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A Guide to Cleaning Your Home After Selling

by Melissa Thompson


SOLD!  The word you’ve been waiting to hear!  You’ve received that much wanted call from your Realtor that your home is off the market. It won’t be yours for much longer; soon you will be moving out.  Pride in ownership means that you will likely want to leave your house looking its very best for its new owners. In some states, real estate purchase contracts stipulate that the home is to be “swept clean” meaning the seller should at least sweep the floors and leave walls and ceilings bare. But the language can often be vague.  Sample Purchase and Sale Agreement for TN

Here is a list of cleaning tips for home sellers to help you leave the house reasonably clean and to create a feeling of goodwill toward your buyer:

Cleaning the Interior of the Home Before Moving Out:

  • Remove all personal property.
  • Vacuum the floors.
  • Clean kitchen appliances including the inside of the refrigerator and over.  Wipe down the counters.
  • Scrub sinks and tubs.
  • Wipe down interior cabinets and shelves.
  • Wash tile/vinyl/wood flooring.

Cleaning the Garage Prior to Closing:

  • Remove personal belongings.
  • Throw away trash.
  • Properly dispose of toxic chemicals.
  • Sweep the floor.
  • Stack items pertaining to the home such as paint cans, roofing materials or extra flooring.  Check to make sure the buyer wants the extra materials first.

Keep in mind that you want to leave the home in the condition that you would like to find your new home.  Your buyers will appreciate it! 

The smart thing to do is to NOT wait until you have sold your house to start getting it ready for moving out. Give yourself plenty of time to get it done so that you are not rushing to complete tasks on move-out day. You will be moving in to your own new home as well, and you won’t want to be going back and forth between homes trying to get things done once you’ve moved. 5 Things to Do Before Moving Out of Your House

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs! Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Perfect Your Patio on a Budget

by Melissa Thompson


Now that warmer weather is here, you will want to start spending more time outside.  But chances are you might have let your patio go over the winter months and it doesn’t look or feel too appealing right now.  Now is the time to give your patio a little makeover so you can bask in the fresh air, whether you are simply enjoying a good book and a cup of tea, or you are dining al fresco.  Here are some ways to upgrade your patio without breaking the bank:

  1. STOP PESTS

Pests can cause your patio to become unsightly with debris from their digging and trampling.A great way to keep them away is to surround your patio with simple pine cones instead of mulch.While critters will be deterred by the spiny cones, your plants will love them because they add acidity to the soil.They will make plants like azaleas and rhododendrons burst with color!Also, pine cones are slow to decompose, so they will last a long time!

  1. REMOVE RUST

If you have metal furniture on your patio that has become covered in rust, you won’t feel much like lounging on it.But you don’t have to get rid of it or replace it with expensive pieces.You can remove the rust and have it looking good as new!There are many ways to get rid of rust.If it’s not too bad, you can simply scrape it off using a wire brush, sandpaper, or steel wool along with a bit of elbow grease.For more severe cases, try an acidic agent like vinegar to help take it off.You can also use a chemical rust converter (such as Rust-Oleum), which changes the rust into a different substance and gives added protection from rusting again. Patio Furniture Rust Removal

  1. ADD COLOR

Nothing brightens up a gloomy concrete patio like a pop of color!You can keep it simple and paint your patio floor a nice, bright color to spice it up. Or you can be super creative and try painting patterns or even using stamps to create a bold design.If painting the concrete seems like too much for you, then add color with accessories like chair cushions and pillows, side tables, and planters. How to Paint Your Concrete Patio

  1. BUILD A FIRE PIT

Did you know that you can build a fire pit with no tools?A fire pit adds a focal point to your patio and creates a cozy atmosphere.The best part is that it doesn’t require much time or money to build one.For a small fire pit you can purchase heat-resistant pavers (or “fire bricks), which cost about $5 each.Stack two layers of them in a small circle, about six blocks in circumference on top of a stone slab, and voila! You have a fire pit!Remember that this will only work on a patio surface that is fire-safe.So, don’t try to do this on a wooden deck!And be sure to check your Local Fire Codes!

  1. DETER INSECTS

There are many ways to keep your patio as insect free as possible.First, keep your patio clean.Be sure to sweep up any crumbs and wipe up spilled liquids after dining. Any tiny morsel or stickiness is sure to attract ants and other insects.Second, replace white light bulbs with yellow bulbs or Sodium-Vapor Lights which are less likely to attract bugs.  Third, plant pest-deterrent flowers and plants. And finally, while on your patio, burn citronella torches or candles to help keep bothersome bugs away.  These are just a few ways to keep your patio insect free.  Here are some others: Keeping Flies and Pests Off the Patio.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs!  Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Lawn Basics: Where the Green Grass Grows

by Melissa Thompson


No green thumb? Don’t worry!  The grass CAN be greener on your side of the fence. With spring right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start working on a thick carpet of grass for your yard. Here are some tips for growing a lawn that will have your neighbors GREEN with envy:

  1. Start by reseeding and fertilizing. If you have bare spots in your grass, taking the time to reseed now will pay off this spring.  Make sure you fertilize for optimal growth and keep the area moist until you see new growth. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, you can hire someone to do it. Here are the 5 Best Lawn Seeding Companies in Memphis, TN.
     
  2. Look for problems that will hinder growth.  Steep slopes and shady trees can potentially keep grass from growing.  You may want to consider hydroseeding in sloped regions.  And planting fescues in shady zones will help as well. What is Hydroseeding? All Of Your Questions Answered
     
  3. Patch dead areas with sod.  Re-sodding is the best bet if you have large dead areas. Sod can be installed any time of year…just make sure you water it frequently until it sets.
     
  4. Look into xeriscaping. No matter what climate you living, xeriscaping is the best way to weatherproof your lawn.  This low maintenance, low cost method of landscaping will keep your lawn looking beautiful during all the seasons! Xeriscape Landscaping: Meaning, and How it Can Save You Money

Once you have your lawn looking fabulous, you can create a fun outdoor living space to enjoy with your friends and family.  And when you’re ready to sell your home, the first impression potential buyers get from your curb appeal will have them waiting in line to see your house! 

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: twitter.com

Brighten Up Your Home with Color

by Melissa Thompson


It’s been a long, dreary winter and chances are you are ready to add a little color to your life. One great way to do this to embellish your home with some happy hues.  Here are some easy ways to add color to your home without breaking the bank:

  • THROW PILLOWS

Throw pillows make fantastic accent pieces for rooms that are otherwise neutral in color.Another thing that is great about them is that you can purchase washable covers for pillow inserts that can be switched out based on the season.Red and green for Christmas, pink for Valentine’s Day, kelly green for St. Patrick’s Day, pastels for Easter…this list goes on and on.

  • PLANTS

There are many reasons that adding live plants to your home décor is a good idea, not the least of which is the natural beauty it brings to any room.In addition, they purify the air, giving your home a clean, fresh feel.There are so many plants to choose from in a variety of colors, including low maintenance plants for those without a green thumb. Forgiving Houseplants

  • CURTAINS

Add a touch of sophistication to any room with some vibrantly colored curtains. Use solids or simple patterns so that the focus is on the pop of color they provide.

  • ACCENT WALL       

You’ll be amazed by how much one colorful wall can make a room shine! Perhaps your favorite hue is a little too bold to be used on every wall in the room; but it might be just the right shade for an accent wall.Just be sure that the surrounding walls are painted in a neutral or a shade that compliments the accent wall. 16 Living Rooms with Accent Walls

  • LAMPS

You can find them in all shapes and sizes, so why not utilize lamps to add pops of color to a room?Look for bases in accent colors that provide a vivid contrast to neutral shades and furniture.

  • TILE BACKSPLASH

Does your kitchen feel a little “blah”?Brighten it up with a beautiful glass tile backsplash.And if you really want to bring a new lightness to the room, paint your cabinets white to make that tile backsplash really stand out. Kitchen Update: Add a Glass Tile Backsplash

  • AREA RUGS

It’s super easy to add color to a room with throw rugs.Stick to solid colors or simple patterns so that they aren’t too busy.Be sure to choose colors that complement the tones in your furnishings and accent pieces.

  • FRONT DOOR

While it’s common to paint the outside of your front door to accentuate the exterior of your home, it might not have occurred to you that you can do the same with the inside of the door.Make a cheerful statement in your entryway with a colorful front door!

Adding color to your home does not have to be expensive and will add a cheerful aesthetic that will have you feeling happy at home!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Home Sellers - How to Set the Right Price for Your Home

by Melissa Thompson


When you decide to sell your house it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the details you need to think about.  The best thing to do is take things one step at a time. One thing that you will have to do is set a price for you home.  Deciding how much you want to ask for your home is complicated.  As the owner, the value you place on your home may be different that the value a potential buyer places on it.  You not only have a financial investment in it, but also and emotional one.  But when buyers think of value, they are thinking primarily about price.  The asking price for your property can attract buyers, or it can turn them off completely. A home that is not priced right can sit on the market for a long time, which can lead potential buyers to think there is something wrong with it.  The first step toward determining the right price for your home is to hire an experienced, professional Realtor who can use their expertise and knowledge of the market to assist you.

Working with your Realtor is crucial.  But it is also vital that you have a clear understanding of what your home is worth.  Learning about your home’s fair market value will help you evaluate the price your Realtor recommends.  Remember that you and your Realtor are a team and together you can decide on a price that will be profitable for everyone.

The first thing to do when trying to determine the right price for your home is to do some research. You can use an online  Estimating Tool  to plug in your address and find approximately how much your house is worth. They base their estimates on your home’s square footage and real estate data they have collected, such as recent home sales in your local market. But it’s important to remember that these results are very general and do not speak to your specific situation.  If the online estimate does not align with your Realtor’s advice, lean toward your Realtor’s suggested price. 

Another important aspect to consider when pricing your home is how it compares to other similar homes in the area.  Your Realtor will likely run the average sales prices of at least three Comps to assess your home’s value.  There are several factors that go into choosing “comps”. They are: age, location, square footage, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Your Realtor will look at the difference between each comp’s listing price, and the price at which it sold. Then there will be research into price reductions and why they happened, if relevant.  Meanwhile, your Realtor will also rely on their own knowledge of the local market.  When selecting comps, your Realtor will generally look for properties that sold in the previous three months, within a one-mile radius of your home. In addition, you will want to figure out what your competition is. So, your Realtor will check out properties that are currently for sale in your area to find out how your home compares to them. 

Understanding the current real estate market in your area will also have a large impact on your pricing strategy.   If you’re in a Seller's Market, that means demand from buyers is high and the number of homes on the market is low. In this market, you may be able to price your home slightly higher than market value. However, if it’s a Buyer's Market, buyers are at an advantage and you might have to price your home slightly below the market value to entice buyers. Your Realtor can help you navigate the current market in your area so that you price your home right.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Home Inspection Checklist for Home Sellers

by Melissa Thompson


It’s very exciting when you accept an offer on your home and you are ready to sell. But that excitement can go away quickly if the buyer’s home inspection doesn’t go well.  Smart homebuyers will never make a purchase without having a property professionally inspected first, so you can pretty much count on that happening.  So, it’s important for you, as the seller, to be prepared for the home inspection.  By identifying potential problems beforehand, you can make the repairs needed to avoid unpleasant surprises during the inspection. Cheap Home Repairs That Can Save You Thousands

Use this checklist to help you prepare for the home inspection:

  1. Make sure that all lights are working and all switches are covered. The same goes for electrical outlets.  A general home inspection will include a visual review of the electrical system.  If the inspector finds that a light isn’t working, there is a likelihood he will recommend that a licensed contractor to check it out.
  2. Take care of routine maintenance.  Put new batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and be sure they are working properly. Also, put fresh air filters on your air conditioning units and furnaces.  If buyers see that small things aren’t being maintained, they will be worried that big things aren’t either. 
  3. Clean out areas around appliances so they can easily be inspected.  It will be difficult for the inspector if your laundry room is full of clothes or the dishwasher is full of dirty dishes.  If you have a gas fireplace, be sure the pilot light is lit so that the inspector can turn it on.  If the inspector is not able to do that, he may suggest to the buyer that you show them the fireplace works before the sale is complete.  That just adds one more thing for you to worry about.
  4. Check out the exterior of your home.  View your house the way you would if you were buying it again. Is there peeling paint or hanging gutters?  If so, you can fix these problems prior to inspection so that they are not issues for the buyers.
  5. Test windows and doors.  Inspectors are going to be looking for windows and doors that open and close easily.  If you have windows that are sticking, you can fix this with very little money. Simply purchase a silicone spray from a home improvement store.  Clean out the tracks of sliding doors and lubricate them as well, if needed.
  6. Paint over old water stains.  Even after you have fixed a leaking pipe or roof, water stains can be left behind.  And even after the inspector has assured them that there any current moisture issues, old stains will scare buyers off just as much as new stains will. 
  7. Look for mold.  Mold will scare a buyer away fast!  So be sure to check basements, attics, bathrooms and garages for any signs of mold.  If you find any, deal with it before the inspection…and before you lose your buyers.
  8. Declutter before inspection.  The inspector isn’t going to care how messy your house it or how it’s staged, but he will appreciate being able to easily access everything he needs to inspect.
  9. Don’t try to hide issues.  Honesty matters. If you find something prior to inspection that is going to need to be fixed, notify the prospective buyer.  You don’t want the buyer to think you are trying to hide something.  If you don’t have the money on hand to make necessary repairs, you may be able to negotiate by offering a credit at closing so the new owners can do the repairs themselves.

Find Out What Home Inspectors Look For

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

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Tidy Home - Happy Home

by Melissa Thompson


A new year has arrived and now is a good time to start breaking bad habits that lead to an untidy home.  If you are one of those people who look around your house and wonder how it got to be such a mess, chances are you aren’t even aware of the bad habits that have formed over time and have you feeling overwhelmed with housework.  But there are indeed certain things that people who keep tidy homes don’t do. If you are guilty of doing these things, you can now begin the process of changing your habits and creating the tidy home you crave.

Things people with tidy homes DON’T do:

  • Tidy people don’t overdo it.  People with tidy homes tend to be minimalists. They don’t have a lot of extraneous furnishings and knick knacks.  They also don’t over decorate.  They value the pristine nature of clear surfaces. And let’s face it, the less you have, the less you have to clean.  Imagine how quickly you can dust a room when you only have a few clear surfaces to clean! How to Master the Art of Minimalism
     
  • Tidy people don’t settle down for the night until they have cleaned up.  After a long day, it’s tempting to leave the dinner dishes in the sink, the mail on the counter and bags on the floor so that you can just relax.  But tidy people are “never leave until tomorrow what can be done today” kind of people.  If you clean up before you settle down to watch television, read, or go to bed, it’s like resetting for the next day.  It will be easier for you to relax if you know you will be waking up to a neat and clean home.
     
  • Tidy people don’t let their homes get messy all day and then try to clean it all up at one time.  Staying on top of the mess is key to keeping a tidy home.  If you complete small tasks on a regular basis, you will never get to the point where you have to spend hours cleaning the whole house at once.
     
  • Tidy people never run out of cleaning supplies.  They figure out what products they like and they stock up on them.  And guess what? They keep them tidy and organized.  Two story house? They have cleaning supplies stored both downstairs and upstairs.  They probably even have two vacuum cleaner so that they don’t have to drag one up and down the steps. 
     
  • Tidy people don’t use the floor as a spot to store things.  If you have been to the home of a tidy person you probably noticed there is nothing on the floor…no bags, books, magazines, or baskets with blankets and pillows.  In a tidy home everything has a place and there is a place for everything.
     
  • Tidy people keep a schedule.  They don’t clean randomly “as needed”. They schedule tasks and keep to that schedule as much as possible.  You will find it surprising how easy your house cleaning will be when you break it up into small tasks done on a regular basis. How Often You Should Clean Everything

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: Wikipedia.com

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Our-Video-Blog

Easy Home Updates That Won’t Break the Bank

by Melissa Thompson


Another year is coming to an end and like many people, you may already be thinking about what you are going to do to make next year better.  If home improvement is on your new year’s resolution list, but your budget is already a bit strained, there are a lot of home updates you can do that are inexpensive.  Try these easy upgrades to give your home a fresh look for 2019:

  1. Freshen Up the Front Door

Whenever I am decorating or even just cleaning, I always start with the places that guests will see first.Well, your front door is one of the first things people see when they come to your house, so why not make it as appealing as possible?Perhaps give it a new coat of paint with a color that makes it pop and say “welcome”!Or, if you already like the color of your door, give it a thorough cleaning to make it shine and add a pretty wreath.

  1. Modernize Light Switches and Outlets

If you are still living with the light switches and outlets that the builders put into your house, chances are they were the cheapest ones they could find.And if your home is older, they might not only be “dated” but also kind of faded or yellowed.You might be surprised how much it will brighten up your house to have clean, new switch plates and outlets!

  1. Embellish Mirrors with Frames

A plain sheet of mirror sitting above a sink is, in a word, boring.Take it down and replace it with a mirror with a frame and you will be amazed at the difference it makes! If you don’t want to take down the existing mirror, you can add a frame to it!

  1. Change Up Lighting Fixtures

Every space in your home is impacted by lighting.If you have outdated light fixtures, or you simply don’t like the ones that came with the house, switching them out for new ones is a great way to update your home!

  1. Don’t Like It? Paint It!

A new coat of paint can transform just about any surface!Kitchen cabinets dull and drab? Paint them! Paint stores will allow you to purchase samples so that you can try different colors before choosing one.Whether you decided to paint the walls of a room or just some accents like cabinets or furniture, a change in color can give things a whole new aesthetic.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: freshhome.com

How to Decorate for Christmas Without Breaking the Bank

by Melissa Thompson

The holiday season is here and if you have your house on the market, you might be packing up everything you own very soon.  The last thing you want to do is unpack all your Christmas decorations only to have to pack them back up again.  In addition, if you are showing your home to potential buyers, you are going to want to keep your holiday décor as simple as possible. You don’t have to be a scrooge though!  You can decorate beautifully without spending a lot of money and without having to unpack all your personal treasures.  Here are five inexpensive ways to decorate for the holidays;

  1. Homemade Garland - A lot of craft stores have great sales and coupons this time of year.  Grab some greenery and then head on over to a dollar store and pick up some pretty ornaments.  You can find DIY instructions for making a festive garland on YouTube.  DIY Dollar Tree Christmas Garland
     
  2. Real Tree - If you have been using an artificial tree and don’t want to unpack it, this is a good time to buy a real tree.  Some can be very expensive, but you can find a pretty tree for as little as $30 in some places.  Consider using a smaller tree and placing it on a table top instead of on the floor.  Decorate with old-fashioned strings of popcorn and cranberries.  And you might be surprised at the sparkly ornaments you can find at very little cost.
     
  3. Wrapped Gifts - Beautifully wrapped gifts can be used to create any aesthetic you desire.  For a more formal look, wrap gifts in shiny silvers and golds.  Want to go whimsical? Try wrapping paper in fun shades of red, green, pink and white. And if you’re going for a winter wonderland look, use blues and silvers.  The point is that you can use the gifts themselves to create gorgeous holiday décor.
     
  4. DIY Christmas Wreaths - All you need is a hot glue gun, some inexpensive ornaments, ribbon, and a coat hanger and you can make pretty wreaths. There are lots of other ways to make them to. Check some out here: 45 Christmas Wreaths For the Most Festive Display on the Block
     
  5. Poinsettias - You can find pretty poinsettias just about anywhere this time of year.  Care for them properly, and they will last the whole holiday season.  Display them in reds, pinks and whites to create a classy ambiance in your holiday home.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today.

Photo Credit: goodhousekeeping.com

What You Need to Know About Renting Out a Room in Memphis

by Melissa Thompson

Memphis, home of blues, soul & rock ‘n’ roll is a fantastic travel destination. With so many fun attractions such as Graceland, Sun Studio, the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and iconic Beale Street, homeowners may be tempted to rent out rooms to earn a little extra income.  Why not?  It sounds easy enough.  Clean up that spare room or basement and you can rake in the big bucks from people looking for alternatives to hotel lodging.  But there are things you should know before taking this on.  It may not be as simple as it seems.

- There are several online peer-to-peer marketplaces for renting out your house or a room in your house. Airbnb is one of the largest and most popular. Some others include HomeAway and FlipKey. Your first step should be to investigate the various options and decide which one will work best for you.

- Educate yourself about the laws involved with renting out a room in your home. When listing your home on a website, they might not indicate whether you’re complying with local laws.  You are responsible for knowing the regulations and following the rule of the law.  Don’t get yourself in a situation like the hosts in New York City who were fined thousands of dollars for renting their apartments through peer-to-peer services.  This type of rental activity is allowed in Memphis, but it is subject to rules set forth by city council.  Make sure you know the rules and regulations before placing your room for rent. Memphis City Council Cuts Red Tape for Airbnb Hosts

- There may be taxes involved.  Depending on how much you earn by renting out all or part of your home, you may receive a tax form from the marketplaces that list your property.  Regardless, you must report the earnings when filing your taxes.  This is something to consider when deciding if it is worth the cost to start renting out space in your home.

- Something else to think about when deciding if your profits will outweigh your costs is the expense of having guests in your home.  You will be providing consumables such as soap, toilet paper, shampoo and cleaning supplies. In addition, your utility bills may increase.  You may also want to hire a cleaning service if you don’t have time to clean between guests.

- To increase your chances of being booked, consider listing on multiple sites.  The more people that see your listing, the better the chance it will be rented.  But remember, each site has its own rules, fee structures and insurance requirements, so you need to know this information for every site you use.

Should you decide to rent out a room in your home, the rental site that you choose will help you get started and before you know it you will be welcoming guests to magnificent Memphis!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: memphistravel.com

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