5 Ways to Boost Your Home’s OQ for Less

When getting a home ready to sell, most homeowners focus on interior upgrades and fixes. But what’s on the outside counts, too.

Lawns, walkways, patios, gardens, doors, and windows all play a role in the livability of a home – and its salability as well.

Thinking of selling soon? Here are five ways to boost your home’s Outside Quotient (OQ), courtesy of a Williams Ski & Patio infographic:

For an investment that could range from $300 to $1,000, you can undo the damage wrought by weather, weeds, and all those other nasties that invade your lawn (not to mention the dog and your kids).

Re-sod and give your outdoors a whole new look. Isn’t that worth the investment?

You could consider a less expensive alternative to make your outside sparkle: power wash your deck and wash your outdoor furniture for an investment of between $50 and $100, and some elbow grease.

Don’t forget the front entrance to your home; boost your curb appeal and add some color and design with planters featuring seasonal greenery.

During summer you can pop in some color inexpensively by adding a pot of annuals or two from your local garden center.

July is hot just about everywhere, so don’t forget to water your additions regularly. Cost: $20 to $200 depending on the size and type of planters.

While you’re at it, check the driveway. Cracks and holes can deter future buyers and are just plain ugly. For $50 to $200, a new topcoat of driveway sealer will do the trick…unless it’s REALLY bad.

For front or back yards, fill in holes in the vegetation with mature plants.

It’s a bit more expensive, depending on the kinds and number of plants you need, but it will give your outdoors the look of a much more pricey landscape job for much less. And that OQ? Awesome!

Should You Invest in a Vacation Home This Fall?

Many people dream of owning a vacation home, but wonder if it’s a good investment. According to the real estate gurus, it may well be.

According to many experts, fall is a great time to consider buying a vacation home, as prices are often lower in the off-season. And, while you may envision a summer hideaway or a perfect winter retreat for you and your family, you also could consider raising additional income by offering it as a three- or even four-season rental.

In a recent online article, the InvestorJunkie wrote: “We don’t normally think of vacation properties as investments, but at certain times and under certain circumstances, they can be one of the best investments you can make.”

RISMedia recently reported that, according to an annual survey of residential homebuyers by the National Association of Realtors: “Vacation home sales cooled off in 2015 but remained at the second-highest amount in nearly a decade.” In addition, the median price of vacation homes increased in 2015.

As with any investment, there are risks; as InvestorJunkie notes, “Vacation property is luxury real estate, not the basic roof-over-your-head type. It’s more discretionary than it is necessary, and that means the market for it can dry up much more quickly. When it does, prices can crash even when the general housing market is stable.”

Nevertheless, CNBC contributor Shelly Schwartz says if you can afford it, do it. The title of her article is “The Time to Invest in a Second Home Is Now.”