Returning customer? Login     
Online Real Estate Appraisals from Electronic Appraiser   Online Real Estate Appraisals from Electronic Appraiser
homewhysample reportsorder reportPartner with ElectronicAppraiser.combusiness accountsNews & Articlesfree services

Friday, January 11, 2008

Inexpensive Ways To Give Your Home A Facelift

If you are looking to sell your home or even have it appraised, you want to get the most value you can for your money.

Those of you who have taken up home improvement projects know that there is a monetary return for every improvement investment. Although the actual cost and payback for each project can vary, depending on both your home's condition and overall real estate market values in your region of the country, here a few things you can do that will most likely improve your home’s worth.

1. Make your kitchen really cook. The kitchen is still considered the heart of the home. Potential homebuyers make a beeline for this room when they first view a home for sale, so make sure your kitchen looks clean and reasonably updated.

For a few hundred dollars, you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones.

If you've got a slightly larger budget, you can give the cabinets themselves a makeover. You don’t need to replace your cabinets, hiring a company to reface them can give you the same results for less money. If you're handy, you can order your own replacement cabinet doors and door fronts from retailers like Lowe's Home Improvement or The Home Depot and install them yourself.

2. Give appliances a facelift. If your kitchen appliances don't match, order new doors or face panels for them. Many dishwasher panels are white on one side and black on the other, so if you are trying to match everything up, slide out the panel and flip it around.

A more cohesive-looking kitchen makes a big difference in the buyer's mind -- and in the home's resale price.

3. Buff up the bath. Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They, too, can be improved without a lot of cash. Simple things like adding a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are pretty easy for homeowners to install, and they make a big difference in the look of the bath.

If your bathroom floor is old and discolored, try replacing tiles with easy-to-apply vinyl tiles or a small piece of sheet vinyl. You may not even need to take up the old floor. You can install the new floor right over the old one.

If your tub and shower are looking dingy, consider re-grouting the tile and replacing any chipped tiles. A more complete cover-up is a prefabricated tub and shower surround. These one-piece units may require professional installation but can still be cheaper than paying to re-tile walls and refinish a worn tub.

4. Step up your storage. Old houses, particularly, are notorious for their lack of closet space. If you have cramped storage areas, try adding do-it-yourself wire and laminate closet systems to bedrooms, pantries and entry closets.

5. Add a room in a week or less. "If you have a three-bedroom house with a den, the only reason the den can't be considered a bedroom may be because it doesn't have a closet. If you add a closet to that room, you've now got a four-bedroom house. That adds a lot of value."

6. Mind the mechanics. Spending a few bucks on nitty-gritty stuff such as repairing leaks, wrapping or fixing loose wires, and fixing any faulty outlets.

7. Look underfoot. Carpeting is another detail that can quickly update a home and make it look cleaner. A professional carpet cleaning is an inexpensive investment, especially if your rugs are in good shape and are neutral colors.

If your carpet is showing serious wear, cover it with inexpensive, strategically placed area rugs. Unless it is truly hideous, most Realtors don't suggest replacing wall-to-wall carpeting right before you sell your house. The new homeowners may want to choose their own carpeting after they move in.

8. Let there be light. If you have boring recessed lights in your dining and living rooms, consider replacing one of the room's lights with an eye-catching chandelier. Home stores offer a wide range of inexpensive, but nice-looking, ceiling fixtures these days. If you have a ceiling fan and light, you can also buy replacement fan blades (leaving the fan body in place) to update the fixture's look.

9. Reframe your entry. Do you have a flimsy little knob on your main entry door? If so, spring for a substantial-looking handle-and-lock set. A nice, big piece of hardware on the front door signals to newcomers that this is a solid home.

Greg Sullivan is the President of, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant home appraisal service. For more information, please visit

Please visit Electronic Appraiser - - for more information.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Improving Your Home's Resale Value

Are you getting ready to sell your home and want to get the most for the value? If so, there are a few simple things you can do that won’t necessarily cost you a fortune.

First of all, when potential buyers drive up to your house, the first thing they see is the front of your house. Knowing that the exterior of the house usually is a good indicator of the inside of the house, you want your home to have curb appeal and make buyers want to see the rest of the house. So here are some quick things you can do.

1. Mow the lawn regularly while your home is on the market. If you have patches in your yard where grass doesn’t grow, you can either sow some grass seeds or sod the areas. If the bare area is at the base of a tree, you could turn the spot into a flowerbed.

2. While we’re on the subject of flowerbeds, be sure to keep these areas weeded when trying to sell your home. Adding pine straw or mulch can freshen up your yard and make your yard look well cared for.

3. Add some color to your yard by planting flowers. You can use them in beds, hanging baskets, or flowerpots. Planting flowers can help to liven up a house, especially if the home is older or more traditional. And, be sure to pick vibrant colors over pastels or white in order to give the full effect.

4. Clean your windows. People always look out of the windows when they’re viewing a home. So, cleaning the windows will help the view from the interior and the exterior!

5. Use a pressure washer to clean sidewalks and driveways. Pressure washing cement, especially, can make it look as though it was freshly poured.

6. Make your front door inviting. Since most potential buyers enter your home through the front door, you want to pay attention to this part of your home. If there are any shoe marks at the base (or hand marks near the handle), be sure to clean those. Depending on the type of door you have, you can also give it a fresh coat of paint.

7. Examine your home’s exterior. If your home has siding, check to see how clean it is. If you see collected dirt or pollen, you can clean these surfaces fairly easily with a pressure washer. If your home is painted, check to make sure the paint is not chipping away. If your home was painted recently, you may just want to hose off (or gently pressure wash) any visible dirt. If your home is in need of new paint, be sure to choose neutral colors.

8. While your pet may be your pride and joy, even a friendly dog’s barking may frighten a buyer. If you can’t remove your dog, try to confine it to the garage or dog run. Many buyers are allergic to cats, so be sure litter boxes are clean.

9. Remove the clutter from inside your home. If your home has too much furniture, overflowing closets, junk sitting in corners, and crowded kitchen and bath countertops, potential buyers cannot see your home. Removing clutter will make your home appear bigger and brighter

10. Clean your house. Buyers want to move into a clean home. They feel more assured of that prospect if the home is spotless at it’s showing. Clean walls, baseboard trim, window sills, light switches, doors, and light fixtures. Steam clean carpets and dust window blinds. Dust/wash off lint from the washer and dryer, even wash off the furnace and hot water heater. A sparkling clean home is sure to impress!

11. Do everything you can to brighten the interior of your home. Pull back your curtains and drapes so prospects can see how bright and cheery your home is. Let the sun shine in! For an evening showing, turn on all the lights - both inside and outside. Light adds color and warmth, and makes prospects feel welcome. During the winter, maintain a comfortable temperature even if you are away for an extended time.

Greg Sullivan is the President of, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant home appraisal service. For more information, please visit

Please visit Electronic Appraiser - - for more information.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Are You Ready To Buy Your First Home?

There are many great reasons to own a home. For one, the place is yours.

When you own your own home you have a place to raise your children and to be a part of a community. You can even pass your home down to your children and their children, creating security for generations to come.

Owning your own home can even help you reduce your taxes. You can deduct the interest on your mortgage and property taxes you pay on your home on the tax returns you file each year. These tax savings partially reduce, or offset somewhat, the actual cost of owning your home.

Another good reason to own your own home is that your monthly payments won’t ever go up, that is if you choose a fixed-rate mortgage! A fixed mortgage is one that stays the same for the life of the loan. If the mortgage is 30 years, you’ll pay the same mortgage payment each month for the entire 30 years of the loan.

So what are the risks of owning a home, you might ask? Overall, homeownership is a good investment for most people. If you understand the benefits and risks of homeownership, you can make the best decision about when to buy a home.

The first risk is that your monthly housing expenses can increase if your mortgage is higher than what you are used to paying in rent. On the flip side, rent goes up while your mortgage can stay the same. Another risk is that if an appliance breaks, you will have to pay for its repair or replacement. You are also responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of your home and your property.

If you are somebody who plans to move soon, the downfall of owning is that you have to wait to sell your home to move. Depending on the local real estate market, you might not be able to sell your home quickly. You should also factor in the likely expense of hiring a real estate professional. Fees can be negotiated and vary across regions. They also vary from professional to professional.

The last risk is that property values can depreciate. You can lose value in your home for a number of reasons, such as a recession, the condition of your home not being kept up, or a drop in a neighborhood’s home values. If your home loses value and you have to sell it for less than you owe, you will be required to repay the full mortgage.

Many people don’t even consider buying a home as they believe that you need great credit to become a homeowner. The fact is, you may still be able to buy a home with less-than-perfect credit. And remember, you can improve your credit over time.

Another myth about buying a home that often keeps people from looking is that you need to put 20% down. There are many types of mortgage products and programs that allow low and no down payments. But remember to factor in other costs such as closing costs, property taxes, moving expenses, and repairs.

So are you ready to buy your first home? Certainly the benefits outweigh the risks.

Please visit Electronic Appraiser - - for more information.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

What Makes a Home "Green"?

Green is the new black, so to speak. Everybody is talking about going green and even building green. So what does it really mean to build green?

Defining green has been a challenge, even for those who are as green as you can get. To sum up green, the question would be – what type of environmental impact does the materials you are using have?

Assessing impact can mean on the front end or the back end. For example, in some instances, the product you use in building your home might not be green to build, but the results of that product can be beneficial. A good example would be if a window is installed in a way that maximizes the collection of low winter sunlight and blocks the summer sun, this saves energy and is green.

Because defining green is difficult, standards are starting to be organized and listed in the GreenSpec directory. This directory bases decisions about products on categories such as energy-consuming appliances and VOC-emitting paints, specific thresholds can be established relatively easily. But for many criteria, the lines are much fuzzier and judgment calls are required.

It is important also to note that multiple criteria often apply—in other words, a product may be considered green for more than one reason. Take recycled plastic lumber, for example: it’s made from recycled waste, it’s highly durable, and it can obviate the need for pesticide treatments. Straw particleboard products are made from agricultural waste materials, and they are free from formaldehyde off-gassing. A product with multiple benefits could qualify for GreenSpec on the basis of its overall environmental performance, even if it doesn’t meet a threshold in any one category alone. Conversely, a product with one or more green attributes might not qualify if it also carries significant environmental burdens. For example, wood treated with toxic preservatives has advantages in terms of durability, but it would not be listed in GreenSpec due the health and environmental hazards it represents.

The primary intent with any green building products directory is to simplify the product selection process.

Another way to build green is to conform to what is called LEED Standards. LEED or ‘The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ is a Green Building Rating System™ that encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.

There are many resources available for consumers so that they can adapt their building materials and design to LEED standards. Building this way is probably the simplest way to go and there are many resources available to assist you.

So should you build green because it is popular? Not necessarily. You should build green because it is what will ultimately provide a ‘green’ future and not a black one.

Greg Sullivan is the President of, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant home appraisal service. For more information, please visit

Please visit Electronic Appraiser - - for more information.

Inexpensive Ways To Give Your Home A FaceliftImproving Your Home's Resale ValueAre You Ready To Buy Your First Home?What Makes a Home "Green"? ~ - Instant Accurate Home Valuations - Blog