Curb appeal is vital if you want your home to sell quickly for a good price. To create that enticing look, you don’t necessarily have to undertake extensive landscaping or major fixes to the exterior of the building. Instead, you could just concentrate on the entrance to your house.
Lead them in
You want to do everything you can to lead your guests (and potential buyers) into your home. Make it clear where the entrance is by emphasizing it, using some of the techniques in this article.
Make sure all your door hardware (the door knocker, handle and hinges) are new or look new. You can buy matching hardware cheaply. Alternatively, give what you already have a good polish. Invest in a new house number and mailbox that complement the rest of your hardware.
Make sure the door looks bright and fresh. Paint it to match the rest of the trim on your house and keep it clean of dirty rain splashes.
Steps and railings
If there are steps up to your home, make sure they are well kept and safe. Check metal railings for rust and make sure they stay firm when visitors hold them.
Use containers or hanging baskets to mark the way to your home. They are easy to maintain and provide a splash of color. Try placing one container or basket on either side of the door to frame the entrance.
Consider adding attractive lights to emphasize the entrance and make it more attractive at night.
Add a chair
If you have space, place an attractive chair near the entrance. It gives the impression your home provides a relaxing place to sit and rest.
Don’t forget a welcome mat
As a finishing touch, put a new mat outside the door.
It is no secret that one of the key things people look at when they are buying a house is the bathroom. That is why it is so important to make your bathroom look as big, beautiful and up-to-date as possible. Unfortunately, many bathrooms these days are quite small, but there are ways of making them appear sleeker and larger.
Fixtures and cabinetry
One thing that can help is to install fixtures that are as high-tech and as contemporary as possible. Their streamlined appearance can give a bathroom a more spacious appearance.
Another way to make a bathroom appear larger is to remove all bulky cabinetry. For instance, if you have a sink that is encased in a big clunky cabinet, you can remove it and get a freestanding sink.
Buying fixtures that are smaller than usual can also make the bathroom look bigger.
Toilets, bathtubs and showers
You can buy toilets nowadays that are very narrow and sit close against the wall.
You can also buy “tankless” toilets that situate the tank on a pipe high above the actual seat.
Old-fashioned bathtubs can also take up a lot of room in a small bathroom.
One solution might be to rip out a large bathtub and replace it with “a newer, smaller one — or, have a bathroom with just a shower stall.
Redoing the floor in stone and having an open shower with a glass stall can also make a smaller bathroom look more luxurious and spacious.
Yet another way to keep the bathroom looking spacious is to avoid painting it in dark colors — keep the walls and shelving as pale in color as possible.
Having a focal point is critical if you want to create a room that feels comfortable and useable. And when you’re selling your house, you’ll make the room more attractive to buyers because they’ll feel more at home when there’s a focal point for them to rest their eyes on.
Some rooms have natural focal points, such as a fireplace, architectural details or a picture window with a view.
But if your room has none of these, you could try placing a large piece of furniture such as an armoire or a tall bookcase along one wall, using an ornate mirror or large painting, or adding a table with your favorite ornaments or mementoes arranged on it.
If you have a large, flat-screen television, this might make a suitable focal point, but many people prefer not to make a TV the center of attention, as it can look unattractive when switched off.
The focal point doesn’t have to be on the wall — a large area rug placed under a coffee table can also work well.
A fireplace is perhaps the best focal point in a living room. To accent it further, place a painting or mirror above the hearth.
In a bedroom, place the bed along the longest wall; add attractive bedding and a well-designed headboard.
All furniture in a room should be arranged around the focal point, helping draw your eyes to the right place. It’s almost as if you are “framing” your focal point with the furniture and other decorations in your room.
Container plants are an easy way to give immediate visual impact to your home, creating that important curb appeal – the “wow” factor as potential buyers pull up outside. Here are some important tips to make sure you use containers effectively.
Use big containers
Don’t be afraid of using big, bold containers. They will have much more impact and will be easier to care for because they won’t dry out so easily. Smaller containers tend to get lost in the landscaping, so you’ll lose the visual impact you’re trying to achieve.
Use quality containers
Avoid plastic containers, as these can look cheap. Terracotta, wrought iron, or zinc containers look great. Choose a container that complements your house and the rest of your landscaping. For example, if you have iron detailing, find a matching container; if you have brick paving, a terracotta pot might look good next to it.
Fill them with plants
For immediate results, fill your containers with more plants than you normally would. Otherwise, you will be forced to wait for the plants to grow before your container will look lush and healthy.
Feed your plants
Make sure you keep your containers well maintained by watering and feeding the plants regularly. You want buyers to think the containers are always there, not just a quick fix.
Running an energy-efficient home this winter doesn’t necessarily entail buying expensive solar panels or wind generators. Neither does it mean you have to wear your outdoor clothes inside to stop you shivering! Here are 8 useful tips.
Laundry: Wait until you have a full load of laundry and run the machine on cold. Detergents are available to clan clothes at low temperatures.
Dishes: Don’t pre-rinse your dishes as this wastes energy. And wait until the dishwasher is full before turning it on. If you have the time, use the air dry or no-heat dry settings so the dishes dry without using electricity.
Windows: In the winter during the day, open the blinds on south-facing windows to allow the sun to warm your home then close them in the evening to increase insulation. (In the summer, you can do the opposite to keep your home cool.)
Computers and TVs: Turn off your appliances when you are not using them. Even when they’re in standby mode they are still using electricity — it’s estimated 5% of household energy use is from appliances leaking away electricity. So turn them off at the wall.
Showers: While a long, hot shower is nice and relaxing, you can save a lot of money taking shorter showers and by installing energy-efficient showerheads that give you a good shower while reducing water use.
Space heaters: Surprisingly, space heaters are a lot cheaper than a central heating system. And don’t forget to turn them off when you’re out. Installing a programmable thermostat will also keep your heating bill low.
Furnace filter: Change the filter at the start of every season and then every month or two after because a dirty filter makes the furnace work harder and be less efficient.
Floors and drafts: If you’ve got hardwood floors, put down some rugs, particularly if you have wood floors above a cold basement. Make sure also that you’ve installed insulation such as weather-stripping at the bottom of doors.
A home office is on its way to becoming an essential item on a house buyer’s wish list. After all, many people work at least part of the time at home — and even if they don’t, they still want somewhere to store the computer and their household papers.
Here are some tips to help you create an attractive home office that you’ll actually want to spend time in.
An attractive place to work
A home office doesn’t have to be just functional — it can be attractive, too. So take as much care with the décor as you would in the other rooms in your house, making sure office furniture and accessories coordinate with wall and floor coverings.
If you don’t have a lot of natural light (or you’ll be working mainly in the evenings), make sure you have good lighting, particularly task lights for illuminating your desk. Include other types of lighting too, so you’ll make the room feel comfortable.
Choose good furniture
It’s essential that your desk and chair are comfortable to work at, so take time choosing them. Make sure the seat and backrest of your chair are adjustable and that the height of your desk is comfortable.
Power and the Internet
Make sure there are plenty of power outlets in the room and easy Internet access. Avoid a “rat’s nest” of cables by bundling them together and tucking them out of sight.
Include good storage
Think carefully about the kind of storage you’ll need and make sure there’s enough of it. Consider stackable boxes to store paperwork efficiently, and an attractive filing cabinet. Put shelves on the walls and use them to store books; add wire baskets to the shelves for documents.
Put up a bulletin board for reminders and other essential information you use every day. Then you’ll avoid ugly sticky notes all over your computer.