Preparing your home for a Fall sale!

AutumnFall is a great time to sell a home! While springtime may be the most popular season to put your home on the market, there’s no reason to wait to sell your home – especially with housing inventories on the decline.

With fewer homes on the market, you will want to make sure your home really stands out to buyers by following these tips to prepare your home for a speedy sale:

Create Autumn Curb Appeal
Keep the outside of your home clean and neat; rake leaves, make sure lawn is mowed regularly. Plant fall flowers – chrysanthemums and pansies are very popular in this area. Make sure the front door is clean and hang a simple fall wreath. If the welcome mat is worn, replace it.

Make sure your windows are sparkling!

Check the Heating system
You don’t want any surprises when your home is on the market – be proactive and have the HVAC system checked so your furnace is ready for the first cold days of fall. By the way, you want the air inside your home to smell fresh – change your furnace filter.

Highlight the Fireplace!
First, make sure it works and is clean! Then emphasize it. Arrange your furniture to make the fireplace the focal point of the room; decorate your mantle with tasteful fall accessories or neutral artwork.

apples1Prepare Autumn Edibles
While it’s not necessary to bake cookies for your potential buyers, consider creating the same homey feel you get from baking with a few well-chosen foodie accessories. Fill a bowl with shiny red apples, open a cookbook to a chili or stew recipe (with pictures!), use autumn hued placemats on the table. Create a homey, welcoming atmosphere!

Emphasize comfort and luxury
Emphasize comfort by tossing a cozy throw over a chair, using plush pillows on the sofa, and adding a few fall accents (pinecones, pumpkins, gourds, candles). Use table linens. Don’t forget about the bedrooms – layer the beds with luxurious throws and pillows, display plush towels in the bathroom.

Brighten up your home!
Autumn signals shorter days and chances are good your home will be viewed in the evening. Make sure your outdoor lights have working light bulbs, and clean the glass. Indoors, turn on the lights! Include closets, stairways – you want your home to be bright and welcoming.

During the day, bring in the light. Pull up the blinds, open the shutters, pull back the curtains.

mintsApply a Little Southern Hospitality
While not required, it’s a nice touch to leave a treat by the front door that potential buyers and their realtor can grab as they leave your home … wrapped mints, individually wrapped candy corn, snack size candy bars. It’s also nice to provide a small tray or bowl for realtors to leave their business cards.

pumpkin-on-haybaleAbout Halloween Décor
According to, you don’t have to forgo all festive decorations, but you do have to choose them wisely. In general, decorations should be neutral. Think scarecrows, pumpkins, and hay bales. As for what not to do, well, avoid blood, gore, political decor, clowns, and don’t over decorate. And a word to the wise … keep an eye on the pumpkins. Nobody wants to encounter rotting produce!

Information provided by Keller Williams Dallas Metro North. Thinking about selling your home? Call us today – we have over 400 highly qualified agents ready to assist you with your real estate needs.

Is Home Flipping for You?

Luann 1While you may think that home flipping went the way of the dinosaurs after the real estate bust, flips actually rose 3.1 percent from 2015 to 2016, with gross profits averaging $62,624, according to research from ATTOM Data Solutions.

Home flipping enjoyed a boost last year thanks to low inventory in many areas of the country and an infusion of foreign and domestic capital, says ATTOM, who reported that roughly 6 percent of condo and single-family home sales in 2016 were flips – the highest share in three years.

Hot markets in California – like San Jose, San Diego, and San Francisco – along with cities such as Baltimore, Md., Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y. and Seattle, Wash. earned more than $100,000 in profits. The most flipping took place Florida and Tennessee, where it comprised 11.7 percent of all sales in Memphis, Tenn.

Are you ready to get into the flipping game? Consider these pros and cons:

Pro: Home flipping can be very lucrative, earning you a sizable sum of money within a very short period of time.

Con: Conversely, when a flip becomes a “flop,” you can lose money. This can happen when unexpected expenses for home repairs or taxes arise, or when holding costs accrue from paying the mortgage and other expenses for a longer than anticipated period of time.

Pro: Home flipping is a great learning experience and will sharpen your skills on all things real estate, including construction, related finances and the local market.

Con: The process can be very stressful. There will be bumps along the way and there is always a risk involved, so make sure you’re ready for the roller coaster ride.

If you’d like more detailed real estate information about your market, please contact Anne Lakusta, Keller Williams Dallas Metro North, at 972-874-1905.

Can You Convert Your Attic? 6 Questions to Ask

Maybe you have always dreamed of a better master bedroom, as large as the house and as private as can be. Or perhaps your teenager needs more space – but you can’t imagine where you’ll make it. Maybe you want a little rental unit, or a romp room for the kids. The answer you’ve been looking for might be, literally, over your head.

You have two choices if you want to add onto your home’s living space: either build outward, or convert an unlivable space into something you can live in, instead. As attractive as it sounds to add on to the house, it usually costs much more to build an addition, plus you have to worry about easements, buried lines and much more. For most people, it isn’t very practical.

Almost everyone has an attic, however. Of course, some simply aren’t practical to convert. Others are begging to be transformed. As an added bonus, an attic conversion increases your home’s value significantly. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, an attic bedroom adds almost 85 percent of the cost of the remodel to the home’s value (also referred to as the ROI, or return on investment). This analysis is based on an average cost of about $50,000, so if you can perform some of the work yourself, your ROI will be even higher.

Here are some essential considerations to help determine if attic conversion is feasible for your home.


1. Do You Have Rafters?

The first thing you need to determine to find out if your attic is convertible: Do you have rafters or trusses? Grab a flashlight and take a quick peek inside your attic and you’ll know.

Rafters are large internal beams that create a triangular structure with the floor at the bottom and the roof peak at the top. The inside of the triangle provides an opening that’s easily remodeled.

Trusses are a network of W-shaped boards that support the roof. With no central opening, one must be created. This should never be done by a DIYer, as the trusses are load bearing. A structural engineer must determine how to support the weight while modifying the trusses. In the end, it may not even be practical to convert an attic with trusses, due to the costs involved.

2. Is There a Staircase?

You probably don’t have a permanent staircase leading to your unfinished attic space – but you will need one. Building codes will not allow a permanent living area without a permanent stairs leading to it. (In the case of a rental unit, you may build a staircase on the outside of the house, if desired. Consult your local building code or a builder for more information.)

Stairs aren’t difficult to build, but they do eat up a large amount of space. A straight stair will take 10 to 14 horizontal feet of floor space, while a spiral space will take up about 5 feet. Think about where you might want the stairs and how you will work around the space. Keep in mind typical code requirements:

Stairs must have a minimum of 6 feet 8 inches of headroom the entire length of the stairs.

Stairs must be at least 36 inches wide.

Treads must be at least 10 inches deep.

Risers must be at least 7 ¼ inches high.

3. Is There Enough Headroom and Space?

Building codes vary on headroom and space. However, most require that at least half of the attic has a height of 7 feet 6 inches. Don’t forget to factor in the inches you will lose with flooring and ceiling coverings. In addition, the living space must equal at least 70 square feet with a minimum width of 7 feet.


4. How’s the Floor Strength?

Your attic was probably built with dead loads in mind – things such as boxes and trunks that don’t move. When converting your attic, you need to consider live loads – people, animals, and anything that moves. As home improvement expert Bob Vila explains, most building codes require a load capacity of 30 pounds per square foot. Consult a structural engineer or professional builder for assistance. (You can use an online calculator to assist your estimates.)

5. What About Lighting?

Some building codes require a certain amount of lighting. Here’s where dormers work like magic. Not only will a dormer raise the roof height (helping you attain the minimum headroom) and add light, it also provides a second exit – which most building codes require. Check your local building code for further information.

6. Can You Heat It?

You’ll probably want to add insulation to keep the space warm. More importantly, you may need to extend electrical lines, plumbing and HVAC systems. According to Bob Vila, building codes generally require that the heating system be capable of keeping the attic temperature at 68 degrees. Consult professionals for assistance or more information.


Loft conversions London

Interior Design on a Budget

Whether you’re planning to furnish a new build, or you’re simply seeking to give your current home a makeover, you don’t have to break the bank to do so. There are countless ways to make a big impact easily and affordably. There are also several do-it-yourself options that can save a bundle on unnecessary labor costs. Here are some ideas to design your interior spaces on an easy budget.

Add or Change Your Color Palette

Adding a splash of color, or changing the hue in a room, is a very simple way to make an immediate impact. Paint is relatively affordable, and if you tackle the project yourself, it becomes an extremely economical way to make a dramatic statement.

Consider painting an entire room, or just an accent wall for a more subtle impression. Fresh paint can also do wonders for old furniture. Consider a completely new color for furniture, or a weathering technique to provide a rustic or even vintage look.

A whole kitchen remodel can become extremely pricy. Painting old or slightly dated cabinets is a great way to offer a fresh look at a fraction of the cost. Adding new hardware and drawer pulls provides extra character and charm both easily and affordably, to kitchen or bathroom cabinets.


Do It Yourself

One of the best ways to furnish or decorate an interior on a budget is to do it yourself whenever possible. Utilize your existing personal talents, but also don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and attempt a new project. Instructional videos and books can assist in walking you through new projects step-by-step. Of course, YouTube is a great place to find inspiration or instruction, should you need either.

Consider installing your own tile, laminate or linoleum floors or refinishing the wood floors you already have. Install updated plumbing fixtures or light fixtures to add a modern touch, and also save on utility costs.

Refurbish previously-owned or antique furniture as opposed to buying new. You could even consider crafting your own unique window treatments, utilizing the many ideas and tools available online.

Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration for do-it-yourself project ideas, including wall décor, unique shelving options, headboard ideas, fireplace makeovers, coffee tables or even crafty light fixtures.

When considering do-it-yourself decorating options, see if you can use things you already have around the house that will cost you nothing. Cut and display decorative grasses, ivy, cattails or seasonal flowers. Dry the flowers and grasses to create wreaths or swags to be hung, or use them for display in vases or decorative bottles and vintage jars.

For a project the entire family can enjoy, consider hand-crafting your own scented candles that can be used in any room. Another family decorating idea: Frame and display your child’s artwork, family photographs or landscapes that hold meaning, as opposed to purchasing pricy artwork in stores.

Furnishing Your Home on a Budget

Be mindful and creative when shopping for home furnishings on a budget. Shop at flea markets, antique shops and garage sales for statement pieces such as bedroom sets, dining sets or armoires that can be refurbished to fit your style and taste. Browse websites such as Craig’s List for unique bargains, or even look for contractor specials on premium, previously unused items.

Keep function in mind when planning budget kitchen décor, as opposed to purchasing unnecessary knick-knacks. Hang pots and pans for both use and charm, or fill and showcase decorative jars or canisters with kitchen essentials. Display large serving platters and baskets, and fill them with edibles such as seasonal fruits or vegetables. Hang everyday mugs on a fashionable rack and store cooking utensils in a trendy wire caddy or unique piece of pottery – or even hang them from metal brackets or a utility rail to add style and save counter space.

Decorating or refurnishing a home on a budget can be both fun and easily achieved. Remember to be clever and creative, shop wisely, and do what you can to save money while in turn crafting a unique and meaningful environment the entire family will enjoy.