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Staging Your Home to Sell

Appeal to Prospective Buyers

Put away the dirty sneakers by the door. Hang the jackets and coats in the closet and freshen the air with potpourri. Staging your home to sell is important if you want it to leave a lasting positive image in potential buyer’s minds. You want to emphasize your home’s strengths and underscore its weaknesses. With a few easy staging strategies, you will appeal to a greater amount of prospective buyers and leave many thinking, “Wow, this is a beautiful home!”

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Captivating Curb Appeal

House hunters looking in particular neighborhoods, often drive up down the streets looking for sale signs or even open houses. If your home has poor curb appeal, looky-loos will likely  keep on driving straight pass your address. First impressions are key! Make sure your home is dressed to sell.

  • Power wash siding and walkways
  • Hang easy-to-read house numbers
  • Plant blooming flowers for a pop of color
  • Mow lawn, and reseed or add fresh sod as needed
  • Wash front windows and screens
  • Repaint or stain the porch and rails as needed

Sparkle and Shine

When meeting someone for the first time,  you have seven seconds to make a great first impression. Same holds true for your home. The easiest and the least expensive way to make sure your home passes the seven second rule is to clean and make each surface shine. Scrub grout, clean baseboards, touch up scuffs on walls, and don’t forget to clean window tracks. Put your best foot forward by making your home sparkle.

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Contain the Clutter

Nothing is less appealing than seeing clutter. Getting your house ready to sell is a great opportunity to purge all that you may have been hoarding. Clutter can include stacks of mail, receipts, lists and phone messages. However, look even beyond the little stuff. Put away unnecessary kitchen appliances and even the coffee mug tree. Too much furniture is also a sign of clutter, so if you don’t absolutely need it, then think about storing it. Put away or pack all the family photos on the sofa table, mantle or walls. Clean and cleared off surfaces equates to more space in the eyes and minds of prospective buyers.

Stash Your Style

Your home may currently reflect your eclectic, vintage, or flower power style, but in order to appeal to the greatest amount of potential buyers, you may want to pull back your style a bit.  Make your home look sophisticated by using a more neutral color palette. This is only temporary, so don’t be too disappointed. You can bring back your homes personality in your new place!

Reposition Your Furniture

Rooms with symmetrical furniture groupings are appealing to the eye. Even more importantly, pulling your furniture away from the walls and floating it centrally in the room will open the space and make the room appear bigger. Rearrange sofas, chairs and tables into cozy conversational arrangements and create obvious traffic flow in the room.

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 Purpose Your Spaces and Rooms

Do you have a catch all room or an awkward space that is used for storage? Re-purpose these areas and make sense of the space. Stage your extra room as a guest room, home office or den. In order for prospective buyers to realize your home’s potential, clearly define each room and odd space. Small spaces, like those under stairs, a small nook or alcove can become unique areas that are useful. Transforming these spaces into work stations, a mail center or a quite reading area will make for a great selling feature.

Fresh, Fruity and Floral

Don’t ignore the bathrooms, make an effort to make them look spa like. No dirty soap trays, no hair ties, brushes or bobby-pins. Add fresh decorative soap to your soap dish, and hang fresh clean bath and hand towels. Also, be sure the garbage pail is always empty and clean. For other fresh accents throughout the house, leave a bowl of lemons and limes or red and green apples out on the kitchen island. Fresh flowers in an attractive glass vase in the dining room, entry way or family room is also eye catching and most often creates a nice fragrance.

Create Closet Envy

Every potential buyer will open your closet to see if it is spacious. Don’t let them down by stuffing it full or having it be completely chaotic. Organize your closets by packing away unseasonal clothes, shoes and accessories. Clear off or at least organize the top shelf by investing in a few inexpensive decorative boxes or baskets to store items that are just laying about. Strive to have 20 to 30 percent open space in each closet to give the impression of large closet areas.

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Outdoor Living in Style

Everyone enjoys fresh air and outdoor living. Create an outdoor space that invites potential buyers to imagine hosting family and friend gatherings. Be certain that any features like a pool or fire pit are clean and free of debris and toys. Consider seasonal embellishments by adding out door ambiance. Fresh lemonade in an attractive pitcher with clean glasses laid out on the patio table during the summer or a cozy fire roaring in your fire pit during the winter will add that little extra appeal. If your a condo owner with a tiny outdoor balcony or patio, dress it up with a café or bistro set. Add a cheerful table setting, a service tray with a teapot and tea cups or fresh juice and glasses will inspire your prospective buyers. They won’t be thinking, “oh what a small space.” They will instead imagine this quant space as being a perfect spot for a relaxed breakfast.

Staging your home to sell with these tips will excite your prospective buyers and help them to see the full potential your home has to offer.

Hero Highlight Wednesday | 5 Minutes to Change the World

Hero Highlight Wednesday

These kids prove that changing the world and making it better can be done in as short as 5 minutes. Take a look at how these students have challenged each other to do just that each day for a week at their school.

http://youtu.be/oROsbaxWH0M

We are here to help with our closing cost grants for everyday heroes. Contact us for more info!

10 Great Apps for Homebuyers

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There’s An App For That!

Todays high tech mobile device world allows us to find what we are looking for right at the end of our fingertips anytime we like. If you are house hunting, trying to define real estate terms, or wanting information about a particular neighborhood , there are apps that can help. These 10 great apps for homebuyers will make searching for your dream home a great deal easier.

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Realtor.com  A free app that can search for homes for sale using particular criteria. Get alerts on price changes on the listings you have saved. You can even write notes directly to listings you are interested in. All these features plus so many more make this a great app.

 

homesnap Homesnap This free app allows you to snap a photo of any home in the US with your mobile device and then Homesanp will identify it and give you details about that property.  This is a fun app even if you aren’t looking to buy a home, maybe you just want to see what is happening in the market place.

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truila_app

Trulia  Has great new features in their free app that can help you find what you want in a new home. This app has auto notification, maps and directions and full screen property images.

 

 

100_terms100 Real Estate Terms to Know  What does HMDA, origination fees, buy-down mortgage or hypothecation mean? Find out with this handy app that defines terms and helps you understand real estate lingo.

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quicken_calculatorMortgage Calculator by Quicken Loans Need to crunch the numbers on the go, then get this free app by Quicken Loans. Their are 4 different calculators; Payment: Purchase Calculator, Payment: Refinance Calculator, Amortization Calculator and the Home Affordability Calculator. All are user friendly and offer expandable answers that show additional information.

 

walk_score_appWalk Score  Find neighborhood restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, schools, parks, and more with this convenient free app. Discover what locals have to say about the area you are interested in moving to. You can also search your commute route and average time of travel with this app. Available for Android too!

walk_score_screenshots

great_schools_appGreatSchools Finder Looking for neighborhoods with great schools that have high ratings, than download this free app.  Discover detailed ratings, reviews, and test scores and find the schools you feel are the best fit for you and your family. Great app for families who are relocating.

 

MagicPlan This free app is magic indeed!  magic_plan_appMake floor plans of your home or the one you are interested in buying. Take pictures of different rooms and this app will measure your rooms then draw your floor plans for you. In addition, you can add objects, annotations, and attributes to create an interior diagram of your home. This app is for Android devices as well.

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Sitegeist_appSitegeist Another free app! This one helps you to learn more about the demographics of a particular area. Find out statistics about age distribution, political contributions, average rent, commuting, temperature data, and popular local spots.

 

crime_stats_appCrimeReports  Keep you and your family safe. With this free app you can get real-time access to neighborhood level crime and sex offender information.  The app allows you to filter crime data by location, date, and crime type.

 

 

These 10 Great Apps for Homebuyers will help you find that dream home you want. Most are available for both Apple and Android, making it easy to take your house hunting efforts mobile.

Out of the Ordinary Summer Camp Options

summer_campers

Time For Summer Fun!

Schools out and kids everywhere will be off to summer camps soon. Many parents will choose the typical outdoor fun adventure camp to send their kids to, but nowadays there are so many choices for families to select from. Summer camps across the country are catering to the many interests and aspirations that kids today share. With all the unique and out of the ordinary summer camp options, there is something for everyone. Here are some of our favorites in no particular order.

Trackers Earth

Location: Bay Area, California

http://youtu.be/-RMI6dlv5JU

At Trackers Earth Summer Camps, kids of all ages will experience one of a kind adventures. Here is what they have to say about their unique camp experiences, “We offer archery with expert instructors, go fishing by the oceanside, build fires training you in outdoor survival, live a story in Middle Earth, or harvest wild plants for homemade root-beer. Our method is to revive outdoor lore and traditional skills, working to restore the common sense that is no longer common. Our vision is to help foster a deep appreciation for the natural world and community.”  Themes include: School of Magic, Fishing on the Dock of the Bay, Stealth, Archery, & Wilderness Survival, Archery Academy and Bowmaking, Wilders Garden: The Little House, Realms of Cascadia: Middle Earth Adventure, Forest Ninja, Ye Ol’ Blacksmith Camp and more. Check out the link to find out more information about this incredible summer camp at  Trackers Earth.

Wizards and Warriors Summer Camps and Adventures

Location: Burlington and Reading, Massachusetts.

Calling all heroes, and villains alike! This camp offers kids the chance to become a character, build their character history, learn the code of heroes and the lore of the land. If your child loves all things mystical and enjoys role playing, costumes, and making new friends then check out this camp for a great summer adventure at Wizards and Warriors

Independent Lake Camp

Location: Orson, Pennsylvania

This camp offers something for everyone! Located in the beautiful Endless Mountain region of the Pocono Mountains. Here kids and families can choose from a variety of sport camps, digital arts, theater, dance, circus, magic, skatepark, RPG (role playing games), rockshop (rock music), and so much more. Click on the link to find out about Independent Lake Camp and all it has to offer.. 

Pali Adventures

Location: Running Springs, California

Pali Adventures is another summer camp that satisfies even the pickiest of campers. This camp spreads out on 74 acres in the San Bernardino Mountains in sunny southern California. They offer 18 different camp adventures which include Secret Agent Camp, Fashion Camp, DJ Camp, Culinary Camp, Extreme Action Camp, Movie Make-Up Camp, Hollywood Stunt Camp and so many more. Check it out for yourself, you will be amazed at all the adventures your kids can choose from at Pali Adventures.

FunCamps

Location: Miami/Dade, Boca Raton, Vero Beach, Florida 

http://youtu.be/_8QwIpwA0a8

FunCamps has seven amazing camp themes to select from and was chosen by Disney as one of the top 5 unique kids camps in the country. You and your kids can choose a program specializing in magic, science and space, dinosaurs, performing arts, video game creation, and robotics. FunCamps has over 20 years of experience. You can download their brochure here, http://bit.ly/1kvUOPY or go to their homepage to find out more about the amazing summer camp options at FunCamps.

Plantation Farm Camp

Location: Sonoma County, California

This working farm summer camp experience is located on 500 acres of some of the most beautiful land in all of California. Redwood trees, lush green coastal foothills and less than 2 miles from the Pacific Ocean makes this camp experience like no other. Open since 1952, this camp immerses its campers in a real working farm. “Your child will be a hands-on, active participant in our farm community, with the freedom to choose their own activities every day. At Plantation farm one of their main goals is to teach kids how to live a sustainable lifestyle and leave less of a carbon footprint on the land. Campers have many activities to choose from during their stay, which include horseback riding for all levels, gardening, cooking, woodshop, canoeing, swimming and more. Click here to find out more about this out of the ordinary summer camp option Plantation Farm Camp.

Other Out of the Ordinary Summer Camp Options

 Camp Lohikan

Digital Media Academy

iD Game Design & Development Academy 

Camp Jam

Hero Highlight Wednesday | The Power of One

Hero Highlight Wednesday

For this week I wanted to share how each individual has the power to change the world around them and be an everyday hero. Sometimes all it takes is a smile or one small act of kindness or even a great gesture. The power of one is infectious. Watch this video by the Brainheart Agency, from the Art Director Rem Bruijn and Director Hailey Bartholomew. It is an inspiring look at how each of us can make a difference.

http://vimeo.com/90599665

We are here to help with our closing cost grants for everyday heroes. Contact us for more info!

Happy New Homeowners | The Briskie’s

EHHAF Helped Matt Briskie Buy a Home

matt-01  matt_02  matt_03

We are always happy to hear from the families that we able to help. Matt Briskie – Happy Homeownership!

Thank you so much to the EHHAF. I was nervous about the idea of home ownership, especially with so many of my brothers in the Fire Service having to walk away from their homes in the last few years. After doing some research I found the EHHAF. I was skeptical at first, but through this program I was set up with a great mortgage agent and an amazing real estate agent. With their help, I was able to find a home in the neighborhood I wanted to live, get an affordable mortgage and get the entirety of the closing costs covered and then some! I spent years working extra overtime and saving everything I could to make this possible, but the EHHAF is what carried me across the finish line and into home ownership. EHHAF, I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for everything you do for us in the Emergency Services.

Matt Briskie

Firefighter Paramedic, Riverside County Fire Department

See how EveryDay Hero Housing Housing Assistance Fund can help you become a homeowner

Hero Highlight Wednesday | Dog Rescue

Hero Highlight Wednesday

Many of us interact with everyday heroes on a daily basis. The people who are teachers, fireman, policeman, nurses, and doctors are of course considered everyday heroes. What is even more incredible are those people who innately do random acts of kindness for other’s including animals. These everyday heroes are truly inspiring. Watch this video and see how this families random act of kindness saved a dog who would have otherwise been left to die.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdh1nAHWuqE

 

We are here to help with our closing cost grants for everyday heroes. Contact us for more info!

5 Great Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend

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This weekend many families will be celebrating what has become known as the first weekend of summer. Memorial Day weekend is a time for many to relax and enjoy an extra day off work. Traditionally the holiday was celebrated on May 30th, but it was moved to the last Monday of May in 1971. Memorial Day is a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered. This weekend while you are having fun and relaxing with family and friends, take time to honor those who died for our country. Here are 5 great ways to celebrate Memorial Day weekend.

Holiday Celebration Activities

1. Red, white and blue – Show your American spirit by wearing badges, pins, or a t-shirt, anything that shows your patriotism. For added family fun make one or more of these items with your children to wear to a family picnic this weekend.

2. Visit a Veteran’s hospital. Taking time to talk with elderly or injured veterans is a great way to bring cheer to their day, also you may very likely hear some incredibly captivating stories about their time in the service. To involve your children, another idea could be to create small potted plants/flowers to hand out at the hospital.

3. With children in mind, educate them about the history of Memorial Day and use the teaching time to make fun patriotic crafts with them. Check out these kid friendly patriotic projects .

4. Visit a national cemetery or local memorial and pay tribute to the fallen heroes by bringing flowers to lay or small flags to put in the ground. This too could be a family activity. It may seem a bit disturbing at first, but it will help children to begin to understand that those who serve in our military sometimes pay the ultimate sacrifice and die to protect our country. It helps to give meaning to the reason we honor their bravery.

5. Make a donation. Gather up good conditioned used items around your house and take them to a veterans donation facility, check this site to find one near you. If you are so inclined, have a garage sale this weekend and donate your proceeds to a service family who lost a loved one or a veterans organization. Get your family and neighbors involved too.

Hero Highlight Wednesday | Meet Hoot Gibson

Here at Everyday Hero Housing Fund, we are committed to all the wonderful people who give to others, whether that be through their employment or as a volunteer. We want to share some of the stories we find about these everyday heroes with you. Our new weekly post will be called “Hero Highlight Wednesday”. If you know an everyday hero, share your story in the comments or find us on Facebook.

Meet Hoot Gibson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zvmf_6rkdzE

 

We are here to help with our closing cost grants for everyday heroes. Contact us for more info!

Thinking About Remodeling?

 6 Guidelines to Consider When Thinking About Remodeling

remodeling

Whether your home is new or older, the likelihood that you will want to make changes to fit your lifestyle or personal taste will eventually creep into your mind. When thinking about remodeling, there are several things to consider. Most people start with, should I remodel or move? Will a remodel be cost effective? Should I do the work myself, or hire a contractor? All great questions to think about. Here are some guidelines to help when thinking about remodeling for the first time.

Planning Can Save Time and Money

Start gathering pictures of styles that appeal to you,  fixtures you like and color palettes that you favor. Be sure to match your tastes to your budget. This will help you stay on track and keep the momentum moving forward.

DYI or Contractor

If you are confident in your abilities as a handyman/woman, then certainly you can save a great deal of money tackling small remodeling projects on your own. However, large jobs like basements, kitchens and master baths, can be challenging if you are a first timer. Hiring a good contractor takes some diligence. Find one with good references. Check to make sure they are a member with NARI – National Association of the Remodeling Industry  http://www.nari.org/. Checking that they have a good standing with the BBB is also smart.

Visit Current Work

Pictures don’t always tell the whole truth. Ask the contractor’s you are considering if you can visit a current work site to see firsthand how they operate. You will gain valuable insight about how the contractor maintains cleanliness, organization and safety on the job.

Get It In Writing

The best laid plans are worthless without having a solid contract. A detailed contract will help everyone involved keep within budget and stay on time for completion. Be sure the contract includes the right address, start date, completion date, and a detail of what is and is not going to be done.

The Scout Law of “Being Prepared”

Know in advance that living in a construction zone comes with a variety of complexities. Living without major appliances, like those in your kitchen, can be a challenge at meal times.  You will minimize inconvenience by establishing  a make shift kitchen away from the construction zone. Include a refrigerator and microwave oven, so you can continue to make light meals at home.

Protect Your Precious Possessions

Remodeling will effect most every room in the house no matter how hard you or your contractor try to contain the mess that goes with construction. Put away pictures and artwork, store and pack away valuables before work starts. Cover items that can’t be removed; for example, chandeliers, pianos and electronics. This will save these items from the dust ball that is inherent with remodeling or even possible damage.

Beginning with these guidelines, when thinking about remodeling, will help you stay on budget and hopefully minimize the stress level.