Thursday, January 14, 2016

Don’t Forget to Do These 8 Things After Moving Into a New Home

Make sure you check these items off your list before you settle into your home sweet home.

Lindsay Listanski
Guest Post by HomeAdvisor
Congratulations on moving into your new home! As you settle in, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your investment. From checking the locks to connecting utilities, you have a laundry list of to-do’s before that final “ahhhh” moment. To help you move through your honey-do inventory, here are eight essential steps to get you completely settled into your new home:
#1 Check your moving boxes.
Although you checked and double-checked your packing job, there’s a chance some of your possessions didn’t survive the move. While looking through smaller items, make sure major appliances work as well. If damage occurred during the move, reference your contract to see if you have any access to liability coverage or insurance.
#2 Inspect appliances.
If you didn’t bring appliances with you to your new home, not to worry–sometimes previous owners leave goodies behind. While hand-me-down appliances are convenient, it’s best not to rely on them too heavily–you don’t want to be at the mercy of an unreliable washing machine or oven.
#3 Have the utilities turned on.
Before your move-in date, it’s always a good idea to make sure your utilities are connected and turned on. Depending on the company, sometimes title companies will handle the transfer of utilities (all you have to do is ask the realtor when they’re scheduled to be turned on). If you’re new in town and unsure who to contact regarding utilities, you can call a local municipal office for more information.
#4 Look for the circuit breaker.
Did your home’s previous owner label the breaker switches? If some of the labels are peeling off or non-existent, find out which switches power the different parts of your home and label them accordingly. If the circuit breaker switches aren’t working, you will need an immediate repair or upgrade (which can cost about $1,100).
#5 Find the water shut-off valve.
In the case of an emergency, it’s extremely important to be able to locate the water shut-off valve for your home. Most homes have two shut-off valves: the main (indoors) and another for the outside water. If you don’t know where either of these valves are, ask the realtor or the previous owners where to find them. Not knowing where to locate your water mains can lead to expensive repairs should something go wrong.
#6 Put new batteries in your detectors.
After the move, make sure to replace the batteries in your fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, check the location and condition of fire extinguishers (it’s a good policy to make one available in each room).
#7 Get a schedule for trash and recycling.
Trash pick-up differs from neighborhood to neighborhood. Check with your homeowner association (HOA) or call the local waste management service to find out your schedule.
#8 Change out all the locks.
There’s a chance the previous owners of your home gave copies of their keys to neighbors or close friends. As a result (even though your neighbors aren’t burglars) it’s important to change out the old locks — front, back and any basement or porch doors.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605
O 250.768.8001

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Top 2 Home Improvement Projects Buyers Want, And How to Do It On a Budget

Sellers that are on a budget, or are crunched for time, may not be able to make a lot of updates to their home prior to listing. We look at the top two home improvement projects buyers want by ROI, and how to implement them on a budget.

It’s no secret that updates to a home increase its value on the real estate market. However, choosing the right home improvement projects can be a challenge if you are short on time and/or money. Fortunately, the National Association of Realtors reports that smaller updates that improve the overall look of the home can be more effective than large scale renovations.
We’ve rounded up the top two projects buyers want — and how to implement them on a budget.
1. The Kitchen
While it may be true that kitchens sell homes, you don’t need to spend a fortune on creating a space that buyers are eager to call their own. In fact, Remodeling Magazine, in their 2015 Cost vs. Value report indicates that a minor kitchen remodel has a nearly 12 percent higher payback than a major renovation, providing an average 79.3 percent return on investment.
At the lower end of the scale, simply repainting the walls and replacing cabinet hardware can be an effective face lift if you are crunched for time. However, if you have solid wood cabinets, painting them can also go a long way to modernizing your kitchen space. Choose a neutral color such as white or off-white to brighten up even the most dated of kitchens and create welcoming space. New hinges and hardware can set off the update and make a real impact.
For damaged or laminated kitchens, sometimes replacing the doors can take your kitchen to a whole new level. Many big box stores carry an array of stock cabinet doors that can give your kitchen new life for a fraction of the cost of complete replacement.
Countertops and Backsplash
Countertops see a lot of action and can be one of the most worn out aspects of a kitchen. Replacing counter tops with a comparable looking laminate can significantly improve the desirability of your home and provide a fresh, clean look. Existing natural stone countertops that have lost their luster can also be rebuffed and re-coated by a professional to revive their natural beauty.
If your kitchen lacks a backsplash, this can be one of the easiest do-it-yourself home improvement projects to add value. Tile, bead board paneling, even tin tiles can be added for maximum impact.
Improve Functionality
Every buyer wants a kitchen that works. Easy fixes can include adding interior organizers to drawers, installing a lazy Susan or pull out shelves to pantry cupboards. Even replacing a single bowl sink with a double bowl, if space allows, and topping off with a fresh, new faucet will make a positive impact.
2. Entryway
While it may be surprising, replacing your front door with a new steel door tops nearly every list of home improvement projects, and for good reason. The ROI on this simple upgrade can soar as high as 101 percent, making it a no-brainer.
A new entry door increases curb appeal and makes your home shine in real estate photos. Aside from the increased security and energy savings a steel door offers, buyers will receive a positive first impression that will set the tone for how they view the remainder of your home.
The Bottom Line
A tight timeline or budget shouldn’t get in the way of ensuring you get the most from the sale of your home, and choosing strategic home improvement projects will ensure your effort is rewarded. Just remember that upgrades don’t need to be premium quality for the best return — they just need to make sense for your home.

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

I specialize in selling homes in the in the Okanagan Valley including Westbank, West Kelowna, Peachland with a focus on Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights, West Kelowna Estates and Shannon Lake.
Karen Guy, REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605
O 250.768.8001

Kelowna Real Estate Agent West Kelowna Karen Guy Realtor