Monday, August 31, 2015

Maximize Your Home’s Curb Appeal with These Home Improvement Projects

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Improving your home’s curb appeal is the number one way to create a buyer’s interest in your home, plus you improve your odds of really getting the price tag the property deserves.

Curb appeal projects can range from the simple to the complex, and even the smallest improvements can have big results in a buyer’s eye. However, if you really want to maximize your home’s curb appeal, a total property makeover might be in order. These home improvement projects are great for a range of budgets and DIY know-how, and can give you the results you really need to sell your home fast.

Getting in at the Front Door

The front door: so humble, and yet so symbolic. Your front door will draw the eye of anyone looking at your home, and will say a lot about the house itself: dark and bronzed hardwoods with metal accents gives off a sense of elegance and sophistication, while a more simple door painted in timeless whites will have a more classic and welcoming aesthetic. First impressions are vital, so make sure that your door is a pleasing sight to see.

Front door and entryway improvements are some of the simplest and most rewarding curb appeal projects you can take up, and should be one of the first things on your list as far as improvements go. Repainting a door will only take an hour or so out of your afternoon, as will replacing it entirely with a new piece. Door-knockers, knobs, and bells should be in line with the style of the rest of your home – they’re subtle nods at the style you’re going for, so make them count. Accent the door and entryway with a seasonal floral wreaths and planters for color and charm. Extending the planters down your steps and into your walkway can bring the look together, and direct buyers’ eyes the way you want them.

Lawn and Garden Redesign Projects

When the phrase “curb appeal” comes up, what most people think of is a lush lawn and garden. Fields of gorgeous green grass and a lush garden are certainly appealing to buyers looking at your home, and a unique and well-designed estate will catch the eye (and fetch a nice price tag). So, when redesigning your lawn and garden for max curb appeal, think big: the most popular gardens on today’s real estate market merge beauty and functionality for a complete package. But don’t forget, here in California we need to remain mindful of our drought situation and plant drought tolerant plants.

Popular garden designs today go for a rustic look: cobblestone paths and aged wood are great materials to gravitate towards, with aged brass or copper fixtures. However, don’t count out stone tiles. Geometric designs and patterns are huge in today’s design market, and a tiled geometric centerpiece for your garden can really catch the eye.

Bring your garden around your whole property to bring your lawn project together with your home itself – you don’t want your painstakingly-prepared garden to stand out like a sore thumb in an otherwise blank and boring property. Your whole property is your canvas, so make sure you home is appealing right to the curb. Front yard improvement projects should tend toward the minimalist: you don’t want to take attention away from your home, but rather, accentuate its good traits. Frame your home with flowering or evergreen trees for lasting and low-maintenance results, or add some planters to your front lawn for color and interest.

A fence and terraced entryway adds charm and privacy, and allows you to extend your gardening canvas even further: climbing ivy will take to wooden fences well, and edging any fence with floral and green elements adds visual interest. With all of this improvement, don’t let your mailbox be left behind: a drab aluminum standing mailbox will stick out against an otherwise lush and well-designed yard. Bring your mailbox in line with the rest of your aesthetic, in material and color both, and bring it in on the garden party by planting some greens and florals around it. Be careful that these additions don’t block your mailman’s sight, though – a beautiful mailbox won’t get much use if your mailman has to rustle through a jungle to get to it.

Home Exterior Improvement

While garden and yard design gets most of the attention when it comes to curb appeal, don’t forget to dress up your home itself. A well-designed property might draw in buyers, but a home with bad siding and peeling paint will stand out like a rotten tooth in an otherwise beautiful smile. This is a prime time for you to completely revamp your home’s look and update it to be in line with the market’s current tastes, so make good use of the opportunity. Complex re-siding and re-roofing projects should generally be left to professional contractors to ensure that your home remains in code, but if you’ve got the DIY itch, they can be done with a bit of elbow grease, some research into your local housing laws, and a few YouTube tutorials.

You can make your home feel more connected with your property by bringing accents from your yard and garden to it. Climbing ivy is always an elegant touch, and window boxes are quick and easy-to-maintain ways to add a splash of color to your home’s exterior – add colorful shutters to really complete the classic look. Match your home’s aesthetic to your lawn and garden’s: a rustic home can have the same aged wood and brass accents as your garden, while a more contemporary home will benefit from more sleek and modern pieces. When you’ve got a complete look, it will bring your property’s whole package together, and will work with your interior design and staging to get buyers’ interest piqued, and their wallets opened.

Prepping your property for prospective buyers is just as important as prepping your rooms indoors, and great curb appeal can really set the stage for a solid sales pitch. These projects will get you real results on the real estate market, and will make your property sell faster – and for a bigger price tag overall. They’re a solid investment, and one that any home-selling hopeful should try. If you would like to talk about how to enhance the curb appeal of your home … just give me a call … I would love the opportunity of speaking with you and answering any questions that you might have.

ALLISON VAN WIG – VAN WIG & ASSOCIATES

562-882-1581  Allison@SuperBroker.com

Friday, August 21, 2015

What Family Buyers Are Really Looking for in Your Home

FAMILY BUYERS

Selling your home is all about knowing what your target buyer’s market wants, and appealing to it. Different types of buyers require different approaches to best appeal to their needs and wants, and one of the most common buyer types is the family buyer.

These people are interested in how your home will work for them and their loved ones, and how well the house will grow with them over the years. Check out what families will be looking for when they’re on a visit to your home.

Location, Location, Location

It’s common knowledge that real estate is all about location, when it comes to family buyers, it’s still true. Families want to know that your home is in an appropriate and convenient area for their needs: for example, is it along bus routes, or will their children have to walk or be driven? What is the quality and reputation of the local school district? Is it right next to a busy street or highway? How far is it away from local conveniences, such as grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and more fun locales such as movie theaters and malls? Family buyers have busy lives, and want to make sure that their new home’s location doesn’t make things more stressful – and want to make sure that their children have the entertainment and socialization opportunities that they deserve.

If your home is in a prime location, be sure to talk this topic up. A great location can make for a real boost to your home’s value, so it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. However, if your home doesn’t measure up in this regard, it’s not the end of the world: it just requires a different sales pitch. More remote homes can easily be sold on their peaceful, natural surroundings, and conversely, homes located on busy streets can be sold on their proximity to local amenities. Play to the strengths of your home’s location, and don’t ever talk it down – stay positive, and your pitch will be stronger

Space to Live, and Room to Grow

A spacious house is an easy sell for any buyer, but it’s especially important for families. More members of the household means more space needed, and if your home has extra bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, and spacious outdoor yardage, you’ll find yourself with a host of interested applicants. Having the space to begin with is a plus, but having room to expand further can be even better; especially if your buyers are considering adding to their family at any point in the future. A spacious lawn is a great feature for buyers with children, pets, or just a real passion for gardening.

Unfortunately, not all homes can be the spacious dream houses these buyers are looking for, but you can do your part to stage your home properly to give the illusion of more space.

I have always offered staging services to help my seller clients but here are some tips to consider when getting your home ready to sell.

Clear clutter from your rooms and yard: pack up personal knickknacks and decorations (you’re going to be moving soon anyway, after all), and clear your lawn of debris.

Staging is essential when trying to sell any home, but is all the more important when you’re trying to sell something small. Small rooms benefit from plentiful lighting, minimal clutter, and furniture that’s suited to the size of the room. Pull that oversized couch out and replace it with a loveseat, and replace a large, heavy coffee table with a lighter, glass-topped number to give the illusion it’s taking up less space. Staging is the next best thing to a proper expansion, so instead of knocking down walls, speak to your real estate agent. They often provide staging consultation services to interested applicants.

A Home Ready to Be Lived In

The home-buying process is a tedious and stressful one, and your buyers want to make sure their new home is ready to be lived in right away. While DIY enthusiasts might be charmed by a fixer-upper, most buyers will be scared off by a house that requires a lot of work to measure up to their standards – or one that requires a lot of work to live in comfortably, period. Even a low-impact project like painting or retiling rooms can scare off families who are strapped for time, skill, or cash – home-buying takes a lot of resources from a person. They want a house that’s up to code, up to speed, and ready to give them the comfort they need to live their lives.

Thus, it’s your duty as a seller to get your home up to speed as far as maintenance and beautification goes. Get your home professionally-inspected, especially in areas where it really counts regarding utilities and structural integrity: such as getting your basement inspected for water damage, having your electrical work tested, or getting upper rooms and attics inspected for drafts and holes. If anything has been bothering you in your house now, it’ll start bothering your buyers too, so take the initiative to get it fixed now. These projects will not only protect you against potential lawsuits, but further beautification and improvement projects will add a few extra digits to your home’s price tag on the market. It’s a sound investment that any seller should consider.

Appealing to family buyers is a smart move as a home seller, as they make up a solid portion of the buying market. With a little work and a well thought-out sales pitch, you’ll be able to appeal to their needs in a new home, and give them the help they need to find that perfect house to grow old in.

If you would additional information on how to get your home ready to sell or would like my professional advice on how I would stage your home just let me know. I would welcome the opportunity of speaking with you …

Until next time … all my best!

Allison Van Wig  562-882-1581

Allison@SuperBroker.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Putting Safety First During a Home Sale

Whether you are a Realtor, a Buyer or a Seller … it is always good advice to follow safety precautions!

Read about Crimes against real estate agents

At Van Wig & Associates, we as agents are always striving to provide the best of service when a prospective buyer or seller calls and asks to meet us at a property however, due to several recent cases of violence against real estate agents while showing a home, there are certain things we all need to be mindful of.

Even under the best of circumstances and with the very best professional agent having been selected, selling or buying a home can most often be a nerve-wracking and stressful time.

Unfortunately, too many members of the marketplace end up making this event more stressful by failing to give safe practices their due. In an effort to keep you firmly out of this category, let’s reach out to some leading experts from around the real estate market and hear what they have to say about keeping everyone involved in a sale; buyers, sellers and agents alike, all safe and secure.

Does something seem too good to be true with a potential new home? Is the other person involved in the process acting oddly? While these questions might seem over-the-top at first glance, the truth of the matter is that you can never be too cautious when dealing with others during the sale or purchase of a home.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re ready to go see an available home or entertain a potential buyer at your house. While there’s usually nothing to worry about when it comes to dealing with other people, you can never do too much to avoid interacting with the small minority of the population that doesn’t have your best interests at heart. With this in mind, here’s some essential tips and considerations that can help keep you and your family protected during this pivotal point in your lives.

Meet and Greet in a Public Place

At the top of the list of safety tips to consider when heading into a sale, according to the Police Department of Criminal Prevention in Mesa, Arizona, is meeting and greeting with the other parties in a public place. Whether this means reaching out to your Realtor in his or her office, or meeting with a buyer or seller at an agreed upon open location, sticking to areas that are full of other people and activity is a great way to avoid finding yourself in an unsavory or potentially harmful situation.

Once you’ve met up with the other parties involved, don’t hesitate to perform a “check-up from the neck up.” Aside from serving as a funny saying, this concept represents the notion that if something doesn’t seem right with the person you’re working with, don’t be afraid to call off the viewing of the home. Your instincts are an invaluable asset, so listening to them and avoiding a situation that just doesn’t feel safe is perfectly acceptable when it comes to dealing with strangers.

Leave a “Paper Trail”

In addition to strategically planning out your initial meetings with others, it’s also a good idea to leave a paper trail whenever you’re heading out to browse through home listings. Offering up a schedule or agenda to friends and family members, as well as carrying multiple forms of identification, ensures that at least one person knows where you are at all times in case something goes wrong.

If you really want to go the extra mile on this front as the seller of a property, requesting that any interested parties in your home have preapproval from a lending agency helps keep these viewers relegated to only the most serious of potential buyers.

Take Time to Assess the Situation

As far as searching for a new home goes, Lew Sichelman of the Los Angeles Times suggests spending a few minutes to assess the situation before rushing in headfirst. Exciting though it make be to explore a new home, dealing with all of the unknowns that come with this process naturally carries a certain amount of risk.

For instance, if you’re looking to purchase an abandoned or vacant home, structural damage, squatters, wild animals, and a variety of other issues could pose a threat to you and anyone else who joins you on this trip. While the odds of dealing with these problems are far less likely in a traditional home-purchasing situation, it still never hurts to spend a few moments assessing the situation for any safety risks or hazards.

Never Travel Alone

Speaking of heading out to view available properties, it’s also a good idea to bring along a friend, family member, or your trusted realtor when setting out on this path. Having a second set of eyes and ears available to you during this time can ensure that you properly audit the situation for any potential threats or concerns. Additionally, having someone else with you during this time can serve as a strong deterrent for any illicit or underhanded tactics committed by less than savory individuals.

Protect Your Home During a Showing

For those of you who aren’t looking to buy a home, but rather sell your current property, the experts over at the National Association of Realtors’ Realtor magazine point out that there’s still plenty of concerns worthy of consideration before you rush into entertaining strangers in your home. Specifically the open house and home-showing portions of the process stand out as major areas of concern.

Having unknown individuals in your home is always a risk, but participating in an event like an open house exacerbates the issue. To help safeguard your property, always lock away “high interest” items – like jewelry and electronics – before a viewing. This process takes just a few minutes and makes a world of difference when dealing with large groups of people.

In terms of handling visitors, a good rule of thumb is to always stick to a schedule. Much like the paper trail discussed earlier, only entertaining visitors who set an appointment to see your home ensures that unexpected “drop-ins” don’t become an issue.

Keeping Your Head on Straight

Unfortunately, there’s nothing that you can do to completely erase the risks that come with interacting with strangers during the buying and selling of a home. It’s an issue that plagues any industry built upon connecting with others – not just the real estate world. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re completely out of options for protecting and safeguarding yourself during these times.

By putting what you’ve learned here to good use – including partnering up for home visits and stowing away your valuables during an open house – and remaining vigilant throughout the process, there’s no reason that you and your family can’t find an outcome that’s just right for your needs.

Remember Allison Van Wig of Van Wig & Associates wants to help you during this process of searching for and selling a home to be as productive and free of stress as possible. To find out how to make your real estate goals a reality, give us a call!

ALLISON VAN WIG // 562-882-1581

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

100 DAYS OF SUMMER 2015 - SO MANY FUN THINGS TO DO!

ONE OF THE REASONS I LOVE SELLING REAL ESTATE IN LONG BEACH & LAKEWOOD ARE ALL THE COMMUNITY ORIENTED EVENTS THAT ARE AVAILABLE ... TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT LONG BEACH HAS TO OFFER WITH 100 DAYS OF SUMMER!


As I have said many times before, when it comes to living in Long Beach California there are so many things you can do that are inexpensive and fun for everyone … from Memorial Day to Labor Day ... the summer of 2015 is no different!

Once again this year the Long Beach Parks Recreation and Marine Department is offering hundreds of free and low cost recreational events under the name of “100 Days of Summer.”
From the Long Beach Sea Festival,  the El Dorado Nature Center, historic site events and various programs for hiking, biking, golf, tennis, swimming and youth and teen programs there is so much do to that I don’t know how we are all going to find the time to go to work … LOL!

You can find out all about these great activities at www.100DaysofSummer.org where you will find a searchable calendar of free concerts and movies in addition to all of the activities that I mentioned.

 If you would like to get more information about living in Long Beach, I have been selling homes in the Long Beach & Lakewood communities for over 27 years ...

I would love to help you learn more about our area and how you too can enjoy 100 days of summer ... until next time ...

Allison Van Wig  ... 562-882-1581 ... Over 1,000 Homes Sold

Thursday, June 25, 2015

3D TECHNOLOGY + OLD FASHION REAL ESTATE SERVICE = HAPPY SELLERS FOR ALLISON VAN WIG

SS OF 3D

 

SERVING LAKEWOOD AND LONG BEACH HOME SELLERS & BUYERS FOR OVER 27 YEARS … NOW USING ADVANCED TECHNOLGY TO PRESENT OUR SELLER’S LISTINGS TO THE BUYERS OF TODAY.

 

This technology works on all platforms, and all mobile devices and computers

Try it out now and if you would like to see your home presented … using this cutting edge technology … let Van Wig & Associates and Allison Van Wig WORK FOR YOU!

TAKE AN ON-LINE WALKING TOUR OF ALLISON'S NEW LISTING

FOR FAVICON

 

ALLISON VAN WIG

562-882-1581   Allison@SuperBroker.com

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

5 BEDROOMS IN LAKEWOOD AT A GREAT PRICE!

Wonderful Lakewood home. 




















Large living room with granite fireplace and hardwood floors. 



Family kitchen with lots of cupboard and counter space. 



Five bedrooms, three downstairs and two upstairs. The master suite has vaulted ceilings and a balcony overlooking the backyard. 


Sparkling salt water pool, large patio area with fireplace and covered patio with misters. Dual pane windows, central air and heat. 



This home was made for entertaining.




FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 562-728-7772

IF YOU ARE THINKING OF SELLING OR

JUST CURIOUS OF YOUR HOME'S WORTH?

CALL ALLISON 

562-882-1581




Friday, May 29, 2015

6 Tips for Removing Kitchen Clutter While Selling Your First Home

Preparing your home for a sale can be an overwhelming process. You might not be sure where to even start, that's why removing clutter from the kitchen is a great place to begin.

So much of life takes place around the kitchen. It's where people come together to cook, share about their day, and make memories. A well-staged kitchen will not only help you attract potential buyers, but it will showcase one of the most frequently used spaces in your home.

Carla Hill of Realty Times suggests, “Kitchens are integral to entertaining and in today's age of open floor plans, they're a focal piece of many family rooms. It's because of this that kitchens play such an important role in the buying and selling process.” Carla added, “Sometimes a kitchen update can mean doing just a few minor changes. Change the paint color to a warm neutral tone. Get rid of any clutter. Update your appliances, paint your cabinets, change the pulls, or get a high-end looking counter for a fraction of the cost (faux-granite or lower end granite). You might even save a bundle by doing much of the work yourself. The bottom line is a kitchen can sell a home.”

I would like to offer you the following 6 tips will may help you prepare your home for a quick and successful sale:

Clean Countertops
Walking into a home with bare countertops provides an instantly well-kept first impression. The minimalist counter also highlights extra space in the kitchen that could otherwise be lost under too much clutter. Cambria Bold, the design and lifestyle editor from The Kitchn says it best, “Messy countertops—heck, even countertops that have pretty things, but just too many of them—can make a kitchen feel untidy and claustrophobic, whereas mostly clear countertops are invigorating and inspiring. They also invite you to cook, instead of feeling like your kitchen is unready for you.”

Make-Over the Refrigerator
Quirky magnets, colorful art, and postcards might remind you of special memories, but when it comes to selling your house, less is best. Avoid turning the front of your refrigerator into a gallery wall. This not only takes away from the functionality of the kitchen, but it can be extremely distracting to potential buyers who are trying to envision their life in your home. After you've successfully cleared the front, make sure you give the inside a thorough cleaning. Go through your fridge and toss expired, leaking, or odor causing foods. Try to keep your shelves clear and organized, in order to display the storage capabilities of your main kitchen appliance.
Julie Stevens, a real estate sales representative with Bond New York recommends leaving some items in original containers in order to emphasize close proximity to desirable supermarkets. Ms. Stevens shares, “If a potential buyer is looking through your home and sees a label from one of those stores,” she said, it might prompt them to ask if the store is nearby. And “That could be a huge selling point.”

Keep it Kitchen
For most families, the kitchen is typically one the busiest gathering places of the home, which is why organization is key. It's easy for a kitchen countertop to become the dump zone for miscellaneous household items, but if it isn't kitchen related, it must go. Keep a bin on the end of your counter as a catchall for the random things that end up cluttering your space. Then at the end of each day, go through the bin and re-home all the wayward items. This will cut down on the time you have to spend tidying up before each showing. Rather than spend precious time corralling all the bits and pieces, the catchall also makes it easier to store out of sight in a hurry for those last minute showings.

Stage the Pantry
Your pantry might usually look more on the haphazard side of things, but when preparing your home for sale, great staging can cinch the deal. Use your pantry to play up the functionality and storage capacity of your kitchen. Another suggestion is to pare back the contents of your pantry until you have some open space on each shelf. Organize what's left into a set of matching food storage containers or open baskets. This may mean removing a bunch of food—just remember that a staged kitchen is not necessarily a practical kitchen! As with items from your cupboards, keep extra pantry goods in a box out of sight during showings if you must.

Eliminate Odors
No one wants to cook up something in a kitchen that already smells questionable. Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink and purge the refrigerator of old food on a regular basis. Kathleen Squires of Real Simple advises, “Place a box of baking soda in the freezer and another in the refrigerator to absorb and neutralize smells; replace them every three months. Alternatives: a mound of charcoal; coffee beans in a bowl; or a cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract and kept in the refrigerator until dry.” You can also keep nasty odors at bay, by using odor blocking garbage can liners, and play up that 'freshly baked' smell by using a candle warmer in a welcoming kitchen scent.

Reduce Excess
Potential Buyers want to explore the space in your kitchen, as they imagine what their life might look like within those walls. Go through your cupboards, drawers, and pantry with the objective to only leave items that are frequently used and essential. Professional Organizer Debbie Lillard suggests, “The kitchen is a very practical place, and most people I meet have more stuff than storage. So only keep what you use on a regular basis. If there is something you use only a few times a year (ice bucket, punch bowl, warming tray, etc.) those items can be stored away in a basement or closet.” Streamlining will not only cut down on clutter before showings, it will enhance the important features, so that your kitchen can truly shine.

As a full-time Realtor for over 28 years I know how important it can be for a home to make a great first impression that is why I offer free staging to my home sellers, for more ideas on what you can do to put your home in the very best light, feel free to give me a call or drop me an email.

562-882-1581 or Allison@SuperBroker.com  …


You can also visit my YouTube Channel to see more pictures of homes with picture-perfect kitchens … www.YouTube.com/LakewoodVanWig