Selling Your Home

The 6 Most Essential Homebuyer tips!

Are you ready to stop renting and start owning your own home?  A survy of 400 real estate professionals found that these are the most important tips for homebuyers. Here they are!
1. Get a home inspection to evaluate the safety, overall condition of your new home.
2) Before you start house hunting, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.
3) Direct all communications with the seller through your real estate agent.
4) Get the seller to put every component of the deal and any verbal agreement into writing.
5) Include important contingencies, such as financing, and property inspections with your offer.
6) Come up with a realistic wish list – what you can afford in terms of house size, neighborhood, and amenities.
But here’s the top property for homebuyers: WORK WITH A REAL ESTATE AGENT!
Real estate agents are…
– Pricing experts! Agents will know if a house is overprices or underpriced.
– Financing Whizzes! Agents can help you understand your many financing options.
– Master Negotiators! Agents can get you the price and terms and conditions you want.
– Skilled House Hunters! Agents know of unlisted homes for sale and have personally visited many listings.
-Paperwork-tacklers! Agents can easily tear through 100 pages of closing documents.
For more tips about home buying, or to schedule a consultation, contact me today!
Your Local Real Estate Expert,
Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 619-250-4541  |   Office: 619-873-2772
Stephen@StephenNissou.com
CalBRE #01443193
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3 Easy Home Improvement Tips to Sell

Forget, for a moment, about market trends and interest rates. At any given time, no matter the state of the economy, someone somewhere is selling their home. In any market, homeowners can up the odds that a home sells as quickly and as profitably as possible by giving it a facelift.

Sellers should focus on home improvement projects that either add value to the home or that attract buyers’ eyes and pique their interests. Make them forget any other houses they viewed and want your house instead.

Don’t randomly select home improvement projects based on your own tastes or suggestions from friends, either. You won’t be the one living in the home, after all. Research houses in your community and compare features and appraisals to get a better idea what people in your area want. A swimming pool may be a popular upgrade in a Southern suburb filled with young couples and families, for instance. But in the North, a hot tub will have greater appeal. A community with older people, no matter where in the country, will probably value a car port or garage over a pool or spa.

Here are three home-improvement project categories that almost anyone can tackle without a large capital investment.

1.Boost Your Curb Appeal

You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. When potential buyers drive up to your home, if they don’t like what they see immediately, they may not get past the exterior to find the great things inside.

It’s not about planting expensive trees, installing fountains or other fancy upgrades. In fact, some of the most value-added outdoor home-improvement projects cost little to nothing, except for your time. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) suggests some of the following property improvements:

Get out your pruning shears: If your home is on the market, keeping the lawn mowed is a given. Keeping plants and flowers watered is also essential. Pruning trees, shrubs and other greenery is more easily overlooked, but it is one of those touches that will make your home stand out. Follow a pruning guide, like the one provided by Better Homes and Gardens, to get the most out of your efforts.

Dig into some mulch: Mulching is another often overlooked landscaping project with a tremendous impact. It helps conserve moisture, protects roots, discourages weeds, and other benefits. You can choose between all-natural mulches and decorative mulches, such as stone. You can even use compost that you create yourself or mown grass and fallen leaves.

Show off your green thumb: Purchase outdoor containers that complement your home’s style and plant something unusual or interesting, NAR suggests. Place plants on the patio or around the home’s entrance to immediately create a more appealing exterior. Plant bright flowers and foliage to provide a splash of color.

Clean up your home’s exterior: Spend a weekend cleaning your gutters, windows and especially your siding, among other exterior items. Rent or purchase a power washer for a very affordable price to really make your home shine.

  1. Add a Coat of Paint

Like a wash and wax for your car, a new coat of paint makes anything look better and brighter. To improve your home’s value and attract buyers, consider a fresh paint job, inside and out.

The “safe” advice is to choose neutral colors, such as beige and off-white, and to avoid vibrant or gender-specific hues such as orange, purple or red. However, safe isn’t always the best bet, argues real estate agent Todd Kroepel. “Keeping a home vanilla so that buyers can choose their own style and décor … ignores the fact that most buyers lack the ability to visualize the home differently,” he cautions. Don’t be afraid to add splashes of color and a touch of texture—it can be good to leave a dash of style evident.

Consider painting an accent wall in your living room with a contrasting color, or add some texturizing product instead. Adding hand-painted borders in the bathroom, by using stencils that run vertically or horizontally, is another classy touch.

Before painting, outside or in, ensure that the surface is clean and properly prepared. Use a primer to cover previously unfinished areas or bare wood, to better cover over dark or bold colors, or to block out stains. Inside your home, sand surfaces slightly if you don’t use a primer, to help paint adhesion.

  1. Update the Kitchen or Bathroom

Everyone appreciates a well-put-together and comfortable bathroom or kitchen. Renovations to these two rooms usually generate buyer interest and offer a high rate of return on investment when it comes time to sell.

Updates don’t always require a large expenditure and a messy, lengthy remodeling period either. Some of the simplest things can change the entire feel of the room. Do as much, or as little, as you choose—just don’t get too attached to the results.

Replace sink and bathtub fixtures: Switch out generic faucets and handles for newer, better-quality hardware. Think about using brass for a startling contrast, or select a style completely different from the current one.

Install a new sink: As long as you’re replacing faucets and such, why not replace the bathroom or kitchen sink as well?

Refinish the cabinets: Solid wood responds well to sanding and refinishing with stain and a polyurethane top coat, or even paint. Newer cabinets often require refacing with veneer instead. Veneer kits make the job fairly simple: Adhere the material to the cabinet box (the portion left after removing doors and drawers) and then purchase new drawer fronts and cabinet doors to complete the makeover.

Upgrade your countertops: Replace laminate with stone, tile or even a concrete countertop. If you have old ceramic tile, clean or regrout to refresh the look.

Add lighting and accessories: Think in layers when it comes to lighting. Adding accent lights or task lights in any room of the house makes it more visually appealing. Other little touches include changing door knobs, light switch and outlet covers, or installing ceiling fans or a medicine cabinet. Consider swapping old light switches with dimmer switches or energy-saving, programmable lighting controls.

Highlight energy-savers: Speaking of saving energy, programmable thermostats, upgraded insulation and proper weatherproofing are music to many home buyers’ ears.

While you can hire professionals to do the work for you, rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself will increase the amount you recoup when you sell your home. Each project will increase the value of your property, no matter where you live, and help you sell your home faster.

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Pkwy. #100, El Cajon, CA 92019

Direct 619-250-4541   |   Office 619-873-2772

Email Stephen@StephenNissou.com
Cal BRE # 01443193

Protect Your Home While It’s On The Market

Ready to sell your home? Besides dusting every nook and cranny and pulling weeds from the garden, don’t forget to protect yourself and your home when it’s on the market! Here’s a few ways on how to protect your home while it’s on the market so that you can feel more at ease.

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Hide the Valuables
Don’t keep high-end valuables visible in your home while it’s on the market, including jewelry, collectibles and other items that are easy to steal. Keep a safe in the home with the valuables locked up, or secure a safe deposit box at your local bank to keep them in while your home is for sale. Another thing to hide? Your social security number, bank information, blank checks, prescription medications, and anything else that someone is able to snatch while undetected.

Inform your Neighbors
Had an open house or buyer showing? If you’re not returning home directly after, inform the neighbors to check to be sure the doors were locked in the home. This will keep your home safe from unwanted visitors who know your home is for sale.

Accidental Property Damage
Potential buyers want to know the ins and outs of your home. Many will want to test the appliances and facets for functionality. Will they remember to turn off the gas burners and the bathroom sink? Avoid property damage that’s caused by fires, water damage and other threats by asking your realtor to communicate these concerns to the selling agent. The selling agent can double check to be sure everything is OFF before leaving the property.

Gun Safety and Dog Bites
You might think your gun is well concealed in your bedroom closet or nightstand, but potential buyers will poke around to get an idea of storage space. If you keep a gun in your home, make sure it is unloaded, locked in a gun box and completely out of sight. It will prevent accidental injuries and theft. And if you’re a dog owner? It’s best to remove the dogs from the premises. It will make your home more appealing to non-animal lover and eliminates the threat of dog bites. If you can’t remove your pets from the home, secure a crate that can be placed indoors or out, so that the animal is safely contained during the showings.

Slips, Trips, Falls
If someone gets hurt on your property, they may hold you liable and sue. Since potential buyers aren’t familiar with your home, make sure to prevent inquiries and lawsuits with preventative measures such as; repairing loose and uneven flooring (check porches and decks), remove ice and snow from the walkways and steps, secure rugs with non-slip padding, keep hallways and stairwells clear of clutter, and make sure your home is well lit (both inside and out).

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

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Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Direct 619-250-4541   |   Office 619-873-2772
E-mail: Stephen@StephenNissou.com
http://www.StephenNissou.com

CalBRE # 01443193

Choosing a Kitchen Sink to Match Your Style and Budget

If you’re remodeling your kitchen on a budget – or equipping a new kitchen and haven’t a clue where to start – focus on the kitchen sink. Yesteryear’s limited selection of cast iron and stainless steel can’t compete with today’s stylish, modern sinks.

Simply choose the mounting type and style, then select the material. A new sink will transform your kitchen.

Kitchen Sink Mounting Types and Design Options

In general, your kitchen sink will either rest above or attach beneath the kitchen counter. Understanding installation types, styles and terminology will help you find the sink you really want.

Surface-Mounted Sinks: Surface-mounted sinks drop into a hole made in the kitchen countertop. If the sink is rimmed, it features an exposed flange that meets and seals to the countertop. Self-rimming sinks, on the other hand, lack the flat flange, using rounded outer edges to rest on the countertop instead. Both are fairly simple to install and work with most countertop materials.

Under-Mounted Sinks: For a kitchen countertop that looks seamless, consider an under-mounted kitchen sink. The countertop still features a cutout to accommodate the sink, but instead of dropping through the counter, it mounts to the underneath. The effect is a sleek counter surface. It’s considered a low-maintenance design that looks especially good with modern interiors. Under-mounted sinks work best with solid counter materials like stone and concrete, not moisture-permeable countertops like laminate.

Tile-In Sinks: As the name suggests, a tile-in sink is surrounded by a tile countertop. The sink drops into a hole, like a surface-mounted sink. The difference is the height: Once the tile is installed, the sink rim is actually flush with the surrounding countertop. This makes cleaning the countertop a breeze and calls attention to the beauty of your tile, rather than the sink basin.

Integral Sinks: Some people mistakenly call these “Corian sinks,” but Corian is just one integral sink and counter manufacturer. Integral sinks are made of the same material as the countertop and fused to it, presenting a seamless appearance that’s also easy to keep clean.

Farmhouse Sinks: Another popular kitchen sink style is the farmhouse sink. Rather than referring to how the sink mounts, it’s a design that features a front apron panel. It’s a stylish look that highlights the sink itself. Farmhouse sinks may be under- or surface-mounted, and even tiled-in.

How Many Bowls Do You Need?

Bigger isn’t always better. When selecting your new kitchen sink, consider the size of your kitchen and your work habits before settling on a bowl size or number. Most sink styles are available in single and double bowls, and sometimes triple as well. One bowl may be smaller than the others, especially with triple bowls, which often sandwich a smaller bowl between two larger ones.

Single-bowl sinks work best for smaller kitchens (less than 150 square feet). Triple bowls are the ultimate luxury, allowing you to stack dishes to dry, have dishes soaking, and still peel vegetables in the third basin.

Sink Materials

Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is easy to clean, reasonably priced, and strong. Look for the gauge (thickness) of the steel and the sound-deadening ability. The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel, making it more durable. Spray coatings and special pads on the bottom of the sink reduce noise. Choose a satin finish, rather than a mirror finish, to lessen scratching. Look for varying bowl shapes for added style.

Cast Iron – Cast iron sinks are coated with enamel and come in a variety of colors. Cast iron is heavy, but a bigger issue is that it chips and scratches easily. Exposed iron will rust, requiring replacement or repair. Also, cast iron doesn’t keep water hot for very long. It’s favored for the glossy finish and stain resistance. Use cast iron with farmhouse sink styles for authenticity.

Composite – Composite sinks encompass three specific types: quartz composite, polyester/acrylic composite and granite-based composite. Of these, the polyester/ acrylic composites are more budget-friendly and provide a shiny look. Quartz composite sinks are more durable. Composed of 70 percent quartz and 30 percent resin filler, they resist damage and also come in various colors and finishes. Granite-based sinks are a higher-end choice and offer the greatest scratch and chemical resistance of any sink material.

Take your time when shopping for your new kitchen sink. Look online and at various stores to get ideas and find the sink you’ll love.

Check out our Pinterest page  to see sinks we love! http://www.Pinterest.com/NissouRealty

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty – El Cajon
619-250-4541 DIRECT   |   619-873-2772 OFFICE
Email: Stephen@StephenNissou.com
http://www.StephenNissou.com
CalBRE # 01443193

Just Listed in Alpine, CA! 3 Homes on 1 Lot!

Home off Japatul Rd in Alpine, CA, 91901!

3 Homes on an 11.5 acre lot!
Offered at: $375,000 – $419,000
Rare Find!! Zoned A72 and Duplex. 3 homes on a 11.5 acre lot! Cute 3 bed, 2 bath home and an adorable single story house with a beautiful setting to enjoy the quiet and the beautiful views! Unit B is a 2bed/1bath double wide, currently rented for $700/month but valued at $1295. The 3rd home is a 1 bed/1bath single wide. All homes are private and placed apart from the others. Build your dream home on the lot!
2nd lot next door is also available, See MLS #150009041. Package deal for both is $560,000.
To schedule a private viewing of these homes, and for additional information, please contact Stephen Nissou today!
Direct: 619-250-4541
Office; 619-873-2772
E-mail: Stephen@StephenNissou.com
Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Stephen NissouNissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty – El Cajon
619-250-4541 Direct  |   619-873-2772 Office
Stephen@StephenNissou.com
http://www.StephenNissou.com
CalBRE # 01443193

Home For Sale in Old Rancho San Diego!

Turnkey ready home for sale in Old Rancho San Diego! A 1 story, 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,881 sf home with 3 car garage with plenty of parking in the driveway for guests. Granite countertops in kitchen with fresh paint. Community features 2 pools, basketball courts, tennis courts, and two parks! Elementary and High School are within walking distance. This is a great home to raise a family and is on a quiet street. Downtown La Mesa, Target, 24 Hour Fitness, Edwards Cinema, Sushi, Italian, Mediterranean, and many more restaurants nearby.

Seller is entertaining offers between $399,000 – $449,000.

For more information, and to schedule a time to view the property, please contact Stephen Nissou today!
Direct: 619-250-4541
Office: 619-873-2772
Email: Stephen@StephenNissou.com
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Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Stephen NIssou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 619-250-4541
Office: 619-873-2772
Stephen@StephenNissou.com
CalBRE # 01443193

How To Be A Respectful Home Buyer

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When a home is on the market, the seller’s privacy goes out the window. It is almost guaranteed that some buyers will open drawers, peek inside cabinets and touch items that are obviously personal and not included in the sale.

Coming home from work to find that the impeccably-made bed you left in the morning is now covered in a ball of linens is obviously annoying. Constant requests to extend deadlines, lists of demands and nitpicking the condition of the home are not only time consuming and insulting, but they do nothing to endear the buyer to the seller.

These are just a few examples of homebuyers behaving badly. Depending on the market, however, buyers are not necessarily in the driver’s seat. During periods of multiple offers and heavy investor involvement, it’s important for buyers to be on their best behavior. So, dear homebuyer, read on to learn how to not turn off the seller of your potential dream home.

The Time Bandits

Savvy home sellers spend a great deal of time ensuring that the home is presentable during the marketing period. They clean, de-clutter, and then inconvenience themselves by skedaddling before any potential buyers show up. Buyers that cancel appointments at the last minute, or just don’t bother to show up, are behaving quite badly.

Unless an emergency came up, and there was no time to call your agent or the seller, try to provide the seller with at least several hours’ notice that you won’t be arriving to tour the home. It’s the polite thing to do, and it just might save the seller from needlessly preparing for your arrival.

“Time is of the essence” is a phrase that you’ll see in most real estate purchase contracts. What it means is that all specified deadlines in the agreement are mandatory – well, sort of. Yes, you can request the extension of a date and it will most likely be granted, if the reason for the request is compelling enough.

Frivolous requests, however, or those made repeatedly, are big time wasters. Sellers are frequently on a tight schedule to get the transaction to the closing table. Just as you are excited to get into your new home, the seller has plans as well. Keeping contract deadline extension requests to a minimum is one way you can contribute to a smooth transaction.

Then there is the homebuyer that, once the ink dries on the contract, treats the home as if it’s unoccupied and equipped with a revolving door. One week it’s an interior decorator that needs access to take measurements, then, perhaps, the next week it will be the architect. Many buyers want to show family members their new home – before it is actually their new home.

The seller, in the meantime, is packing for the move, having repairs completed, accommodating the appraiser and inspectors – all while attempting to live a normal life. Additional home tours are more than an inconvenience, they are time stealers.

If you must gain access to the home, ask your agent to find out when the inspector or appraiser will be there and arrange to visit at the same time.

The Nitpickers

Nitpicking is neither a successful price-reduction nor negotiating strategy, as buyers who have tried it can likely attest. Bankrate.com’s Dana Dratch calls these buyers “gladiator wannabes,” who, after they’ve agreed to purchase a home, come in with a long list of things that are wrong with it, or a list of concessions.

The art of negotiating depends on give and take – not a barrage of one-sided demands. Let your real estate agent do the negotiating. If you truly feel that something that is wrong with the house commands a price reduction, your agent should be able to justify it with a list of comparables and reasons why the home doesn’t stack up.

The Unprepared

There are several reasons why a real estate agent will suggest that a buyer get fully approved for a loan before submitting an offer. Buyers that don’t take this important step will run the risk of derailing the entire transaction.

Even a pre-approval commitment from a lender isn’t firm. Once the loan application is in the hands of the underwriter, anything can happen. Many times, a buyer will receive a letter from the bank – in the middle of a transaction – listing all the conditions that must be met before the loan is approved. Satisfying these conditions not only takes time, but, depending on the conditions, may result in a cancelled sale.

Take the time to work with your lender to ensure that you will get the loan before committing to purchase a home. Don’t make any major purchases until the home closes escrow. Entering into the process knowing that you’ll get the loan is not only a courtesy to the seller, but the peace of mind it will give you is priceless.

Both parties in a real estate transaction have schedules that need to be accommodated during the purchase process and, of course, sellers can behave badly as well. (We’ll take a look at that in a future article). Respecting each other’s needs helps make the transaction run smoother and more comfortably for all concerned.

For more tips about home buying, connect with me on Social Media!
Facebook.com/NissouRealty

Twitter.com/NissouRealty

Instagram.com/NissouRealtyGroup

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Stephen Nissou

Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Pkwy. El Cajon, CA 92020
Direct 619-250-4541  |   Office 619-873-2772

Stephen@StephenNissou.com

http://www.StephenNissou.com

CalBRE # 01443193

Should You Sell Your Home Before You Buy – or Wait?

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If you are a current homeowner that wants to purchase a new home, you’re most likely asking yourself a question common to folks in your situation: Should I sell before I buy?

The answer to that question depends on several factors.

Your Personality

Just the thought of having two mortgage payments—even for a short period of time—can cause massive anxiety for some people. Even if your lender has assured you of a simultaneous close on the two homes, uncertainty may linger.

Then, there is the pressure to accept an unattractive offer just to ensure that the home sells in time. If you wait to buy, you’ll have the luxury of being able to negotiate offers as they come in.

If you crave certainty, you should probably wait until the current home sells to take on the purchase process.

There are, however, those who deal with uncertainty better than others. If that describes you, then starting the purchase process before you sell your current home probably won’t faze you.

Your Finances

Regardless of your personality, if you just don’t have the money to support two mortgage payments at the same time, then you have no choice but to sell your home before you purchase another.

Further, if you need the proceeds from the sale of your current home to use to buy a new home, you’ll need to wait until after you sell, or attempt a simultaneous close. (We explain that process below.)

The Market

A seller’s market is the ideal situation when you’re selling your current home, but it can be difficult if you hope to purchase at the same time. In a seller’s market—where there are few homes available and lots of buyers competing for them—sellers are in the driver’s seat. With multiple offers coming in, homeowners are not likely to accept an offer that is contingent upon another home selling.

On the flip side, in a hot seller’s market, homes that are in good condition and are located in decent areas will sell quickly.  If your house is among them, you take on little risk if you wish to purchase a new home before selling your current one.

Ascertain if the current market caters to sellers or buyers before making the decision of whether to buy before your house sells. Your real estate agent is your best source for this information.

Achieving the Simultaneous Close

Selling one home while purchasing another can be a bit of a balancing act. If you try to time the closings to occur during the same period, you run the risk of ending up with two house payments at once.

If you allow too much time between closings, on the other hand, you may find yourself renting a temporary home and, thus, moving twice.

The ideal situation is to plan for a simultaneous closing, where both transactions occur on the same day. However, this process comes with risks, too. If anything should go wrong on the first transaction you could end up not being able to close on the second.

For the simultaneous closing process to go smoothly, it’s important to choose the right buyers for your current home. How much do you know about their finances? How firm is their offer? What do you know about their motivation to purchase? How badly do they want the home?

Since the process is a bit like a string of dominoes, and the buyer of your home is the lead domino, it’s crucial to choose a buyer you know will consummate the deal.

The key to success is hiring an experienced, professional real estate agent. Your agent can guide you through the process and steer the transaction to keep it on course.

For information about home prices in your area, or to find out how much your home is worth, please contact me at 619-250-4541 or Stephen@StephenNissou.com!

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou

Nissou Realty Group  |  KW Realty El Cajon

619.250.4541 Direct  | 619.873-2772 Office

Stephen@StephenNissou.com

http://www.StephenNissou.com

Resume, Refurbish, and Recycle: How to Go Eco-Friendly With Your Home Design

Resume, Refurbish, and Recycle: How to Go Eco-Friendly With Your Home Design

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Furnishing, decorating or redecorating a home can be expensive, tedious and sometimes a bit frustrating. We must try to keep up with the latest, ever-changing fashion trends while also attempting to carefully balance expenses with the social responsibility of not creating additional landfill waste. We live in a crowded world where the unnecessary dumping of bulky furniture items or interior finishes that are still in good shape shouldn’t be tolerated.

Try to keep sustainability in mind as you decorate your home. Seek out items containing recycled content or made from eco-friendly materials. Donate or sell items that could be salvaged whenever possible, as they should be given the opportunity for a second life in another home.

Here are a few simple design ideas with a sustainable approach, to help give a fresh look to your home while remaining eco-friendly.

Focus on the Finishes

If you’re starting bare bones with your home décor, you can select interior finishes that contain recycled content or that are made from rapidly renewable resources. There are many flooring options available today that provide style and are also quite cost effective—bamboo, cork or linoleum, to name a few. For carpeting, look at selections bearing recycled materials, or that contain wool or even corn fibers, for a sustainable choice.

For bathroom or kitchen countertops, consider ceramic tiles or beautiful glass made entirely from recycled content. More exclusively for kitchens, look for counters made from concrete, stainless steel, recycled paper or even reclaimed wood. Consider cabinetry materials that are sourced from sustainably harvested forests, such as from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and steer clear of products containing added urea-formaldehyde to offer a healthier interior environment.

If you’re redecorating your existing home, try and salvage what you’ve already got! Refinish those beautiful hardwood floors that can last another lifetime, instead of replacing them. Refurbish existing cabinetry or interior doors by adding a fresh stain, a coat of paint, or updated hardware.

“New” Furniture Doesn’t Have to Be New

Shop at thrift stores, antique shops, flea markets or second-hand online retailers for one-of-a-kind treasures and give them a fresh look. Consider stand-out pieces such as oversized wooden or metal headboards, table and chair ensembles, distinctive dressers, buffets or armoires—then refurbish them to compliment your existing décor. Vintage pieces establish an effortlessly unique appeal and help divert unnecessary waste from already overflowing landfills.

Another eco-friendly and cost-effective option is to refinish the furniture you’ve already got at home. Some sanding, new hardware, and a fresh stain or paint color added to a single piece of furniture—or a complete ensemble—will give a room an entirely new look. Consider a distressed look or even add stenciling or texture. Encourage a family project and the whole gang will take pride in the finished product!

Use some imagination and creativity to give new meaning to existing pieces or eclectic, previously-owned treasures. Antique dressers make gorgeous bathroom vanities; and with a reclaimed wood top, you can make exceptional kitchen island creations. Search out vintage lockers for storing mudroom essentials and display houseplants on rustic hutches or armoires left lazily ajar.

If you absolutely must have something new, seek out furniture derived from eco-friendly products and those made from recycled plastics or metals. Consider ethically sourced wood or accent pieces made from rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo.

Addressing the Finer Details

Don’t forget to also think sustainably when fine-tuning your home décor. Seek out throw rugs or blankets derived from natural or recycled fibers. Do the same for your fabrics and textiles, and consider green options such as organic cotton or linen, hemp or jute.

Most importantly, instead of buying new, search again for unique, second-hand treasures. Make a bold statement by adding one-of-a-kind light fixtures to any room. Refurbish vintage mirrors or antique picture frames. Utilize abandoned window panes for your photo collections.  Consider rustic galvanized tubs, wicker baskets or ornamental canning jars for your storage needs and add a touch of classic elegance with a single glass vase or antique table lamp.

As consumers, it is our social and moral responsibility to think about how our individual actions affect the world we live in. We can help not only to divert unnecessary waste from already overcrowded landfills; we can have a lot of fun doing it.

Eco-friendly home design resources:

http://recycledinteriors.org/being-green/

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/Ecofriendly-Kitchens

http://www.bhg.com/kitchen/remodeling/planning/eco-friendly-kitchen-ideas/

Your Local Real Estate Agent,

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3 Easy Improvements to Help You Sell Your Home

painting-a-new-house-vector-materialForget, for a moment, about market trends and interest rates. At any given time, no matter the state of the economy, someone somewhere is selling their home. In any market, homeowners can up the odds that a home sells as quickly and as profitably as possible by giving it a facelift.

Sellers should focus on home improvement projects that either add value to the home or that attract buyers’ eyes and pique their interests. Make them forget any other houses they viewed and want your house instead.

Don’t randomly select home improvement projects based on your own tastes or suggestions from friends, either. You won’t be the one living in the home, after all. Research houses in your community and compare features and appraisals to get a better idea what people in your area want. A swimming pool may be a popular upgrade in a Southern suburb filled with young couples and families, for instance. But in the North, a hot tub will have greater appeal. A community with older people, no matter where in the country, will probably value a car port or garage over a pool or spa.

Here are three home-improvement project categories that almost anyone can tackle without a large capital investment.

1.Boost Your Curb Appeal

You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. When potential buyers drive up to your home, if they don’t like what they see immediately, they may not get past the exterior to find the great things inside.

It’s not about planting expensive trees, installing fountains or other fancy upgrades. In fact, some of the most value-added outdoor home-improvement projects cost little to nothing, except for your time. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) suggests some of the following property improvements:

Get out your pruning shears: If your home is on the market, keeping the lawn mowed is a given. Keeping plants and flowers watered is also essential. Pruning trees, shrubs and other greenery is more easily overlooked, but it is one of those touches that will make your home stand out. Follow a pruning guide, like the one provided by Better Homes and Gardens, to get the most out of your efforts.

Dig into some mulch: Mulching is another often overlooked landscaping project with a tremendous impact. It helps conserve moisture, protects roots, discourages weeds, and other benefits. You can choose between all-natural mulches and decorative mulches, such as stone. You can even use compost that you create yourself or mown grass and fallen leaves.

Show off your green thumb: Purchase outdoor containers that complement your home’s style and plant something unusual or interesting, NAR suggests. Place plants on the patio or around the home’s entrance to immediately create a more appealing exterior. Plant bright flowers and foliage to provide a splash of color.

Clean up your home’s exterior: Spend a weekend cleaning your gutters, windows and especially your siding, among other exterior items. Rent or purchase a power washer for a very affordable price to really make your home shine.

  1. Add a Coat of Paint

Like a wash and wax for your car, a new coat of paint makes anything look better and brighter. To improve your home’s value and attract buyers, consider a fresh paint job, inside and out.

The “safe” advice is to choose neutral colors, such as beige and off-white, and to avoid vibrant or gender-specific hues such as orange, purple or red. However, safe isn’t always the best bet, argues real estate agent Todd Kroepel. “Keeping a home vanilla so that buyers can choose their own style and décor … ignores the fact that most buyers lack the ability to visualize the home differently,” he cautions. Don’t be afraid to add splashes of color and a touch of texture—it can be good to leave a dash of style evident.

Consider painting an accent wall in your living room with a contrasting color, or add some texturizing product instead. Adding hand-painted borders in the bathroom, by using stencils that run vertically or horizontally, is another classy touch.

Before painting, outside or in, ensure that the surface is clean and properly prepared. Use a primer to cover previously unfinished areas or bare wood, to better cover over dark or bold colors, or to block out stains. Inside your home, sand surfaces slightly if you don’t use a primer, to help paint adhesion.

  1. Update the Kitchen or Bathroom

Everyone appreciates a well-put-together and comfortable bathroom or kitchen. Renovations to these two rooms usually generate buyer interest and offer a high rate of return on investment when it comes time to sell.

Updates don’t always require a large expenditure and a messy, lengthy remodeling period either. Some of the simplest things can change the entire feel of the room. Do as much, or as little, as you choose—just don’t get too attached to the results.

Replace sink and bathtub fixtures: Switch out generic faucets and handles for newer, better-quality hardware. Think about using brass for a startling contrast, or select a style completely different from the current one.

Install a new sink: As long as you’re replacing faucets and such, why not replace the bathroom or kitchen sink as well?

Refinish the cabinets: Solid wood responds well to sanding and refinishing with stain and a polyurethane top coat, or even paint. Newer cabinets often require refacing with veneer instead. Veneer kits make the job fairly simple: Adhere the material to the cabinet box (the portion left after removing doors and drawers) and then purchase new drawer fronts and cabinet doors to complete the makeover.

Upgrade your countertops: Replace laminate with stone, tile or even a concrete countertop. If you have old ceramic tile, clean or regrout to refresh the look.

Add lighting and accessories: Think in layers when it comes to lighting. Adding accent lights or task lights in any room of the house makes it more visually appealing. Other little touches include changing door knobs, light switch and outlet covers, or installing ceiling fans or a medicine cabinet. Consider swapping old light switches with dimmer switches or energy-saving, programmable lighting controls.

Highlight energy-savers: Speaking of saving energy, programmable thermostats, upgraded insulation and proper weatherproofing are music to many home buyers’ ears.

While you can hire professionals to do the work for you, rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself will increase the amount you recoup when you sell your home. Each project will increase the value of your property, no matter where you live, and help you sell your home faster.

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

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Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty – El Cajon

680 Fletcher Pkwy. El Cajon, CA 92020

619.250.4541 – Direct   |   619-873-2772 – Office

Stephen@StephenNissou.com

http://www.NissouRealtyGroup.com