Increase the Value of Your Home on a Shoestring

You can add a wing to the manse to add value, but if you’re short on butlers (or bucks), there are minor improvements you can make to increase the value of your home. These tips are great for staging to sell, a spring home refresher, or any time minor  home improvements.

  • Purchase new shades for lamps, and do a bit of research on the right bulb for healthy + happy lighting in each particular room. Some spaces benefit from bright, cool light, some are better with warm pools of light. A lampshade switcharoo and the right bulb in lamps or overhead lighting can make a big difference.
  • Add sparkle to cabinets and cupboards with new hardware. Cabinet pulls and drawer pulls are the jewelry of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and can upgrade the look of the room for just a few bucks.
  • Paint is one of the fastest, cheapest, easiest ways to add value to your home. If you’re planning to sell in the near future, go neutral. If you’re staying put for awhile, go as bold as you want!
  • Plant a tree, shrub or flower bed. Just as good? Trim overgrown bushes or invest a little time in your lawn.
  • Purchase a new kitchen faucet. You can modernize the look of the entire room with this small change.
  • Buy a new rug for your living room, dining room or master bedroom. Make sure you purchase the right size rug for your furniture layout and the space available.
  • Re-caulk sinks and tubs. This boosts the cleanliness factor and can make the room feel newer.

Need advice on which projects to tackle before you list your home, or which projects are the best long term investment? Give me a call – I’m happy to help.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

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Spring Lawn Care

Nothing says “I love my home” like a well kept lawn. 

hand lawn

Seasonal transitions mean it’s time to treat your lawn to a little something extra, and if you’d like to be the envy of your block and the pride of your HOA, now is the time to take care of business in your yard.

5 Tips on Caring for Spring Lawns: 

spring lawn

  1. Hold your horses! Don’t aerate until your lawn is mostly green; tackling this task too early can damage young grass shoots.
  2. Rake it like you mean it. Dead grass, leaves, and other detritus can put a choke-hold on your lawn, slowing new growth and preventing proper moisture absorption + evaporation. Give your yard a thorough combing, or hire a power raking pro.
  3. This is your lawn on ACID… Winter conditions can increase the pH level of your soil, making it too acidic for grass to thrive. Spend a few bucks for a soil testing kit to determine the acidity level in your yard, and if levels are high, spread a bit of lime to balance out the acid.
  4. Did you fertilize in the fall? If so, your grass is likely still happily processing the nutrients you applied at that time. If not, consider fertilizing now to prepare your lawn for the growth season.
  5. Pre-treat for weeds. This step is ideal for fall, which lets you prevent gnarly weeds before they happen. It’s not too late for a pre-emergent weed killer in the spring, but apply sparingly: you don’t want to harm tender young grass. Tackling weeds before they spread will mean fewer full grown weeds in summer.

Do you need a referral to a lawn care specialist or other home pro? I’ve been in the biz for 22+ years, and I’ve got a guy for just about every home-related task. Just ask!

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

How Color Can Help (or Hurt) Your Sale

You don’t have to paint yourself into a bland corner or build a beige box to appeal to potential buyers, but there are good, better and best choices to make in paint colors, decor and accessories when preparing your home for sale. Read on for tips on revising the colors in your home to appeal to the most buyers, and choices to avoid if you’re planning a sale in the next 18-24 months.

paint-splash

In a Better Homes and Gardens survey, 58% of those polled listed orange, black and violet as the colors they’d be least likely to decorate with, in that order. One of the biggest fears shared by future homeowners is they’ll grow sick of the colors in their home. Cracking open a can of paint to try a new wall color may be easy for you (or not), but for some people, picking out a new shade, taping off and painting walls, trim and ceilings can be overwhelming. For some buyers, the move-in ready home they seek is a home that won’t require painting projects.

The BHG poll listed the living room, kitchen and bathroom as the most desirable spaces to feature color, with a preference for neutral, less saturated color in the foyer, dining room and master bedroom. If you’re going to leave a slightly “riskier” color in place when you list your home, pops of color in public spaces are safer bets; consider neutralizing high impact colors in the master bedroom or your home’s entryway. Even if your mantra is “nope to taupe,” you may want to choose a friendly shade of neutral beige, with pleasant accent colors or patterns, for your on-the-market bedroom.

Accent colors, rather than maximum color use on walls and in furniture, will please the most buyers. A heather gray sofa with pale gray walls can handle funky orange pillows, if that’s your speed. Buyers will be able to envision their own furniture in a neutral space like this, because even the least imaginative shoppers know your pillows will go when you do. Pumpkin orange walls though…that’s a tough sell for the majority of shoppers, and if they’re not willing to pick up a paint brush, they may cross your home off the list.

blue-paint

The survey revealed favorite colors (in order) are blue, green and neutral. Consider packing up your more colorful decor and weaving blue or green accents throughout your home for a cohesive design that will appeal to the most buyers. This can be done through pillows, picture frames, towels, dishware, area rugs and bedding. If your walls are already a neutral shade, adding accessories in the same color family will help your home feel like a show home rather than a disarray of mis-matchy-ness – a winning strategy for any listing.

red-door

One place to consider a bolder color choice is the front door. Check with your HOA for a list of approved paint color options and consider a classic red, hunter green or ochre (a deep yellow) as an accent shade on your door. A tasteful statement color on your front door (and a brand new door mat) can add to your home’s curb appeal for minimal investment, and enchant buyers from the moment they park the car.

The key to successful on-the-market interior design is to tone down any bold personal choices to make room for your buyer’s style. If your dream sofa is hot pink velvet with black and white striped pillows against a funky accent wall, go for it! In your next house. Take yourself out of the picture so buyers can picture life in “their” home, and you’ll help your sale happen in a timely fashion and for top dollar. At the end of the day, the color you’ll love most when your home sells is green; help your home’s top dollar potential by toning down bold colors and setting the stage for a successful sale.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

Top Home Selling Mistakes

Top Home Selling Mistakes

and How to Avoid Them

Even in a seller’s market, there are things you can and should do to accommodate potential buyers. It can be challenging to set your personal beliefs about your home aside in order to see things from a buyer’s point of view, but that’s exactly the kind of thinking it takes to successfully sell your home. Read on for common seller mistakes that can cost you $$$ – and how to avoid these issues during the sale of your property.

The most common mistakes sellers make, according to Real Estate experts:

  1. Overpricing the Home
  2. Lack of Showing Availability
  3. Clutter
  4. Unpleasant Odors
  5. Deferred Maintenance

PRICE IT RIGHT

price

Ultimately, the price your home will be listed at is up to you. When you choose to work with an experienced Realtor, choose someone you can trust – and trust their ability to research an accurate Current Market Analysis (CMA) on your behalf. Even in a strong market, it is possible to overprice a home – making your property less attractive to buyers, causing the sale of your home to take longer, and probably costing you money in the end.

SHOW IT TO SELL IT

No matter what the market is like, every single showing could be the one that got away. Your Realtor’s job is to help you sell your time in a timely fashion, for the highest price possible. The more showings your property has, the faster it will sell. If your home lingers on the market because your big scary dog couldn’t be moved for showing appointments, or you didn’t feel like taking showings on a Saturday, the final price of your sale could take a hit; buyers will wonder why your home lingered in a hot marketplace, and adjust their offer accordingly.

SCALE BACK YOUR STUFF

Clutter

If all buyers see upon entering your home is a parade of collectibles, family portraits going back 25 years or piles-upon-piles of any kind of stuff, they won’t be able to picture themselves in your home. You don’t have to stage your home to sell it (although staging can positively impact the sales price of your home), but you should box up obvious clutter, tone down any taste-specific decor, and remove all but a bare minimum of family portraits. Buyers aren’t looking for your home – they’re looking for their home – and you need to get out of the way so they can picture themselves living there.

UNPLEASANT ODORS 

The sense of smell is one of our most powerful connections to memory, and there is nothing pleasant about stinky litter boxes, wet dog, indoor smoking or even certain strong cooking odors. Yuck! You don’t have to banish Fido or stop using your kitchen, but you should do everything in your power to minimize or eliminate odors. Consider having your carpets and furniture cleaned, hire professional cleaners to freshen the place up, use natural deodorizers like lemon, vinegar and baking soda, and give your house a good airing out on a nice day. Don’t spray gallons of noxious scented air freshener or burn flowery candles in every room; these are dead giveaways of an odor problem. Do buy a few bottles of unscented Febreze and lightly spray in affected areas of your home before work or a few minutes before a scheduled showing, if you are home. Ultimately, flooring and other surfaces affected by pets, etc., are likely to come up in sales negotiation. If you have furry family members and they make messes, you may pay a bit of a premium at the negotiating table. Don’t let your pets (or smoking or cooking) stink out potential buyers, and do be prepared for it to cost you a few bucks when you sell.

PROJECTS LEFT UNDONE

honey-do

Some homeowners keep meticulous files on every major appliance and system in their home, conducting maintenance at regular intervals and noting exactly what happened when, from furnace filter replacement to blowing out the dryer vent. The rest of us… well – not everybody is so on top of it. You may not change your furnace filter quite as often as you should, or fix a leaking faucet the day you spot the drip-drip-drip, but you should take care of minor maintenance issues before listing your home for sale. When buyers come across non-working appliances, broken sprinkler heads, cracked windows, etc. – they wonder what else you haven’t kept up with. Don’t give buyers a reason to cross your home off their list or lower their offer over home maintenance fears. Either tackle the honey-do list yourself, or hire a handyman to do it. Don’t assume the buyer will be happy to overlook minor issues with your home because you have. Would you buy a car with a flat tire or cracked rear view mirror? Probably not – and buyers won’t want the bother of completing chores you’ve been avoiding for months or more, either.

The cool thing about selling your home is – it isn’t rocket science! But it does help you net more for your home to work with an experienced professional who knows the market where you live, knows how to help you prepare for a sale, and can negotiate a deal that benefits both your timeline and your bottom line. It also makes a difference to check items like this off your list before you invite buyers through the door.

Call me or drop a line – I’m happy to give you the information you need to successfully buy, sell or invest in the greater Denver home marketplace.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

Tiny Budget // Big Ideas

So you are all moved into your new-to-you Metro Denver home and brimming with ideas on how to make this house (or townhome or condo) into a home that speaks your language and will impress your new neighbors, your friends and the in-laws. There’s just one teensy little problem: your budget. The Denver market is booming, and a lot of your available cash went into making a deal on the house of your dreams. Now you’ve got the house and a list of big ideas, but you may not have the budget to match.

Here are 5 affordable ideas to maximize the impact of a limited renovation and decorating budget for your home:

Hanging Curtains.png

“Increase” the size of your windows and the amount of natural light by hanging curtains properly. Drapes should hang at or near the ceiling and the fabric should break at the floor. When open, the inside edge of the curtain should overlap the window by just a few inches, which means you’ll need a curtain rod long enough to extend 6-12″ or even a bit more, depending the width of the window and how much extra fabric you want to include. Skimpy curtains can make your windows and the entire room feel skimpy – max out the visual impact of your windows by going high and wide and if necessary, add an extra band of fabric to the bottom to ensure the drapery reaches the floor.

Focal Wall

Create a feature wall for big budget impact with minimal investment. When you enter your living room, great room, kitchen, master bedroom or any space you are considering for a focal wall, which wall does your eye naturally go to? A wall with a large window, a fireplace or the wall your bed rests against likely tells you which wall to highlight. You can go super cheap with a can of paint (or two – horizontal stripes are fun!), clad the wall in wood or go bold with amazing wallpaper. Since you are only covering a single wall, you can make a lot of impact for a little dough.

Spray Paint Knobs

Jazz up outdated door knobs, hinges and handles for a fraction of the cost of replacement. If your house is sporting brassy accents that haven’t been en vogue since the mid-90’s, pick up a couple of cans of specialized spray paint and in less than a day you can update the feel of your entire home by upgrading the hardware. Don’t forget ceiling fans and lights. This article on Young House Love is insightful.

Gel Stained Banisters

Modernize oak banisters or other dated woodwork with gel stain. Builders love oak for kitchen cabinets, baseboard molding, closet doors and of course – banisters. If you love mid-tone oak, congratulations! Chances are this material is featured somewhere in your home. If it’s not a fave, consider upgrading bland oak finishes with glossy white paint or a deeper, more modern gel stain. Either of these projects require time and effort, but a project of this nature is a super affordable DIY. Read this article from Make It & Love It for more info on the process.

Striped Ceiling

When considering which features of your home will make a significant design impact for just a few bucks, don’t forget the fifth wall: your ceiling. Whether you choose the palest pink, cool blue or a clean bright white, if the ceilings in your home haven’t been painted in awhile, consider giving them a couple of fresh coats. The entire room will feel sparkling and new when ceilings updated. Learn how to paint like a girl here. If you are the adventurous type, think outside the box with a wallpapered or paint-patterned ceiling.

Are you wondering what your Denver-area home would list for in our busy marketplace, or which neighborhoods offer the best deals for your home buying dollar? Call me or drop a line. I’ve been helping people like you buy and sell homes across Denver for more than 21 years, and I’d be happy to serve your personal home buying, selling or investment needs.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

Expanding Small Spaces

Whether you are planning to list your home for sale or stay in it for years to come, there are ways to expand the smaller spaces in your home to maximize your space or visually “add” square footage for an upcoming sale, or for your own enjoyment. And the great news is, these changes are affordable and don’t require major renovations.

Expand your space for a few bucks and minimal time & effort: 

Window Treatment

This designer does window treatments right!

Hang window treatments properly. And take the time to fix those that are hung incorrectly. The point of windows is to let in light and views; blinds should cover the entire window, but fabric window treatments are meant to dress your windows – not cover them up 100% of the time. Drapes should hang at or close to ceiling height and should reach all the way to the floor, either breaking at the floor or puddling a bit, depending on your preference. The inner edge of your drapery should overlap the window by no more than a few inches, so they are framing, but not covering the window when open. If you plan to live in your home long term, custom drapes are a wise investment you’ll enjoy for years, and lined drapes or blinds can help you save on heating and cooling costs, too.

Vertical Shelves

Vertical displays like this help draw the eye toward the ceiling.

Draw the eye up with vertical storage or display. This can be a tall bookcase with interesting sculpture or decor on top to really bring your eye up, an art installation that reaches high, shelves hung high and wide or even an especially tall headboard for your bed. Artwork, mirrors, etc. should not be hung too high, though. The center of a piece of art should be about 56 inches from the floor – higher will make viewers crick their neck and just looks silly. If you want your artwork to elevate the room, consider a gallery wall with a plethora of smaller pieces of art or sculpture that draw the eye higher than a single piece might.

Mirror

This narrow space looks twice as big thanks to a chic wall of mirror.

Reflect light and views with space expanding mirrors. This is a common trick of interior decorators, and for good reason. Mirrors can double the visual size of a room – especially if they reflect windows across the room, or some other source of light. Consider an oversize mirror (buy the biggest you can afford) or a series of smaller mirrors gathered on a single wall. Unique frames can add interest, but you can achieve the same affect with unframed, plain mirror panels as well. Be thoughtful in terms of placement; you don’t want your mirrors to reflect dark spaces or anything unattractive.

Uncluttered

Can you imagine this dainty space full of stuff? Clutter Free = Happy Homeowners

Declutter. Repeat. Nothing can make a room feel more cramped than too much stuff! Even a large room will feel smaller if it is stuffed to the gills with furniture, knick-knacks and unnecessary clutter. Studies have shown that cluttered rooms can actually raise our anxiety level, affecting mood and blood pressure. To calm your space and help it expand, grab a box or basket and remove anything you don’t use, love or need in a particular space. Be ruthless – you can put an item back later if necessary. Take a before and after picture if you want to help you envision how much freer and more open the space feels when it isn’t weighed down by clutter. This is especially important when your home is on the market. An additional trick used by home stagers, decorators and Realtors is multipurpose furniture, such as an ottoman with storage or a dresser as a hall table with handy drawers to store shoes, mail or anything else that tends to pile up.

Use paint to your advantage. One of the fastest, most affordable ways to update or expand a space is with paint. Dark or saturated colors can make a room feel cozy – sometimes too cozy. Lighter colors help a room feel larger and expand space. Consider pale gray, khaki, white or ivory, soft shades of blue, lavender or green. Almost any color can be found in pale versions that provide interest, but don’t constrict the visual feel of the room. In truly tiny spaces, you may want to stick with solid, neutral tones and opt for texture over pattern. Too much pattern in fabric, paint, art, etc. in a small room can be overwhelming. Save bold pattern for a more spacious room and if you’re selling, replace bold pillows, artwork and accessories in small spaces with softer neutrals to help the buyer envision the space as calm and larger than it actually is.

Are you looking to expand your horizons (or change your location) in a Denver-area home? Call me or drop a line – I’m here to help.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

5 Common Decorating Mistakes

If you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, it pays to do a bit of home staging before your listing goes live. You can go all out and hire a pro, or you can make a few interior design changes on your own to prepare for a successful home sale.

Rearranging Furniture

The same interior design faux pas that plague the average homeowner are the best places to start when preparing your home’s decor for a sale. The good news is, these issues are easy (and generally inexpensive) to fix.

  1. Furniture pushed up against the walls. Think of your furniture as guests at a party: give each piece room to breathe, but make sure all the furniture is encouraged to mingle. Pull sofas a few inches away from the wall, or even further into the room. Bring chairs closer together and to the coffee table. Dressers, armoires and display cabinets often need to rest against a wall, but seating should center on a coffee table or rug and be arranged to encourage conversation. When everything hugs the wall, you are missing the point of seating groups.
  2. Dinky area rugs. Some interior designers prefer all four legs of a sofa or chair to be planted on a rug. A more relaxed approach is that the front legs on a sofa, loveseat or accent chair sit atop the rug. Most people make the mistake of buying rugs that are too small for the space. If the majority of the seating in a room is not able to sit at least partially on the rug, this is probably the case in your room. If you can’t afford a large enough rug to suit the space and furniture, consider cost effective sisal, having a large carpet remnant bound for the space or removing the rug altogether while your home is on the market.
  3. High water window treatments. Window treatments should break at the floor or even puddle a bit, depending on your personal preference, and they should rise three inches or more above the top of the window frame. Insubstantial window treatments that fall short or are hung exactly at the top of the window frame don’t look chic – they just come across as cheap. Chances are good you can pick up decent neutral draperies in an appropriate length at your local big box store or online. Imagine how great your rooms will look with fresh new (right-sized) curtains when showings begin!
  4. Matchy. Matchy. Matchy. It’s fine to coordinate drapes and accent pillows, or to purchase accent chairs in the same neutral fabric as your sofa. When absolutely everything came from the same two page catalog spread though, a room can feel boring and stale. If this is the case in your bedrooms or living spaces, it’s time to break up that set of linens, drapes, lamps, etc. to breathe fresh life into the space. Try trading the came-with-the-couch pillows for something a little bolder, or replacing one of a pair of lamps with something unique. Bring the chairs that match the couch into another space (maybe beside a bed?) and add two different accent chairs; even dining chairs can work for this purpose and give the space an eclectic feel. Even staged rooms should look and feel lived-in, not straight out of a catalog.
  5. Art hung at crick-neck levels. For whatever reason, most people tend to hang artwork, mirrors, photographs etc. too high, causing the viewer to crane their neck to look up at the picture. The center of the artwork from top to bottom should be at eye level, or 57-58″. If you are guilty of hanging artwork too high, this may feel unnaturally low to you, but it is the right height for hanging. You can measure the distance from the ground up to 58″, then measure the distance from the wire or sawtooth on your pictures from there, or you can eyeball it and aim for hanging any picture, or focal point of a grouping, around that point if you consider yourself average height. If your furniture is particularly low slung, you may even consider hanging your pieces 2-3″ lower to properly accent your seating.

Whether you are buying, selling or weighing your options, I have the experience to guide you successfully through your next real estate transaction. I’d love to hear from you!

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate