Lure homebuyers with an amazing patio/backyard

One of the biggest discoveries that Americans made during the lockdown is the great outdoors, even if that means time spent in the backyard. Whether that backyard is merely a patio, a place to grow vegetables or an expanse of land, millions happily fell into the outdoor craze.

It’s only natural then that outdoor space in their next home is high on their list of must-haves. In fact, “outdoor space” shows up on the list of the “… eight priorities you can expect to become prevalent in future home searches,” according to the Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans.

If you plan on selling your home, this is the ideal time to whip that patio into shape – making it an irresistible, vacation-like escape for homebuyers.

The stats

The National Association of Homebuilders commissioned a survey of homebuyers and found that 82% of them dreamt of a home with a patio. This is the second most popular home feature.

First on the list? Outdoor lighting, with 87% of respondents wanting this feature.

The cost to install outdoor lighting, according to the NAHB, is between $260 and $530.

Consider ditching other potential fixups and concentrate instead on the backyard and patio.

Clean it up

The first steps to your makeover are very similar to indoor staging: clean and de-clutter.

The latter includes removing pet and kid stuff, such as toys, and anything else that detracts from the vacation vibe you hope to create.

Take stock of what you have and what you need

The amenities buyers will be seeking, especially on the patio, depend on their price range. For instance, a couple seeking a starter home isn’t expecting (hoping, maybe) a backyard kitchen on an expansive patio.

Consider your audience before starting the project. Who will be your most likely buyer? If you’re unsure, ask us. We’re happy to help you brainstorm.

Then, take stock of what you have, including:

  • Patio furniture
  • Pool and/or spa
  • Patio kitchen
  • Patio curtains
  • Décor
  • Plants and trees

Keep the goal in mind

Since it’s summer, homebuyers are looking forward to lounging in the backyard, or on a shady patio where they can watch the kids play. If your patio isn’t covered, consider purchasing a shade sail or an oversized patio umbrella.

Define the seating area with an outdoor rug on which to situate the furniture and potted plants to create an enclosure, or give the illusion of a wall.

Finally, don’t forget the little touches, such as an outdoor mirror, a fountain, garden statuary and/or wind chimes.

You’ll find lots of patio inspiration online at,, and

Create a yummy backyard

Make sure the view from the patio (into the backyard) is staged as well. Get rid of plants that are dead or dying and make a list of replacements for them. Trim trees, shrubs and hedges and green-up the lawn.

And, speaking of views, if yours isn’t stunning, consider fast-growing trees or even clumping bamboo to block out the neighbors.

This task is easier when you understand what will grow in your area. Find your growing zone at

Finally, apply a fresh layer of mulch in the planting beds to give the area a finished look.

Remember, we’re here if you need answers to your real estate questions.

Mortgage rates too high? Check out 3 government-backed loan programs

At this writing, mortgage rates are at 5.3% and we can expect them to rise again in late September.

This is why, if you’re hoping to buy a home this year, the time to do so is right now. Yes, rates have gone up, but don’t let that fact frighten you off.

Instead of a conventional loan, consider a mortgage that is guaranteed or insured by the government.

These loans are custom-made for Americans on a low budget that need a modest interest rate loan in order to buy a home.

Other benefits of these loans is that qualification is easier and the loans don’t require a high credit score.

Let’s take a look at three government-backed loan programs; one of which may just put you in a home.

FHA-backed mortgages

Overseen by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) doesn’t make loans to homebuyers but instead, it guarantees the repayment of the loan should the borrower default.

Will you qualify for an FHA loan?

Homebuyers who intend to live in the home as their primary residence and are able to make the down payment, the monthly mortgage payments and meet other eligibility and credit requirements can apply.

The down payment requirement is largely determined by your credit risk, represented by your credit score. Typically, you’ll need a credit score of at least 620 for the 3.5% of the purchase price down payment. If your credit score is below that, plan on coming in with a 10% down payment.

Although FHA will insure loans for applicants with credit scores as low as 500 (which may change, so speak with your lender), most lenders won’t approve an applicant with a score lower than 620. Again, these numbers change occasionally, so speak with a lender.

The FHA mandates that borrowers who pay less than 20 percent down pay a Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) in addition to their mortgage payment every month.

While private mortgage insurance is required by most lenders of borrowers in similar circumstances, the insurance can be cancelled in the future. Not so with MIP – it remains for the life of the loan.

To apply for an FHA-backed mortgage, visit a FHA-approved lender. Find one near you at

Rural Development Loan

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers approved borrowers a no-down payment loan. Most refer to this as the “USDA loan,” but the official title is the Single-Family Housing Direct Home Loan, also known as the 502 Direct program.

As with anything government-related, however, there are strings attached. The most important of these is that both the property and the borrower must qualify.

Get all the details about the Direct program at

The USDA also offers another loan, the Single-Family Housing loan program which is a guaranteed loan.

Loans are made directly by USDA Rural Development and for a period of up to 38 years, depending on the applicant’s income. To qualify for the guaranteed loan, borrowers must:

  • Meet income criteria.
  • Plan on living in the home as their full-time residence.
  • Hold U.S. citizenship or be what is known as a Qualified Alien or a U.S. non-citizen national.
  • Prove that they can make the payments on time.
  • The home must meet the USDA’s guidelines.

Properties financed with the guaranteed loan program must be located in an “eligible area.” You can find these areas online at

To apply for this program, contact a local mortgage broker or lender or an approved lender from the USDA’s list.

VA Home Loans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a home-loan guaranty benefit. The no-down payment loans are offered to qualified, actively serving members of the military, veterans and their surviving spouses.

As with the FHA mortgage, private lenders provide VA loans and the Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees the repayment of a portion of the loan should the veteran be unable to meet his or her obligation.

This guarantee enables the lender to provide loans with no down payment required and more favorable terms.

Additional benefits of the VA-backed loan include:

  • There is no private mortgage insurance required
  • The VA dictates the amount the borrower pays in closing costs
  • There is no pre-payment penalty
  • Closing costs can be paid by the seller

Find out if you’re eligible for a VA-backed loan at

You will need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and you can get one online or your lender can obtain it for you.

The best first step after learning your eligibility for any of these programs is to contact a lender.

What you need to know about a home warranty

The first thing you need to know about home warranties is that they are neither insurance nor warranties. They are, in reality, service contracts.

They were created to provide financial protection for homeowners faced with the failure of major mechanical systems, such as the home’s heating and air conditioning. Home warranties provide, most of all, peace of mind.

What does a warranty cover?

Home warranty companies offer a variety of plans and typically the more you pay, the more your plan covers. Most of the basic warranties – first tier and second tier plans – cover the following:

  • HVAC System – heating, ventilation and air conditioning system components such as heat pumps and ductwork.
  • Plumbing – all of the home’s interior plumbing system components such as pipes, drains, and faucets. Some home warranty plans cover outdoor plumbing as well, such as the sprinkler system. Some companies offer a separate policy for hot tubs and pools.
  • Electrical system – wiring, doorbells, electrical panels and other electrical system components are covered under either Tier 1 or Tier 2 plans.
  • Major appliances – the basic plan typically covers the range, refrigerator, garbage disposer, washer and dryer and water heater.


Ah, those nasty “exclusions.” Just like your health and homeowners insurance even a warranty contains them. Not everything in the home is covered under a home warranty. Like inclusions, exclusions vary, depending on company. The following are some common home warranty exclusions:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Problems that arise from deferred maintenance
  • Insect or vermin damage
  • Damage caused by the homeowner
  • Structural problems (leaky roof, cracks in walls)
  • Acts of God (earthquake, flood, etc.)

Optional coverage, at additional cost, is usually offered for:

  • Well pump (highly recommended in Billings)
  • Septic system (again, if you have one, this is highly recommended)
  • Spa
  • Pool
  • Central vacuum system

How much does a home warranty cost ?

The average cost of a home warranty ranges from $360 to $1,425 a year, depending on the company and what the warranty covers. Most warranty companies offer a lump sum payment plan or a monthly payment plan.

“When paying monthly, the average starting cost for a basic plan is $36.32 per month,” according to Kathryn Parkman at

She goes on to say that you’ll pay nearly $69 a month, on average, for the comprehensive coverage.

In the event of a mechanical failure or appliance problem, you will place a call to the home warranty provider’s service department who will then send out a service technician of their choosing. The technician then bills the home warranty company directly, but you will be required to pay a service fee (think of this as akin to a health insurance co-pay) each time a repair person comes to the home.

The nationwide average service fee price range is $55 to $150, according to Meghan Wetland at

Many home warranties not only cover repair but replacement of appliances as well, meaning that if it can’t be repaired they will install a new one.

Are home warranties worth the money?

This is a hotly debated topic among real estate agents. Some say they aren’t worth the paper they are written on. Many more say that because of the peace of mind they offer new homeowners they are absolutely worth the purchase.

Especially during the first year you are in your new home, when you may be strapped for cash, if a major system in the home malfunctions, the price to repair or replace can devastate your savings. A home warranty offers both peace of mind and financial security.

6 Critical Must-Dos when Selling a Vacant Home

The move to the new home is complete. Now all that is left to do is to sell the old one. Selling a vacant home, by the way, is a bit different than selling one that you live in.

Sure, the plusses (you don’t have to keep the home clean all the time, no strangers traipsing through) outweigh the minuses. The latter is what we’ll concentrate on today, with six quick tips to protect yourself, the home and potential buyers who tour it.

1. Consider soft-staging the home

If you recently house hunted, you know how challenging it is to look beyond a homeowners’ taste in décor and furnishings to imagine your own stuff in the home.

It’s even more challenging in a vacant home. This is most likely because homebuyers buy homes they are emotionally attracted to.

The bottom line for the home seller is that vacant homes take 80% longer to sell than homes that contain furnishings and décor.

If you need to sell quickly, consider ‘soft-staging’ (partially staging) the home.

2. Leave the utilities on

When moving out of a home, the instinct is to cancel or transfer the utility services. Don’t give in to the urge.

Water, power and gas services are needed not only during the home’s showings, but during the escrow period as well. The home inspector, for instance, will need the utilities on to do his or her job.

Cancel the services once the home closes escrow.

3. Call your insurance agent

Contact your insurance agent to find out if you will need a vacant home policy or if your current policy will cover your home while it’s on the market.

Matt Timmons at claims that most homeowner insurance policies stop covering claims on homes that have been vacant for more than 30 days.

4. Keep up the curb appeal

If you’re selling during summer or spring, and you won’t be close enough to care for the yard yourself, you may want to consider hiring a landscaper.

If all you’ll need is a weekly or bi-weekly lawn mowing, plan on paying $30 to $80 per visit according to the pros at

Those on tight budgets should focus on the front yard (curb appeal!).

5. Keep it clean

With nobody living in the home, the dust will gather. Folks touring the home will drag in detritus from the outdoors and, quite possibly, forget to flush the toilet.

Hire a cleaning crew to pop in once every couple of weeks to dust, sweep and, yes, flush the toilets.

In fact, have them run all of the faucets in the home. If they “aren’t used for an extended period of time,” the O-rings may dry out, caution the experts at Kew Forest Plumbing and Heating, Inc. “This makes them far more likely to crack or leak once water rushes through them again,” they conclude.

They also recommend running water at all sinks to keep the traps full of water. If they run dry, your potential buyers will be subjected to a pretty smelly situation.

6. Keep it secure

Most of us have heard the stories about squatters taking over vacant properties. Believe it or not, squatters have rights in most states and these rights typically allow them to remain in the home during a lengthy and expensive (for the homeowner) eviction process.

This is why it’s important to keep your vacant home as secure as possible. Consider forgoing the For Sale sign as it advertises that someone may not live in the home.

Security specialists offer several tips:

  • Let the neighbors know when you move out and ask if they would mind keeping an eye on the home.
  • Invest in security features, such as an outdoor camera that allows you to be alerted by text. Consider installing a smart lock on the front and back doors and motion-activated flood lights in the front and backyards.
  • If you can afford it, an alarm system for the windows will go a long way in keeping the home secure.

What color should I paint my house before selling?

When was the last time the exterior of your home got a fresh coat of paint? The experts say that homes should be painted every five years, although we know far too many homeowners who have greatly exceeded that deadline.

That’s ok, though. Now that you’re selling, however, consider painting. Not only will the home look yummy in the marketing photos, but buyers’ perceptions will be that the home has been lovingly cared for and maintained.

Stand in front of your home; what do you see?

Curb appeal. You’ll hear that phrase a lot while researching how to get your home ready for the market.

Curb appeal is that first impression that a buyer gets when looking at photos of the exterior of the home or while sitting in their cars at the curb before touring the interior.

It’s akin to dressing the part when applying for a job. First impressions are critical.

As you get closer to sale time and you’re gathering advice, you’ll no doubt hear the term “neutral colors,” repeatedly. And, this advice has merit.

A few years ago, a survey by a large real estate conglomerate found that homes painted yellow sold for less than expected. In fact, these homeowners made, on average, nearly $3,500 less than they had hoped to earn.

Some colors may make you money while others may snatch it right out of your pocket.

Another study concentrates just on the color of the home’s front door and suggests that you do as well.

Paint colors to make homebuyers swoon

So, what are the best colors for that front door? Believe it or not, a black front door may just bring you the most money at closing. It looks amazing on a home with a fresh coat of white paint.

Just this one small change could bring in a buyer willing to pay nearly $6,450 “… more than the typical U.S. home value,” according to the study.

The authors caution, however, that a black front door “… could turn many buyers off … But the payoff could be worth it if you’re willing to take the risk.”

As for the rest of the exterior of the home, consider white. Yup, white. According to the 2022 Paint & Color Trends 2022 Report published by the home improvement pros at by, 58% of the designers surveyed said that white is the exterior color of the year.

Other choices include:

  • Off-white (Sherwin Williams ‘Alabaster’ is popular)
  • Natural wood stains
  • Gray (Benjamin Moore ‘Copley Gray’)

Avoid crazy or bold colors if you hope to attract maximum interest.

If you live in a managed community, consult with your HOA to ensure the exterior paint colors you choose are allowed in the community.

Bonus: Interior paint colors that buyers love

If your eyes glaze over when looking at interior paint swatches, take a tip from decorators and check out these colors:

Need tips on how to pick the perfect paint color for the exterior of your home? Check out Paper Moon Painting, Better Homes & Gardens and Bob Villa.

Garden flowers that thrive in summer sun

If you have a garden patch of soil that gets six or more hours of sun per day, consider yourself very fortunate; you have your pick of a vast array of flowers that will thrive in your summer garden.

As an added bonus, most sun-loving flowers are also easy-care and somewhat drought tolerant. From tropical to woodland flowers, the full-sun gardener will have no problem finding color for her garden.

Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)

This plant lives for sunshine. The coreopsis is, after all, related to the sunflower. The yellow and red flowers look a bit more like daisies than sunflowers, attract butterflies, and grow on stalks that can reach 4 feet in height.

Coreopsis loves warm weather and is generally drought-tolerant. It is hardy to USDA zones 3 to 9.

Lavender (Lavandula spp)

Growing lavender, either in the garden or in pots on the patio, is like living next door to a perfumery. Lavender boasts a highly fragrant flower, and the more alkaline the soil, the stronger the aroma will get.

Lavender thrives in full, warm sun, isn’t particular about the soil and, once established, it is drought-tolerant. You can grow lavender in USDA zones 5a to 9b.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

When you plant black-eyed Susan you will also get the bees, butterflies and birds who are highly attracted to this plant. The yellow, daisy-like flower has a dark, almost black center.

The black-eyed Susan needs full sun, will grow to 36 inches in height and blooms profusely in mid-summer to early fall. Hardy to USDA zones 5a to 10b.

Canna lily (Canna spp.)

If you long for a more tropical-looking vibe for your garden, you can’t go wrong with a canna lily or two.

With banana-like leaves and an abundance of tropical colored flowers from which to choose, the canna is a true showoff. And, by the way, despite its name, it is not a true lily.

In regions with cold, icy winters, canna rhizomes  are typically planted in the garden after the last frost date. Gardeners in warm regions often leave them in the soil over the winter.

Canna lilies thrive in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11.

Marigold (Tagetes spp.)

The term “marigold” covers a diverse array of plant sizes and shapes. Plant height can range from 6 inches to 3 feet and flowers can resemble pom-poms, anemones or daisies.

Marigolds grow well in USDA planting zones 2 – 11.

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

No list of sun-loving flowers would be complete without mentioning the sunflower. It’s name says it all, right?

Native to North America, the sunflower’s ideal climate is arid with temperatures between 70 and 78 degrees. Yes, you can grow them in the heat of summer, but they won’t be at their best unless given lots of water and protection from burning sun during the hottest part of the day.

Most sunflower varieties are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9.

While all of these flowers are tolerant of the sun, if you live in the desert southwest or other areas that experience extreme heat in the summer, they may need shade during the hottest part of the day and extra moisture in the soil.

Homebuyer incentive ideas

The housing market is shifting and, as usual, the changes vary, according to region. Some markets have fewer buyers viewing homes which is most likely the result of the rise in mortgage rates.

Others are sailing along in the familiar seller’s market (few homes available to a large pool of buyers), although not as heated as we’ve seen in recent years.

When there are more homes available to a limited buyer pool, we are considered to be in a buyer’s market. When you decide to sell your home in a buyer’s market, be ready for lots of competition from other home sellers.

There are many ways to make your home stand out from the crowd, including staging, updating, and good marketing practices. Offering incentives to buyers is another method of enticement, making the purchase of your home more attractive and affordable than the home down the street.

Let’s take a look at some of the more common incentives.

Closing costs

Title search and insurance, notary fees, HOA transfer fees, appraisal fees: these are all examples of closing costs.

“Average closing costs for the buyer run between about 2% and 5% of the loan amount,” according to Deborah Kearns and Barbara Marquand at That represents a significant chunk of money for many homebuyers.

In fact, Kearns and Marquand crunched the numbers on a $300,000 mortgage and find that homebuyers can expect to pay between $2,000 and 16,000 in closing costs.

Offering to pick up some of these costs for the buyer can make a deal go through. Some sellers offer to split the buyer’s closing costs.

Lower the price

If the buyer is having trouble coming up with the down payment or closing costs, sometimes lowering the purchase price can be an incentive to continue with the transaction.

Not only does this help the buyer immediately by making the home more affordable, but it will assist him down the line when it comes time to pay his property taxes: lower cost equals lower taxes.

This is the incentive that keeps on giving; not a bad deal for the homebuyer.

Offer a home warranty

A home warranty is especially attractive to the buyer of an older home. In case you are wondering, home warranties cover most (but not all) major systems in a home, including heating, air-conditioning, water heater and electrical system. You can purchase optional coverage for pools, spas and other items.

Purchasing a home warranty for the buyer of your home assures her that, should something go wrong with one of these systems, she won’t be forced to spend a lot of money for repairs.

“In most cases, the annual average cost of a home warranty ranges from $300 to $600,” according to Andrew Dehan with

That cost can often be paid for out of escrow proceeds.

Keep in mind that “… home warranties have limits, and it’s important to note those limits before signing the contract,” cautions Meghan Wentland at

The only items covered by the policy are those listed in the policy. “If it’s not on the document, it’s not covered, so never make assumptions that something is ‘probably’ covered,” according to Wentland.

Lending laws in some regions of the country limit or prohibit offering homebuyers incentives. Although we aren’t financial or legal experts, we are happy to share with you what we know about our market’s regulations.

Home interior trends that entice homebuyers

In any neighborhood, the homes with the most attractive interiors often sell first – that’s the reality. Although attractiveness and beauty are a matter of taste, certain interior design and decor trends reflect what’s popular with a large number of homebuyers.

Every year, interior designers, architects, home builders and real estate professionals publish their in/out lists. If you’ll be selling your home this year, read on for some tips on what, according to the experts, buyers want in home interiors.

Efficient homes top the list for many homebuyers

Small, so-called ‘starter homes,’ especially those located in the suburbs, are popular with baby boomer homebuyers, according to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB).

Energy efficiency is the name of the game when trying to appeal to this generation. You can meet this desire with ENERGY STAR appliances and energy-efficient windows and lighting.

If you plan on including these items in your listed home, they’ll need to be prominently featured in its marketing materials. Don’t be shy about tooting your energy-efficient horn, either. Place tent cards prominently on any appliances to lure prospective buyers.

The kitchen as a tech center

While the kitchen has long been considered the hub of the home, it has evolved to include more space for entertaining. When the walls come down, there’s room for everyone, a feature that lures homebuyers.

The open-concept kitchen has spawned another trend: Bluetooth and smart appliances. “Having kitchen appliances that communicate with one another and their owner is dramatically changing traditional ideas about the kitchen,” claims the editors at

“Being able to remotely preheat your oven and sync timers between multiple appliances, is changing the way the kitchen functions,” they conclude.

By the way, many of these smart appliances are compatible with your smartphone so they can be controlled by Alexa or special apps.

“Smart” isn’t just for kitchens

The ubiquitous smartphone can close garage doors, monitor security cameras, control the lighting and temperature and even command the floor be vacuumed, depending on the connectivity of other appliances and gadgets of course.

Rest assured, high tech in the home isn’t just for gadget freaks or luxury homeowners. The best part: these systems are rapidly becoming more mainstream and, thus, more affordable.

Should you decide to incorporate any of these popular new home design elements into your home before putting it on the market, rest assured that we will produce marketing materials that will have the gearhead buyers out in droves.

Specialized rooms

When the National Association of Home Builders asked Americans what features they look for in a new home, members of Gen Z and millennials mentioned exercise rooms and home offices.

In fact, a majority of “… Millennials (61%), GenX’ers (62%), and buyers paying half a million dollars or more for their home (67%),” crave an exercise or workout room, according to the previously-mentioned NAHB survey.

Since these homebuyers’ ideal home has at least 2,500 square feet and four bedrooms and three bathrooms, there is certainly room for one or both of these specialized rooms.

Dedicated laundry room

The humble laundry room has been on the list of must-haves for homebuyers for a few years now. If your home has more than one story and the laundry room is upstairs, near the bedrooms, it will attract even more attention.

Don’t forget to stage this room. Young buyers, especially, love Instagram-worthy décor that they don’t have to do themselves.

For inspiration, check out these laundry rooms at







Does flooring have an impact on your home’s value?

Remember when carpeting, especially Berber carpets, was all the rage? Today it still has its fans, but it’s mostly considered “so 90s.”

In other words, carpet of any type, to many, makes a home feel outdated. But remember, like most things real estate-related, the location of the home may determine which flooring materials are most popular and, thus, may have a positive impact on its perceived value.

Consider the type of home and its location

In areas with substantial periods of hot weather such as Phoenix, AZ and Las Vegas, NV for instance, cool tile floors may be popular with homebuyers. Chilly Minnesota feet, however, may long for a plush carpet under them in the winter.

It’s easy to get excited when you read online “… that the average ROI (rate on investment) for installing hardwood floors is about 70 percent to 80 percent, and wood floors can boost the sales price of your home as much as 2.5 percent.” (

Buyers looking at starter homes aren’t going to turn their noses up at brand-new laminate or luxury vinyl flooring because it’s not marble.

With the tables turned, however, high-end homebuyer expect something a bit more luxurious.

But don’t make a decision on flooring material until you consult your real estate agent. He or she is the only person that can offer opinions on what flooring material will bring the most bang for the buck in our area.

Let’s take a look at how two of the most popular flooring materials can impact the perceived value of a home, nationwide.

Hardwood floors are best for some

Yes, it can be pricey. And, yes, hardwood floors come with maintenance chores. But if you are selling a high-end home and will be replacing the flooring, you will get the best return on investment by installing hardwood floors.

About those maintenance chores. According to Jeanne Huber at, at a minimum, these floors require:

  • Daily removal of dirt and dust to avoid scratching the wood.
  • Cleaning about once a month, depending on traffic.
  • Repairing and recoating as needed.

With inflation and prices rising daily on just about everything, it’s tough to come up with an estimate of the cost of purchasing and installing a hardwood floor.

In April of this year, Katie Flannery at estimated that $4,540 as the national average cost. It may be much higher in the current economy. Visit for a list of the average prices for the various types of wood and then plan on paying more than that.

According to the Remodeling Impact Report, published by National Association of REALTORS®, installing hardwood flooring brings a 106% return on investment.

Move over hardwood …

Luxury vinyl flooring has been rising in popularity for the past few years and now takes the top spot on’s survey of nearly 49 experts, aimed at giving “… you the hottest flooring choices for your home.”

Consumers can choose between two styles:

  • Luxury vinyl planks (LVP)
  • Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT)

The former, by the way, is the most popular.

So, what’s the big attraction with LVP flooring? “Vinyl planks allow you to achieve the look of hardwood or tile at a fraction of the cost. They are all waterproof, easy to clean and maintain, scratch resistant and more,” promise the pros at Mannington.

The waterproof aspect of this flooring material is what makes them so popular among homebuyers with children and/or pets.

Although there is anecdotal evidence that LVP and LVT flooring positively impacts a home’s value at resale, we were unable to find exact figures from reputable sources.

Of course, LVT, LVP and hardwood aren’t your only flooring choices. If neither of these meet your needs, consider looking into other popular flooring options, such as:

  • Bamboo
  • Concrete
  • Cork

You might also consider offering a flooring credit at closing, although it defeats the opportunity to raise the home’s perceived value while it’s on the market. We can crunch the numbers to find out which option is best for you.




Not all home upgrades are potential budget busters

Go online and run a search for “recommended home improvements to sell my home,” and you can find a seemingly-endless list of tasks to perform. In fact, our Google search brought us 853,000,000 results.

What many home sellers seem to forget, however, is that well-worn adage “All real estate is local.”

So, while some home improvement tasks may be ideal for Topeka, and others will fulfill the dreams of homebuyers in Phoenix, they may be a waste of time and money here in our neck of the woods.

And, isn’t your end goal to make as much money as possible from the sale of your home?

Ask most real estate agents which improvements will give you the most bang for your buck and they’ll most likely rattle off whatever is on the latest list of improvements published by the National Association of Home Builders.

We keep track, however, of local trends and can tell you exactly which improvements have led to success for other local homeowners.

Choose upgrades based on your most likely buyer

Not all of our clients want to take on the extra work required to spiff up their home’s appeal. If you aren’t among that group, you may be surprised to learn that many fixes or upgrades require a minimal investment of time and money.

For instance, do you understand who your most likely buyer is? Someone shopping for a luxury home, for instance, may not appreciate improvements made to attract a condo buyer.

Based on research and experience in the local market, we can pinpoint from which buyer pool your buyer will come. When you know your most likely buyer’s hot buttons, the needed improvement list practically writes itself.

Additional inexpensive projects to consider include:

  • Interior cleaning by a professional
  • Interior painting
  • Curb appeal improvements (green-up the lawn, paint the fence, prune trees, add fresh mulch to the beds)

If your budget is exceptionally tight, the bare minimum you should do is to ensure the entire interior of the home is light and bright.

  • Remove and replace heavy window coverings with lighter material.
  • Replace low wattage light bulbs with those that emit brighter light.
  • If the walk-in closets lack lighting, install some.
  • Wash the windows to allow in as much natural light as possible.

If you have room in your budget, consider these upgrades

Not all homes for sale are starter homes, so not all buyers are seeking the same upgrades.

Move-up homebuyers are most keen about kitchen improvements, with countertops and cabinets at the top of the list. Nearly half of those surveyed also mentioned bathroom upgrades and new, energy efficient HVAC systems. Next on the list were plumbing and electrical upgrades.

Yes, these are a bit pricier than those we mentioned earlier. But even the less expensive fixes can make a world of difference in how the home shows to potential buyers. This difference may result in a bigger check for you at closing.

Reach out to us to learn more.