Each year, the Selkirk Association of REALTORS® invests and gives back to the local community through its Grants and Scholarships Program. The Selkirk Association of REALTORS® holds fundraisers to help local, nonprofit, community-oriented service organizations who provide vital services to area residents. The Marine Corp League, Sandpoint Area Seniors’ Daybreak Program, Sandpoint Teen Center, Community Cancer Services, Bonner Community Hospice, Bonner County Task Homeless Task Force, West Bonner County Food Bank, Bags of Love, Panhandle Special Needs, Blanchard Senior Center, Kinderhaven, Bonner and Boundary county food banks are several of the recipients of thousands of dollars raised by the Selkirk Association of REALTORS®. Applications for grants are available to those nonprofit, community-oriented service organizations in early spring.
The Selkirk Association of REALTORS® initiates other community service activities. Spring kicks off our annual fundraising efforts, as area residents and businesses prepare for the busy summer season. Summer brings about annual community service days, the annual charity golf tournament and various smaller venue fundraisers. Each fall, the members participate in the Selkirk Association of REALTORS® Annual Fall Food Drive, in which thousands of pounds and thousands of dollars have been raised for food banks in Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry, Priest River, Clark Fork and Hope. The Association finishes each year with the Annual Giving Tree Program which helps make underprivileged families’ Christmas wishes come true by placing gifts and much needed items under the tree.
The Selkirk Association of REALTORS® will continue to assist our neighbors through existing and new programs.
Improving Curb Appeal to Help Market your Home
Jim Haynes, REALTOR©, Realm Partners LLC, 290-7249
As a Realtor in Sandpoint I routinely tour homes that are on the market and provide feedback to the listing agent on the home as to the listing price, structural integrity, presence of offensive odors or smells, and curb appeal. The price must be appropriate for the market conditions to be successfully marketed, and the structure, inside and out, should be sound and safe and offensive odors will turn off any buyer. Curb appeal is the appearance as one approaches the house from the street. It represents the first impression that a prospective buyer gets from all the exterior elements, from the front door and entrance to the lawn and landscaping.
A focal point for curb appeal is the front entrance. In a study conducted by NFO WorldGroup it was found that enhanced entrances added as much as 6.6% to the perceived value of a home. Consider repainting or replacing the front door if it is in need of repair. Also ensure that the entrance hardware is polished, or if need be, replace the hardware. Consider placing potted plants at the entrance to add color and interest.
Pressure wash the outside of the house and while you’re at it do the driveway. Windows should be cleaned and replaced if necessary. Trim should be clean and if necessary repainted. Make sure the rain gutters are cleaned. Sometimes we get used to the house as it is and become blinded to its shortcomings. This is where your Realtor can help you identify those items that need attention with an eye towards maximizing your return on effort, time and money spent.
Lighting is important if for no other reason than safety, but properly placed lighting can bring out the positive features of a reworked front door and entrance. Consider replacing existing fixtures with an upgraded version as well as adding additional fixtures. If the budget does not allow for new fixtures, be sure to thoroughly clean and polish existing fixtures. Also put the highest wattage light bulb recommended for the fixture.
Finally, we get to my favorite, lawn and landscaping. There should be visual interest that takes the prospective buyer from the driveway or street to the front door. Landscaping and lawns that are left to deteriorate will negatively impact the prospective buyer’s opinion of the overall value of the home. Conversely, lawn and gardens that are weed free and properly trimmed present an impression of someone who routinely maintains their grounds and by association their house.
As an avid gardener I constantly look for ways to add garden beds and walkways to create visual interest. This same approach should be used to add curb appeal to your home. Consider adding stepping stones to guide the visitor from the driveway or street to the front entrance. Arrange your planting beds in interesting shapes that break up the front lawn and invite the visitor in. Plants should be arranged tastefully and not placed in rigid rows. Use a variety of shrubs and plants to maintain year-round visual interest. Consider long term maintenance when choosing plants and plantings. Remember just adding a planting is not enough. One must maintain them to get maximum return. Trim the grass along the driveway and walkways. This makes for a clean line and visual appeal. The same applies for all garden beds. Make sure the grass is trimmed neatly or place a barrier between the garden bed and the lawn. Often I have seen homes that have landscaping in place that has not been properly maintained. The lack of maintenance completely takes away from the landscaping investment. If you’re not a gardener, hire someone to make things presentable. Remember there’s only one chance to make a good first impression and in today’s buyer’s market good curb appeal and the resulting good first impression may be the difference between your home selling at a desirable price and your home going unsold.
There are many places to gather more information and ideas for improving the curb appeal of your home on the World Wide Web. Two such web sites are www.curbappeals.com and www.bhg.com/home-improvement/exteriors/curb-appeal/ways-to-add-curb-appeal/. Another source for curb appeal information is your Realtor. Finally, is the cost worth it? In a 2008 survey by Hanley Wood the average return for the top seven curb appeal projects was over 80% making a very good return on your investment.
Spring Maintenance Tips
Brought to you by Peak Inspections
- Look at the roofing to make sure no damage has occurred. Inspect gutters for damage or leaks.
- Look at the soil around your home. If it has settle under the snow creating a place for water to pool up, then it would be a good idea to fill it in or make sure it slopes away from the home.
- Look at hose bibs and piping to ensure there have been no leaks.
- Open crawlspace vents.
- Check that sump pumps are operating properly and draining AWAY from your home.
- Air conditioner units should be serviced or at least cleaned of debris and cleared of anything that may obstruct airflow.
- Check for any painting and caulking repairs that may be necessary.
- Check attics for signs of moisture and mildew.
- Clean lint from the dryer duct.
- Clean refrigerator coils and drain pan.
- Drain sediment from the water heater as needed.
- Replace smoke detector batteries and smoke detectors that are seven (7) years or older. It is recommended to replace ionization type alarms with photoelectric alarms as they are much more effective and make for a safer home.
Thinking of Selling Your Home? 12 Things to do Now!
Cathy Gibson Home Staging
Every homeowner wants to get the best price for their home in the shortest amount of time, and the best way to do that is to have the “selling trifecta”- a well researched fair market price, outstanding marketing by a real estate professional, and a well-prepared or “staged” home. Here are 12 things that you can do before your home is listed, to ensure that it is ready to wow even the first buyers that come through the door:
- Look at your home from across the street and note any weeds, trash, peeling paint or anything else that detracts from it’s appearance. Then go to work weeding and painting, and add a pot of flowers and a new welcome mat at the front door to welcome buyers.
- Create a great first impression inside with a simple combination of a table,flowers, lamp, and mirror in the entryway, cleaning out everything else.
- Remove wallpaper and wallpaper borders. I know. But buyers hate removing it too. Can you afford to give them a reason to run screaming from your home?
- Make sure walls are painted neutral colors. On-trend neutrals are more gray than beige, but choose what looks best with your fixed finishes and furnishings. Walls that are red, orange, bright yellow, bright blue or dark anything appeal to fewer people and can slow down your sale.
- Clean- corners, edges, grout, molding, door jambs, doorknobs, faucets, light switches- the un-sexy stuff. Time well spent, and buyers will notice!
- Move living room furniture away from the walls into a configuration that allows easy conversation. Arrange around a focal point, like a fireplace or a window with a view. Add a few bright toss pillows to make it cozy.
- Remove small tables from all rooms with exception of end tables and bedside tables.
- Other things to remove and pack: family photos, anything on the refrigerator, pet beds and bowls, most stuffed animals, animal mounts, anything political or religious, loose folders or papers, plastic and dried plants and wreaths and floral arrangements, doilies, dolls, anything on the windowsills, dark heavy drapes, anything soiled or stained.
- Clean off kitchen counters, leaving only 3 things. This could be a coffee maker, bowl of fruit, and a tray of oils and vinegars near the stove. Other choices might be a plant, vase of flowers, tray of wine bottle and glasses, tiered stand with cookies, cannisters filled with jelly beans.
- Remove office and exercise equipment from the master bedroom, leaving just the bed, bedside tables with lamps, and if there is room, a dresser or comfy chair.
- Spring for new bedding in the master if yours is dated or worn. Add a few toss pillows and/or a throw to the bed. It should look luxe.
- Make the master bath look inviting. Put away all personal items each day, and add a tray with glass cannisters of soaps, cotton balls, Q tips. Add a small vase of flowers or an orchid to the tray as well. Instant glam!
And don’t worry….completing this list may make your home feel bare to you….but to a buyer it will appear fresh and organized.