastic DIYer) to weigh in.

Kitchen renovations

“Renovating the kitchen is always the biggest way to add value to your home,” says Grace Fancher, real estate agent at Kansas City firm Sarah Snodgrass. “People love to cook, and everyone tends to gather in the kitchen. If you add seating, such as an island with barstools, buyers go crazy for that.”

A full remodel is a major investment, but smaller projects make a big difference if you can’t — or don’t want to — go all out. “Nicer appliances really stick out to potential buyers — even if you’re planning to take them with you,” Fancher says.

She also suggests replacing tired finishes with fresh, neutral materials. “You don’t want to be too trendy, but you want it to look up-to-date,” she says. “Everyone loves clean, white subway tiles now, but they’re really a timeless look.”

Replacing dated countertops (quartz is your best bet, according to Fancher) and flooring is also worth the time and money.

Bathroom updates

The smallest rooms in the house can have a big impact on its value, so Fancher suggests adding a second bathroom or upgrading existing ones so your home features at least two full baths.

Joe Monda, co-owner of Seattle-based general contracting firm Promondo, agrees. “People are spending more on upgrading their houses before listing them,” he says. “They really want to maximize the potential house value.”

But if you’re remodeling a bathroom just to put your house on the market, keep it simple. “Most people don’t want to pay for upgrades, so you want it to be a neutral space that doesn’t look straight out of the big DIY warehouse stores — even if it is,” says Fancher.

She adds that an easy solution is spending a little more on details, like high-quality towel bars and upgraded hardware for those big-box store vanities.

Not in a position to remodel? “Re-grouting tile, or even just using one of those grout paint pens, gives any bathroom a fresher look,” says Sharyn Young, a self-proclaimed DIY addict from Minneapolis.

Lighting upgrades

“The brighter a room feels, the bigger it looks,” says Fancher. “And when you’re selling, you want every space to look as big as possible.”

She recommends replacing flush-mount ceiling lights with recessed and/or pendant lighting — a relatively cheap upgrade that looks modern and makes a huge impact.

“LED lighting has changed everything,” says Young. “There are so many readily available, inexpensive options now that are easy to install. I added Ikea under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen of my last house, and I was amazed at how that one simple upgrade made the space feel larger and cleaner.”

Photo from Zillow listing.

Fresh paint

Like lighting, a new coat of paint can also make a space feel cleaner and brighter. Stick to neutral shades, such as light gray and beige, and if you don’t have time or budget to do the whole house, start with the living areas you see when you first walk in.

An even quicker fix is refreshing just the trim. “Beat-up, dirty trim can give buyers a subtle impression that the whole house is dingy,” Fancher says. “Repainting gives a sharper look and shows the buyer that you’ve taken care of the house.”

Landscape improvements

“A lot of people overlook how important landscaping is, especially when you’re selling in the spring or summer,” says Fancher, adding that you can increase curb appeal by just putting down new, dark-colored mulch, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on planting.

Monda suggests paying special attention to the entry. Repair or replace any damaged stepping stones, concrete paths, and porch plants, then give the front door a fresh coat of paint and add some potted plants. “You want people to be excited to walk in the door,” he says.

Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 8/15/2017

You put a lot of time and money into your home. Each year, at the start of spring, you go outdoors and fertilize your garden. Like clockwork, you mow your lawn at least once a week. Rather than save on utilities, you turn on your sprinkler system and water your lawn during periods when the climate is dry.

Home hazards you don’t want to miss

The interior of your home receives an equal amount of care. You take warranties seriously. Instead of keeping your mattress for 15 years, you go out and buy a new, more comfortable mattress every five to six years. You might fuss, but every single Saturday, you get up early and dust, vacuum, shake out rugs and wash linen. It’s no wonder that you’re proud of your home. But, is your home safe?

Health hazards that your house could be hiding may be hard to spot. Some home health hazards need special equipment to detect. Items to check at your house to keep it safe include:

Hazards you can check visually

  • Uneven flooring – If you’ve ever tripped while walking outdoors after your foot caught on an elevated part of the sidewalk,you know how easy it is to fall due to an uneven surface.
  • Cracked sidewalks and driveway – These are exterior health hazards that could cause people to fall on your property.
  • Unopened cleaners – Strong cleaners that don’t have the lid securely placed on them could spill when knocked over. They could also emit dangerous chemicals into the air. Children could also accidentally drink from liquid cleaners or eat hard cleaners and become dangerously ill.
  • Dirty rags – Rags, sponges and towels that you use to clean with could be laced with dangerous chemicals.
  • Sharp objects – Knives and scissors that are left on counter tops could fall and cut someone or a pet. If these objects are left within reach of minors, they could also become unsafe toys.
  • Dead trees – Storms can break dead tree limbs,sending the limbs crashing against vehicles, your house or people.

Hazards that aren’t detected with the eye

  • Carbon monoxide – Should carbon monoxide exceed 35 ppm, it can make you and your guests very ill. Install carbon monoxide detectors to stay aware of carbon monoxide levels in your house.
  • Slick surfaces – If your driveway has oil spills on it and the driveway gets wet, the surface of your driveway can become slick. Snow and ice must also be removed and treated to prevent the exterior of your property from becoming a health hazards.
  • Loose railings – Let stairwell railings become loose and you could live with a false sense of security while ascending interior and exterior steps.
  • Driveway blind spots – Mirrors on newer vehicles are designed to eliminate blind spots. It prevents small children from accidentally being run over while behind a vehicle that’s backing out of the driveway. To protect people from blind spots, trim hedges and remove objects from entry ways and exits.

Keeping your home visually attractive is important. When your house is visually appealing, it can help to put you in a relaxing mood. As much work a sit takes to keep a beautiful home, the eye isn’t the only thing to focus on when caring for your house. It’s important to create and maintain a safe house too. By paying attention to chemical levels, eliminating fire hazards and repairing structural damages, you could keep your family, friends and house guests from injuring themselves or becoming ill while they stay at your place.

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Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 8/9/2017

Step inside this meticulously-maintained single-level home located in a highly desirable neighborhood abutting Borderland State Park & just minutes to Lake Massapoag, Sharon's natural recreational resource (fishing, boating, swimming, sailing, etc.) with its own resident beach. Many recent updates to this home include a new roof (2017), new plastering (2017), a new chimney liner (2017) (oil burner side), a new central a/c condenser (2014), a new heating system/hot water tank/oil tank replacement (2013), a new driveway sealcoat (2015), a remodeled kitchen (2016), all Newpro replacement windows, newly refinished hardwood floors, newly painted interior/exterior to include cabana, and new light fixtures/LED lighting. This home is a perfect set up for entertaining family and friends! Enjoy the 4-season sunroom overlooking a large, private, fenced-in yard with an in-ground pool w/Kool Deck, cabana and a Bocci Ball Court! Stop by our first viewing Sat., 8/12, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts

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Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 8/9/2017

Step into this beautiful, custom-designed single-level home located in one of Dighton's premier neighborhoods. Drive up & admire the curb appeal of this home which offers a maintenance-free exterior w/stone veneer/cedar impression shingles/vinyl siding, a lovely custom-designed portico, & a stamped concrete front porch. Step inside & enjoy an open floor plan concept w/soaring 10-foot ceilings, beautiful hardwood flooring, recessed/pendant lighting, a large family room with gas fireplace leading to a private balcony w/composite deck, a designer kitchen/granite counters/stainless steel appliances/breakfast bar w/a breakfast area, a master suite w/master bath/whirlpool tub/double vanity, a mudroom, two additional generous-sized bedrooms and second full bath, hardwood staircase leading to a full, unfinished basement w/full walk-out/slider/window roughed for future full bath with ejector pump ready to finish for the extended family member! First viewing OH Sat., 8/12, 1 pm to 3 pm.

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts

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Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 8/8/2017

Selling a house is no small feat, particularly in a competitive real estate market. As such, home sellers may be prone to make mistakes if they don't plan ahead for potential pitfalls.

Common home selling mistakes include:

1. Listing a Home Without Performing Housing Market Research

Let's face it – selling a house can be stressful. In many instances, home sellers will want to speed through the home selling journey – something that may lead these sellers to list residences without evaluating the real estate market in advance.

Spending even a few minutes looking at the prices of homes in your city or town may make a world of difference. Ultimately, the more housing market research that you perform, the more likely it becomes that you'll be able to optimize the value of your house.

Take a look at the prices of available homes in your city or town that are similar to your own. Also, evaluate the prices of recently sold houses in your area. With this housing market data at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than ever before to price your residence competitively and boost your chances of a profitable home sale.

2. Accepting an Initial Offer on a Residence

The first offer that you receive on a residence may prove to be the best offer. However, in some cases, the initial offer may fall short of your expectations.

Immediately accepting the initial offer on a residence may prove to be costly. Fortunately, a home seller who understands the housing market can take a data-driven approach to determine how to proceed with any offer, at any time.

Performing a home appraisal before you list your residence can provide valuable insights into a property's value. Then, you can list your house for a competitive price, one that helps generate substantial interest in your house and may lead to offers at, near or above your initial asking price.

In addition, don't forget to consult with a real estate agent. If you receive a home offer and are unsure about whether to accept, reject or counter it, a real estate agent can provide expert advice to help you make an informed decision.

3. Ignoring a Real Estate Agent's Recommendations

A seller's agent is committed to helping you optimize the value of your residence, and this housing market professional will offer recommendations as you sell your house to ensure you that can get the best results possible.

If you ignore a real estate agent's recommendations, you may miss out on a golden opportunity to sell your house. A real estate agent provides housing market analysis and insights, along with honest, unbiased recommendations about how to overcome a wide range of home selling hurdles.

Furthermore, a real estate agent always has a home seller's best interests in mind. This housing market professional also is available to respond to a home seller's questions, guaranteeing that a home seller is fully supported at each stage of the home selling journey.

Ready to sell your house? Collaborate with a real estate agent, and you should have no trouble achieving your desired results.

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JoAnn M. Drabble