Eliminate Pet Odors In Your Home


Eliminating bad odors from your home is incredibly important, and you want to make sure you’ve removed them before putting it on the market. Often times, the first thing buyers notice upon entering your home is how it smells. If there is an odd odor, it will instantly put them off.

No matter how beautifully staged and presented it is, strong odors or stale air can make your home unappealing to prospective buyers. Opening windows and exhaust fans will only go so far in removing foul odors, and generally won’t eliminate them completely. To ensure you don’t lose potential buyers, follow these odor eliminating tips to ensure your home smells and feels fresh and new.

Don’t Use Artificial Freshening Sprays

Don’t make the mistake of spraying artificial room freshener sprays in hopes that it will remove the bad odor. Deodorizers will quickly fade, and only mask the smell, sometimes in an overwhelming way. If a buyer walks into your home, your air freshener can cause a reaction, like a runny nose or a headache, and will make them suspicious of an underlying foul odor. Instead of trying to mask it, locate the actual source of the bad odor and get rid of it.

Best Pet Carpet Cleaners for Accidents

We all love our furry friends, but unfortunately, they can get your home pretty smelly. Whether the smell is on the carpet, furniture, or even on the walls – it’s essential to have it removed. Most odors stem from accidents. You always want to attend to the accident right away. Blot them with a paper towel and use mild dishwashing liquid to help remove the odor. Once completely cleaned, blot again with fresh paper towels to dry the spot. If the accident is not recent, use an enzyme cleaner to eat the bad bacteria. Another great idea is to use activated charcoal. It is a form of carbon that has been activated to make it extremely porous. You can get activated charcoal meant for pet odors at most pet stores. 

Green Cleaning Products

Using natural odor eliminators is a great green alternative to most of the chemicals sold at stores. One of the most recommended products is baking soda. You can place an open box of it in a room to help absorb unwanted smells. It also helps to remove musty aroma in dark spaces, like a basement. On top of being used to remove pet odors, it also works great for cigarette smells. If you don’t wish to use baking soda, most pet supply stores will have green cleaning products that help remove odors, while still being safe for your household. 

6 Reasons Your Home Won’t Sell

Are you ready to sell your home and want it to have a great first impression on the market?

Or maybe your home has been listed for a few weeks or months, and you can’t figure out why it won’t sell, even though you know your agent is working hard to market it?

We’ve listed below the top 6 reasons your home may not make a good impression and end up stagnant on the market.

1. It’s Overpriced

To be clear, an overpriced home is the #1 reason a home won’t sell. We often times want our homes to be worth a lot more than we may see based on the data, but if you put your home on the market for the number you wish it will bring instead of the price it actually needs to be, your home can sit on the market for months without getting a single showing. If you’re thinking you need to price high to leave room for negotiations, statistics show that views for your property for buyers in your price range can drop a whopping 90% if it is priced too high. Discuss with your agent what the market says the value of your home is, then price it competitively to potentially get a bidding frenzy instead of low offers or having it expire.

2. Low Showing Availability

Making sure the house is clean and having to leave on a daily basis for buyers to tour the home may get a little overwhelming, but it is crucial to have open availability to have your home shown. You could end up missing out on the perfect buyer if you decline too many showings. The longer it sits on the market, the less value buyers will see in it. Talk with your agent about having a 24 hour notice period if the extra time is needed, but make sure your home is available to be shown as often as possible.

3. Cluttered Space

Buyers want to walk into a house and envision their lives in that home. This is difficult to do if your home is cluttered with personal belongings. They are instantly given the feeling of invading someone else’s personal space, instead of the satisfaction of being able to see a future in your home. Make sure your property is clutter free before putting it on the market; and store away any family photos.

4. Unpleasant Odors

If you smoke or have pets, it’s easy to get used to the smell to the point that you don’t even notice it anymore. But it is important to understand that the scent can be picked up by new people visiting your home, and it can really turn them off from making an offer. Before a showing, make sure to dispose of any garbage, don’t cook fish or other strong smelling food, and ensure the home is freshened up so there are no pet or smoke odors. 

5. Unwilling to Make Repairs

Selling your home as-is may sound appealing at first, but being unwilling to make repairs could cost another mortgage payment that far exceeds the cost of repairs if you refuse to work with the buyer on their requests and the home goes back on the market again. It is wise to be open to repair requests, and simply go over with your agent what you can afford to do and make a reasonable counteroffer during the repair negotiations.

6. Unwilling to Negotiate With Buyers

It is important to have an open mind about requests that will come from buyers when it comes to purchasing your home. These requests can come in the form of price negotiations, repair requests, or even requests to cover closing costs or home warranties. With your agent on your side advising you of the best steps to take, it is best to be open to working with the buyers on some of their requests to ensure a successful closing.

Long-Distance House Hunting

Regular house-hunting isn’t always easy, but adding distance into the mix can present challenges you don’t have when looking a few neighborhoods over for a new home.

While it may not be a walk in the park to buy a home from far away, it is possible. If you find a great agent and follow these steps, you can take away some of the stress that comes with moving long-distance.

1. Start Your Research

Knowing what is in your neighborhood is something we tend to take for granted. You know where the best sushi place is and exactly what grocery store is closest to your home for those last minute runs. When moving to a new neighborhood, especially in a new state, it is key to decide what is important to you when it comes to proximity. Does your new house need to be near a park for your kids? Do you need to be 5 minutes from the closest Starbucks? You’ll also want to look into crime rates and school ratings if you have children. Researching your potential neighborhoods will help you feel better about choosing a new home that may be far away.

2. Use Technology To Your Advantage

Google Maps may not be constantly updated, but checking out an aerial view can give you an idea of what your neighborhood looks like if you don’t have the opportunity to travel right away. Getting the lay of the land is just another way to feel comfortable about your new neighborhood.

3. Have a Travel Budget

Even if you have a great agent showing you as many homes as possible, you need to plan for the possibility of making more than one trip to your future home state if you want to see it in person. While you may have adjusted your budget already to purchase a home, consider factoring in travel costs so you aren’t stressed about eating out or gas money during your trips – that way you can focus on finding your dream home.

4. Decide Your Non-Negotiables

Choosing a home from out of town already comes with challenges. If you’re heading in to check out houses and have a weekend filled to the brink with potential home tours, it will make your life easier if all of those homes meet your requirements. Instead of seeing all homes that ‘might’ fit, have your agent remove any houses that have a non-negotiable feature – whether that is no backyard or not enough bathrooms. It will make the most of your time and remove some of the stress of seeing homes that aren’t for you.

How to Fix 5 Common Bathroom Issues

Homeownership has plenty of perks. You can make changes whenever you want, but that also means you are responsible for making any fixes that you want (or need)!

Instead of calling the local handyman every time something small goes awry, you can try out these quick fixes for common bathroom issues that arise while saving yourself some money along the way.

1. Shifting Toilet Seat

Is your toilet seat wobbling every time you sit down? Sometimes, there are visible bolts to tighten, but that just doesn’t fix the issue. Many are unaware that you can actually purchase a toilet seat tightening kit. Most home improvement stores will carry an inexpensive kit, usually around $10. Rather than investing in a new toilet seat, you can save time and money by picking up a kit the next time you’re out.

2. Slippery Shower

There are two main options to remedy a slippery shower. If you have a geriatric family member, a shower chair may be the best option to provide security. These chairs can be as affordable as $20 and can offer peace of mind when it comes to the safety of your loved ones. If chairs aren’t for you, a non-slip bath mat will keep you from falling in the shower and cost as much as a few coffees.

3. Clogged Shower Head

Do you normally have great water pressure, but now your shower feels like a slow leak? Your shower head is likely clogged from a build up of minerals in your water. Instead of calling the plumber or heading to the store to buy toxic chemicals, you can use ingredients already in your home to fix your problem. All you need to do is fill a sandwich bag halfway full with white vinegar, submerge the shower head into the vinegar in the bag, and tie the bag to the piping and allow the head to soak overnight. When you remove the bag, you should wipe the head to remove any excess and then your shower should be back to normal pressure.

4. Slow Drain

Before calling a professional, consider trying a Zip-It tool. You can find one at your local hardware store for around $5, but you have to be willing to deal with a little bit of gunk. The tool is placed in the drain and pulls out whatever is clogging it, usually hair and soap. If you can get past that, you’ll save yourself the price of a plumber.

5. Leaking Water Valve

Instead of heading to the store for a replacement water supply valve, try tightening the packing nut on the valve. A quick video search online will show you which nut to tighten, and it will only take a few minutes. Now you’ve saved time and money!

While these are easy fixes to do yourself, selling your home isn’t nearly as easy to DIY. Call me today if you are ready to put your home on the market!

10 Staging Tips To Get Your Home Sold

Ready to sell your house? Here are a few staging tips to get your home prepared for the market.

When listing a home that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, you want to make sure it is presented in the best light.

You wouldn’t buy a $50,000 car if it was filled from top to bottom with someone else’s personal content and trash. This is the same mindset you need to carry into selling your home that will be worth well over $100,000.

1. Say Goodbye to Clutter

The best thing you can do for your home for sale is to get rid of all of your clutter! Make a rule for your home that for every new piece that comes in, one must go. One of the biggest factors to a cluttered home is too much furniture. Generally, in a professional staging, half the homeowner’s furniture is removed to make the house look bigger. Look around your house and see what you can pack away. It’ll be worth the investment to get a storage unit for a few months to store away those extra furnishings and goods.

2. Furniture Groupings

There is a large misconception that furniture pushed directly up against the walls make a room look bigger, but this is far from true. Instead, you’ll want to float your furniture in each room and away from the walls. Position your sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groupings. Be sure the furnishings are placed to make the traffic flow in a room obvious. This will make the room more user-friendly and will make it look larger.

3. Transform Rooms

If you have a room that has only served to collect boxes or other junk, it is important to purpose the room to something that is functional. You can make it into an extra bedroom, a small cozy nook/reading room, etc. If the basement is your problem room, organize your boxes or move them to a storage unit and turn it into a gaming room or family area.

4. Home Lighting

Great lighting is the trick to making a staged home look warm and welcome. Most homes are improperly lit, which makes rooms look dark and dreary. There is a quick fix to this issue. Increase the wattage in your fixtures and lamps, aiming for about 100 watts per 50 square feet. Add three different types of lighting to each room: ambient (general overhead), task (under cabinets or pendants), and accent lighting (table lamps and wall accents).

5. Go Neutral 

The simple trick to toning down dated finishing in any space is a little bit of fresh paint. You don’t want to go stark white, but look into neutral grey and beige colors. Beige colors can also consist of warm honey-like colors, soft blues and greens, and a variety of undertones that add a little life to a neutral color. If you do want to use bold colors, be sure to only keep it on accent walls to help enhance structural features.

6. Make It Look Bigger

If you want to make a room appear bigger than it is, paint the room the same color as an adjacent room. For small kitchens and dining rooms, a seamless look will make the space feel like one, open it up, and make it seem much larger. Using drapes that match the wall colors can also add an emphasis to the room’s size.

7. Use Your Garden

Staged homes tend to use fresh flowers and pricey floral arrangements. If you don’t have the money to go all out on florals, you can get this same affect by raiding your garden space. You can DIY beautiful pieces with fern fronds, magnolia clippings, and more. Use the spring and summer months to find cheerful flowers and use them in your arrangements.

8. Get A Facelift

So you can’t afford new cabinets? You can just get new doors and drawer fronts. Paint everything to match and add new hardware to them. Instead of replacing the entire dishwasher, you may be able to get a new front panel, and you should go for stainless steel if you think you can pull it off. Check with the manufacturer to see if replacements are available for your model.

9. Make Necessary Repairs

Unfinished home projects can really scare off potential home buyers, so you’ll want to be sure to make required repairs. Missing floorboards and large cracks in the sidewalk on the way to your door tend to be a red flag. Holes in walls and scratched up door frames can really look unattractive. These repairs cost you less to fix than buyers might deduct from the asking price.

10. Clean Your Home

Aside from de-cluttering, the most important step to staging your home is to clean it. A dirty house is a quick turn-off for potential buyers. Most homes, especially with children and pets or smokers, have a smell that may go undetected to home owners, but are quickly picked up by strangers. Be sure to have your home professionally cleaned prior to staging to show all buyers that your home is nice and fresh.

Home Buying Myths

Although the internet can be a great resource for a variety of information, a lot of that information is incorrect. One of the most important and expensive decisions in your life, home buying, tends to circulate a lot of misinformation.

Most of that misinformation is in regards to how much of a down payment you need or what your credit score needs to be. Let’s go over the real facts about buying a home and knock those myths out, so they don’t hinder your ability to purchase!  

Credit Scores

Though it may come as a surprise, you don’t need a perfect credit score to purchase a home. Traditional bank lenders will work with credit scores as low as 640, but your agent can also get you connected with local lenders that accept credit scores as low as 580. Although there are other required stipulations to qualify for the loan, you don’t need a perfect score in the 700’s or 800’s to get approved for a mortgage. 

Down Payments

You don’t have to sell an arm and a leg to be able to purchase your dream house. There is a huge misconception that you need to pay a minimum of 20% down to buy. That information is outdated. These days, there a large variety of loan programs that only need an average of 3-5% down. Based on your income or military status, you may even qualify for mortgage programs that require 0% down. Although you’ll expect to pay an additional 3% in closing costs, which is separate from the down payment, this is still significantly less that 20% of the purchase price. If you’re in a buyer’s market, you may even be able to negotiate for the closing costs to be covered by the sellers. 

Be sure to connect with a local real estate agent to ensure you have the right facts. Don’t let online myths persuade you into thinking you can’t qualify or afford to buy a home. There are a variety of programs to help you get into your dream house. Since these vary county to county, and state to state, it’s imperative to call your agent and let them fill you in on the facts. 

First-Time Buyer Advice

If you’ve never purchased a house before, you may have no idea where to begin when preparing to become a homeowner.

You may be on the fence about buying, or you may feel like you are ready to buy a home today.

Either way, these tips can help anyone feel a little more prepared for their first home purchase!

Money is Key

It is easy to begin scrolling through beautiful homes on the market without considering your budget. Sale postings can be all over your social media feeds, tempting you to just take a peek. While looking can be fun and exciting, you should prepare financially before you start eyeing any homes. It is much better to know what your price range is so you don’t fall in love with a house you just can’t afford (for now!)

Making a List, Checking it Twice

While you need to be realistic and recognize that you likely are not going to find a home with every single thing you wish to have in a house, making a list of the things that are a priority for you (room count, big backyard, master walk-in closet, etc.) will help you to make sure you’re only looking at houses that will fit your wants and needs.

Photos Don’t Tell the Whole Picture

It is easy to fall in love with a home after seeing the listing photos. These perfectly lit, well-staged photos show off houses in their best light, but that doesn’t mean you are getting the whole story. Listing photos are a great place to start, as they will help you to narrow down your options. Unfortunately, there are home traits that may not be portrayed well in photos, whether it be low ceilings, a drafty build, or anything in between.  Once you’ve made a short list of the homes that appear to be a fit for you, always do a home tour

That Gut-Feeling

If you walk into a house and it feels like home, trust your gut. There is no better way to know if you should buy a home than seeing how you feel when you walk through the front door. Your home purchase will probably be one of, if not the largest, purchase you’ve made in your life so far. Pictures can only do so much, and nothing can help you decide whether or not a house is made for you better than getting inside it!

Nothing Else Will Do

Do you get upset at the thought of losing the house you just toured to someone else? Does it already feel like home when you are inside? These are two signs that you have found the home for you! If you see a home and are ready to stop looking at others, you are one step closer to buying a home you will love.

The Best Agent

Finding a great real estate agent is going to be the part that ties everything together. A quality agent will help you find homes within your budget that possess your must-have items and they’ll offer you guidance through every step of the process. 

If you’re looking for a real estate agent to help you find and buy your first dream home, call me today!!

Increase Your Curb Appeal

If you’re preparing to sell your home, curb appeal should be a priority. When someone is walking by or coming to your open house, the outside of your home is the first thing they will see.

If there is no curb appeal, potential buyers may never even set foot in your home. Instead of ignoring your home’s outdoor appearance, consider making some budget-friendly changes that can add appeal to your home without breaking the bank. 

1. Landscape Your Walkway

Create a smooth transition from the street to your front door. A clear path will allow a potential buyer’s eye to look straight to your home, rather than stopping to concentrate on unkept landscaping. Clean your walkway and create groupings of mid-size shrubby and florals close to the road and by your front door.

2. Hang a Wreath

Adding a wreath to your front door is a simple way to make your home look more welcoming. Consider a DIY wreath that is easy to create and cost-friendly.

3. Treat Your Lawn Better

Consistent upkeep is the best way to save money when it comes to your front lawn. You should apply a weed-and-feed treatment to your lawn as often as needed to supply the necessary nutrients while also killing off any weeds. Be sure to provide proper maintenance to your lawn mower and keep your mower blade sharp.

4. Add Porch Appeal

If you have a front porch, add an affordable outdoor furniture set. This can create an inviting space that will make potential buyers want to try it out!

5. Consider Color Accents

If your door or shutters need a fresh paint job, consider finding an accent color that will help your house pop. It doesn’t have to be extreme, just enough to catch the eye of a potential buyer. Be sure to test your paint color alongside your siding or brick before fully committing.

6. Restore Your Driveway

Your driveway can be a major eyesore if it isn’t taken care of. Fill any holes or cracks in your asphalt and apply a fresh sealer. A driveway that looks new is sure to help your curb appeal.

7. Power Wash Your Home

Sometimes, all your home needs is a good cleaning. If you don’t own power washer, rent one from your local home improvement store and take a weekend to power wash your entire exterior. Even if your home is relatively new, a deep cleaning can make it look like a new build. 

What to Expect After You List Your Home

After all of the preparation required to list your home, you are probably ready to relax and wait for offers.

While most of the hard work is done, it is important to keep in mind things that you may run into during the sale process.

As you begin to welcome potential buyers into your home, here are a few things to expect now that your home is listed!

1. You might feel like you live in a museum.

You may have spent a great deal of time cleaning and decluttering, but now you are going to need to maintain that cleanliness. Potential buyers are going to expect a home that was as neat as the listing photos they saw, so it is important to meet their expectations. Now that you have officially listed your home, maintenance is necessary. There may be showings where you don’t have time to do a full deep-clean, so choosing to keep your home ‘show-ready’ will help reduce any stress about the appearance of your home for a showing.

2. There will be some inconveniences. 

Now that you’ve realized your home needs to be ‘show-ready’ at all times, you might be starting to think that there could be an inconvenience or two during this part of home-selling. While your real estate agent will be helpful in this process, you may need to switch around plans during the evenings or weekends when you are typically home so that your home can be shown.

3.  Expect to hear critiques and criticism.

This is often the main thing that first-time home sellers struggle with. It is not always easy to hear the issues a potential buyer may have with the home you have created. While some criticism can feel insulting, it is important to remember that it is not personal. Potential buyers are not trying to hurt your feelings, they just want to picture your home as their own. Your agent can be a key part in buffering criticism. They will be able to take suggestions from potential buyers and relay it to you in a way that is helpful and constructive.

4. Home maintenance will be crucial.

While maintaining home cleanliness is important, you will also need to keep up with maintenance tasks. Your lawn will need to be mowed, your heating and cooling systems need to be operating properly, as well as any appliances that will be staying when your home sells. 

5. There can be some additional expenses.

After you’ve accepted an offer, the closing process will begin. There will be inspections and final walk-throughs, and this can bring about issues that may need resolved before the sale is closed. Depending on the issue, you may need to pay out-of-pocket for repairs so that you don’t need to negotiate your sale price. 

If you’re ready to sell your home and need someone by your side to guide you as you prepare to list, give me a call today!

Moving Tips to Make Your Life Easier

Whether this is your first time moving or your 10th, there are always new tips and tricks to making your move a little more smooth each time.

While we are so concentrated on getting everything packed in a timely manner, we often forget about the little steps we can take to save ourselves time, money, and even a little bit of sanity. Here are 8 tips to make your move, and your life, a little easier.

1. Wrap your breakables in clean clothing

Instead of spending extra money on bubble wrap, use clothing that you will need to pack anyway. You’ll save space and it is the most eco-friendly option!

2. Be specific with your labels

Instead of just writing what room the box will go in, make a brief list of the items in each box on the outside. This way, you will know exactly where every box should go – and so will anyone helping you move in!

3. Prep the bathroom and kitchen

If you have the time and are able to enter the house before your big move, take the time to prep your bathroom and kitchen. Fill the fridge and bring towels and a shower curtain for the bathroom. This way, you won’t be scrambling after you move in and desperately want a shower, and you won’t waste money on take-out for the first few days in your new home.

4. Get cotton pads/balls for your makeup

If you’ve ever dealt with the heartache of opening a shattered powder cosmetic item, this tip is for you. Placing a cotton ball/pad helps to prevent your favorite blush or bronzer from covering the entire inside of your packed bathroom box and everything inside of it! 

5. Add an extra layer of protection to your toiletries

It is never fun to open a box and find everything covered in lotion or shampoo. Take off the lids of all of your toiletries and cover any openings with saran wrap and then replace the lid. This will provide a nice seal to prevent any spills.

6. Use Press’n Seal outside of the kitchen

Instead of having to box up your dresser drawers or your jewelry display, keep your Press’n Seal unpacked. Place sheets above your clothing drawers or wrap it around your jewelry display to keep your items in place – and save time packing and unpacking them.

7. Keep a box of small sandwich bags by your side while packing

When you need to take something apart, there may be screws or nails or clips left once everything is disassembled. Use small bags that are easily labelled to place those items so they won’t get lost and you will know exactly where they are when it is time to put everything back together!

8. Take photos of everything you need to take apart

Whether it is the way wires go into your television, or the way a certain piece of furniture connects, taking photos as you go will make reassembly that much easier. Who wants to helplessly fumble with wires after they’ve spent all day unpacking? Save your time and sanity and take the photos!