5 DIY Projects to Increase Sales Value by More Than $10,000!

It does not have to cost a fortune to improve a home and make it more sell able, according to Home Gain’s 2012 National Home Improvement Survey.
Home Gain surveyed nearly 500 real estate professionals nationwide to determine the top do-it-yourself home improvement projects that offers some of the biggest bang for your buck when selling a home.
“In a buyer’s market, sellers need to dress their homes for success before putting them on the market,” says Louis Cammarosano, Home Gain’s general manager. The survey shows “that do-it-yourself home improvements like cleaning and de-cluttering and lightening and brightening your home are cost-effective ways of increasing your chances of selling faster and closing closer to the asking price than homes rushed to the market with no improvements.”
Here are the top five projects that real estate professional recommend to their clients–projects that have the potential to offer some of the highest returns on investment at resale, according to the 2012 Home Gain survey:

1. Clean and de clutter
What to do: “Removing personal items; wash and clean all areas of inside and outside of house; freshen air; remove clutter from furniture, counters, and all areas of the home; organize closets; polish woodwork and mirrors.”
Estimated cost: $402
Potential ROI: 403% or $2,024 to the home’s sale price
2. Lighten and brighten
What to do: “Open windows; clean windows and skylights inside and outside; replace old curtains or removing curtains; remove other obstacles from windows blocking light; repair lighting fixtures; make sure window open easily.”
Estimated cost: $424
Potential ROI: 299% or $1,690
3. Repair electrical and plumbing
What to do: “Update leaky or old faucet spouts and handles; repair leaks under bathroom or kitchen sinks; laundry room pipes; toilets should be in good working condition; remove mildew stains.
“Update electrical with new wiring for modern appliances and/or Internet and other audio/visual equipment requested in homes today; door bell should work; service sprinkler systems; fix lights and outlets that do not turn on; replace old plug points with new safety fixtures.”
Estimated cost: $808
Potential ROI: 293% or $3,175
4. Landscaping
What to do: “Front and back yards; add bark mulch; rake and remove leaves, branches and debris; plant bushes and flowers; add planters and hanging plants; mow grass; water lawn and plants; remove weeds and dead plants; manicure existing plants; any yard work that improves the curb appeal of a home.”
Estimated cost: $564
ROI: 215% or $1,777
5. Staging
What to do: “Add fresh flowers; removing personal items; reduce clutter; rearrange furniture; add new props or furniture to enhance room/s; play soft music; hang artwork in walls.”
Estimated cost: $724
ROI: 196% or $2,145

However, the survey finds that the home improvement projects that offer the highest potential price increase to a home’s resale value continues to be updating the kitchen and bathroom. Home sellers could potentially see a $3,255 price increase to their home at resale by tackling kitchen and bathroom projects, according to the Home Gain survey. But those projects are not usually cheap to do. Check out our post earlier this year about the 2011-2012 Cost vs. Value report to see what home remodeling projects offer the biggest potential returns at resale.

Why your house may not be selling!

There may be several reason your house isn't selling. Here are three common causes a property may be languishing on the market.

1. Price. Remember, your property is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. No one wants to lose money on a property, but keep in mind the economic climate and if you need to sell, be prepared to price your home competitively. Your listing agent should have provided you with a list of comparable in the area to equip you with the knowledge to price your home realistically.

2. Condition. Your home should be immaculate when potential buyers view it. The importance of a positive first impression cannot be stressed enough. Windows should be clean, floors polished or vacuumed and all clutter should be out of sight. A fresh coat of paint, minor repairs and wet entryways go a long way. Neutralize your space with soft color, so it appeals to the masses, instead of a small group. If necessary, consult a professional stager to get your house in shape.

3. Location. The one thing you can't change about your property is its location. This is another instance when your savvy real estate professional should discuss sales options with you. Stress the positives of the location, perhaps it is located near mass transit or the area is starting to turn around. Instead of selling your home in a neighborhood that is not ideal, consider renting it until the area improves.y be several reasons your house isn't selling. Here are three common causes a property may be languishi

Is Being A Landlord: More Trouble Than It's Worth?

It's the way to make money … or so some people claim. On the surface, it seems likes like a surefire bet; in reality, it's usually more headache than it's worth. The challenges start early, and they almost always involve time and money.

Do you live too far away from the property? The farther you live away from your rental property, the harder it will be to monitor what is happening to it. Collecting rent, taking care of maintenance and eviction will all be made more difficult and costly if you live in another county – or state.

Do you understand cash flow? The purpose of renting is to make a profit from your property, or to at least break even on the mortgage, taxes and maintenance costs of ownership. You must be certain to charge enough rent to cover not only the fixed costs but also to allow for emergency repairs and unexpected expenses. If you do not charge the appropriate rent, you can have excellent tenants and still lose money.

Are You Lax about screening applicants? All would-be tenants are not equal. Choosing a tenant that is solvent, clean and respectful of your property and the lease agreement is key to having a pleasant landlord experience. You must be prepared to ask for employment information, renter’s history and references – and check them!

Do You Understand the legal side? Having a solid lease agreement will not only eliminate confusion about you and your tenant’s rights, but it can be a tool to help you recoup losses if the tenant and landlord relationship goes awry. There are many standard lease agreements available. You should either purchase and learn every item on it or have a customized lease form made by an attorney.

Do you think it is a no-hassle payday? If you think that you will hand a key to someone and begin receiving rent checks on the first of every month, you have not accepted the realities of renting. Tenants will need in-home repairs. They will need to be reminded to keep the yard clean. The home will need to be treated for termites. Heating and air conditioner filters will need to be changed. Being a landlord is a job, not a free paycheck.

Have considered maintenance and repair issues? If you are handy, you may elect to do your own repairs and maintenance. If your talents do not fall in this category, you will need to find reliable handymen, plumbers and appliance repairmen to assist you in keeping the rental in livable condition.

You are too soft hearten to enforce your own lease agreement? “But Mr. Landlord, we have had a hard time this month. Perhaps we can pay half now and the rest on payday?” If you have a hard time saying no to this or other situations, you may not be cut out for this profession. While it is not necessary to be heartless, you must be willing to protect your interests, lest your tenant’s money problems quickly become your own.

Have You Had Legal Problems with the Tenants? 
1. Tenant Does not Pay Rent,
2. Tenant Files Bankruptcy,
3. Tenant Violates The Lease,
4. Tenant Claims Uninhabitable Conditions,
5. Tenant Claims Mold Problems,
6. Tenant Sub Leases the property,
7. You have to evict the Tenant in court’
8. Other Problems …….

Home decorating tips : Stripes 101

Stripes 101
Whether traditional or unconventional, stripes—especially on walls and floors—promote order. They have an almost architectural power to redirect the eye and reshape a space. In smaller doses, like on furniture or accessories, they’re “the neutral of the pattern world,” says New York City interior designer Elaine Griffin, as they are low-risk and easy to incorporate into any type of room.

Three Expert Decorating Tricks

1. Use high-contrast stripes in unexpected spots. For powder rooms and foyers (spaces where people don’t linger), strong stripes can be charming. “I love a brilliant stripe in a closet,” says Darryl Carter, a designer in Washington, D.C. “It’s like the lining on a fine coat.”

2. Match the size of the stripes to the size of the room. In general, the larger the space, the wider wall stripes should be, because thin stripes in a big expanse can look like mere texture from far away. And in a small room broad, bold stripes can feel jarring.

3. Blend striped, floral, and solid accessories. A foolproof recipe for throw pillows: Put together three or four designs that are clearly distinct but share a palette. Try a wide stripe, a narrow stripe, a dainty paisley, and a solid. The effect is cohesive, with just enough randomness to feel homey.

Perk up your porch for less

The first image one has of a home is the entryway. Guests should be greeted with an inviting space. Here are some inexpensive ideas to brighten up your porch to make it enticing for prospective buyers.

Color. If you don't want to invest in a new front door, simply paint the one you have. Color is an instant way to add a new element to your facade. If you like the natural look of your wooden front door, consider re-staining it to look like new. Also, hardware, such as knobs and doorknockers can be easily swapped out and upgraded for a new look.
Lights. Lighting is a great way to add interest and safety to the entrance of your home. If the expense of an electrician to install outdoor lights is out of the question, consider adding lanterns or flameless candles on either side of the door or steps. This will light the entry and create an inviting space.
Plants. Consider adding potted plants to the front porch. Choose plants or flowers according to the season, consider colorful tulips in the spring or mums in the fall.
Digits. The options for house numbers are seemingly boundless. Every size, material and style is available and prices range from inexpensive to astronomical. Select numbers that fit your budget and design. The numbers can go on the home itself or between the steps. However, they should be visible from the front of the home.
Welcome. The entrance should be well lit and safe. A welcome mat or small outdoor rug may prevent slips, in addition to catching any dirt before entering the home.

An interior design offers ideas for adding cheerful, pretty flower prints to your decor.


It’s hard to talk about florals as a single category because, like flowers themselves, each pattern has its own personality, determined by style, size, and color. Floral prints can seem intimidating at first, but once you have a few guidelines, they’re not difficult to work with—and they’re guaranteed to add life and joy to a space. Here are New York City interior designer Sara Gilbane's top pointers.
1. Scale affects mood. A large print on something small looks modern and cool, while a pillow with a mini version of the same pattern would have a sweet, vintage feel.
2. Floral furniture doesn’t have to be granny. It’s all about the details (avoid a skirted bottom on an upholstered piece) and what you pair it with. If you offset a floral sofa with a graphic-border rug or a blocky coffee table, the couch will seem quirky-eclectic rather than Golden Girls.
3. Florals can go anywhere. You have an ornate Oriental rug in the living room: Does that mean floral pillows are out? No. Find a pillow that includes at least two colors from the rug and has an open print (lots of visible background). The common palette will make it work.
4. Mixing florals creates energy. The key to pairing prints is using a matching background color. Choose one large pattern and two small, thumbnail-size patterns that all share a white or off-white background, say, for a cohesive effect.
5. There is such a thing as nongirlie florals. While small prints in faded hues definitely feel feminine, bold florals, especially large patterns and those in vivid primary colors, can take on a modern-art vibe, which is generally more male-friendly.