Archive for the Sell your Home Category

Selling Your Home? Consider an Inspection First.

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, New Homes, Sell your Home, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , , , on February 5, 2014 by Pat Hansen

If you plan to sell your home soon, it may be wise to get a home inspection before you list your home. You can speed things along by getting a home inspection and analyzing the condition of your home and making necessary repairs before the house is under contract.

Whole home inspections cover numerous systems within the house, but there are some hot spots that seem to worry buyers the most:

Roofs and Chimneys

  • Decaying ShinglesDeteriorated shingles or other roof coverings are one of the first things home buyers and inspectors notice. If the elements underneath the shingles are moist or rotted, you can bet repairs will be requested.
  • Make sure flashing around the base of the chimney is watertight, and that mortar and bricks are in good condition.

Radon

  • Radon may or may not be part of a home inspection, but it is a good idea to ask for a radon test since radon has been linked to lung cancer. If an unacceptable level is found, then a radon mitigation system will be required. There are recommended companies that do radon mitigation and they can be found by contacting the MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality).

Mold and Mildew

  • Mildew stains and odors scare buyers, especially since toxic black mold is such a hot topic. Chances are you won’t even get an acceptable offer if mold and mildew are present. Even if the mold is the normal variety, get rid of it and fix the source of the problem.

Plumbing ProblemsShower Inspection

  • Fix leaks long before the home inspection takes place. The inspector will check water pressure by turning on multiple faucets and flushing toilets at the same time. The inspector will also run the dishwasher.

Damp Basements and Crawlspaces

  • Mildew odors signal that a basement is too moist. Buyers and home inspectors will look closely at the walls and floors for patches of mildew and signs of dampness. The inspector might use a meter to determine how much moisture is present in these spaces because moisture deteriorates building materials and attracts insects.
  • Cover exposed earth in basements and crawl spaces with plastic to help keep moisture levels down.
  • Most foundation leaks are a result of poor drainage that funnels water towards the foundation.
  • Make sure gutters are clean so that rainwater flows toward downspouts instead of spilling over gutter sides along the foundation.
  • Point drainage downspouts away from the house.
  • Check water flow through buried drainage lines by flooding them with water from a hose. If water comes back towards you, the line is plugged and should be cleared.
  • If foundation problems do exist and you cannot make repairs, you might need to lower the price of the house upfront, with the understanding that the price reflects the problem. Another option is to give the buyers an allowance to make the repairs after closing.

Inadequate Interior Electrical Systems

  • Electrical PanelThe electrical panel and circuit breaker configuration should be adequate for the needs of the house.
  • The inspector will look for receptacles with ground fault interrupters (GFI) in bathrooms and kitchens. These receptacles contain mini circuit breakers that click off during a short circuit or overload. The inspector will make sure the receptacles are what they appear to be, and not “dummies” that are not wired correctly.
  • The inspector will test a portion of the remaining receptacles in the house.

Other Important Home Inspection Checks

Furnace inspectionHeating and cooling

  • The home inspector will check the heating and cooling systems, making sure they work and will comment on their efficiency.

Structure and Foundation

  • The inspector will take a close look at the structure and foundation.

Appliances and Smoke Detectors

  • The inspector will check the appliances that will remain with the house, including running the dishwasher and testing smoke detectors.

Before the Home Inspection

  • Sample Inspection ReportDo everything you can to get the house in good condition before you attempt to sell it, but don’t be discouraged if the inspection report contains a few negative comments. Home inspectors make a note of everything they see. They can identify problems in the making and suggest preventative measures that might help avoid costly repairs in the future.
  • Home inspections usually take 2-3 hours, or more in some instances. Costs vary from $250 to as much as $500. Home inspectors are not required to be licensed in most states; however, many are certified by ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors).

The Economic and Emotional Value of Homeownership

Posted in Homeownership, Housing News, Lifestyle, Local News, New Homes, Sell your Home with tags , , , , , on July 2, 2013 by Pat Hansen

In good times or bad, there is one constant: Homeownership remains the American Dream for millions of American families. And there are many reasons why, both economic and emotional.

Robert R. Jones HomesMost Americans consider homeownership to be their single best long-term investment and a primary source of their wealth and financial security. Generations of families have counted on and used the equity in their homes for their children’s education, their own retirement and other milestone expenses.

Individual household budgets are helped by tax incentives that are designed to make owning a home more affordable. Deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes can result in thousands of dollars of tax savings, especially in the early years of the mortgage when interest makes up most of the payment. Home owners save nearly $100 billion annually on mortgage interest and property deductions alone.

And when home owners sell their primary residence, they get an enormous tax break. A couple who owns and lives in their home for two years and then decides to sell can keep up to $500,000 of the profit tax-free, and a single owner can keep $250,000.

A healthy housing industry means more jobs and a stronger U.S. economy. In fact, fully 15 percent of the U.S. economy relies on housing.

Most of the products used in home construction and remodeling are manufactured in the United States. Constructing 100 new homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs, $23.1 million in wage and business income and $8.9 million in federal, state and local tax revenue. New home owners spend money on decorations and furnishings, to enhance the landscaping and to become members of the community by patronizing local businesses and service providers.

Robert R. Jones Homes (interior photo)Yet a home is so much more than an investment. In good times and in bad, the opportunity to own a home has been a cherished ideal and a source of pride, accomplishment, social stability and peace of mind.  Homeownership strengthens communities as well as families.

Home building increases the property tax base that supports local schools and communities. When a family owns their home, it is an asset that has a direct impact on their financial security and future. People are more likely to take care of things they own so they remain valuable. And a home’s value is determined by how well it is maintained as well as by the condition of the neighborhood it is located in. So home owners have incentive to spend their time and resources improving their neighborhood, even if it is just to protect the value of their investment.

Homeownership builds stronger communities, provides a solid foundation for family and personal achievement and improves the quality of life for millions of people. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission has said that homeownership can “produce powerful economic, social, and civic benefits that serve the individual home owner, the larger community and the nation.”

Keys in DoorIt is important to know that despite the fact that housing and homeownership policies over the last century have contributed to the growth of the middle class and helped the United States become the most dynamic economy the world has ever seen, homeownership is under attack. Policymakers are proposing radical changes, including ending the mortgage interest deduction and mandating minimum 20 percent downpayments, that would threaten the dream of homeownership for millions of Americans.

The National Association of Home Builders’ website, www.ProtectHomeownership.com, has more information about the threats to homeownership and how to take action to protect it.

To learn more about homeownership in the metropolitan Detroit area, visit www.RobertRJonesHomes.com.

This article is courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders.

Enjoy Summer on a New Front Porch

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, Sell your Home with tags , , on June 5, 2013 by Pat Hansen

Outdoor living spaces are one of the most popular design trends of the past few years in both new home construction and remodeling, and it’s a trend that looks like it’s going to be around for many years to come. Judges for the 2012 Best in American Living Awards, an annual National Association of Home Builders competition, noted outdoor spaces as an essential design trend that has expanded to homes nationwide and is at the top of many home buyer and renters’ must-have lists.

Front Porch (Sonja Lovas | flickr.com)

Photo credit: Sonja Lovas | flickr.com

Whether you’re remodeling to make your home better-suited to your family’s current lifestyle or to spruce it up to be more attractive to potential buyers, adding a front porch can be a great option.

Here are some considerations you should think about when planning your new front porch, whether you plan to construct it yourself or hire an experienced contractor:

Size

The porch is an accessory, so it shouldn’t overwhelm the main structure of the house. It should, however, be large enough to look like part of your home instead of an afterthought.

Think about what you want to use your porch for. If you envision dining al fresco with your family during the warm weather months, you’ll want a porch that’s at least eight to 10 feet deep to accommodate a good-sized table and chairs. Six feet or so should be sufficient if you just want to place a loveseat or a couple of chairs outside.

Location

If your home has the flexibility, what side of your home your porch is on can also be an important factor. A south-facing porch will take advantage of the sun’s heat, but could also get uncomfortable during the summer in hot climates. If the idea of cocktails at sunset is appealing, place your porch facing west. Early risers may want maximum light to read the paper and sip coffee with eastern exposure.

Don’t forget about accessing the porch from the home, and what design impact that may have on the interior rooms. For example, you may want to install French or sliding glass doors from the living room or kitchen to create an entrance to the porch.

Front Porch (jade | morgueFile.com)

Photo credit: jade | morgueFile.com

Features

In order to ensure aesthetic continuity, try to use the same materials to build your porch as are used in the home – especially the exterior surfaces. This includes coordinating millwork and other design motifs so that your new porch integrates smoothly with the rest of your home.Also take into account other factors that could affect your enjoyment of your new porch. Consider installing screens if you live in an insect-friendly area, or glass windows so you can extend the days of the year you can use the porch in cooler climates. If you plan to use the porch during the night hours, make sure you install either sufficient lighting or outlets for lamps. A ceiling fan is a good idea to make the space more comfortable in warm temperatures.

Before you know it, you and your family can begin to relax and enjoy the summer season from the comfort of your new porch—or have an attractive feature to offer to would-be buyers.

This article is courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders.

Make Your Home Cozier This Winter

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Sell your Home with tags , , on February 6, 2013 by Pat Hansen

Winter is as good a time as any to redecorate your home, and the right visual elements will have your interiors looking chic, warm, inviting and cozy, even in the coldest months.

Keep colors simple: Paint is perhaps the best starting point for redecorating your home and you should begin with a neutral color like white, beige or very light blue or green. Keeping the colors simple gives you a lot of freedom to play with the rest of the elements.Family Room (Galleria New Home), Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones Homes

Area rugs: Area rugs offer a very simple way to add dramatic changes to any room. Be sure to choose these in warm colors or a combination of warm colors to add to the coziness.

Use more candles: Accessories add the final, but all important touches to your interiors for winter. Candles, for example, are particularly dramatic pieces in winter because they suggest light and warmth – two things that Mother Nature doesn’t provide this time of the year.

Bring in some warmth: Decorating in winter is all about giving extra comfort and warmth to your interiors, especially when it is cold and harsh outside. Stock up on items like plush throws, thick quilts and large pillows. Place them on your sofas and couches.

Make nature welcome in your interior decoration: You can bring in plants with brightly colored flowers and mild fragrances inside your home. It will add color in your home while helping it smell sweet all the time. Other natural elements like pine cones and dried branches can be used to create interesting displays on a side table or the fireplace mantel. Pebbles and stones can be arranged artistically to increase the charm of your living space.Stairway (Galleria New Home), Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones Homes

Use traditional furniture for glamour: Add warmth to your interiors by breaking the straight lines of contemporary furniture with some more traditional pieces. The curves of the traditional pieces add a “glam” factor to a space when used as a focal point.

Use furniture with raw unfinished looks: Use pieces which reflect the outside on the inside. By using accessories and furniture with raw and unfinished looks, we bring a bit of the nature from the outside, into our homes.

These are some ways in which you can turn a cold, bleak winter into one filled with warmth and joy. Keeping it simple, yet elegant, will add to the charm of your home and make it a haven of comfort and relaxation.

How to Create Curb Appeal When Selling Your Home in Winter

Posted in Around Your Home, Sell your Home with tags , on January 30, 2013 by Pat Hansen

If you are trying to sell your home in winter, keeping the exterior looking nice is a must. Although you might not be able to show off a lush garden or a perfectly manicured, green lawn, there are certain things you can do in the fall and winter that will help create the curb appeal that you want.Lot 400, Manors of Deerwood | New Homes in Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones Homes

  • The Lawn – Keep the lawn looking great by raking any leaves and removing any garbage that gets blown into your yard.
  • The Landscaping – There is no reason to keep dead plants that won’t grow back. Make sure to pull those out before the ground freezes. Keep shrubs and trees manicured and cut back.
  • Add a Splash of Color – Color is a nice change during the cold winter months. A colorful wreath or a mailbox accent will make your home stand out. Colorful holly bushes are also a nice touch to a wintry exterior. Tall, evergreen topiary trees on the front porch to frame the sides of the front door will add color and interest.

    Front Door, Wreath (Kenn W. Kiser | morgueFile.com)

    Photo credit: Kenn W. Kiser | morgueFile.com

  • Put Everything Away – To give your home that clean, streamlined look, make sure to put everything away; such as rakes, garbage bags, garden hose, etc.
  • Don’t Forget to Clear a Path – If the ground is covered in snow, make sure the driveway and sidewalks are shoveled. Keep the home’s patios and decks as clear as possible so buyers can get a sense of their true size.
  • Safety Tips – Because it gets darker earlier in the winter, good lighting is important. Replace any burned out light bulbs and make sure sidewalks or walking paths are well lit. Hanging walkway lights is a beautiful touch.

Improving your curb appeal in the winter isn’t expensive, but it does take careful planning, a little creativity and a few hours of hard work.

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