Guest Blogger: Tim Hance – 5 Ways to Add Oustanding Value to Your Home

10320609_1474012059503094_2655213853725631176_n

 

Our friend Tim Hance, of All Islands Home Inspections has put together a great list of budget-friendly ways one can add value to a home. This has come at the perfect time as we approach summer and can take advantage of excellent weather

Inexpensive Ways to Add Great Value to Your Home

1. Create an Open Floor Plan

Conventionally, most households in the United States have a wall that separates the living room and the kitchen. Consequently, people in your sitting room can’t see the kitchen.

Lately, this trend continues to evolve as most home buyers prefer a house with an open space. If a wall separates your living room from the kitchen, remove the wall.

The resulting space will create an island between your kitchen and the living room. Eliminate this island by adding a table and some chairs to create a flow between the two rooms. As Jeanne Baron of This Old House argues, “you’ll increase the space and transform your home’s feel”.

2. Landscaping

Working on your home’s interior is commendable, but don’t forget about the look of those trees and bushes. Why? Because unkempt bushes and tangled trees can easily obscure views, promote mold and darken interiors.

While most homeowners may overlook it, landscaping is among the top three home investments with the highest returns. HomeGain, a real estate marketing company, surveyed 2,000 brokers and discovered that an investment of between $400 – $500 can generate up to four times in returns.

For this reason, pruning your trees is important. If the planters hinder potential buyers’ view of the house, they’ll move right on to other houses that are more visible. Other than losing potential home buyers, neglected Mother Nature can cause other costly damages to property.

3. Update Your Plumbing

If your iron pipes look old and rusty and you fear you’ve ingested enough metal through your drinking water to construct a small ship, it’s time to replace your plumbing system.
Believe it or not, appraisers heavily consider plumbing when giving value to your home. Back in the day, re-piping was a massive undertaking where contractors would have to dig up walls. Lately though, people prefer plastic piping because it’s reliable and easy to install. Professional plumbers can run it through the walls like extension cords.

4. Boost Your Bathroom

As Matt and Nicole, licensed realtors and remodeling experts put it, you can brighten your bathroom up with some paint and add wallpaper. Do not overdo the wallpaper addition, though.
Remember that the moisture in the room can quickly loosen your wallpaper. To prevent this, use super glue to attach the wallpaper to the wall.

Other simple additions you may need to make are introducing a new mirror and a few light fixtures. With these simple procedures, you’ll transform your bathroom from a plain Jane to a beauty queen.

5. Illuminate Your Space

Few people prefer a dark living space and that’s why lighting enhances the appeal of any home. You can do a few things to brighten your house, and these include fixing broken panes, ensuring windows open and fixing switches that trigger dim lighting.

Don’t forget about the lights outside the house as well. They are important for both aesthetic appeal and security.

To add value to your home and beautify it, consider both the interior and exterior parts. Start by implementing each of the above ways as they are the easiest and most inexpensive ways to add value.

Budget-Friendly Home Upgrades

Budget-Friendly

Home upgrades can typically bring on feelings of dread and come with big spending. Fortunately, there are numerous budget-friendly home upgrades that can be done through simple changes around the home- some of them only involve cleaning!

While cleaning your entire home should be at the top of your list if you are planning to sell, deep cleaning places you wouldn’t normally think of can make a huge impact on the overall feel of the home.
One or two times each year, be sure to give all of your kitchen cabinets a good scrub, as well as the walls of your kitchen and in rooms in which you spend the majority of your time. It can be surprising how much dust and dirt collects on the walls of our homes.

Speaking of the kitchen, did you know you can face lift your appliances? Many dishwasher panels are white on one side, and black on the other- just remove a few screws and turn things around! Check with your manufacturer to see what options you have, and whether or not they sell replacement panels. While you’re at it, give the insides of your appliances (including your dishwasher) a good scrub.

Brighten up your bathroom easily by checking first to make sure things are functional. Have you checked the caulking around your tub, sink, and baseboards recently? If it is discolored or peeling, redo it! Next, look at small items such as faucets, shower heads, and light fixtures. These are items that can easily (and fairly inexpensively) be replaced, yet will give the whole room a different feeling. This is also a good time to wipe down the front of your vanity to freshen it up without replacing it entirely.

Whether you are showing your home to sell or having a party, flooring is something that everyone looks at when they enter your home. If your carpet is worn and you are not willing or able to replace it, have it professionally cleaned! You can even rent a quality rug cleaner and take care of it yourself. If you don’t have carpet, be sure that you keep the floor swept and cleaned regularly; stepping on a sticky or crummy floor makes the whole room feel icky.

Anacortes, WA is home to many beautiful properties. Let us know if we can help you sell yours so we can give you even more information on cost-effective ways to update your home!

Property of the Week! Point Williams Vacant Land

beach view

Build your dream home on this beautiful waterfront acreage!

Few waterfront estates are behind the electric gate at Point Williams on Samish Island. Just 70 miles from Seattle, this approximately 6.5 acre property boasts 450’ or beautiful waterfront, with cleared space as well as acres of timber. Just follow a gentle trail that takes you directly to the beautiful reflective cove within Samish Bay, while Mount Baker looms in the distance. aerial

pathContact us to learn more about building your dream island retreat! Samish Island is a well-kept secret of the Pacific Northwest- you don’t even need a ferry to get there!

How to Choose the Right Realtor (to Sell Your Home)

the right realtor

 

Choosing the right Realtor in the home-buying or selling process is a decision that should be approached carefully. You are looking for a partner- someone who will guide you through a process that has the potential to be very stressful. Here’s how you can find the right agent for you, and enjoy (almost) every step of the way!

The first step in any real estate transaction is to look through your community and narrow down your options for agents. Make a list of five or so agents who appear to have the qualities for which you are looking, and reach out to each of them.

Next, test their communication skills. Whether you send an email or phone and leave a message, the agent should respond back within one business day. One of the top priorities of a real estate agent is responding to outside inquiries, as that is typically how business is initiated. If they take too long (without reason) to reply, it could be indicative of how attentive they might be to matters regarding your home. Determine which type of communication they prefer as well, so you know where to look for their correspondence and how to best reach them.

Third, ask about their experience with similar homes in your area. It’s always good to give a new agent new business. If they are boasting years of local experience, however, they should be able to give you an excellent outline of how they have done historically with homes in your area that are similar to your own. You can even ask them to point out a property they have sold that compares to yours, and request a comparison between it and your own. If you have seen their signs in front of other homes for sale, ask how they compare to your own and how they are doing on the current market.

Fourth, figure out their marketing plan. For your home to sell, it needs to reach as many eyes as possible. This includes both the eyes of buyers, and the eyes of other agents. Ask questions such as; how will you market my home? Do you utilize social media? Do you utilize traditional (offline) marketing? And if you’re comfortable: how much do you spend on marketing?

Ultimately, whichever agent you choose should be willing and able to answer all questions you can think of. Open and honest lines of communication will make all parties feel more comfortable with the relationship.

Anacortes, WA Day Trips and Activities

Anacortes Day Trips

 

Anacortes, WA is home to many summer events. Surrounding the city, however, are several beautiful day trip destinations- many of which are perfect for the whole family!

Anacortes Kayak Tours
“The San Juan Islands and surrounding areas boast some of the most abundant wildlife viewing and scenic vistas in Washington State”. Sea kayaking is a unique way to truly experience the San Juan Islands. Tour lengths can be five hours, three hours, and one and a half hours- there really are options for almost every age!
For more info click here.

Whale Watching
If you prefer to view your surroundings from a vessel a bit larger than a kayak, hop on one of the whale watching tour. They typically last half of the day, giving everyone the opportunity to take in the San Juan Islands and learn about the history of the Puget Sound.

Old Town Anacortes
Summer is the perfect time to truly get to know Anacortes; visit the Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning, then take the opportunity to walk through the Old Town district and browse the shops on Commercial Avenue. There is no shortage of boutiques, antique shops, book stores, and coffee shops to browse. You can even take a short walk to the marina and enjoy watching the boats coming in and going out.

Deception Pass State Park
If you’ve only driven across the bridge and haven’t actually gone into the park, you need to! Pack a lunch from the Farmer’s Market and go exploring around the park. There is a swimming and picnic area for the family, and miles of hiking and biking trails. You can even take advantage of clamming and crabbing during certain times of the year.
For information and directions click here.

Museums
Did you know that Anacortes is home to two unique museums? If you are looking for ways to teach the kids about local history (or become more familiar with it yourself), check out the Anacortes Maritime Heritage Center & W.T. Preston museum. Learn about Anacortes’ history of fishing, exploration, and overall establishment.
For more information click here.

Ferries
When was the last time you took a ferry for fun? If you are new to the area or have been cooped up all winter, take advantage of the summer months to explore one of the many surrounding islands. Guemes Island, Orcas, San Juan, Lopez, or Shaw Island are all home to beautiful scenery, delicious food, and endless outdoor activities. You can even take a ferry up to Vancouver Island- just be sure to bring passports!

Day Hikes
Spend time outside on one of the beautiful trails just minutes from town! Take a look at our Outdoors in Anacortes post to find the perfect activity for you.

Home of the Week! 717 Fidalgo Avenue

 

717 Fidalgo-31

Built in the 1930’s on a ½ acres lot, this newly renovated Anacortes farmhouse is one of few left inside city limits. This property is located at 717 Fidalgo Avenue in Anacortes, WA and not only features this charmingly updated home, but a shade-providing patio with pergola, detached 1080+/- square foot insulated and heated outbuilding, covered RV parking, and ample off-street parking.

717 Fidalgo-16Entering the home you will find a welcoming open-concept living area, with original fir hardwood floors, a gas fireplace, and spacious dining room. This is the perfect area for entertaining and the spacious floor plan leaves room for the entire family.

The newly updated eat-in kitchen which leads to the mudroom at the back of the house boasts quartz counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and incredible storage capacity. You really can’t go wrong with these neutral, inviting colors in such an open space! Even better, it leads to the mudroom at the back of the house which opens to a patio that is perfect for relaxing during Anacortes summers.717 Fidalgo-12

With three bedrooms in addition to one flex room, you will not be short on sleeping space! Feel free to have friends and family stay with ample sleeping room, or utilize the extra space as office or storage room.

If you are looking for a home that is comfortable and perfect for entertaining in Anacortes, WA look no further! You will absolutely fall in love with the charm and character exuded from this home. To visit this property call, text, or email us to schedule a private showing.

Click here 717 Fidalgo-30to see the full description of 717 Fidalgo Avenue in Anacortes, WA and view the full photo gallery. No registration required!

 

Delicious Summer Recipes

Summer Recipes

 

With fresh food and outdoor cooking possibilities, this is the best time to start experimenting with those recipes you’ve been hanging onto all winter long.

So take advantage of the amazing Anacortes Farmer’s Market, and try one of our favorite summer recipes!

Lasagna Stuffed Peppers from Peace + Love + Low Carb
Try wrapping these in tinfoil and cooking them on the grill!

Hawaiian Chicken Skewers from Foodie Crush
Who doesn’t love a good kabob?

Grilled Cinnamon Peaches from Tasty
If you haven’t grilled peaches on a summer evening, you haven’t experienced summer. Check out this 37-second video to find what you’ve been missing!

Caramelized Brown Sugar Cinnamon Grilled Pineapple from The Recipe Critic
There are no words to adequately describe how good this really is.

Perfect Grilled Steak with Herb Butter from Iowa Girl Eats
Because perfectly cooked steak deserves to be eaten outdoors.

Marinated Grilled Summer Veggies + Sausage from Whole & Heavenly Oven
If you don’t have room to spread them out on the grill as the recipe instructs, create a tinfoil “bag” and just remember to rotate it so everything cooks evenly.

50 Pasta Salad Recipes from Country Living
No grilling involved, but definitely a crowd favorite.

Grilled Foil Ranch Potatoes from Favorite Family Recipes
Yum.
And a bonus: How to Grill a Pizza from Simply Recipes– because one has to give it a try.

Selling a Home with Pets

selling a home with pets

We love our pets and can’t imagine a world without them, but not everyone shares our sentiments. This can make things tricky when it comes to selling a home that has housed our furry friends. The main reason for the nervousness is because your pets are not their pets; potential home buyers only witness what the pet may or may not have done to the home, and no one wants to take on the task of removing pet smells and fur from their newly purchased home.

Fortunately, there is one way to ease the minds of those who view your home: remove pet evidence.

Yes, this includes your pet. When showings are scheduled, before anything else, make arrangements for your pet to be elsewhere while a potential buyer views your home. Home showings rarely take very long, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to send Fluffy on a walk with your spouse or children. If weather doesn’t permit this, perhaps ask a neighbor if they would be willing to dog or cat sit for an hour or so- even if it means keeping your furry loved one in a kennel in their yard for a while. You can also be held liable if Fluffy decides to get defensive and either bites or scratches someone entering your home.

Remove negatives associated with pets. If you have a cat litter box or doggy potty pad, clean it and remove it from sight completely. Clean and sanitize the area in which it is generally housed, as pet urine really is a huge turn off in every way.
Same goes for feeding areas; remove water and food bowls, as well as any signs of saliva around the bowls.

Floor stains. Get rid of them. Cover them with an area rug, rent a rug cleaner, or replace it altogether. You can even hire a professional who is well- experienced in removing stubborn pet stains. It will keep buyers from forming unfavorable opinions about the rest of the home and will absolutely pay out in the end.

Repair other damage. Unfortunately, bigger pets can cause other damage such as holes in the wall or scratches on the furniture. This is the time to repair those drywall issues and put away that wooden end table with the obvious teeth or claw marks.

Clean your yard. This isn’t just limited to picking up pet waste. Make sure any damage to the fence or sod is repaired and not noticeable to the buyer.

Last but not least; remove pet clutter. You may be in love with the cute basket you picked out to house Fluffy’s toys, however this is just one more sign to potential buyers that pets live there. Put them in a box or in your car so they are out of sight and out of mind.

The most important thing to remember is to not take any pet advice personal; your goal is to sell your home, not to make buyers fall in love with your pets!

Moving or travelling with pets? We can help with that too! Just check our out post on Moving With Pets to put your mind at ease.

Ten Commandments of Buying a Home

Commandments of Buying a Home (1)

 

There are some obvious checklist items that need to be taken care of when buying a home (i.e. getting loan pre-qualification and approval), however there are a few possibly less-obvious things that many new home buyers may not consider.

  • Don’t change or quit your current job while you are in the process of getting a loan or finalizing paper work.
  • Put off other large purchases (i.e. a new car) until after all is said, done, and signed with your new home.
  • Keep credit lines current and don’t miss payments on already existing credit cards or loans.
  • Maintain your savings account.
  • Identify all debt or lines of credit on your loan application.
  • Avoid having other inquiries on your credit before your loan has been approved and you have keys to your new home.
  • Don’t make any large, seemingly random cash deposits into your bank account.
  • Avoid co-signing loans for anyone else, as this will definitely affect your credit “worthiness” in the eyes of loan officers.

Home of the week! 4844 G Loop Rd in Samish Island

RELAX, you are home!

RELAX, you are home!

If you are looking for your dream waterfront home in the beautiful Puget Sound, come see this stunning, one of a kind home for sale in Samish Island!

This wonderful waterfront estate is located in Samish Island (no ferry needed) and it is THE perfect venue to create lifetime memories for generations to come. A private path to the community beach leads you to oysters, clams, crab, fishing & water sports.

Relax by the outdoor pool, soak in the hot tub, or watch a movie in the media room complete with 6 media chairs, surround sound and a large wet bar! Enjoy dramatic sunsets out in the ample deck or from the beautiful living room with 30’+/- ceilings.

This home features an ELEVATOR, making it ADA accessible. Entertain guests and family in the lower level family room complete with a full kitchen; perfect for multi-generational living.

Attached 3 car garage, additional detached garage & RV Pad w/50 AMP is sure to satisfy any car and road trip aficionado.

If you would like a private showing of 4844 G Loop in Samish Island, please give us a call (360) 941-3734, we will be glad to walk you through this gorgeous property and tell you about the many features of this amazing home for sale in Samish Island.