Seller

Prepare Your Home for Winter With the Autumn 8

 

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Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

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What are the eight things you can do to your home to get it ready for the winter to come? 

The first is to get your furnace inspected. You may have a contract that comes twice a year, so October is always a good time to get it inspected, get the filter cleaned, and make sure you won’t be without heat this winter. 

The second thing you can do is winterize your AC unit. A lot of us don’t do this in our area, and it’s not necessary, but if you live up north and sometimes experience feet upon feet of snow, it might be a good idea to cover your AC unit with a canvas.

Third, draft-proof your home. I did this in my own home two years ago. We looked for any leaks where cold air could seep in from, and we added some weather stripping around our door. We also bought outlet insulators, which helped a lot. 

Next, test your home’s safety devices, especially your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

"These eight tasks will have your home ready for cold weather."

Fifth, do a quick roof check. See if you’re missing any shingles or if there is any damage. You never know if the winter is going to be good or bad, so now is a good time to check your roof just in case. 

Sixth, check the exterior of your home for cracks or holes. A rodent can get in through a dime-sized hole. The area where your AC unit attaches to your foundation is a prime entry point for anything small that wants to escape the cold. 

Seventh, clean your gutters. The No. 1 reason people have water in their homes this time of year is fallen leaves clogging up their gutters and causing leaks they wouldn’t normally have. 

Lastly, walk the perimeter of the house and look for dead trees, dead branches, or anything that might be a hazard if there is a big storm.

If you have any more questions about preparing your home for winter, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be glad to help you. 
 


 

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3 Home Improvements to Consider When Selling Your Home

 

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

 

If you’re thinking about selling your home, I’ve got a few areas for you to consider updating that will add tremendous value to your property:

1. Kitchens and bathrooms. Because of the hassle involved with renovating them, folks are always interested in new and updated items in these rooms. If you keep things neutral with new cabinets and/or countertops that would remain in style for a long time, you could add thousands of dollars to your sale price. If you have specific tastes, however, and have all red appliances, that might not be something that adds much value. It’s best to keep things neutral. Buyers love large floor tiles as well.

        "Keep the colors neutral in the bathroom. " 

2. Hardwood floors. We are seeing more and more homes with hardwood flooring on two levels. Carpet isn’t as durable as it used to be, at least that’s what I hear from buyers all the time. I constantly see people replacing their carpet with hardwood flooring in this market.

3. Outdoor living spaces. Any kind of outdoor living space will bring value. Whether it’s something big like an outdoor kitchen or large patio, or a deck with some furniture, it will bring value to your home. 

If you have any questions for me in the meantime about selling your home or anything else related to real estate, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I would love to hear from you.


 

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5 Upgrades That May Not Add Value to Your Home

 

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

 

If you plan on selling your home, you should know that some of the upgrades you’ve made won’t necessarily add value to your house. 

1. A pool. In Northern Virginia, pool season lasts three or four months. It’s not year-round like in Texas or Florida. Although you and your family may really enjoy having a pool, it will not necessarily add value to your house. Most buyers don’t come into Northern Virginia looking for a pool, so it may end up hurting you.

2. A highly customized design. Maybe you have a grand marble entryway that really suits your specific tastes. You may enjoy it for 15 or 20 years, but it can make selling your home difficult if it doesn’t appeal to a lot of people. 

3. Room conversions. Let’s say you live in a neighborhood where most homes have four or five bedrooms. Most of the buyers in the area have children. Let’s say you decide to redesign your master suite and convert one of those bedrooms into a beautiful master closet. It may be wonderful for you, but it will hurt you when the time comes to sell. Why? Most buyers in that neighborhood are looking for those four bedrooms. 

        "Before you convert any rooms, consider what buyers will expect in your neighborhood." 

Again, this is a very specific example that really depends on your neighborhood. If you were in a neighborhood where most of the houses only had one or two bedrooms, converting one into a master closet wouldn’t have the same effect. 

4. Incremental square footage increases. Let’s say you always wanted a sunroom but due to restrictions with your lot line, you can only add a room that is 8 by 10 feet. Small rooms like that are probably not going to get your value back. Even if it fits with the style of the home, don’t expect to get dollar for dollar back on that upgrade. 

5. Over-improving homes. If most homes are selling between $600,000 and $700,000 in your neighborhood, you don’t need to add Viking appliances or sub-zero refrigerators. When you over-improve a property, you may not get that investment back. Keep all upgrades in line with the level of your neighborhood. Like most of the things on this list, you may enjoy those upgrades but they won’t give you a bang for your buck. 

As you can see, you may enjoy many of these upgrades while you live in the home, but they could become a problem when the time comes to list the home on the market. If you have any questions about upgrades that will net you a great return on investment, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!
 


 

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Why Sellers Have an Advantage in the State of Virginia

 

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Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

 

If you’re a seller in the state of Virginia, you have the upper hand when it comes to selling your home. We are a “buyer beware” state, which means that buyers are responsible for doing inspections to find out issues in the home. Many other states require you to fill out extensive disclosures, but you don’t have to in Virginia.

There are some things you do need to disclose, however. One example is the presence of mold. Another is lead-based paint. If you know that either of these things is in your home, you must disclose it or suffer the legal penalties down the line. If your home has a high level of radon, that will need to be disclosed as well.

        "Sellers have an innate advantage in the Virginia market." 

You don’t have to disclose any repairs you’ve made. You just have to make sure that you’ve fixed them. It’s on the buyer to uncover any issues with those repairs.

If you have any other questions for us, don't hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


 

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What Should You Know About Appraisals?

Thinking of buying a home?  Search the local MLS here.

Thinking of selling your home?  Get a home valuation here.

Want to see our inventory of homes?  View our listings here.

Download your free Residential Appraisal Guide here.

 

I wanted to just take a moment of your time to talk about appraisals. First, let’s discuss what an appraisal is because a lot of homeowners are confused about the difference between an appraisal and a county assessment. 

An appraisal is a qualified appraiser’s assessment of a home’s current value based on recent sales data.

A county assessment, on the other hand, is also based on recent sales but is not a true picture of your home’s total value. It doesn’t take the true picture of your home’s value into account, so you can’t make a direct market value based on this.

Here’s the situation as to why sellers dread appraisals and buyers love them: If you’re a seller and your home is being appraised, the appraiser will look at comparable sales over the last 90 days within a few miles of your home. It can be a little frustrating for homeowners if there is a great comparable property that’s five miles away or one that sold 100 days ago.

"Each situation is different." 

Why do buyers like appraisals? It’s kind of a double check for them. If they feel like they’ve overpaid for a house and the appraisal shows the same thing, it keeps them in check to make sure they aren’t spending more than the home is worth.

If an appraisal comes in low, there are three options if you want to proceed with the sale:

1. The seller reduces the price to the appraised value.
2. The buyer pays the difference between the sale price and the appraisal in cash.
3. The buyer and seller meet in the middle.

Each situation is different, but we’re usually able to work things out one way or another. If you have any questions about appraisals or anything else related to real estate, give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.
 


 

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We'll Help You Meet Your Northern VA Real Estate Goals

Thinking of buying a home? Search the local MLS. 

Thinking of selling your home? Get a home valuation.

View our listings. 

 

Since 2003, I’ve proudly served my community as a licensed Realtor ® with Long & Foster Real Estate. At Cristina Dougherty & Associates, our job is to take care of the details so that our clients can go on with their lives and trust us with the details.

We help our clients find reliable contractors, stagers, lenders, and title companies. We want every transaction to be worry-free for our clients.  

As a former Fairfax County public school teacher and a mother of three, I’m very involved in the local schools and our community. I truly know the area and can guide you to the home you want.  

For the past three years, we have been recognized by Washingtonian magazine as top-producing Realtors in the D.C. area. Over 60% of our business comes from referrals, which speaks to the lasting relationships we build with our clients.

"We create a worry-free transaction for our clients." 

We feel that knowledge, communication, and service will guarantee a successful transaction. Our tireless work ethic and high level of expertise will help you find the home of your dreams.

Don’t just take it from me!  You can hear more details from a few of our clients in this video. Ultimately, the basic message is that I love what I do. I get so much joy out of helping people get from Point A to Point B.  

At the end of the day, being a Realtor ® is not about buying and selling homes; it’s about building relationships.  

If you have any questions or need any help buying or selling a home, just give us a call. We would be happy to help you!
 


 

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Why Are We Such Big Advocates for Home Staging?

A lot of clients ask me if they should stage their home prior to selling. Here is my professional opinion.

If you have a vacant home and are moving out of the area before the home will be listed, I highly recommend staging your home because it will sell much quicker. The problem buyers have with vacant homes is that they have a hard time imagining how they will live in the space.

Staging does the thinking for them and provides sellers with nice, new furniture that makes any home look like a model home. All of a sudden, buyers can see their furniture and how it will look in the home. It’s an amazing thing.

In the age of HGTV, we are used to seeing perfect homes. This has unfortunately skewed our opinion of what a home should look like.

If you have a vacant home and decide you don’t want to stage it, make sure it’s completely vacant. Leaving a piece of furniture or two in there will simply confuse buyers. It should either be fully staged or completely vacant.

If you don’t have a vacant home and, in fact, have a house full of furniture, that’s great. We offer a free, two-hour staging consultation for all of our clients. A professional stager will come into your home, go room by room, and reimagine your furniture and decorations throughout the home in order to appeal to the highest amount of buyers possible.

“Our team offers a free two-hour staging consultation.”

It’s never a bad idea to stage your home. In fact, I have received multiple offers on a staged home that I listed just a few hours ago. There’s your proof.

If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

3 Great Tips for Improving Curb Appeal

Want some tips to spruce up your curb appeal? You got it.

First, do a spring cleanup. That just means getting old leaves or weeds out of your yard that have accumulated over the winter, cleaning off your deck and deck furniture, and clearing away any other disheveled parts of your outdoor space. Then do some power washing. Power washing is a great way to make your home, deck, deck furniture, or patio really sparkle. You’ll want to look into power washing especially after the pollen season.

Next, get your home mulched and edged. It will make a significant difference in making everything feel brand new and look professionally done.

“Power washing is a great way to make your home, deck, deck furniture, or patio really sparkle.”

You should also plant some flowers. Flowers make everyone happy and add some color. Pay attention to when you’re doing it, though. I’ve made the mistake of planting flowers too early, and you’ll want to wait until we are rid of those random 30-degree nights. I’ve also killed plants by not paying attention to which plants need which conditions to thrive, so make sure you have shady spots if you pick plants that thrive in the shade.

If you have any questions about curb appeal or any real estate questions, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!

4 Ways to Make Sure You Get Top Dollar for Your Home

If you want to sell your home quickly and for top dollar in 2017, there are four clever ways to do so that you should be aware of:

1. Price your home correctly. The more time you spend finding the sweet spot for your home price, the more offers you’ll get, effectively driving up the sales price. If you overprice your home, you risk losing interest during the first few weeks and will end up getting a lower price for your home.

2. Stage your home. Buyers shop with their eyes online. This means they get a quick glance at what your home looks like and they might miss little details like the quality of a kitchen remodel. You need to stage your home as a product to sell, which means taking the “home” out of your house. Remember, less is more when it comes to staging, and if you need any advice, we have stagers that can help you get the most bang for your buck.

“If you overprice your home, then you’ll end up with a lower sales price.”

3. Time the sale of your home. Although it’s very cold outside, the spring market actually starts in January, contrary to the popular belief that it starts close to May. I would suggest not waiting until April to list your home if you want it sold by the time school ends.

4. Know who your target audience is. The fastest-purchasing age group right now is the millennial age group, who are 18 to 34. These people don’t want to buy their parent’s or grandparent’s house, so if you are a baby boomer and you have wallpaper or blue carpet, that’s not going to go over well with a millennial buyer. They want clean, modern, and crisp spaces.

If you have any other questions or would like a free consultation, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’m here to help.