Real Estate

Kitchen Improvements Under $100

KitchenImprovblog

Want to spruce up your kitchen but stuck on a tight budget? Check out the list of improvements you can get started on for under $100. These tips can come in handy when you’re ready to list your home to sell on the market.

1. REFRESH THE SINK:

If your sink is starting to look outdated, find an affordable, yet stylish, replacement. If you have the eye for DIY, you can also purchase some sandpaper and a $4 can of spray paint that is made for metal, and dye it to refresh and brighten the color.

2. HANG A NEW LIGHT FIXTURE

A decorative light fixture doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can generally find some decent ones that are under $100. Go for a chrome finish or choose the rustic route, whichever suits the current decor in your kitchen. You can also add LED lights under your kitchen cabinets for around $10-$20.

3. PAINT THE CABINETS

With care taken in the prep work, you can refinish the paint on your cabinets. You can generally get a kit around $75. Refreshing the paint color or the stain can make your kitchen feel brand new.

4. TURN YOUR FRIDGE INTO A CHALKBOARD

Chalkboard finishes are a hot trend, especially on the fridge! They add more functionality by allowing home owners to write grocery lists, menus, and even to-dos. Use painters tape to outline the shape and size you want to use as the chalkboard then coat it with magnetic primer, then chalkboard paint.

5. REPLACE OUTLET PLATES

Replace the outdated outlet wall plates for your light switches. You can add some character to it by using bold patterns, bright colors, or elegant textures. If they look faded, yellow, or chipped, they’re a cheap fix to replace.

6. CHANGE HARDWARE

Replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets and drawers can provide a drastic change to your kitchen. Not only can you get rid of hideous outdated hardware, but you can add a completely new feel to the theme of your kitchen just by updating the hardware throughout it.

7. EXPAND STORAGE

Have empty wall space? Search your local home stores for cute baskets or storage containers you can use to fill the space. Not only can it add some character to your kitchen, it also adds functionality and more storage options. A feature buyers love if you’re thinking of listing your home.

8. DRESS UP YOUR DECOR

Bring some color to your kitchen. Throw out decor that looks like it belongs in the 90’s, rugs that are falling apart, and anything else that weighs down a fresh look. Add in some new rugs and hand towels that match your personality and the theme you’re trying to achieve. You can also add some plants and decorative pieces to add character.

9. CLEAN UP THE CLUTTER

The best cleaning tip I can give all of my clients is to remove the clutter. Nothing is a bigger eye sore than too many things. It also messes with the energy in a home. Throw out a lot of things that are taking up too much space. If it’s sentimental, see if you can store it in a new place or even donate it.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
jennifercoteATX.com
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Real Estate

10 Home Chores To Do Annually

homechoresblog

Sing me some graces, there is such a thing as over-cleaning! Here are ten chores around the home that you really only need to do annually, minus special circumstances. Let’s dive in!

1. Curtains & Drapes

Unfortunately, we don’t mean the dusting part. You’ll want to dust at least once a month, but when it actually comes time to getting them cleaned, you only really need to do that once a year. You can take them in to get dry cleaned or follow the instructions on their tags if you choose to wash them at home.

2. House Gutters

Gutter guards can be a great investment, especially if you live around trees that shed all year long. These can keep your gutter cleanings minimal, generally about once per year. You’ll want to do this in the autumn when all of the leaves from the trees have already fallen.

3. Fireplace & Chimney

After the winter, you’ll want to give your fireplace a thorough cleaning. You can use a shop vacuum to clean up the embers. Make sure to wash down the fireplace tools as well. Go an extra step further and schedule an appointment with a chimney sweeper.

4. Carpets

We wish we meant vacuuming, but that’s pretty much a weekly or biweekly task for most households. In this case, we mean a deep clean. The best time to get this taken care of is right after summer.

5. Outdoor Furniture

The best time to clean outdoor furniture is when you bring them out of storage for Spring. Of course, if messes up happen while you’re using them, you want to clean the spots right away, so you avoid an accumulation of stains in a short period.

6. Mattress

Mattresses have improved through the years but they still need a little bit of attention. At least once a year, give your mattress a thorough cleaning and change the position of it.

7. Kitchen Cabinets & Pantry

Early November is a great time to clean out kitchen cabinets, drawers, and the food pantry to get them ready for the holidays. Do a section of cabinets at a time and empty them out completely. Wipe down the shelves and reline with shelf paper if needed.

8. Linen Closet

Just once a year, empty out your linen closet and give it a thorough cleaning. Take time to vacuum away dust and spiderwebs and reline any shelves.

9. Garage, Basement, & Attic

No one is expecting you to have a perfect garage, basement, or attic. However, a good cleaning at least once a year can help you keep an eye on things, such as moisture or insect problems. It can also feel good to get rid of junk that tends to accumulate in these hidden spaces.

If you’re in the market to sell your home, you can always give me a call, and I’ll refer over some preferred vendors that can help you knock out your cleaning tasks.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Save Your Home From Dryer Fires

Dryer+LRE blog

Every year, more than 2900 home fires are started by clothes dryers. The leading cause of these fires are from a build of up lint from lack of maintenance. The removable lint filter unfortunately doesn’t catch all of the cloth and fabric particles, so maintenance requires a little more than just emptying the filter after each load. Whether you live in your own home or plan to purchase in the near future, it’s important to have safeguards in place for the utilities that you use that could put your home at risk. You want to make sure that the lint that gets trapped in crevices and in the hose on it’s way outside are thoroughly cleaned.

Here are a few warning signs to look for that may indicate your dryer is getting clogged up by lint:

  • Clothes are taking a lot longer to dry, and sometimes not even drying all the way.
  • Clothes may be hotter by the end of the cycle.
  • The outside of the dryer starts to get really hot.
  • The outside exhaust vent flapper isn’t opening much.
  • The laundry room begins to feel really humid.
  • There is a burnt smell in the laundry room.

If this seems to be the case, then you’ll want to evaluate your dryer. The tools you need to clean it are as follows:

  • A vacuum with a long hose attachment.
  • Dryer vent brush kit.
  • Screwdriver
  • UL listed metal foil duct tape

Here are 4 steps to cleaning your dryer:

1. Remove the lint trap filter and make sure it’s completely cleaned off. You want to make sure you’re cleaning the filter after every load to help prevent lint build up.

2. Vacuum the space that houses the lint trap filter. The filter doesn’t capture all of the particles, and this is the second place the lint will begin to accumulate.

3. Disconnect the dryer duct and clean out the duct with a long hose from a vacuum. You can also use a duct brush to help you complete a more thorough job.

4. Make sure the duct is connected properly. You don’t want it cinched in any part of the duct, to prevent crevices where the lint can get stuck.

No one knows the value your home has as much as this real estate pro, keep it protected by taking some simple cautionary steps to keeping everything in running order. And if you’re in need of a brand new laundry room altogether, don’t forget to give me a call.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

2019 Can Cost You Ten’s of Thousands

2019 can cost blog

“I’ll hold off buying a home until next year.” If you’ve thought of purchasing a home, but don’t want to deal with the process now, you’ve probably had this thought cross your mind a time or two. A pretty common tendency to hold off things on our to-do list, especially the ones that seem like a lot of work. But would you hold off the task if I told you that waiting could make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars? Meaning it could cost you a $10,000-$50,000 (or more) difference to get the home you want today, in 2019’s market.

It’s anticipated, by the national historical trend report, that homes are on the rise by over 5% each year. That house you’ve been eyeing online, listed for $225,000, could be listed next year for $236,250. That is over $10,000 more just for waiting till 2019. This isn’t even bringing into question the rising APR rates for mortgages, that can increase your monthly payment amount on a home pretty significantly, as well.

I get it, the home buying process can seem pretty intimidating. But with an experienced agent on your side, it can actually go pretty smoothly. Let’s get in touch. It won’t hurt to connect you with a preferred lender and run the numbers through to see what you qualify for. The right time is always right now, I want to help you save the money you deserve to keep, by avoiding the wait.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Avoid The Wrong Real Estate Agent

june blog

In what will likely be the biggest investment you make in your life, buying a home needs the attention and assistance a professional real estate agent can provide. But not just any real estate agent, it’s important to find the “right” one. With the ease of being able to land a license, you want to make sure you’re hiring an agent who has the experience and drive to ensure you’re provided the tools and skills to walk away from a closing knowing your needs were met. Let’s jump into issues you can face if you don’t have the right agent on your team.

1. THE “WRONG” AGENT WON’T LISTEN.

It’s important to find a real estate agent that sits down with you and actually listens to your needs. What type of home do you want? Where do you want to live? Does the commute to school or work have to be a certain distance? Etc. Working with an agent that doesn’t take the time to listen to your real estate needs will end up wasting your time and sending you homes to look at that don’t match your needs. Sit down with an agent that wants to get to know your needs and wants to help you achieve your goal of buying your dream house.

 

2. YOU’LL GET TERRIBLE ADVICE.

Choosing the wrong agent means you’ll find yourself in situations with terrible advice. Make sure you choose an agent that is able to give you the proper direction when it comes to the whole sales process. From negotiations, to repairs, you want to ensure you choose a trusted adviser that can guide you on the right path.

 

3. THEY WON’T NEGOTIATE THE BEST DEAL FOR YOU

A great agent will negotiate for you to get an amazing deal. Now this isn’t to equate to unrealistic negotiation expectations of what the market will sell a home for – because that can mean losing your dream house. But the “wrong” agent won’t bother to negotiate on any part of the sales process. You want to find an agent that not only negotiates for you, but does it in an effective way and advises you on the best steps to take, to ensure you still get the right home.

 

4. DIFFICULT TO GET IN TOUCH WITH

A great agent has a set and active schedule that allows you to get in touch with them, or a member of their team, on a reasonable time frame. The “wrong” agent will be difficult to get a hold of, even not getting back to you during the sales process for days (sometimes even weeks.) To find a great agent, you want to find one that has dedicated business hours that allow you to get in touch with them at anytime during those hours, and is available to call you back if they miss your call, in a timely manner. This is incredibly important during the sales process, if something needs immediate attention, and your agent is nowhere to be found, you can lose the deal.

 

5. CAN LEAD TO A LEGAL MESS

The “wrong” agent can be unethical, or simply not have the proper knowledge about the legalities within the industry that is standard for agents to follow through on. As a professional, in an industry with a lot of accompanying laws, it’s a great agent’s job to know how to protect you throughout the sales process. While providing the necessary contracts and guidance to ensure you’re protected by the decisions you make as well.

 

6. AN UNHAPPY BUYING EXPERIENCE

Buying a home is an important and big process in a person’s life. If you’re buying your first home, or you’re purchasing your dream home, you don’t want the experience to be traumatizing. A great agent will be able to navigate the bumps that come up within the sales process in an experienced and professional manner. The “wrong” agent will create a mess of the sales process, not find you the right home, and you can end up with a home you don’t actually love – or one with too many issues. Find a great agent that knows the process and can ensure it goes as smoothly as possible, giving you the time to prepare for common situations that may cause delays. Although some things can occur that neither party is aware of, having an experienced agent will help you through general hurdles that could arise through the sale.

You need the right agent to find you the right home.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

It’s because of the price

may blog 3

Are you getting frustrated that your home hasn’t already sold? Has it been sitting on the market with little to no showings, while houses nearby are going under contract almost immediately? We’re here to tell you, the solution is simple: lower the price! I know, I know, you probably already heard this from your agent and thought that it was worth the price you wanted. But the truth of the matter is, the market is hot. It’s at the hottest point it has been in a long time, and if your home isn’t selling in today’s market, and your agent is working their butt off to market it, then the price is too high.

Who doesn’t want to sell what they own, and cherish, for the most they can get? And your agent wants to sell your home for top dollar as well! But if you still haven’t received an offer in such a strong seller’s market, it’s time to sit down with your agent, reevaluate your motivation to sell, and talk about a new price. Do you have goals when it comes to moving? A new house, a new state? That’s awesome! So if you want to move forward with your life, cut out the stress of slowing down your sale, and make the best decision to ensure your home can get under contract. And keep in mind, there is a highly likely chance, that by pricing lower than market value, you can anticipate a bidding frenzy that can get you even more than you anticipated. Supply and demand, it works wonders when you let your agent play the numbers to get buyers in a frenzy for your home. Drop it down to what your trusted agent recommends, and you’ll be putting your best foot forward in your market.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Spark A Bidding War

may blog 2.jpg

Ready to make a move? Have a certain figure in mind that you need to sell for? Depending on your market, you might be able to get a little more than what you may be needing. Go over with your agent if setting a bidding war is smart for the sale of your home, and if they give the green light, here are a few things to consider to help get your sales price over asking after starting a bidding competition.

 

1. ATTRACT MORE BUYERS

When there isn’t much interest in a property, buyer’s get nervous and suspicious that there may be something wrong with the home that they may be missing, and that could sometimes be further from the truth. You want to price your home competitively to entice more showings. When you price your home right under the market standard, it leads to more showings, more appointments, and more excitement around your home.

 

2. PRICE IT TO MOVE IT

You want to make sure your price gets buyers interested in your property. Even if they end up paying more than asking, the excitement from feeling like they are getting a deal and landing your home sets the right mood for buyers to WANT your property. Always price the home in a way that is going to appeal to a large audience. Pricing a home at $399,900 can generally generate more foot traffic than one listed at $400,000. Advertising a home for sale that is listed for slightly under the market value can garner a lot of interest, which can lead to the home selling for more than what the seller originally wanted.

 

3. START UP THE BUZZ

Make sure you work with an agent that has the ability to start up a coming soon buzz around your home. You want to let the market know that your home is going to be coming soon, and start up conversation and interest. This gives time for word about your home to spread to get more foot traffic and competition on your house.

 

4. STAGING IS KEY

It’s without question that to get over market value for your home, it has to be in tip-top condition. Discuss with your agent the importance of having your home professionally cleaned and stage to attract more buyers. Starting up a buzz won’t lead to much if buyers walk into your home and turned off by orders, unappealing lighting, or rooms that are not properly staged. You want to allow buyers and opportunity to see your home in the best light the first time they walk through your door.

 

5. CREATE A DEADLINE

Have your agent set a deadline for offers, say a Monday or Tuesday, right after a weekend of doing open houses. This can generate a sense of urgency around your home, letting buyers think there is a large amount of interest and to get offers in quickly. Setting them up with this state of urgency generally makes them want to put their best foot forward with their first offer.

6. SWEETEN THE DEAL

To generate a little more excitement and foot traffic, you can offer an incentive for whomever purchases the home, or set a fun giveaway during an open house. Some people have given away cars, tickets to a major event – like the Super Bowl, given away vacation tickets, etc. Doing an out-of-the-box giveaway helps to generate organic buzz around your home. Some giveaways have even landed seller’s homes in the local news. More buzz means more potential buyers, which means a potential opportunity for a bidding war to get you a better sales price.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Mistakes To Avoid On Your First Buy/Sell

may blog

If this the first time you’re considering buying a home, or selling your first purchase, there are a lot of possible challenges you can end up facing. Having the right agent can ensure you’re able to get through these challenges, but since some of the issues are universal, let’s review some mistakes you want to avoid making.

1. THE RIGHT PRICE

Pricing a property is a science of it’s own. There are a lot of components and factors, so many small details, that ultimately lead to the value of a home. Although there are a lot of sites with estimates, namely Zillow, the technology uses on online sites to determine property values are simply not accurate. Zillow even states that their numbers can be inaccurate up to a whopping 20%. Without a background as a real estate professional, it’s virtually impossible for a consumer to be able to know the proper components needed to price a home. When you’re purchasing a home, you’re want to find a deal, can lead to stubbornness about what you’re willing to pay and what you think a home is worth. But what you WANT it to be worth is the complete opposite of what it should sell for. If you’re a first time seller, you may want to sell your home for as much as you can squeeze out of it, but this can lead to unrealistic expectations, and ultimately lead to an overpriced home that never sells. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know what a home’s value should be. Instead, partner with a real estate agent that truly is working for your best interest, and let them provide you the tools to support home values, so you can place an offer, or price your home, at a number that makes sense.

2. REFUSING TO NEGOTIATE

If you go into a sale, or purchase, refusing to make negotiations, hard-set on what you want without exception, you’re more than likely going to cause a lot of grief and stress for yourself during the sales process. When you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you have to have an open mind about negotiations. They are a common practice within the industry, with buyers wanting to spend less and sellers wanting to net more. If neither party is willing to make negotiations, you’ll find yourself in a contract time and time again, only to fall apart before you can finally close on the home. Having a great agent will help you ensure you make negotiations that are reasonable to lead both parties to the closing table, without compromising you.

3. REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Although we all have an idea in our mind what our dream home should be, sometimes the market, and your budget, don’t fit realistically into check marking everything off of your list. Find an agent that helps you look for the most important needs in your dream house, but keep an open mind to a home that fits most of your needs, but not necessarily all of them. Having too many expectations within a home can become stressful and result in never finding a home that really matches your needs. If a home has the major components you are seeking, get creative and see if the other things you want can be added down the road. Have a certain number of non-negotiable items, like bedroom/bathroom count, but then have a list of “wants.”

4. YOU’RE NOT ALONE, DON’T GO IT ALONE

Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle the sales process all on your own. There is a reason that the real estate profession, and the laws around it, are as strong as ever. Real estate agents are a necessity during the sales process to ensure the right steps are taken to get a home sold. Buying and selling is a difficult process that requires knowledge and expertise that comes from a professional within the industry. From legal terms, to finding homes that aren’t even listed on the market, there are a lot of ins and outs un-experienced buyers and sellers may not think about, which can lead to losing value on your home or never finding the right one. Avoid the stress of “learning the hard way” and find a professional that can give you the guidance you need to get the task at hand completed and ensure you’re happy with the outcome.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Why You Need To Sell This Summer

blog april

The market is hot, hot, hot! With interest rates at an all time low for buyers, the market has turned into a feeding frenzy, and home sales are skyrocketing in prices. In such a high demand, seller’s market, homes are selling for record breaking prices, which means more money in your pocket. If you have been considering selling your home, doing so in today’s market will bring you a larger sales price. Don’t wait for the market to shift when interest rates begin to start going up again. The National Association of Realtors has gathered data to predict a strong 6 months of sales throughout the United States. And with such a large group of buyers hunting for homes during the summer months, you have a great potential to sell your home quickly, and move on to bigger and better things sooner.

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This is also a great buying opportunity if you are wanting to transition into a new home. Low interest rates equate to more savings. You could potentially end up getting a bigger home for the same monthly payment cost when you buy your next property. And with such a hot market, there are more homes for sale, which means you can find the right one.

If you have not already spoken with an agent, get in touch with one to get a complimentary CMA. See if the numbers work out for you and/or your family, and if moving is something you want to do. Whether you are re-sizing, or moving to a different state, your agent can get the numbers in order to make sure it’s in your best interest to transition in today’s market. Don’t wait and lose tens of thousands of dollars in your sale price!

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

From “I Do” to Sold

Idoblog

Newlyweds are saying “I do” to each other, and equate to over half of first time home buyers that are also saying “I do” to their dream homes. It makes sense! When you put two hearts together, the time comes to find a home to nourish that love. A home that brings two of your places together, and makes it one. If you and your spouse are ready to fall in love with the perfect house together, here are five tips to make sure the process goes smoothly, and you come prepared.

1. YOUR WEDDING BUDGET: Your wedding is a one-time event that shouldn’t be less than what you’d imagine. It’s a beautiful time to put all of your dream pieces together. However, it’s best to sit down and find out ways you can shift the budget to help with your down payment for a home, if you plan to purchase. The average couple spends a little over $20,000 on their wedding. Even a savings of $5000 from your wedding budget can help with owning the perfect home.

2. WEDDING GIFTS: Wedding bliss comes with wedding gifts. Let’s admit, one of our favorite times during the wedding season is all of the gifts that come pouring in! Have any friends or family pitching in cash? Save that to put towards your down payment. And depending on the generosity of your gifts, you can even open an account dedicated to your down payment, that friends and family can gift to.

3. GET PRE-APPROVED: One of the least brought up conversations in relationships is the credit and financial history of your soon-to-be spouse. Get together with a lender to go over both of your histories to know what needs to be done to put you guys in a position to own together. In some cases, only one person can get approved, while the other can’t. If you want to put both of your incomes toward the cost of the house you want, talking to a lender early on can ensure you are prepared to make the right moves.

4. THE RIGHT AGENT: That’s where I come in! For starters, I can connect you with a lender to ensure you guys are being watched over from the best recommendations. And it’s an absolute joy to take the stress out of buying a home for my newly wed couples. We all know how stressful, although joyous, a wedding can be. To then jump into buying a house shortly after, well, it’s certainly a lot to get through. But I can guide you through all of the steps to make sure you end up with a house you love. Just think of me as a wedding planner, but for homes.

5. NOW THERE’S TWO: Although some spouses are a match made in heaven, loving and adoring the same exact things, often times that’s not the case with most couples. You still are your own persons, and have your own tastes. This is where the first step to compromise really begins. Spending a good bit of money on a place you both will love and call home. A happy marriage starts with a happy home, so be sure you both are considerate of each other’s wants and needs in style and location, so you both are happy with the home you end up getting.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com