DIY Projects to Sell Home Faster

December 6th, 2018

Ready to put your home on the market? Make sure before you do it’s ready to show off to potential buyers. Here are some simple DIY projects that will add value to your home and help it sell faster.

Landscaping 

Make a good first impression, and that begins with curb appeal. Make sure your lawn is cut and manicured. Add some colorful flowers, plant trees and even add an inexpensive picket fence. 

Smart Home

Install a programmable thermostat for convenience as well as energy savings. Technology is the future, so the more you install in your home, the more valuable it becomes to a potential buyer. 

Remove trends from the past 

Popcorn ceilings look dated and bring down the value of your home. Before you remove popcorn ceiling yourself be sure to make sure it is asbestos free.

Declutter 

We talk about this one a lot but only because it is so important. Take it room by room and get rid of the things you no longer use or need. And be sure to check out our blog post on decluttering.

Painting

It’s time to cover up those bold color choices. You don’t want to turn a buyer off because you went through a fuschia phase or the kids wanted a hot pink playroom. Repaint in calming neutral colors and cover up any scuffs or signs of wear and tear. Not only is painting an easy and cost-effective improvement, but freshly painted rooms feel fresh and new-adding value.  

Light Fixtures 

Don’t date your home with antique looking light fixtures, change them out for more modern or contemporary pieces. The more light, the better. 

Update the bathroom 

It may just be the little things that need updating like the faucets and shower head. If faucets are outdated or rusted, replace them with more modern fixtures. Same goes for the shower head. If it is covered with soap scum, it can easily be updated with a modern head.

Minor Repairs 

You don’t want potential buyers to come into your home and think about all the repairs they are going to have to make, so be sure to replace chipped tiles, broken door handles, broken tracking on doors or drawers, and window screens.

Don’t forget, for all of your real estate needs, call The Rhonda Gustitus Team at 941-426-4394.

Tips for Buying Your First Home

November 16th, 2018

Tips for buying first home

Buying your first home is a big step and investment, and often first time buyers aren’t sure where to begin in the process. Here are 9 things to consider before buying your first home that can help ease the process, save time and money, and help you avoid common mistakes.

Hire a Real Estate Agent

Find an agency or agent who is familiar with the area, knowledgeable of the market and someone you get along with. You will be working with them a lot throughout the process, so chemistry is key.

Start saving early 

Funds will be needed for a down payment on the mortgage which could be as much as 20%. Consider this, if your home costs $150,000 that’s as much as $30,000 required for down payment. Some first time home buyer programs require less down payment, but it’s important to be prepared and talk to your real estate agent about these costs.

Know what you are looking for 

It’s important to have a list of must-haves and have-nots before you start looking at houses. Also narrow down what’s important such as good school district, local safety, proximity to the grocery store or work. Make sure your real estate agent is aware of these prior to the initial home search.

It’s okay to be picky 

We all want to start with our dream home, but that’s not always feasible, but it is important not to settle on the first home you see (unless it is your dream home). Don’t become an emotional buyer when it comes to your first home, it’s okay to look at multiple homes before you decide.

Stick to your budget

Look at houses within your price range or below. Below because you never know how much it may cost for minor home repairs and upgrades once you close. Be firm, this will help when it’s time to make an offer.

Make the most of open houses

Pay attention to the condition of the home and any potential repairs that might have to be made. Ask questions, such as when the home was built, how old the air conditioning unit is, and are the appliances new? These may come in handy when you get ready to negotiate.

Budget for Closing Costs and moving expenses

Again, this is why it’s important to stick to your budget, or slightly below. Closing costs could run between 2% – 5% of your loan amount.

Buy for the future

Think about where you want to be in 5 years, and buy for that. You may not have kids now, but if you plan on starting a family you will want that extra bedroom or be in close proximity to a good school district.

Don’t be afraid to Negotiate

A lot of negotiating can take place during the home buying process which can result in significant savings.

Buying your first home is exciting and stressful, so let us help you out. Give The Rhonda Gustitus Team a call at 941-426-4394.

8 Home Staging Tips

October 23rd, 2018

Home Staging Tips

When you are getting ready to sell, home staging is so important. The more welcoming it feels, the more likely potential buyers will aspire live in the home. Here are 8 staging tips when selling your home:

1. Declutter

First things first, decluttering. Make sure you check out our recent blog post on why it’s so essential to declutter before you put your home on the market. It’s important to depersonalize because the goal is for the potential buyer to aspire to live in the space and make it their own.

2. Clean

After the decluttering process, clean up. Go room by room, cleaning from top to bottom. The cleaner the home, the more appealing it is to a buyer.

3. Lighting

Now that your house is clean and decluttered, it’s time to set a mood. Open the curtains or pull back the shades to let in as much natural light as possible. Also, change any dull or burnt out light bulbs.

4. Repainting

Repainting can also help make your home feel brighter, cleaner and cozier. Paint chips and cracks should always be fixed and repainted as well as any rooms that might be an off-putting color to a potential buyer.

5. Wall Accessories

While it’s important to depersonalize your home, don’t leave it looking bare. Wall art and mirrors are great ways to accessorize the walls and make the room feel more spacious and more welcoming.

6. Set the Table

You want buyers to imagine themselves making breakfast, having a dinner party or hosting a holiday dinner. It’s much easier for them to envision when the table is set.

7. Color

To add extra color to your space, buy fresh flowers or place a large bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter. Extra pillows and even a nice throw blanket at the foot of the bed or couch will add to the overall feel. Replace any faded towels, blankets, rugs and bedding. It’s important not to give the impression of being worn or used.

8. Curb Appeal

Don’t forget about the exterior of your home. It’s the first thing potential buyers see when they drive up, so make an impression. Landscape the lawn, clean off the driveway and walkways leading up to the front door, and give the door a fresh look with a new coat of paint or pressure wash. Add accessories like a welcome mat or floral wreath. Also make sure your mailbox looks good and the doorbell is clean and visible.

If you need any other staging tips or ideas, feel free to give The Rhonda Gustitus Team a call at 941-426-4394.

15 Cleaning Hacks: Kitchen

October 16th, 2018

Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

Have your kitchen and appliances shining like new in no time with these kitchen cleaning hacks:


Stove Top
 

1. Wax your stovetop with Car wax and wipe away with a paper towel. This will make it easier to clean up future messes. Just make sure your stove top is clean before waxing it.

2. For caked on messes, apply dish soap, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and scrub with a simple brush.

3. Bar Keeper’s Friend is a miracle worker. For burnt on messes or when pots leave rings on the stove sprinkle Bar Keeper’s Friend over the entire area, wet a cloth and scrub in circular motions. Then wipe away clean and rinse with water.

Stainless Steel

4. Bar Keeper’s Friend works great to polish stainless steel appliances.

5. To remove water spots, sprinkle distilled vinegar and add baking soda. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes then wipe clean.

6. For extra shine, use Pledge and wipe in a circular motion.

Kitchen Sink

7. To clean, use baking soda, lime, distilled vinegar, and cleaning solution. Let soak, then drain and wipe away.

8. Clean your faucet by filling a large sandwich bag with vinegar and tie around the faucet head with a rubber band. Let soak for 20-45 minutes.

9. Sanitize and deodorize the garbage disposal using lemon rinds, ice cubes, and salt. The ice and salt will grind away the grime and lemon will sanitize.

Oven

10. Magic Eraser will cut through the grime and build-up on the glass door.

11. To clean oven racks, mix distilled vinegar with baking soda and use to scrub off baked-on foods and grease.

12. For baking sheets, mix 1/4 cup of baking soda and add hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. Use steel wool or a sponge to rub off stains left on the baking pan. Let set for 45 minutes before rinsing clean.

Microwave

13. A simple way of removing tough stains in the microwave is to cut 1-2 lemons in half and place in a bowl of water and run for 3 minutes. Leave the bowl inside to allow its steam to act on the stains. After, wipe away with cloth or paper towel.

Refrigerator

14. Put a bowl of baking soda in the back of the refrigerator to help deodorize.

*Another tip, to prevent spills from making a mess, line the shelves with Press ’n Seal wrap.

Dishwasher

15. Clean the dishwasher using lemon Kool-Aid drink mix. Pour one packet into the detergent cup of an empty dishwasher and run through a regular cycle. The citric acid cleans away stains.

Hope you found these tips helpful. Don’t forget, for all your Real Estate needs, call The Rhonda Gustitus Team at 941-426-4394.

5 ways to enhance your kitchen on a budget

October 11th, 2018

kitchen enhancementsThe kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home and one you most likely spend the most time in especially if you entertain or have a family. If you feel like your kitchen could use an update, but you don’t want to go through a complete renovation, here are five easy changes you can make to enhance and transform your kitchen on a budget.

Kitchen Lighting

Modern tracking or simple glass lighting can do a lot to enhance your kitchen and make it appear more spacious. Add dimmers to create a mood.

Island Time

Need more counter and storage space, but also want an open floor plan? Good news, you can have both. Invest in a portable island that can be moved when guests come over. An island can also provide additional seating in the kitchen for friends and family and act as a bar.

Refresh your Cabinets

If your cabinets feel a little outdated, a fresh coat of paint or finish can completely change the look and feel of the kitchen. Want them to pop? Use a bold color or even go with two-tones to create a whole new look. Accent knobs and pulls can also enhance the look of the cabinets. Is all your fine China hidden away? Stylize your shelves by adding glass doors to display your fine China. Or add open shelving where you can display China, glassware, and greenery. For added elegance, add lighting beneath the shelves.

Upgraded Fixtures

Smart touch faucets can make your kitchen feel more modern as well as decrease the chances of spreading germs and food born illnesses.

Backsplash

Add a little color or texture to your blank walls with tiles, it will make a huge difference and make the room appear more finished.

A little can go a long way. For all of your real estate needs, call The Rhonda Gustitus Team at 941-426-4394.

Pumpkin Spice Bread Recipe

October 1st, 2018

Pumpkin Spice Bread recipe

Happy October!

What’s more Fall than Pumpkin Spice? Celebrate the change of the season with this delicious Pumpkin Spice Bread recipe.

Ingredients:

2 cups Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
3 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
4 large eggs
3 1/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix Pumpkin, Sugar, Oil, Water, and Eggs in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine Flour, Baking Soda, Salt, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg. Stir well and then slowly pour in with pumpkin mixture. Mix until combined completely.
  4. Cover bottom and sides of a loaf pan with slightly melted butter (you can use nonstick cooking spray if preferred.)
  5. Pour mixture evening into loaf pans.
  6. Bake at 350° for 55-65 minutes, or until done. Insert a clean knife into the middle of loaf until it comes out clean.
  7. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
  8. Enjoy!

Send us some of your favorite recipes and we may share them on the blog. And remember, for all your Real Estate needs, call The Rhonda Gustitus Team at 941-426-4394.

Decluttering Before a Move

September 27th, 2018

decluttering before moving

 

Decluttering before a move is a key part of the moving process, in fact, it should be done even before your home goes on the market.

If you are planning a move in the near future, look around, do you see a lot of clutter? How about this? Are there items stuffed away in a closet that you haven’t looked at or used in years? If you answered yes, it’s probably time to get rid of it.

Donate it, sell it, or trash it.

The key is to start this process early, here’s why:

  • Sell for your asking price – When you list your home, you want it to be as organized and clean as possible for the showing, photography, and open house. The idea is to allow potential buyers to focus on what’s most important: space, light, and flow. You don’t want a potential buyer to become distracted by stuff or the stories behind those personal items. Buyers should aspire to create their own stories and make the space their own.
  • Cut back on moving costs – The more items you have to pack up and move the more expensive moving costs will be. Boxes, storage, and moving vans all cost money, why spend extra money on items you don’t necessarily need or want.
  • Avoid extra stress – It is easy to develop an emotional attachment to your things because they all have a story.  Don’t add to the stress of moving by waiting to declutter.  

Where do you begin with the decluttering process?

Start by asking yourself a simple question: Do I want to pack this, move it, unpack it and display it in my new beautiful home? If the answer is no, you know what to do – Donate it, sell it or trash it.

Give yourself time to go through your belongings and decide what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of.  Gather everything up and start sorting into piles, one for keep, one to sell, one to donate and one to trash. Once you decide what to donate and trash, get rid of them right away. 

It’s usually easiest to start with larger, nonsentimental items. It might also help to invite a friend or family member over to help go through items. They can help motivate you and ease the guilt of giving things away. 

Hope this helps the moving process. If you are thinking about selling your home, call The Rhonda Gustitus Team at 941-426-4394.

Simple Home Improvement Projects to Enhance Your Home

September 21st, 2018

Home ImprovementWhile it may seem like a daunting task to renovate your home, there are actually some simple home improvement projects you can do that take minimal time, effort and money and can transform your living space. 

  • Warm Welcome – Your front door is the first thing your guests will see when they come to your house, so make an impression. Painting your door a bold color can dramatically change the way your home looks and enhances the curb appeal. Add some greenery, colorful florals and lighting to further brighten the entrance.
  • Paint Job – A fresh coat of paint can give the room a brand new feel. Rich hues and soft pastels create a calm and comfort. Lighter shades can also make a room feel larger. Painting the ceiling a lighter shade of blue or silver will also help reflect light.
  • Accessorize your Cupboards – Replace generic pulls and knobs with accented pieces or add a pop of color. A new coat of paint can also liven things up. 
  • Jazz it up – Use paints, wallpapers, and fun designs to decorate small spaces like guest bathrooms or closets.
  • Out with the Old – New fixtures can modernize and enhance your kitchen and bathroom. While you’re at it, change your shower head too.
  • Bold Backsplash – Brighten the kitchen with a bold or colorful backsplash. Not only will it protect your walls from damage, but it can also change the entire look of your kitchen. For an easy backsplash look try wooden boards, stainless steel, wallpaper, tiles, chalkboard or magnetic paint or even peel-and-stick tile.
  • Crown Molding – Adds both charm and value to your home. This may be a task for a professional, but it will pay off in the end. 
  • Dress the windows – Curtains or wooden blinds help keep the sun out during warm months but also give your home a cozier feel.
  • Romance and Grace – Add a chandelier to your entryway or above your dining room table to add a touch of elegance to the room. Have a freestanding tub? Just imagine what a chandelier could do to those evening bubble baths. 
  • Dim the Lights – Adding dimmers to your lamps (and chandeliers) help create a comforting mood.

These simple home improvement tips can make any house a little homier and easier to sell. We are here for any of your real estate needs. Just give The Rhonda Gustitus Team a call at 941-426-4394.

How to Prepare for a Hurricane

September 13th, 2018

How to Prepare for a Hurricane

It’s that time of year again — hurricane season! And while it technically began June 1, it’s now that we see a lot more activity brewing in the Atlantic. Hopefully, none of those will affect us here in Florida, but it’s always best to be prepared in the event a hurricane does hit.

How should you prepare? Here is a list of things to consider as you begin your hurricane preparations: 

Water – The recommended amount of bottled water per person is one-gallon per day for at least three days. Water is important for staying hydrated, but also for food preparation and sanitation.

Food – Non-perishable food items are best. Canned fruits, vegetable and meats, protein bars or granola, and comfort foods. If a stressful situation arises, you’ll want to grab those comfort foods like chips, cookies, and candy. Don’t forget about your pets. Have at least a week’s supply of food and water for them as well.

First Aid Kit – If you have a first aid kit make sure it is fully stocked. You’ll want to have plenty of bandages in various sizes, hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes, latex gloves, anti-bacterial ointment, a cold pack, scissors, tweezers, and a flashlight along with spare batteries.

Nonprescription Drugs – Antacids, pain relievers, vitamins, and anti-diarrhea medication.

Prescription Drugs – In the event of power failure or flooding, it’s important to have at least a week’s worth of any prescription drugs.

Cleaning Supplies – Soaps, detergents, hygiene products, bleach, garbage bags, and toilet paper are among the items you want to have on hand in the event you are unable to leave your home before or after a hurricane.

Important Documents – Keep important documents in a waterproof and portable container for easy transport. Important documents include passports, insurance policies, social society cards, bank account numbers, credit card account numbers, emergency phone numbers and an inventory of household items.

Gas – This time of year, it’s safe to always have a full tank of gas in the car. Once the threat of a storm becomes real, gas shortages and even gauging can become a real issue. If you have a generator, you will also need to fill your portable gas containers. Always remember to operate the generator outdoors and keep gas containers in a safe place.

Plywood – Depending on the strength of the storm, you may want to consider boarding up windows and doors to prevent wind damage.

Stay safe this hurricane season. Don’t forget to give The Rhonda Gustitus Team a call at 941-426-4394 for all your real estate needs.

Trends to Avoid if You Want to Sell Your Home

September 11th, 2018

“In a world full of trends, I want to remain a classic” 

Trendy Home

 

Wallpaper – Bold and kitschy prints are fun and can liven up a small space, but not everyone is looking for flamingo covered walls or metallic patterns. You are best off keeping things simple and neutral.


Tiles – Patterned tiles are all the rage and catch people’s eyes but not always in a good way. Don’t distract a potential buyer with too many patterns. This also goes for patterned floor tiles. Stay away from the brightly colored tiles and geometric shapes.


Color of the year – Purple is the color of the year and while it is a nice color, it will make a home look outdated in a few years and may only appeal to a small group of people. When choosing paint colors go with more classic neutral or pastel hues. If you can’t live without your favorite color, accessorize with it. Pillows, linens, and planters make great accent pieces and can be taken with you once you sell.


All White – Similar to the color of the year, all white is very popular for those looking to achieve the ultra-modern look, but too much white can feel cold and uninviting, two things you don’t want your potential buyer to feel.


Inconsistent color scheme – Painting your walls can be a fun DIY project, but stick to a similar color scheme. Too much variety can turn a buyer off.

 

Hope these tips helped. Don’t forget, if you are thinking about selling your home, call The Rhonda Gustitus Team at 941-426-4394.