Broom Clean and Free of Debris

What exactly does “Broom Clean and Free of Debris” mean when selling a home? For starters, this does not mean the home has been professionally cleaned by any means. Also, when sellers take down art and or photos off the walls, there are often nail holes left behind and the seller is not obligated to spackle them.

 

In addition, once furniture is removed, there can be spots on the carpet and other surprises that the buyer should anticipate potentially dealing with as there is no way to see everything when a home is occupied and there is furniture in the way.

 

Often times when a seller moves out and the home is vacant, many things that were not visible in photographs when furntiure ext. where still in the house, are now visible when empty. This can include stain on carpets, holes in walls and perhaps even issues with other types of flooring, like laminate floors with stains or damage.

 

Be prepared to either hire a professional service to clean the house to your satisfication or factor in the time to do it yourself. Expecting that it will already been done, is an unrealistic expectation and one that cathces a lot of buyers off guard.

 

“People’s perception of broom clean is very different, so buyers should plan on hiring a housecleaner so the home is clean to their liking,” Monique Higginson said. “Often sellers will leave paint or other items at the home, but those should be removed by the seller unless the buyer gives them permission to leave the items.”

 

Xeriscaping in Utah

Should you be Xeriscaping in Utah?  Here are a few things to consider!

Let’s face it, Salt Lake City is a desert.  A high desert, but still with our annual precipitation rates, we 100% qualify as a desert. Living in the desert, such as we do in Utah, can make keeping a green grass and fully landscaped yard a spendy endeavor.  Not only that, but it is not terribly environmentally friendly.

According to the WSS Water Usage table: “Running a typical sprinkler from a standard garden hose (5/8”) for one hour uses about 1,020 gallons of water; if you run it three times per week, that is about 12,240 gallons per month.”  When it is 90+ degrees out there and you have to water every day to keep your lawn alive, well… it adds up.

That is why we are seeing more and more homeowners lean towards xeriscaping in Utah.  Just what IS xeriscaping?  Xeriscaping is a way of landscaping that uses drought-resistant plants, natural elements, and water-wise features to reduces the need to water your space.

Here are some of the benefits of xeriscaping in Utah:

 

  1. You will DRASTICALLY reduce the amount of water you use in your yard.  This is better for the environment and much more affordable for you.
  2. Water-wise plants can be quite beautiful
  3. No weekly mowing, trimming and weeding your lawn (though be careful in thinking that xeriscaping means “maintenance free,” it does take time and care and you’ll probably still have to weed).
  4. Xeriscaping with native plants reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides.
  5. Your yard isn’t going to die if you go out of town for a week and forget to have someone water

 

Here are our top tips for xeriscaping in Utah:

 

  1. Using native plants for the area will give you a could chance of success, these plants have already adapted to the elements and climate.
  2. Also, due to their deep root system, using native plants when xeriscaping in Utah, means they can survive with the little water they capture from rainwater runoff. These plants are also resistant to freezing, common diseases, pests, and herbivores.
  3. Having some form of irrigation may be necessary depending on your layout and plant selection.  This can be natural irrigation channels that are built into your xeriscaping layout.
  4. Rain barrels may be a great option to collect rain run-off and distribute in your yard or to your house plants. (Check your city ordinances, since rain barrel collection isn’t allowed everywhere)
  5. Don’t think you have to plant everywhere – you can use natural elements like stone, sand, gravel, and wood to create a beautiful landscape.
  6. Weeds can be aggressive when you take out a lawn – so be sure to be aggressive and ruthless back.

 

Our BEST resources for xeriscaping in Utah:

 

  • Contact Salt Lake City Public Utilities, rain barrels are for sale for $68. The barrels have a mosquito screen, threaded spigot, two ¾-inch overflow valves, and 60-gallon capacity.  A GREAT deal.
  • Find a list of native plants for Utah here.
  • Find information on how to design a Wildlife Garden here.

Staging Your Home in the Winter Months

Staging your home in the winter months is just as important, if not more so, than in the summer time. Accomplishing that warm and welcoming feel just takes a few steps and some attention to some minor details and your home can be brought out of hibernation. Make a good first impression from the moment perspective buyers pull up curbside. By creating a welcoming and relaxing environment, buyers will take extra time exploring the home.

1. Snow removal.

This may seem like an obvious first step as you want people to not only have easy access to your home, but for obvious safety reasons as well, but don’t forget those outdoor spaces you may also want to feature. Decks and patios that are a sellable feature for your home need to be accessible as well.

2. Create a warm welcome.

Hanging a winter wreath on the front door. If possible, have seasonal plants like spruce on the walkway or front porch. Be sure you turn those lights on early to avoid people approaching a dark house.

3. Provide a place to wipe feet.

Have a welcome mat and an indoor rug inside the door. Decide whether you want to keep the outdoor elements outside and then provide a place for people to wipe their feet or take off their shoes. Offering shoe covers is another affordable option.

4. Turn up the lights and the heat!

No one is comfortable meandering around a cold, dark house. You want guests to linger, checking out all the details that make your home appealing.

5. Create cozy spaces.

If you have a fireplace, light it. Use extra pillows and throws on the furniture, light some candles and pile a few books on that coffee table. This will allow potential buyers to see decorating possibilities as well as make them comfortable.

Looking for additional tips on staging or selling your home?  Here are a few more articles that might help you out:

The Autumn Home Maintenance Checklist You Need Today

Get going on your autumn home maintenance today!

Autumn is in the air – you can feel it in the mornings. That means you’re probably thinking about doing some autumn cleaning. (You DO a big clean in the fall right?)  Hold on though! You also need to be thinking about some key autumn home maintenance items as well! Doing these 8 things at least 1-2 times a year will save you time, money, and a big headache down the road.  The goal is to prevent things from going wrong or catching little problems early BEFORE they become major problems.

We created a handy check list of 8 autumn home maintenance items you should be checking every year.  As a matter of fact, you can probably get these done in one weekend and then you don’t have to worry!

1.  Check your gutters and down spouts

Gutters and down spouts get all clogged up over the winter with leaves and debris.  Get up on a ladder every autumn and clear that gunk out.  It will save you leaks, breaks, pools of stagnant water and a big repair bill.  You should also do this in the spring, FYI.

2.  Get your chimney inspected and cleaned – by an actual chimneysweep

Looking forward to a roaring fire in your fireplace this autumn?  Be sure that you get your chimney inspected and cleaned by an ACTUAL chimneysweep.  They will clean out soot, remove blockages and creosote build up – all of which can ignite when you *ahem* fire up your fireplace.

A chimneysweep will also inspect the liner, firebox and damper to make sure that they are in good condition and as efficient as possilbe for heating.

They will also make sure that there aren’t any critters making a home of your chimney.

3.  Check seals on windows and doors

Check and repair any seals on window sills, door sills, and thresholds.  Look for damaged or peeling caulk, splinters, loose panes and gaps.  While you’re at it add weatherstripping to doors.  Any gaps let out warm air and also increase your heating bill in the autumn and winter. Here is a handy guide for how to caulk your windows.

4. Rake those leaves

It can be a pain to keep up on, but be sure to rake all those leaves.  If they stay on the ground over the winter under the snow, they can rot, mildew and even kill your grass.  Making your spring garden cleanup that much more difficult.

5.  Filter out those dirty filters

Guys. HVAC filters get D.I.R.T.Y.  They collect dust, pollen, pet hair and dirt.  And then recirculate all those things back through your house if you don’t clean or replace them regularly.  This is something you’ll want to check several times a year.

6.  Don’t forget about your dryer and refrigerator

When doing autumn home maintenance, don’t forget to check your dryer vent.  It gets clogged up and makes your dryer work that much harder.  Which makes your electricity bill go up.

And while you’re at it, check your refrigerator coils.  Chances are they need a good vacuum.  Not only are they really gross when they are covered in dust, they also make your fridge less efficient.

7.  Drain that water heater

Your water heater should be 100% drained a couple of times a year.  The reason?  All kinds of minerals and sediment build up in the bottom.  Which equals corrosion and water that doesn’t heat as fast as you’d like.

8.  Test your smoke detectors

This autumn home maintenance item can literally save your life.  Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and put fresh batteries in.  While you’re at it why not make sure that your family knows what to do when an alarm goes off.  A household fire drill goes a long way.

Need a hand?

Check out our list of trusted vendors, contractors, supplier and all around handy types who can help you if you run into problems (or they can just take care of this stuff for you).  They’ll give you a hand with the whole spring home maintenance thing!

Beyond Curb Appeal: Staging the Exterior of Your Home To Sell

They say first impressions are important – and the exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers will see. That’s why staging the exterior of your home is just as important as staging the interior. Here is our project list for getting the outside of your house ready beyond just curb appeal.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home: Repairs

The first thing you need to ask when getting your home ready to sell is if there are any obvious repairs that need to take place.  Walk around your house with a critical eye.  Look at the paint, trim, siding, roof, window casings, doors, foundation – is there anything that looks old, chipped, damaged or rough?

Sometimes when staging the exterior of your home it helps to stand back at the street and look from the point of view of a buyer that might be driving by.  What can they see?  Where are the rough spots? What are the best features of your home that you want to highlight?

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home: Pressure Wash Surfaces & Wash Windows

Homes collect dust, grime, dirt and pollution.  Your house may look like it needs a coat of exterior paint, but it *may* just be dirty!  When staging the exterior of your home, removing the layers of dirt from your house and driveway and walkways will make it look fresh and new again.

When staging the exterior of your home you should even look at cleaning any patio furniture and potted plants – they get dusty too.

You can DIY a pressure wash, but it might be worth your time to hire a professional.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home: Fix Any Pet Damage

One important aspect of staging the exterior of your home is fix any damage caused by your dog!  You may love your dog – but the next owner of your house won’t want to deal with any yard problems.

Some things to look for:

  • Scratched fencing, scratched wood on the deck or scratches on the back door
  • Bare patches in your lawn or dead grass
  • Holes dug in the garden

Ideally, there should be no sign of your dog (or cat) when prospective buyers come to call.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home:  Think Green

During the summer, greenery makes all the difference.  Make sure that the front lawn is green, weeded and trimmed.  Flower beds should  be manicured and freshly planted and weed-free.   No one wanted to move in and feel like they have instantly have weeding to do.  Finally, adding some potted plants to the porch is a nice touch and a way to go the extra mile.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home:  Little Touches

A few extra touches will make a BIG impact:

  • Replace or refresh the hardware on the door
  • Make sure that any fountains, fire pits or spot lights are turned on
  • Make sure that blinds or shads look clean and well cared for
  • Refresh your home address signage – make the numbers big and easy to see from the street
  • Leave your lights on at night – it allows people to drive by and see the house in its *ahem* best light in the evening

 

Some additional resources:

 

 

Three Questions to Ask A Contractor – Before Your Hire Them

Need a contractor?  Here are the 3 questions to ask a contractor BEFORE you sign a contract!

As a homeowner, hiring a contractor to do work on your home can be stressful and time consuming. A lot can go wrong. To help you, here are our top 3 questions to ask a contractor that you may not have considered.  These questions will help you save some time and energy in finding a contractor that is the best fit for you.

1.  Ask to talk to references

Our number one on the list of questions to ask a contractor is: Ask for references.  And reviews on Yelp or Houzz don’t count.  Ask to speak to someone on the phone that your contractor did work for in the past year.  A reputable contractor will be more than willing to let you talk to a satisfied customer.

Some things to discuss:

  • What type of work did this contractor do for you?
  • What was your experience with your contractor?  Did they deliver on the agreed upon work?
  • Were they able to stick to project timelines or did they communicate about any unanticipated delays?
  • Did they stick to the budget or discuss any unexpected expenditures or overtime?
  • How would you rate the quality of their work?
  • Would you hire them again?

While you are at it, you can ask to see photos, portfolios or do drive-bys (for exterior or landscaping) of their work.

 

2.  Ask About Payment

Another one of our questions to ask a contractor is all about the money.  Always get a clear (written!) answer on payment and the fee schedule.  It is good to get full clarity on payment BEFORE the work starts.

Some things to ask about:

  • Do you require a deposit?  How much
  • Who pays for materials and supplies?
  • When is final payment due?  Is it when you finish the work, within 30 days, etc.
  • How do you invoice? Is the invoice itemized?
  • What forms of payment do you accept?

Estimate vs. Quote?

Another question you will want to ask: Is this an estimate or is it a firm quote?  Keep in mind that an estimate is just a guess based on what they think a job might cost.  A firm quote is much more definite (assuming of course there are no major surprises or add-ons to the job).  Again, be sure to specify and get all quotes in writing.

 

3.  Ask to See Their Credentials

Another one of our questions to ask a contractor has to do with making sure they can safely provide you with the services you need.

Always ask for:

  • License and any certifications
  • Proof that they do background checks on their employees
  • Proof of insurance – you don’t want to be liable if someone is injured on your property
  • And if it is a major remodel you can even ask to be added as co-insured on their carrier

Remember, your contractor is going to be working in your home – you want to be sure that, like any guest, you feel comfortable with them being there.

 

Finally some resources:

If you have any thoughts on questions to ask a contractor, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.