Selecting the Best Contractor for a Home Improvement Project to Increase the Value of Your Home!

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Whenever selecting a contractor for a home improvement project, ask first for word-of-mouth recommendations by family, friends, neighbors, or business associates.

This is the acid test. Great contractors know that personal recommendations are the absolute best method of gaining new business and will work hard to make sure their reputation is sterling.

By the same token, poor contractors or scam artists hate word-of-mouth because it exposes their incompetence and lack of ethics.

If personal recommendations aren’t available, ask the contractors for references and then check out three or four of them.

Again, great contractors will be eager to provide you with these contacts because it means more business. On the other hand, poor contractors or scam artists will either refuse to give references to you or play down their importance.

But, don’t stop at checking references! Also, check out the contractor’s personality. Can you work easily with him or her? You want a person who will listen to your suggestions and do their best to incorporate them into the job. If the contractor is abrasive or dismisses your suggestions, choose another one!

Here’s another suggestion: If a contractor tries to bully you into signing with him or her with a big price drop at the last minute, simply tell them, “I’m going to get other bids and compare them, so just give me your best price now without the price drop.” If they don’t agree to your suggestion, tell them to take a hike.

By the same token, don’t work with a window, siding, etc. contractor who tries to get you to change what you want to put into your home.

Often, this means that they’re only comfortable installing the product they normally deal with and want the easiest job possible. Again, it’s your money and you’re the boss, so insist on the product you want.

Finally, don’t let contractors make misleading product comparisons. They should be able give you an informed opinion on, say, the difference between the performance of old siding and new siding and the difference in costs between the two.

However, those comparisons should never lead to a product that more expensive than your budget will allows or isn’t really appropriate for your home.

The bottom line – with contractors, you should get straight-forward honest bids with no surprises! To learn more about how to deal with contractors, contact me today, and we can talk dollars and “sense!”

Clinch the Deal with Curb Appeal!

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Believe me, great curb appeal is everything when it comes to getting potential buyers into your home! Plus, outstanding curb appeal can not only make the sale but increase your profit from that sale as well!The benefits don’t stop there. Curb appeal can actually be achieved with very little money (depending on the size and condition of the home, of course). So, don’t think of it as cash spent; it’s actually an investment in more profit!

Below, I provide you some very low-cost and sensible methods for making your home “shine!”

Clean – Then Clean Again!

I don’t know about you but when I see dirt and grime in a house, it’s a turn off because, as a buyer, I certainly don’t want to end up cleaning it all out!

But, there’s another negative to a messy house – it tells potential buyers, “The owner doesn’t seem to care about his property, so why should I care?” Granted, this is not always a fair conclusion, but, remember, we’re dealing with the “emotional” side of the buyer. What they see is what forms their opinion of a property.

So, don’t risk the possibility of a negative opinion! From top to bottom, clean your home or have it cleaned by a professional service. Especially pay attention to getting rid of any odors!Unpleasant smells have a particularly negative impact upon potential buyers since odors create an immediate impact upon the most primitive and powerful part of the brain.

Get Out the Paint Brush…Roller…Sprayer!

The big temptation here is to go with the cheapest paint possible. Don’t give in to this urge. Go with good quality paint for both the interior and exterior! It simply looks better and emphasizes the quality of care you’ve put into your home. Buyers will notice that!

Roll Out the “Red” Carpet!

If your present carpet is at all worn or threadbare, consider replacing it with new carpet. I know, I know, it can be expensive, but new carpet can also add several thousand dollars to the final sale price! Once again, think of it as an investment, not as an expense.

At a minimum, if your current carpet is in good shape, have it professionally cleaned to make it look even better.

Repair All the Little Things!

By themselves, a missing knob, a crooked gutter, an ill-fitting door, etc., don’t have much of a negative impact upon a buyer’s perceptions. However, when they see all these things together, they definitely get a sour attitude very quickly. So, repair all the little things to enhance exterior and interior curb appeal. Replace/repair gutters, rotted wood, broken door latches, leaky faucets, etc.

Manicure That Lawn!

A mowed and edged lawn really enhances the curb appeal of your home and shows potential buyers that you take good care of your place. To really put the “icing” on the curb appeal “cake,” add plantings like flowers, bushes, etc. They add color and delightful smells.

If you really want to make your home stand out in terms of terms of exterior and interior, consider hiring an accredited, professional “home stager” (ASP).

What’s a Home Stager?

Home stagers work with the “flow” of a home. Think of them as similar to set designers for plays and movies. They know how to “set the stage” in exactly the right way to impress any potential buyer visiting your home.

Overall, they eliminate clutter, arrange furniture, and help you enhance interior/exterior curb appeal in every way possible. Their charges may be on an hourly basis or a flat fee.
For information on home staging professionals, google “Home Staging Professionals” to see who’s available in your area. Or, check out these sources on the Internet:

STAGEDHOMES.COM  and The Real Estate Staging Association