Selling Your Home

Inexpensive Ways to Add Value to a Home Before Selling It

Your home is your castle. Sometimes, however, it can feel a little less regal than you’d like it to.

Outdated fixtures or not having enough space or light, among other things, can make a home feel tired and old. For about $100 or less, many features of a home can be improved to help add value to a home when selling it.

You won’t be able to expand the dining room on the cheap, but there are some simple improvements that can spruce up a house cheaply and quickly:

Update fixtures
Start in the kitchen, which is one of the first areas home buyers look at. Replace the kitchen sink faucet, replace cabinet door handles or install a new sink if you can find a deal on one.

Bathroom fixtures such as towel racks and toilet paper holders can be easily...

Make the Most of Your Fireplace

One feature that many people look for when buying a home is a fireplace, but not everyone understands what exactly goes into getting a nice fire roaring.

Knowing the terms can help. For instance, the fireplace’s flue allows smoke to move through the chimney, and the damper is an opening you can adjust to control the intake of air and temperature of the fire. And don’t forget, the flue needs to be open before a fire is first lit.

Of course, you’ll need to gather some wood to burn, which can be done by contracting with a provider of seasoned firewood, who will deliver and even stack it for you, or you can simply buy firewood at your local grocery store. Also, try searching Craig’s list for free firewood in your neighborhood.

Firewood should be stored in a dry place so that it’s ready to burn....

Should You Remodel Before Selling or Lower Your Asking Price?

Some buyers are willing to purchase a house that needs repairs in exchange for a lower price, while others want a house they can move into immediately. If your home needs work, you may be torn between fixing it up to sell it for a higher price and lowering your asking price to save yourself the trouble. Consider the type of work your house needs and the local real estate market to decide what to do.

Would Fixing Up Your House Make Financial Sense?
Some home improvements have a much higher return on investment than others. Buyers are primarily interested in updated kitchens and bathrooms. If those rooms are dated, remodeling them would be a smart investment. Optional renovations, such as creating an open floorplan, might not pay off as much. Sometimes simple cosmetic changes, such as repainting...

Four Strategies for a Faster Sale

Most sellers hope for a quick sale so they can begin moving into a new home. Unfortunately, things don’t always move that fast in the real estate world.

You may not have the luxury of waiting for an offer that meets your price. A seller may need to sell quickly because of a new job, a change in relationship or even a death in the family.

If you fall into the category of someone who needs to sell quickly, these strategies will get you the speedy resolution you desire.

Tell your agent. Make sure you explain to your agent how valuable time is to you. They will have experience in knowing what to do to get a home sold faster, and can better guide the direction of the sale.

Price it right. There’s nothing that leads to a quick sale...

HELOC Pitfalls to Avoid

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, can be a convenient way to borrow against a home’s equity to pay for home renovation projects, college, debt consolidation or other major expenses.

Most lenders allow up to 80 percent of a home’s equity to be borrowed from the home’s value through a line of credit that can be accessed for up to 10 years through an adjustable-rate loan. Repayment can last for 10 to 20 years after the credit line term ends.

Like many financial tools, there are some potential pitfalls to look out for. Here are three to avoid with a HELOC:

Monthly Payments Can Rise
If interest rates rise, so will the monthly payments of a HELOC, which have adjustable rates. Rising interest rates will also increase the total cost of the amount borrowed,...

5 Tips for Selling Your Vacant Home

Selling a home always requires work, but selling a vacant home can demand a bit of extra attention. When furniture is removed, any flaws or quirks will be laid bare. And without a family tending to the space, dust settles faster than you may realize.

Below are a handful of tips to put your vacant home’s best foot forward.

Focus on the small stuff. Repaint the walls and cabinets, tear up old carpet, replace the kitchen floor—whatever it takes to make the space feel fresh and flawless.

Keep the staging simple. To get rid of the “empty house” feeling, leave a few pieces of furniture behind, if you can—simple things like a lamp, chairs and a table can really transform a room.

Keep up with maintenance. ...

9 Sneaky Storage Tricks for Tiny Bathrooms

Small bathrooms with limited storage space make it tough to stow all the stuff you use daily and still keep the space looking tidy. Check these smart solutions discovered by Good Housekeeping Magazine:

Expand cabinet space. If your under-sink cabinet is stuffed to the gills, spend $13 for an over-the-door storage basket that can hold your hair dryer, curling iron and more.

Use the corners. Suction cups keep a tower of small storage spaces—as many as you’d like—firmly tucked into a corner of the shower. Cost is under $10.

Narrow organizers fit anywhere. Three-tiered organizers less than 5 inches deep fit into any space, even between the wall and a sink with no vanity....

10 Questions to Help You Hire the Right Contractor

Whether you’re replacing a kitchen floor, painting the siding or adding a deck, a home improvement project can be a huge undertaking that requires experience and skill. That’s why homeowners will often skip the DIY approach and opt to hire a professional contractor to get the job done right.

However, not all contractors are created equal, and many homeowners worry about finding a competent, trustworthy pro to handle the task and their money. Before shaking hands—and certainly before paying anything—ask a contractor these 10 questions:

1. How long have you been working in the industry? Look for a credible track record and successful work experience.

2. Are you licensed, insured and bonded? Ensure your contractor is licensed...

Find Hidden Household Leaks in 10 Minutes

Water conservation isn’t only good for the environment; it’s also good for your bank account. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), easy-to-fix leaks in homes across the country waste a total of almost 1 trillion gallons of water every year. Furthermore, because the average leaky home wastes about 10,000 gallons annually, leaks could be costing you at least 10 percent more on your water bills—without you even knowing it.

Are pesky water leaks hiding in your home? To find out quickly, take the EPA’s 10-minute challenge to search for common leaks using the agency’s room-by-room checklist below:

BATHROOM
Toilets: Conduct a leak test by putting a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and letting...

Which Type of Siding Is Right for Your House?

Siding is a critical component of a home that protects it from extreme temperatures, rain, snow and wind. Although siding is designed to last many years, it can become damaged over time by repeated exposure to the elements and lack of maintenance. If your home’s siding needs to be replaced, you have many options.

Most Popular Siding Materials
The most commonly chosen type of siding is vinyl. Homeowners prefer vinyl siding because it is inexpensive and durable and requires little maintenance. Vinyl siding comes in an array of colors and styles and can even be made to resemble other siding materials.

Although wood siding has declined in popularity, many homeowners still choose it because of its strength and classic appearance. Several types of wood can be used for siding, and pieces can be cut into shingles or shakes. With...